Balance bike review and comparison list.

There are loads of balance bikes on the market, but this is a list of the ones I liked the most. In the end I chose a Ridgeback Scoot for Sam and a Bikestar for Maisie and I was really pleased with both of them. I haven’t listed any wooden bikes as I didn’t think they’d last as well as a hand me down, but two good friends have a wooden likeAbike and swear by them so if you’re looking for a wooden balance bike, that’s the one I’d recommend.

Islabike Rothan

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Frame – Aluminim
Weight – 3.6kg
My impressions – If this bike came in pink then I’d have bought one second hand from eBay, as it’s a lovely piece of kit. It’s designed for children rather than using parts designed for adults so it rides really nicely for kids. It’s a quality product and so pretty expensive, but if you love cycling and bikes then you might not be able to resist this! Loads of kids here in Cambridge have them and the parents I speak to about them think they’re fantastic. I chose not to spend so much on a balance bike as they all pretty much do the same thing, but many people I’ve spoken to think they’re worth every penny. At the end of the day, the more expensive they are, the lighter they are and the longer they’ll last. Resale on these is excellent.
Price – £120 from Islabike. Secondhand you can pick them up for around the £70 mark on eBay.

Ridgeback Scoot

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Frame – Aluminium
Weight – 12.1bs, 5.49kg
My Impressions – It seems long and was harder for my petite little girl to get to grips with when she tried to ride her brother’s one. My son loved it though and he only started using a balance bike when he was 4 and quite big. This is a fabulous bike but definitely not the lightest out there. It’s great for bigger kids who aren’t going to struggle with the extra weight. The rear break is pointless but the kids like the look of it. New models have a carry handle on the seat which is a brilliant feature for those frequent meltdowns!
Price – £99 at most places where it’s sold, but I bought my son’s one 2nd hand from eBay for £52.

Strider

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Frame – light gauge steel tubing
Weight – ST3 (old model) 2.9kg. ST4 3kg.
My impression – This is a fun little bike and it’s the lightest on the market. it’s a great choice for small kids as the seat height starts at 28cm and goes up to 40cm. My hesitation was that after reading reviews it seems as though the EVA polymer, foam-like tyres, tend to wear down so are not ideal if you want to hand them down to a sibling. They have also just launched Super Strider which has 16″ wheels for older or bigger kids. If this had existed when I bought my son’s balance bike then I’d probably have bought it as his Scoot was always a bit small for him.
Price – ST 3 currently being sold for £69. 99. The ST 4 is £84.99, from
Balance1st.

Puky LR1

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Frame – Steel.
Weight – 4kg
My impressions – This is a good solid bike with a great reputation. It’s heavier than other comparable products but it’s also cheaper than the lighter bikes. You’re unlikely to go wrong with a Puky, but my daughter found it awkward which is why we didn’t go for it. I like the footrest and the kick-stand which is really useful and you can also get a strap to carry it when your child suddenly refuses to go any further. This bike also has pneumatic EVA tyres which don’t puncture, but loads of kids around us have these bikes and they don’t seem to wear down much. Puky also do a smaller balance bike called the LRM which is more suitable for tiny ones, the seat height on these is 28cm.
Price – £65.99 on Amazon. You can also pick these up on eBay for around £40.

Likeabike Rosalie

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Frame – Aluminium
Weight – 3.8kg
My Impressions – This bike wasn’t around when I was looking for a balance bike for Maisie, I’ve just discovered it tonight! I’d have bought this if it had been available, it’s, light, it’s pink (the Kokua was the only one available when I was looking and it didn’t come in pink!) and It’s not outrageously expensive. Gutted.com – I love this bike! They also do a red version called the Likeabike Hardy.
price – £99.95 from Likeabike.

Specialized Hotwalk

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Frame – Aluminium
Weight – Approx. 8.63lbs (3.91kg)
My Impressions – This is a really good bike, it’s light and (crucially for us) comes in pink. I didn’t buy it because the Bikestar balance bike was half the price and had similar features, but if I wasn’t trying to save a bit then this is the bike I’d have bought. The Hotwalk is one of the lightest bikes on the market, it also has a footrest to encourage balancing.
Price – 2012 model currently on sale for £89.99 from Freeborn The 2013 model seems to be £100 in most online shops.

Ketler Speedy
imageBalance bike comparisons
Frame Steel Tubing
Weight 4.1kg
My impressions One of Maisie’s friends from Pre-school has one of these bikes so I asked her dad what he thought of it. He said he was pleased with it, it seemed easy enough for his daughter to ride but his only issue was that the wheels (made of a tough synthetic foam), sometimes “chip”, i.e. a little chunk sometimes comes of when she rides over rough ground. That said, his daughter likes riding it and it’s pretty light so what’s not to like? It has a padded seat which is adjustable – 33-43cm, so it’s not really small enough for tiny ones but still a good size for your average two year old. This is a good little bike, it’s not expensive, it’s not too heavy for little ones to maneuver and it comes in both blue and pink!
Price £44.99 from Amazon

Bikestar

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Frame – Steel tube.
Weight – 4.8kg
My impressions – This is the bike I chose for my daughter for Christmas when she was 3 1/2. She’s small for her age so the bike had to be fairly light but more importantly it had to be mostly pink. This bike is really pretty and nicely made. I’m really pleased with the quality of it and Maisie loves it. The wheels seem really wide but this doesn’t seem to make a difference to how it rides. The Bikestar has a kick stand which I find is a really useful feature as it just means the bikes isn’t always just lying around. This brand, like Puky, offers a smaller version with 10″ wheels for tiny ones. The price is excellent and Maisie picked up the technique after a few tries. It must be said that this does feel quite heavy to carry home, but she’s only given up once which is a credit to the bike (and her!) in itself.
Price – Currently £49.99 on Amazon.

When we went down to the woods today…

We’ve had a lovely Sunday. Despite the fact that Isabelle decided it was only right and proper that I should sleep for 2 & 3/4 hours last night, we all managed to enjoy the sunshine and go to the park. We played football, practised balance biking for Maisie for the 2nd time and took Izzy out for her first ride on the push trike. Maisie got her balance bike for Christmas and I’m very pleased with it, thankfully Maisie rather likes it too. It’s a bikestar balance bike that I got from Amazon, (I’ll do a piece on balance bikes soon!) image What frustrates me about balance bikes is that people who review balance bikes always say, “They’re AMAZING! My child simply looked at the balance bike and could COMPLETELY ride a real bike without stabilisers straight away!” This has not happened for my children so far. Sam didn’t just simply get it straight away, it took him about 4 or 5 practices (still not much), Maisie today sort of limped on it all the way to the park and back again which was pretty painful to watch, but nevertheless she had a lovely time. I’m sure she’ll get it soon, but she didn’t get it today which left me feelng like she’ll never get it. At moments I found myself acting like a drill sergeant, clapping my hands and commanding her to go faster, to look straight ahead and stop mucking about. Poor kid. Sometimes I just completely miss the point. But it would be nice if I didn’t feel like everyone else’s children got it STRAIGHT away! So, for all of you mothers out there who are out with their child who’s having their first few gos on the balance bike, don’t worry if they don’t get it in the first minute, it just takes a bit of practice and they will eventually get it and probably love it. They may not love it, but that’s ok, they’re not freaks, they just don’t like it right now. Ok, deep breath, rant over.

So, to football, we all played, well Izzy sort of played, she mainly just stumbled around on the grass with arms outstretched asking for the ball and then falling over – brilliant. I was in goal quite a lot, which was fine, but perhaps a waste of my skills, anyway, it was funny and sunny and we all enjoyed being out of the house.

After football we played in the park and the woods and generally just got beautifully tired out. Sam and Maisie are playing so nicely together at the moment. It’s as though someone flicked a switch that made them both realise that playing together is completely awesome and much better than Mickey Mouse Club House. Having said that, when we got home, Fergus and I were very quick to seperate the eldest two and give them some down time, (secret code for avoiding potential conflict due to extreme tiredness), you know what I’m talking about parents. All in all, a lovely day with minimal shreeking. Hoorah!
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I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it!

I’m in love. I’m actually madly in love… With my Bakfiets! Woo hoo! I finally bought myself a cargo bike, something I’ve longed for since moving to Cambridge. I snapped it up second hand from a London owner who happened to be passing Cambridge and delivered it to my door.
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I can carry all 3 kids it in, the girls on the bench and my son in the box on a cushion. They love it all snuggled up in the “boat bike”, (we go through lots of big puddles on the way to school…) I can hear them so we can chat on our journeys and riding it is a dream.

If you’re interested in these bikes then I think the temptation is to go for a trike as they appear to be more stable, but these “long John” style bikes are actually really stable and easy to ride. If you’re a cyclist then go for a two wheeler, if you’re not confident on a bike then I think the trikes are very tempting.

2 things I want to share about this style of bike:

1. When you stop, you’re not unstable. Before getting this bike I had 2 bike seats on my normal bike, a BoBike Mini on the front and a Hamax Kiss on the back. Both are good seats that I’d recommend but together they made my bike very wobbly at a stop and hard to walk along with when I needed to get off the bike and walk. I almost had an accident when I lost control wheeling the bike along at a crossing which thereafter made me very nervous about this way of carrying my two youngest. The Bakfiets nl has a much lower centre of gravity so wobbling is at a minimum.

2. It’s easy to ride. It looks crazy and difficult, but it’s NOT, it’s fabulous!

My husband is quite understandably fed up that I spent a lot of money buying myself this bike, but I KNOW, I will treasure every moment riding this bike and that our kids will have great memories of all our adventures in it. I also know the resale value is excellent, so ultimately I won’t be massively out of pocket.

I’m very lucky to have a local Bakfiets dealer just up the road who can service the bike and provide me with all the accessories I want to buy. If you’re interested in getting a Bakfiets then have a look at http://schoolruncentre.co.uk/ http://www.dutchbike.co.uk/ The guy there delivers all over the country I believe and he’s incredibly helpful when you’re trying to decide which bike’s best for you. You can even borrow bikes to try out.

Since getting the bike on Monday, I’ve gone into town and taken advantage of the buggy loan facility that John Lewis provides under the Grand Arcade car park. You literally cycle into town, park your bike and borrow a buggy to do your shopping. The cool bit about having the Bakfiets was that I could buy loads of Christmas prezzies and actually fit them all in the bike with Izzy, the only problem was that Izzy wanted to fall asleep which was very uncomfortable for her, so I’ve since pimped my Bakfiets and bought a snugly toddler seat from The School Run Centre off Mill Road in Cambridge, that’ll allow her to nod off if she needs to.
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I love bikes, I love the idea of carrying my babies with me and I love not paying for parking in town. Let the good times roll!