STW Dadsnet ….. Balance bikes, tell me more?

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  • STW Dadsnet ….. Balance bikes, tell me more?
  • Premier Icon letmetalktomark

    At what stage (both ages and confidence wise) did you introduce a balance bike?

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    2nd birthday here for our girl who was walking steadily and fairly durable in terms of being able to take a knock. She’s 2.5 now and happy to ride it up and down the street, but is still mainly at the walking-with-a-bike-between-her-legs stage.

    Premier Icon ton

    letmetalktomark, if you decide you need one, i have a used once decathlon model for sale. cheap too.

    Premier Icon swavis

    My wee lad’s 2nd birthday on Sunday and he’s getting a balance bike, I think I’m more excited than he is πŸ˜€


    My little girl is 2 and 4 months, she can now happily balance bike the whole 1.6miles or so to the child minder, legs up scooting and all.

    Need to get her booked in at the velodrome!

    Oh it really depends how tall they are more than anything else…

    Premier Icon Yak

    2nd birthday for the eldest and a bit younger for the youngest, but only because that’s when the eldest got a pedal bike.

    Ours both got balance sorted at about 2.5ish. At that point they went really/ scarily fast and had some huge stacks! To try and reduce the huge stacks, a back brake is a good idea – although that sometimes just leads to a big skid, then the crash…

    Premier Icon verses

    My daughter got her Ridgeback Scoot for her 2nd birthday. She was too small for it then, but by 2.5 she was flying around the place on it giving her mum heart palpitations. By 4 she was on a pedal bike without stabilisers (never needed them) and giving both of us heart palpitations…

    Premier Icon letmetalktomark

    that sometimes just leads to a big skid, then the crash…

    Sound like my general riding technique πŸ˜†

    @Ton – Cheers fella will let you know.


    About 18months but actual riding was after 2 years. Some do do it earlier. They could both “walk” them at about 18/20 months but we don’t do much of that but they want to try it.
    A lot depends on how tall they are on how quick they get going properly.


    Height was the most important thing. And then we just left the bike in the house and my son could play with it (spin the wheels, etc) and then start sitting on it and riding when he wanted to…

    Best thing since sliced bread, he now rides his pedal bike with confidence!

    Premier Icon GrahamS

    Regarding height, one of the benefits of the much praised Islabikes Rothan is that the saddle can go really low.


    OP if you are near Manchester you can go on the BMX track/hire a Strider bike for a few quid all in. Great fun.


    18 months. Although she only really got into it a couple of months later.


    My son got one for his second birthday but never took to it, he preferred his scooter.
    He is 3 and a half now and rides a normal bike with stabilsers instead.


    We bought my daughter one at two, she never liked it and never used it.


    My boy was two on the 17th and is occasionally toddling around with his, but he is only just tall enough. Pretty sure that as he grows he will get into it more.

    Premier Icon kimbers

    got our son one at 20 months, he sat n it a bit and let me push him around

    but it was his 2nd birthday before he was using it himself, he still likes to be pushed around and walks it rather than coasts but im not being pushy about it

    we got a puky, they are good because they have a small frame size


    As soon as they want too. I got a Rothan for my Son in the summer (he is two in December). Wasn’t at all interested to start with but just left it in the kitchen on view. Progressed to wanting Daddy to ride it, then last week he wanted a go, and he walked it across the room.

    So my advice would be get one but just go with the flow.

    Premier Icon tommytowtruck

    ton – if the op decides against it I might be interested in the Decathlon balance bike. I bought one for my nephew last Christmas but some horrible (older and rather heavier) wretch who lives up the street decided to have a go on it the other week and cracked the back wheel so i’m looking for a spare!

    Sorry for the hijack



    Eldest son (now 6) got a pedal bike at about 3+1/2yrs old and it took probably 18 months before he could ride it with confidence. Youngest got a balance bike at just over 3 and took to it immediately and now (at 3+1/2) wants a pedal bike. Maybe i should have got the eldest a balance bike first??
    They’re all different, just let your son progress at his own pace.

    Premier Icon Harry_the_Spider

    As soon as the kid is ready. My lad “got it” at about 30 months, my daughter a little later.

    Plonk the kid on it and see what happens.


    Got one for the eldests 2nd birthday. He didn’t take to it to start, stood over it and walked it around a bit but that was about it. I added a bell which increased interest a little.

    He started to really take notice at about 2.5, walking it round the garden and stuff. Once the weather turned we left it indoors and he started pootling round the lounge and kitchen. He just turned 3 and is now flying around, he’s had a couple of tasty offs too.

    His little brother is 2 next week and is starting to show a little interest, if I drop the saddle he’ll walk it round a bit (when he can get to it).


    Both of mine took to it at 18 months’ish but if I had one bit of advice that would be not to then revert them to stabilisers on their next larger bike. We did this to the eldest and she took ages to get rid of them whereas we just pushed the youngest off at 2yo on his pedal bike and he just got on with it (has obviously hugely stacked at points but it doesn’t seem to put him off).

    We have a Rohan for sale cheap at Β£40 (one without the brake but this never caused issues). Please note it has been through two kids and is cosmetically hammered but still functioning like new.

    my boy was ripping on a balance bike by two, he was known in the village for tearing about. even used to go offroad with it, fairly gnarley offroad too, not just tootling about on grass.

    he got a proper bike at 3, rode it twice, briefly, with stabilizers, we took em off and he rode straight away. so i hugely rate balance bikes.

    he had a cheapo one from lidl, about 15quid, that i’d bought a few years previously for my daughter but she never used it, did then, still does, hates bikes.

    knowing what i do now, i would have no hesitation in buying the best balance bike i could afford. the isla ones are stunning.

    Had them for both my kids, but they both preferred scooters and went the traditional stabiliser route. Both independent cyclists at 5.


    20 months.
    2 1/2

    If I could find a pedal bike small enough he is ready, but the bike does not exist!!

    Speaking as a parent (always wanted to type that), and in case one of them Singletrack office/editor type people are reading, I’d really like to see a future article about MTbers introducing MTbs to their kids. I’d love to read about the journeys folk and their sprogs have been on (excuse the pun). Random subject list follows

    -first bikes
    -progression to pedal bikes
    -days out
    -developing riding skillz
    – creative bribery methodologies to get up/down hills

    Oh and 2 years ish, Isalbikes Rothan to the OP.


    Premier Icon jonathan

    Eldest started at 20 months, but took a few more to really get the hang of it. He went on to pedals at nearly 3 1/2 and was away.

    Video proof of his first ride!

    Saul on form by Jonathan Bateman, on Flickr

    Our youngest followed on four and a half years later and has done everything earlier – having a big brother to chase makes a big difference. On the balance bike from 18 month and now (at 3) happily messing about on local pump track and jumps πŸ™‚

    Cruising the Dalby World Cup course by Jonathan Bateman, on Flickr

    He’s been able to ride on pedals for the last couple of months, but as for tinsy ^^^ the bike is too big for him yet.

    Eldest (now 7) will ride singletrack with me for 3+ hours, as long as I tow him up the really big boring climbs (climbing sling clipped between my camelbak and his bars) and isn’t fazed by anything technical. He does require a near constant stream of jelly babies or haribos though to maintain energy and motivation πŸ˜‰

    Bike progression was Islabike Rothan > Islabike Cnoc14 > Islabike Beinn (small) > in progress 24 inch project! (Plus a 24″ road/cross bike for Tour de France re-enactment)


    My son has had one since he was about two and a half, but has only recently got into it now at about 3 1/4. His problem was that he was really competent on his micro scooter (up and down ramps at the skatepark, terrifying) that he wasn’t motivated to go on it. luckily, he broke his scooter last week so has been forced to go out on his alternative wheeled transport, and he got the hang of it in two rides and now belts downhill on it feet up. I guess the skills from the scooter transfer a bit – I didn’t think they would. His is a puky that I got on ebay.

    I guess just having one around from about 2 is good, but don’t be disappointed if s/he doesn’t leap on it. They’ll come to it when they’re ready. Bike with pedals ready for xmas now, which is what he really wants. Am hoping that we’ll skip stabilisers…

    Premier Icon ir_bandito

    2nd birthday, but took him 6 months to get to grips with it. 6 months later and he was bl00dy lethal on it. He got an Islabike Cnoc last Christmas (aged 3 1/2) but didn’t touch it for 9 months cos he enjoyed the Scoot so much.

    But when he got going on the Islabike, it took him a single pedal stroke to get going, The Scoot instantly got bansished to the loft, ready for his little brother to pick it up in a couple of years.

    Problem we’ve got is he got the Cnoc14, which he’s going to outgrow very quickly, so looking at 20″ wheel bikes now…

    Premier Icon jonathan

    Worth noting that our eldest rode his Cnoc14 for a long time after it was “too small” for him. It became his “stunt bike”, as opposed to his 20″ Beinn which was his “mountain bike”. Watching him pelting round on that, with the occasional beefy pedal strike to liven things up, was truly scary. It took until the youngest had his first ride on it to finally prize it off of him πŸ˜‰

    Lots of fun to be had on a bike that’s too small for you!

    Skate park on the little bike by Jonathan Bateman, on Flickr


    this is my son’s second outside ride on his. Bit later than many but he seems to have got the hang of it πŸ˜‰

    Premier Icon zbonty

    They’re great obviously. I bought one for friends son. Was loving it, flying around, learnt to ride etc etc.

    However. His dad bought him a spangly new Spesh for his 4th birthday six months ago. I saw said Spesh kids bike last weekend and it had @Β£$€ing stabilisers on it. What. A. Tool.


    Got my daughter this for her first birthday (today) – but had it out a couple of weeks early

    clearly it’s house only use, but after pushing up & down a few times she was striding about

    Can’t wait to get a big wheeler for her when she’s ready so she can rip up & down the garden or wherever

    Two kids: both took to the balance bike (Rothan) by age 3 and were riding with pedals about 6 months after that.

    IIRC, the Islabikes literature that comes with the Cnoc suggests kids can cope with both pedalling and steering sometime between 3y6m and 4y. True for my two.

    Premier Icon beamers

    Our daughter started watching this vid at 18 months:


    When presented with her Rothan on he second birthday she swung her leg over it and went across the room.

    However, she was about 2 and half / three quarters before she really took to it. She’s getting the appropriate bike for her size with pedals from the Islabike range for her 4th birthday.


    About 18m but it was only a month ago (26m) he started being able to ride it without one of us holding him as well. He’s not really sitting on it yet, just as above walking with a bike between his legs, but getting more and more confident.

    Premier Icon pictonroad

    Cant wait for a balance bike, my wee fella can ride one, he’s 14 months, but… he’d just ride it straight off the nearest drop. His body might be ready at 14 months but he’s still an idiot.

    Sticking to the pukylino, the wheels stop the legs getting up too much speed…

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