Choosing the best balance bike for your child in 2020

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? What is the best balance bike if they're really small? What's the best if you've got a limited budget? What's the best choice bicycle if they're just about to start pedalling?  What's the best balance bike for an older child? Fear not! We've got all the answers right here for you!

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 10 things to consider when buying a balance bike for your child. If not, just dive in!

Cycle Sprog is an family run, reader supported, website. We belong to several affiliate schemes so may receive a small commission from sales made from links on our site. We do our best to be impartial and recommend products on their quality not whether they are in a scheme.

COVID-19 UPDATE - August 2020

There was a huge rush on the sale of kids bikes at the start of lockdown and there is now shortage of new kids bikes available across the UK.  We've keep all our links to new bikes in place, so you can check retailers availability of stock, but we've also added in links for you to look for bikes secondhand (in green).   All the bikes we list are quality bikes built to high standards and make great secondhand buys. 

The best balance bikes for children of all ages - 2020

In this post we look at some of the most popular choices of balance bike available in the UK at the moment, and whether or not they will suit your child.

Black Mountain - balance bike that turns into a pedal bike (from £339)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Kids grow and develop so quickly so you don't know how long they're going to be riding a balance bike for, and when they're going to be ready to transition to pedals. With all the uncertainty of Coronavirus we're not quite sure what's going to be happening to the availability of bikes.  Hopefully, retailers will be able to maintain stock levels, but obviously we're entering unknown times.

One way to ensure your child doesn't get stranded without a bike is to buy a balance bike that can be converted into a pedal bike when they're ready - and - this is the really clever bit - then grows with your child!

Black Mountain growing bike

Some kids transition from a balance bike to pedal bike really quickly and others can take much longer.  The Black Mountain bikes start their life as a balance bike and then you add pedals when your child is ready.

Find out what happened when a Cycle Sprog swapped her heavy bike for a Black Mountain Skog in our review.

The frame also grows so you can have the bike in a small frame mode and then when your child has outgrown it you can adjust the frame to make it bigger.  Yes, it's a bigger cost upfront, but if you buy when your child is at the balance bike stage you get three bikes in one, plus there are no hassles of shopping for new bikes for quite a few years!

There are two Black Mountain bikes - the Pinto is their smaller 14" wheel offering which is aimed at ages 2.5 years and over. It's designed to replace a balance bike and a 12" and 14" wheel pedal bike.  Their larger offering is the Skøg, which comes with 16" wheels and is suited for taller children (approximately 4.5 years and over) and will replace a larger balance bike, 14" and 16" wheel bike.

Buy new: The Black Mountain balance bikes can only be purchased directly from their website, or picked up from their South Wales showroom 

Buy secondhand: Black Mountain are too new to be available second hand at the moment, as the children are still using the growing frame.  One thing to note if you're thinking about resale values is that the 3 year warranty is transferable to a new owner, which is very unusual with kids bikes. 

Frog Tadpole - best choice of sizes

SAVE £5 ON FROG BIKES AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Frog Bikes only make kids bikes, so they are able to concentrate on getting all the details right. We've reviewed a number of their kids bikes over the years and have always been impressed. Their Tadpole range comes in three sizes, so there's a balance bike suitable for virtually every height or age of child (see the other options 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.

The Tadpole is a great balance bike and hugely popular amongst parents and with rrp of £160, this sounds a good deal. The price also includes free delivery.

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 manoeuvre themselves. The 10" wheel Tadpole Mini is available in a choice of three colours (red, pink or green) and has an RRP of £145.

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 £160.

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 £180.

Frog Tadpole Plus

We've reviewed lots of different sized Frog Bikes over the years and have always been very impressed so have no hesitations in recommending their balance bikes as a great way to get your Sprog onto two wheels.

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 who always seem to have a great selection of size colour options and offer free home delivery plus are kindly giving all Cycle Sprog readers a 10% discount!

==> Buy New: Frog Balance Bikes from Tredz

==> Buy New: Frog Balance Bikes from eBay

SAVE £5 ON FROG BIKES AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

==> Buy second hand: There's also a very healthy trade in used Frog balance bikes on eBay, due to the great build quality of these bikes.

Chicco Bullet - best cheap balance bike (RRP £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

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

Buy Secondhand: Due to the popularity of these bikes, they are frequently available on eBay.  

Banana balance bike - best balance bike for a 2 year old (RRP £40)

Banana Bike Size Guide

The Banana balance bike is great if you've got a little Cycle Sprog who is desperate to get onto two wheels.  It gets rave reviews on Amazon from parents with 2 year olds. The reviews all comment on it's lightweight, low saddle height, ease of use and low price.   The Banana Bike has a saddle that goes from 31cm to 40cm, so your child needs to have a slightly longer inside leg measurement than 31cm whilst wearing their shoes to allow them to scoot along.  The Banana balance bike is nowhere as small as the Frog Mini Tadpole (inside leg 24cm) but is a much cheaper alternative if your child is slightly taller.

Buy new:  Banana Balance Bike from Amazon

Buy secondhand:  The Banana Balance Bikes have been around just about long enough for them to be starting to appear second hand on eBay and the number will no doubt increase over time.

Strider - best racing balance bike (from £109)

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

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!

Buy new: Strider balance bikes are available in a wide range of colours from Amazon

Buy secondhand: Because of the durability of the Strider Balance Bikes, along with their popularity, there are usually lots available to bid for secondhand on eBay

Lena Bike - best bike for an 18 month old

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended bike

The Lena Bike 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

You can read our review of the Lena bike here (also known as the Toddlebike).

Buy new: The Lena Bike is available to purchase from Amazon

Buy secondhand:  These great little bikes do sometimes become available on eBay - these are links to some of the names that they could be listed under, as they've been sold using various names over the years:

Lena Bike
Lena Scooter

However, we've had feedback from parents that because these are so cheap they often don't bother with eBay and sell locally so it's worth asking around on local sales boards etc in case someone has one available. 

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Puky - best balance bikes for destructive kids - from £65

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 their favourite 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, which may explain it!

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 M

Buy new:  Puky Balance Bike at Amazon

Buy secondhand:  As you would expect from such a durable bike that has been popular for many years they are regularly available on eBay in a range of colours and models. 

Islabikes Rothan - best choice for N+1 addicts (RRP £179)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

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. Be prepared to become addicted to the range - we've reviewed loads of Islabikes over the years, and love them!

Buy new: The Islabikes Rothan costs £170 and is available exclusively from Islabikes.

Buy second hand: There is a very strong second hand market for used Islabikes on eBay, as the bikes are so well made they will last well beyond most families needs.

Wishbone - best recycled balance bike (from £189)

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.

Buy new:  Wishbone recycled balance bike on Amazon

Buy secondhand: If you really want to keep your eco-credentials high, then check out eBay for a secondhand Wishbone balance bike. They have other models that are made out of sustainably grown wood if the recycled one isn't available. 

Early Rider - best accessory 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

Buy New: The Early Rider balance bike range is available from Amazon 

Buy secondhand: There's usually a few secondhand Early Rider balance bikes available on eBay 

Ridgeback Scoot - best balance bike for ages 5 and over (RRP £120)

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 2020


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

Buy New: The Ridgeback Scoot 14" is available from Tredz. It has an RRP of £120.

SAVE £5 ON THIS BIKE AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

Buy Secondhand:  The Ridgeback Scoot 14" only rarely becomes available secondhand, but it's worth checking this eBay link just in case there is one available. 

Phantom - best 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.


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 our 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 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.

Strider 16 - best balance bike for ages 8 and over (RRP £149)

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.

Buy new: The Strider Youth 16" balance bike is available from Strider Bikes. It has an RRP of £165 and comes in a good choice of colours.

Buy secondhand:  The Strider Youth 16 occasionally becomes available on eBay so it's worth keeping an eye open. 

Strider 20 - best balance bike for a teenager (£220)

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.

Buy New: The  Strider 20 adult balance bike is available directly from Strider Bikes UK

Buy Secondhand:  Due to the specialist nature of these bikes they don't often come up secondhand, but it's worth checking on eBay just in case one is available when you need it. 

I hope this article has helped you in choosing a 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.

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You may find these other articles useful:

Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links in this post 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 by 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?

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This post on the best balance bikes was first written in November 2016 and updated in May 2020 to refresh the links.

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