bike sports

Balance Bike vs Training Wheels [Learn to Ride]

Just because we all grew up using training wheels doesn’t mean that our kids don’t deserve better! Training wheels don’t teach balance.

The fact that we all used training wheels as kids doesn’t mean that our kids shouldn’t too. Training wheels are outdated. The future belongs to balance bikes. Balance bikes clearly win the battle against training wheels!

Yes, we know… but what a precious sight it is to see a kid pedaling along with training wheels! But what’s even cuter? There is nothing better than watching your little toddler cruising their balance bike down the sidewalk, over the grass, around the yard, over the curb, basically wherever they want to go! At age 4, most balance bike riders can already ride a pedal bike (without ever having used training wheels)!

5 reasons why balance bikes are better than training wheels

Here’s a quick summary. A child can pedal a bike with training wheels, remain upright, and go from point A to point B. However, they don’t teach a child to ride a bike, and the whole experience is somewhat awkward. Here are the top 5 reasons balance bikes are better than training wheels.

  1. A balance bike fits young children much better than a 12″ bike with training wheels.
  2. A balance bike is easy to ride on uneven surfaces.
  3. They are light and easy to ride, so kids can ride them a long way.
  4. Balance bikes offer years of fun and independence.
  5. The transition from training wheels to pedal bikes is easy for kids.

1. A balance bike fits young children much better than a 12″ bike with training wheels.

The majority of kids’ bikes with training wheels do not fit kids properly. It’s more comfortable for small children to ride balance bikes because they are smaller, lighter, and narrower. Due to this, kids can ride balance bikes much younger than a 12-inch bike with training wheels.

Lower minimum seat height: Balance bike seats can go as low as 28cm above the ground. On average, a 12″ bike (the smallest pedal bike available) has a seat height of 42cm! Most toddlers can’t ride a pedal bike comfortably until they are at least 3, but they are able to ride a balance bike at 18 months.

Ideal child fit: Balance bikes are very narrow and fit underneath a child’s small frame, making them a more natural fit than most small pedal bikes. Additionally, they tend to have more room for growth since they are usually not as cramped. Overall, they are more comfortable and easier to ride!

2. A balance bike is easy to ride on uneven surfaces.

The experience of riding with training wheels is wobbly and awkward. Training wheels keep children slightly off-balance and limit their speed and ability to turn. It’s just awkward. Due to their small size and the fact that training wheels are prone to getting caught on uneven surfaces, children with training wheels can only go up and down the street.

Using a balance bike, a child can easily wander off the sidewalk and onto the grass. They can also navigate gravel and dirt trails easily. Balance bikes are far better suited to a child’s adventurous spirit because they can go pretty much anywhere they like!

3. They are light and easy to ride, so kids can ride them a long way.

Balance bikes are so much lighter than bikes with training wheels – usually half as heavy as a pedal bike! Considering that most toddlers weigh around 25 lb., a 15 lb. It will be much more challenging for them to maneuver a bike than a 6 lb. Balance bike.

A balance bike is significantly lighter and less inefficient than a bike with training wheels, so kids can ride it much farther than they can on a bike with training wheels. A child riding a bike with training wheels around the neighborhood is pretty common, but not too far from home. Children on balance bikes can easily ride for miles with their families, whether they’re on paved or compact dirt trails!

4. Balance bikes offer years of fun and independence.

Toddlers typically cannot ride a pedal bike comfortably until they are 3 years old, but can begin to explore balance bikes at 18 months. Most balance bike riders are able to ride their bicycles essentially anywhere and often for distances greater than one mile by the time they are three years old. Most kids with training wheels don’t ride outside of their neighborhood.

Give them independence: Even at 18 months, kids can stand over a balance bike and walk it without any assistance. Learning to ride a balance bike is a very natural process for children. They can walk, then run, then glide their bike over rocks, down small dirt mounds, and on essentially any surface.

Their first bike ride is an experience of independence. Kids typically need help getting started on a tricycle or with training wheels, and they also have a limited range of places they can ride.

Enjoy maximum fun and adventure with balance bikes! With their balance bikes, our toddlers have explored skate parks and pump tracks climbed mountain gondolas and hiked to waterfalls in the mountains.

A balance bike will amaze you with what your child can accomplish. It is fun for both the child and the parent. Despite the amazing things kids can do on a bike with training wheels, parents are rarely impressed.

Since balance bikes have two inline wheels, they are easily able to roll over a variety of obstacles. In order for training wheels to work, at least three of the four wheels must be touching the ground.

This triangle not only teaches children to ride leaning to one side, but it also causes the bike to become stuck easily on uneven surfaces. Moreover, the bike’s inefficient pedals are no match for a balance bike powered by little legs.

First safety: While riding a balance bike, kids are closer to the ground than when using training wheels, so the distance between them and the ground is shorter. Kids can easily stabilize themselves on a balance bike because there are no pedals in the way, which prevents many falls. If they do fall, there are no pedals to cause further injury.

5. The transition from training wheels to pedal bikes is easy for kids.

A balance bike teaches a child how to ride a bicycle without training wheels. Many parents mistakenly believe that training wheels prepare a child for riding a bicycle, but the truth is that they don’t!

Balance: The primary goal of a balance bike is to teach a child to balance while sitting and in motion, which is the most challenging aspect of learning to ride a bike! A child can’t even attempt to balance on training wheels, and they actually teach the child to ride on a tilt, which is completely off balance. Pedaling is really easy to learn after balance has been mastered.

Steering: A balance bike gets a child used to the steering and also teaches them the limits of steering. Most kids at some point jerk the handlebars too far to the left or right as they are learning the art of steering, and end up falling over.

On a balance bike, when a child falls, it’s less traumatic because it’s closer to the ground and at lower speeds. Kids on training wheels don’t generally even try turning because their constant state of unbalance keeps them always slightly uncomfortable.

Overall Control: Learning to control their speed, stopping without falling over, and shifting their weight as they lean into turns and do tricks are just a few additional bike riding skills that balance bikers master before they transition to a pedal bike.

For a child that supposedly learned to ride a bike with training wheels, when those training wheels are removed, the real drama begins! So much frustration, anxiety, and even fear (for kids and parents!) are often part of the transition from training wheels to no training wheels.

But when you hand a balance bike graduate a pedal bike, within 5 or 10 minutes they’re usually pedaling the bike all on their own! You heard it right. 5 or 10 minutes. ALL. ON. THEIR. OWN. No tears or nasty falls. No weeks or months of frustration for child or parent! And certainly NO TRAINING WHEELS.

At this point, the only skill your child must learn is pedaling, which comes naturally since they don’t have to think about everything else involved in riding a bike. They have already mastered everything else on the balance bike!

Happy New Year 2024 - Kidvelo Bikes

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