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  1. #1
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    First bike for 2 year old

    My daughter is turning 2 in November and I am thinking about getting her a balance bike for her birthday. She is a little on the short side (46% I think last time she was at the doctor), but pretty agile for her age. She loves it when I hold her up on the seat of my mountain bike and push her around the driveway. A couple months ago she even pointed at my bike and said "my bike".

    Is this a good age for a balance bike? Which one would you go with? Money isn't really an issue because I can justify it that I am getting her a bike for the same money that I have spent on one set of handlebars for me.

    Is there on that is more favorable for a short rider than another? I have been thinking of either the Haro or the Specialized. I am planning on having it inside only over the winter so tires that won't tear up the wood floor is key.

  2. #2
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    Balance bikes are awesome! I just had first hand experience with my daughter (just turned 3) and converting her from balance to pedals. I highly recommend them. It literally took her 5 minutes and 3 passes of ping ponging her shoulders to start riding a pedal bike. By the 3rd day she was starting by herself. As opposed to my son who I started on training wheels, it was much more difficult and much longer to get him to balance and pedal on his own.

    I ended up buying her the Specialized though I still had to modify the seat and post to make even lower which you may have to do if your kid has a short inseam or just straight young. I not only cut the post but I also drilled out the rivet and removed about another 3/8" of plastic seat material to lower the seat and repinned. The other alternative is buying a Skuut which, I believe, has a lower seat height.

  3. #3
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    I have a strider, its all you really need. Don't really need to go all out on a balance bike. Strider I believe has the lowest seat height also. My daughter was riding in a day and now her 18 mounth old sister is even able to sit and touch the ground
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  4. #4
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    Absolutely go the balance bike route! My 3year-old (now 4) went from BB to pedal bike in about 2 weeks. The 1.5yo (now 2) is just starting to pick up her feet about 3 months later. I have two BBs, a Strider and a Burly MyKick. Both have their plusses and minuses. The strider is smaller, lighter, and the seat goes much lower. With 25% height girls, that was critical for the youngest when we got it. The Burley is cheaper, heavier, and more stable. The youngest spends time on both the Strider and MyKick, and the oldest still ditches her pedal bike for the MyKick every once in a while. I don't think you could go wrong with either one... just depends on your kids and needs. If they're big enough I would probably suggest the MyKick, but either should serve you well.

    When you're ready for a small pedal bike, might I suggest the Spawn Cycles Gremlin? It's a 14" bike, with freewheel and kid-sized hand brakes and the seat goes lower than any 12" bike I could find. You should be able to find my thread on here if you're interested... it's a REALLY nice bike. But definitely don't go there until they're doing well on the BB.

  5. #5
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    I did consider the Strider at first, but I went with the Specialized Hotwalk. The seat is very low but I had to cut a tiny bit off the bottom of the seat post, no big deal. My son is 4 now and tall and he still shreds on it even though he went on to a Specialized Hotrock 12 and now a Spawn Banshee.

    This sounds dumb, but a large reason I went with the Hotwalk was the geometry. It seemed to have a slacker head angle, which translates into less twitchiness. And it had wider handlebars. Plus it also had rubber tires on proper wheels (at the time, the Strider had foam tires). Plus, and this is a huge plus, it had a good place for my kid to rest his feet while coasting.

    It seems like Strider has addressed some of these issues with add-on accessories. But it also seems, looking at their website, like they are more interested in branding their bikes with special editions that have motorcycle company stickers on them.

    Anyways, you honestly can't go wrong with most of them- my friend got some wooden one for his kid that is fine enough. But again, many of them are of limited use, where my son still loves to play with his in the house.

    Another side benefit: when we go on walks with the 10 month old in the stroller, I've found that frequently, my son on his bike is too fast, so he's either constantly stopping, or getting too far ahead, etc. Now, we recently learned that the balance bike is perfect- he just cruises on it, he can do little tricks on the way, he can practice his slow speed balance (he stands up on the foot platforms now, which is sketchy lol), and it easily gives him 5 times the range on a walk compared to if he was walking. Granted, this will be the last year he can get away with using it as it is starting to get sorta small for him, but that is 3 years of use, plus when my daughter uses it- so it seems to have been a great investment.
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  6. #6
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    with my daughter I used a 12" pedal bike and tore the crank set and chain off for her to stride on at first I had to cut the seat post to go all the way down and tilt the bars back to her a bit. It works great and there is no hesitation to try pedaling when you put them back on because it is not a new (scary) bike to them. My kiddo was still 3 when she ditched the training wheels now she is 6 and rides trails with me all the time. She just got done with mountain bike camp last week and got some more confidence on her mountain bike.

  7. #7
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    First bike for 2 year old

    We got our son a specialized when he turned 2. Here we are six months later and he whats to "go ride the dirt and find some rocks!" The reason I went with the hotwalk was the geometry seemed comfortable, the seat is cushioned, the foot rest, a real headset, wide bars, and the tires. When he was just starting out I set it up with minimal air, maybe 5-10 psi. That kept him comfortable. We are now at about 20 psi and that gives him speed to where he is faster than us on a walk. Best bike investment for a kid second only to a helmet.

  8. #8
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    Cool, I like all the positive reviews on the hotwalk. Anyone tried the Haro BB?

    You guys that have girls did you go with the pink one? I am tired of everything being pink for girls and when/if we have a second child and it is a boy I don't want him to be stuck with a pink bike. I think I am thinking about the red one. Are there any other colors?

    Last night while we were driving she saw a bike on a bike path sign that wasn't even the easiest for me to see and she was said "Bike!". I think she is going to be stoked.

  9. #9
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    First bike for 2 year old

    When we were checking out bikes we narrowed it down to the Haro and the hotwalk. The Haro seemed like a nice bike, lots of color choices and well made. The Z10 has 10" foam wheels, and a pretty comfy looking seat. The two things that the hotwalk has are 12" neumatic tires and foot rest. My son is in the 98% height amd weight so we needed the bigger size. The foot rest aren't really a deal brake but if you plan on taking it off road its nice to be able to learn to get off the seat over the rough stuff. Thread patter is more sidewalk oriented than the rythem comps that come with the hotwalk. Its a great bike though, good option for a smaller child.

  10. #10
    burnedthetoast
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    We actually really like the Performance house-brand balance bike - Performance Balance Kid's Bike - Kid's Bikes (note - the bike comes with no stickers but several sets you/your kid can apply if desired). Lots cheaper than others (usually $60-80), has "real" components etc. and has lasted well. My petite 2-yr-old daughter can only just barely touch on it though - might have to mod a bit if you're looking to put a really tiny kid on it.
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  11. #11
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    I emailed my LBS and he said that they stock the Strider bikes for $109 and have a buyback program for $75 of in store credit. The Hotwalk they do not keep in stock and would be the full retail amount and do not do the buyback. Hmmmmm.

    So essentially the Strider is $34 and the Hotwalk would be $175-$75 = $100 (assuming I can sell it for $75 when done). I think I am having a hard time justifying buying the Hotwalk. Is it $66 nicer than the Strider?

  12. #12
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    You can easily sell your Hotwalk for $75.

    For some reason, "Strider" is a near-household name, as far as balance bikes go, so maybe that's why they buy them back. Check to see what the buyback conditions are though.

    But, it's a balance bike- if you have no intention of using it for more than a year or so, just get the Strider.
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  13. #13
    burnedthetoast
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    Is there a reason you can't get your hands on a used balance bike? They're popular enough now that I think there's a decent market in many areas.
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  14. #14
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    not too young. My son was a freak and started on a strider at 16 months and was pedaling on his 2nd birthday.

    Striders have a really low standover and are light -but you really cannot go wrong with any balance bike as long as when she is sitting in the saddle her feet rest on the ground comfortably.

    I will suggest you pick up a set of Bell toddlers pads (my boy calls them armor)...around $12 and worth their weight in gold. It's no biggee if your kidlet scrapes their knee once, you can talk them back in the saddle. But if they scrape that same knee 10 minutes later - forget about them wanting to be on that bike for a long time (IME)

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  15. #15
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    First bike for 2 year old

    Wow, 175 seems steep for the Hotwalk. I got mine for $140 brand new from the specialized dealer in town. Check Arts Cyclery online. Use the code SAVE15 and you might even score free ground shipping. In terms of resale, are you done having kids? The specialize will hopefully see several years of use as it gets handed down o the next crop. Resale is great from what I can see. The strider is a great bike too, you really cant go wrong. Amazon has them for sale too.

    Dont discount the performance bile either, it looks a lot like the one Diamondback used to sell. Read up on this to get some other choices:

    http://www.twowheelingtots.com/balance-bike-guide/

    This one has a good chart on it:
    http://www.twowheelingtots.com/the-b...r-your-dollar/

    Other option might be a scuttlebug?
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B005F57148

    Or is it to babyish?

  16. #16
    scn
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    I have seen almost all of the balance bikes mentioned here used by kids I know. A couple thoughts I can share may help a little.

    The Strider and the Haro both have really low stand over, the Haro being a little lower, because of smaller wheels. They both also have the foam wheels, which in my experience are light, but lack traction on smooth surfaces like concrete in a garage or on a wood floor. Now this only makes a difference when they learn to corner well, but my son took a few instant spills when coming in from the driveway and trying to do a quick U-turn in the garage. We eventually got the wheels with rubber tires on the Strider but it was another $50 and short lived as he ended up pedaling a 12-inch Hot Rock at about 2 1/2. The Haro has wider bars, better grips, (our neighbor has one) and a nicer headset, but it got small pretty quick. Not sure if the upgrade wheels would fit on that one or not.

    The Hot Walk with rubber tires is what the same neighbor rides now. It is much smoother rolling but has a higher stand over and is a bit heavier. Really nice though and a transition to a Hot Rock would be really easy. One very nice feature of the foam wheeled balance bikes is that a small kid can pick it up very easily and turn around or move it up and over obstacles simply because of the light weight. The Biggest drawback for me was the traction, although in the dirt or on the street it had plenty. Just smooth surfaces including skate parks were slick! Crashes without warning are a little harder to explain.

    Our other friends tried the Skuut first with their daughter and it is limited in steering because of the construction and also had a pretty high stand over, and was heavier. They ended up ditching it and getting a Strider. I think the bikes with the foot pad (almost like a scooter) in the middle have too long of a wheel base and based on one my son rode through a store, it was also twice as heavy as a Strider.

    I am not sure of the wheel size on the performance bike, but it looks like the combination of size and features and cost is great. I think I would check that one out if I was to do it all again. Another alternative would be a 12-inch Hot Rock without the cranks, bottom bracket, coaster brake bracket, and chain, but it would still be heavier because of the rear hub and the handle bars. The seat post would likely need to be cut as well. I cut 3 inches off my sons so he could touch the ground when he got his. He's moved to a 16-inch bike now, so I never needed to replace the seat post with a longer one.

    Sorry to ramble on, but hopefully this provides a little more insight.

  17. #17
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    lol is one of you Bobby123? I found it strange that I posted this review a while back, and then today I get a comment, after reading this thread.

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  18. #18
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    Thank you everyone for your help. Especially scn as that is a very thorough review and pretty much answered my question exactly. Which one would you get again if you were to do it over again with a fairly average height 2 year old?

    The things that I think that are important (I really have no idea because I know nothing about balance bikes) rubber tires, foot rests, and low standover height. I can't really say what my daughter would want in a bike other than it be laterally stiff and vertically compliant and feature lots of crabon.

    Right now I am going the route of a used hotwalk. If it is too big/heavy at first she will just have to grow into it, but I think she will be fine.

  19. #19
    scn
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    Glad to be able to help, I have received great help on this forum. I don't think you can go wrong with the Hot Walk. Used or new it will be worth it, and you'll be able to sell it later if you want to.

  20. #20
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    Aw 2 years old huh? There are a lot of options out there. One of my favorites is the Little Tike Cozy Coupe 2. It's safe and sturdy and since it has an age range from 1 1/2 - 5 she'll be able to ride it for a number of years. --> Best Bikes for Girls 2014 ? Toddlers to Under 12

  21. #21
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    One thing I might add... at 2 years old, how long do you expect to use the balance bike? At least a year, I assume...? If so, I would seriously look at some of the pricier ones that include a hand-brake. Both of my girls had trouble stopping on their balance bikes with just their feet on the ground. Plus, once they graduated to a proper bike, they had to re-train their stopping reflexes to use the hand brakes instead of their feet.

    It's not a huge deal either way, but something to think about. An extra $40-50 for brakes might be worth it... or not, depending.

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