19 Best Balance Bikes For Every Child And Budget
Balance bicycles, or no-pedal bikes, are the perfect gift for children aged from as young as 18 months to 5 years old. Traditionally, parents have opted for trikes (pedal bicycles with training wheels) to teach their children how to ride, but in recent years balance bikes have proven to be much more effective in building strength, balance and coordination.
But with so many brands out there in the market with different features, which balance bike is the best fit for your child? There are so many factors to consider, such as the weight, tyres, ergonomics, adjustability, cost, and more, making it confusing for parents looking to buy a balance bike for the first time. To make your job easier, here’s a lowdown on the options for every child and budget.
Chillafish balance bikes come in 2 main models - the Bunzi Gradual Balance Bike for toddlers from 1 to 3 years old, and the BMXie-RS balance bike for older children aged 2 to 5 years.
Modelled after BMX bikes, the lightweight BMXie-RS is undeniably cool-looking. It’s constructed from durable and high quality fibreglass-reinforced material, but the best feature of the BMXie-RS has to be its Airless RubberSkin tyres. Made from foam with an outer rubber layer, they allow your child to cruise along almost any terrain without the risk of flat or punctured tyres! The optional footrest, which can be tucked back and locked, is also a handy function.
For the young ones, the Bunzi is 2-in-1 balance bike designed for toddlers, who can start in the 3-wheel mode, then advance to the 2-wheel position. Entirely built from durable plastic, the Bunzi is able to weather rough pavements without getting scratched. However, the seat can’t be adjusted and steering is stiff, so toddlers will outgrow the Bunzi pretty quickly.
2. Happy Bikes
Style meets functionality at Happy Bikes, another vintage-style bike brand in the likes of Lekker.
As with steel-frame bikes, Happy Bikes are heavy at 4.9 kg, which makes it ideal for children from 2.5 years old and older. The added stability from the metallic frame allows kids to zip around in ease and comfort.
Arguably, the best part about Happy Bikes is their quality pneumatic tyres, which provide the best cushioning and traction especially on outdoor terrains. Seats and handlebars are fashioned from vinyl to ensure comfort during prolonged use.
Did we also mention cool gadgets like a whimsical bell painted to match the steel frame, and add ons like a wicker basket, shoulder straps and jazzy helmets? For trendy parents, Happy Bikes are the perfect gift for their children.
3. London Taxi
The London Taxi balance bike is a stylish and functional choice for children between 2 to 5 years old. At 3.5 kg, the bike is able to carry children up to 30 kg, and comes with EVA foam tyres.
There are a couple of features that allow London Taxi bikes to stand out from the crowd of similarly lightweight steel frame and foam tyre bikes. Firstly, handbrakes are available for children to stop safely while zipping around at speed. What’s more, it also comes with a bike stand for hassle-free parking - a truly unique feature that is not commonly seen in the market.
Ergonomically one of the best designed and lightest balance bikes around, the Cruzee Ultralite has plenty of space between the handlebars and seat, allowing leeway for your child to run and glide comfortably while stretching out his or her legs. Another well-thought feature that enhances mobility is the small gap between the rear tyre and the back seat (set at the lowest position).
Did we also mention that this beautiful bike comes in 10 colours for your child to choose from? However, while the Cruzee’s anodised aluminum frame is rust-proof and ultra lightweight, it also scratches easily. The foam tyres are maintenance-free and puncture-proof, but do not provide the same cushioning and traction as air tyres.
Another important thing to note is that Cruzees are not equipped with brakes, and might be not be ideal for children practicing in preparation for pedal bikes. But for toddlers just starting to balance and run, Cruzees are arguably one of the best balance bikes you can find in the market.
The award-winning Joovy Bicycoo has to be one of the coolest bikes out there. With a stylish design meant to mimic mountain bikes and fantastic contrasting colour schemes, kids can’t help wanting to jump straight onto it and start riding!
The merits of Joovy Bicycoos aren’t just aesthetic, though. It’s a top-notch aluminum lightweight bike put together with quality in mind. The high quality braking system allows your child to stop instantly and safely without the need to put their feet on the ground; wide pneumatic rubber tyres creates extra cushioning, good traction and better stability as compared to foam or plastic tyres.
What leaves to be desired about this bike is the limited seat adjustability, making it unsuitable for taller or older children who outgrow their balance bikes quickly.
The best thing about Wishbone 3-in-1 balance bikes is its ability to adapt to the growing needs of your child. With its range of seat heights thanks to the patented rotafix™ joint, the Wishbone converts from a tricycle to a small and large balance bike. This means toddlers from as young as 12 months, to children up to 5 years old can use the same bike.
The focus of the company on environmental sustainability is worth a mention here. Not only is the Wishbone created to reduce consumption, the bike frame is made from kiln-dried, preservative birch wood and packaged with recycled materials. You can even jazz up your sleek Wishbone balance bike with a selection of accessories, from nameplates, seat covers, to even stickers!
Wishbone bikes are more pricey compared to other models out there in the market. But if you take into account the cost and hassle of switching bikes every few years or bike sharing among siblings, it’s is well worth it.
So what are the cons of the bike? Wood (albeit waterproof) frames are slightly less durable than metal ones. In addition, the longer wheelbase limits the agility and turning power of the bike, so it’s not recommended for more nimble and adventurous kids.
YBIKEs are constructed from quality, durable plastic that is very lightweight and can withstand big impacts. What’s more, its huge rear wheels enhance stability and allow the bike to stand by itself. But whether this added stability is a plus for learning balance is open for debate.
In comparison to the price range for balance bikes in the market, YBIKEs are arguably one of the more value-for-money brands, which allows children to quickly start running and gliding.
However, the bike scores less well in terms of ergonomics, comfort and adaptability. The hard plastic tyres provide little traction and cushioning while your child navigates bumps and tries to cruise. As such, it’s only suitable for indoor use. Plastic seats are also uncomfortable for long rides.
Athletic children might outgrow this bike pretty fast, and with limited adjustability and maneuverability, parents might have to purchase another balance bike soon after getting a YBIKE.
Dutch vintage bicycle brand Lekker introduced their line of Mini balance bikes in 2017. Undoubtedly stylish and available in 5 cool colour schemes, diehard Lekker fans can now wean their hiplets into pedal bikes in true blue Dutch style.
For its quality, Lekker Minis are priced reasonably. These bikes boast a lightweight aluminum frame and padded seats and handlebars, allowing your child to run and cruise in comfort.
The only drawback is that the Lekker Mini is suitable for children from 2 to 5 years old, with seats adjustable from 40 cm to 50 cm. Brakes would be a great addition as well, for more athletic kids looking to do tricks and glide at speed.
One of the lightest models in the market, Striders have acquired a sturdy reputation of quality at a decent price. Generally, Strider bikes are a popular choice because of the ease in riding and maneuvering.
Besides being well-constructed, these steel frame bikes are versatile and adaptable to suit a range of age groups, with optional add-ons like extended seat posts and extra-long handlebars. Another plus point would be the well-designed footrests that don’t interfere with striding movements, which is rare for balance bikes.
However, while the Strider’s foam tyres are puncture-resistant and help keep the bike lightweight, they provide less cushion for active children who love navigating a variety of terrains and obstacles.
10. YVolution Velo
The great thing about the YVolution Velo is that the rear wheel is made up of 2 wheels for added stability, which are detachable as your child becomes a pro at cruising. The rubber tyres are puncture-free, work slightly better than foam tyres for cushioning and traction, and are great on a range of terrains - from indoors, pavement, grass to footpaths.
Recommended for children from 18 months to 4 years, there are different height settings for the seat and adjustable handlebars.
Although it’s built with an aluminum frame, it’s slightly on the heavy side at 3.8kg. However, a good safety feature is the steering limiter, which controls and degree of turns and prevents accidents. Overall, a great budget choice for parents looking to get their children started on the art of cruising!
The Haro Z10 Prewheelz balance bikes are available in 2 models - the Z10 and Z12. While both bikes are built with adjustable handlebars, the main difference is in the tyres.
The Haro Z10 comes with foam tyres for toddlers’ indoor use, while the more advanced and larger Haro Z12 is equipped with knobbly air tyres for older and more active children. The latter provides more durability, cushioning and traction for prolonged gliding outdoors and training. A great addition to the Z12 would be brakes for children learning to go at speed and stop!
However, the biggest issue with the otherwise great quality Haro Prewheelz bikes is the protruding footrests, that hinder running movements and scratch children’s legs. Similarly, exposed bolts are also a cause for concern.
12. JD Bug
Japanese brand JD Bug balance bikes are constructed with safety in mind. Practical and modern-looking, the TC90A model in particular is convertible from a balance bike to a pedal bike. It comes with a pedal gear box, which can be attached once your child becomes a pro at cruising and balancing.
What’s more, JD Bug bikes are built with lightweight aluminum frames, come with hand brakes and doesn’t have any unnecessary footrests, which might obstruct running movements and scratch your child’s legs.
The cons? Seats are made from plastic, which could be uncomfortable after prolonged periods of riding. The TC90A comes with air-filled tyres, which work well on a variety of terrains, but the training models are equipped with plastic tyres.
Touted as the ‘world’s lightest balance bike’, Bilrider balance bikes are made of airplane grade aluminum. The Bilrider Flight model in particular weighs only 1.9 kg, while the AF and Classic models are less than 3.2 kg. The Eva tubeless tyres contribute to the ultra-lightness of Bilriders, which makes it easy for your child to maneuver and lift the bike if needed.
More great functions for Bilriders include: easily adjustable handlebars and the ability to calibrate seat height from 11” to 16” for children of varying ages and heights.
However, Bilriders can be difficult to assemble compared to other brands, and the lack of brakes make it hard for adventurous children to stop safety when cruising at speed.
Footrests are generally not desirable features as they tend to hinder children’s strides, but KaZAM’s patented footrests are strategically and safely designed to be non-obstructive.
A little on the heavy side at 5 kg due to the steel frame and handlebars, KaZAMs can be difficult for smaller or weaker children to handle, but are perfect for athletic kids between 3 to 5 years old.
However, with adjustable seats and handlebars, your child can grow with his or her KaZAM up till 5 years old, eliminating the need to purchase another costly balance bike. The tool-free quick release allows for easy adjustment.
KaZAM bikes also come in models with brakes or without brakes, depending on your preference. Another great safety feature are the covered bolts, which avoid wear and tear of bolts that cause scratches and minor injuries.
Like the Chillafish, Zycom balance bikes come in 3 models for varying ages. However, all Zycom bikes are built with steel lightweight frames.
The ZBike in particular for children aged 3 years and up comes with their trademark 12-inch classic Zycom tyres. Made from quality thermoplastic rubber (TPR), the unique tyres allow your child to navigate different terrains or obstacles with low resistance and a great grip.
Another great safety feature for the ZBike is the integrated headset stoppers, which prevent 90-degree turns. That way, you can be rest assured that there is no risk of sudden stops and crashes while your child is riding!
The most budget option out of the bunch, Luddy balance bikes won’t burn a hole in your wallet and are great for testing if your child likes using one before splurging on higher-end brands.
That being said, while Luddy bikes are great basic options, the low cost also comes with a tradeoff in terms of quality. Weighing below 3 kg, Luddy bikes are made from either lightweight steel frames or durable plastic, but don’t perform well in terms of maneuverability and comfort.
Luddy bikes are equipped with plastic and foam tyres, which are less than ideal for cushioning and traction. They’re also not ergonomically designed for mobility and flexibility when it comes to cruising. This means that for more active children who like to zip around, parents are better off considering other options.
The Evo Beep Beep is perfect for children aged between 2 to 4 years old. With a durable steel frame and ergonomic design, it has pedal bike features which makes it a step above other balance bikes. The best part about this balance bike is the knobbly air tyres, which rides well on a variety of terrains.
At 4.7 kg, it might be a tad hefty for petite ones, but works well for stronger and more athletic children. Tools are also required for adjustment, and exposed bolts might scratch children’s legs. Otherwise, the Evo Beep Beep is a good choice for cost-conscious parents looking for a balance between price and quality.
Papa is a less well-known brand when it comes to balance bikes. However, this does not mean that quality is lacking.
Suitable for children from 18 months to 5 years old, the extremely lightweight 2.9 kg frame is built from aluminum. As your child grows, you can adjust the seat to suit their height. What’s more, this hardy bike is able to carry weight of up to 50 kg.
Papa bikes are equipped with EVA foam tyres which is maintenance-free, but best for indoor or smooth paved outdoor surfaces.
Light and small, Micro balance bikes are perfect for speedy 2 to 4 year olds. The beautiful Swiss design is apparent in its sleek and ergonomic aluminum frame. In addition, the small tyres allow Micros to roll much faster than other balance bikes.
Weighing below 3 kg, they are also one of the most lightweight models available, making it easy for children to handle. The Micro Chopper Deluxe in particular weighs only 2.2 kg. However, while children can glide along smooth pavements at ease, Micro bikes are not made for rocky terrains or non-paved outdoor surfaces.