The One and Only Guide to Buying a Balance Bike
With various options on the market, it may seem overwhelming to decide on the perfect toddler bike for your little one. From color to size to assembly, there’s certainly a lot to consider.
That’s why we came up with a complete guide to buying a push bike including all the things you should take into account before you make a purchase. So, let’s get right into it.
Show Your Kids Our Kids Balance Bike to Get Them Excited
To be honest, you might have trouble buying the best balance bike for your kid if they don’t know about it. Sure, you can surprise them with a birthday gift and chances are, they’ll be thrilled. But to really know whether or not you’re choosing the bike that your child really wants, it’s best to let them know.
Plus, showing your kids the smarTrike options will get them excited about their new balance bike. You can show them all the fun stuff they’ll be able to do with it like walking, pushing, and gliding. After all, they may be nervous to start riding, so showing them how everything works first is a good idea. We have fantastic product videos that are sure to ease the minds of more cautious children.
As for choosing a color, there shouldn’t be much debate since at the moment, our bikes come in only two colors, red or blue. Although, if you remember being a kid yourself, choosing between even these two colors can be a really big deal and navigating the color options will be key.
Show Them Our Blue Kids Bike
It’s easy to assume that choosing a color for your child’s smart trike balance bike will be simple. Boys will want a blue bike and girls won’t. Great - the decision is made. Well, that’s not always the case and it’s an important reason to show your child our the colors of our bikes before you buy one.
These days, it’s becoming more and more obvious that gender is much more of a social construct than a biological one. So, automatically choosing a blue bike for a boy may not be what they want. That’s not to say that boys never like blue; It’s a great color. We’re just saying when it comes to the color, let the child choose when it comes to their balance bike.
With a black base and blue accents on its handlebars, bearings, seat, and wheels, you really can’t go wrong with the simple design of this blue kids bike. It’s more of a light blue that both girls and boys seem to enjoy, and showing them first is the only way to find out what they prefer.
Then, Show Them Our Red Kids Bike
Now that your child has gotten a good look at our blue kids' bike, it’s time to show them the smart Trike 2 in 1 red running bike. With the same simple design, except in red, your kid might now be rethinking how much they loved the blue version.
A red balance bike is always a showstopper. When you think of classic bicycles, including both beach cruisers and speed bikes, often people will think of a shiny red frame. Boys and girls alike have been riding red bikes for decades and this is our no-pedal twist on the classic.
At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter which color your child chooses since they’re both timeless colors. In fact, let’s hope they can make up their minds at all. Once your kids do decide, treat them to a matching red or blue helmet with elbow and knee pads to really build up the anticipation. That way, they’ll be ready to go when their bike arrives.
With the color decided, let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.
Here It Is - Our One and Only Ultimate Guide for Buying a Balance Bike
When it comes to color, sure - let the kids decide. But once that’s settled, it’s time for the parents to step in to really make sure a smarTrike toddler bicycle is something they’re ready for. Not to worry! We’ve broken everything down to make it as easy as possible before you buy one for your tiny tot.
From weight limits to pedals to what the tires are made of, there is a lot to consider. What you’ll need to know before purchasing a toddler bike:
- Your child’s weight
- Your child’s height
- Your child’s inseam measurements (which we’ll explain in more detail)
- Your child’s age (which hopefully you already know)
From there, you’ll be able to make sure your kid meets all the appropriate requirements and are well and truly ready to embark on their first balance bike ride. To start things off, we’ll be talking about weight.
Check to See If The Bike is Lightweight
The last thing you want your toddler’s new bike to be is extremely heavy. While the craftsmanship should be sturdy and nothing should be falling apart, using heavy metals and thick rubber tires are the worst things for your little one lugging around. After all, they’ll be using their little bodies to move the bike, so naturally, you want them to be able to handle the load.
Luckily, you’ll find only lightweight materials used for our smarTrike toddler bike which, in total, weighs only 2.8 kg or 6.2 lbs. So that whether they’re walking it, pushing it, or gliding with it, children as young as two years old will be able to maneuver the balance bike with ease.
So, overall, when deciding on a push bike for your child, the first thing you’ll need to consider is whether or not the bike itself is lightweight. If it seems too heavy, it’s not the right choice.
What About the Seat Height?
Not only is the weight of the push bike important, but the seat height will be as well. It’s imperative that when your child is seated on the toddler bike that their feet comfortable touch the ground with a slight bend in the knee. That way, it will be easy to walk or push off the ground and learn to use the balance bike to, well… balance, of course.
One of the best things about smarTrike products is that they adjust and grow with your child and our push bike product is no different. The height of the adjustable seat on our bike ranges from 33.5 cm to 43 cm or 21.9” to 25.6”. With those ranges in mind, when you measure your child’s height, it will help you decide if our SmarTrike kids bike is a good option for your child’s size.
Keep reading and we’ll show you how to measure their inseam which will prove to be the most important measurement in deciding if your kid is tall enough or short enough to use our balance bike.
Don’t Forget That These Bikes for Toddlers Have Weight Limits
Once you understand how heavy and how high the toddler bike is, now you’ll have to actually check your child’s weight. There are certain weight restrictions when it comes to these products but in order to know if your kid is too big or too small, you need to know their measurements.
Of course, you can go out and buy a scale for your home but there are effective ways around this. Many supermarkets allow free use of a scale, so before you buy a balance bike you can measure your child’s weight the next time you do some grocery shopping. At your child’s next visit to the pediatrician, make note of the number on the scale. Plus, elementary schools often have a school nurse will surely let you use their scale.
The weight limit for our SmarTrike running bike is 23kg or 50lb. Because we swapped out heavy metals in order to create a lightweight product, we have to have a weight restriction. Sorry parents - that means it won’t be a good idea to take your kids new balance bike for a spin.
So, once your child outgrows their SmarTrike toddler bicycle, it’ll be time to upgrade to a heavier bike that can handle their additional weight.
Footrest - Do They Need It?
Another decision you’ll have to make before buying a new push bike is deciding whether or not your child requires a footrest.
While many of our smarTrike multi-functional products do include a footrest, our bike does not. Footrests are typically used with children who aren’t quite ready for this stage of bike riding yet.
Instead, you and your child may be more interested in our 3-in-1 and 4-in-1 toddler trikes. Best used in the stages before a balance bike, these trikes help little ones feel what it’s like to steer and be in control of moving forward. Since, like all smarTrike products, these trikes grow and adjust alongside your child’s skills, they move from parent-assisted to a footrest stage to a pedaling stage.
At that point, you can decide if your child is ready for the next step.
What About Pedals?
One thing you definitely won’t find with a balance bike is a pedal. In order to promote balancing skills while helping kids overcome fear and gain trust in themselves, we feel that it’s best for them to learn how to ride a bike by using our balance bike, a bike without pedals.
Much of the time, parents will start to teach their child to ride a bike by explaining how to use the pedals. While this is an important aspect of bike-riding, most children still tend to struggle with balance even when they master pedaling.
Eliminating the pedals altogether means there’s no chance of being distracted by them. Instead, the running bike is used to teach balance and steering separately from pedaling. Once they’re ready to pedal, it’ll be an easy addition to the skills they’ve already learned.
Long story short, a balance bike won’t have pedals. So, if your child isn’t ready for that next step, this won’t be the right bicycle for them.
Do They Need Brakes?
In addition to no footrest and no pedals, a running bike also won’t have brakes. Now, this might seem like a scary thought for some parents, but don’t fret!
Of course, you’ll always want to keep an eye on your young children when they’re riding their toddler bikes. For example, don’t let your kids take their brake-less bike down a large hill where things can go awry.
Basically, this is another thing you’ll have to decide if your child is ready for. To be clear, a balance bike without brakes is perfectly reasonable. Since there aren’t any mechanisms increasing the speed of the bike, like pedals with chains or a motor, it’s simply the power of your child’s legs propelling them forward. (As long as you avoid those hills!)
But, say you have a kid that’s really strong or perhaps their getting a little too old for their toddler bike. They might also have a rambunctious older sibling who likes to “help” by pushing them along. If this is the case, it could mean that your child is ready for a full-sized bike or that their sibling needs a time out.
How Old is Your Child?
Typically, the best age to use a balance bike is between the ages of two to five years old. Being a no pedal bike that grows with your child, it’s one of those purchases that will last a long time. The real decision-making comes into play if you’ve got an older child who might not get as much use out of it.
If your child is around age two, it might be more tempting to go ahead and purchase a running bike, especially with the smarTrike brand since it starts small and adjusts accordingly. In the first phase, the seat will only reach 33.5 cm or 21.9” off the ground so even the littlest legs can reach the ground.
Then, in the second phase, the exclusive flip frame goes from swooping downward to swooping upward, making the seat rise up to 43 cm or 25.6”. That’s almost 10 cm of growth. But, again, you’ll want to think about your child’s age before purchasing a balance bike because if they’re already almost too old for it, you won’t get as much value from the available smarTrike adjustments.
Flat Tires vs Air Tires
When it comes to little kids bikes, you may have never thought about how the tires could make a difference. Well, let’s just say, they do. Even if just for maintenance purposes, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of flat tires versus air tires.
In most cases, bikes will have air tires. You know the ones; You pump them up every so often in the garage with your dad and when flat, they’re really rather dangerous. Well, the smarTrike balance bike is made with EVA, air-less tires for a smooth ride, every time.
Because these tires won’t puncture, you won’t have to worry about your kid ever running into an unsafe situation where they have a flat tire while riding. It’ll give you peace of mind and it eliminates the need to spend extra time pumping up your tires.
Of course, in full-sized bikes, you’re more than likely be using air tires so it could be a good thing for kids to get used to it while riding a kids bike. But, in the learning stages of bike riding, we feel that the fewer obstacles kids have, the better. Let them focus on steering and balancing on their balance bike without worrying about anything else.
Still, at the end of the day, the choice is yours when it comes to which tires your child prefers.
One of the Most Important Things to Check - The Bearings
One of the most important things to double check and one thing that often gets overlooked on a baby balance bike is the bearings. Most people assume that because it’s not a full-sized bike, we’re dealing with that the bearings don’t matter. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The reality is, whether or no a bike has pedals has nothing to do with what bearings help with. Bearings that are sealed and fortified, usually with rubber, makes for a smoother ride and affect the speed at which the wheels rotate. So, even for a balance bike, check the bearings.
Beware - sealed bearings often cost more than those without rubber seals. When choosing a bike, the price could be a deciding factor. Of course, you’ll want your child to get the smoothest ride possible but that also depends on the cost of such a ride.
Again, eliminating obstacles caused by a jiggly ride might be the priority but you also might want to save the money for when it comes time to get your child a full-sized bike.
Handlebar Grips Are Also Important
Think back to when you measured the height of your child in relation to the seat height of our smarTrike balance bike. Well, with that in mind, another height consideration will come into play: the height of the handlebar.
Again, as with all SmarTrike products, it grows with your child. So, it wouldn’t really work if the seat adjusted but the handlebar didn’t. The adjustable handlebar ranges in height from 55.5 to 65cm or 21.9” to 25.6”.
Plus, the grips on its handlebars is also important to make your child feel safe and secure riding their new kids bike. Having a firm grip will ease their minds a bit. We also included knobs on the end of each handle on our balance bike to not only prevent hands from slipping away but to protect tiny fingers from potential falls. Since the knob will hit the floor first, this leaves space for the hands so that they won’t be squished.
How to Measure Your Child’s Inseam
When you go to get fitted for a suit, that awkward measurement the tailor takes from your crotch to the floor is the measurement of your inseam. This length will be important in deciding how tall your child’s new bike should be so that they can comfortably fit over the frame.
But, a squirmy little kid may not be the best when it comes to taking an accurate measurement for their balance bike. Thankfully, there is another easy way to measure your child’s inseam.
Have your child stand against a wall with a hardbound book (bound-side facing up) between their legs raised all the way up to their crotch. Press the book against the wall and let your child hop over so they can continue whatever they’d rather be doing.
With the book still in place, take a pencil and mark the spot on the wall where the binding sits. From there, you can use a normal tape measure to calculate the length from the floor to the pencil mark. Voila! You now know your child’s inseam. For a smarTrike push bike, their inseam should be at least 25.4 cm or 10”.
Is The Balance Bike Easy to Assemble?
One of the most annoying parts about being a young kid is waiting for something new to be assembled. We all know that feeling on Christmas morning, being stoked to unbox what you’ve always wanted, only to find your parents three hours later still trying to put it together.
It’s probably even more frustrating for the parents who are thinking, “Why did we not check to see if this was easy to assemble before we bought it?” Which leads us to our next point - make sure, before you buy a bike, that it will be easy to put together.
The good news is, a smarTrike balance bike arrives 90% assembled with its flip frame already attached to one of the wheels. Therefore, all you have to do is attach the second wheel, the seat, and the handlebar and you’ll be good to go. Don’t worry - we give you instructions and with such a simple design, your child will be riding in no time.