Here in Europe, balance bikes are a huge thing in the toddler world (and lucky for us Americans, they have been gaining quite a bit of speed in the US over the last few years). Essentially, the balance bike is a bike without pedals that children as young as 18 months are riding. The benefit of the balance bike vs. a more traditional version of the bike, say a tricycle or a bike with training wheels, is that it teaches the child the coordination and balance required to ride a bicycle, while allowing the child to keep both feet firmly planted on the ground. This prepares them for the transition to a traditional bike without training wheels, making a much smoother transition. Harry received the Schwinn Balance Bike for his second birthday, so he’s been testing it out for over a year and a half, and today we’re discussing this favorite toy!
When a toddler first starts on the balance bike, likely it will look like he is just walking along with a bike sitting under him. It is a slow pace, but it was very exciting to Harry to be “riding a bike.” As they practice and gain confidence, they start to push the bike forward with their feet, gliding along. After a year and a half of use, Harry is able to bike at quite a quick speed, cruising without touching the ground for 10 seconds at a time. He loves his bike and is constantly outside zooming around our driveway on it, or riding it on our mile+ long walks.
The Schwinn Balance Bike is a super cute bike (available in 4 colors) with adjustable handlebars and seat. The air tires and tubes are just like an adult bicycle, so you can pump them to fullness, unlike other balance bikes which feature plastic wheels. Here’s the nitty gritty:
- The wheels. As I mentioned, the Schwinn tires are filled with air and able to be pumped with a normal bike pump. This is a pro because other balance bikes have foam or plastic wheels that are not air filled, so when they wear down, you have to replace the entire wheel, which is often more expensive than just buying a new bike. The Schwinn tires are able to be pumped to the optimal fullness and are much easier to replace if there is an issue with a tire.
- Fully adjustable. The balance bike’s handlebars can be raised or lowered, as can the bike’s seat, depending on your child’s height.
- It’s solid. It is a heavier balance bike, which is definitely a good thing, considering how sturdy it feels, vs. other balance bikes. It’s not too heavy for my three year old to lift, and definitely not too heavy for him to push along, but it’s heavy enough to feel sturdy while cruising.
- The quality. The quality of the bike is something you would expect from a reputable brand like Schwinn. It’s a well made bicycle. The steel frame has high quality welds and appears to be very sturdy. The seat is a real bicycle seat, not a foam version.
- Size. When Harry first sat on the bike, he was a new two year old who was slightly on the petit side of average and he had a hard time touching the ground. The tips of his toes would touch the ground if he had shoes on, so for the first few months, we pushed him around on his bike while he rested his feet on the frame. I’ve heard this complaint from many parents with petit children. Even with the seat all the way down, it can still be a little too high for a petit child.
- The paint. Don’t get me wrong, the colors and design of the Schwinn Balance Bike are on point. I love the way they look and Harry loves his green bicycle. However, the paint is easy to scratch. I’ve heard of people receiving bikes that had one or two scratches already on them, and our bike is absolutely dinged up from falling on the ground a few times. This doesn’t bother me in the least, though it is something to mention, in case you would like the bike to look like it’s in like new condition. The paint does chip easily.
Overall, I have very little to complain about. The Schwinn Balance Bike ($79.99) has been a great little bike for our son and the confidence it is instilling in him is priceless. He keeps up with our neighbor’s kids, who are 1 and 3 years older than him, because he is on a balance bike while they are riding traditional bikes with pedals. Harry loves the bike, and I honestly have nothing but good things to say about it.