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2yr old xmas present. Are balance bikes really that good?

(35 Posts)

DD (24m) loves ride ons etc and I've heard great things about balance bikes. They do sound good, especially as she is a bit short so cannot reach peddles.

Before i commit for xmas, can anyone give me some honest feedback - are they worth the money? I've seen on on the ELC website for £50.

iwantavuvezela Fri 15-Oct-10 13:42:53

Just bought my DD one (but she is almost 3 and a half) Have you tried the micro scooter at all, my DD loved this from about 2.5 and got really good on it .....

mejon Fri 15-Oct-10 14:45:19

If she is so short that she cannot reach pedals then she might not be able to reach the floor on a balance bike. We got one for DD (a Puky) when she was 3 and around 84cms tall. She could just about reach the floor then and it took her a good few months to really take off on it.

nicm Fri 15-Oct-10 22:22:22

we got ds one for christmas last year when he was 20 months and he loves it. was ok on it at the start but now 2 and half flies on it. we got him the easyrider classic and it was to last him from aged 2-5 but he is really tall and is on the one from last seat setting now! they sell a earlyrider lite which i think is a bit smaller.

JaynieB Fri 15-Oct-10 22:24:44

PIL bought DD a Specialised one - but she's not that keen. Plays on it for a minute or two then loses interest, she much prefers - and is better at using, her scooter. She's 3.5 and was bought the bike for her 2nd birthday.

IMoveTheStars Fri 15-Oct-10 22:25:12

DS got this for his 2nd birthday. No way would he have been ready for a balance bike, and we're getting him a microscooter for his 3rd.

JaynieB Fri 15-Oct-10 22:32:41

I think the one we have is too heavy for DD and too bulky for a toddler - I think she may use it more in a year or two.

AliceWorld Fri 15-Oct-10 22:38:42

Yes absolutely. Bikes with stabilisers teach kids to pedal which is not the main skill for riding bikes. Waaay better for them to learn to balance first, then introduce the pedaling later when they get how to balance and control the bike. Likeabikes are adjustable so can alter to they can reach and will then last longer too

sprogger Fri 15-Oct-10 22:39:38

Balance bikes are BRILLIANT.

We bought one for DS's 4th birthday. He loved riding it and quickly learned how to coast with his feet up on the footplate. He's now nearly 5, and last weekend we rented a proper pedal bike for him to see how he'd get on. He took off like he'd been riding for years, in spite of not having stabilisers. We had to run to keep up with him.

I'm not sure we needed to wait until he was 4 to get him the bike. We'd plumped for a microscooter for his 3rd birthday and he used it so much it fell apart before he turned 4, and we've since seen much younger children whizzing around on balance bikes.

GraceK Fri 15-Oct-10 22:50:47

They're brill - we hadn't considered it but we got given a second hand one fro a work colleague when DD1 was just over 2 - it took her a while to workm it out & only got really good at it after watching her slightly older cousin on it - think she needed to see how fast it could go - there is a sort of 'running walk' you need to master to really speed along. Once she'd got that, she was off. As AliceWorld says cycling is more about balance than pedalling - she got a normal bike with stabilisers when just before her 3rd birthday & she used to use both (in fact still does). Took her stabilisers off (after much begging) at 3.5 & she was cycling by herself within two hours and has only crashed a couple of times since (usually when distracted & looking the wrong way).

DD not yet a metre tall (at 4) so would recommend a metal frame one with an adjustable seat, rather than the fancy looking wooden ones with a set ride-height.

Thanks for the comments - hmm, no wiser as mixed reviews. I still think I'll look into one. She'll be 27m at xmas, and although small is very active. Or maybe I'll look at a scooter...decisions...

bruffin Fri 15-Oct-10 23:07:35

I wouldn't waste money on one , a scooter will teach balance just the same , are cheaper and I suspect more fun. Both my dcs managed to learn to ride bikes without a balance bike first

Awitch Fri 15-Oct-10 23:10:09

it's not a waste... they are amazing. dd did prefer her scooter for a long time (so maybe at that age i'd look into a micro mini) but then spent a summer on her balance bike and was riding her two wheeler bike in one afternoon with minimal running-around from me. thank god.

bruffin Fri 15-Oct-10 23:28:25

Both mine were riding that quickly without a balance bike, just think they are a bit emperors new clothesish.

Heathcliffscathy Fri 15-Oct-10 23:30:08

my advice would be, get a good normal bike in the right size for your child (i'd recommend islabikes) and take the pedals off. same effect without wasting money. ds was riding a bike aged 2 years using this method.

islabikes are fantastic: pricey but so worth it.

Awitch Fri 15-Oct-10 23:32:25

also true, soph, we inherited ours.
how are they emperors new clothes-ish? hmm of all the kids products to rail against... choosing something that helps kids get to nursery in good order and can be chained to a rack until hometime seems a bit ott.

bruffin Sat 16-Oct-10 08:16:59

They are "emperor new clothesish" because the owners say they are fantastic etc, they teach your child to ride a bike etc when 99% of children have quite succesfully learnt to ride a bike without them!
I took the stabilisers of DDs bike, she took off down the road without me holding on, never even heard of balance bikes back then.

AliceWorld Sat 16-Oct-10 09:19:24

Doesn't make the emperor new clothesish.

They teach balance before pedaling. Balance is the harder skill to master. Of course you can learn to ride a bike without one, you go through a different process where you learn the skill of pedaling before balancing.

There is a choice between one approach and the other depending on what type of bike you buy. So it isn't emperor's new clothes to recommend the one that people see as working better.

Should I introduce my kids to computers through a zx spectrum plus cos that's how we used to do it, and these new fangled things with their graphics and mouses are just emperor's new clothes hmm

Re the wooden ones, they aren't non adjustable. Likeabikes are adjustable.

And I agree you can get a good bike and take the pedals off. Isla bikes are good. I would say you need to get all the gear mech etc off too though, else it will get in the way.

bruffin Sat 16-Oct-10 09:36:45

Alice your post says it all!!!!! YYOu have been brainwasdhed into believing they are necessary when as I said learning to ride a bike never used to be a problem, now it seems to behmm

AliceWorld Sat 16-Oct-10 10:29:10

Oh I see! Thanks for letting me know. And here was me thinking I just knew quite a lot about cycling and the related research into different types of learning techniques for children. Silly me.

Learning a bike was never a problem indeed. Learning a bike isn't a problem now either. There are different ways of learning. Some are better than others.

No-one is saying you can't to learn to ride a bike using the more traditional approach using stabilisers. Of course you can, and people have done it for years and will still do so.

Some people did some research into alternatives and came up with a different idea that seems to work better. So balance bikes were born. People didn't do the research as children couldn't learn to ride bikes, they did it to see if there was a better way.

Doing research and developing products from the outcomes is not a process of brainwashing. I do hope you still use a big washing tub and mangle to do your washing. I do so find it ridiculous how people have been brainwashed into thinking that these emperor's new clothes washing machines are better hmm

sprogger Sat 16-Oct-10 10:31:25

Bruffin, I also learned to ride a bike in the 70's. I fell over a lot, as most children do without stabilisers. My DS has just started pedalling naturally and fluidly without even a wobble after spending a year riding a balance bike.

A scooter does not provide the same balance training - the biomechanics are wrong (ie one side of the body is emphasised when scooting, both when coasting on a pedal-less bike).

DomesticGoddessInTraining Sat 16-Oct-10 10:38:22

OP - My DS (2.3) is a bit short, so we got him a mini micro scooter instead of a balance bike which he really likes. It took him no time at all to figure out how to scoot about. I've got a couple of friends with older children around 4/5 years old who are still playing with theirs so I think it'll have decent long term play value.

RockBat Sat 16-Oct-10 10:43:47

DD will be 3 in early Jan so was wondering about these. Took her into Halfords just to see what she thought of them. One was pronounced too big and the other was "too wobbly". I don't think she's got her head round the idea yet...

bruffin Sat 16-Oct-10 11:22:18

some of us have common sense sprogger, some people just are blinded by the manufacturors claims. "wrong biomechanic" ROFL

Awitch Sat 16-Oct-10 11:34:43

yes, now that i think about it, i learned to ride having had a scooter as well and fell off loads, necessitating a trip to A&E as i recall.

bruffin i think you protest too much, tbh. a scooter is not the same as a bike, if i had to choose one i'd go for the bike every time. you'd go for the scooter, of course, but then you are slightly talking out of your biomechanically challenged backside, having never owned a likeabike. grin

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