How to tell a balance bike is suitable for you


a boy is riding bike without hands

Right when the hype of balance bike is still in town, the raising demand for a suitable bike comes along. Just like any other commercial products, balance bike brands vary from segmentation: Skuut Balance Bike for toddler, ZÜM-CX balance bike, Janod wooden scooter balance bike… If you are not convinced by the one-size-fits model faltered in marketing, here are some tips for you to pick out the most suitable balance bike.

Seat Height

First of all, kids grow really fast, the height of a one-year-old and a five-year-old is vastly different so they cannot use the same bike. The suggested minimum seat height is 1″ to 1.5″ below your child’s inseam. (you should not just choose randomly a bike with seat height range from 10″ to 26.7″). How to measure your child’s inseam? Easy, make them pinch a hardbound book between their legs, raise the book up slowly till it reached their crotch, then level the book with the floor. There you go, the distance from the top of the book and the ground is your child’s inseam (measure without shoes)

Size

To most kids, size 12’’ is right to start with although size available ranges from 10’’ to 20’’ tires. However, even in 12’’ bikes, the frames size is various (for those grade-schooler who have learn to drive, the larger 16’’ is more popular) so we prefer selecting based on seat height than tire size.

Tires

Pneumatic (standard air), solid foam, plastic and rubber (solid and honeycomb) are common material to make balance bike tires although pneumatic (air) and foam are the most favorite. Providing the most traction and cushion, air tires are considered the best all-around.

For all-terrain bikers, knobby tread of air tires are certain choice (for example, FirstBIKE Cross, Scoot Premium and Muna). For the average riders whose mainly ride on paved surfaces, a standard street tread works just perfectly. For curb-jumping or stake part, an extra cushion is needed. And don’t forget tire sealant for their preventing flats.

Regarding of tire material, manufactures often chooses plastic, rubber and foam because of the low prices, puncture proof and light textures. Their drawbacks are less traction and little or no cushioning. Foam tires ranks first place in the popular competition and suitable for paved surface riders but they are not good for all-terrain surface or smooth floors. The tread can wear away over time too. Solid rubber tires, on the opposite, has the most traction but no cushioning. Coming at third place, thanks to their internal sealed air rooms, honeycomb tires prevents flats.
Weight

Concerning the rule which says your bikes weight should never exceed 30% of your body’s weight, lighter bikes are not also easy for toddler to use but also convenient for their parents to carry.
Brakes

Feet are natural brakes for balance bike riders but it’s not an excuse to not have an extra hand brake. A child-sized brakes is well designed enough for a 3-5 years old with normal eye/hand coordination. A brakes is extremely beneficial because it can prevent injury, save shoes and prepare for pedal bike later. A hand brake for toddler should be a short-reach lever as their hands are too small to use kids bike.

Turning Limiters

Turning limiters minimize injuries caused by sharp turns, fall or twisted brake cables. By preventing the front wheel and the handlebar from a full revolution. Perform nearly as training wheels, these limiters are actually not counting a major part in purchase decision. However, poorly-designed limiters should be avoid because they cut down on the bike’s turning radius. An elastic limiters are preferred for gentle correction and removable.

Footrests

This part of a bike is not compulsory unless you have a long hill for them to go down.

Frame Materials

Balance bikes can be made from metal, wood and composite frames.

Metal bikes refer to steel or aluminium alloys which add up to the weight capacity. Aluminium bikes are usually lighter than steel frames bikes. Although steel frame can rust and weigh more, they can hold a rider whose weighs more than themselves while aluminium frame cannot. Wood are environmentally friendly material. A high-end wood bike can last for years with proper care while lower-end fall apart rather quickly. No matter high-end or low-end, wood balance bikes are less adjustable than other material. Composite frames are made from nylon and glass fiber, has high weight capacity and no worry of rust or chipping paint.

Recessed, Covered and rounded Bolts

Exposed bolts may scratch inner legs after some time using. For smaller-framed toddlers, recessed, covered and rounded bolts can avoid problem of scratches.

Above is everything you need to know about balance bike. Good luck!

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