What is a Balance Bike

Balance bikes are quickly becoming the new teaching tool for helping kids to learn how to ride a bike. To keep you in the loop on why this is, we've put together this handy introduction to balance bikes which covers all of the key aspects of balance biking.

In this article, we'll cover:

  • The basics of riding a balance bike
  • Balance bikes vs stabilisers
  • Balance bike age recommendations

The basics of riding a balance bike

As the name suggests, a balance bike is a bike for tots that teaches the art of balance. Also known as a training bike, they are bikes at their most basic level, without pedals, a drivetrain, and sometimes brakes.

Apollo Wizzer Balance Bike

Learning to ride a bike requires a lot of coordination. There's pedalling, steering, balancing, braking, and that's before we've even gotten out of the garden! Instead of overwhelming children with so many new skills, a balance bike focuses on just balance and steering - the two hardest cycling skills to master.

Balance bikes vs stabilisers: what do I need?

Many of us learnt to ride a bike with stabilisers, and we're proof that they work! However, the problem with stabilisers is that many children become reliant on them, preventing kids from developing their balancing skills. Many children end up leaning on the stabilisers, and they also prevent counter steering. Counter steering is how you steer a pedal bike - leaning into the turn whilst turning the handlebars the opposite way. When the stabilisers come off, kids have to learn how to balance and steer all over again.

Once a child is ready to transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike, the only skills they need to worry about are pedalling and braking. These skills are so easy to master that many kids complete this transition within a day. Many parents argue that children who start out on balance bikes learn to ride a bike much earlier than children who begin with stabilisers.

Lifestyle 4 Balance Bike

What’s more, thanks to being so simple, balance bikes are both durable and reliable. They easily roll on tarmac or rougher surfaces, and they're an ideal way to help your child keep up on family outings. But what age kids are they suitable for?

Recommended balance bike age

Balance bikes are suitable as a first bike and are ideal for kids from 3 years old. They’re also a great way for kids to find their feet before progressing to pedal bikes.

When your little one first gets their balance bike, they may 'walk' the bike - holding onto the handlebars and walking alongside it. Over time they will learn to sit on the saddle and scoot with their feet. Eventually, your child will start to glide along, picking their feet up off the floor and balancing. Once they've mastered gliding as well as the ability to steer around obstacles, they're ready to make the transition to a pedal bike - one without stabilisers.

Balance bikes at Halfords

Convinced? If so, take a look at our wide range of balance bikes or check out our Balance Bikes Buying Guide and choose from a bike made of wood, steel, aluminium or plastic, and with or without brakes. If you order online, you have a choice of collecting the bike in store or having it delivered to your doorstep.

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