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  1. #1
    Evil Pony Moskau's Avatar
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    Balance Bike or Tricycle

    Do any of you have some experience with balance bikes? I've seen some and the concept of them looks nice but I am wondering if in reality it is all unicorns and rainbows.

    I am also wondering at what ages kids can start using tricycles or balance bikes. I've seen some tricycles that go down to a few months old but don't know much about balance bikes.

    I have a 14 month old son so he's still too young to do much by himself but I just want to start gathering information about which is better. He loves being outside and we already have a Chariot that he enjoys a lot but when he is able, I'd love for him to be able to bike a little with us at his own pace. Burn some of that endless energy!

  2. #2
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    We've used and loved the balance bikes. We tried tricycles too, but they didn't figure out the tricycles until well after they'd mastered the balance bike, at which point a trike was slow and boring.

    From balance bikes, both kids progressed to riding a regular bike without training wheels around or before age 3.

    My older kid started on the balance bike a little over 2, and my younger at around 20 months. It seemed like having a role model really helped.

  3. #3
    Nobody, et al.
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    When our oldest was that age, we found this little 4-wheel Radio Flyer "push bike" (I dunno what it's really called) at a yard sale. The kind they can push with their feet but it's got 4 wheels so it won't ever fall over.
    Later we got her a tricycle (2 years old maybe?) and she learned to pedal.
    Once we got her the balance bike (around age 3.5) it took about a month after that and now she took the training wheels off her little kid bike.

    So for mine it went push bike (general moving forward concept) --> tricycle (pedaling) --> balance bike (balancing) --> bike (moving, pedaling and balancing).

    Little sister will start on the trike soon if I can pry her off the push bike.

    Kids are all so different. If yours is clever, has lots of energy and doesn't mind falling down he might take to it more quickly.

    Have fun, they grow up too damn fast.
    My belt buckle has my name on it: "DAD"

  4. #4
    My legs hurt
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    Every kid is different, but I think that that a balance bike is the way to go. My 4 year old just hopped on her new pedal - bike and rode no problem -- as long as you don't count the starting and stopping bit. She's still learning how get started with the pedals, and co-ordinating getting her feet down as the bike stops. However, her balance while moving is fine.

    This has an added bonus of keeping her movitivated. She can 'ride' a bicycle, is having fun, and keeps at it. I think that if she was trying to learn to balance, she wouldn't be able to go as far under her own power and might get frustrated more quickly.

    FWIW, the other thing that I've learned is that little and often is the way to go as far as practise sessions are concerned.

  5. #5
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    I got my twins balance bikes when they were two. Little small for them, but now that they're turning three, they zip around on them very quickly and love the hill in the back yard. They line up and race eachother. Hope to have them pedalling before they are four, and plan to skip the whole tricycle and training wheels thing.

    I have two small bikes with pedals currently. Was very annoying to push them and have them apply the pedal brakes all the time. Just drilled a couple holes in the rear gear and zip tied it to a spoke so it's a ghetto fixie now. When I'm pushing the pedals are turning, and they love having their feet go around.

    Buy yeah, each kid is different. I watched a kid under four years old race bmx last year. Funniest thing in the world to watch this toddler pedal like 150rpms, hit a jump and slow the cadence down, just barely crest it, then roll down the backside full throttle to make the next "climb!" Hope that's my kids But if not, oh well. Eventually.

  6. #6
    Senior Member nubcake's Avatar
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    I like the balance bike, my 20 month old can walk with it right now but not much more. Training wheels do teach bad habits when trying to learn how to ride a regular bike. We often times take off the pedals of bikes to help teach kids to ride a bike without training wheels at the shop.
    Follow me as I prepare for the 2010, wait no 2012, maybe 2013 Tour Divide, ahh hell I will do it one day...
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  7. #7
    Senior Member djyak's Avatar
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    Here in Europe, the balance bikes are the #1 choice. I'll tell ya, I can't belive how well the learn, and how quick they transition to a bigger bike without training wheels. I'm impressed! My daughters started using them at 3.

  8. #8
    joel52
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    I put our just-over-2-year old on a balance bike and it does seem to be taking. I had to saw down the seat post to make it work but the stem and bars easily adjusted to the lower height. Kid also scoots around on this tiny wood trike thing -- good I think to initiate very basic "sit on thing with wheels, move legs, motion ensues". But the balance bike seems to me like the way to go, admittedly based on a lot of reading and not a lot of experience yet.

    The seatpost mod was on a specialized hotwalk (hacksaw, vice, 5 min), and got the fit right for 33" tall. But there was still some clearance of the seat off the rear wheel so you could go lower by that route provided a shorter kid is otherwise ready.

  9. #9
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    My 3-year old outgrew her tricycle already and we bought her a toddler bike with training wheels. She wasn't ready for it yet because of the pedal brakes and the bike slows down when the training wheels are weighted down. I decided to remove the training wheels, pedals, and chain. Now she has a balance bike that will be converted to a regular bike later.

  10. #10
    joel52
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregoron View Post
    My 3-year old outgrew her tricycle already and we bought her a toddler bike with training wheels. She wasn't ready for it yet because of the pedal brakes and the bike slows down when the training wheels are weighted down. I decided to remove the training wheels, pedals, and chain. Now she has a balance bike that will be converted to a regular bike later.
    Yes, this is the way to go. If you have even a bit of mechanical inclination get the largest pedal bike that kid can still fit on and take off the pedals. You can then put them back on when needed.

    I saw a Specialized similar to our balance bike modified in this way just after buying the balance bike and thought- duh. Child is now advancing on balance bike rapidly and we may be in for a pedaled rig as early as later this year.

  11. #11
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    It's easy to remove the training wheels and pedals from these Walmart bikes. The crank is one piece and you just need some wrenches and a screwdriver. The hard part is the chain since it does not have a master link. You just need to buy a $6 chain remover/installer at - you guessed it - Walmart. I left the chain guard on because the guard mounts were sticking out.

  12. #12
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    I guess like you've said before each kid is different. We have 4 boys, 1,3,5,7. Our older two would not sit on a balance bike. I took the pedals and training wheels off a Walmart Bike to try out the balance bike concept but no luck, at the time they were 3 & 5. The 5 year old wanted his training wheels. I picked up a Razor scooter at a garage sale for $10 and they fought over that thing and within a few hours were scooting all over the place. The next day they got on regular bikes without training wheels and were up and running without issue.

    We just bought a new WeeRide balance bike for the 3 yr old but he doesn't want to use it. Will have to ride of the Razors and learn balance that way I guess.

    Now I just need to find a tandem trail-a-bike.

    Kevin

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