Training Wheels vs Balance Bike

Updated on October 27, 2008
T.S. asks from Silver Spring, MD
10 answers

Hi all you mamas,

We are planning on getting our son a "big boy bike" for Christmas/3rd birthday (January 7). He loves his little trike/bike, but is way too big for it, rides too fast, and tips it over on the corners.

I'm not sure if it is better to get him a bike with training wheels or a balance bike. I have read that balance bikes make transitioning to a real bike much easier, but I like the bike with training wheels is a "real" bike so that we can take the trainers off when he is ready.

Any experience with either one would be welcome.


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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the input, mamas. Turns out his freakish height makes him too big for a balance bike, or even a 12" kids bike. So, after talking to the man at the bike shop, we'll be getting him a 16" bike with trainers then taking the trainers and peddals off together when he's ready, let him balance with is, then putting the peds back on.

It's a plan I think I can live with, and hopefull a 16" bike will last him quite a while.

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answers from San Francisco on

When My son was 3 we got a bike for him. It was a small one, but it would last two years before he needed a bigger one. It had training wheels on it and we lived in the country with a long dirt road. He got on the bike and within a minute he was spinning his pedals and wheels but not going anywhere. Holes in the driveway .....hahaha. So we took off the training wheels and he never needed them put back on. He learned balance on his own.
Just my two cent of experience.

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answers from Salinas on

We bought a bike with training wheels. When our son was ready to take the training wheels off we did so, put the seat all the way down and took off the pedals. After one day of practice we put the pedals back on and he could ride no problem.

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answers from San Francisco on

My son used a two wheel bike with no pedals. He loved it and when it was time to get a real bike with Training Wheels I think he used the training wheels for about a week and then was off riding his new two wheel bike with pedals. The transition was seemless. I highly recommend it.

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answers from San Francisco on

T., when my first child's training wheel fell off, we never got around to fixing it. My husband thought she was too old to have them on and just left the one training wheel on. Wow - it helped to train her to ride.
So we did the same thing with our other two kids. When we thought they were ready to learn to ride, we would remove one training wheel and leave one on. They learned to ride quickly!

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answers from Redding on

I would go with the real bike with training wheels. Like you said, he will get a lot more use out of the real bike. My son just got a big boy bike this month. He is 3 1/2 and is doing well on it. I still need to support him while crossing driveway dips and he has crashed a few times but that is just part of being a growing boy.



answers from Phoenix on

Wow. My son is 6 and we are only now thinking a bike would be good for Christmas maybe. My nephew just learned how to ride a bike last summer (he turned 7 then) So I dont have any advice, just surprise at a 3 yo getting a bike, especially one that rides too fast and tips over on corners. A trike would be safer till he learns how to handle corners at appropriate speeds, I'd think. But that's just the opinion of a mama without a bike.

Something my parents learned while helping my nephew learn to ride his bike was that a scooter really helps to learn how to balance on two wheels.



answers from Sacramento on

We are getting our almost 2 year old son a balance bike for his birthday (December). A bunch of my friends did this for their children and they never needed training wheels... went from balance bike to two-wheeler with no problems. I am hoping it works just as well for my son. Good luck!



answers from Salinas on


We have twin 4 year olds. We got them the balance bikes and they LOVE them. Thier balance is now amazing!! We have friends that got training wheels instead and are still working on getting thier children to balance on thier own. We feel that getting the balance bikes was one of the best decisions that we have made for thier play time toys.

I hope this helps.



answers from San Francisco on

I would get the training wheels bike. That way if he needs them they are there.



answers from San Francisco on

we bought our daughter a bike with training wheels and just recetly bought a Balance buddy and removed the training wheels. It is harder for her to ride now, but she is learnignt o balance and can feel when she is leaning to one side or the other.

She was 3 when we got her new bike and 5.5 yrs old when we got the balance buddy. I would stick with Training wheels for now....

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