11 of the best balance bikes

Which are the best balance bikes for getting your toddler ready to tackle a pedal bike? We've found some award-winners here

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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. Strider 14X Sport Balance/Pedal Bike, £180

GOLD winner, Best Balance Bike, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 3+

What it is: A lightweight balance bike that converts into a pedal bike (and back again) with 1-bolt assembly using the Easy Ride Pedal Kit (included). Features adjustable seat and handlebars, front and rear brakes, and footrests where the (half-width) pedals are added later, so that your child can learn to balance with their feet the correct position. Comes in blue or green, with Learn-to-Stride and Learn-to-Pedal guides.

Why we love it: We really rate this bike’s low centre of gravity and half-width pedals (making balancing and cornering easier), and also how easily it converts from balance bike to pedal bike. It looks dead stylish, too.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘Given this is a balance bike and first pedal bike in one, this is brilliant value for money. Elliott thinks it looks great, which has encouraged his desire to play on it and take it outside. The extra-long seat post ensures that he’ll can get years of use out of it. It’s durable with beefy wheels, a strong frame and tyres that are grippy enough for bridleways and parks, as well as paths. It’s also light and easy to stash in the boot of the car to take to the woods or the local cycling centre.’ Matt, (bike-mad) dad to Elliot, 3

Available from: Striderbike


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2. Kiddimoto Super Junior Max, £79.99

SILVER winner, Best Balance Bike, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 18 months+

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. And we like the handle behind the seat for parents to grab in those early wobbly moments…

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘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 it he found it completely intuitive is a massive plus.’ Jeanne, mum to Cai, 21 months
  • ‘We’d give it 10 out of 10 for play potential and value for money.’ Jackie, mum to Lexi, 3

Available from: Kiddimoto


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3. Chicco Balance Bike, £34.99

BRONZE winner, Best Balance Bike, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 3 to 5

What it is: An ultra-light metal balance bike 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.

What our child testers made of it:

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

Available from: Amazon and Uber Kids


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4. PINTO by Black Mountain Bikes, £329

BRONZE winner, Best Balance Bike, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards

Age: 2.5+

What it is: A super-lightweight balance bike that, like our Gold-winning Strider 14X, 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.

What our child testers made of it:

  • ‘Amethyst has taken the bike in balance-bike mode on a dog walk a couple of times and, by the 2nd go, she was already getting hang of it and lifting both feet off the ground. It’s rugged enough to be used on all sorts of terrain.” Julie, mum to Amethyst, 4
  • ‘The super light weight 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.’ Sarah, mum to Harry, 3

Available from: Black Mountain


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5. Strider 12 Pro Aluminium Super Light Balance Bike, £110

Age: 18 months to 5 years

What it is: An ultra-lightweight balance bike weighing 2.2kg and 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 metal-framed balance bike 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: Amazon and SourceBMX


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6. FirstBIKE Street balance bike, £99.99

Age: 2 to 5 years

What it is: A lightweight balance bike with a glass-fibre, reinforced frame, height adjustable seat that requires no tools, and lots of optional accessories.

Why we love it: Not only does it look awesome with its distinctive design and 10 colour options, but it’s very light at 3.5kg, features safety handgrips, 5-spoke wheels, and optional child-friendly drum brake for more advanced riders. Also available in the Cross version, with off-road tyres.

We’ve got the complete First Bike review

Available from: FirstBIKE


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7. Y Velo Balance Bike, £49.99

Age: 3+

What it is: A metal-framed balance bike with a seat that adjusts from 34cm to 46cm and 12 inch plastic tyres. There’s also a Junior version, with a double back wheel, that is suitable from 18 months, costing £49.99.

Why we love it: This balance bike’s modern, sleek design and lovely light weight makes it a real winner, and it impressed our child judges so much, it picked up the bronze medal in the Outdoor Toys category of our 2107 Toy Awards.

Available from: Argos


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8. Early Rider Lite 12” balance bike, £109.99

Age: 18 months+

What it is:A lightweight wooden balance bike weighing 3.2kg and with adjustable reach and seat height, easy grip foam handles and dual steering.

Why we love it: This good looking wooden balance bike is perfect for beginners as it’s light to ride and features a leather seat pad and pneumatic tyres for any bumps. 

Available from: Mountain Trax


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9. Wishbone Bike, £169.99

Age: 1 to 5 years

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: The convertible design of this funky bike means the fun starts at age 1 with three 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 four years.

Available from: Amazon


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10. Prince Lionheart Balance Bike, £49.99

Age: 2 to 5 years

What it is: A 100% birch wood framed balance bike with 12 inch air-filled tyres and an adjustable seat

Why we love it: The simple wooden frame looks cool for kids and is aesthetically pleasing for the grown-ups too. Its air-filled, chunky tyres are great for all terrain, and it has a padded, adjustable seat.

Available from:  Amazon


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11. Kiddimoto Kurve Bike, £39.99

Age: 3 to 6 years

What it is: A wooden balance bike with rubber handles and an upright seat with three adjustable heights, plus a steering lock restricting turns to 30 degrees.

Why we love it: There’s no escaping the fact that the Kiddimoto Kurve looks very cute, with an irresistible range of designs from pastel spots and cherries, to police and fire engine themes (although our personal favourite is the skulls design). 

Available from: Amazon


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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.

Read more….

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