Kids as young as one year old can start cruising on a two-wheeler thanks to balance bikes, which are quickly becoming a super-popular first-bike choice for kids. Here are the best toddler balance bike options in a variety of materials and price-points.
Toddler Balance Bikes
Balance bikes are, quite simply, small bikes that don’t have pedals. Kids as young as two—or even younger, if you opt for a tricycle version!—ride them by pushing off with their feet and then gliding (almost like a seated scooter). These are a great first-bike option because they really teach kids to balance (hence the name, of course!), as opposed to a traditional two-wheeler with training wheels that can be clunky and act as a crutch. There’s little doubt that they’re becoming super popular, since there are now tons (and tons!) of options to choose from.
Amy’s middle kiddo started using a balance bike when she was two and was riding a regular two wheeler before she turned four. It was clear that the skills she learned using the balance bike helped her take off on the regular one as soon as she was big enough!
We’ve gone through all the many choices for you and narrowed it down to these best picks across a range of the post trusted brands.
Best Starter Balance Bike: Kinderfeets Tiny Tot 2-in-1 Bike, $79
There’s really a lot to love here! First of all, this gorgeous bike is made from sturdy birchwood and features eco-friendly handlebar grips and non-toxic paint. Plus—and this is a big plus if you have a one year old who loves bikes like Amy’s little—it’s a 2-in-1 version which means it starts out as a tricycle balance bike for ages 12 months and up and then can be converted to a two-wheeler once your child is ready. Oh, and that price? Pretty reasonable for a large wooden toy! (Pictured at top of the post.)
Buy the Kinderfeets Tiny Tot 2-in-1 Bike
Best Strider Bike: Strider 12-inch Classic Balance Bike, $89.99
Strider is probably the best known balance bike brand. This model, which is a perfect starter option for some kids as young as 18 months (depending on their size—it was too hard for my 20 month to use when we tried it but I could see it being great in a few months!), is super light weight and has a fully adjustable seat height that makes it easy for little kids to maneuver. It’s also their most affordable bike and comes in four bright, fun colors. (They also make one that’s adjustable up to age 5.)
Best Classic Balance Bike: Radio Flyer Balance Bike Glide & Go, $47.62
If you’re a Stan of icon red Radio Flyer gear, you won’t be disappointed by their balance bike option. The bike features upgraded tires that will help keep your kiddo stable, and the seat is fully adjustable (with no tools needed). Plus, the handlebar bell is the perfect finishing touch!
Budget Balance Bike for Kids Age 3-5: Yvolution Y Velo Senior, $49.97
The Y Velo Senior bike is the next-step-up from this brand’s popular Y Velo Junior bike, and the perfect step-up for a slightly older toddler or one who has already mastered a smaller balance bike. It has everything you want in a balance bike: lightweight frame and adjustable everything…but is slightly larger than many other versions. Also the bright-colored tires are super fun, and “puncture proof” to help avoid flats.
Buy the Yvolution Y Velo Senior
Best Balance Bike with Fold-Out Pedals: Little Tikes My First Balance-to-Pedal Bike, $69.99
This toddler bike is really the best of both worlds. Your kids can use it as a balance bike at first and then you can simply fold down the pedals to use it as a traditional two-wheeler later on. It also has an adjustable seat and handlebars, and foam-filled tires to help you avoid flats.