It’s an unusual sight, a bike with no pedals. But they are the perfect introduction to cycling for toddlers and there are many benefits of balance bikes.
Originating in Germany in the early 19th century, balance bikes are designed to teach children how to cycle without having to use stabilisers. Instead of pedalling like you would on a regular bike, riders propel themselves by running along the ground.
So why choose a balance bike?
Children who learn to ride bikes with stabilisers learn to pedal but not how to balance – the extra wheels do all the hard work for them.
Not only this but we all know how independent children crave to be and stabilisers scream ‘I need help’. They can be clunky, they are hard to manoeuvre and they add weight to already quite heavy bike frames making them difficult for children to handle. When the time comes to take them off, they have to start from scratch to build up the stability they need.
On a balance bike, children are focused on that core poise rather than pedalling, they are more prepared for a sudden loss of balance and are less likely to fall as a result. Once they’ve mastered balancing they can completely skip the stabilisers stage. No running alongside them, no holding their seat, no painful tumbles…. It really is that easy!
Don’t just take it from us!
British cycling legend Chris Hoy says, ‘I’ve always been a big believer in the fact that stabilisers aren’t good for kids because they don’t learn how to balance. A balance bike teaches that important part of learning how to ride. Kids feel safe too because all they have to do is put their feet down if they start to wobble.’
Another to cyclist, Olympic gold medallist Craig MacLean, gives an emphatic answer when ask what parents should choose for a first bike. ‘I’d say a balance bike without a doubt, you can learn to pedal at any age, that’s the easy bit, but the earlier they can develop their balance the better.’
Are there any other benefits?
Parents naturally consider the cost involved in teaching their children to cycle, and we’re confident that buying a balance bike replaces the need to buy a tricycle and a 12” pedal bike. By the time they have it mastered, they can graduate straight onto a 16” or 20” pedal bike.
OK, you’ve twisted my arm, which balance bike should I get?
That all depends on your child. As soon as they can walk on their own they are old enough to start riding. Most balance bikes out there can be adjusted to cater or up to 5 years old.
Balance bikes are normally made of wood or metal, both have their benefits. Wooden bikes have a larger surface area for fun designs, but metal are more adjustable and are generally lighter depending on the metal used. As a general rule you don’t want your child’s bike to weigh any more than 25-30% of their own body weight. For example if your child weighs 15kg then they maximum weight for a bike is 4kg. You want your child to be able to control and move the bike on their own.
Why choose Kiddimoto?
Kiddimoto is the UK’s original balance bike company, we’ve conquered Dragons Den and have the royal seal of approval! Our customers are the most important thing to us, without them we simply would not be here. We listen to all feedback and adapt to bring our customers exactly what they want.