Comparing Balance Bikes vs. Training Wheels – 5 Tips for Choosing Right

Child learning to ride with either Balance Bikes or Training Wheels

When teaching kids to ride, parents often find themselves comparing balance bikes and training wheels. Both methods offer unique benefits and can be found among various kid’s bike brands. This comprehensive guide aims to help you decide which is best for your child’s learning journey.

Understanding Balance Bikes

Balance bikes are a modern approach to teaching kids to ride. They lack pedals, encouraging children to focus solely on balancing. This method, supported by many kids bike brands, helps develop a child’s sense of equilibrium and coordination from the outset.

Pros of Balance Bikes

  • Develops Balance Early: Children learn to balance on two wheels right away, which can make the transition to a regular bike smoother.
  • Builds Confidence: Kids feel more in control, which boosts their confidence.
  • Lightweight and Maneuverable: Most balance bikes are lighter than traditional bikes, making them easier for kids to handle.
  • Usable at a Younger Age: Kids as young as 18 months can start on a balance bike.

Cons of Balance Bikes

  • No Pedaling Experience: Kids will need to learn to pedal later.
  • Terrain Limitations: They may not be suitable for all terrains.
  • Shorter Usage Span: Once a child learns to balance, they might quickly outgrow the balance bike.

Understanding Training Wheels

Training wheels are small auxiliary wheels attached to the rear wheel of a bicycle. They provide a stable platform for the child to learn pedaling and steering before tackling balance. Many kids bike brands offer models with training wheels.

Pros of Training Wheels

  • Pedaling First: This allows kids to focus on pedaling and steering before balance.
  • Familiarity: They resemble standard bikes, which can be more appealing to some children.
  • Adjustable Stability: Training wheels can be adjusted to provide less support over time.

Cons of Training Wheels

  • Delayed Balance Learning: Kids rely on training wheels for balance, which can make the transition to two wheels more challenging.
  • Less Maneuverability: Bikes with training wheels are often heavier and harder to maneuver.
  • False Sense of Security: They can give a false sense of security, as kids don’t learn to balance naturally.

Making the Right Choice

Choosing between a balance bike and training wheels depends on your child’s age, physical ability, and confidence level. Some kids’ bike brands offer models that can transition from a balance bike to a pedal bike, providing a comprehensive learning experience.


  • Child’s Age and Size: Younger, smaller children may find balance bikes easier to start with.
  • Learning Style: Consider whether your child would benefit more from learning balance first or focusing on pedaling.
  • Budget and Preferences: Balance bikes and training wheels vary in price and features. Consider what aligns best with your budget and your child’s preferences.

Beyond Bikes: Custom Scooters for Kids

While bikes are a traditional choice, don’t overlook custom scooters for kids. Scooters can be an excellent way for children to develop balance and coordination, offering a fun alternative to bikes.

In conclusion, both balance bikes and training wheels have their merits, and the decision largely depends on your child’s individual needs and your family’s preferences. Remember, the goal is to make learning to ride a bike an enjoyable and confidence-building experience for your child. Whether you choose a balance bike, training wheels, or even explore custom scooters for kids, the key is to encourage your child’s love for riding.


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Mikki Smith

Mikki is a graduate of Indian River State College and currently living and working in Isreal as a developer of AI chatbots for the travel industry. She writes part-time and is working on her first book about chatbot development.

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