5 Best Balance Bikes of 2021: 2-Year-Olds, 4-Year-Olds, Wooden

Best Balance Bikes
Image by Canva Photos

Many children begin their journey to two-wheel bicycle freedom on a balance bike. And balance bikes are made in all sorts of sizes, and for all age-ranges. The best age for a balance bike typically ranges from about 2.5 and 6-years-old. But the truth of the matter is, there’s no one right age for a balance bike, and every kid develops differently. Under your watchful eye, though, the best balance bikes for any age will help your child practice their balance and other skills crucial for one day learning to ride a bike on their own.

In this article, we present the best balance bikes for any kid, with some tips and pointers at the end to finding a glider bike sized right for your child.

Our Top Picks

If you’re in a hurry, here’s an at-a-glance rundown of the best balance bikes for kids.

LittleBig Balance BikesBest Kids Balance Bike: LittleBig Balance Bikes
Using “green thinking” in all that they do, the 3-in-1 LittleBig balance bike grows with your child.
Strider 12 Sport Balance BikeBest Balance Bike for Toddlers: Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike
Strider 12 sport balance bikes are lightweight with mini-grips, perfectly sized for the smallest of hands.
Radio Flyer 800X Glide and GoBest Price Balance Bike: Radio Flyer 800X Glide and Go
Not only is the Radio Flyer 800X priced right, it offers traction tread and an adjustable seat.
Co-op Cycles REV 12 Kids' to Balance BikeBest Balance Bike for 4-year-Old: Co-op Cycles REV 12 Kids’ Balance Bike
The Co-Op Cycles REV 12 balance bike is perfectly sized for a growing 4-year-old.
Kinderfeets Wooden Balance BikeBest Wooden Balance Bike: Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike
Choosing a wooden balance bike from Kinderfeets checks boxes for both quality construction and sustainable manufacturing.
 

A Closer Look: Best Balance Bikes

Here are some fair and balanced reviews of the balance bikes we liked.

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1. LittleBig Balance Bikes

The best balance bike overall

LittleBig Balance Bikes

Brand: LittleBig | Size: 3-in-1 | Color Options: 5 | Frame: Aluminum | Price: 💰💰💰💰

Leading off our list of the best no-pedal balance bikes is LittleBig, an Irish company offering a 3-in-1 balance bike that grows with your child. Not only are the bikes sustainably produced, this balance bike transforms with your child as they grow: from little to big balance bike, and from big balance bike to pedals. This means, buy just one bike and you’re done, cutting down on waste and saving you money while you’re at it.

Since these bikes let your child learn at their own pace they’re a great choice for kids with special needs like autism, dyspraxia, or down syndrome. After less than 10 minutes, a two-year-old was balancing and pushing himself along with ease. And after a year using the balance bike, one five-year-old was ready to add the pedals. It comes in five color choices, and the frame is made from aluminum.

  • Not too heavy
  • Rides smoothly
  • Apple green a popular color
  • Not cheap
  • Only shipped from the UK

2. Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

The best balance bike for toddlers

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Brand: Strider | Size: 1 | Color Options: 9 | Frame: Steel | Price: 💰💰💰

Getting your toddler off on the right foot with a balance bike is the Strider 12. Available in nine color choices with a steel frame, the Strider 12 is just the right size for a toddler, with an adjustable seat and handlebars to accommodate children aged 18 months to five years. It’s also very light and easy for youngsters to control, with mini-grips that are just the right size for the small hands of a child.

Also not to be missed are the built-in footrests and the padded seat. The wheels are plastic, however, and they ride less well and grip more poorly than the inflatable kind, some say. Otherwise, this is a great learning for those just learning to keep their balance, and on the bright side, those plastic tires never need to be reinflated. It’s best used on flat asphalt or concrete, and don’t forget—there are no brakes! Parents enjoy the tool-free assembly.

  • Easy to put together
  • Solid and good looking
  • Doesn’t sag or flex when it’s sat on
  • Seat tends to swivel
  • Some seat durability issues reported
  • Not every kid takes to a balance bike

3. Radio Flyer 800X Glide and Go

The best balance bike

Radio Flyer 800X Glide and Go

Brand: Radio Flyer | Size: 1 | Color Options: 2 | Frame: Steel | Price: 💰

The best price balance bike in our ranking is the Radio Flyer 800X Glide and Go. Offered in two colors with a steel frame, the affordable Glide and Go has a great, classic look with traction tread tires and a tool-free adjustable seat. It’s sized right for kids from about two to seven, because there’s no such thing as the best age for a balance bike and every kid learns differently and on their own time table.

We liked to hear that assembly is easy and that’s durable enough to be passed down to younger children as older kids outgrow it, making it an even better deal for larger families. Kids balance on it easily and quickly take to “scooting” themselves around, according to reports. The seat sits quite low, giving kids lots of room to grow. It’s also quite light and easy to pick up, even for children. 

  • Cute bell included
  • Radio Flyer a trusted brand
  • Good practice for a real bike
  • Foam wheels, not rubber
  • Not for kids under three, some say
  • Be sure to measure your kid with a diaper on

4. Co-op Cycles REV 12 Kids’ to Balance Bike

The best balance bike for 4-year-olds

Co-op Cycles REV 12 Kids' to Balance Bike

Brand: Co-op Cycles | Size: 1 | Color Options: 2 | Frame: Aluminum | Price: 💰💰💰

Kid growing fast but not quite ready for a regular pedal bike? The best no-pedal glider bike for 4-year-olds is the REV 12 from Co-Op Cycles. With an aluminum step-through frame available in two color options, the handlebars are riser bar style. The minimum stand-over height is about 13.75” (the average 4-year-old is about 40”) and the maximum weight is 60 lbs. All just about perfect for kids in their fourth year of life.

The bike also comes with a fun sticker pack which kids like to use to decorate the bike with their own personal style. Also included with purchase are derailleur and brake adjustments, lateral wheel truing, and hub and headset bearing adjustments. The bike is sturdy and handles well, according to reports, but can be too large for some smaller children, or for kids under four. 

  • Worth the price
  • Nice construction
  • Helps kids quickly learn to balance
  • Can’t add pedals
  • Some assembly required
  • Handlebars not very adjustable
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5. Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike

The best wooden balance bike

Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike

Brand: Kinderfeets | Size: 1 | Color Options: 1 | Frame: Wooden | Price: 💰💰

Wood is just about the most sustainable material of all, and Kinderfeets is one of just a few highly sustainable companies around when shopping for the best kids balance bike. What’s notable about Kinderfeets is they make most of their products from bamboo, a resilient crop, without pesticides or other chemicals. And if their products aren’t made from bamboo, they use eco-friendly birch wood or FSC-certified German beechwood, with minimal packaging and otherwise recyclable paper products.

Environmental concerns aside, the wooden balance bike from Kinderfeets has set foot rests and an adjustable seat to grow along with your child. The wheels are 6” and made from durable rubber, and it all weighs less than 10 lbs. It’s also very easy to assemble, but there are no color options to choose from beyond the natural bamboo finish. Overall the balance bike really helps kids learn balance and control, we learned.

  • Great hand-me-down
  • Well made and beautiful
  • Good for indoor/outdoor use
  • Not cheap
  • Some prefer the 2-in-1 model
  • Not durable enough for some

What size balance bike should I get?

Child using one of the best balance bikes
Image by Tatyana Tomsickova / Canva Photos

How best to size a balance bike has less to do with the age of your child, and more to do with their inseam. Generally speaking, the minimum seat height should be something like a half-inch to an inch less than the inseam measurement. Also important is the maximum seat height, because if there’s one thing all kids do is grow.

To give your child and the glider bike some room to grow together, you want to find a balance bike with a max seat height of around 2” more than their inseam. 

(And in case you weren’t aware, the inseam is defined as the distance between the crotch of the pants and the leg opening).

Also important when sizing a balance bike for your kid is seat positioning. You don’t want the seat to be too low, bending their knees too much and making it difficult to propel themselves along. You also don’t want the seat to be so high that they have to stand on their tippy-toes, making it difficult to balance. To get your balance bike seat positioned just right, position the seat somewhere between a half-inch and an inch less than their inseam. The balance bike should be capped at 30% more than the weight of your child, at most.

Safety is also a concern with balance bikes. Children should always wear a helmet with knee and elbow pads, and they should only ride their balance bike under adult supervision.

Our Process

For this guide on the best balance bikes, our team spent 5 hours researching the most popular options from over 25 brands and manufacturers big and small. We then read about twenty-five user reviews (both positive and negative) to discover what shoppers thought about each balance bike. After comparing this data, we narrowed our list down to the top 5 balance bikes on the market. You can count on this research to guide you to a mindful purchasing decision.

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