5 reasons why you shouldn’t use stabilisers on your kids bike

Stabilisers don't teach a child balance


I was recently down at the local BMX track and while I was chilling out between laps, a couple of kids started whizzing about on their bikes, or at least one of them did. You see, one of them was on a traditional pedal bike and the other was on a balance bike. While the guy on the balance bike had no trouble with the undulating and slippy gravel surface, his buddy kept toppling over, getting stuck on the humps and generally looked like a fish out of water. While the poor lad was very enthusiastic and just wanted to follow his friend, the issue was that he had stabilisers (AKA training wheels) fitted to his bike.

Why’s that so bad you ask? Here’s a few good reasons:

1 . Stabilisers don’t teach a child balance

The whole point of stabilisers is to support the child as they’re learning to pedal their bike. When the stabilisers are eventually removed, the child will not be able to balance independently because they have become used to their support. This is akin to giving a child crutches while learning they’re learning to walk – then taking them away. It really doesn’t make sense.

2 . Stabilisers make the bike less agile

Stabilisers prevent the natural lean of the bike while cornering which reduces the bike’s manoeuvrability. A bike steers by leaning and since the stabilisers hold the bike vertically, the rider can’t steer the bike as easily. You only need to look at the guys in the Moto Grand Prix to see how much the riders lean while in fast corners.

3. Stabilisers teach kids bad habits

Young boy riding his kids bike with stabilisers in the park. Before the stabilisers are removed completely, people often raise the stabilisers upwards to help the child develop their balance. With only one stabiliser on the ground, the bike will often lean the wrong way in a corner and jerk around as it tips from side to side. The child will naturally shift their weight the opposite way to counteract, something that will need to be re-trained as they progress to a normal bike.

4. Stabilisers can’t be used on uneven ground

Stabilisers will only keep the bike upright if they are on a flat, smooth surface. Gravel, rocky paths or soggy grass will cause the tiny plastic wheels to get stuck. Likewise, if the surface is banked to one side, the bike will easily topple over. This limits the terrain that your child can ride on and hinder their little adventures.

5….And lots of other drawbacks

Stabilisers add extra cost, weight and complexity. They’re also cumbersome, ugly, noisy and flimsy (one regularly bends more than the other so the bike leans more on one side). Once you’re finished with them they’ll go to landfill with all the other junk.

Stabiliser graduates still have to learn the primary skill – balancing – with a sudden transition from being supported to unsupported, which can result in wobbles, crashes and loss of confidence.

There is another way – Balance Bikes!

LittleBig bikes at the Enduro World Series in Ireland

By contrast, having learned to balance on the LittleBig balance bike, riders will develop their coordination & motor skills and make a seamless transition to pedalling. With the simple pedal attachment you don’t even need to change bikes, oh, and it grows too! Just ask Esther in the UK who wrote to us a little while ago…


…She’s been using it as a balance bike up until this evening when we decided to have the grand unveiling of the pedals – the result was instant. She hopped on and as we were explaining to her what to do we looked down and realised she wasn’t walking the bike along next to us…she was PEDALLING!

The LittleBig 3-in-1 balance bike to pedal bike for kids is available through our shop with worldwide delivery available. Use the coupon code – stabilisers – at the checkout for €10 0ff your LittleBig bike. LittleBig bike as a balance bike and pedal bike

customer  reviews

By |2018-04-11T15:40:47+00:00July 8th, 2016|Learning|


  1. Stella Mary September 8, 2018 at 10:51 am - Reply

    Awesome post. We parents usually think that the toddlers learn the balance with the stabilizers but this does not look correct. Thank you for the thoughtful post. Helps to think the other side of stabilizers.

  2. Pat Horridge September 13, 2018 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Stabilizers are fine if used correctly. Set to be just off the ground they only work while teaching balance on straight runs. Not off road or doing cornering. Just session with an adult following encourage them to peddle and keep the stablizers off the ground. A few sessions and then they come off. Or run behind holding them!

  3. Iain Findlay-Walsh September 14, 2018 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Kids learn in different ways and like different routes into stuff. There are pros and cons to balance bikes and stablisers.

  4. David Davis December 10, 2018 at 11:18 am - Reply

    Stabilisers are good as they let the child learn how to start off from standstill on the peddles, practice using the brakes (instead of their feet) and how to turn while their feet are off the ground.

    • Simon Evans December 10, 2018 at 3:49 pm - Reply

      Indeed it’s good that they can learn to practice using the pedals. However you can practice using brakes on a balance bike too (the ones with brakes like the LittleBig). Turning is a different matter though as the bike leans the wrong way in a corner as the weight goes to the outside stabiliser. This teaches them the incorrect cornering technique.

Leave A Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Free delivery in the UK & Ireland*, we deliver worldwide too. Call us: +353 404 78 104 Dismiss

This site uses cookies. View our cookie and privacy policy

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.