Balance bikes have long been popular in other countries and in Switzerland you’re unlikely to see a small child on anything but a pedal-free set of wheels and now the craze is finally spreading around the UK too.
For a toddler, learning to ride a bike can be a scary task, especially if they’re skipping the tricycle stage and going straight for a two-wheeler. But with a balance bike, that initial fear is taken away from them as they are able to push off with their legs and start pushing themselves along, stopping as easily as they started.
Balance bikes are a great way to build a tot’s confidence on two wheels and to harness their cycling skills. After a year or two on a balance bike, it won’t take them two minutes to master a set of pedals too.
Need more information? Check out our comprehensive guide to
buying your child’s first bike.
Have a flick through the gallery below to see a range of balance bikes available to purchase in the UK now.
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Wiggle Tour de France Pedal-Free Kids Bike, £34.99
Suitable for two to five year olds, the Wiggle Tour de France Pedal-Free kids bike is a brilliant and hugely affordable first bike for any toddler. The stable, wooden frame is light enough for little kids to manage but sturdy enough for it to survive a few tumbles. This bike doesn't have any brakes but riders are able to stop themselves simply by putting their feet flat on the ground. Steering has been limited to prevent kids from overturning and toppling over and the seat height can be adjusted.
The ideal starter bike for your toddler, Tadpole Balance Bikes are suitable for two to three year olds with a minimum inside leg measurement of 34cm. Available in spotty, red, orange or purple, children instantly fall in love with the Tadpole bike. The easy to grip Tektro brakes can be adjusted to suit smaller hands and the quick-release seat post enables you to raise the saddle as your child grows. The Tadpole also features a steering limiter to prevent kids from over-steering and toppling over. There is a reflector and bell included as standard too.
ST4 Strider Balance Bike, £84.99
The award winning ST4 Strider is suitable for tots as young as 18 months old. Strider's theory is: if they can walk, they can ride a balance bike. The saddle can be positioned extra low to further enable the smallest of children to ride it comfortably and safely and there is an integrated foot rest to help older riders getting used to having their feet off of the ground before they upgrade to a pedal bike.
Raleigh Sunbeam Skedaddle 12 Inch, £47.99
The Raleigh Sunbeam Skedaddle is the perfect balance bike for the kid who wants a bike that looks like the big kids' bikes. The Skedaddle features rear brakes so that riders can practice stopping mechanically rather than with their feet and the solid frame is designed to handle a few knocks and scrapes. Available in red or pink, the wheels and saddle are colour coordinated with the frame for a sleek finish.
Middi Kurve, £99.99
Not all children are taught to ride a bike when they are just a toddler, so Kiddimoto have designed a balance bike for older children too. The Middi Kurve is available in a dotty or Union Jack colour scheme and is suitable for children aged between six and twelve years old. Even if your child already has a basic grasp of cycling but struggles with balance or coordination, this balance bike could be a great way of building their confidence and improving these vital cycling skills.
LIKEaBIKE Wing, £199
A great second balance bike for two to five year olds, the LIKEaBIKE Wing has integrated footrests perfect for confident riders getting used to keeping their feet off the ground whilst they're whizzing downhill. The steering is still limited to prevent unnecessary toppling over and the tyres are made from pneumatic rubber so that the bike can be used indoors too - if the parents allow it.
HOY Napier 2014 Runner Bike, £110
The Hoy Napier 2014 Runner has been styled on the BMX bikes of Sir Chris Hoy's early BMX racing days. The bold yellow colour makes it easy for your child to be seen when out on their first set of wheels and the robust frame ensures that this little bike will stand the test of time. The saddle can be lowered or raised as necessary to suit children between two and four years old and there is a grab rail behind the saddle for carrying or for parents to give their tot that helping hand up a hill when their little legs are tired.
Classic 12:14 Wooden Bike, £120
Early Rider's flagship wooden bicycle, the Classic 12/14 has a traditional look and is available in natural wood, blue or pink. It's suitable for two to five year olds as a first balance bike and has a dual steering system for both restricted and unrestricted steering. This bike also has pneumatic rubber tyres to stop your floors getting marked if the kids want to have a go on it in the hallway.
12 Inch Avigo City, £29.99
A simply designed and hugely affordable bike, the 12" Avigo City in blue and white makes for an ideal first bike. There are no brakes as well as no pedals, so all children have to concentrate on is balancing and steering which they should be able to master in no time at all with this durable bike. The Avigo also features puncture proof EVA tyres so there shouldn't be any tyre disasters on your next family bike ride.
To find out more about any of the featured balance bikes or to purchase one right away, click on the corresponding link below.
Wiggle Tour de France Pedal-Free Kids Bike
ST4 Strider Balance Bike
Raleigh Sunbeam Skedaddle 12″ Kids Bike
HOY Napier 2014 Runner Bike
Classic 12/14 Wooden Bike
12 Inch Avigo City
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