What to Look for in a Balance Bike
Balance bikes look simple but don’t be fooled by their simple design! And of course there’s no one-size that everyone can use. Here’s what you need to keep in mind while selecting one
Seat Height- To begin with, how do you know what’s the ideal seat height? To figure this out, ask your kid to hold a book between his legs and then you raise it upto his crotch; the distance between the ground and the book will give you the seat height. And please measure while your kid isn’t wearing any shoe. What the world follows is that the bike seat height has got be an inch to an inch and a half below their inseam.
Bike Tire Size – Tire sizes vary with the bike size and age of your kid. However the most popular size is 12” and the range is 10”-20” tire size. 16” is used by larger kids who are yet to learn to ride. It’s a good thing to buy a bike based on the seat height rather on bike tire size as you may end up not getting a good size.
Turning Limiters – There’s a lot of debate around whether these are actually beneficial for kids or not; the argument being that these act as Training Wheels for the handle bars and kids don’t’ really experience actual learning with the steering not in place. How they work is that they will not allow the front wheel and handlebar to complete a full turn. Some also point out that with using these kids could be a lot safer and prevent injuries or a fall. These definitely play a small part and shouldn’t be a deciding factor in your purchase.
Brakes – How does a Balance bike rider stop the bike? This is achieved by their tine little feet; but that does not mean we rule out the use of a secondary hand brake! A brake can help prevent injuries; helps them to transition to a bike with a pedal bike and also saves their shoes!
Footrests – Again an arguable topic, why do balance bikes need a footrest? I mean where are we imagining our kids going with these? Which is why most parents don’t see any need for footrests. We are guessing this feature was more of an adult decision than any kid actually needing it .As long as it doesn’t get in the way of running or moving about, it’s alright if it’s there.
Grips – Handlebar grips are the primary safety features on a bike. Your kid’s hands will be protected with the rubber grip that has a knobby end if in case the handlebars run into a wall or tree. It also protects their tiny little hands from hitting the ground.
Frame Materials – The Balance bikes are made of wood, metal or composite frames. The Steel frames are heavier and could potentially rust, but can hold a heavier rider. Next is the Aluminum bikes which are comparatively lighter plus have a lower weight capacity .Wooden bikes are the best and environmentally friendly but tend to be less adjustable than the metal bikes. The wooden ones could even last for years if taken care of properly. Then there are the composite frames that are also lightweight while providing a higher weight capacity, and you wouldn’t have to be concerned of rust or chipping paint.
Recessed, Covered and Rounded Bolts – Exposed bolts become scratched with time and could also potentially scratch the inner legs of kids while striding. Bolts need to be covered, rounded and recessed to prevent and minimize the possibility of scratches.