Kids as young as one year old can start cruising on a two-wheeler thanks to toddler 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.
My 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! This is hands-down, one of our favorite toddler activities.
We’ve gone through all the many choices for you and narrowed it down to these high quality, best balance bikes for one year olds through kids 4-years-old and older across a range of the post trusted brands so you can choose the right bike. These are a forever-favorite toddler toy or gift.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, balance bikes are a safe bike option if they are the appropriate size for the height of the child, used with a helmet, and used with parental supervision. They use their feet as brakes, so they’re a great first bike for little riders.
The Kinderfeets balance bike and the Woom balance bike can be used at about a year and a half as a baby balance bike. It will depend on the height of the child and the height of the balance bike. Both have wheels with nice traction so they are stable options.
A balance bike can help a toddler learn how to balance on a bike, which can help them skip the need for training wheels and go straight to riding a bike with pedals. It can also be a safe way for them to ride a bike on their own from an early age.
No, it can be a great age since they are likely still too small for a regular bike and it can help them practice their balance to make the eventual transition to a regular bike smooth and easy.
Best Starter Toddler Balance Bike: Kinderfeets Tiny Tot 2-in-1 Bike
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—it’s a 2-in-1 version.
This means that it starts out as a tricycle balance bike for ages 12 months and up with two rear wheels and then can be converted to a two-wheeler once your child is ready. It has plenty of traction and you can use the minimum seat height for younger riders and then adjust it up for taller toddlers. You can even move the handlebar height.
Oh, and the price? It’s under $100. Which is pretty reasonable for a large wooden toy that lasts for years and comes with serious ease of assembly! (Pictured at top of the post.)
Best Strider Bike: Strider 12-inch Classic Balance Bike
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 for older toddlers!), 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 with a simple design at just over $100 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
If you’re a Stan of icon red Radio Flyer gear, you won’t be disappointed by their balance bike option. The bicycle 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 and it’s less than $50.
Budget Balance Bike for Kids Age 3-5: Yvolution Y Velo Senior
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 priced under $70. It’s lightweight frame and adjustable everything…but is slightly larger than many other versions with a long wheelbase. Also the bright-colored tires are super fun, and “puncture proof” to help avoid flats.
Best Toddler Balance Bike with Fold-Out Pedals: Little Tikes My First Balance-to-Pedal Bike
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 for older riders. It also has an adjustable seat and handlebars for maximum comfort, and foam tires to help you avoid flats.
It’s still under $70 and is a super fun color too.
I’d love to hear your feedback on this, so please comment below!
This post was first posted October 2020.