While age is a factor in deciding what balance bike to get, children are all unique and develop at different rates. Other factors have to be considered too, such as coordination, strength, size, special need.
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.
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 Your Child
To check if the balance bike size is right for your child, 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.
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.
If you want to buy a bike and check it fits first, measure your child’s inside leg length and ensure it’s within the minimum and maximum saddle height range.
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. 14 inch balance bikes have bigger wheels and frames and will last 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 the balance bike size is perfect for your child, otherwise it will delay their cycling development and make it more difficult to learn.
How long does it take to learn to ride a balance bike?
The child should begin balancing almost immediately as long as they can already walk and they are on a light bike that fits them correctly. Some kids can take longer than others if perhaps they aren’t as confident or maybe not as strong, 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 if kids are ready to begin pedalling?
In order for kids to begin pedalling safely, they need to be:
- 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.
- 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.
- Fit their pedal bike correctly, with the 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
What Is The Best balance bike for 2 – 3 year old Toddler?
There are many reasons why the LittleBig is one of the best balance bikes for a 2 or 3 year old toddler:
- Growing design means it’s with them on the whole of their learn-to-ride journey.
- Lightweight high-quality materials, it’s built to last.
- Cool design and bright colours your child will love
- Chunky tyres and smooth rolling wheels allow a smooth, comfortable ride
- Sustainable & eco-friendly. with reduced material waste and assurance of a long product life.
When choosing the best balance bike for a 2 year old child, you need to consider safety & stability, along with the aesthetic appeal. 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.
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.
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 our guide on how to teach a child to ride a bike confidently and safely 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.
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. We wrote more on this in our post 10 reasons not to use stabilisers on your kids bike.
Fortunately, the LittleBig has a solution to this problem. As it’s a balance bike with pedals, when your child is ready to start pedalling, you can simply fix on the pedal kit. Since 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.
Best 14 Inch Balance Bike For Taller or Older Kids
While the vast majority of balance bikes have 12 inch wheels, there are some 14 inch balance bikes that are suited to older kids. In most cases, the frame is scaled up in relation to the wheels so the handlebar reach and saddle height will suit the taller riders. In the case of the LittleBig bike, the frame itself grows so while it has 14 inch wheels, the starting size is more akin to a 12 inch balance bike, and in big mode its more like a 16 inch bike.
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.
What Balance Bike has the Longest Age Range?
With a typical age range of 2-6 years, the LittleBig’s unique growing frame means it will fit your child for longer than normal balance bikes which will usually be outgrown in 2-3 years.
Age of Child
Best Balance Bike for Child’s Age
|2-3 years old||LittleBig 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 old||LittleBig 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 old||LittleBig 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 needs||LittleBig 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.|
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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.