The 10 Best Balance Bikes

Updated December 03, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

10 Best Balance Bikes
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 43 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If your child is not quite ready for a big kid's bicycle but is hankering for a little independence, it's time to invest in one of these balance bikes. They not only help develop coordination, steering skills and stability, but also provide your kiddo with just the right amount of mobility and freedom to gain confidence before taking that next step. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best balance bike on Amazon.

10. Vilano Push

The Vilano Push is ideal for children who may have trouble maneuvering heavier bikes. Not only is this one of the lightest options on our list, it also comes in five different colors, has airless tires, and it is extremely easy to assemble.
  • extra wide handlebar padding
  • comes with a working bell
  • no ball bearings in wheels
Brand Vilano
Model 575-PUSH-GRN
Weight 8.3 pounds
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

9. Schwinn 12-Inch

The Schwinn 12-Inch is well-made and has a low step-through design, making it a cinch to mount. At over 14 pounds, it weighs a lot more than some of its competitors, but for some children, it's exactly what's needed for a sturdier ride.
  • well-oiled bearings roll smoothly
  • steel frame has solid welds
  • seat isn't super durable
Brand Schwinn
Model S7119AZ
Weight 14.6 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

8. Chicco Red Bullet

The Chicco Red Bullet offers a smooth ride and features rubber handlebar grips for safety and comfort. Its small size makes it suitable only for children under three, though, and the wheels may not hold up as well as other models.
  • kids can carry it on their own
  • takes up minimal storage space
  • paint gets scratched easily
Brand Chicco
Model 1716000070
Weight 7.2 pounds
Rating 3.6 / 5.0

7. Joovy Bicycoo

The Joovy Bicycoo has pneumatic tires instead of the more standard foam, which provide a more realistic ride to properly prepare kids for their big boy or girl bike. It is simple to maneuver around obstacles and sports an extremely attractive design.
  • internally routed brake cable
  • hand brake is easy to squeeze
  • durable build quality
Brand Joovy
Model 151
Weight 12.4 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

6. Radio Flyer Glide and Go

The Radio Flyer Glide and Go is made using a classic design that will likely match your kid's wagon. Its padded saddle seat and the soft-grip handles make it comfortable to ride for hours, plus there's a working bell attached for even more fun.
  • budget-friendly price
  • tires provide excellent traction
  • bright red color for good visibility
Brand Radio Flyer
Model 803X
Weight 9.9 pounds
Rating 3.9 / 5.0

5. YBike YBIK004

Made out of extremely durable injection-molded plastic, the YBike YBIK004 can take a beating while your child learns the ins and outs of balance and coordination. It also sits high off the ground for smooth riding over almost any terrain.
  • two back wheels for stability
  • round contoured edges
  • more rugged than most other models
Model YBIK004
Weight 11.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

4. YeDoo TooToo 12

The YeDoo TooToo 12 lets children master balance and steering without having to worry about crashing. The adjustable brake lever effortlessly slows or stops the bike from the rear tire, while the well-cushioned saddle keeps them firmly in place.
  • tires decorated with reflective dots
  • lightweight at just eight pounds
  • air-filled tires offer a smooth ride
Brand Yedoo
Model pending
Weight 11 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

3. Strider 12 Sport

Offering the flexibility to grow with your child, the Strider 12 Sport has a height-adjustable seat and handlebars, which also means it makes a great hand-me-down for siblings or cousins. For added convenience, the tires are puncture-proof.
  • rugged steel frame
  • suitable for use on and off pavement
  • two year warranty
Brand Strider
Model ST-S4YE
Weight 9.7 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Kazam v2e

The Kazam v2e was featured on Shark Tank and is the only one of its kind with a patented, ergonomic step-in footrest that makes it a breeze for children to find their balance. This unique approach doesn't require your kiddo to raise his or her legs in the air while moving.
  • creates a good center of gravity
  • thick maintenance-free eva tires
  • simple to get on and off
Brand KaZAM
Model 32402K
Weight 11.1 pounds
Rating 4.8 / 5.0

1. Cruzee UltraLite

The Cruzee UltraLite is a top notch pick that teaches your little one how to ride safely and gain independence before trying out a big kid's bike. It's perfect for a child between the ages of 18 months and 5 years old and comes with a lifetime warranty for peace of mind.
  • simple for a parent to carry around
  • aluminum frame resists rust
  • handlebars are comfy to hold
Brand Cruzee
Model pending
Weight 4.4 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

Walk Before You Ride

If you ride a bicycle, there's a good chance that you learned the way thousands, if not millions of children have learned over the past few decades, and that's by training wheels. You may recall that training wheels are smaller wheels that attach to the back portion of a bike frame so that they flank and provide balance to the bike's back wheel.

Training wheels are great in that they give your kids an opportunity to get a feel for pedaling a bike before they have to also learn how to balance it. The big problem with that method, however, is that the balancing act is often the hardest part, and as soon as a lot of kids feel that the security of the training wheels has been taken away they panic. Falling off of a bike hurts, so their fear is justified.

What a balance bike does is enter the scene before the larger bike with training wheels is even a thought. These balance bikes are essentially small, two-wheeled bikes without any pedals or gears. They're built low enough to the ground that a child can use his or her feet to move it along, while still getting a feel for the biking experience.

At first, this may seem silly. How could the experience of walking a bike along actually help teach you how to balance it? Well, balance and speed share a fascinating relationship. It turns out that the faster you ride, the easier it is to balance on a bicycle, or even a motorcycle. That's why it's important to run along side your child on his or her first attempt to ride a pedaled bike without training wheels, so they can build up speed before you let go.

When (and I mean when) your little one eventually builds up enough speed on his or her balance bike–going down a hill, for example–, two things will happen. First, the speed will necessitate that the kid picks his or her feet up off of the ground, as the bike will be moving too quickly for their legs to keep up. Second, once those feet come off the ground, the bike, moving quickly enough to do so, will balance itself.

It's experiences like this that make it so much easier for kids to transition to a bike with training wheels, and then a bike without them. By that time, they'll be so comfortable on a bike, and so experienced with the ease in balancing one, that they'll ride off into the sunset without you.

Minor Variations

I've always found the simplicity of a bicycle very appealing. Even with a dozen gears added to the frame, there's an elegance to the streamlined nature of bikes, to the way in which they're all essentially the same machine. Sure, some of them are easier to ride up hills or get up to higher speeds, but the mechanics of a bike never really change.

As you evaluate the balance bikes on our list, you'll notice that the similarities among them far outnumber their differences. Still, there are some perhaps unexpected particulars for you to consider when making your selection.

For starters–and this might be the most important variable in your choice–, you'll want to take a look at the style of the bike. This includes color, and if you follow the price links to a given bike, you'll see that several of them come in multiple colors. It also includes the nuances of its shape. While some of these bikes have their seats placed in more of a low-rider position, others feel more like mountain bikes or road bikes.

Next, you're going to want to look at the tire material. Some of these bikes boast actual rubber tires complete with inflatable tubes. This type tends to be more durable, and is significantly easier to maintenance than its plastic counterpart, but it also demands more upkeep, like making sure the tires are inflated and fixing flats.

Finally, check the weight of each bike. When your little one gets tired, it's up to you to carry the thing around, and a few pounds in this department can make all the difference, especially if you've got the bike in one arm and your kid in the other.

A Dandy Of A Time

One of the reasons that it took a while for the bicycle to catch on as a popular means of transportation or as an instrument of leisure is that, until its invention, human beings hadn't been asked to balance anything of its kind. The only comparable experience to riding a bike at that point in history was riding a horse, and horses either balanced themselves or they were taken out behind the shed, never to return.

In 1818, Baron Karl Drais invented something called the dandy horse, which was, for all intents and purposes, a balance bike for adults. It was a full-sized bicycle without pedals or gears. It had a hinged front wheel to allow for additional steering, but it didn't have any brakes.

Use of the dandy horse is one of the things that prepared the populace for the explosion of the bicycle in the middle of the 19th century, but its design faded well into the background until the balance bikes we now use for our kids came back into style over the past few decades.

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Last updated on December 03, 2017 by Brett Dvoretz

A wandering writer who spends as much time on the road as behind the computer screen, Brett can either be found hacking furiously away at the keyboard or perhaps enjoying a whiskey and coke on some exotic beach, sometimes both simultaneously, usually with a four-legged companion by his side. He hopes to one day become a modern day renaissance man.

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