But you don’t have to start here. Anytime you can get your kid on a ride-on toy; you are one step closer to helping them establish their balance, dexterity, and independence.
For most of us, the bicycle was the first skill we ever mastered that gave us freedom from mom and dad. And it was also one of the first sports we enjoyed as a family. We all have those memories of enjoyable family walks where mom and dad yelled at us to “not get too far ahead.”
We want to help kids experience that at the earliest age possible.
All too often, the ride-on toys available are too big, too cheaply made and too awkward for kids to like them. They are perfect for creating a series of home videos of your kid falling off the toy as it tips over. And that is about it.
The Tricycle is a much maligned little toy. Unlike the radio flyer trikes that my grandfather had in his garage, the trikes of today are heavy, squeaky and poorly made — if you are lucky. Too many kids are handed plastic pieces of crap with slick tires that can barely pedal downhill.
That aside, a good quality tricycle is still one of the best initial investments that you can offer your kid. It gives them a faster form of transportation than the scoot toys that they have used up to this point and enables you to take them on small walks around this city block.
It also teaches them the essential skills of pedaling (something a balance bike fails at).
By purchasing a small enough balance bike, your kid can start riding as young as two years old. The trick is that they must be allowed to progress on their own time. Introduce them to the bike. Show them how to play with it, but don’t push them.
If the bike is small enough and light enough, they’ll find their way, given the opportunity.
The balance bike is not something that you want to try to buy with a one-size-fits-all. They will use one from age 2 to 4, and then you’ll likely need a second, larger, model to get them to their first “real” bike (typically a 12″to 16″ size).
Of course, this will vary from kid to kid. A kid who tends to stay smaller might get by with just one balance bike.
The important consideration is to get a lightweight model with wheels that both grip the ground and spin freely. Even if it isn’t the most expensive model. Longevity isn’t as important right now as it will be on some of the pedal bikes you buy for them. So you can cut corners here, so long as it is a lightweight model they can handle confidently.
You probably see me harping on the weight. Weight is “make or break.” Ideally, the model will weigh less than 30% of your child. Any more than that and it can be hard for the kid to manage.
When it comes to pedal bikes, you have several options. Even if your child mastered the balance bike, it is not uncommon for them to still need training wheels for at least a short period.
16-inch bikes are a pretty common option for the next step as your kid graduates from the balance bike. The 16 inch is smaller than the 20-inch and is small enough for most 4-5-year-olds to handle.
If you can give them enough opportunity to ride, they should be able to get free of their training wheels before you move them up to the 20-inch model.
The nice thing about a 20-inch bike is that there are many more options. You can get a bike with multiple gears and shocks for the family that enjoys off-road riding. Or you can get a road bike to train them for their future career in the Tour de France.
The 20-inch bike is the first bike that you must take seriously. If you do this one right, it should last them for a couple of years of endless fun.
You’ll see that we import several bikes from China. These take a little while to ship to you, but we can save you a lot of money on this direct to consumer business model.
Since these balance bikes are so simple, repairs are also easy to manage. Should you have any problems with your bike, just fill out this contact form.
Our goal is to help kids capture this beautiful moment of their lives. Balance bikes can be affordable. It is our job to get them to a better price point.
We want you to have an experience that you will tell your friends about.
Vilano Balance Bike Review
We’ve been seeing Vilano a lot on the list of road bikes and track bikes for college kids who want to commute. They are robust, well-built machines that hold up to the daily use of the busy cyclist.
So it was a pleasure to realize that they had started making balance bikes for kids.
Vilano’s balance bikes are very sleek and lightweight, and offer a wide array of colors to choose from.
I’m partial to the purple, but they also have a bright, lime green for those who want those bright colors and a more subdued blue. The available colors change regularly, so keep an eye out for the most recent lineup.
They sell through Amazon with 2-day shipping. We have applied to be vendors, so, when we get it, we will add their bikes to our site as well.