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  1. #1
    dmo
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    Bikes for toddlers

    I want to get a bike for my 2.5 year old and my lbs suggested a balance bike for about $200. That seems like alot for something that will be used for just a few years. Whats a good choice at a reasonable price? When do you move to a bike with training wheels if at all?

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Never use training wheels, they will only hinder kids ability to learn to balance !

    An alternative to buying a balance bike is to just start with a 12" wheel bike and remove the pedals (or entire crank), let them use it as a balance bike and then once they have balancing down, put the pedals back on. My kid were riding a 2-wheeler without training wheels before age 4 so you definitely do not have long left at the balance bike stage. Tricycle is perhaps good to have for them to also learn pedaling independently of balance but pedaling seems much easier for them to get.

  3. #3
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    X2 - This is exactly what I did for both my kids. 12" bike, no crank, no training wheels. Just be sure your kid can touch the ground on both sides while on the seat.

  4. #4
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    I looked into this recently and there are a lot of good options for around $100 brand new.

    Here is the site that I found for okay reviews:
    Reviews of Balance Bikes, Running Bikes, Walking Bikes & More | Two Wheeling Tots

    This isn't a professional site and I'm not sure how biased some of the reviews are. I mainly use it for it's specs on bikes. ie height, weight, etc. It does list coupon codes for some of the sites.

    Due to my kid's height and price range I was looking at, and other criteria I had, I narrowed it down to the following two bikes:

    Amazon.com: Glide Bikes EZee Glider Kid's Balance Bike (Orange, 12-Inch): Sports & Outdoors

    Performance Balance Kids Bike -

    If I was willing to spend a bit more, I would've seriously considered this one, mainly because I liked the styling:

    TykesBykes 2013, 12" Balance Bike Review

    Some of the reasons why I was leaning towards the first two bikes above is because I needed a bike with a lower seat height. If I could have done it all over again, I would have just bought the bike at Performance first. The customer service of Glide Bikes seem pretty top notch, so my preference for the Performance bikes is not a negative reflection off of Glide Bikes at all, and is more due to the convenience of buying it locally.

    With your toddler being 2.5 years old, I think you might have more options to pick from. One of the things to do is to measure your toddler's inseam, then look at the chart in the website above to get a general idea on what size bike you should get. I wanted to get something smaller so my kid can start riding on it right away. But some people get a little bit bigger and let their kids grow into it.

    Keep an eye out on Craigslist for used balance bikes. They don't seem to be used for long, and you can probably pick one up in good condition for a decent price. Check out both the baby/kids section and the bikes section.

    If you're okay with foam/plastic/EVA tires, I've been seeing ads for Striders in our area for less than $30. If I didn't already pick a bike up, I would've seriously considered a Strider for this price even if it doesn't come with the air tires, which was one of my criteria.

    Here's a link on how to remove the cranks off of a bike if you're interested in going that route:
    Convert child's bike to balance bike for older learner (i.e. strider bike) - YouTube

    From what I read, it sounds like a lot of kids master balance bikes relatively quickly. But it sounds like they're able to keep riding them afterwards. So my hope is to start out on a balance bike and maybe just skip to a 16" bike when the time comes. Or if not that, maybe pick up a cheapie 12" to use as an inbetween bike.

  5. #5
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    I've had two balance bikes for my girls, a Strider and a Burly MyKick. Both were in the $80-100 price bracket, and were DEFINITELY worth it. That said, I've found myself wishing that I had sprung for one of the more-expensive ones that comes with a hand brake. It's really hard for a child to slow down with their feet while on a hill or something.

    Of course, once that becomes an issue, you can just spend the $400 on a Gremlin or Banshee.

  6. #6
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    I started my son out on a strider when he turned 2. I paid $100 for brand new. When he turned 2 he was only about 30" tall, so after researching this bike had the lowest seat height available, which is 11". The eva wheels are actually a positive. They are very light, you never have to put air in them and they make the ride forgiving. Striders themselves are very light, my son could actually carry his bike at age 2. When he would lay the bike over, it was easy for him to pick up. The low weight also helped when he had to lift the bike over roots. I had him on easy trails when he was at about 27 months. I picked up the quick release seat clamp and brake later on. I would get one with the quick release but don't worry about the break. They will drag their feet as a break. But the quick release makes it easy to adjust after a growth spurt.

    When my son was about 3 and a half, I bought him a 12" Specialized Hot Rock $200 for Xmas. I could sell the strider for about 60 but I have chose not to. He still rides it every once and a while. When I got him on the Hot Rock I actually had to leave the training wheels on for a few months. He was still only about 35 inches tall when he got the Hot Rock and he didn't know how to pedal yet. I let him ride both strider and hot rock bikes so he would still know how to balance but he could also get used to peddling. Peddling was really awkward for him at first. After a few winter months of limited riding I noticed he could peddle smooth and strong even up hill. I decided to take off the training wheels. I took him to a short cut grass field and pushed him on his back with his feet on the pedals. He would balance himself but he felt reassured with me pushing his back. When he fell on the grass he realized there was nothing to be afraid of. So are started letting go, and he would ride for 20 ft and then fall on purpose laughing. Soon after he realized he could catch himself with his feet. The Hot Rock is small enough that he only being 36" tall, could sit on it with his feet planted on the ground, much like his strider. The next step was him having to practice getting started on his own with out having me pushing him. This only took a few days and he's been riding a pedal bike now since he was 3yrs 7 months. Soon it looks like I maybe upgrading him to a micro mini bmx bike and then selling the hot rock for about a hundred.

    I know 200 seems like a lot of money to spend for a kids bike that he will likely grow out of within 2 yrs of owning it. Even the strider at a 100 bucks seems like a bit much. But every thing else out their that I found was either too large and too heavy for him to have any confidence in riding. Once he grows out of them I can recuperate some the cost when I sell them.

    When I was looking at bikes even many of the more expensive ones by Trek, he actually fit on them well in terms of being able to peddle. But they where still too tall for him to be able to touch the ground, which is what he needed to feel safe on the bike. Also most of what we found other than the strider bikes are very heavy for a three year old. There where bikes he could ride with training wheels but he couldn't reach the ground and catch himself with.

  7. #7
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    Bikes for toddlers

    Started my son on a Strider - actually looked at other balance bikes and I wasn't a fan of the EVA Polymer tires to start with, but as someone else mentioned they are actually a positive because of the weight mainly. Those tires have handled several trail rides as well as the BMX track.

    Now, at 3 1/2, he was given a small 12" Scott bike, and the first day I put him on it I walked with him for a bit, but within 20 minutes he was riding it on his own and even starting himself off. The nice thing too about a balance bike is that you can use it on terrain that you can't take training wheels on - trails, BMX tracks, skate parks.

  8. #8
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    I gladly paid the $180 for a 12" Specialized balance bike, because it was A LOT lighter than the Specialized Hotrock 12". This is very important for a 2 year old. More-so than an adult, I feel. We flipped it for close to what we paid for it once he turned 3 and went to a pedal bike.
    Transition Bandit 29
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  9. #9
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    I like the concept of the balance bikes; totally makes sense to me. I dunno if I like them $200 worth, but half that seems pretty reasonable. I've seen some kids have a lot of fun with them.

    Personally, my son started pedalling on a 12" POS, possibly from the dump, with rickety training wheels when he was 3 or so. I came home from work one day before he was 4 and he was riding around the driveway with out them, said he showed Mom how to take them off and he was all set with them. By 6 he had moved up to racing intermediate BMX and was dropping into and doing flyouts from 6' deep bowls. Training wheels might not be great, but whether your kid uses them or not really isn't likely to make any difference at all a couple years down the road.

    What's probably most important at a really young age IMO is to play into whatever enthuses your kid when it comes to things that go. Big wheels, scooters, electric ride-on toys, pulling them in a trailer...whatever puts a breeze and a smile on their face, do that. Biking will come naturally from there, with a little help from you of course.

  10. #10
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    Has anyone on this thread considered the FirstBIKE?

    It has all of the feature mentioned above - its very light-weight, has a hand brake and some other features not even mentioned (a steering limited, sealed bearings, quality rubber grips and saddle that won't slip).

    I know I'm a little biased (I am a retailer for them), but I have the option of selling more bikes (and making more money), but I really only do it for the love out kids gear and I feel this really is the best one available at a reasonable price ($169 including shipping in Canada).

    I don't want to go on about it too much - there is LOTS of information online about it, so reviews can speak for themselves! The nice thing about getting a decent Balance bike (the FirstBike or another one) is that they can be re-sold at a decent price.

    Just do your research first, some of them will last a long time and others (wood) don't do so well in the rain! I've also heard complaints of the grips on the strider bike coming off and hurting the child when the bike Jack-knifes, but I haven't seen that happens myself.
    FirstBike Balance bikes in Canada http://www.scampergear.com

  11. #11
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    My youngest son has done singletrack on a balance bike with no brakes and managed fine. They seem to be able to modulate their speed really quite well. Also it was cool watching him coming into corners braking more with one foot than the other to help him turn

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by nmum View Post
    I looked into this recently and there are a lot of good options for around $100 brand new.

    Here is the site that I found for okay reviews:
    Reviews of Balance Bikes, Running Bikes, Walking Bikes & More | Two Wheeling Tots

    This isn't a professional site and I'm not sure how biased some of the reviews are. I mainly use it for it's specs on bikes. ie height, weight, etc. It does list coupon codes for some of the sites.

    Due to my kid's height and price range I was looking at, and other criteria I had, I narrowed it down to the following two bikes:

    Amazon.com: Glide Bikes EZee Glider Kid's Balance Bike (Orange, 12-Inch): Sports & Outdoors

    Performance Balance Kids Bike -

    If I was willing to spend a bit more, I would've seriously considered this one, mainly because I liked the styling:

    TykesBykes 2013, 12" Balance Bike Review

    Some of the reasons why I was leaning towards the first two bikes above is because I needed a bike with a lower seat height. If I could have done it all over again, I would have just bought the bike at Performance first. The customer service of Glide Bikes seem pretty top notch, so my preference for the Performance bikes is not a negative reflection off of Glide Bikes at all, and is more due to the convenience of buying it locally.

    With your toddler being 2.5 years old, I think you might have more options to pick from. One of the things to do is to measure your toddler's inseam, then look at the chart in the website above to get a general idea on what size bike you should get. I wanted to get something smaller so my kid can start riding on it right away. But some people get a little bit bigger and let their kids grow into it.

    Keep an eye out on Craigslist for used balance bikes. They don't seem to be used for long, and you can probably pick one up in good condition for a decent price. Check out both the baby/kids section and the bikes section.

    If you're okay with foam/plastic/EVA tires, I've been seeing ads for Striders in our area for less than $30. If I didn't already pick a bike up, I would've seriously considered a Strider for this price even if it doesn't come with the air tires, which was one of my criteria.

    Here's a link on how to remove the cranks off of a bike if you're interested in going that route:
    Convert child's bike to balance bike for older learner (i.e. strider bike) - YouTube

    From what I read, it sounds like a lot of kids master balance bikes relatively quickly. But it sounds like they're able to keep riding them afterwards. So my hope is to start out on a balance bike and maybe just skip to a 16" bike when the time comes. Or if not that, maybe pick up a cheapie 12" to use as an inbetween bike.

    YOu have to realize, that the foam tires make strider bikes so light.

    Honestly being lightweight should be a major criteria.

    My son is 4 now and has been on the Strider for 3 years. He takes it off 1 foot drops, leaves it in the rain, rides on BMX and Pump tracks and the foam tires have always done great

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbrox View Post
    YOu have to realize, that the foam tires make strider bikes so light.

    Honestly being lightweight should be a major criteria.

    My son is 4 now and has been on the Strider for 3 years. He takes it off 1 foot drops, leaves it in the rain, rides on BMX and Pump tracks and the foam tires have always done great
    Yeah that kind of crossed my mind.

    I had some concern about the weight of the Ezee Mini Glider because it felt heavier than I expected it to. In the website above it's listed as 10 lbs. So I was a little bit worried it would be too heavy for my kid to manage.

    But about a week or two ago I had him riding on it up and down our hallway because of the bad weather outside. Each time he got to the end of the hall I'd pick it up and turn it around so he could go the other way. And he surprised me when he got to the end of the hallway and ended picking it up off the ground and turned around and started running with the wheels off the ground in his hands.

    So I'm not that concerned about the weight of the bike anymore.

    But I think it all depends on how old and big your kid is.

    Also just wanted to clarify that I'm not endorsing the Ezee Mini Glider in anyway.
    We haven't gotten to use it much due to the weather so have no real experience with it yet. So have no real opinion about it.

    The only main thing is that if I could have done it over again, I would have waited for a deal on a used one to come up. It seemed like a bunch of deals popped up after I bought the bike.

    And even now, there are sellers who are still selling their used balance bike back when I was shopping for one about a month ago and have lowered their prices to around what I was originally asking for.

    So I don't have any negative experiences with the Ezee Mini Glider, but am not sure if there is much of a difference with the used balance bikes for sale in our area.

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    I really think that people's aversion to the foam tires on the Strider (and our beloved Burly MyKick, for that matter) are VERY overblown. After watching my 2yo move from the Strider to the MyKick (which is heavier, but more stable than the strider), it was very obvious that weight was a huge factor in how well she was able to control the bike. Given that the typical terrain of these things is sidewalks, driveways, and lawns, and that the riders are so light they are barely compressing the foam, I actually think that the foam tires are an EXCELLENT selection for a balance bike.

    By the time they are getting big/heavy enough to need the more tunable pneumatic tires, they're likely going to be ready to move off the balance bike anyways. I think you'd be very hard-pressed to go wrong with the Strider, even if you never buy the pneumatic wheelset they make (and I'd suggest that you skip it). Your kids would have to be doing some very mountain-bike type stuff on those foam tires to kill them; if they are, perhaps it's time to move them up to a new bike??

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    We bought the Giant Pre for our son when he turned 2, we've done a boatload of riding on it and it's held up well. Cost us about $120 locally (canada)

    Pre Push Bike (Black) (2012) - Bikes | Giant Bicycles | Australia
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    Ok, first off I support the balance bike 100%
    next, I do not support 200$ for one.
    you pay by feature, mostly
    100$ starting price.
    20$ for a name brand
    50$ for pneumatic tires
    20$ for breaks.

    I got a kinderbike. and I will tell you, weight was fine, size was great real tires... seemed ok (nice to adjust pressure, to slow a child dow, or speed them up.

    but the breaks were USELESS.

    Some of the new balance bikes come with a hub style break. I would try that if I had to try again.

    On the other hand, the spawn cylces balance bike (worth a small fortune, has awesome breaks. as well I would strongly recommend a balance bike with either pegs, or a place for feet.

    the 3 I was most impressed by are
    Spawn Cycles Tengu | Spawn Cycles - Born to Ride (although really expensive
    Ezee Glider balance bike for toddlers
    and TykesBykes 2013, 12" Balance Bike Review looks good in feature, but no exposure to it.

    With fewer features, but realy nice bikes the gian prebake and specialised hotwalk, both look amazing, and feel solid. but are quite lacking in features that may not be needed anyway.

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    i think everyone is overlooking the importance of weight.

    How durable does it need to be? My kid only weighs 40 lbs and does drops off of park benches with the strider.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbrox View Post
    i think everyone is overlooking the importance of weight.

    How durable does it need to be? My kid only weighs 40 lbs and does drops off of park benches with the strider.
    as sexy as the bixbi bike is, it still weighs more than a strider.

    Bixbi Balance Bike Review

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    Quote Originally Posted by mjbrox View Post
    as sexy as the bixbi bike is, it still weighs more than a strider.

    Bixbi Balance Bike Review
    Ooh lovely! Weighs about the same as the LikeaBike Jumper, so still very light.

    My must-haves for a balance bike are:

    -lightweight
    -footrests
    -low standover
    -geometry that works

    Re tyres - my son did a lot on his foam tyres until he turned them into slicks...
    Re brakes - I bought a brake as an extra for the LikeaBike Jumper. Son got annoyed that he couldn't spin the bars so I took it off for a bit and haven't bothered putting it back on. He stops fine with his feet and without a brake can still do things like Name:  SAM_2078.jpg
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    I had thought it was a good idea to get him used to the brake with the balance bike as his 12" has a coaster brake, but he seems to be picking it up fine on his 16"

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