balance bike or bike with stabilisers for 3 year old?

(30 Posts)
omama Thu 23-May-13 14:44:07

I apologise now as this will be long. Ds will be 3 in a couple of months. We were thinking of getting a balance bike for his birthday as a) we hope he'd like it & b) we think it might help to develop his physical skills which have always lagged behind his speech/imagination.

Went to look at some today only to be told by shop assistant it was a waste to buy one given his age & he'd be much better going for a bike with stabilisers. He said given he'd not got much experience of ride-ons, a balance bike would be more hinderance than help because the wheels would be too thin & he would likely just fall off.

The fact ds can't pedal yet apparently doesn't matter because he's 'got to learn' & he claims its more important for him to learn how to pedal while fully supported than to learn how to balance. How if he went for a BB then he'd just be lazy as he wouldnt know how to pedal a proper bike & would just push it along & it would take even longer than learning with stabilisers.

He then got me to try ds on a 12" bike, his feet wouldn't even touch the ground & it was so heavy there's no way he's ready for a proper bike yet.

I was quite taken aback with his attitude, esp since i thought most folks think balance bikes are a great idea & can't help thinking he is spouting a load of bollocks rubbish & hmm

But now am doubting myself - is he right? Is it pointless to get one for a 3 year old?

Jibberoo Thu 23-May-13 14:48:13

I got balance bike for my ds when he was 3 and he's got quite good on it. I've just got him a normal bike with stabilisers and he's learning to pedal now. I don't see any harm done by having balance bike 1st. One thing though, balance bikes are quite tricky compared to normal ones and it did take ds a while to work it out (but he can sit on normal bike easier as stabilisers support him)

Manchesterhistorygirl Thu 23-May-13 14:53:39

Ds2 is 2yo he has. Balance bike and is excellent on it already. Ds1 is 7.5yo and only ditched stabilisers last year. I would definitely get the balance bike.

carolinemoon Thu 23-May-13 17:08:12

We bought DD (who also lags in physical development) a balance bike for her 3rd birthday. She will be 4 in September and loves it, goes much faster than a bike with stabilisers. She is v tall so we went for the biggest Puky one that will last in case she still needs it age 5! The Puky doesn't have thin wheels, they are thick and so easy to ride over any terrain.

fishoutofchlorinatedwater Thu 23-May-13 20:55:37

Could you get a pedal bike and just take off the pedals (usinv it a a balance bike)? I agree that 3 is fairly old for a balance bike - you may find that he doesn't need it for too long before being able to manage a pedal bike. That said I am a huge fan of balance bikes. Both of my DCs have had them; DS1 went from his balance bike to being able to do a pedal bike after about 5 minutes of practice aged 3.7. I have repeatedly read that mastering balance is much harder than mastering pedalling.

I personally love Islabikes- something like a cnoc 14 with the pedals removed (initially) should work, then you can just put them back on when your DS is ready and you haven't wasted your money.

RegularVoltaire Thu 23-May-13 21:02:40

Definitely a balance bike!

Dd got an islabike rothan when she was 2.5 and was riding a pedal bike without stabilizers at 3.5.

Balance bikes are fab!

omama Thu 23-May-13 21:46:15

fish he's not big enough for the islabike cnoc 14 yet, boo! I sat him on a 12" at the bike shop today & he couldn't reach the floor even with his tiptoes. Both feet 1-2" off the ground!! So whatever we get i think it'll have to be a 10" even though bit worried he'll outgrow it?

I think it'll take him quite a while to master a bb tbh, so i'd like to think we'd get a good year or so out of it before he's ready for a proper bike.

rubyrubyruby Thu 23-May-13 21:48:42

I would go for a normal bike that you can remove the pedals.

PourquoiPas Thu 23-May-13 21:52:08

If he is quite little for his age and he won't grow out of it soon then definitely get the balance bike. DS is fantastic on the balance bike but is growing out of it aged 3.3. I'm going to get him a pedal bike with no stabilisers once his knees are dragging on the ground we get around to it. He can cycle along with no feet on the floor and steer, he just needs to add in the pedalling and he'll be away!

Quangle Thu 23-May-13 21:55:39

Balance bike definitely (and I was a sceptic)

DD had a bike with stabilisers and can't ride without even now at six. DS got a BB for Xmas and within a month was quite proficient. I got the Chicco from Argos because it was only 35quid but also really light for when I end up carrying it.

BikeRunSki Thu 23-May-13 22:00:34

Balance bike ! Like other posters, DS got a balance bike (Islabike Rothan) at 2 , then a bike with pedals (Isla Cnoc 14) at 3.7, and he was up and running in about half an hour. The Rohan has alot of built in height adjustment, I would give it serious consideration, new or second hand.

TwasBrillig Thu 23-May-13 22:02:51

Balance bike. My daughter started using a balance bike at 2,5 and loved it. Whizzes along to pre school. She's beginning to start with a pedal bike now at 4 and is getting the hang of it. I'd definitely recommend.

amistillsexy Thu 23-May-13 22:11:49

He's talking crap. Trying to get you to buy a bike that will terrify your DS! WHy on earth would a child fall off a balance bike? The clue's in the name! grin

Get a balance bike, or take the pedals off a normal bike (that your DS can fit on!). It's the best way!

I remember watching DS1, who also has developmental delays, on his stabiliser bike, riding along alomost horizontal, the bike was leaning over so far, but still pedalling, and still going, due to the stabilisers keeping him off the ground! grin We decided then to remove his pedals, and he was balancing within the week. It took him a while to be confident enough to try the bike with the pedals back on, but when he did, he was cycling properly very quickly.

Both his brothers started on balance bikes, and after a summer or two tootling around on them, moved on easily to proper bikes at around four or five years old.

hillyhilly Thu 23-May-13 22:40:47

Balance bike. The bloke was talking out of his arse

mawbroon Thu 23-May-13 23:22:38

Balance bike. DS1 got his at 3 but didn't really use it until he was 3.5yo. He then used it until just before his 5th birthday when he transferred on to a pedal bike without too much difficulty.

And now ds2 is using it.

DorisIsWaiting Thu 23-May-13 23:37:02

DD3 had a balance bike for her 2nd birthday she is fantsastic on it (tries to keep up with dd1 on a 20" bike!).

I so wish I had bought for first 2 dd's. DD1 was 6 when she properly ditched the stabilsers and dd2 (5.10) still can't do it.

DD3 however has a bike without stablisers now and is almost riding (can just about get across the garden (she's 4 in June!)

Ignore the stupid salesman, He was as hilly put it very aptly 'talking out of his arse'!

DorisIsWaiting Thu 23-May-13 23:39:23

btw both older dd's still scoot around the garden on dd3's balance bike ( evn though they are way too big for it) It's the smallest PUKY in the range.

omama Fri 24-May-13 06:36:57

Thanks all. Ds hasnt got developmental delays, he's just always been more forward with speech & prefers puzzles, books, imaginitive play eg with figures/ playsets / cars as opposed to more physical play i.e. balls, ride-on toys, climbing etc. He's getting there with the physical stuff & we want to encourage it.

I knew deep down the man was talking rubbish, infact i've a good mind to complain, but was just doubting our choice given his age. Wld love an islabike but i feel too expensive given us starting late, & none 2nd hand in our area, so will have to shop around.x

wonkylegs Fri 24-May-13 07:21:11

Another one who agrees he was talking bollocks. We got DS a balance bike at 2 but it got it's most use from 2.5 onwards. We got him a proper bike without stabilisers for his 4th birthday and he got on and rode off like a natural that day much to my amazement (he did crash a bit later on, through over confidence though)
We had a ridgeback scoot which was fab, has lasted well and is currently on long term loan to friends of ours. It's not in anyway flimsy and my nearly 5yo can still tootle about on it now when mucking around although he prefers his big bike as it's much faster.
I'm a huge fan of balance bikes and believe it gave DS the confidence that I never had as a child on a bike as I spent years worrying about falling off.

lljkk Fri 24-May-13 07:55:39

Balance, although I agree that they don't learn to pedal well with only a balance bike. And pedalling while balancing is yet another skill. But usually they will get a chance to learn those skills elsewhere, so no problem.

Balance bikes are well dodgy, though, they can go very fast on them. If you let them ride it outside the garden you'll end up having to leg it fast to keep up and supervise properly near roads. And most have no brakes so extra-dodgy on hills, or they wear out shoes using the shoes as brakes (most very young children can't mentally coordinate hand braking anyway). Bikes with stabs are a real bonus in comparison because they can't go half as fast on them.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 24-May-13 08:00:33

My dd had a balance for her 3rd birthday then a pedal bike for xmas when she was 3.5.

She was riding the pedal bike by herself on Xmas day, once someone helped her start off.

The starting off took her a bit longer to get but it was much quicker than if she had stabilisers I'm sure.

Bumpsadaisie Fri 24-May-13 08:03:20

Ps my dd had hardly any experience of ride ons either. When you buy a pedal bike consider an Islabike. Not cheap but fantastically well made an so light and easy to pedal even my dd (not a particularly physical kind of girl) got the knack on day 1.

wonkylegs Fri 24-May-13 08:06:40

The Ridgeback scoot has a brake. Didn't stop DS going fast but it did mean he could stop when needed.

badguider Fri 24-May-13 08:09:53

Balance bike. No doubt. I am in a cycle club wirh a kids/families section and have seen hundreds of children learn to ride before school age. Normally if start looking at bbs around 2yo but your son is obviously quite small and inexperienced with balancing/ride-ons so treating him as an individual rather than his age says bb to me.

What bike shop did you go to? Was it a big chain (halfords, Evans) or a smaller specialist?

boredofwork Fri 24-May-13 08:17:47

If you have a Decathlon near you, they are worth visiting as do their own make of balance bike which is very reasonably priced and light weight.

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