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Choosing the right balance bike for your toddler

Comment choisir LE vélo d'équilibre pour VOTRE enfant

Choosing the ideal toy for your child can often seem like a real headache. As parents, you not only want your children to have fun, but also to acquire essential skills for their overall development.

This is where the balance bike makes its grand entrance!

From the age of 18 months, children are ready to embark on the thrilling adventure of cycling. The balance bike, designed to facilitate this first encounter with the world on wheels in the open air, allows them to learn to maintain their balance in complete safety... but above all with a lot of fun!

First, what is a balance bike?

The balance bike, also known as a balance bike or bike-trotter, is a bike designed to teach children to balance with a view to eventually transitioning to a traditional bike.

A balance bike consists of a frame, two wheels and a handlebar. Children can move around by pushing off the ground with their feet, giving them a feeling of confidence and stability.

Why choose a balance bike?

Advantages and benefits for children

Balance bikes offer many benefits, including:

Improve Balance and Coordination - By using their feet to move, children learn to manage their center of gravity, which will help them maintain their balance on a traditional bicycle. Additionally, they will improve their coordination by using their hands to steer the handlebars.

Build Muscles and Confidence – By moving across the floor with their feet, they work their legs and core muscles. This will help them develop strength and stability. Additionally, standing on the bike and steering it will help them feel more confident in their ability to learn to ride a bike.

Safe and easy to use - As they are designed to be used on the floor, children can learn to use them safely. Additionally, they are lightweight and easy to maneuver, making them ideal for children of all ages.

Outdoor Active Play - We're big fans of toys that make kids want to be outside, especially those that encourage them to be active!

How to choose the right balance bike for your child?

How to choose the right balance bike? It's simple. Once seated comfortably in the saddle, the child should adequately touch the ground with feet flat. Additionally, the child should be able to turn the handlebars of the balance bike easily without letting go of the ends.

You must still keep in mind that the contact points on the balance bike, namely the handlebars and the seat post, are adjustable to accommodate the child's growth.

From what age to start riding a balance bike?

The short answer: Can your child walk, and do so confidently? Then he most likely can start riding a balance bike!

Generally, balance bikes are designed for children as young as 18 months, as we believe that children under 2 years old are too small to navigate the bike and learn to balance.

Kids can start with 3-wheel models, basically tricycles, to get used to the bike, and when they feel ready, convert it to a 2-wheel so they can start working on their balance skills.

Important criteria when choosing a balance bike

  • Adjustable saddle height : preferred so that the balance bike is always well suited to the child and so that he can use it for a long time.
  • The seat should be low and close to the rear tire to aid balance. A high, poorly designed seat can shift your child's center of gravity.
  • Your child's feet should be able to easily reach and move away from the ground (especially important for the running phase as well as stopping).
  • Inflatable tires: for outdoor walks, rubber tires are preferred: they offer better grip (and therefore increased safety) and a smoother ride, especially when driving on rough or uneven surfaces (asphalt, gravel, etc.).
  • Comfortable handles: Rides are more pleasant when you are well seated! Silicone or foam handles are preferred for the comfort of little hands. This allows for a better grip, and therefore more safety for the child. Silicone handles are also easy to maintain and will be less likely to be damaged during a fall. They also prevent the balance bike from slipping and falling when leaning against a wall, for example.
  • Maximum recommended weight: Depending on the materials used, not all balance bikes support the same weight. Just like height, a child's weight can vary enormously depending on their age. Whether you opt for a wooden balance bike or a metal balance bike, it is important to consult the maximum weight that the balance bike can support: and of course, only one child on the balance bike at a time!
  • Weight of the bike: After a few meters, your little adventurer prefers to walk or climb... What should you do with your balance bike in this case? Carrying it is the only option for parents who are often already busy. An important criterion, especially for parents, the weight of the balance bike must be taken into account so that family walks do not turn into challenges. Also, the heavier the balance bike, the more difficult it will be for the child to maneuver.

Balance bikes intended for children under 3 years old have a particularity in terms of tires: you will not find valve caps like on a classic bike. As this cap is considered a small part with a risk of ingestion, age standards apply here. This in no way interferes with the inflation of the balance bike tires, but it may surprise some experienced cyclists!

Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike

And what about the brakes?

If you are looking for a balance bike with a brake, be aware that this is not something that is found on balance bikes in general.

In fact, the child will rather use his feet to slow down when using his balance bike. This is precisely intended to help it control its speed and trajectory, among other things. The presence of brakes would harm this learning: on a balance bike, the child learns to control all the parameters himself and just like propulsion, stopping is one of the skills he will learn to master.

Learning the principle of braking and its use will rather be done when switching to a bicycle.

Our advice for making the right choice

Choose a lightweight bike

It is recommended that the bike does not make more than 30% of your child's weight. Keep in mind that the heavier the bike, the more difficult it will be for the child to maneuver.

In addition, you will probably have to carry the balance bike when your little one is too tired on the way back :)

Choosing the Right Balance Bike

Opt for a balance bike adapted to the child's size

Of course, it's possible to ride a bike that's too tall, but finding balance on a balance bike that's too high may be too much of a challenge for a child riding a balance bike for the very first time. It could even discourage him or completely distract him from the activity!

While riding a bike that's a little too big may be manageable, riding a balance bike to get on is a different story: your child must be comfortable in the saddle, with legs semi-flexed. The idea is to allow him to put his feet on the ground to stabilize his bike. Therefore, the child's size, and especially his crotch, must be considered carefully.

The most common baby bikes have 12" wheels and require an internal leg length of approximately 32 cm. As balance bike models can vary, it is essential to measure your child's leg length before making your choice.

Choose a convertible bike model

Very often, wooden balance bikes allow good scalability and allow the child to be followed from the first steps around 1 year old until the age of 5 when he or she will be ready for the transition to a pedal bike.

* * *

Balance bikes are a great choice for parents looking to help their children develop balance, coordination, confidence and muscles. They are safe, easy to use and fun for children of all ages.

If you are looking for a toy that will help your child learn important new skills, a balance bike will always be a wise choice that is sure to make people happy!

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