Balance Bike

Bicycles for Toddlers to Teens

Balance Bike for toddler

Postby crog » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:22 pm

Thinking of getting one for my son who is 22 months.

http://www.bbikes.com.au/

Anybody tried them.

I have seen plastic ones for up to $300 in Carence Street Cycles. These are $120 and wooden

Thoughts or experiences
Last edited by crog on Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by BNA » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:26 pm

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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby lemmiwinks » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:26 pm

Can't comment from experience but I hope that they're as good as everyone reckons because I've got a $6 tip shop kids bike in the garage that I'll be removing the cranks and training wheels from tomorrow for a friends 3 year olds birthday on Saturday. Not my present, I'm just the parent's mechanic but I convinced them to go the balance bike route.
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:33 pm

I went down the crankless route for the lad, worked a treat.

I woulda gone the balancebike trail if they'd been around at the right time.

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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby lemmiwinks » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:37 pm

Mulger bill wrote:I went down the crankless route for the lad, worked a treat.


That's a relief, my reputation's riding on this :lol: :wink:
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby Mulger bill » Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:43 pm

lemmiwinks wrote:
Mulger bill wrote:I went down the crankless route for the lad, worked a treat.


That's a relief, my reputation's riding on this :lol: :wink:


Takin' a huge risk staking yer rep on my backup :D
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby lemmiwinks » Wed Apr 15, 2009 9:14 pm

Mulger bill wrote:Takin' a huge risk staking yer rep on my backup :D



:lol: It's that kind of a rep.
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby DionM » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:35 pm

Seems to be a heap of these things around, all variations on a theme. Firstbike is another one: http://www.cellbikes.com.au/p_1592_FIRS ... ing_wheels

Personally I am trying to weigh up the benefits of having a brake (like Firstbike) or not (like the one you posted).
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby sharktamin » Thu Apr 16, 2009 12:13 am

I've met a couple of families with them, all good news. Kids love them and learn to balance very quickly. Pedals removed option is cheaper though, and offers continuity later on (when you put the pedals back).
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby Zynster » Thu Apr 16, 2009 9:10 am

I got one for my boy and they're fantastic. Highly recommend it. I wrote a review of it here:

http://www.bicycles.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?f=12&t=13917
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby JustinD » Thu Apr 16, 2009 10:26 am

I purchased a Netti "My Bike" from BSC for around $130 for my 3yo. He was able to balance it and cruise along in about a day or so and very much enjoys it. My plan is for him to use if until he is 4 and then go to his older brothers 16 inch pedal hand-me-down. I am hoping by that time he will very quickly ride the next bike. I would say the only limitation of this bike is that its not as quick as a bike with pedals so he gets a little left behind from his older brother. If he had a similar bike (with pedals) with training wheels he would probably keep up to him. That said, I would not do it any other way than the "balance" bike approach.
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby gclark8 » Thu Apr 16, 2009 11:54 am

I have set up many "first bikes" for clients.

Best results: small frame, feet for go, hands for stop, no training wheels,
yes, two hand brakes, pedals/cranks optional, but not for too long
NO Coaster Brakes!!!! Use a Freewheel on the rear once the prdals/cranks are set up.

I do lots of single speed freewheel conversions on 16-20" kids bikes,
about $10 for the hub, $13 for the 17tooth 3/32 freewheel , $20 for the rear brake kit.

Many of you will have the bits in the junk box so the cost will be lower.
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby mikedufty » Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:20 pm

I've got two of the same bike as zynster (JD bug trainer bikes from dragonsports on ebay for about $100) for my two kids and highly recommend them. They are aluminium framed, so more like a real bike, and they weigh about 3kg. I think this is less than half what a typical kids bike with the cranks removed would weigh, and is a huge advantage, because at some stage you are probably going to be carrying it. The JD bugs can be easily carried in one hand. I can also get them in my panniers (sticking out) if necessary. I'd choose these over removing cranks for the weight advantage alone.

They have been far more than a "trainer" bike for us. They are primary means of transport. A two year old on one of these can easily keep up with an adult walking. By the time they are three you have to be prepared to run to keep up. The pnuematic tyres combined with the low weight means they work really well off road on any surface short of really deep soft sand.

Ours have a rear band brake which is really effective. In most cases feet for stopping is OK, two year olds need help on steep hills. As they get older they get the strength to use the rear brake and the problem is persuading them not to leave big black skid marks everywhere the brake is definitely fun, and really helps for steep off road hills. Also good for them to learn how to use brakes.

They seem really tough to me, my kids have not been able to break them in several years of intensive abuse including 5 year olds riding them down stairs.

Modifications we have made are adding plastic front baskets from K-mart (kids love bringing things with them), adding an old motorcycle swithblock to the bars (buttons to press) and adding a bit of grip tape to the back of the seat stay above the rear axle so they are less prone to falling off when standing up with their feet on there.

My five year old transitioned very easily from this to a pedal bike once he could be persuaded to try, but its hard to convince him the pedal bike is better. The only advantage really is the 16" bike can potentially be a bit faster, but he's usually riding in company with his little brother so that means stopping more. I think the 12.5 pedal bikes are inferior in every way to the balance bikes, they can't even go faster with such tiny wheels and pedals.

Link is a little video of my kids playing on them on gravel a year or so ago
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou9Txa5cNeo
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby mikedufty » Thu Apr 16, 2009 2:25 pm

Forgot to mention, we even take these with us when travelling overseas, can fit two into a large backpack - normal baggage.
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby munga » Sat Apr 18, 2009 11:21 am

when my daughter was 2mths old, i bought a wooden balance bike from aldi for her. $40. shes just over two now, so we'll see soon (she's tiny for her age).
i've seen the same jack and jill branded bikes on ebay for over a hungee dorra :?
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby crog » Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:29 pm

Thanks for the feedback, my boy is 22 months old and fairly large (like dad although I hope he does not get the beer gut)

Well I bought the balance bike from http://www.bbikes.com.au/ for $120 and whilst I have not recieved it correspondance from website has been good and suposably shipped day after paying.

Will post feedback after boy gets his hands on it.

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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby DionM » Sun Apr 19, 2009 1:36 pm

I'm reading mixed reviews on some of the likeabike copies. My son is pretty tall (and thus heavy) for his age, so I'm wondering if I should stick with the strong makes. Apparently likeabike's are the "grand daddy".

They even come in alloy with rear suspension!
http://www.likeabikeaus.com/models/jumper.htm

Seat goes a bit higher than most others too, which may suit my tall critter (2.5 years old, but already 1m!).
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby AUbicycles » Wed Apr 29, 2009 6:58 am

Man, the Kokua is hot.

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I saw one on the weekend though stopped myself from asking the mummy if I could test it with the rear suspension. The kid was spec'ed out with the optional matching helmet plus has the optional brake. That is around $370 (Aussie - direct conversion from 200 Euro - not including customs, transport or markup). I bet he was the one who let the air out of my sons balance bike tyres - that would have been after noticing the radical downhills my son was doing.

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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby black4tress » Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:21 am

I'm watching this thread closely. I have a 23month old boy and the weeride is getting abit boring for him now and I was about to buy one of those 12inch bikes with training wheels and pedals. Now I'm really considering these other options.

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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby mikedufty » Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:54 pm

My son was quite keen on his 12.5 inch bike with training wheels, even did about a 10km ride around the river, but lost all interest in it once we got a balance bike. The balance bike was way more fun, probably faster too.
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby mikedufty » Fri Jul 03, 2009 6:16 pm

JD bug trainer bikes are now available at Kmart for $59.
I thought they were great value at $100. Hopefully they will catch on more now they are more visibly available. Or maybe no-one will want them now because they are Kmart bikes?
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby AUbicycles » Sun Jul 05, 2009 7:52 am

Also a follow up - don't know the price of the Early Bikes - however these wooden balance bikes (from the UK) are available in Australia.

--

From a practical point of view - Balance bikes are better than pedal bikes with training wheels in that the kids can start earlier as the motoric required for a balance bike is developed earlier than the motoric for pedalling. The children can learn balance and steering. With training wheels, there is an unnatural reliance on the extra wheels - progression from a balance bike to pedal bike is easier as the additional task of pedal is can be learnt while balance and steering is already under control.
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby sven » Sun Jul 05, 2009 8:13 am

+1 for these bikes

From a childhood development veiwpoint, allows the introduction of the balance concept at a eariler age as opposed to a pedal bike.

The flat pack wodden ones - like the Netti product - are very popular in Europe, esp Germany and Holland. Saw 1000's of them with parents either walking or slowly riding.

They also seem over engineered, so will last for ages or multiple kids

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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby Starfesh » Sun Jul 05, 2009 3:40 pm

My wife went and purchased a glide 2 ride bicycle... my daughter does not really like it as it is so heavy... I think my bike is lighter!

http://www.hasbrohosting.com/glide2ride/

The pedals are screwed in when they have learnt to balance
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby DavidH » Sun Jul 05, 2009 4:23 pm

I bought a Giant toddlers bike with training wheels for my son when he was about 3 and a half. He road it for about a year and then asked for the training wheels to be removed. After about three weeks of back breaking chasing him around on the bike (holding on to his shoulders) the whole balance thing still hadn't "clicked". I bought a Netti balance bike and about three days later he just got onto his bike and started riding around the back yard. Best $120 I've spent in a while (and it's now being used by my youngest son).

Balance bikes definitely get the seal of approval from me as a fantastic learning tool.
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Re: Balance Bike for toddler

Postby mikedufty » Mon Jul 06, 2009 12:40 am

Starfesh wrote:My wife went and purchased a glide 2 ride bicycle... my daughter does not really like it as it is so heavy... I think my bike is lighter!

Yeah, a major feature of the jdbug ones is the light weight, they are about 3kg, about half the weight of a similar size kids bicycle, much better for little kids to handle, and light enough for an adult to easily carry when the kids decide they don't want to ride anymore for some reason. Also good for air travel.
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