Balance Bike Instead of Training Wheels?

Updated on July 23, 2012
J.W. asks from Lombard, IL
19 answers

Has anyone tried the bicycoo balance bikes by Joovy? My husband thinks this would be a great birthday gift for our son who turns 2 in September. I definitely think it looks like an interesting concept. Just not sure if it's worth the money.

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answers from Lansing on

If I had the money to do it the balance bike way...I would have. But it was too pricey for me. But it does look like its the way to get them started earlier.

My oldest daughter just took hers off the beginning of this summer at 6 because she didn't think it was cool anymore. Last year we pushed and pushed but she was too scared. My almost 5 year old wants nothing to do with taking her training wheels off so far.

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answers from San Francisco on

I've never had a kid that used a balance bike so I don't really know anything about them.

What I do know is that balance isn't the only skill needed to ride a bike. Kids seem to get the balance down faster than then do the use of the pedals, especially the brakes.

So, while this MAY help with the balance issue, it does nothing to teach them how to pedal and more importantly, how to stop.

I have taught many children (no less than six) how to ride a bike and the balance was the easiest part. Pedaling, braking and steering are all a bit harder for them to get used to.

Personally, I would get a toddler bike and put training wheels on it. If you really work with your little guy you'll have those training wheels off in no time.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

My husband thought the same thing... if you read the reviews it works, but it's very short-lived. You can't convert it into a traditional bike (like a bike with trainers on it), so once your child learns to balance, it's done.

It's pricey for what it is and for the length of time your child will use it. We went with a bike that has training wheels. That's how we all learned, right?

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answers from Seattle on

Balance bikes would be tough for just-turned 2 year olds. A lot of 2yos aren't tall enough for the smaller bikes. It would probably be a better idea for the following year or at least 6 months down the road.

That said, I am thinking about getting a balance bike in the next couple of months for my 2.5yo, very tall, very daring daughter. She has a tricycle now that she has pretty much outgrown.

The two hard parts of bike riding are the balance and the pedals. Get your 2yo a trike now for the pedals and a balance bike in a year to learn balance. He should be able to move up to a "real" bike when he is 4+yo and have it be relatively painless. There are a ton of balance bikes in our area, and finding a used one would probably be pretty easy, especially since they are used for relatively short periods of time. Maybe you could find a used one?

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answers from Chicago on

My in-laws purchased a balance bike from Costco online for my son when he was 3 1/2. He and his little friend buzzed around for some time on the balance bikes (and much preferred the balance bike over a bike with training wheels). My son just turned 5 and the first time we put him on a regular bike - he took off riding immediately with no problems. I will definitely be using the balance bike with my younger daughter when she turns 3.

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answers from Alexandria on

I think at his age, it's a good idea.



answers from Chicago on

I think very highly of using balance bikes instead of putting training wheels on a two-wheeler. It completely eliminated all stress and anxiety from my kids experiences with bikes.

It's true that some of the balance bikes can be very costly and that the duration of the balance bike's "life" is very short. Each of my kids used theirs for one year (from age 4-5 and the other age 3-4.) But I would never trade that for the drawn-out experience most kids have with training wheels. I'll bet you'll get 2 years if you start at age 2.

I'm not familiar with the Joovey brand. We went with a Mini-Glider balance bike, which is quite small and extremely light. At age 2, your son will (probably) just scoot along -- which is exactly what he is supposed to do! I can't see any issue with the "age requirement" of 3. (Unless you leave your 2 year old unattended on an extremely steep street, there's not a lot of damage he can do on a balance bike!)

I really like the idea of taking the pedals off of a two-wheeler and learning that way. However, you'll still need to start with a very small bike suitable for a 2 year old -- 12-inch or so...which he'll also outgrow in a year or two. (You'll need him to be able to sit on the seat while standing flat-footed on the ground.) Also, be very careful about the weight of the bike, since traditional two-wheeler bikes are much heavier than balance bikes. It may be difficult for a 2 year old to hold up a traditional two-wheeler, even without the pedals. One thing all kids have to learn is how sharp of a turn he can make without falling. Hence, a lightweight bike is critical for our little ones.

Let us know what you decide!



answers from Chicago on

I love the idea of a balance bike but not buying a seperate bike for it. What we did with our son (and will do for our daughter) is bought him a bike, then took the training wheels AND pedals off so he could use it like a balance bike. When he got the hang of balancing, (which only took a couple of days) we put the pedals on and he took off and never looked back! That way you don't have to buy 2 bikes, and adjust to two different bikes... you just transition the same bike! BTW he was 3.5 and of average height. He had been used to pedaling because he rode a trike before that. The part that the pedals attach to was never a problem or in the way for him- they don't really stick out in an obtrusive way. So I'd just say go with the regular bike and lose the wheels and pedals. It is not "rushing" our kids to learn how to ride a bike- it's just not giving them the aid then teaching them all over again how to ride without them.



answers from San Francisco on

I know someone who gave her twins balance bikes around the age of 2 and around 3 they were off and riding pedal bikes without training wheels.

In general, I think it's a good idea over training wheels. But some kids are into it and some aren't. It also depends on if you have the time and space where the kid can practice.

I have balance bikes for my twins, but I work so we don't get as much practice as I'd like them to have so it's slow going. One is more interested and seems to get it better than the other.

I also had to hush my Mom up because she kept saying "It's missing pedals" or "Where are the pedals?" and I didn't want the kids to suddenly not like it because it didn't have pedals.

But learning how to pedal is also a good skill. If your son doesn't have a trike, then it might be worth getting him a trike and defer the balance bike until the spring or something. I've been told it's not confusing for kids to have both.

There are lots of balance bike brands out there and some are cheaper than others. We have the Strider pre bike which is closer to $100 or less. Walmart has some that are cheap, but I have not experience with the quality of them. A discount site called occasionally has them on sale. They have a sale going on now until July 19th for various bikes, including some balance bikes. You need to make sure you get a size that will work for your son. FYI, the zulily site can take weeks for the order to arrive so plan accordingly if you buy from there. No returns either.



answers from Chicago on

The specs say the minimum age for this product is 3 years old.



answers from Phoenix on

I think it seems kind of gimmicky, to be honest. It doesn't look like it would grow with a child, either. I preferred buying a bigger bike with training wheels, teaching DD how to ride it & then taking the training wheels off. She's had the bike for over 2 years & is still using it.

Isn't a balance bike just a bike without training wheels? Why the need for a $150 one? Why not get a cheapie, instead? I wouldn't buy it, but it's your money. I think a 2 year old would lose interest pretty fast.

And, what wrong with training wheels, anyway? It seems like these companies and society wants our kids to know how to do everything by age 3.



answers from Chicago on

We have a Strider balance bike. My 3.5 yo son seems to prefer the tricycle, but my daughter found it when she was about 18 months and loves it. She's almost 2 and can scoot along just fine. She's average height, but the seat on this brand adjusts quite a bit. It's at the very bottom for her now, so I think we'll have plenty of time before she outgrows it. We do stay right with her, but she does pretty well and loves riding "her bike". I don't think 2 is too young for this type of bike, depending on the model you get. It will just depend on whether or not your child likes it. If not, they resell pretty quickly on Craigslist!



answers from Chicago on

We bought our daughter her first bike with training wheels for her 3rd birthday. I was tempted to get the balance bike but the bike shop we purchased from said as she became more comfortable with riding we could adjust the training wheels so she would use them less and she'd learn to balance before we removed them. Actually, a 5-yo girl in our neighborhood recently ditched her training wheels with ease because they were so twisted she didn't need them. The most difficult task for our daughter was pedaling, and then coordinating that with steering (but she didn't have a bike prior).

Either way you go, since your son is turning 2, he might be too short for a balance or traditional bike, check how tall the bike is before buying. And since some posts have suggested removing the petals of a regular bike, make sure the weight isn't too much (our daughters bike is pretty heavy).



answers from Huntsville on

We haven't tried an actual balance bike, but I do agree with the concept.

My daughter had a tricycle for pedaling practice. For her birthday a few years ago we got her a regular 10" kids bike. I did not put the training wheels on it. I also have not put the pedals on it. My goal was to have her use the bike as a balance bike, then when she's ready we just throw the pedals on it!

Unfortunately, she just hasn't shown much interest in wanting to ride it at all! But she has been able to ride it some. Only problem is that the parts you attach the pedals to are still sticking out, kinda in the way. But, I can't afford the $70+ balance bike to purchase in addition to a regular bike!



answers from Washington DC on

I love balance bikes, but I wouldn't get one that pricey (that's just me, it's your money).

I got DS a wooden balance bike when he turned 3. He LOVED it and rode everywhere for about a month and a half. Then I got him a 12" bike without trainers because he said he wanted a bike with pedals. He dragged it to the top of a grassy hill, climbed on and was off and riding. He's been an amazing bike rider ever since.

At 2 your son will probably get more use out of it than mine did at 3. Look into less expensive options, and then get him one.



answers from Detroit on

I think 2 is a bit young, but I WISH we would have gotten them for our kids! They are now 5 and 8 and JUST learning to ride without training wheels. They just don't get the "balance" part (granted my 8 year old daughter is a big scaredy cat about everything ;)

I think it's a wonderful concept to teach balance early on! We will definitely be getting one for my youngest when he is old enough!



answers from Chicago on

We have a balance bike we put in our garage sale today - perfect condition $10.00. We still have it if you want to stop by tomorrow.



answers from Chicago on

The concept makes sense to me. I remember having to learn how to balance on my bike as a child once my parents took the training wheels off my bike so I like the idea of the balance bike so you don't have to learn how to ride a bike "twice".

Instead of purchasing one of the expensive ones, we just took my daughter's 12 inch bike to a bike shop and had them remove the pedals and crank (the part that sticks out which the pedals are attached to). It cost $10 for them to do that and I guess if we wanted/needed to, we could always have them re-attach the pedals and crank so that she could pedal once she learned to balance.



answers from Honolulu on

Your son is going to be 2.
Per the link, this bike is for 3 year olds.

Is your son tall enough to be on this bike or per the specs on it?

At this age, many kids ride tricycles or training wheels. But again, it depends on the kids' size/height... and the size of the bike.
Then, does your son have any bike or tricycle now? Will he make use of the balance bike?

My kids, had tricycles. Then training wheels. Then they just learned how to ride a bike when they were into it or wanted to. It was just a natural progression.
For a 2 year old, well, would he be into this bike or some other 2 year old toy/gadget?
Do you have a place for him to ride?

I don't know, for me personally, I would not spend the $ on this, and kids do learn how to balance and ride a bike in their own time anyway. Whether or not they have a balance bike or not.

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