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Balance bike recommendations please

8 replies

Merename · 13/09/2020 20:28

For 2 year old who is very tall. Her big sis never used the free cycle one we had and would like some ideas on what makes a good one. Also want it to last - do you need one with brakes? Are these wooden framed ones better? Metal? She is fearless on her scooter and goes v fast, not sure if that’s essential info but I suppose why I’m asking about the brakes!!

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OP posts:
Jerble · 13/09/2020 23:19

Highly recommend Frog bikes. Nice and light which is what they need. We’ve had quite a few now as the children have grown. My son had a fantastic lightweight plastic balance bike first of all but I can’t remember the brand. Then we discovered Frog bikes and have had those ever since.

FrazzleRox · 13/09/2020 23:27
wegetthejobdone · 13/09/2020 23:48

When you say you want it to last is it for a younger sibling? Balance bikes aren't needed for very long. If she gets the hang of it you would probably find she is ready for a normal bike by about 4. If for a very tall child just look at heights - we never bought a balance bike for DS1 as he was huge and we couldn't buy one big enough. Alternatively just buy a nice starter lightweight bike and take the pedals off - you will have much more choice of sizes and it will have brakes and last much longer.

Nanalisa60 · 13/09/2020 23:54

Ridgeback kids bikes are very good, you can often get them second hand on gumtree. Also easy to sell once your little one has grown out of there size. My granddaughter started with there balance bike and has gone through all the sizes.

Guineapigbridge · 14/09/2020 04:03

I highly recommend the Wishbone recycle bike. It is ethically made. It grows with your kid, starts as a trike then becomes a small balance bike then a bigger one.
Very cool looking, too.

MrsAvocet · 14/09/2020 05:28

I coach the preschool group at our local cycling club and I'd say the Frog Tadpole is the most popular balance bike around here. There's a bigger size - the Tadpole Plus - that has 14 inch wheels which might be worth a look if your DD is vety tall. Most balance bikes have 10 or 12 inch wheels so it can be a bit tricky to find one for bigger or older children. Frogs aren't cheap, but they do have good resale value. The same goes for Islabikes.
Weight is key. If a bike is too heavy for a child they won't be able to manoeuvre it and they won't have fun. If they aren't having fun, they wont ride. So look for something light yet robust. I would go for an aluminium frame personally.
I would also look at the mechanism for altering the saddle height and go for something that you can alter without needing tools if possible. Kids of this age grow so quickly and the bikes need adjusting frequently so its a bit more convenient unless you are someone who tends to have a set of allen keys in their pocket at all times!
Personally, I like balance bikes with a brake (normally there's only a back brake.) At first little children tend not to use it and just stop with their feet, which is absolutely fine, but something they need to change when they move onto pedal bikes. I find that those who have learned on a balance bike with a brake tend to transition to using two brakes on a pedal bike a little more easily. At first lots of children stop with their feet first and then proudly apply the brake once they are stationary, but with time they learn to brake better and their shoes start to last a bit longer. Grin
You could buy an ordinary bike and take the pedals off, which is what I advise parents of older children sometimes, if I think the child will be pedalling very soon, but they are not quite as easy to ride unless you go the whole hog and remove the entire drivetrain. So for a 2 year old I would think its worth getting a balance bike as you should get decent use out of it. I find most of my group graduate to pedals at 3 or 4. I have got one child in my group currently who could ride a pedal bike competently at 2 but that's quite unusual.
As a general rule with kids bikes I would advise buying the best and lightest you can afford. Cheap bikes are often a false economy as they tend to be really heavy with low quality components. A good quality children's bike will last well and as they are usually grown out of before they are worn out so there's a healthy second hand market. Its worth looking on local selling pages and some bike shops take bikes as trade ins so have decent second hand bikes for sale. If you buy new I would opt for a neutral colour scheme as it gives you a bigger second hand market. I'd also avoid extras like baskets and mudguards as they add weight and serve no real purpose.
Basically go for simple, light, adjustable and good quality. A brake isn't essential and will probably be ignored at first but is useful prior to transitioning to pedals.

NameChange30 · 14/09/2020 06:05

DS is 3 and loves his balance bike. From our experience with him I'd say the top priority should be to get a lightweight one (which rules out wooden ones!) and ideally one with brakes. He has a Strider which is great but has no brakes and it's ruined his trainers a bit. If buying again I would possibly buy a lightweight regular bike and take the pedals off to begin with. Having said that I wonder if the reason he has taken to the balance bike so well is that it's so light and simple.

I was reluctant to spend £££ on a bike that wouldn't last very long but PPs have made a good point that you can get them second hand and/or resell them.

Or there is the Vitus Nippy Balance Bike which is the lightest on the market and very good value IMO at £45. I'm not sure about the size though, it might be too small if your DD is very tall.

NameChange30 · 14/09/2020 06:28
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