Training Wheels Vs Balance Bikes

If you’re a bike-riding parent or grandparent, you probably want to introduce your children or grandchildren to the joys of cycling.

But is a bike with training wheels or a balance bike the best way to get them peddling?

The best way to answer that question is to consider the pros and cons of both options so you can choose what you believe to be best for your little ones.

Whatever your choice, kids bike helmets are essential. Get them used to protecting themselves by wearing a helmet from their first ride on their new bike.

Make it a rule that no helmet, no ride! If it becomes a habit, it’ll stick with them for life.

Bicycles With Training Wheels

Also known as stabilizers, training wheels are two small wheels that are attached to the rear wheel of a bicycle. Pedaling as a first step doesn’t come naturally to us, and training wheels are designed as a support mechanism to help children learn that motor skill.

Training wheels help stabilize the bike, which means your child is likely to focus on pedaling and steering, rather than learning how to balance on the bike. Gradually raising the training wheels higher off the ground can help them improve their balance. If that’s not possible, your child may need to work on their balance once the training wheels have been removed.

One of the biggest pros is that you can use training wheels on various types of bicycles. This makes them a good option if you’re concerned about affordability.

While still on the bike, the training wheels should prevent it from tipping over when turning. However, accidents can still happen. So, there’s still a need for your little one to wear one of the best bike helmets for kids, or a bike helmet for toddlers if they learn to ride on a bike with training wheels.

One of the downsides to training wheels is that they can make it difficult for children to turn bikes, which could result in your kid leaning the wrong way when turning. You’ll need to watch this and correct them as they go. Among the other cons not mentioned above are weight and their use of some types of terrain.

These wheels add more weight to the bike’s already-heavy frame, which can also make pedaling and turning the bike difficult. Your child may also have difficulty using the bike on an incline and on grass or softer ground, as they can make the bike lean to one side and dig into the ground. Whatever the terrain, make sure your child is wearing a kids bike helmet.

Balance Bikes

Balance bikes look similar to regular bikes, except that they don’t have pedals.

Some models don’t have any breaks, or they have a rear break only. The idea behind them is that it’s more important for your kids to learn balance and body control before they learn how to pedal.

Whereas you would encourage your kids to learn pedaling when using a bike with training wheels, you would encourage them to walk with the bike first. Next, they can progress to running with the bike before gliding with the feet off the ground. There is a risk of falling, which means there is a need for your child to wear one of the best bike helmets that fits properly and provides adequate protection and ventilation.

One of the pros of balance bikes is that they don’t counteract centrifugal forces when steering the way bikes with training wheels do. Instead, balance bikes speed up the process of your child learning how to lean into the turn as a way of counteracting those forces.

Weight is another pro of balance bikes. They’re generally lighter than regular bikes, which makes them easier to ride. Unlike regular bikes with training wheels, your little ones can use them on various terrains as well as on inclines. If you purchase a balance bike for your child, make sure you also purchase a helmet for kids.

As you can see, there are pros and cons to training wheels and to balance bikes. Choose the one that you feel is the safest way for your child to discover the joys of riding.