Balance Bike vs Tricycle: Which One Is Better for Your Kid?

This article will help you choose the best way to teach your child how to ride a bike and supply you with the pros and cons of the two most popular methods.
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Last updatedLast updated: April 15, 2022
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Teaching your child to ride a bike is a moment every parent looks forward to doing. Unfortunately, you can’t sit your child down on any old bike and expect them to know how to ride it. Parents usually start with something small and easy, like a tricycle or a balance bike. Which one is the better choice when it comes to training your child how to ride a bike, though? This post will highlight the difference and likenesses between a balance bike vs. a tricycle, and the post will let you know which one is the better choice for you and your child.

Balance bikes

Buying a balance Trusted Source Balance Bikes Overtake Training Wheels for Teaching Young Riders Advocates of no-pedal balance bikes say they may terminate a traumatic rite of passage: young kids learning to ride on bicycles with training wheels. www.nbcnews.com bike for your child is a big deal. It is probably their first bike, and you want to make the moment as memorable as possible when you give it to them. A great choice for a balance bike is the Strider – 14x Sport Balance Bike. Unlike tricycles that teach children to ride on a bike with three wheels, a balance bike focuses more on a child’s gross motor skills.

Balance bikes keep feet securely to the ground, which provides a sense of safety to the child.

Fit

Balance Bike vs Tricycle: Which One Is Better for Your Kid?

When buying a balance bike for your child, it is ideal to have your child’s feet firmly touch the floor.

They should have a slight bend in their knee while sitting on the bike seat. There are two ways to determine the best-size balance bike for your child. You may use your child’s inseam measurement or your child’s age and weight as a starting point. If you are unaware of what an inseam is, it is the distance between the ground and the crotch area. Measuring your child’s inseam is easy if you follow these simple steps:

  • Have your child stand as straight as possible with their shoes against a wall.
  • Place a book between their legs.
  • Slide the book up until it meets the crotch seam of your child’s pants; as if they were sitting on a bike seat.
  • Measure from the top of the book to the floor to get the correct measurement.
  • Once you have the inseam figured out, you can find the best balance bike to fit your child.

Ease of move

Balance bikes are much easier to move on than a tricycle. First of all, when your child is riding a balance bike, they will not have to exert themselves as much when they use a tricycle. Because a balance bike is significantly lighter than a tricycle, they are easier to maneuver. Balance bikes are also more efficient than a bike with training wheels. A child on a bike with training wheels cannot ride very far from home, but a child on a balance bike can go much further.

Weight

The weight of your balance bike should be no more than thirty percent of your child’s weight. For example, if your child weighs 25 pounds, then multiply 25 by 0.3. The answer is 7.5, which means your child’s balance bike should be no more than 7.5 pounds. The lighter the bike, the easier it is for a parent or guardian to carry. A lightweight balance bike is much more manageable to use.

Usage

Balance bikes do not require much guidance on how to use them. Children will sit on the low seat and hold onto the handlebars. They can either walk, run, or glide forward or backward. There are a few things as a parent that you need to do before your child rides on a balance bike, such as:

  • Find a free, open, safe space free from obstacles and rough surfaces.
  • Purchase a well-fitting helmet to protect your child’s head in case of a fall. It would be best to buy elbow and knee pads to shield your child from injury.
  • Set the seat height, so your child’s feet sit flatly on the ground.
  • Show your child how to use the brakes if your balance bike has them.
  • Give your child a gentle but firm push to get them going.
  • Take out your camera and get ready to take pictures of your little ones as they go!

Transition to a pedal bike

Balance Bike vs Tricycle: Which One Is Better for Your Kid?

If your child sees the balance bike, they may want to ride that instead, and they’ll revert and forget all they have learned about a pedal bike.

When your child is ready for a regular bike, they’ll start showing these signs:

  • They stop putting their feet down. When they show they have the confidence to push themselves off the ground and glide without stopping themselves, they may be ready for a regular bike.
  • They’re tall enough to handle a pedal bike. Children as young as two years old may master the balance bike, but that doesn’t mean they’re ready for a pedal bike. A pedal bike will be bigger and heavier than a balance bike, which is why you need to make sure your child is at the right height and weight to ride a pedal bike.

Get your child excited about riding their new pedal bike! Let them pick out the bike they want. Allow them to choose a bell or other decorations such as stickers on their new bike. Put away the balance bike and other ride-on toys while teaching your child to ride a pedal bike.

Tricycle

Balance Bike vs Tricycle: Which One Is Better for Your Kid?

A tricycle isn’t about balance; the whole focus is on the pedals. A child isn’t learning to ride a bike in any way when they ride on a tricycle.

A tricycle is a three-wheeled bicycle like the Schwinn Roadster Tricycle for Toddlers and Kids. A tricycle has been the go-to bike for teaching young ones to ride for years and years. The balance bike is becoming increasingly popular. You will see more balance bikes out at the playground than on tricycles these days. Pedaling is the easy part of riding a bike; the hard part is balancing.

Fit

The tricycle size you purchase should be in accordance with your child’s height. Just like with a balance bike, you will have to measure your child’s inseam to fund the perfect size tricycle. To calculate the inseam:

  • Place a hardcover book between their legs as they stand straight up against a wall.
  • Raise the book until the spine hits the crotch area.
  • Measure from the floor to the spine of the book, and you will have your child’s inseam.
  • Use your youngster’s riding ability and inseam measurement to determine the proper size seat height.

Ease of move

Balance Bike vs Tricycle: Which One Is Better for Your Kid?

Tricycles are also very slow. Little ones’ feet can run faster than they can pedal a tricycle.

Tricycles do not move as smoothly as a balance bike does—tricycles tip over often, especially when riding on uneven surfaces. Balance bikes can handle any terrain. Balance bikes usually weigh half the amount of a tricycle, meaning a tricycle is heavier than a balance bike. When your child tires of pedaling, guess who is going to be the one carrying their heavy tricycle back home? Children have to use a lot of effort Trusted Source Ready for a Tricycle? - HealthyChildren.org As your child outgrows babyhood, they will be ready to learn how to ride a tricycle. A tricycle provides lots of fun and exercise but also some new hazards. For example, a child on a tricycle is so low to the ground that they can’t be seen by a motorist who is backing up. But riding trikes and bikes is almost an essential part of growing up, so read on for ways to keep your child pedaling safely. www.healthychildren.org on a tricycle, and they will tire out quickly. That is why you will see a lot of tricycles with a push bar to give the child a rest from pedaling.

Weight

A typical tricycle weighs approximately twelve to twenty-four pounds. That is about half the size of a balance bike. Tricycles come with pedals, gears, and chains, whereas a balance bike doesn’t have those features. Because tricycles are so much heavier than balance bikes, a child may have difficulty pedaling them. Also, since tricycles are prone to tipping over, there is an increased risk of injury due to the weight of the trike. A child may also need help getting the tricycle back to its proper place. If a child were to fall off of a balance bike, they should be able to get up on their own and get on their way without any injury or tears.

Usage

To teach your child how to use a tricycle, follow these steps:

  • Firstly, you want to choose the correct size trike for your child. You do that by measuring the inseam.
  • Show the tricycle to your child and explain what the trike does in some detail. Point out the seat and the pedals and demonstrate how the pedals move.
  • Place the child on the tricycle and put their feet on the pedals. Illustrate how to pedal by using your hands to rotate the pedals to make a move.
  • Teach the little one all about pedaling by simulating pedals with your hands. Sit in a chair the same size as the tricycle and place your child’s feet in each of your hands. Move your hands up and down as if they were pedaling; once they get comfortable with the motion, have them move their feet on your hands by themselves.

Make sure to have your video camera out and ready for the first time your youngster pedals and steers on their own.

Transition to a pedal bike

Some people say it is best to transition from a trike to a balance bike before transitioning fully to a pedal bike. That is because a balance bike will help your child learn to balance themselves and steer. It is best if you avoid transitioning your child to a bike with training wheels. When a child rides a bike with training wheels, they aren’t learning anything. Riding a bike is all about finding balance. Instead, find the lightest pedal bike you can for your child. Also, do not purchase a bike for your child to grow into. Buying a too-large bike for your child is unsafe, too heavy, and will ultimately help your child lose confidence in riding. Your child should be able to touch the floor flat-footed. Remember to keep the experience as exciting as possible for your little one.

What to choose?

When it comes to choosing between a balance bike vs. a tricycle, the clear winner is the balance bike. Balance bikes have many benefits such as:

  • Your child will have more control with a balance bike. Because their feet are still on the ground, they have more solidity. Little ones will feel safe and secure while preparing for a bicycle.
  • Learning to pedal, steer, and balance simultaneously is quite a feat for a toddler. On a balance bike, your child will learn one skill at a time. First, they learn to sit on the bike; then, they will perfect their steering as they walk their feet forward.
  • Learning to ride a bike comes with fear and frustration. Balance bikes are low, which makes falling off seem a lot less daunting. Your child will quickly become confident in their new skills and will be zooming up and down the street on their bike.

Final Thoughts

When it comes to choosing a balance bike vs. a tricycle, the clear winner is the balance bike. A balance bike is lighter, easier, and all-around the better option for your child. By purchasing a balance bike, your child will be well prepared when it comes time to ride an actual, two-wheeler bicycle.

References

1.
Balance Bikes Overtake Training Wheels for Teaching Young Riders
Advocates of no-pedal balance bikes say they may terminate a traumatic rite of passage: young kids learning to ride on bicycles with training wheels.
2.
Ready for a Tricycle? - HealthyChildren.org
As your child outgrows babyhood, they will be ready to learn how to ride a tricycle. A tricycle provides lots of fun and exercise but also some new hazards. For example, a child on a tricycle is so low to the ground that they can’t be seen by a motorist who is backing up. But riding trikes and bikes is almost an essential part of growing up, so read on for ways to keep your child pedaling safely.
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