How Do Bike Stabilisers Work?


Learning to ride a bike can be tough for little ones, which is why accessories like stabilisers are so popular.

However, there can be some confusion over how kids’ bike stabilisers work, and incorrectly fitted stabilisers can actually make it harder for them to learn. So, in this guide we’ll explain how stabilisers work, how they should be fitted, and the other options available for learning to ride.

How do bike stabilisers work?

Bike stabilisers are a small set of wheels that fit to a bike’s rear wheel axle, to give extra stability and reassure your child that they won’t fall over.

You can buy a kids’ bike with stabilisers already attached, or you can buy a set of stabilisers on their own to fit a bike you already have. Most stabilisers will fit a range of wheel sizes, so you can reuse the same set on each of your child’s bikes as they grow. If the bike’s rear wheel axle is too short to fit stabilisers, you can also pick up a set of stabiliser extension bolts to ensure a good fit.

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Should stabilisers touch the ground?

No, bike stabilisers shouldn’t touch the ground on both sides. You may think your stabilisers have been fitted incorrectly if they’re not flush with the floor, but this is a common misconception.

When a child is learning to ride a bike, a key skill they need to grasp is balancing on two wheels. If the stabilisers are constantly touching the floor on both sides and keeping them steady, then they won’t learn to balance for themselves.

Fitted correctly, bike stabilisers should sit just above the back wheel to allow your child to balance on two wheels when riding straight ahead. If they begin to tilt or fall, then the stabiliser is there to keep them upright, but it shouldn’t be preventing them from having to balance.

If you’re unsure how to fit stabilisers, why not let us do it for you? Just ask about bike accessories fitting in-store when you purchase your stabilisers.

Are stabilisers a good idea?

When little ones are learning to ride, a big part of the process is having enough confidence to start. Stabilisers are a handy tool for giving more uncertain children the reassurance that they won’t fall over, while also getting them used to the feeling of pedals. They’re also a great safety feature, making it much harder for them to fall over.

But since the rear wheel is always supported if the bike tilts or tips, when it’s time to take the stabilisers off some children can struggle to adjust. If your child finds balancing tough, and has already conquered pedals, then a balance bike can be a great alternative.

These bikes don’t have pedals or any supporting wheels – they’re designed to get even the littlest riders accustomed to balancing on two wheels, by allowing them to push along with their feet then raise their legs to ‘ride’ along on two wheels.

Every child learns differently, and there’s no one-size fits all solution to learning to ride a bike. Try out both stabilisers and balance bikes to find what works best for your little one.

The best balance bikes

If a balance bike sounds like the right choice for your little one, then we’ve got plenty of options. Here are some of our picks for the best balance bikes to learn to ride on:

Indi Balance Bike – 10” Wheel


This Indi Balance Bike is perfect for first-time riders, designed to suit small hands!

The wheels are made of puncture-proof foam, so the fun only has to end when you want it to. And weighing in at 3.2kg, it’s easy for even the smallest riders to handle and move around.

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Apollo Wizzer Balance Bike - 10" Wheel


Apollo is a trusted brand for adult cyclists, and their balance bikes offer the same reliable quality.

Pneumatic tyres help your little one to keep a solid grip on the ground, and the adjustable saddle height means that the bike can grow with your child for years of riding fun!

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Invert Lil Flex Balance Bike - 12" Wheel


Slightly taller riders may need a bigger wheel size, and the Invert Lil Flex is a great choice, with 12" air-filled rubber-spoked wheels keeping them safe and comfortable.

Complete with a BMX-style frame and handlebar, and a stylish but subtle colour scheme, your little rider will be the talk of the playground.

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Apollo Wizzer Balance Bike - 12" Wheel


As your child becomes more confident, they’ll begin to tackle faster speeds – to give you the peace of mind that they’ll always be able to stop when they need to, the 12” Apollo Wizzer comes complete with a built-in brake.

The sturdy steel frame is sure to stand up to any bumps and scrapes, and the fun design is sure to keep your little one excited about getting in the saddle.

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