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Balance Bike Comparision

 

Selecting a Balance Bike

 

Turner Toys is a big fan of Balance Bikes and we believe that they are the best way for toddlers to learn to ride a 2 wheeler.  Balance Bikes make learning to ride a bicycle as natural as crawling, walking, and running.  Sitting comfortably on the adjustable-height seat, your child is having too much fun to realize
he or she is rapidly developing superior balance, reflexes, and coordination that will make the transition to a pedal bicycle easy.  Since they are less than a generation old most parents are not familiar with them.  This article explains why they work so well for teaching toddlers to balance first, suggests age recommendations and gives our picks of what we feel are the best Balance Bikes out there.

 

Balance Bikes let the rider learn balance first, pedaling last. With a pedal-equipped bicycle fitted with training wheels, the rider learns to pedal first, balance last. Although opinions differ regarding which learning sequence is easier for most riders, it is generally agreed that a bicycle with pedals is too difficult for most very young children and that training wheels may encourage the rider to learn some bad habits which later must be unlearned. Training wheels actually make the bike unstable and hard to control! To function properly, a balance bicycle must be small enough that the rider can walk the bicycle while sitting comfortably in the saddle, putting both feet flat on the ground. The rider first walks the bicycle while standing over the saddle, then while sitting in the saddle. Eventually, the rider feels comfortable enough to run and “scoot” while riding the bicycle, then to lift both feet off the ground and cruise while balancing on the two wheels.

 

Teaching a child to ride a bike with training wheels requires a high level of hands on parent involvement.  The opposite is true with balance bikes.  Teaching or coaching “how to ride” is counter-productive -introduce it, explain it, then allow them to figure it out and progress with it entirely at their own pace! At most, watching an older child demonstrate it may be helpful.

 

Age recommendation: 2 to 5 years.   A child is ready as soon as he or she is walking and running confidently with good balance and coordination, and can place his or her heels on the ground while sitting on the seat with knees slightly flexed.  A few children from age 18 months to 30 months may be a little too short to do this. 

 

Turnertoys recommends the KaZam, Kettler and the Kinderbike  balance bicycles.
After obtaining and testing samples of many of the wood and metal balance bikes available we have concluded that:

 

1. The metal bikes are far superior in function and durability to the wooden bikes.
2. The KaZam, Kettler and Kinderbike models have the best combination of quality of construction, finish, and child-friendly design of any of the metal bikes.
3. Pnuematic (air filled) tires are the best option for balance bikes.

 

The KaZam Balance Bike
 

Seat height range of 14.0″ – 17″ – Weight 11 lbs
1. Molded saddle with raised rear portion to keep kids positioned correctly on the bike. Seat adjusts for height using quick release – no tools required for height adjustments.
2. Handlebar can be adjusted for height and tilt angle.
3. All-steel and heavy polyethylene construction survives roughest use for many years.
4. Patented frame design includes a step in foot rest to encourage kids to get their feet off the ground.
5. No brake is included. Most kids at this age do not have the hand strength to use a brake and they can always put their feet down to slow or stop themselves.
6. Headset uses ball bearings instead of plastic bushings for great durability and longer life

 

The Kettler Balance Bike
 

Seat height range of 13.5″ – 17.5″ – Weight 12 lbs
1. Comfortable padded saddle, adjusts for tilt angle and height.
2. Patented device limits steering angle to prevent spills caused by jack-knifing when standing still. This does not affect natural steering at full speed
3. All-steel and heavy polyethylene construction survives roughest use for many years.
4. Front mud-guard keeps things cleaner when little stunt riders blast through the puddles. Kickstand is a nice added touch.
5. Steering column alignment is automatically straight, never needs adjustment.
6. Enclosed, adjustable hand-operated disc brake resists impact, dirt, water.

 

The Kinderbike Laufrad & Laufrad Mini
 

Seat height range of 12″ – 16″– Weight  10 lbs
1. Easy, 5-minute assembly with included Allen wrenches.
2. Lightweight, rust-proof high-strength aluminum frame and steel mechanical parts. Limited Lifetime warranty on frame!
3. Cam-action headset is same on “real” bikes, allows easy and quick adjustment.
4. Accessories include handlebar bell and front reflector.
5. Comfortable padded seat adjusts for tilt and height.
6. Caliper rear-wheel hand brake is easy for toddlers to use, provides safe, positive stopping, is also easy to adjust.
7. Handlebar can be adjusted for height and tilt angle.

 

A Balance Bike is one of the most important toy purchase decisions you can make for your young child.
It will reward him or her with enhanced early motor development and the foundations of a strong sense of physical confidence. And of course, lots of healthy, outdoor fun!