boy with brushed edition littlebig bike

What Balance Bike is Right for my Child’s Age?

While age is a factor in deciding what type/size of balance bike to get, children are all unique and develop at different rates. So other factors have to be considered too, such as size, balance & coordination skills, special needs etc.

Some kids will happily pedal independently at 3 or 4 old, while others might take a bit longer to ride off into the sunset. It’s not uncommon for some kids to scoot along on their balance bikes until they’re 6, 7 or even older.

MTB with kids review the LittleBig bike
Two year old on a LittleBig balance bike at Bootleg Canyon, USA

What is the best age to start Riding a balance bike?

When a child is 2 years old old they are usually physically and developmentally ready to start riding a balance bike. But there are no hard and fast rules. If your child is 18 months old, and wants to try out a balance bike, there’s no reason to discourage them. They can hold the bike upright to support themselves, ring the bell, and get accustomed to it.

How To check if a Balance Bike Fits
Get your little one to sit on the saddle and hold the handlebars. With their shoes on, they should be able to reach the floor with the flat of their feet, or just slightly on the balls of their feet. 

Your child should be able to reach the handlebars comfortably without stretching forwards, or the bars being too cramped and close. Ideally your child will have a slight bend in the elbows and torso slightly leaning forwards.

How Long Will a balance bike last?

Most 10″ or 12″  balance bikes will last about one or two years. The small frame limits the amount of saddle adjustment and the potential age range. Balance bikes with 14″ wheels and larger frames will certainly last longer, about 3 to 5 years depending on the design and whether it’s convertible like the LittleBig bike.

What’s most important is to ensure that your bike is the correct size for your child, otherwise it will delay their cycling development and make it more difficult to learn.

boy riding pump track with littlebig bike

How long does it take to learn to ride a balance bike?

The child should begin balancing almost immediately long as they can walk and the bike is light and fits correctly. Some kids can take longer if they are’t as confident or have lower muscle tone, but they will surely get there in their own time. Kids will normally begin by walking with the bike, then can progress to striding and gliding with their feet up. The main reason I started LittleBig bikes was that I saw how intuitive balance bikes were for kids, there is very little “teaching” involved, kids will sort it out themselves.

How do you know kids are ready to begin pedalling

In order for kids to begin pedalling safely, they need to be:

  1. Confident balancing and turning with their feet up. They should ideally be able to glide along for 10 seconds or more. If they are able to glide, it will take away the urgency from learning to pedal. 
  2. Able to use the brakes to stop safely. While some balance bikes come without brakes, we recommend using a balance bike with brakes With a pedal bike, they won’t have their feet near enough to the ground to stop safely, so hand brakes (or back pedal brakes) are essential. 
  3. Fit their pedal bike correctly, with the balls of their feet on the ground while sitting in the saddle.

 Find out more on our post – How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Bike Confidently And Safely

We always recommend wearing a helmet while riding. While our two-year-old tester above loves his Lazer Peanut helmet, getting him to wear it with a big camera around was not going to happen, kids eh…..

Best balance bike for toddler (2 – 3 year old)?

There are many reasons why the LittleBig is one of the best balance bikes for a 2 or 3 year old:

  • Easy to assemble
  • High-quality materials
  • Choice of bright colours
  • Cool design your child will love
  • Chunky tyres allow a smooth, comfortable ride
  • Multiple levels of adjustment so you can adjust the bike as your child grows
  • Sustainable & eco-friendly. with reduced material waste and assurance of a long product life.

When choosing the best balance bike for a 2-3 year old child, you need to consider safety & stability, along with the aesthetic appeal. If your child doesn’t like how the bike looks, you’ll have a hard job getting them to try it out.

Our unique design achieves this balance. Your child will love riding the balance bike, while you’ll have the assurance of knowing it’s helping them learn to cycle easier and safer.

A balance bike will help your child improve their balance and coordination. It’s great exercise too, so will help with their overall physical development.

4 Year old on the LittleBig balance bike in big mode.

Best balance bike for 4 – 5 year old child?

The LittleBig balance bike in the “Big” mode will typically fit kids aged 4 or older. The rear of the frame can be flipped, converting the little balance bike into a bigger balance bike with a higher saddle and longer arm reach. If your child has been riding the LittleBig since the age of 2 or 3, flipping the frame will keep the familiar feel of the old bike while making it more comfortable to ride.
LittleBig bike with pedals
5 Year old rider on the LittleBig in pedal mode

Best Pedal Bike for 4-6 Year Old

The average age for learning to pedal a bike independently is around 4 – 6 years old. This is a broad age range, but as mentioned, all kids are different and will begin pedalling at different ages. Some kids are daredevils and hit the skatepark at age 3 (or younger!), while others still tip-toe along age 4 or 5. It’s best to let your child learn to ride in their own time with perhaps a little nudging to get them onto their pedal bike if needed. If your child is reluctant to begin pedalling, you may find this guide useful.

There is no need to rush into pedalling. If your little one is happy on the balance bike, that’s great! They are still developing their balance and coordination and the more confident they are on the balance bike, the more seamless the transition to pedalling will be.

LittleBig bike rider about to pedal for the first time
A little nudge from Daddy and off you go. ..

Usually, starting to pedal is the stage at which you’ll put aside the balance bike and have to buy a new pedal bike. Clearly this isn’t the most sustainable or budget-friendly solution.

Learning to pedal a different bike can be daunting for some children. If you’re tempted to add stabilisers to the new bike, you may end up causing more harm than good.

Fortunately, the LittleBig balance bike has a solution to this problem. When your child is ready to start pedalling, you can simply fix on the pedal kit. As your child is already familiar with the bike, they’ll be able to start pedalling independently far sooner than they would on a different bike.

At LittleBig bikes, we aim to give kids all the tools to start pedalling swiftly and safely. So hopefully by the time your little one has outgrown the LittleBig bike, he or she will already be a seasoned cyclist.

What Balance Bike would suit my child who has special needs?

It’s really hard to answer this question without knowing more about the child’s specific needs. But what we can say is that kids with special needs such as Autism, Dyspraxia and Down Syndrome will certainly benefit from the LittleBig’s Balance Bike for a child with special needs because of its unique design.

The growing frame will allow the child more time to get comfortable and confident on the bike. This means your child can learn to cycle at their own pace, without the bike feeling too small.

My first son has Autism and was 7 when he learned to get his balance on the LittleBig bike, and we had tried other bikes to no avail, my second son has Dyspraxia and learnt to cycle in 2 weeks using the bike, I lent it to a friend of mine with a boy with Autism and he also learnt to cycle using it and now its back to me and my youngest child is 4 tomorrow and we promised him we would put the pedals on it when he was 4, so its going to teach its fourth child how to cycle now, and its still in immaculate condition after 3 years. It's an amazing bike.

Tina, Ireland

Why LittleBig Is The Best Balance Bike For Kids Of Any Age

Here are the main reasons why we feel the LittleBig Balance Bike’s unique design and features make it the perfect choice for a child of any age:

Age of Child

Best Balance Bike for Child’s Age

Reason

2-3 years oldLittleBig Balance Bike (“Little” mode)Your child will love the look & feel of the bike. You’ll love the high quality engineering, longevity & sustainability.
4+ years oldLittleBig Balance Bike (“Big” mode)Unique design allows you to “flip” the rear frame so it has a higher saddle and longer arm reach. Kids can stay riding the balance bike mode as long as they wish, it’s great fun!
4-6 years oldLittleBig in “Pedal” mode)Just add the pedal attachment to convert the balance bike into a pedal bike. Your child will learn to pedal sooner and you’ll save money by not having to buy a new bike.
Child with special needsLittleBig Balance Bike (From “Little” to “Pedal” mode)The unique convertible design gives your child more time to learn to cycle on a comfortable and familiar bike.

Shop For Balance Bikes

Get €10 off your LittleBig bike

Round the world cyclist, mountain bike racer, engineer and all round bike geek, Simon Evans clearly loves all things BIKE.

Simon worked as a Structural Engineer in Cambridge for a number of years before setting off on an 18 month, 30,000km cycle around the world, testing his bike, body and mind to the limit and giving a wealth of wonderful experiences.

Coming home in 2010, he wanted to combine his engineering with his love of bikes to create a better and more sustainable bike for kids. In 2015 he launched LittleBig bikes which have now been sold to 77 countries around the world giving thousands of kids the best start on two wheels.

2 comments

  1. Mary McCarthy

    Hi My Daughter is 8 years old and has dyspraxia. She is 127cm tall and i wanted to enquire if any of your bikes would suit her.

    Thank You

    1. Hi Mary, the LittleBig is normally only for kids age 7 max but if you measure your daughter’s inseam you can gauge if the bike will work for her. You can see the full sizing guide here. Hope this helps, Simon

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