Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
Bikes: Brompton H6L raw lacquer (2012)
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4 yr old first two wheel bike - coaster brake or hand brake?
My 4.5 yr old son is progressing very rapidly to being able to ride without training wheels. He's fairly good now at his balance bike. And he's still super fast with his training wheel bike.
Last night he chose to ride his training wheel bike this time and we did one lap with his training wheels at the normal height setting. Then for the second lap, I raised his training wheels as high as they could go to see how he would do. He did manage to ride upright for some of the time (i.e. without relying on his training wheels), but he also did the "lean" to get the training wheel to hit the ground on purpose. I think after about a couple weeks or less, he'll be able to ride normally and not try to lean towards the training wheel.
His balance bike has a single hand brake, which he uses well (perhaps too well LOL). His training wheel has a coaster brake, and I notice that he has a hard time braking when his feet are at the noon and 6 o'clock positions. It's hard to pedal backwards with enough torque to engage the brakes at that position for anyone.
Then it got me thinking. For a new rider, if they are trying to use a coaster brake, they can't exactly put their feet on the ground for balance and brake at the same time.
Is it better to get him a bike with a hand brake so he can brake while putting his feet on the ground for stability? Plus, he can use the hand brake to stop the bike from rolling away from him while he tries to get on/off the bike. Or have your kids done fine with just the coaster brake when you first removed the training wheels?
I've looked a little online and retailers have both coaster and hand brakes for the 12" and 16" bikes...there is no majority. It was about half and half.
I think I would feel better if he had a hand brake bike when starting off...but just wondering if I haven't thought of any reasons to stick with his training wheel bike with the coaster brake and just remove the training wheels.
Any advice? Thanks in advance.