Choosing the best balance bike for your child – 2018

If you’re looking for a balance bike for your child the choice can be a bit overwhelming as there are just so many makes, models and sizes out there. How can you be certain that you’re picking the best balance bike for the size and age of your child?  In this post we look at some of the most popular choices available in the UK at the moment, and whether or not they will suit your child and how they are going to use their balance bike.

If you need more information about what a balance bike is, and what you need to consider when buying one, then check out our post 9 things to consider when buying a balance bike for your child.

The best balance bikes for children of all ages – 2018

Frog Tadpole – best all round choice (from £110)

Frog Bikes only make kids bikes, so they are able to concentrate on getting all the details right. Their Tadpole range comes in three sizes, so there’s a balance bike suitable for virtually every height or age of child (see below if your child falls outside their range).

Is the Frog Tadpole one of the best balance bikes?

All the Frog Tadpole balance bikes come with a rear brake to get your child used to the concept of braking (although they will probably still use their feet a lot to stop, especially in the early days).  The tyres are pneumatic, so good for use on a variety of terrains, and all three bike models come with features such as a steering lock to prevent over-steer accidents and a quick release seat post, plus a 5 year warranty on the frame and forks.

For very little kids there is the Tadpole Mini, which is suitable for children with an inside leg of just 24cm.

Frog Tadpole Mini balance bike for ages 18 months and over

It weighs only 3.46kg, so is light enough for a small child to manouvre themselves. The 10″ wheel Tadpole Mini is available in a choice of three colours (red, pink or green) and has an RRP of £110.

Frogs “standard” size balance bike is the 12″ wheel Tadpole which is suitable for children with an inside leg of 31cm.  It’s available in a choice of 7 colour schemes, including the popular “Spotty” and Team Sky options.  The Frog Tadpole has an RRP of £115.

The Tadpole Plus is a 14″ wheel balance bike for taller children, with a minimum inside leg of 38cm.  This will probably equate to 3 or 4 years and over.  It comes in four colour choices, including the Union Jack option (below) and has an RRP of £135.

Frog Tadpole Plus

All Frog Bikes are available from a wide network of local bike shops, and are also available online from a variety of suppliers, including Tredz, Rutland Cycling   The Little Bike Company and Leisure Lakes Bikes.

There’s also a very healthy trade in used Frog balance bikes on Ebay, due to the great build quality of these bikes.

Puky – best balance bikes for destructive kids – from £57

Let’s face it – some children are just heavy handed!  If your toddler leaves a trail of destruction wherever they go, then a Puky Balance Bike is for them. I recently asked a group of parents which was the best balance bike, and the one that got the rave reviews for being long lasting and well built was the Puky. It’s designed and manufactured in Germany, unlike Frog, which are designed and assembled in the UK.

Puky LR 1L BR balance bike

There are lots of different models of Puky Balance Bikes which you can read about here, or alternatively cut to the chase and buy their best selling model – the LR 1L BR which retails for £89  as a buy-it-now on Ebay.

Chicco Bullet – best cheap balance bike (£35)

With kids bikes the cheaper models often compromise on weight and quality, which makes them difficult to ride.  However, the Chicco Bullet comes recommended by parents as being well made, lightweight and easy to control.  Given how quickly they’re likely to be progressing onto a pedal bike, the Chicco Bullet allows you to save now and splurge later when the difference in quality is much more evident.

Chicco Bullet Balance Bike

The Chicco Bullet is available from Amazon and The Entertainer and has an RRP of only £34.99.

Strider – best racing balance bike (from £66)

If your little one has that competitive streak, then the Strider is the perfect balance bike for them. Strider’s are built to be raced (the Strider Balance Bike World Cup takes place globally each year). We love the fact that the Strider balance bikes come with two seat posts, meaning that the bike can be used up to the age of about 5, so the fun doesn’t have to stop just because they’ve grown!

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

The Strider balance bike is available in a wide range of colours from Amazon, priced from £66 for the standard model, and £80 for the sporty model.

If you find yourself with an avid racer on your hands, the Strider bike can be accessorised with coloured wheels and handlebar grips, racing number, and jersey!

Islabikes Rothan – best balance bike for N+1 addicts (RRP £170)

Islabikes Rothan Balance Bike

Islabikes are the original manufacturers of quality kids bikes, with over a decade of experience in designing and manufacturing light weight frames fitted with components perfectly proportioned for the age and size of the rider.  Whilst there’s now a large number of other options available on the market, Islabikes are still renowned as the premier kids bike brand in cycling circles. The Rothan is their balance bike offering – it’s suitable for children with an inside leg of 30cm.  The attention to detail is superb on every Islabikes product, and you’ll smile every time you see the paintwork or lift up the frame (3.2kg).

There’s plenty of much cheaper balance bikes out there, but if you’re planning to invest in Islabikes, then the Rothan will be the start of your journey.

The Islabikes Rothan costs £170 and is available exclusively from Islabikes. There is also a strong second hand market for used Islabikes on Ebay, as the bikes are so well made they will last well beyond most families needs.

Phantom – best balance bike for riding in the dark (£140) 

If your little one is regularly riding their balance bike in low light conditions (say home from nursery on dark winter days) then the Phantom Ride light up balance bike will help keep them visible.

phantom-light-up-balance-bike

The Phantom Ride was designed in California and came to the UK in December 2016. The innovative polycarbonate frame houses two LED units that make the bike quite literally glow in the dark. You can read more about how the bike came into being it in out post on the new light up balance bike.

The Phantom Ride Balance Bike has an RRP of £140 and comes in two colour choices – blue or red – and each colour is available in either plain or glitter options. It’s available online at Leisure Lakes Bikes,  Ebay and Amazon.

A word of warning – the LED inserts take 3 AAA batteries each (which are not included), so you’ll need 6 AAA batteries to have a fully lit up balance bike.

Wishbone – best eco-friendly balance bike (from £140)

Our kids have to continue to inhabit our planet once we’ve finished messing it up.  The Wishbone Recycled balance bike is attempting to redress the balance slightly.

Wishbone 2 in 1 balance bike

The Wishbone is made out of old carpets (or 100% post-consumer recycled carpet if you want the official title).  There are two versions –  the 2 in 1 allows expansion from a seat height of 23cm (shown above) all the way up to 51cm using Wishbone’s patented “Rotafix” system.  The slightly more expensive 3 in 1 version starts out as a three wheeled trike and transforms into the balance bike, which means it can be used from age 12 months without the need for buying an additional product.

The Wishbone 2-in-1 has an RRP of £150, and the 3-in-1 £170.  Both are available at Amazon and Evans Cycles.

Toddlebike – best bike for an 18 month old (£24)

The Toddlebike2 is small, lightweight and durable – and so much fun! It’s designed for 18 months and above, and will give your child the confidence to move onto a proper balance bike when they’re old enough.
Toddlebike2 a bike for 3 year old's

The Toddlebike 2 is available to purchase from Amazon for £24.

Early Rider – The best balance bike for style conscious toddlers

Do you have an image conscious toddler?  If so, the Early Rider is the balance bike for them. It’s actually quite difficult for me to choose which of the Early Rider balance bikes is the best looking – is it the stylish Road Runner with the drop handlebars,  the Bonsai with a beautiful curved wooden frame or the practical Trail Runner with pneumatic tyres for style while hitting the pump track?? The choice is yours!

Early Rider Road Runner 14 balance bike

The Early Rider balance bike range is available from Leisure Lakes Bikes with prices ranging from £110 to £180.

Ridgeback Scoot – best balance bike for ages 5 and over (RRP £100)

Most balance bikes are aimed at children aged under 5 and come with 12″ wheels.  If your child hasn’t mastered pedalling and needs to continue using a balance bike as they get older, then it’s important for both their stability and confidence that they have a balance bike that’s the right size for them.

Ridgeback Scoot 14" balance bike

 

The Ridgeback Scoot 14″ is a larger balance bike, with 14″ wheels, a light weight aluminium frame and a rear brake.  It comes in a range of stylish of colours and has a fresh, modern feel to it.

The Ridgeback Scoot 14″ is available from Amazon and Evans Cycles. It has an RRP of £100.

Strider 16 – best balance bike for ages 8 and over (RRP £165)

For some kids pedalling just isn’t an option, or perhaps they’re coming late to learning to ride a bike.

The best balance bike for a teenager is the Strider Youth 16" wheel

The Strider Youth 16″ balance bike is designed for ages 6 and above, with an extendable seat post that should keep them going until at least the age of 12.

The Strider Youth 16″ balance bike is available from Amazon.  It has an RRP of £165 and comes in a good choice of colours.

Strider 20 – best balance bike for a teenager (£200)

The Strider 20″ balance bike is, as you’ve probably guessed, a size up from the Strider Youth 16″.  It’s an excellent bike for teens who don’t have the option of pedalling, or who need additional support balancing before moving to a pedal bike.  The Strider 20″ is a suitable balance bike for adults too.

The Strider 20″ balance bike is available from Amazon for £200.

I hope this article has helped you in choosing the best balance bike for your child. Do drop me a comment below if I’ve missed off your favourite, or to let me know which balance bike you end up choosing.

You may find these other articles useful:

The best balance bikes on Amazon:

Affiliate Disclosure:  Some of the links in this post on the 9 best balance bikes use affiliate marketing. This means that we get a very small commission for every purchase made. This helps us to pay for the ongoing maintenance of the website. We would be really grateful if you could support our work buy purchasing your balance bike through these links. Thanks!  Karen and Chris

To keep up to date with all the latest family cycling news, reviews, blogs and routes, why not follow Cycle Sprog on Facebook?

This post on the best balance bikes was first written in November 2016 and updated in March 2018 to refresh the links.

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