Balance Bike

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Balance Bike

Postby Zynster » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:57 am

I'd heard about these bikes and seen one in a shop but had never seen anyone actually using one. However, I liked them in theory and finely decided to bite the bullet and buy one for my almost 3 year old son.

A balance bike is a bike with no pedals or training wheels. Instead they use their feet to push along on the ground. The idea is it teaches a child to balance on two wheels first.

Needless to say, my boy loves the bike and insists on riding it everywhere. At first he more or less walked it around, but with in a few days he developed this striding motion with more weight on the seat. Within a week he was gliding with feet up on downhill sections.

He's had it a few weeks now and he's very fast. I have to jog to keep up. I've been very happy with how well it's worked. The bike has a rear disk brake, but his hands are too small to use it. He hasn't really needed it though, as he is quite adept at using his feet to slow down.

The bike itself is a JD Bug with a steel frame and pneumatic tires. It's pretty solid and looks great. I got it new off Ebay for $98. The seller said he'd have more stock in April. I have no relation to the seller, just a happy customer.

It's recommended for 2.5 to 5 year olds up to 40kg. I'd highly recommend a balance bike as a first bike.

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Postby Kalgrm » Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:20 am

That's fantastic. Your son looks like he's ready for the Tour already! :)

Another recommendation is to buy a "normal" bike first up and remove the cranks and BB. When the littlie is ready, you reinstall the cranks and they're off!

The bike must have a front brake though ...

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Postby Pax » Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:53 pm

There was an excellent article on Balance Bikes in the January/February edition of Australian Cyclist

It is on line too: ... aeid=11199

They included a review of the bike that your son is on, including similar cute-kid-on-bike photos (your son is of course cuter :D )

I saw the wooden balance bike in action recently and was impressed. Wish I'd known about these when my kids were small...I recon they are guaranteed to get a whole new generation of cyclists adicted.

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Postby rmgrimes79 » Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:25 pm

yeah they look good and seems like the balance would be quicker to get a handle on. Isnt it all about the speed you get up to when your young (er)?
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Postby kukamunga » Tue Mar 24, 2009 7:59 pm

Just a note on the JD bug - they're quite flimsily built. A friend of ours has one. Her 5 year old has just progressed onto a 16" pedal bike after a couple of years on the JD. One plastic wheel has buckled and those curved bars that form the handle bars bend quite easily. It's almost throw away material after only a couple of years, which is a shame, as he has a little brother who is now struggling to ride it. Treat it gently!

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Postby Zynster » Tue Mar 24, 2009 9:05 pm

That's surprising. They look quite sturdy. They are quite cheap though. It only has to last him a year or two and he should be able to graduate to a pedal bike (minus the training wheels).

Since it was a gamble, I didn't want to spend $300 on a wooden one. Though now I've seen how good they are, it'd be worth it. Especially if you had more than one kid on the way.
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Postby Chaderotti » Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:15 pm

Disc brakes? Wow your son has the bling to boot, already!

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Re: Balance Bike

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:02 am

These will suit kids who are even younger - mine started at 1,5 years - the seat can be put down all the way, it is simple without all the bling and plastic - good old steel, ok, photo is coming soon.

I don't know if the wooden ones have to be that expensive, there are a few different styles. Some are certainly pretty, however there are also more simple wooden version (less handcrafted) which still give good riding pleasure - an issue in terms of comfort are wooden wheels with rubber tyres - a bit tougher than normal tyres. Also in terms of safety, a front brake can be handy though also depends upon the childs dexterity.

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