Balance Bikes: Performance vs. Strider
When my son took his first steps at 13 months old I ordered him a Strider PreBike. He played with it rarely. I admit I got him the bike too early. He could stand on it, but not ride it.
When he was about 18 months old he really took to the bike. He walked with it a lot more, but never really rode it.
Fast forward to 24 months, the kid really took to it. He now coasts with his feet up and is really good at taking fast turns.
Well, the Strider bike was the first choice based on prices and the youtube videos out there for it. Unfortunately, the bike is cheaply built. After my son really starting using the bike as intended, it really only lasted 4 months before the rear wheel bearings disintegrated and the tires were bald. The wheels are cheaply built and not made to be rebuilt. I managed to rig the rear wheel with a pair of skateboard bearings, but the wheel now has a clunky sound and a wobble to it.
I looked at the Strider bike website to find a replacement wheel, which they sell, but at a price tag of $20 shipped, it wasn't worth dumping more money into such a cheap bike. I started looking around for a new balance bike to replace the Strider. My search ended with the Performance Balance bike. Below is a comparison of the two bikes as well as some images.
Performance: $75 shipped with 15% off coupon
Strider: $88.00 shipped a year and a half ago from eBay. Current prices are $100+.
Winner: Performance. At $15 cheaper with higher quality parts, the performance comes in on top for price.
Strider: Actual - 7.2lbs Claimed - "Less than 7lbs" from the Strider website.
Winner: TheStrider bike is over 3 lbs lighter than the Performance bike. The performance bike is noticeably heavier. Based on weight, Strider is obviously the lighter.
Performance: 12" wheels
Strider: 12" wheels
Both bikes have similar stand over height. I compared measurements by measuring from the top of the seat collar to the floor.
Performance Bike: 11"
Winner: The Strider bike has the lowest stand over height, but only by 1.25".
Both bikes have a similar seat and nonstandard seat post mount. The saddles are both equally padded, but the padding on both are very poor. Just guessing, but there is probably 1/16th of an inch of soft padding built into the saddles of both. The Performance saddle is a shiny gray. It almost looks like it is wrapped in plastic wrap. The Strider saddle is more of a flat black. The real difference is found in the seat post collar. Additionally the Strider seat post is roughly twice as long as the Performance post. I failed to get measurements of both during assembly.
Performance: 5mm allen wrench silver seatpost collar
Strider: Through frame nut and bolt.
Winner: While both saddles and posts are similar, the Performance seat post collar is much nicer and uses an allen bolt which I prefer.
Performance: Round steel tubing with reinforcements from the seat tube to the down tube. There is no real top tube. It does have both chain and seat stays.
Strider: Steel frame with oval shaped down tube, round seat tube and chain stays. There are no seat stays or top tube present.
Winner: The Performance bike has more to it and feels more solid. The Strider bike is lacking seat stays and the reinforced tubing from the seat tube to the down tube. The Performance wins just based on its durable design.
Performance: "Normal" bike headset with metal cups and bearings in the top and bottom. The headset did seem a little rough, but there was no movement noted.
Strider: Plastic, bushing-style headset. No bearings. It is simply plastic on plastic.
Winner: The Performance wins hands down. Even though the headset is a little rough, the fact that Performance actually used a headset sets them apart from the plastic bushings on the Strider.
HANDLEBARS AND STEM
Performance: Quill, two-bolt stem with separate "riser bar" and rubber grips.
Strider: One piece flat handlebar stem combo with rubber grips.
Winner: Performance. The Performance stem uses two allen bolts to secure the riser bar to the silver stem. Even though it is not threadless headset, the quill seems built well enough to hold the stem in place. Using a regular stem and handlebars is a nice touch and allows for more adjustment compared to the one piece handlebar/stem of the Strider. The grips are of equal quality.
Performance: 16 spoke steel wheels, standard unsealed bearing hubs, pneumatic 12"x2.25" off-road tires.
Strider: 5-spoke composite wheel with plastic hubs with metal cups and unsealed bearings.
Winner: Performance. The performance wheels have the ability to be rebuilt, which is a huge plus. Additionally, the pneumatic tires are nice to absorb the bumps. Another good feature about the pneumatic tires is the ability to adjust pressure. Lower pressure results in a slower ride for toddlers learning how to go down hill, while increasing the pressure allows for a faster ride for the advanced rider. The Strider wheels are very cheaply made and lack any durability at all. Strider does sell pneumatic spoked wheels on their website for $40 a pair plus shipping. They also state that the upgraded wheels add "two pounds" to the bikes weight.
Performance: White glossy frame with 4 unapplied sticker sheets (2 girl themed and 2 boy themed).
Strider: Multiple colors (red, blue, yellow, pink, green, and orange) with standard "Strider" stickers applied.
Winner: Performance. While Strider comes in different colors, the Performance bike has a smoother finish and has the ability to customize the stickers based on the owners preference.
While the Strider is lighter and has a lower stand over height, the Performance excels in every other area. It feels sturdy, has a nicer finish, is more adjustable, customizable, and has features mom and dad share on their bigger bikes. The extra weight can be explained by the stronger frame and wheels. If the 7.2 Strider bike had similar wheels to the Performance it would come in at 9.2lbs. Only a pound less than the Performance. Add in the better frame and headset, the bikes are comparable in weight if spec'd the same.
Couple things though
3# is huge! That's a big difference between two adult bikes. Now imagine that difference adding up to ~10% of your body weight. That's could be upto a 20# difference between bike A and bike B for an adult.
Also the inch+ of standover can be months of use
I'd hardly call a Stryder "not durable" At 180lbs I have no problem coasting around on one. and it feels rock solid although slow
Wheels/tires are chincy but fine in my opinion. Mine lasted 3 seasons of use. Front tread is good and the rear is getting down there.
The headset (or lack thereof) is the only thing that is a real downer.
I have a strider and a 4yo who won't start on his pedal bike yet, which means the 2.5yo brother is itching to ride and has no strider.
FWIW, the Performance one is on sale for $69 today (10/14). Add code 735 for members, save another $10.50.
I am still toying with the idea of just getting a 12" and removing the drivetrain.
Last edited by CharacterZero; 10-14-2010 at 09:49 AM.
I'd have to agree with Shayne, 3 lbs is huge when you're talking about 10 lbs total weight. My kid got his Strider when he was 2 and the major reason he was able to handle it so well is the weight. He is able to lift the bike by the handlebars while he is straddling it. We discovered this after we noticed him zooming around inside the house with his bike. I watched how he got it through the door one day. You will be amazed at how light the Strider is when you pick it up. And more importantly, when you see your kid pick it up like it's nothing.
I agree that the wheels are not super durable, but that is a major contribution to the light weight, and it is nice to not have to worry about punctures or losing air. The headset is also just plastic bushings, but it's fine.
I had an issue with the original grips wearing out on the Strider and sent an email to them. Same day I got an email back from the founder of the company, asking me to send pics of the grips, which I did. He immediately sent out a new pair of the upgraded grips, no charge of course, and pointed out in the pic that my headset was improperly adjusted. He also sent along a pdf of the tightening instructions with that email. Customer service is outstanding with Strider. You should contact them about the rear wheel, they will probably send you a new one.
To sum it up, I would say for a kid that is under the age of 4 a Strider might be a better choice due to the weight. The Performance bike will last longer and take more of a beating, so it's probably better for kids over 4.
I do recognize that the 3# is a big difference...but it is only 1.5# is the weight difference if you aren't picking up the front and back.
Luckily, I produce oxen offspring, so I really don't think that my 2.5yo will have any problems.
I wonder how much weight you'd save going ghetto tooobless on there..you know, get a 9" tube .
All that being said, I got a Performance on en route to the local store for $70 total. I am willing to give it a try.
I still might grab one of my buddy's kids bikes and strip it of the drivetrain to compare.
My son has no problems handling either bike. The Strider is lighter, but he picks up the Performance by the handlebars and seat with no problem. He picks the front end up effortlessly to get over curbs.
I find it interesting that your wheels have held up so well, even with you riding it. I'm not doubting you at all, but the wheel didn't hold up to my 30lb kid's abuse.
A testament to the Strider's frame strength and durability:
Note these adults used the stock Strider headset with no problems whatsoever. The headset takes another 3/4lb out of the Strider vs. other bikes. Admittedly they did put the upgraded wheels and tires on these Striders, but 2 pounds to an adult is pretty minimal.
If you'd like to test the Striders durability yourself come to the 2011 Black Hills Fat Tire Festival. They are having a $1,000 purse Strider downhill race for adults!!!! Here's a photo from last year's exhibition race!
bought a kinderbike for my 2 year old. he loves it. barely fit him on 2 year birthday but by 2 1/2 he was cruising. i've got no specs to share but i've got a happy kid. i'm just saying that kinderbike is a good alternative.
Since I just gave my youngest son (2.5yo) his first bike, the Performance one, I thought I'd chime in with some comparisons.
1. I agree with rabidchicken - the wheels on the Strider don't necessarily hold up great. I had to replace the wheels on my older son's bike after 1.5 years due to play in the "hubs." At that point, I also replaced the handlebar/grip assembly, as well as the seat, both due to wear and tear. I don't recall what I paid for them, a bit less than retail, but stack that on top of the cost of the bike in the long run.
2. The Performance bike is stout. This thing is going to last a while.
3. Watching a big brother rip it up for a year certainly helped Kai hop right on!
<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/16093420?portrait=0&color=c9ff23" width="960" height="540" frameborder="0"></iframe><p><a href="http://vimeo.com/16093420">Kyan OWNS It!</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/jvaughn">JV</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
My older son rode the bejezus out of his Strider for a year and a half and now his younger brother is just getting started on it, at 17 months. The wheels do sound pretty rough but they roll fine. If they get too bad before the little one is done with it, I might by some of the accessory spoked wheels with real tires. The steering is kind of slow but I think that helps him keep it stable while he is learning. If I had the Performance bike, for example, I don't think my kid would be able to get on it for a few more months, at least.
For $10 I bought a 12 1/2" wheeled child’s “BMX” bike off of Craigslist. Armed with simple tools, I removed the training wheels and the pedals—VOILA—a $10 balance bike. Now, my 4 year old rides it with the pedals on it. In theory one could do the same with one of those 10" wheeled bikes, but some people feel the need to spend $100-$200 on new stuff. To each their own.
QUOTE from MTBR.COM: You have given Brewtality too much Reputation in the last 24 hours, try again later.
I'm thinking of getting one of these for my 2yr for x-mas this year. At my local Sports Chalet they have the diamondback lil push bike for $99. It looks just like the performance one (maybe same manufacturer?). Now I'm even more confused as to which one to get. I hate paying $100 for plastic components but I wonder if its the best choice for a 2yr girl
um, get the performance one for under $70
Originally Posted by neogeo64
There's always some really nice wood ones to consider. But they run a bit more than $70 bucks. From what I've seen they look really well made
Where can I get the Performance online?
I ended up getting the diamondback. its got an aluminum frame unlike the performance model's steel frame.
I think the total weight of the bike is in between the two models reviewed.
Originally Posted by cmlasley
Thank you for the link.
Originally Posted by neogeo64
Make sure you get a colour she likes. I know with my daughter if the bike didn't look right she wouldn't touch it.
Originally Posted by neogeo64
You're gonna love my nuts
Another great option
We got a great bike for our son very similar to the Performance bike in price and build, but has a brake. I find a little oil on the plastic headsets and not making them so tight works wonders
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You can see their stuff here
The only 3 bikes I looked at, primarly seat height, wheel quality, and aluminum bikes
the Hotwalk by specialised
the Prebike by Giant
and the kinderbike,
the kinder has not even been used yet, but on first impresions I am wishing I bought the Giant prebike.
So I ordered the Performance Push Bike last night and then found this thread this morning...
I have been planning on buying the Specialized Hot Walk, because I've seen them in bike shops and know they feel way lighter than other steel 12" bikes. They run about $160, but for $60 I pounced on the Performance push bike. $75 shipped.
Anyway, I read this thread and learned about the diamondback (listed as alloy, but reviews seem to refer to it being an aluminum frame) If it's aluminum it should be about the same as the Specialized. I checked it's $75 with free shipping on Amazon!
I called this morning and Performance won't cancel even though the package won't ship till tomorrow.. Something bout automated systems and robots, I don't know. At first I was pissed, but then I thought I would do the prudent thing a buy both, see which one is lighter ( I'm sure all the other stats will be close to the same) and report back here for all the other bike dads nerdy enough to over research it like me..
Thanks to the original poster... I knew I didn't want the Strider. I live in Brooklyn and have seen a bunch. They are light, but I've seen a bunch smashed up. I should also be able to unload the bike we don't want in a matter of hours on the local forums my wife frequents. The Giant Pre Bike is cool too, but in that $150 range. I'll be proud if the DB works out as a steal.
I'll update in a week or so. Oh yeah, I have access to nice scales for weighing.
I went with the Performance run bike for my 2 y.o. son.
Now he's doing so well on it, I wish I would have gone with Tykes Bikes since it has a hand brake.
Diamond Back Lil Push Bike- 8 lbs.
Performance Balance Bike- 9.5 lbs.
These bikes are both quality builds. Not sure if the DB is actually aluminum. The rest of the bikes are similar and were probably built in the same factory or down the street at best.
The Performance Bike actually gets the higher marks for slightly better wheels. Specifically, the DB has slightly janky spoke threading, where the PB has straight spokes from hub to wheel with no overlap. The nuts on the PB are bombproof, nuts on DB not so much, but it's for a 2 year old. I'll replace those if needed.
I swear the weight difference is all in the handle bars and headsets. The PB is way heavier on both. I doubt any little kid could ever break this bike. This thing could stand up to some of the crazy kids I grew up with in a family of 5 boys- all gear heads. This thing would last around there.
Tires are the same Innova branded. DB has more street tread and the PB is mega knobby, which jack it up a bit. The DB looks like you could easily remove the stickers too if you're interested in having a murdered out ride. With all black wheelset the DB edges ahead.
The kicker is the difference in seats and seat posts. The PB is a weird choice in size and a shorter seat post. As my friend said, "Damn I could put that thing on my bike!" (a Pista) The DB is a cuter and possibly better seat for a dude who is rocking diapers.
Can't go wrong with either of these big boy bikes.
Why even buy another pre bike?
Just checked out your video, looks like he's ready to pedal his own!
I picked up a Performance balance bike for my nephew on clearance. They wouldn't let me walk out of the store with it in the box, had to have their mechanics put it together. It was hilarious; they gave me a checklist that listed brakes, gears, shifters, all of which the thing does not have! Silly lawyers...
Anyway, I'm not a weight weenie with my bikes, but I see Shayne's point about a few pounds being a huge difference compared to a kid's body weight.
I looked a the Striders online, and saw a different-looking model on Amazon. I emailed to ask and found out the new one is 6.5 lbs, with a smaller profile seat, bars & grips. And what look like colored Skyway mag wheels!