Balance Bikes vs Stabilisers

Frog Balance Bike – Tadpole

Do you look back to those halcyon days of our childhood with fond memories of summer holidays spent bombing around on your bike with friends and family.  Teaching your child to ride their first bike is an exciting milestone for any parent and most of us can’t wait to get our kids pedalling away and having good healthy fun outdoors.

The advantages of buying a balance bike for a child hugely outweigh those of buying a bike and using stabilisers – our advice is not to even contemplate fitting stabilisers!  Here’s why:

    • >Balance bikes can be ridden safely from around 2 onwards
    • >Balance bikes teach children to balance properly
    • >Balance bikes are safer for kids as a starter bike as they can easily put their feet down to stop
    • >Balance bikes teach kids to steer without them having to worry about pedalling
    • >Balance bikes build a childs confidence in safely coasting down slopes
    • >Children who have learnt to balance find learning to ride a pedal bike much easier and usually master it a lot earlier.Zooom balance bike

Many children are bought their first little bike with stabilisers pre-fitted – these bikes are usually intended more as a toy and are often not well constructed and difficult to ride on anything but the smoothest surfaces.

You may feel you have picked up a bargain and your child will no doubt be initially thrilled with their lovely new bike and have lots of fun. However, they are not truly learning to balance and cycle properly.  Stabilisers can actually delay a child in learning to ride properly as they become accustomed to not balancing as they pedal.

First bike frog 43

This Frog 43 is suitable for kids aged 3 to 4

Watching friends or older siblings cycling off in front at speed across gravel or grass is frustrating.  Avoid this by starting early with a balance bike with quality tyres, to ensure your child transfers effortlessly onto a ‘proper’ pedal bike.

Choosing the right balance bike

  • >Your child should be able to sit on the bike seat with the balls of their feet flat on the ground, they need to be able to easily ‘run’ whilst in seated position to get speed up in order to coast (with their feet off the ground – balancing!)
  • >Balance bikes should be lightweight and easy for a very young child to lift – we only stock light weight bikes for this reason.
  • >The clear advantage for the parent when buying a lightweight balance bike is that if your child decides suddenly (as they often do!) that they’d rather walk you won’t be breaking your back carrying it home and having pedals jabbing into your hips!
  • >Not all balance bikes come with brakes fitted, those that do can easily be removed and refitted as suits. It’s best to fit the brakes after your child has mastered the art of balancing to avoid over complicating the learning process.  You can easily replace the brakes at a later date to help your child learn this important skill before they progress to a pedal bike.

Teaching older children to ride a bike

Don’t fret if you feel you have left it too late for purchasing a little balance bike (most are sized for children from 2 to 5) your 5 or 6 year old may be keen to go straight to a pedal bike. We’ve written a really useful article, with some excellent tips on teaching your slightly older child to ride a pedal bike without using stabilisers.  Or watch our video on you tube to see a friend of ours teaching her child to ride a bike in less than an hour!

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