Best Age for Balance Bikes

Our Blog: Word on the Sidewalk

Best Age for Balance Bikes

January 14, 2020
posted by Chelsea Lavin

Balance bikes are quickly taking over as one of the most popular beginner bikes for younger children. When eager and active toddlers feel the need for speed, a balance bike is the perfect tool for expending that pent-up energy while also helping to prepare kids for 2-wheel pedal bikes.

 

What is the best age for a balance bike?

We recommend using Radio Flyer balance bikes between ages 2 ½-5. Depending on the age of your little one, there are different skills you can focus on when they use their balance bike. While these guidelines are a helpful reference, the best age and timing to master each stage depends on your unique child and their comfort level. We’ve broken down the 4 stages of riding below!

 

  

1. Stand & Walk – Typically Begins Between Ages 2-3

The first way your child will explore a balance bike is by standing with one leg on each side of the frame and walking it around. They may only walk it a few feet or may find it fun to walk around the block! This will get them comfortable with the balance bike and set them up for success.

Depending on the age of your child, this stage may last the longest since it has the largest learning curve as they become familiar with the bike frame and moving with it. The younger the child, the longer this stage may last. Allow them to walk on the bike as long as they need to.

 

  

2. Sit & Walk – Typically Begins Between Ages 2-3

This stage may teeter the line with the stand and walk stage. Even as little ones get used to sitting on the bike seat, they still may want to walk the bike from time to time – that’s ok! This stage can build their excitement and ease them into the natural bike riding position.

If your child is more adventurous, this stage may not last long. If your child is a bit more cautious, they can coast at this stage for a while. Once they begin to get the hang of it, this stage can progress to “sit & run” pretty quickly!

 

  

3. Sit, Run & Balance – Typically Begins Between Ages 2-5

Parents and grandparents: are you ready for a workout? Once your little rider gets the hang of moving while sitting on the bike, you’ll be chasing them up and down the sidewalks! During this stage, children will start to run on the bike as they master balancing. Kids will naturally begin this stage through trial and error as they get more comfortable. All you have to do is be their #1 cheerleader! Knowing that you are nearby and hearing your words of encouragement will go a long way as your little one progresses.

Open areas are the best place to practice, like the school playground or a park where you don’t have to worry about them running into anything. This can be the shortest stage of the four depending on your child’s confidence level, lasting anywhere from a day to a few weeks. They will quickly get a taste for how fun it is to balance and want to move on to gliding!

 

  

4. Sit, Run & Glide – Typically Begins Between Ages 3-5

During this fourth and final stage, your little one should be having tons of fun exploring what they can do on the balance bike! As they feel comfortable walking, running and balancing, the last skill to master is gliding. When they run and pick up their feet, they will glide and steer the handlebar to turn and get where they want to go. To stop, they simply put their feet on the ground.

This stage can last as long as your child fits on their balance bike. Typically, kids through the age of 5 can comfortably ride their balance bike. When a balance bike is used in a staged approach with a tricycle, isolating the skills of balance and pedaling respectively, 2-wheel bike riding will be a breeze – no training wheels needed! When little ones are ready for this transition, kids and parents alike will be grateful for their balance bike experience because it makes learning to ride a pedal bike much less intimidating.

 

Where will your child go on their balance bike? Share your adventures with us using #radioflyer!