Our son had no interest in learning how to pedal a bike. We tried to encourage him but he just didn’t care! So when we heard about the concept of a balance bike, we wondered if it might be a better fit for him than a traditional bicycle. Read on for information about the pros and cons of a balance bike, plus photos and a demo video with Kiddo and I!

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I guess I’m not a cool hip mom because I hadn’t heard of a balance bike until my husband brought it up about six months ago. The concept is pretty cool: you push yourself like on a scooter, but while sitting down on a bike. No pedals, no brakes. Handlebars help you steer, and you’re good to go!

Our son loves his scooter; however, he never wanted to practice pedaling his tricycle. It sits in the garage waiting for him (or his little sister) to find inspiration one day.

What Is a Balance Bike? - Real Simple Mama image toy pedal kid child

What Is a Balance Bike?

A balance bike is a bicycle minus the pedals, gears, and chains. You sit on the seat like on a bike, and steer with the handlebars; but you move forward by spotting with your feet on the ground. Think of a sit-down, two-footed scooter and you have the right idea.

It’s called a “balance bike” because you must work on your balance in order to stay upright! Propelling yourself forward erratically, or not steering well, will result in you falling over.

What’s Great

This bike is great for casual riding. It still gets my son a workout, and he can go pretty fast! I like that he’s working on hand-eye coordination because he has to steer where he wants to go, and I’m sure his core muscles are getting a workout too.

The bike also has footrests up on the main frame in case you become an expert and can lift up your feet for seconds at a time.

The bike has done well indoors, outdoors on pavement, and even on watery paths. As you can see in some of our photos, it’s made a trip to the beach with us. Other than turning it over to get the saltwater out of the frame, it held up amazingly well – no rust, no stuck parts.

What Is A Balance Bike? - Real Simple Mama image no pedals

What’s Not So Great

The only thing I don’t really like is that my son isn’t getting the “pedaling” skills required to ride a real bicycle. Like I mentioned earlier, he wasn’t too interested in that anyway; still, my mama heart would like him to learn before he’s 30!

Plus, as you can see from the video below, you really have to focus on two things: pushing with your feet while steering. My son tends to look down towards his feet so then he topples over, but he’s getting better about keeping steady!

And just as an fyi, I haven’t seen any balance bikes that come with training wheels, so your child must have a certain amount of coordination and dexterity. (Some of the bikes listed on Amazon say they’re good for kids 1.5 years old … I just laugh at them.)

Some Suggestions

If you’re looking to buy a balance bike, here are a few things to remember:

Make sure your child wears safety gear: at minimum, a helmet adjusted to the right size. This is the one my son picked out!

Look for a balance bike that has the adjustable seat height, because kids grow fast.

Make sure that it meets the weight limit for your child. Our bike is good until our child is 55 pounds.

And of course, always supervise your child!

What Is a Balance Bike? - Real Simple Mama warning label bicycle

Balance bikes can get pretty darn expensive. The one we have by Cycling Deal isn’t a big name brand, and it’s worked beautifully. And it was $50!!! So don’t feel like you have to drop $200+ to get a bike that will suit your child’s needs. (That’s why I’m not hyping a particular brand here.)

There you have it! Now you should have a great idea of what exactly a balance bike even is, and if one would be a great present for your child. I hope my honest breakdown and photos have been helpful to you; additionally, Kiddo and I did a video demo for you which you can see below!

Happy riding, and let me know what your kid thinks of their balance bike in the comments!