When do you know your kid is ready to make the jump from balance bike to pedals?

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  • When do you know your kid is ready to make the jump from balance bike to pedals?
  • sgn23

    Unless you are short of cash i can’t see why you’d wait any longer as it seems she wants to move up. Mine are on islabbikes: Rothan at 2.25, cnoc 14 at 3.25
    Tip: I tie an old inner tube on to the bar for hill assist.


    As soon as my youngest could ride the bike feet up I switched her. No point keeping her on the balance bike as soon as she’d got used to riding on two wheels. It didn’t take long – a couple of weeks, then she was spending most of her time coasting with her feet held up. She jumped straight on a pedal bike and was off.

    Premier Icon andyfla

    mine moved on from the Rothan when he grew out of it – he was more than able to move to pedals after a year or so of the balance bike.

    having said that it took him a while to sort out starting with the pedals – took many a push start


    If your child can balance confidently and glide with their feet up, they should be able to move on to pedalling. The limiting factor will be bike size, but as long as you can get a pedal bike small enough you should be OK.


    Never bothered with a balance bike, just removed the pedals and voila you have a balance bike.

    Balance bikes are a good idea in principle but unnecessary as a bike in it’s own right.



    As with most above, I’d agree that it sounds like she’s ready for pedals now

    Premier Icon BigJohn

    I got my grandson a small pedal bike after he had been using the balance bike for a while. The pedal bike is a good bit heavier so I took the pedals off for him to get used to the feel. He asked for them to go on, then off, then on again for a month or two until he felt ready. Then he just rode away without any fuss.

    Unfortunately, I wasn’t really watching where he went so he could be miles away by now.

    My oldest boy went straight into pedals at 5yrs and middle one at 3 1/2yrs with no balance bike. Although they kind of used the bike like a balance bike to start with, just pushing along with their legs and coasting.

    Their younger sister had a balance bike from age 2 1/2yrs and straight into pedals at 3 yrs but that was likely down to just doing everything her older brothers did and also the ready access to small bikes with pedals.

    She was the most fearless of the three and gave older brothers a run for their money. So would say the sooner they get onto pedals the more confidence and skill on a bike they build early in life.


    So our eldest has just turned four and has been riding her balance bike for a year and a bit, having really built up her confidence since getting upgrading from a small light one (perfect for learning) to a bigger one (Ridgeback Zoom) with pneumatic tires and a brake (which she is brilliant with).

    We’re not in a rush to move her on since she really enjoys it and rides it everywhere (and has only had the Zoom since Christmas) BUT she is really keen on having a ‘proper bike with pedals Mummy!’ and (more importantly) her new balance bike is really heavy, so although she’s much more confident, she really struggles on the hills (which means lots of pushing on steep hills, which is not ideal when I already have her little sister to push in the buggy).

    Ultimately, I’m wondering, do we go for an Islabike now, or is it wiser to keep her on the Zoom for a bit longer?

    Any advice and past experience very much appreciated! Thanks!


    THe main benefit to a balance bike over removing pedals I saw was that it potentially removed the need to buy an extra bike. I got the balance bike off Amazon for Β£20 – one of those plywood jobbies – its been great. I had tried her already on a normal bike with pedals removed but found the pedal arms were getting in the way, plus the sizing was such that I couldn’t lower the seat enough for her to really be able to push off from the ground – she could just about get her feel flat on the ground but was not low enough to get any real power from her legs. I had expected her to be on the balance bike longer than the couple or so weeks, but for the sake of Β£20 it was worth it as her confidence on the bike with pedals is sky high compared to my older daughter who leanrned on a normal bike with stabilizers. He took a couple of tumbles whilst on stabilizers and that has really dented her confidence.


    William was 3.5 years when he went to pedals. he would put his feet up on the little ledges of the balance bike on downhills, so we knew he was ready.

    took 20 minutes to make the transition. that was boxing day. I go on little rides with him now, nothing better!

    Brilliant! Thanks guys! πŸ˜€ Definitely the response I was after!

    Think we’ll go ahead and order the Cnoc 14 – it looks like a lovely little bike! Being a fairly lightweight rider myself, I really sympathise with Beth having to haul the heavy balance bike up the steep hills (the memory of my first ride at Cwmcarn on a bike almost as heavy as me will be forever ingrained on my mind!), so this was just the encouragement we needed to take the plunge!

    Particularly encouraging to hear about your 3 Griffiths – that’s definitely been the experience with our two so far. Beth didn’t start getting along with her balance bike until she was almost 3, whereas her little sister grabbed it at 22 months and just zoomed off straight away – far more confident (and reckless!). So I have a feeling that it won’t be long until she wants pedals too.

    In retrospect, we perhaps could have gone for pedals at Christmas but we wanted her to get the hang of a bike with a brake first, since she was always a bit scared going downhill too fast, and we thought a brake and pedals all a once might be too much at 3 years old. Whether it was necessary or not though, she’s certainly a very confident (and sensible) rider now and can handle big descents with her feet up all the way just feathering the brake nicely, so yep, proper pedal bike here we come!

    Gosh, I’m almost as excited as I would be getting a new bike myself!

    Thanks again everyone, one very excited Mummy! πŸ˜€


    No point keeping her on the balance bike if she is competant. Ours was on the Balance bike (Ridgeback zoom)by three years old and moved onto a Specialized bike that she rode straight away.

    However she did have a few falls which knocked her confidence, so we allowed her to mix the usage between the balance bike and normal bike depending on what she wanted to use. After a month or two she was 100% on the pedal bike.


    Think we’ll go ahead and order the Cnoc 14 – it looks like a lovely little bike!

    I was blown away with the quality, it really is that good. we got ours second hand, it was spotless. I just put the saddle up a bit 2 days ago, so Will is a little higher on it, with a better pedaling stroke, he was flying on it last night….

    Excellent stuff. Really excited now! (Though shindiggy, that sounds like a good plan, we’ll keep her balance bike nearby just incase – our main aim is that she just enjoys riding, whatever bike it’s on)

    One additional question – on getting the new bike, how high would you initially put the saddle?


    My youngest was on a pedal bike 3 months after he started riding a balance bike. And as he started riding a balance bike at 19 months that was some feat! πŸ˜†

    A year and a half after he learnt to ride he still occasionally takes his balance bike out for a blast and do jumps and tricks.

    I would have the saddle low enough to get both feet comfortably flat on the ground.


    As soon as she is showing she can feet up ‘glide’ and make turns whilst gliding there’s no reason not to introduce the next step.
    Each kid is individual. My eldest was 2.5 when he started pedalling on a freehubbed bike but his little brother hits that age next month but probably won’t make the jump yet due to shorter leg length and lack of hand strength for brake operation.
    Good lick, watching your kid figure out a pedal bike is a great proud dad moment!

    Ahem, or proud Mum moment as it is in my case πŸ™‚ To be fair, I think we’ll be fighting over who gets to take her out for her first ride! Can’t wait!

    Premier Icon molgrips

    The woman at Islabikes made a good point the other day to us. Even though a kid is riding a balance bike properly they may not be ready to go to a pedal bike. Our youngest can ride the balance bike perfectly well and has done for a year, but I don’t think she’d be able to handle brakes as well as pedalling just yet.

    Yeah, that’s a good point molgrips and that was definite our thinking in upgrading Beth to more substantial balance bike with a brake first. She really has the braking nailed now though – she can feather it really nicely while taking a pretty tight corner downhill at reasonable speed, so I think we’ll see how she goes, at the end of the day if she’s happier on her balance bike for a while longer then that’s cool. Since she’s keen though, I think it’s worth a shot. (Even if I am perhaps slightly more excited than she is!)


    Sounds like she is very ready for a pedal bike. The thing that annoys me about balance bikes with brakes is that they are usually rear brakes and imo it is more useful for a small child to learn from the beginning that front brake is “better”. Unless they like skids that is πŸ˜†

    I know what you’re saying, she is a bit of a lover of skids though 8) I always feel like I should tell her off for ruining her tires, but she giggles so cutely everytime she does it, I just end up smiling or saying ‘wow, cool skid’ before I can stop myself! πŸ™„

    Roter Stern

    I think with 4 moving on to a pedal bike should pose no problems. My youngest has just turned 3 and he is almost as fast on his balance bike as my other kids on their regular bikes. He even stands up with both feet on the saddle doing tricks but for him the problem is stopping. He’s still too young to understand the concept of brakes which is why he’s staying on the balance bike for a while yet.

    Premier Icon augustuswindsock

    IMO the earlyrider is a better bike than the cnoc, and my kids are both on Islabikes (cnoc 16 and bein20), one of my daughters classmates has an earlyrider, it’s even lighter than the cnoc and it’s got belt drive, I was seriously impressed when I saw it!


    My wee one’s first pedal bike had a back pedal brake and those do the best skids! πŸ˜†

    Since he got a front vbrake at 3 and a couple of months I trust his control coming down anything.


    I’d go with Shindiggy’s idea, we kept both for a while, he would ride either depending on what took his fancy, that was at about three.

    Premier Icon oxym0r0n

    I would say ready but check out the cnoc 16 too. My twins went from zooms to the 16 about a year ago (at3.5) but we kept both for a while as they could pedal but not steer, so not confident to go out and about…

    A year later they will ride for miles, feather brakes, pedal harder for short uphills and take on singletrack at Haldon blue. πŸ˜€



    Jnr FD started looking at pedal bikes and asking if he could have one.

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