Author Topic: Balance bikes  (Read 3465 times)

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Balance bikes
« on: November 02, 2015, 10:48:02 pm »
I have been tasked with acquiring a bike for my soon to be 2 year old granddaughter.

Any views on these generally.

I saw Wowbagger mention Islabikes on another thread, these look nice if a little on the expensive side.

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Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2015, 11:05:28 pm »
Frog bikes seem to be well regarded.

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2015, 07:48:44 am »
As well as being nice bikes, the other advantage of islabikes is the resale value - check completed listings on ebay, but in decent nick they generally sell on for about 3/4 the price of new (and I've seen them go for higher) so if you can afford the initial upfront purchase work out surprisingly cost effective!

Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2015, 07:52:23 am »
I have been tasked with acquiring a bike for my soon to be 2 year old granddaughter.

Any views on these generally.

I saw Wowbagger mention Islabikes on another thread, these look nice if a little on the expensive side.

I bought 2 for my Grand children, they have been passed on twice now and still working very well.  4 grand children now on pedals with no problem.

1 more pass on then they will be up for sale.   They seem to keep their value very well.
Only those that dare to go too far, know how far they can go.   T S Elliot

Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2015, 08:53:29 am »
We bought a Ridgeback Scoot for our niece, when she was also two.  She's quite tall but couldn't ride it until she was almost three.

So, try to find a small(er) one, if they want to ride it straight away.  The wooden ones are usually smaller than the metal framed one.

For a metal framed one that won't break the bank, but is actually decent, you can do a lot worse than the Decathlon ones:

http://www.decathlon.co.uk/C-781261-balance-bikes

For something for them to scoot about on, until they get tall enough for a balance bike, a Scuttlebug tricycle is also great.  My daughter has had one since she was about 14 months old (now 19 months) and she scoots around at great speed now!

Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2015, 09:25:54 am »
We have a Ridgeback scoot.  The kids have loved it, and carried on using it long after they could ride a pedal bike too.  Ours used it from about 2 upwards, but are all relatively tall for age and were only just able to start at 2.  Eldest is now 8 and still uses it occasionally.

Considering how much use and abuse ours has had, I wouldn't personally consider one of the wooden ones which look more like toys than bikes.  You might gain another 6 months on the beginning though with one of the smaller ones.

Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2015, 09:45:54 am »
We managed to buy a couple of the Aldi wooden ones (for £9.95 !!) about ten years ago. One went to friends in the US and the other has lived almost permanently outside on a caravan site and has been used by countless kids. It is still serviceable. Quite remarkable.
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Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #7 on: November 03, 2015, 09:51:42 am »
Does anyone know the min standover height of the Decathlon ones?

Jr. uses a Scuttlebug (but tends to stand over rather than sit down).  She's still a bit short for a balance bike (min seems to be 30cm standover) but we want to get her on to one as soon she is able.

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #8 on: November 03, 2015, 10:50:48 am »
As well as being nice bikes, the other advantage of islabikes is the resale value - check completed listings on ebay, but in decent nick they generally sell on for about 3/4 the price of new (and I've seen them go for higher) so if you can afford the initial upfront purchase work out surprisingly cost effective!

A good idea in theory.  In practice, number one son will pocket said proceeds  :-\

So, it looks like the crucial thing is inside leg measurement.  I think I want one of those nice Frog or Islabike ones. Can you have n+1 for a 2 year old ?
The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #9 on: November 03, 2015, 11:59:25 am »
We bought a Ridgeback Scoot for our niece, when she was also two.  She's quite tall but couldn't ride it until she was almost three.

I have a Ridgeback Scoot for my son, bought for him when he was 2 1/4 and not particularly tall.

The key thing was the parts are all standard sizes, so if you have a reasonably well stocked spares box from previous bike builds, it's easy to swap some parts out. I managed to reduce the saddle height by an all important centimetre by changing the seatclamp for one I had in the spares box, and putting the clamp below the frame where the post protrudes rather than above it. For a ~13kg child this held just fine. I also swapped the very high rise stem for a flat one to reduce the height of the bars.

He loves it, and at about 50% of the price of the equivalent Islabike I reckon it's 95% as good :thumbsup:

CrinklyLion

  • The one with devious, cake-pushing ways....
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #10 on: November 03, 2015, 02:04:21 pm »
The SmallestCub had a third hand Puky that I 'bought' off the parent of one of the EldestCub's mates for a bottle of wine - no brakes and pretty hefty, but nonetheless brilliant!  It got handed on to a cousin after a couple of years.  Second hand can be a real winner :)

Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #11 on: November 03, 2015, 03:20:55 pm »
TBH, I reckon the main advantages of Islabikes kick in at the first-bike-with-pedals stage, where it's all about the weight and the child-friendly brakes.
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2015, 07:58:46 pm »
We used a Puky, called 'custard' because it is bright yellow - expensive but still doing the rounds in the strath so nearly a dozen people have learnt on 'custard'. Great advantage is the footplate that let's youngsters rest their feet freewheeling - great for balance. http://www.kidsbikeshop.co.uk/LRM/PUKY-LRM-Learner-Balance-Bike-Red/flypage.tpl.html?gclid=CNnwl4SE9cgCFQxmGwodMAsM7w
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Pedal Castro

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Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #13 on: November 04, 2015, 07:10:13 am »
Get an ordinary child's bike and take the pedals off, then once they can scoot and balance put the pedals back on. It took my kids no more than a couple of days to go from no pedals to pedals.

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #14 on: November 04, 2015, 01:49:53 pm »
Now I am confused.

Are there pedal bikes which are small enough for a 2 year old and which allow for relatively easy crank removal ?
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Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #15 on: November 04, 2015, 02:31:23 pm »
Now I am confused.

Are there pedal bikes which are small enough for a 2 year old and which allow for relatively easy crank removal ?

No. You need ~12" wheels, and pedal bikes don't go smaller than 14" wheels (from my half-arsed research 9 months ago).

Biggsy

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Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #16 on: November 04, 2015, 02:35:46 pm »
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Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2015, 03:50:15 pm »
No. You need ~12" wheels, and pedal bikes don't go smaller than 14" wheels (from my half-arsed research 9 months ago).

Which reminds me...

PSA:  Useful widget for inflation of tyres on wheels with little room between hub and rim (either due to small diameter, or the presence of a large electric motor): http://www.topeak.com/products/Pumps/Pressure-Rite
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Pedal Castro

  • so talented I can run with scissors - ouch!
    • Two beers or not two beers...
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2015, 04:04:11 pm »
Now I am confused.

Are there pedal bikes which are small enough for a 2 year old and which allow for relatively easy crank removal ?

No. You need ~12" wheels, and pedal bikes don't go smaller than 14" wheels (from my half-arsed research 9 months ago).

Not sure if 12" wheels is OK or not for 2 year olds but you certainly can get them with that size wheel and pedals. The cranks will still spin around which may or may not be a concern...

tedshred

  • ACME photographer in residence
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #19 on: January 11, 2016, 12:50:55 pm »
By way of an update I eventually went for the cheaper option and bought the decathlon version.

So far so good.

The bike has a fair amount of adjustment and seems well enough built for the price.

It will be slowly but surely on the granddaughter learning to ride it front though.
The pleasure of pain endured
To purify our misfit ways

Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2016, 12:08:07 am »
Both my kids have had hudora balance bikes with 'solid' tyres.  They were great as they were so lightweight the kids could scoot about on them and have loads of fun. 

Not having pneumatic tyres meant no punctures, kept the weight down and were never an issue as regards grip. 

Personally I consider brakes on balance bikes pointless and a distraction - it's easier and more intuitive to brake with soles of feet at that age/speed.  They'll pick brakes up soon enough when they need to.

Both kids now on pedal bikes and made the transition really quickly and easily with nay a stabiliser in sight.

This is the one our kids had, can't sing its praises highly enough.

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Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2016, 02:38:43 pm »

PSA:  Useful widget for inflation of tyres on wheels with little room between hub and rim (either due to small diameter, or the presence of a large electric motor): http://www.topeak.com/products/Pumps/Pressure-Rite

That looks useful, thank you Kim.

Nye owns 3 balance bikes. 2 Islabikes and a Puky. 2 are on loan to his friends who are twins. The Puky is considerably heavier than the Islabikes which makes a small difference to the child at 2 but quite a big difference to an adult pushing a pushchair home with a sleeping child and a bike balanced on the handlebars. The Puky has done at least 6 children since I bought it for my nephew 11 years ago.
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Kim

  • 2nd in the world
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2016, 02:44:46 pm »
Nye owns 3 balance bikes. 2 Islabikes and a Puky. 2 are on loan to his friends who are twins.

It's that Charlotte.  She's a terrible influence.   :thumbsup:
To ride the Windcheetah, first, you must embrace the cantilever...

Blazer

  • One too many mornings and a thousand miles behind
Re: Balance bikes
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2017, 04:19:11 pm »
Bump

I find myself in the market for a balance bike.  Don't think I can afford justify the isla options so am favouring the Ridgeback Scoot mentioned below as Evans have just opened a store near me.

Also considering a Mongoose Scan R12... It's a Halfrauds and gets good reviews on their website but any of the panel have any experience of the bike?

Cheers

Blazer