We all want our kids to enjoy the outdoors and have fun with their friends while learning how to live an active life.
One good way of doing that is by giving them their first bicycle. But what kind of bike? Two of the most common ones are balance bikes and bikes with training wheels. Which between the two is better?
Well, that’s what this article is all about as we’ll be looking into whether balance bikes are really better than training wheels when it comes to training young riders. If you’re into that, then read on!
What is Balance Bike?
A balance bike is a kind of kid’s bike that doesn’t have any pedals. The child simply has to sit on its saddle and use their feet to push themselves along with the bike.
This way, they’re able to learn how to balance by creating stability and leaning sideways, forwards, and backwards, so that they won’t fall.
These are ideal for kids who already know how to walk as these require the help of their legs’ muscular power. Kids also learn how to move the bike side-by-side for them to balance.
It’s basically them walking with their bikes while sitting on its saddle. It’s a great way to build fundamental skills for cycling. Balance bikes also let them learn how to balance on their bikes before they proceed to the more advanced skill, which is pedaling.
What are Training Wheels?
Meanwhile, training wheels are basically wheels that are added on the sides of a standard kid’s bicycle. These are placed at the sides of the bicycle’s rear wheel, which assists the child until they learn how to balance and cycle without any training wheels on their bike.
It’s All About Balancing and Coordination
Balancing is one of the most, if not the most important skill a child needs for them to ride a bicycle. Well, that’s what balance bikes are all about.
They’re basically built to help children get a feel of their bike, specifically on how they can maneuver and keep on with the speed and its weight. Once they master how to ride on one, they can then easily transition to standard bikes and learn how to pedal and brake.
Balance bikes don’t have any pedals and gears, but they are still very good when it comes to helping the child learn muscle coordination. And just like standard bikes, balance bikes still need to be steered, thus giving them a feel of what it is like to ride on a real bike later on.
Meanwhile, pedal bikes that have steering wheels lets kids skip the stage of learning how to balance and let them focus on the riding itself. They also don’t have to fear falling down because there are two extra wheels at the sides.
The safety factor might be a win for training wheels, but it actually prolongs the learning experience, or can even stop it because the training wheels literally stops kids from learning how to balance with a bike.
Learning the Basics of Cycling
Balance bikes are way better than pedal bikes that have training wheels when it comes to learning how to corner and maneuver.
When your child grows older, they’re eventually going to ride a real bike, right? So, why not let them learn how to corner and lean with their bikes as early as now?
That’s one of the best things about balance bikes because they enable the child to lean into corners. They can’t do that with training wheels!
Not only does this slow down the learning process, but it can also cause injuries with kids who learned using training wheels because they haven’t developed the skills needed to corner and balance.
You also don’t have to worry about your child crashing or falling down from their balance bike because these have lower standpoints, shorter wheelbases, and smaller wheels. This means that they won’t get any serious injuries.
After all, falling down a bike is normal and kids need to get used to this as long as they don’t hurt themselves.
It’s also important to take note that kids are more likely to fall down with training wheels compared to balance bikes because it’s a natural human reaction for one to lean into corners.
When your child does this and they’ve got training wheels. What do you think will happen? Well, they simply fall down.
Balance bikes are also lightweight and the rider always has their feet on the ground, which means that they’re less likely to lose control and fall down.
Portability: Balance Bikes vs Training Wheels
Another nice thing about balance bikes is that they’re way more portable and lightweight compared to pedal bikes with training wheels. This is because they’re usually made from aluminum alloy.
Some are even made from plastic and wood, which makes them even lighter. Compare that to pedal bikes which are commonly made with steel.
Balance bikes also don’t have any pedals, cranks, gears, and chain, which means that they’re way lighter than their counterparts. Imagine adding training wheels to a pedal bike and you’ll surely have a heavy one.
You also don’t have to worry about transporting a balance bike because they’re very light and portable. What is also notable is that there are a variety of sizes to consider that effect the size and weight, some are even foldable.
Enjoying the Great Outdoors
The purpose of getting your child to ride a bike is to enjoy the outdoors. Thus, it makes sense for you to get one that’s fully capable of tackling any kind of terrain while ensuring your child’s safety and enjoyment.
Balance bikes do just that as they can take on uneven terrain with ease. Standard bikes with training wheels can’t do that because the extra set of wheels get stuck on small bumps and can even turn the bike over once the rider leans on a corner.
Training wheels need very even surfaces for them to roll over. You don’t have to worry about that with balance bikes because they can easily roll over any terrain, whether it be bumpy, rocky, or smooth.
They’re also very efficient in going downhill because of their short wheelbase, low center of gravity, and lightweight design. Balance bikes make the transition into the real bike easier, faster, and safer.
So, yes, balance bikes are surely better than training wheels.