The Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers and Older Kids

Before you get your kid started with training wheels, consider a pedal-less balance bike to get them riding by their second birthday.

by Jonathan Stern
Originally Published: 
The best balance bike, Banwood First Go pictured against a green backdrop

You’ve seen them tearing down sidewalks and swerving around mailboxes: toddlers on two wheels. Balance bikes — also know as gliders and striders — offer toddlers and older kids a developmentally rich mix of confidence-building independence and outside play, letting young kids build up their body strength while also honing their gross motor skills. Plus, they’re just hella fun. A kids’ balance bike is much more than a prelude to a two-wheel bike with pedals, although it is that. It’s a great way for children to learn the basics of cycling, while also having a sense of control because their feet stay on the ground.

To pick out the best balance bike for your toddlers or older kids, pay attention to tire size and seat height: Your kid should be able to touch the ground and comfortably push off when seated. As for tires, 12-inch tires are most common, followed by 14-inch tires, for bigger kids. The bike should weigh no more than one-third of what your child weighs, so they can maneuver it easily. Most of the balance bikes below feature air tires, which provide more cushioning and traction than most foam tires. Here are the top models to get your kid up to speed… at their own pace. Before you know it, they’ll be hooked and asking for a mountain bike.

The Best Balance Bikes, Striders and Gliders for Kids

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