What is a Balance Bike? A Guide for Parents

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This is the Scooter Dojo answer to What is a Balance Bike?

If you’ve heard all the hype about balance bikes and need a little more information you’re in the right place. Balance bikes are an alternative yet fun and effective method of teaching your child how to ride a bike.

With a balance bike, kids use their feet to propel themselves forward, as they ride in this way they gradually build their motor skills including coordination, balance and most importantly confidence. Because kids can ride on their own pretty quickly Balance bikes offer probably the most fun and intuitive way to learn how to ride a bike.

Key Takeaways

  • A balance bike is a no-pedal bike that helps children learn how to ride a bike without pedaling.
  • Balance is the hardest motor skill to develop in learning how to ride a bike but is simplified with a balance bike.
  • Strider made balance bikes popular in the USA and has sold nearly 4 million bikes worldwide.
What is a Balance Bike?

How Does a Balance Bike Work?

A balance bike, also known as a no-pedal wonder, operates in a way that is quite different but at the same similar to a traditional pedal bike. Instead of relying on pedals to move the bike forward, kids use their feet to push themselves forward and steer the bike.

This is all possible due to the specific geometry and ergonomics of balance bikes. By having a lower frame height and the proper seating position kids and sit but at the same time moving their legs in a running motion to propel the bike.

In this way riding a balance bike provides a unique opportunity for kids to experience the sensations of gliding and zooming around on a bicycle without the commitment of having their feet off the ground. Making them feel safe and confident in what they’re doing.

Furthermore, the absence of pedals makes it possible to simply focus on the fundamental skills of balancing and steering without being distracted by the need to pedal. In reality pedaling is the easiest skill in riding a bike so why not develop the harder skills first removing the easiest until later.

The History of Balance Bikes

To get back to the origins of balances bike we have to go back to 1817 when German inventor Karl Drais first introduced the concept of a two-wheeled transportation product that relied on the rider’s ability to lean for balance. Originally called the running machine, Drais’ invention evolved into what we now know as the modern balance bike.

This early version was made entirely of wood and had propulsion mechanism. Instead, a rider would propel themselves by pushing off the ground with their feet and using their body weight to steer. This design allowed for a more natural and intuitive learning curve, as the rider could focus on developing their balance skills without the added complexity of pedaling.

Over time, the balance bike has undergone many changes and improvements, including the addition of foam or pneumatic tires, adjustable seats, and various frame materials. Fast forward to today, balance bikes come in a variety of styles and colors, making them a popular first bike for children all over the globe.

The Benefits of Riding a Balance Bike

Learning to ride bike can be a serious hurdles in your children’s life. Some kids are down right terrified of falling and even put off learning for many years due to fear and a lack of confidence.

Probably the biggest benefit of a balance bike is the confidence factor, because they are low to the ground, with their feet down, they just become so much more comfortable, as a result the difficulty of riding a bike no longer seems hard. They feel fully capable, and that is half the battle when transition kids to a traditional bicycle.

But, what about training wheels?

Training wheels can be a useful tool for children who are learning to ride, but they hinder the learning process. Because of the external help the training wheels sometimes become a mental crutch and the kid might think that without the training wheels they just can’t do it.

And they are partly right, because the training wheels don’t teach them to balance, just the principles of riding a bike. So when they come off children feel insecure and unstable. This is the reason why we fully recommend balances bike over any training wheel learning program.

In fact after a year so on a balance bike, kids can usually transition to a pedal bike within 5 to 10 minutes.

Transitioning to a Pedal Bike

Once your child has mastered the art of riding a balance bike, it’s time to transition to a traditional pedal bike. This can be an exciting but challenging time for both you and your child. But with the right approach, you can make the transition nice and easy.

The most critical aspect here is choosing the proper sized pedal bike. Make sure your child can sit on the seat with their feet and with a slight bend of the knees, have their feet touch the ground. Buying a bike that is either too tall or too short will make the transition more difficult than it needs to be.

The best part of using a balance bike first is that you don’t ever need to use training wheels, just encourage your son or daughter to hop on the new bike and just cruise on it. Maybe take them to a slight slope (i.e. a driveway) with their feet on the pedals, they cruise exactly how they do on their balance bike.

Remember, they already know how to ride a bike, they might not be comfortable pedaling yet. On average within one or two sessions kids are riding pedal bikes with ease.


What is a balance bike?

 A balance bike, is a bike where kids use their feet to propel themselves instead of pedaling. By riding this way they build motor skills including coordination, balance and most importantly confidence. Since kids can ride on their own pretty quickly Balance bikes offer probably the most fun and intuitive way to learn how to ride a traditional pedal bike.

What are the benefits of riding a balance bike?

Riding a balance bike offers numerous benefits. It helps children gain confidence, learn how to balance, and develop their coordination skills. The absence of pedals and training wheels encourages a more simple learning process, removing any mental reliance on training wheels, while allowing kids to prioritize mastering the fundamentals of balance which is key to bike riding.

How do I transition my child from a balance bike to a pedal bike?

Transitioning from a balance bike to a pedal bike is much simpler than coming from training wheels. Tips and techniques include practicing pedaling in a safe and open area, providing support during the transition, and gradually removing any assistance such as stabilizers or training wheels.

How do I choose the right balance bike for my child?

When choosing a balance bike, it’s important to consider factors such as the child’s height and the bike’s height and weight. Selecting the right size ensures a comfortable fit, while a lightweight overall bike makes it easier for kids to maneuver and control . Other features to consider include adjustable seat and handlebars heights.

Are balance bikes suitable for children of all ages and abilities?

Yes, balance bikes are suitable for children of different ages and abilities. There are options available for younger children as well as those with physical limitations. Balance bikes provide an efficient and enjoyable way for children to challenge themselves and improve their riding skills.

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