Balance Bike or Tricycle? The Answer May Surprise You!

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Balance Bike or Tricycle? The Answer May Surprise You!

November 14, 2019
posted by Chelsea Lavin

One of the joys of childhood is the sense of freedom that comes along with learning to ride a bike. At Radio Flyer, we recognize the importance of preparing your little ones who are ready to ride for this next stage. As a parent, you may be asking yourself what is the best way to prepare my child for independent 2-wheel riding, a balance bike or a tricycle? Believe it or not, the answer is both!


Tricycles use three wheels to create a stable base before little ones can balance. By reducing their need to balance, little ones can focus on learning to pedal on three wheels. Balance bikes play a complimentary role in preparing kids for independent 2-wheel riding. Instead of pedaling, balance bikes emphasize the gross motor skills of balance and steering. By removing the pedals from a classic bike frame, balance bikes keep feet in contact with the ground and provide a sense of security for little ones.


What do these two rides have in common? They both teach critical elements of learning to ride a 2-wheel bike. Introducing both vehicles allows the isolation of two critical skills of bike riding – pedaling and balance. Once your little one masters these two skills, they will be ready to transition to a 2-wheeler - no training wheels needed!


So, balance bike or tricycle? Our answer is first tricycle, then balance bike! Using both vehicles in a staged approach will help your child learn both how to pedal and balance. This strategy will pave the way for a fast and smooth transition to two wheel independent bike riding. When should you transition from tricycle to balance bike? It depends on your unique child. Little riders enjoy using our balance bikes between ages 2½ and 5, so once your child is comfortable with pedaling their tricycle, it may be time to start riding a balance bike.


Check out our selection of tricycles and balance bikes to get your little one started!