Best Wooden Balance Bikes
Wooden balance bikes are an excellent starting point for any toddler learning how to ride a bike. If you’re unsure about what a balance bike is, it’s essentially a regular pedal bike – without the pedals! This means kids can learn how to balance through gliding and can graduate to standard pedal bikes much sooner. While structurally the same as steel frame balance bikes, wooden balance bikes offer a more aesthetic appeal with a classic, nostalgic feel.
- Meet the Winners!
- Balance Bike Vs Tricycle – Which Is Better?
- Why Buy A Wooden Balance Bike?
- Our Selection Of The 10 Best Wooden Balance Bikes
- Things to Consider when Buying a Wooden Balance Bike
- Reasons to Avoid a Tricycle or Bike With Training Wheels
- Tire Size and Seat Height
- Bike Weight
- Balance Bike Geometry
- Tire Types
- Steering Issues
- Wheel Bearings
- Handle Grips
- Concealed Bolts
- Best Value For Money Wooden Balance Bike
- Best Wooden Balance Bike for Toddlers
- Best Adjustable Wooden Balance Bike
- Best Themed Wooden Balance Bike
- Best Wooden Balance Bike (Best Overall)
If you’re looking for the best value-for-money wooden balance bike, look no further than the Prince Lionheart Balance Bike. At just over $100 it’s a high-quality and durable balance bike, suitable for a wide age group of kids.
The Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike is recommended for kids aged 2 years and up. Unlike some of the other balance bikes on this list, the Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike comes with footpegs. This is to prepare your child for pedals in the future and to ensure smooth cruising.
The Wishbone Design Studio Original 2-in-1 Bike can actually grow with your little one. This wooden balance bike can convert from a small balance bike to a large balance bike.
The Kinderfeets Retro Wooden Balance Bike comes in three fun theme options including a pink cupcake design, superhero, or American flag design.
Handmade from Birchwood, the Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike has EVA airless tires and an adjustable cushioned seat. It’s the perfect choice for teaching kids to balance!
Balance Bike Vs Tricycle – Which Is Better?
Unsure about whether to start your child on a balance bike or a tricycle? Balance bikes serve the purpose of allowing kids to learn how to balance before learning how to pedal. They’re suitable for kids aged 18 months and up and they ensure the correct foundations have been laid for bike riding. Most often, the transition from balance bike to standard bike riding is much faster than you’ll experience with tricycles. Balance bikes also don’t get stuck on uneven surfaces and they glide over rocks and gravel roads with ease.
Why Buy A Wooden Balance Bike?
Not only do wooden balance bikes offer a classic timeless look, but they’re also actually more environmentally friendly too! A wooden balance bike made of high-quality timber will last many years when properly taken care of. While they might not be as adjustable as their metal counterparts, kids graduate from their balance bikes fairly quickly anyways. Live by example and show your child what living environmentally conscious looks like.
Our Selection Of The 10 Best Wooden Balance Bikes
1. Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike
Specs & Features
Handmade from Birchwood, the Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike has EVA airless tires and an adjustable cushioned seat. The seat is also washable. Unlike some of the other balance bikes on this list, the Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike comes with footpegs. This is to prepare your child for pedals in the future and to ensure smooth cruising.
Being made from Birchwood, this bike is very environmentally friendly and it is also ergonomically designed to encourage good posture, while still maintaining maximum comfort. That fact may seal the deal with parents, but what the kids will really love is just how customizable this bike really is.
The Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike is recommended for kids aged 2 years and up. The bike was designed by a Dutch designer in California. He originally made this bike for his son because his son’s “dream bike” was not available in any store. Though his son is all grown up now, he credits his father’s balance bike with helping him to learn the skills needed in order to ride a regular bike.
The Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike is also certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and is an award-winning balance bike. For every bike sold, the company promises to plant a tree as well. The Kinderfeets Wooden Balance Bike is available in black, blue, pink, red, black and white, green, and orange.
2. Wishbone Design Studio Original 2-In-1 Bike
Specs & Features
|Age||18m – 5yrs|
Next up we have the Wishbone Design Studio Original 2-in-1 Wooden Balance Bike. This bike stands out from the crowd when it comes to its environmentally conscious design! While made from Birchwood, like the other wooden balance bikes on our list, it’s blended with eucalyptus wood and is sustainably harvested. Wishbone has also made sure to use non-toxic glues and finishes, as well as recycled packaging. This is a company that very clearly cares for the environment!
Another appealing design element of the Wishbone wooden balance bike is that will grow with your child. Converting from a small balance bike, the saddle height can be adjusted to accommodate your child as they grow.
The Wishbone Design Studio Original 2-in-1 Bike tires are made of rubber and are air-filled. An organic canvas drawstring tool bag is also included when you purchase the Wishbone Wooden Balance Bike.
Finally, you’ll be glad to know that the Wishbone Design Studio Original 2-in-1 Bike exceeds the European, United States, and Australian toy safety standards. Added to that, the wooden balance bike is a multi-award winner too!
The Wishbone Design Studio Original 2-in-1 Bike has claimed the titles of best-in-category – winner of 2009 TIME Magazine Design 100, Dr. Toy Best Green Toy 2011, Dutch Best Baby Toy Award 2009, JPMA Innovation Award 2009, and Babble.com Best Kids Bike 2011.
3. Prince Lionheart Wooden Balance Bike
Specs & Features
Another award-winning balance bike, made from 100% Birchwood. Prince Lionheart believes that teaching kids to balance should be the first skill a child learns when learning to ride a bike. In addition to balance, the Prince Lionheart wooden balance bike will also teach your child about steering and coordination when bike riding.
Recommended for children aged 2 to 5 years, the Prince Lionheart Balance Bike features a maximum weight limit is 65 pounds. The seat is padded and adjustable, with its lowest setting being 14.8 inches and the highest being 17 inches. The handle grips are made from solid rubber and the tires are air-filled.
The Prince Lionheart Wooden Balance Bike guarantees that your child will gain a sense of independence and self-confidence as they transition from the wooden balance bike to a traditional bike.
4. ZÜM CX Wooden Balance Bike
Specs & Features
|Age||2 – 6 yrs|
The ZÜM CX Wooden Balance Bike is a great value for those that want a top-quality wooden balance bike without breaking the bank. The ZÜM CX is made from 100% clear top-grade Birchwood and is built to last for years. Balance bikes designed by ZUM have no pedals and no training wheels. They are perfect for helping the child develop coordination and balance. The skills learned on the ZÜM CX Wooden Balance Bike will have no problem transferring to a traditional bike, once the time is right. This bike is primarily geared towards children ages 2-6.
The 100% clear top-grade Birchwood is ideal for an environment-friendly frame and the patented steering wheel is specifically designed to ensure that there are no jack knife types of accidents. This is great news for parents that worry about safety. The handlebars are made with rubber handgrips in order to protect your child from getting any scrapes on their little hands. Sealed cartridge bearings are used for silent and smooth-running wheels. The wheels themselves are made from rubber air-inflated tires which also contributes to a smoother ride. But what really sets the ZÜM CX apart from other wooden balance bikes is the adjustable seat.
As mentioned in the introduction, most balance bikes made out of wood aren’t as adjustable as the ones made of metal. Most companies that specialize in wooden balance bikes have remedied this issue, as most, if not all of the bikes on this list are adjustable. The ZÜM CX’s seat adjusts from 12 inches in a low position to 17 inches in a high position. The seat is also padded with vinyl for maximum comfort for your little one. In addition to the seat being adjustable, the frame is also reversible in order to accommodate smaller riders.
This particular balance bike comes in a flashy red and white design and has a non-toxic lacquer finish. Tools are included to ensure easy assembly. Be warned that the weight limit on this bike should be no more than 50 pounds.
5. BIKESTAR Original Safety Wooden Balance Bike
Specs & Features
The final bike on our list is one of the more modestly priced, The Bikestar model claims to be both lightweight and high quality. The frame is made out of a very sturdy Beechwood. One feature that the company boasts about is the extra-large handle on the frame for easy steering. The paint used on the bike is impact resistant, solvent-free, and water-based. The upside is that the bike should resist getting a lot of damage.
Another safety feature of this bike is the certified non-toxic safety ‘eco-rubber’ steering wheel handgrips. The handgrips are equipped with a device that protects your child’s hands. Parents should love that. The extra wide base ensures driving comfort and a good suspension.
The company that manufactures the Bikestar line also prides itself on having designs that really impress the tykes. However, it doesn’t seem like this bike in particular has a lot of design options. Bikestar also has products for bigger riders such as scooters and skateboards.
The company is based in Germany and is one of the largest manufacturers of children’s bikes in Europe. Bikestar’s customer service promises to always put the customer’s needs first.
Things to Consider when Buying a Wooden Balance Bike
When wanting to buy a wooden balance bike, you’ll want to be sure that the bike is safe to use. You’ll also want to be sure that the balance bike fits your child correctly and that you won’t be wasting your money on a poorly manufactured wooden balance bike. To help take the guesswork out of it, we’ve put together this guide on what to consider when buying a wooden balance bike.
Reasons to Avoid a Tricycle or Bike With Training Wheels
As balance bikes are a relatively new product, many (if not all) of today’s parents will have learned to ride a bicycle by starting with a tricycle and progressing to a bicycle with training wheels. You might then be wondering, why not just go that route? Well, you might be surprised to hear that balance bikes are actually much safer than traditional tricycles.
Why? Due to the nature of their design, tricycles are more prone to tipping over on uneven surfaces. Tricycles are designed to teach a child how to pedal first and balance second, while balance bikes first teach your child how to balance. This means that kids who graduate to a bicycle from a balance bike are far less likely to fall and injure themselves, and they won’t require the use of training wheels. Balance bikes completely eliminate this step altogether.
Training wheels significantly delay a child’s ability to learn to ride a bicycle independently, as they must essentially unlearn everything they know about “bike riding” and now learn how to balance. A balance bike provides an excellent foundation upon which correct and safe bicycle riding can be built.
Tire Size and Seat Height
When buying a wooden balance bike, size may be the most important consideration. Both tire size and seat height should be considered when determining the correct balance bike for your child.
Most wooden balance bikes have 12-inch tires, while 14-inch and 16-inch tires are better suited toward taller kids. It is also possible to have a wooden balance bike with 10-inch tires, but kids outgrow these very quickly!
When buying a wooden balance bike, it’s also important to check the seat height and whether or not it fits your child correctly. Your child’s feet must be able to touch the ground while they are seated, and they should be able to comfortable push away as well.
Ideally, the weight of the balance bike should not exceed 30% of your child’s body weight. Bear in mind that the more features included on a wooden balance bike, the heavier it will be.
Balance Bike Geometry
When looking to purchase a balance bike for your child, it is particularly important to assess the geometry of the balance bike. As balance bikes serve the purpose of teaching your child how to balance, they favor gliding motions. This means that your child will naturally want to lean forward and will require enough space in order to do so. A poorly designed balance bike will limit a child’s ability to lean by creating minimal space between the seat and handlebars. Below is a diagram of correct balance bike geometry.
The position of the seat is also equally important. A good balance bike will have a short gap between the seat and the rear tire – when the seat is at its lowest position. A poorly designed balance bike features a wide gap between the seat and the rear wheel, which makes the bike harder to control. Below is a diagram of incorrect balance bike geometry.
The type of tire on the wooden balance bike will determine the overall smoothness of the ride as well as how it performs on various surfaces (traction). Below we look at the five basic types of balance bike tires:
|Air Tires||Providing the most cushion and traction, air tires are considered the overall best choice. One thing to bear in mind though is that air tires generally add about 3-4 lbs of weight to the balance bike.|
|Foam Tires||Cheaper, lighter, and you’ll never have to worry about a flat tire with foam tires. However, they do offer less traction compared to air tires. They also tend to wear much faster so you’ll need to be prepared to purchase new tires more frequently.|
|Rubber Tires||Also puncture-proof, rubber tires will provide much more traction than foam tires. They are less common than foam and air tires though, so you may have a harder time finding rubber tires. Rubber tires are considered to be better than foam tires, but they offer less traction than air tires do.|
|Plastic Tires||Plastic tires do not provide any traction and are only suitable for indoor use. They are the lightest and of the lowest quality of all the tires.|
|Big Apple Tires||Also known as “Fat Boy” tires, Big Apple Tires are air tires that feature a wide profile that creates more traction. These are the most expensive balance bike tires available.|
When it comes to riding a wooden balance bike, the main method of stopping is your child’s feet. However, the hand brake can be used to prevent injuries and prepare your child for a traditional 2-wheel bicycle. By around the age of four or five years old, your child should be able to use the hand brake. Once they get used to using the hand brake, your child will use it in conjunction with their feet in order to stop. This means they won’t have to learn how to brake when they transition over to a standard bicycle
Some balance bike companies place turning limiters on the bikes to prevent the handlebars and front wheels from turning in a full revolution. This will prevent sharp turns and prevent the brake cables from twisting. Some people feel that this makes the balance bike safer, while others say that it prevents children from learning the correct steering techniques.
The steering limiter is both advantageous and disadvantageous, but its overall impact on the balance bike is very small. It ultimately depends on you and what you feel is best for your child.
As mentioned earlier, most wooden balance bikes do not have footrests. Some companies include them so that new riders feel safer but there is really no need for footrests on a balance bike. If you insist on having one, make sure that your child won’t hit their legs on them while trying to ride their wooden balance bike.
The wheel bearing of the wooden balance bike determines the speed and smoothness of the tire’s rotation around the axle. As the name suggests, there is a rubber seal around a sealed bearing to prevent water and other unnecessary materials from entering the bearing. A wooden balance bike with sealed bearings will experience less friction when spinning. Less friction means the ride will be smoother and the child won’t have to use as much force when riding the balance bike. While sealed bearings will mean a higher price for the wooden balance bike, it is likely to be a higher quality wooden balance bike.
Many of the wooden balance bikes on our list feature rubber handle grips to help prevent your child’s hands from being scrapped. A rubber grip can protect your child from injury when they bump into walls, trees, or even take a fall. Make sure that your child’s handle also has protective rubber handle grips.
If the bolts on your child’s wooden balance bike are exposed, they may scratch or cut your child’s legs. Luckily, covered or concealed bolts will prevent this from happening. Exposed bolts are one of the most common injury causes of balance bikes.
Now that we’ve covered all of the important elements to consider when buying a wooden balance bike, we hope you have more confidence in buying one for your child.
Since Wood is the most environmentally friendly balance bike frame, your child can learn about environmental awareness from a very young age. Not to mention, balance bikes, in general, are generally considered much safer options than tricycles or bicycles with training wheels.
In addition to the frame material, it is important to remember that the height of the bike is also a very important factor when choosing the right wooden balance bike for your child. The height of the bike will determine whether the bike is suitable for your child. Other important considerations (besides price) are the quality of the tire, the geometry of the bicycle, and whether or not you’d like the balance bike to be fitted with footrests.
No matter what feature you choose, many of the bikes on our list are award-winning and will be an excellent investment for your child. With the skills your kids will learn from their wooden balance bikes, they will soon graduate to riding a traditional 2-wheel bike in no time!