In the last dozen or so years, balance bikes have really revolutionised the way children have been learning to ride a bike. These steerable bikes with no pedals allow a child to effectively learn how to balance and steer a bike without the complication of pedalling thrown into the mix. Simply put, balance bikes make a child's first experiences with bikes simple and fun, and not something complex that could put them off for life.
Best balance bike overall: Hornit AIRO balance bike
Best lightweight balance bike: Kidvelo Rookie 12 Balance Bike
Best balance bike for smaller children: Specialized Hotwalk balance bike
Best balance bike for safe steering: Raleigh Balance Banana Bike
Best convertible balance bike: LittleBig 3-in-1 bike
Best robust balance bike: Hoy Napier Balance Bike
Best first balance bike: Micro 2in1 Chopper balance bike
Best budget balance bike: Halfords Indi Balance Bike
Best balance bike/pedal bike versatile option: Black Mountain Pinto
Bonus pick: a true money-no-object balance bike: Specialized Hotwalk Carbon
Just like any type of bike, balance bikes are available at a wide range of prices. Some cheaper models don’t have as many added extra features such as brakes, and others... well, they could make a large dent in your wallet, and there are even carbon fibre balance bikes available nowadays if your child has been really good! Some can also double up as a 'proper' bike once your child gets the hang of balancing and wants to progress onto pedalling.
Although there are many types of balance bike on the market as we have mentioned, they are more often than not pretty basic and straightforward. An important thing to look for when buying one is an adjustable saddle height. This is important as you will need to be able to adjust the position as your child grows, until they are ready to move on to a big bike. If they are already at that stage or nearing, make sure you check out our pick of the best kids bikes to help make that next step.
Another important aspect to consider when selecting a balance bike for your child is fit. A properly fitted balance bike will allow your child to stand with their feet flat on the floor, so they can scoot themselves along and stop with their feet; not to mention, it helps them to feel in control.
It's also important to ensure that your little one can get on and off their balance bike easily, with the saddle height a couple of centimetres less than the child’s inside leg measurement.
If your child is still too small and/or you want to take them around town on your bike to get them used to cycling from the passenger's seat, we'd also recommend investing in one of the best child’s bike seat & trailers you can afford to attach to your bike, so they can enjoy the simple pleasures of being out riding (with mum or dad doing the hard work of course).
Without further ado, here are our top balance bike picks... reviewed by our reviewers and ridden by their kids, of course!