Balance Bikes vs Training Wheels : Which is Better?

Jan Poshenko
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When it comes to buying a bike for your child, buying a balance bike versus a bike with training wheels may be one of the biggest choices you'll make.

Let's take a look at both and figure out which one is the better choice for your child.

Learn Balancing and Coordination

When it comes to teaching your child how to ride a two-wheeled bike, do you go with training wheels or do you just let the kid use a balance bike? Which one will teach the children better? And most importantly, which one will be more fun for them? We’re going to look at each option in more detail.

First, let’s look at why balance bikes are so popular. When young children learn how to use them without the added weight of training wheels, they also learn how to coordinate their balance and steering. As a result, they develop confidence in their control of the bike – a confidence that you can’t trigger with training wheels. In addition, they learn to move at a very slow pace. This is very important because they need both time to learn how to balance the bike without tipping over, as well as time to learn how to master basic bike-handling skills such as stopping and turning.

Learn to Steer and Corner with Balance Bikes

Balance bikes are specifically designed for toddlers. They are almost the exact same as a regular bike, but they have been stripped down to a bare minimum.

These bikes weigh almost nothing, and they are much shorter than regular bikes. This is the best thing for a toddler who is learning how to balance. Later on, they will be able to ride the bike and learn how to pedal much easier due to the fact that they have already mastered balance.

The main feature of these bikes is the frame. The frame is very long and includes a long seat post. Children sit a long way from the ground. This is because it is the simplest way to learn how to balance.

A longer frame gives children a greater opportunity to put their feet on the ground and practice walking. As children get older, the seat is raised, and the handlebars are placed higher until they are permanently in place.

The main difference between these two is that the balance bikes will not go very fast, but they are better for practicing developing your child’s sense of balance and ability to steer a bicycle.

Balance Bikes are Lightweight

Balance bikes offer your children the freedom to explore the world around them in a unique manner. They are lightweight, easy to use and encourage your kids to focus on developing their balance and coordination skills.

Balance bikes are not difficult to learn how to use; maneuvering them is quite a simple process. The best part is that they are less likely to get damaged as your child decides to take his new bike a little fast and slides along the pavement. Moreover, they are a budget-friendly option for parents.
In contrast to balance bikes, training wheels are difficult to assemble and can cause serious injuries and damage to your garden and your bike as well.

Balance Bikes Provide More Fun and Freedom

One of the most important milestones in a child’s development for many parents is the first time he rides a bike. For many children, this is also a rite of passage that symbolizes the start of their independence. After all, it does take more effort to learn to ride without training wheels than with them. However, there are many advantages to using training wheels.

The Benefits of Having Training Wheels

Training wheels for a bike are just that – wheels that are attached to the bike that essentially help your child get used to balancing a bike. When you hear "training wheels", you may think back to your childhood riding with them.

They help the child get used to balancing a bike without falling over! So if there are training wheels on the bike, then your child can't fall over. Your child can start riding on the training wheels, and he or she will see how a bike works.

Learning to balance a bike is just like learning to walk for your child. However, once they're ready to ride without training wheels, they can simply lift one of them off of the wheel, and they're good to go!

So training wheels are a great way for a child to learn to balance while also learning to ride a bike. If this is what you're thinking of getting, it's the better option for you.

Training Wheels Limit Skills

To begin with, training wheels continuously hold up your child as she/her rides back and forth on the sidewalk. In other words, the kid doesn’t learn to balance the bike on her own. This means that when she finally does take off the training wheels, she has not acquired the fundamental skill of balancing the bike. That’s why many kids fall off the bike on the very first ride without training wheels.

Training Wheels Take Away Freedom

Undoubtedly, the training wheels will prevent your kids from crashing into a tree or other immovable object, but they also take away their freedom. After all, once they coast down the street using just their legs, they may feel like they want to go farther than the leash of their training wheels can allow.

Balance Bikes FAQ

When it comes to the topic of bicycle training, you’ll find more questions than answers. One of the most pressing concerns is the difference between the two: balance bikes and training wheels.

By definition, a balance bike is a small bike that has no pedals and can be ridden solely by balancing it on two wheels. These bikes are recommended for toddlers and children as they help them develop balance and coordination on two wheels without the complication of pedals. This concept may seem pretty basic and obvious, yet it’s extremely effective and makes a whole lot of sense. What’s even better is that balance bikes are available in a range of options and price points.

Training wheels are perhaps one of the best examples of a product that’s become a necessity without having undergone any real testing or thorough research. They have been considered to be a requirement for kids to learn how to ride.

Testing reveals that a child can learn to ride without the assistance of training wheels, but most parents still consider training wheels to be a safer and more reliable option.

So, is it possible to become a pro in bike riding without training wheels? The answer is that training wheels do not help your child learn to balance. They only assist in keeping the bike upright while the kid applies his/her own force to move the bike forward.

What age is best for a balance bike?

If you’re looking to introduce your child to the wonderful world of riding bicycles without training wheels, then the best time to start is between the ages of 18 months and 3 years old. Of course, we say this with a lot of caveats, because it’s really more important to look at individual cases as well. If your child is already walking, then there is no need to wait for 18 months.

On the other hand, if your child is 3 years old and is still not walking well, then you should wait to introduce him/her to the bike a little longer. In addition to physical maturity, there are other factors to consider: strength, muscle tone, and balance.

A balance bike lets your toddler practice balancing and learns to control her bike riding independently without any assistance. Your child will still fall down a lot in the beginning, but the idea is to make progress towards learning to ride by herself/himself.

The weight of a balance bike should always be looked at as relative to the kids weight. Ideally, the bike should also have adjustable handlebars, a removable seat, and a footrest. Some also have a seatbelt to keep your child securely in the seat.

How will my child learn to pedal?

Who says training wheels are the best option? Balance bikes are gaining popularity as a way to teach kids how to ride a bike without training wheels. They are lighter and easier to assemble than training wheels and are compatible with most bikes.

This way of learning might be faster, but it might not work for every child.

If you’re going to give this a shot, make sure that your child is old enough. Some balance bikes may be suitable for as young as 18 months, while others are recommended for kids that are between 3 years and older. You’ll want to give it a try when it’s time for it.

Although the child will be moving off of the training wheels quickly, this is no reason to put them away. The child is still better off with a bike that has a large wheel in the front and a small wheel in the back instead of a bike without the training wheels in their first couple of months of learning to ride.