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  1. #1
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    How old before getting my son his first bike w/ training wheels?

    Hello all, I have a 20 month old son who has always been very mobile and my wife and I have been thinking about getting him one of those 12" bikes with training wheels. We also see the tricycles but I would like him to have something for him to grow into. My question is when did you begin to have your child ride a bicycle? is it an age thing, height thing, or just when we feel comfortable? just looking for others experiences with this. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Senior Member clarkbre's Avatar
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    3 words of advice: Strider balance bikes

    Striders are balance bikes that have no training wheels or pedals. The theory (and reality) is that the kid scoots along and learns to balance on two wheels without relying on training wheels as a crutch.

    My son received one for his 2nd birthday and has been on it ever since. He's 3 1/2 now and getting very fast, mobile, and efficient on it. Striders are good for kids up to about 5 years old.

    Look up videos on youtube and the strider website. They are really cool bikes.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member BruceHankins's Avatar
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    Got my little girl a 12" with I'm-a-horrible-parent-wheels for Christmas. About a month after she turned 2.

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    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    You can also buy a bike, take off the training wheels and the pedals and you have a (slightly heavier) balance bike where you can attach the pedals when the kid is ready.
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    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Just say NO to training wheels. They do far more harm than good. +10 on the stider bike. Safer than training wheels and is an actual stepping stone to riding for real.
    Lead, follow or get out of the way

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    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Just say NO to training wheels. They do far more harm than good. +10 on the stider bike. Safer than training wheels and is an actual stepping stone to riding for real.
    +a billion. Learning to balance is more important than learning to pedal. My daughter was scooting around the house on her balance bike at 18 months so you're in the ringt time frame for one. (We got the no-name performance bike branded one on sale). Her older brother learned on a 12" pedal bike with the pedals removed in a few weeks. He was riding at 4 w/o training wheels.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    +a billion. Learning to balance is more important than learning to pedal. My daughter was scooting around the house on her balance bike at 18 months so you're in the ringt time frame for one. (We got the no-name performance bike branded one on sale). Her older brother learned on a 12" pedal bike with the pedals removed in a few weeks. He was riding at 4 w/o training wheels.
    plus two billion. Strider bikes are the best. Both my kids learned on strider bikes. They loved it, learned how to balance very well and never used training wheels. They are ahead of a lot of their peers in cycling skills.

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    thank you all very much for your opinions.. we were actually in the bike shop tonight just looking around and had my son try one of the balance bikes. He was absolutely having a blast but is just a bit too short for it yet. (our family is quite short.. im 5' 7" and wife is 5'1" so unfortunately our kids are screwed lol) so we will wait a little while until he is tall enough

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    Quote Originally Posted by hoiten22 View Post
    thank you all very much for your opinions.. we were actually in the bike shop tonight just looking around and had my son try one of the balance bikes. He was absolutely having a blast but is just a bit too short for it yet. (our family is quite short.. im 5' 7" and wife is 5'1" so unfortunately our kids are screwed lol) so we will wait a little while until he is tall enough
    He'll grow faster than you think! Balance bikes are the way to go, they've revolutionized learning to bike. I can see training wheels disappearing from the market altogether pretty soon. My boys now 8 and 6 both learned on balance bikes and were pedaling around at an age where I don't think I'd even started learning how to ride as a tyke. Good to support your local shop, but if you're really keen you might look at this site for options: http://www.kidsbalancebikes.com/whic...-my-child.html

    They are pretty simple devices, so something I think you could mail order without too much worry. There are some tiny strider bikes out there - some made out of wood!. Good luck and have fun

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    What brand/type of balance bike was he trying? Different brands have very different standover heights. The wood balance bikes in particular seem to have very high standover. When we bought our Strider years ago, it had the lowest standover based on what was on the market at the time and our then 18-month old was able to fit it just fine, though she wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Given the proliferation of balance bikes since then, I'm sure there are others with a low standover.

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    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mel2012 View Post
    What brand/type of balance bike was he trying? Different brands have very different standover heights. The wood balance bikes in particular seem to have very high standover. When we bought our Strider years ago, it had the lowest standover based on what was on the market at the time and our then 18-month old was able to fit it just fine, though she wasn't quite sure what to do with it. Given the proliferation of balance bikes since then, I'm sure there are others with a low standover.
    The Performance bike one is prettly low as are certain Strider models:


    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

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    Also, if he's still too short for any balance bike, a great mobility alternative is the Micro Mini Scooter:
    http://www.amazon.com/Kickboard-USA-...rds=micro+mini

    My son got his for his second birthday and the very first day figured out how to move forward and turn it. Within 2 months he was zooming around like nobody's business. My cousin got one for her son at 18 months and he mastered it quickly as well. They've got great longevity--my 5 and a half year old daughter can still use the mini, although she just got a maxi for Christmas. Although it's a three-wheeled scooter so they don't have to balance, I think the lean-to-steer mechanism translates well to biking.

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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    You can also buy a bike, take off the training wheels and the pedals and you have a (slightly heavier) balance bike where you can attach the pedals when the kid is ready.
    I tried doing this with my just turned 3 year old (last Sunday) who is 40 inches tall. Based on size recommendations, I went with the 16" wheels (used Giant Pudd'n), but she can't quite reach the ground with anything more than her toes. So the pedals and training wheels are going on. I'll give that a try for a bit as it just hurt her feelings too much to give her a birthday present that I then had to take back because it was too big for her.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  14. #14
    The Recumbent Quant cplager's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    I tried doing this with my just turned 3 year old (last Sunday) who is 40 inches tall. Based on size recommendations, I went with the 16" wheels (used Giant Pudd'n), but she can't quite reach the ground with anything more than her toes. So the pedals and training wheels are going on. I'll give that a try for a bit as it just hurt her feelings too much to give her a birthday present that I then had to take back because it was too big for her.
    Given the situation you did the right thing.

    I will point out that I just moved my almost 7 year old daughter (who is not tall, but...) from a 12" wheeled bike to 16" wheeled bike. My 4 year old son (who isn't short) wouldn't fit well on a 16" wheeled bike now (at least not the one we have).

    (If your daughter just turned 3, then 40" is supposedly 97% percentile in height, so maybe get her to play basketball so you can retire early ).

    Two reasons I bothered to write this:

    1) For others who are deciding on what size to get
    2) You may keep your eye out for a good use 12" wheeled bike that you can use until she's big enough for the 16" wheeled bike.

    Cheers,
    Charles
    Last edited by cplager; 02-14-14 at 11:26 AM.
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  15. #15
    just another gosling Carbonfiberboy's Avatar
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    When we bike toured the Czech Republic, we saw many Czech tourist families, touring with automobiles. They had a balance bike or two with them in the car. The parents walk, the kids bike, crowds, malls, etc. The kids keep up, have fun no matter what, and don't get tired. Very cool.

  16. #16
    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cplager View Post
    Given the situation you did the right thing.

    I will point out that I just moved my almost 7 year old daughter (who is not tall, but...) from a 12" wheeled bike to 16" wheeled bike. My 4 year old son (who isn't short) wouldn't fit well on a 16" wheeled bike now (at least not the one we have).

    (If your daughter just turned 3, then 40" is supposedly 97% percentile in height, so maybe get her to play basketball so you can retire early ).

    Two reasons I bothered to write this:

    1) For others who are deciding on what size to get
    2) You may keep your eye out for a good use 12" wheeled bike that you can use until she's big enough for the 16" wheeled bike.

    Cheers,
    Charles
    Yeah, I'd been keeping my eyes out for both and jumped on the good deal (though turns out not to have been a good deal since it didn't fit) on a 16" one first. A couple manufacturer recommendations had 38-46" for 16" wheels and 34-42" (or thereabouts) for 12" wheels, so I thought I'd probably have to buy a new one soon if I went with the 12" given that she's grown 2.5 inches in the last 6 months (fresh in my mind after her 3 year check up today). I didn't take into account that those recommendations were from manufacturers of pedal bikes that expect kids to use the pedals, not try to reach the ground.

    And yes, she's at 97th percentile for height (and 88th for weight, so that gives her 45th for BMI), but that's not too surprising given that her mother and I are both over 6 feet tall.
    Quote Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy View Post
    When we bike toured the Czech Republic, we saw many Czech tourist families, touring with automobiles. They had a balance bike or two with them in the car. The parents walk, the kids bike, crowds, malls, etc. The kids keep up, have fun no matter what, and don't get tired. Very cool.
    Yeah, that was kind of what I was hoping for. Maybe I'll still keep an eye out for an expensive balance bike because this is the age where they get too big for riding in a hiking backpack thing (without getting bored), are definitely too big to carry everywhere, but are too slow and get too tired to keep up for long.
    Punctuation is important. It's the difference between "I helped my uncle, Jack, off a horse" and "I helped my uncle Jack off a horse"


  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by himespau View Post
    Yeah, I'd been keeping my eyes out for both and jumped on the good deal (though turns out not to have been a good deal since it didn't fit) on a 16" one first. A couple manufacturer recommendations had 38-46" for 16" wheels and 34-42" (or thereabouts) for 12" wheels, so I thought I'd probably have to buy a new one soon if I went with the 12" given that she's grown 2.5 inches in the last 6 months (fresh in my mind after her 3 year check up today). I didn't take into account that those recommendations were from manufacturers of pedal bikes that expect kids to use the pedals, not try to reach the ground.

    And yes, she's at 97th percentile for height (and 88th for weight, so that gives her 45th for BMI), but that's not too surprising given that her mother and I are both over 6 feet tall.

    Yeah, that was kind of what I was hoping for. Maybe I'll still keep an eye out for an expensive balance bike because this is the age where they get too big for riding in a hiking backpack thing (without getting bored), are definitely too big to carry everywhere, but are too slow and get too tired to keep up for long.
    I would definitely look for a balance bike or a 12" bike. Even when she gets tall enough to fit the 16", I think the weight differential will make a big difference in being able to ride. A Strider is 7 lbs, a 12" steel frame bike is 19-20 lbs at best, and a 16" is 23-24. While the 4 lb weight difference doesn't seem like much to you or me, for a 35 lb child, that's more than 10% of their body weight (or the equivalent of an 18 lb difference for a 180 lb adult--like the difference between a fast racing bike and a putter around town hybrid).

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