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What are balance bikes?


Balance bikes explained

Balance bikes were created to provide a smooth transition for toddlers learning to ride a bike independently without the need for stabilisers (or training wheels to our American cousins). Often referred to as walking bikes or running bikes, they allow the child to walk or run whilst sitting on their bike, developing their skills in coordination and balance.


Every adult and big kid remembers what it was like to begin pedalling, without stabilisers and realising for the first time that they were cycling without falling to the ground. Balance bikes enable children from the age of around 18 months to start that journey earlier and avoid the pain of removing the stabilisers and the child having to learn to balance, we’ve all been there and it’s a slow transition.


The differences between balance bikes and pedal bikes are:

No pedals - children push themselves along with their feet, learning the importance of coordination and balance. No pedals also means no greasy chains to battle with!


No stabilisers - research has shown that stabilisers can hinder children’s abilities to master the art of balance, making moving to a pedal bike much harder. With a balance bike, the child’s feet always touch the ground encouraging them to learn to balance on their own.

Brakes - for younger children (up to the age of 2 years) there is no real need for brakes as the child always has their feet on or near the ground so can learn to stop by putting their feet down. For older children aged 2 -5 years we recommend brakes as children of that age are a little more adventurous and speedier so brakes can help them stop more effectively and safely. This will also help with the transition to a peddle bike.

A child can start to ride a balance bike from the age of 18 months depending on their co-ordination skills, all children are different. At Just Balance Bikes, we stock the Hudora Toddler and Hudora Tricycle for this age group, allowing them to get a head start on developing their strength, coordination, balance and confidence.


Balance bikes are a very robust design, made with either laminated plywood or a hi-tensile steel frame which is both strong but very light making it easy to carry or to put in the back of the car.


As your child begins their journey in learning to ride a bike, don’t forget to protect your child with a securely fitted helmet. Our selection all conform to CE safety standards and EN1078, and come in a range of vibrant colours and funky designs ensuring your child stays safe in style.


Moving onto a pedal bike

From the age of around 4 or 5, your child will be ready to take it to the next stage by moving onto a pedal bike. Parents whose children have used a balance bike will find their child won’t need to use stabilisers but will have confidence in their own ability and won’t feel scared about falling off. They have already mastered the necessary motor skills such as balance, coordination and steering. When your child first moves onto a pedal bike, we would advise adjusting the saddle so it is low initially so they can still walk or run along the ground. Then, when they have mastered that, you can adjust it to the correct height.


So, why should I buy a balance bike?


  • Suitable for children aged 18 months +
  • Develops balance and steering making them become second nature
  • Develops confidence and coordination early on
  • Makes a smooth, natural transition to a pedal bike
  • Promotes health and fun exercise
  • Can be used both indoors and outside
  • Easy to carry and pop in the boot of your car
  • Most importantly…it’s provides hours of fun for your children. Just try to get them off it when it’s bed time!