Kids grow so fast! Aren’t they? It seems as if it was only yesterday when they were still in their cradle and now they want their very first bike. And they are only two. Things are completely different nowadays and that’s a good thing. Children don’t have to reach the age of 4 or 5 to get their first bike. They get the chance to learn how to balance and ride a bike with balance bikes. So the name given to these special bicycles is not accidental, but the question remains: which balance bike is the best for 2 year old?
There is a lot to consider before you buy the first balance bike for your toddler. After all, this will be their very first bike. And don’t forget that 2 year old are still babies. A carefully chosen 2-year-old toddler balance bike will allow kids to handle it easily, suffer the less pain possible during falls and get encouraged to learn. So, from the frame of the bike to safety measures, everything must be taken into serious consideration. Let us help.
Are you new to the concept of balance bikes? Is this going to be the first balance bike in the family? Take a few seconds to consider the following. The whole idea of balance bikes is to enable kids to learn how to keep their balance and control over the bike. This doesn’t happen with training-wheels, which keep the bike stabilized and so the kid doesn’t actually learn anything but pedaling. One of the most distinctive features with balance bikes is that they have no pedals. Most of them have no brakes either and that’s good for 2 year old who must learn how to stop their bike with their feet.
Instead of pedals kids use their feet to step on the ground, gain stability, keep their balance and control their bike. So they must be able to put their feet on the ground and easily reach and control the handles. If they cannot do these things, their efforts will go in vain. They will get discouraged and their self-confidence will go down the drain. With these things said, let’s see which balance bike features to be wary about and what to do before you buy a new bike.
At first glance, all balance bikes look alike. They are all petit. Well, that’s natural! They are designed for the small bodies of 2 to 5 year olds. But each model is produced to fit the needs of a different child. The right balance bike size will allow your kid to put his/her feet on the ground and learn how to ride. If he/she fails to do so with ease, he/she won’t be able to use the bike. So, pay attention to the size. The first thing you should do is to measure the inseam of your own child. At that age, kids’ legs are not usually tall. Average children of 2 have an 11” inseam. But you have to measure yours because some children are much taller for their age. Some 2 year olds are 40” tall and so they will need a bigger bike. What you should do is measure their inseam with their shoes on. 2-year-old toddlers with 14 to 17” inseam usually need 12” balance bikes. With larger measurements, you might need to get a 16” balance bike.
Pay attention to the bike’s wheels. Their size determines the overall size of the balance bike. Their material determines whether the ride will be smooth or not. When it comes to that, aired tires are the best choice. These types of wheels also absorb impact better than hard rubber tires and so they make riding more comfortable. To avoid the headache of flat tires, add sealants.
The turning radius of the handlebar is also important. Turning limiters keep children from falling often and getting injured, but the steering limiters won’t allow them to learn how to steer well. Don’t worry there are also gray zones here since you can get a balance bike with no extreme steering limiters. So the kid can still learn steering without falling a lot.
Make sure the balance bike has an adjustable seat. It will allow you to make the right adjustments to get the perfect fit for your child. This feature also helps as the kid is growing older. It’s imperative to remember that 2 year old will practice with their balance bike for about 2 years. Then they will move on to regular pedal bicycles. During this time, they get taller and adjustable seats enable you to put them at a higher position so that the child won’t have to bend the knees too much and still feel comfortable with his/her balance bike. If the handlebar is adjustable, even better! Their hands grow out too. By adjusting the handlebar, the child won’t have to bend the elbows too much and will keep better control of the bike.
Although tires play a role to the overall weight of the balance bike, what mainly determines its weight is the frame. The truth is that there are no major differences between wood and metal balance bikes as far as their weight is concerned. But each model has a different weight. Don’t forget to check this characteristic when you choose a balance bike. Most bikes designed for 2-year-old kids are about 6.9 pounds. Avoid getting heavier ones unless you have a very good reason for it. As an average, balance bikes should weigh 30% of the child’s weight. Lightweight balance bikes are always best for such small children. Check out the reasons why:
The overall quality of the balance bike is vital, but its maintenance is also essential when it comes to the safety of the child. Check the bike’s condition before you let the child ride it. Are the nuts tight? Is the handlebar stable? Did you tighten the clamp when you adjusted the seat? Also, avoid leaving the bike outside where it can get rusty and thus dangerous. It’s also extremely important to invest in a few accessories. Get a helmet as well as pads for the elbow and knees. Chances are that the kid will fall. That’s natural! But when he/she is all geared up with the right accessories, the fall will be painless. Make sure you choose the right size helmet by measuring the kid’s head above the eyebrows. It must feel right and shouldn’t move around or be too tight.
The kid will be more confident riding the balance bike outdoors if he/she tries it out first inside the house. So give him/her as much time as he/she needs. When it’s time to go outside, pick up the right clothing: comfortable shoes and bright colors for the shirt. Intense colors will make the child visible by everyone.
Once you do research and come down to a few balance bike options, choose colors. Let your child help you too. Balance bikes are not just training bikes; they also teach children how to be responsible and take their very first steps in a certain field. So don’t hesitate to ask their opinion when it’s time to choose the color and invest in bright, nice colors. After all, this is the most colorful age and should go hand in hand with colorful balance bikes.