Balancing bikes are fast becoming a trend among discerning parents who want to ease their children into the world of cycling in a more effortless and child-friendly way. While earlier generations of parents started the cycling journey of their children on tricycles, today, conventional wisdom states that balancing bikes are to be preferred over tricycles. How do you determine if a balancing bike is right for your child? If you have already bought your child a balancing bike, how do you determine what seat height is best for a balancing bike? First, let’s look at what a balancing bike is.
What makes a balancing bike different from a tricycle?
A balancing bike has a very simple framework and design. There are no pedals or wheels. The child moves the bike along by pushing the bike with their feet while standing astride the bike.
Why choose a balancing bike over a tricycle?
Balancing bikes are lighter in weight compared to tricycles. They have narrower handlebars and more child-friendly heights. They give children the freedom and confidence to practice their balance and steering skills without the complication of having to learn how to pedal or use a lot of strength to pedal. It also helps to develop coordination. Since it does not take too long to master the balancing bike, children can easily get onto the next level. Since they have already had experience in balancing and steering, getting on a bicycle and learning to balance on that will take far less time and be far less taxing than if they started on a tricycle and then went on a bicycle.
What seat height is best for a balancing bike?
When adjusting the seat height for a balancing bike, the first thing to keep in mind is, obviously, the comfort of the child. You need to use the child’s height as a guide when adjusting the seat height.
The next thing to keep in mind when adjusting the seat height is that both feet of the child should ideally be flat on the floor. The child should also be able to sit on the bike and not drop too far into the ground. The knee should ideally be bent at a slight angle also in order to facilitate faster and easier movement.
Another way to determine the ideal seat height for a balancing bike is by measuring the inside leg length of your child. The scientific way would be to have the seat height at a minimum of 3 cm less than the inside length of the leg. Having a seat height and inner leg length the same will make it difficult for them to put their feet on the floor. If they can’t keep it flat, then they won’t be able to learn how to balance and move along with the bike.
The seat height should be perfect for the child to be able to first walk with the bike, then run with the bike, and finally, glide with the bike. This is what tells you that their coordination is developing, their balance is improving, and their steering skills are getting refined.
How do you adjust the seat height on a balancing bike?
There are two types of balancing bikes available. One is made of metal and the other is made of wood. Balancing bikes made of wood are will usually have up to 3 different adjustable positions. You would have to remove the bolts, raise the seat, and then reattach the bolt. Metal bikes take comparatively lesser time to adjust the height. This is because they have a bolt that is either adjustable or which can be quickly released. The models that have an adjustable bolt have to be adjusted using a wrench while the ones that are quick release can be effortlessly adjusted.
There is another variant on the balancing bike, where the seat is placed on a rail, which makes it possible to adjust the seat’s angle also, making it even more comfortable for the child.
What are the different types of seats available in a balancing bike?
Seats on a balancing bike can come in a very wide range of heights, from 11 inches to the ground up to 19 inches to the ground.
Do you need to adjust the handlebar height on the balancing bike?
Handlebars come in two variants-fixed and adjustable. Wooden balancing bikes often have fixed handlebars. They also have handlebars that are lower in height. The metal balancing bikes come with adjustable handlebars. The handlebars with a lower starting point are good for preschoolers. Handlebars which are higher will be better suited for taller children or a little older children (3 years and above).
Buying a balance bike is the first step into a new world of adventure for your child. Make sure it is a comfortable ride!