Learning to ride a bike can be a tricky process, but investing in a balance bike for your toddler will teach your child balance and coordination, giving your little one the confidence to get to grips with cycling from a young age.
What is a balance bike?
Balance bikes are small, lightweight pedal-free bikes carefully adapted to small hands and bodies making them ideal for first-time riders as young as 18 months old. The great thing about balance bikes is the simplicity of their design – there are no moving parts to catch little figures.
Initially, children learn to sit on the balance bike and push themselves along with their feet, using their body weight to control and steer the bike. Once confident, the next step is to gradually push and glide – lifting feet off the floor to make the most of the momentum.
Balance bikes are taking over from stabilisers as the preferred way to teach children how to balance on two wheels. They very quickly teach children the skills needed to transition to a regular bike, without the need for stabilisers. It usually only takes around two years to graduate from a balance bike to a regular bike.
Reasons your child should learn to cycle on a balance bike:
- They glide easily over rocks, jumps and curbs and can handle the most uneven surfaces with ease
- Balance bikes are safer than tricycles and stabilisers because the child is concentrating on balancing as opposed to pedalling
- Feet are used for braking and steering, which gives them greater control and confidence
- Balance bikes are better for longer distances – toddlers can travel so much further on a balance bike
- They’re lightweight and can be carried and transported very easily when not in use
- Balance bikes are simply brilliant fun – they’re a fabulous way to get kids exercising
The retro designed Rapid balance bike by KinderKraft is the latest balance bike on the block, and we have all the feels for this 1970’s inspired bike. The leather-look rubber purposely matches the colour of the saddle to give this bike a really premium feel.
My three year old was excited (to put it mildly) to take the Rapid for a test drive, and here’s the low-down on the product.
A lightweight balance bike is key
The Rapid Balance Bike has a perfectly proportioned frame built with a lightweight and durable magnesium frame. It weighs in at 3.75kg. The weight of a balance bike is important, as it will determine how easy it is for toddlers to use and manoeuvre. My daughter had no trouble pushing and pulling this bike about the garden as she got to grips with how it worked.
The Rapid is light enough to transport and no trouble at all for parents to pick up and carry once the little ones have had their fun. I love that KinderKraft has built this bike with their very youngest users in mind, so you can rest assured there are no small parts that might cause any safety issues.
12-inch wheels with shock absorption
The bike’s 12-inch inflatable, ball-bearing wheels have been designed with shock absorption to ensure a smooth ride on any terrain. My daughter had fun sailing up and down the streets, as well as around the grassy back garden and the local park.
Ergonomic and adjustable saddle
If you’re looking to buy a balance bike, it’s always worth investing in one that offers a degree of adjustability and room to grow. The Rapid balance bike has a height adjustment range of 33-42cm, so it can be tailored perfectly to your growing child.
Comfort is always king when it comes to toddlers (they can be picky little creatures), and the Rapid’s scooped ergonomic saddle is seriously comfy and very clever in keeping a toddler’s bottom centred.
The Rapid’s rubber handles give your child a decent grip on the bike to keep them safe during their ride. In line with safety standards, the handlebar has a limited range of movement, to protect your child from falling when turning the bike.
A child’s bike is not complete without a bell, and it comes as standard with the Rapid balance bike. If your kids are like mine, the bike’s bell is literally music to theirs ears as they cruise around the neighbourhood.
Choosing the right size balance bike
Buying the correct size bike is key to being able to use a balance bike to its full potential.
You’ll need to think about the seat height and the ability to adjust the bike to ensure enough room for growth to get the most out of your money.
According to Cycling Weekly, at the saddle’s lowest point, it should not measure one inch lower than your child’s inseam measurement.
When sat on the saddle, both feet should be firmly flat on the ground, with only a slight bend at the knee. This gives your little one the range of movement needed to extend their legs to take the strides they feel comfortable with.
An adjustable bike makes for the perfect hand-me-down too, and when her brother is old enough, he will inherit the Rapid and enjoy having just as much fun as she did.
The Rapid balance bike by KinderKraft is available in three bold colours suitable for every little learner and is suitable from 3 years of age (or from 80 cm tall) to 35 kg. Don’t forget to invest in the right sized bicycle helmet for your child.