What are Balance Bikes?

This alternative to training wheels might be easier for your kid to learn how to ride independently.

Young man walking by his little son in safety helmet and casualwear riding balance bicycle along wide road in park while enjoying chill at leisure

Many parents look forward to the day they can share their love of cycling with their children. They patiently wait until about their third birthday to invest in a tricycle or training wheels.

But what if there was a way to get your child riding sooner? This is where balance bicycles come into play. They’re relatively new to the cycling community and it’s a great way to get your kid on a bike, right by your side.

What’s in this article?

Rear view of young father running after his little son in safety helmet and casualwear while teaching him how to ride balance bicycle in park

What is a balance bicycle?

A balance bike, also known as a run bike, is a bicycle for kids to learn how to ride properly. They’re usually small in size and don’t have any foot pedals, chains, gear shifters, or freewheels — and children can start practicing around 1.5 years old.

Because balance bikes don’t have any pedals, children first focus on how to balance and steer — instead of pedal. This makes for an easier transition into independent cycling on a two-wheeler when the child is old enough.

Plus, parents can take their tikes on dirt trails because balance bikes are lightweight and don’t need a perfectly even surface to ride.

Little girl riding a tricycle

Balance bikes vs. training wheels

Many adult cyclists grew up learning how to ride with training wheels, or on a tricycle. So how are balance bicycles different from training wheels? Let’s explore!

Training wheels

  • Have three to four wheels, and pedals
  • Usually are too big (and heavy) for smaller children
  • Need an even, paved surface to ride
  • Focuses more on pedaling than balance and steering
  • Usually, have smaller wheels made of plastic

Balance bicycles

  • Have two wheels, and no pedals
  • Are lightweight and smaller to fit children of all sizes
  • Don’t require an even or paved surface to ride
  • Focuses more on balance and steering than pedaling
  • Usually have slightly larger wheels made from real bike tires

Training wheels may be a great way to introduce your child to the world of cycling, but balance bikes may give them more independence and put them on a fast track to a two-wheeler pedal bike.

More resources for parents and kids

If you’ve invested in a bicycle for your child, no matter their age, you might want to consider a bicycle insurance policy. When bikes go missing or get damaged on a ride, an insurance policy can help you recover the cost of fixes or a new bicycle.

We offer policies starting at just $100 a year — and quotes are instant, free, and easy. Get an instant bicycle insurance quote now!

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