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  1. #1
    Trail Cubist
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    Teaching kids to ride: Strider? Or training wheels?

    We want to get a bike for our 2-1/2 year-old daughter. The Striders (push bikes with no pedals and no training wheels) seem like all the rage these days...but I can't decide between one of these (which *might* teach balance faster)...or a traditional little bike with pedals and training wheels.

    The traditional bike could easily be set up like a Strider---just take off the training wheels and pedals and there you go...then you'd have the flexibility to add pedals once they learn balance and you've still got some good usage left in the bike.

    In bike store testing with our daughter, she seemed to like the Strider better---mainly because it's much lighter (like literally half the weight) of the Specialized kids bike (so she could pick it up and hoss it around more easily).

    What have other people with kids done?

    This ($100)...


    versus this ($200)...




    Thanks,
    Scott
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. óJim311

  2. #2
    Yes, that's fonetic
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    My son was pre-stryder by a few years, but today that's the route I'd opt for. The weight difference is huge for kids that small. If you do go for the conversion method, take off the cranks too so she won't bang her ankles on them.

  3. #3
    Nouveau Retrogrouch SuperModerator
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    Teaching kids to ride: Strider? Or training wheels?

    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    We want to get a bike for our 2-1/2 year-old daughter. The Striders (push bikes with no pedals and no training wheels) seem like all the rage these days...but I can't decide between one of these (which *might* teach balance faster)...or a traditional little bike with pedals and training wheels.

    The traditional bike could easily be set up like a Strider---just take off the training wheels and pedals and there you go...then you'd have the flexibility to add pedals once they learn balance and you've still got some good usage left in the bike.

    In bike store testing with our daughter, she seemed to like the Strider better---mainly because it's much lighter (like literally half the weight) of the Specialized kids bike (so she could pick it up and hoss it around more easily).

    What have other people with kids done?

    This ($100)...


    versus this ($200)...




    Thanks,
    Scott
    Training wheels do not teach the balance needed to ride a bike.
    mtbtires.com
    The trouble with common sense is it is no longer common

  4. #4
    Trail Cubist
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    I didn't even realize there is a "Families and Riding With Kids" forum here (doh!). My bad. I guess I'll leave this here.

    Yeah, the weight difference seems big---the Striders are super-light. And we do have a 7-month-old boy too...so (if it lasted that long) he could use the Strider too.

    I guess the cheapskate in me wants to buy the bike that will last longer (e.g. could go from a push-bike to a pedal-bike). But obviously I also want the best possible experience for my kids (so they aren't turned off to biking).

    Interestingly, I learned to ride (way the hell back in the 1960's) using the "push-bike" approach. I had a real bike (with pedals) and no training wheels...and I just pushed and kicked it down the sidewalk, gradually coasting farther and farther, 'til one day I just picked up my feet and started pedaling. But I was 6 at the time (not 2)...so that probably makes a big difference.
    29er wheels are dangerous. They may cause you to go faster which can result in serious bodily injury. óJim311

  5. #5
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    Strider, or a small enough bike they can reach the ground with pedals removed.
    Round and round we go

  6. #6
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    I bought my 3yr old niece a balance bike just before the springtime. she's been getting out on it a little so far on nicer days. she totally wants to go faster on it, but clearly doesn't have the balance yet to be able to. I have heard that some kids take awhile to pick it up. I think she's showing that she wants to, so here's hoping that by the end of the summer, she can do a little coasting with it. I'm fully expecting her to spent 2 years on the balance bike concept before being ready to move up to a bike with pedals

  7. #7
    Ride More, Whine Less
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    My four kids learned on small bikes with training wheels. If I had it to do again, I would have gone with a strider since the pedal motion seems to irritate them as they are learning everything else.

  8. #8
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    with one kid I would say bike with training wheels. Since you will be able to use it on kid 2 go with the strider.

  9. #9
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    No question, get a balance bike first! But don't spend alot of money on it, they won't be on it very long. For my first, a boy, we just got a regular bike with training wheels. For my second, a girl 2 years younger, we bought a cheapo balance bike from walmart. She was riding a bike without training wheels before her older brother.

    I also pushed my neighbors into getting their son a balance bike. He took to it realyl quickly, within two weeks he was crusing down their driveway feet off the ground yelling wheeeee!

  10. #10
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    I rode on training wheels, and my kids rode on them too and somehow we all learned to ride a bike anyway. I wouldn't do it that way again and I also agree the Strider or crankless route is superior. Training wheels are bad because not only do they not teach the necessary balance but they actually teach you to balance and turn completely wrong!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by SWriverstone View Post
    versus this ($200)...

    This. Remove the training wheels and remove the pedals and you have a "strider bike."

    Once the grom is comfortable balancing install the pedals and you have a kid riding a bike...

  12. #12
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    It is not that simple just removing the pedals and cranks. the strider has much smaller wheels and a better fit for the 2.5 year old.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learux View Post
    It is not that simple just removing the pedals and cranks. the strider has much smaller wheels and a better fit for the 2.5 year old.
    It might not be ideal but it worked for me twice. I just removed the pedals and within a few hours each time I had two 5yo who were unable to get it with training wheels get it.
    In Europe which has much more of a bike culture you never see training wheels, only striders or bikes without pedals.
    Round and round we go

  14. #14
    beater
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    The last time I looked at Amazon, you could get a Strider shipped for maybe $65. I was planning on buying one for my nephew's 2nd birthday in June, but it turns out they got a hand-me-down from a neighbor already.
    "Back off, man. I'm a scientist." - Dr. Peter Venkman

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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by theMeat View Post
    It might not be ideal but it worked for me twice. I just removed the pedals and within a few hours each time I had two 5yo who were unable to get it with training wheels get it.
    Sounds good except the difference in seize between a 5 and a 2,5 year old is.........

  16. #16
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    Strider for sure. Got it when our boy was 2 and he's still loving it at almost 5. He can ride a pedal bike, but the strider is still more fun on rough gravel roads, bike parks, around campsites etc. He zooms around the garage in the winter on it.

    We even used it for airports instead of a stroller.

    Last winter we got the ski kit for it, and those were fun too.

    Some of the best money ever spent.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Teaching kids to ride: Strider? Or training wheels?-skibike.jpg  


  17. #17
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    I put my kids on training wheels on the advice of a local lbs. Her philosophy was that the balance aspect is easy to learn, what the kids need to learn in order to move on to a two wheeler was the skill to stop. Her advice was to take the training wheels off as soon as they learned to skid. Both my kids pedaled away the first time the the training wheels came off (my boy wasn't three yet).

  18. #18
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    For my son and using a regular bike, we took off the pedals and lowered the seat so he could touch the ground seated. Then, we went to a large flat area inside the fence at a local school. He sat on the seat and moved forward using his feet for balance while getting the hang of steering. In a very short amount of time, he was pushing along and gliding well. Once he had the hang of that, I put the pedals back on and off he went. Seems to be the same concept as the Strider, but the child will graduate from the strider within a couple sessions on it and be ready for a regular bike. I'm pretty sure my son was older than 2.5 when we did this though. Can't remember exactly how old he was, but 4 sounds about right.

  19. #19
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    Balance bike first.
    1. Light enough for the child to handle.
    2. Teaches balance.
    3. No pedals to bash legs.
    4. Able to lift feet up safely
    5. Stabilisers force the bike to lean the wrong way in corners.
    6. You can add a rear brake when the time comes.
    7. You can get 12" walker/stryders which you can add pedals too.

    My little one is 4 and has a custom Hot rock 16" & she still has as much fun with her 12" Hotwalk.
    She's never ridden with stabalisers and was balancing at 2.5yrs
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  20. #20
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    ABSOLUTELY the strider type bikes, as said numerous times, training wheels DO NOT teach balance, they let kids learn bad habits like turning the front wheel 90 degrees to make sharp turns and then when you take the training wheels off and they pull that move they fall, sometimes hard. Since I learned about strider bikes a few years ago it's a no brainer for me if ask I recommend them. We didn't have them when I was a kid, but I basically learned the same way, my bro put me on the bike and ran next to me while I pedaled, the he let go and said keep pedaling or fall - I fell a few times, but I learned fast
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  21. #21
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    Strider!
    Although you'll only need it for about 3 months, if that. So removing the drivetrain from a pedal bike is a good idea.

    The only thing that we had to reinforce when we got to the pedal bike was to keep that inside pedal up.

    The strider bike (we had the Skuut - it's wood) turned very quickly due to short wheelbase and 12" wheels. The bigger bike wouldn't turn as fast and she crashed a couple times attempting to do so, but it didn't take long to figure out.

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  22. #22
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    My son was pre-balance bike, so he had training wheels. We gradually raised the training wheels higher and higher to let him lean more. I took the training wheels off multiple times, but he could never balance the bike without them until one day he just "got it". At the same time, he was developing enough strength and endurance to ride distances that I think would have been beyond him with just a balance bike. Training wheels let him ride without getting frustrated about not balancing. In fact, he could never balance his 12" wheeled bike -- it took his 16" wheeled bike before he could balance.

    But the con - he high-sided twice when he cornered too fast and leaned too far. Both times I literally caught him mid-air preventing any major injury. This is the downside to his riding ability - his strength and speed exceeded his balance.

    In hindsight, I'm not sure if I would do it different. I really like the idea of taking off the pedals to "make" a balance bike, but I would always want to have training wheels as an option. A half decent set of training wheels takes just a few minutes to install/remove, so I would always like the option.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Learux View Post
    It is not that simple just removing the pedals and cranks. the strider has much smaller wheels and a better fit for the 2.5 year old.
    Sure it is. It worked for both of my tots, years before strider-type bikes were even available.

  24. #24
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    I think the issue is the photo shown is a 16" wheel bike, not a 12".
    Specialised do a 12" Hotrock with pedals as well as the Hot Walk without them.
    At 2.5yrs Id go with the 12" irrespective of which model as there is a big difference in overall weight.
    The crank is fairly easy to remove, but be aware without it you will have no breaks, that said the coasters are a pain and U breaks arent easy for small hands.
    MTB:
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    13 Pinarello Dogma 65.1

  25. #25
    Tough Guy Extraordinaire
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    My son learned on a spec Hot Walk. He learned to scoot on this about the same time he learned to walk. By the age of 2 he was on fire on the kick bike. When he was about 3 to 3.5 he moved up to his older sisters hot rock.

    He is almost 7 now. Never had training wheels and loves to ride. He can ride almost anything with 2 wheels. Most importantly, he developed good riding habits. He uses his body weight and position to move the bike around. When you see him in the trails, he works his body posistion like someone who has been riding in the woods for 20 years. He also stands a lot when he rides. When he does this, he is especially light on the pedals.

    I would highly recommend this route. My only regret is I didn't do this for my daughter who is a bit older!

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