10 of the best balance bikes

Which are the best balance bikes for getting your toddler ready to tackle a pedal bike? Our selection includes the winners of our 2019 Toy Awards

MadeForMums reviews are independent and based on expertise and testing. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our product choices.
Toy Awards balance bikes

The idea behind a balance bike is that, instead of trying to learn to pedal, balance and brake all in one go, your child can learn how to balance like a pro first – so they already have that (tricky) bit mastered well before they’re ready to move on to a pedal bike.

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Children learn to balance by simply sitting on the bike and pushing themselves along with their feet. Soon, they start to whizz along with both feet off the ground, learning how to steer and balance as their confidence grows.

Here is our pick of the best balance bikes – as tested by kids…

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1. Micro 2in1 Balance Bike, £109.95 – best for versatility

Age: 2-5 years
Bike weight: 2.45kg
Awards: MadeforMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Balance Bike – Gold

What it is: An ultra-lightweight balance bike with front suspension, the option of an extra stability wheel, a front mud guard and an adjustable seat and handlebar. The max weight it can carry is 20kg.

Why we love it: Lightweight balance bikes are so much easier for kids to get the hang of than heavier ones, and this one is the second lightest of our list! Our testers absolutely loved it, too.

Angela, MFM tester and mum to Lucas, 2, and Amber, 4, says, “My son was in love as soon as he saw it. He was straight on it – using his feet to move him along, quite fast actually, but he always managed to keep his balance. He has been on it every single day and it will make our walks up to school for his sister a lot more fun.” 

Lindsay, MFM tester and mum to Aaliyah, age 3, appreciates how adaptable the bike is too. She says, “It has training wheels which can be changed to a big wheel when my daughter is ready. I love that you’re able to buy an add-on trailer, too, which would be brilliant for carrying her water bottle and snack. The bike is extremely lightweight and everything is easy to adjust. My little girl said, ‘Wow, it’s the best bike ever, I can go fast!’.”

Available from: Micro

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2. My Buddy Wheels Dinosaur Balance Bike, £70 – best for kid appeal

Age: 2+
Bike weight: 4kg
Awards: MadeforMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Balance Bike – Silver

What it is: This balance bike has a removable, machine-washable dinosaur over its seat. You can also buy this bike with a unicorn or a horse. It has a max rider weight of 25kgs

Why we love it: It isn’t the most lightweight of the balance bikes on the list, but it does have a fun quirk – the plush dinosaur can make riding really comfortable and fun, too. It also picks up points for being very easy to assemble – handy when your little cyclist can’t wait to hop on! Our child testers loved it.

Ijeoma, MFM tester and mum to Tim, age 3, says, “The seat adjustment knob made it easy to change the seat height. I found this better than our other brand balance bike which requires tools to adjust the seat. The dinosaur was the main attraction for Tim when testing the bike – he would often stop for cuddles.”

The fact that the soft dinosaur can be detached from the bike so kids can ride without it if they want to also impressed parents. Ijeoma adds, “It is also machine washable which is essential because it will get dirty which can be expected when playing outdoors.” 

This isn’t the best option for very tall toddlers, though – but it is great for 2-to-3-year-olds. And Laura, MFM tester and mum to Matilda, age 2, says, “Matilda not only thought of this product as a bike but also referred to it as ‘my pet’.”

Available from: Halfords

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3. Kiddimoto Super Junior Max, £79.99 – best for colour choices

Age: 18 months+
Bike weight: 4.7kg

What it is: This is Kiddomoto’s highest-spec balance bike yet, with 12-inch pneumatic tyres, adjustable height, and a back-drum brake. Choose from 7 different colours/designs and a 10-year guarantee. Some assembly required.

Why we love it:  It’s sturdy, built to last and takes bumps well. Importantly, our young testers also found it easy to use. And we like the handle behind the seat for parents to grab in those early wobbly moments.

Jeanne, MFM tester and mum to Cai, 21 months, says, “Cai loves it! He knew what to do immediately with hardly any instruction, even though he had never tried a bike or balance bike before – so the fact he could manoeuvre it easily and he found it completely intuitive is a massive plus.”

And Jackie, MFM tester and mum to Lexi, 3, says, “We’d give it 10 out of 10 for play potential and value for money.”

Available from: Kiddimoto

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4. Little Big Bike, £175 – best for longevity

Age: 2-7 years
Bike weight: 5kg
Awards: MadeforMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Balance Bike – Bronze

What it is: This clever, sturdy bike converts to a balance bike into a pedal bike. When used as a balance bike, it’s lightweight and it comes in red, green, blue and pink and has two modes: a little balance bike for the youngest of toddlers and a big balance bike for those who are ready to ride. Then add the pedal attachment, and it becomes a pedal bike.

Why we love it: It should last your child for years! It has the biggest longevity of any bikes on our list, as it’s the only one that converts into a pedal bike after you’ve finished using it as a balance bike. 

Christy, MFM Consumer & Reviews Editor and mum to Audrey, 4, and Claudia, 6, says, “I’d say this is a fantastic product for younger children – if you buy it as a first balance bike then you’ll really get your money’s worth.” 

We do think the bike is too small for tall children, though, reducing its lifespan as a pedal bike. But, adds Christy, “It feels sturdy so I can imagine it lasting for more than one child.”

Read our full review of the Little Big Bike.

Available from: Little Big Bike

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5. Chicco Balance Bike, £34.99 – best for value for money

Age: 3 to 5
Bike weight: 2.7kg

What it is: An ultra-light metal balance bike with handlebars that adjust from 57 to 61cm and a seat that adjusts from 34 to 44cm. Choose from the Red Bullet or Pink Arrow design.

Why we love it: This is a really easy-to-carry, nippy little bike that’s great value for money. We also secretly love the fact the handlebars slightly remind us of our childhood Chopper. 

Our MFM child testers enjoyed riding it, too. Stanley, 3, says, “I love the colour – red is my favourite. And I can zoom around and that is fun.” And Laura, MFM tester and mum to Leila, 4, says, “We love this bike. It’s a great price! Leila’s testing it, but my 2-year-old loves it, too… It seems very sturdy and hard-wearing.”

Available from: Amazon and Uber Kids

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6. PINTO by Black Mountain Bikes, £339 – best for converting into a pedal bike

Age: 2.5+
Bike weight: 5.7kg

What it is: A super-lightweight balance bike that starts out in balance mode, then turns into a pedal bike. Featuring a ‘growing frame’ design and proportionally-scaled brakes, saddle and pedals. Comes in 4 colours. 

Why we love it: It is very pricey but it’s beautifully made – and so super-slick and pared-back, it will be the envy of the playground. It’s also durable, and suitable for rougher ground.

Julie, MFM tester and mum to Amethyst, 4, says, “Amethyst has taken the bike in balance-bike mode on a dog walk a couple of times and, by the second go, she was already getting the hang of it and lifting both feet off the ground. It’s rugged enough to be used on all sorts of terrain.” 

Sarah, MFM tester and mum to Harry, 3, says, “The super lightweight frame makes it easy to move around and the smart style and colour is brilliant – and eye-catching for little ones, like Harry. It’s clearly made to high standards and is definitely a bike I would recommend to family and friends – worth every penny.”

Available from: Black Mountain

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7. Strider 12 Pro Aluminium Super Light Balance Bike, £109.99 – best for super lightweight

Age: 18 months+
Bike weight: 2.2.kg

What it is: This balance bike claims to be the lightest in the world. It has a seat that adjusts from 27cm to 48cm. Its all-terrain tyres have special coated bearings so it can even be ridden in water or sand.

Why we love it: This bike is ULTRA lightweight, the lightest of our list. And it has a massively adjustable seat and the mini handlebar grips are ideal for tiny hands – which is what helped win it Silver in our 2017 Toy Awards. Best of all, no tools are needed for adjustments!

Check out our full review of this Strider bike

Available from: Whizz Kid Toys and SourceBMX

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8. FirstBIKE Street balance bike, £129.99 – best for functionality

Age: 2 to 5
Bike weight: 3.5kg

What it is: A lightweight balance bike with injection-moulded glass-fibre frame, inflatable tyres, height-adjustable saddle, steering limiter, SafetyStop brake. Comes in 10 different colour options.

Why we love it: It’s wonderfully light and the ‘horse saddle’ seat and gentle brake are both great. We also rate how easy it is to adjust the seat (no tools needed).

We’ve got the complete First Bike review – our tester Magda says, “I would recommend FirstBIKE as, although it’s pricey, features like the easy seat height alteration, brakes and steering limiter make it great value.”

Available from: FirstBIKE

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9. Wishbone Bike, £209 – best for wooden bikes

Age: 1 to 5
Bike weight: 3.8kg

What it is: A convertible wooden balance bike that transforms from a 3-wheeler to a 2-wheeler as your child grows.

Why we love it: Considering it’s wood, it’s pretty lightweight! The convertible design of this funky bike means the fun starts at age 1 with 3 wheels, before it transforms to a 2-wheel balance bike. You can then flip the ‘wishbone’ frame to make it even larger for 5-year-olds. It’s pricey, but it could last for years.

Available from: Amazon and Whizz Kids Toys

bobbin moonbug balance bike

10. Bobbin Moonbug Balance Bike, £100 – best for a vintage-look

Age: 2 to 4
Bike weight: 5kg

What it is: A vintage-style balance bike with a Hi-Ten steel frame and chrome-plated steel handlebars with rubber grips, 12-inch alloy wheels, vegan “leather” sprung saddle and hand-woven wicker basket. Sized for children with 33cm to 43cm inside leg. Comes in Pea Green, Blueberry or Gloss Red. Requires some assembly.

Why we love it: It’s so lovely to look at – and the basket’s a huge hit, especially as you can easily take it off (and put it back on) just by undoing the straps.

Available from: Bobbin

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What type of balance bike should you buy?

There are so many types out there, but the main things to consider are the size of the frame – too big and a small toddler will struggle, too small and it’s not going to work for an older child – and the seat adjustability.

The last thing you want is to be constantly hunting for that special tool to adjust the seat, so it’s worth looking for one that is easy to alter.

You may also want to think about the tyres as they could be air-filled, foam, or solid rubber, but check what will work best for the surfaces you plan to take the balance bike out on.

Brakes are another feature to consider, as most young riders won’t have the strength or dexterity to use them, but they could be handy for older children.

Check out the golden rules to teach your child about their scooter, trike, balance bike or bike.

And it’s worth looking for a steering column turning limiter, which stops your child jack-knifing the bike.

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