Balance Bike or Scooter

So, your little ones have already started showing the need for speed, have they? Well, the physical and developmental benefits of bikes are obvious. The only question remains which type is ideal for the wee kids. For baby’s first bike, most parents end up struggling between the two most popular options – balance bike or scooter.

Both these options come with valuable developmental benefits and endless hours of fun. However, there are some key differences between bikes and scooters. This segment aims at enlightening parents on all the pros and cons of balance bikes and scooters so you can make the right, informed choice for your child.

Balance Bikes vs. Scooters

Balance Bikes

Also referred to as a run bike, a balance bike is a training bicycle for kids that helps them learn how to balance and steer. The hardest part of the whole process is actually learning how to stay upright. With a kids balance bike, instead of having your children learn braking, pedalling and balancing all at once, they can concentrate on one aspect at a time.

Think about it this way; if your child does not know how to pedal, the worst that could happen is a very slow day on the field. However, if they can’t muster enough skill to balance and stay upright, it can get very hazardous if there is no adult supervision.

The bike itself has no pedals and does not require a drivetrain. The designs for kids balance bikes varies depending on a broad range of factors. For small toddlers who do not have a standard bike size, balance bikes can be purposefully built to suit them best. However, parents still have a choice of things like pedals and even one or two hand-activated rim brakes.

When it comes to material, most bikes comprise of either wood, metal or plastic composites. Balance bikes offer a great platform for kids to develop balance and get in some early practice for big bicycles. Likewise, kids that use balance bikes end up having a smoother transition to a grown-up bike.

Pros

  • Simple and easy for kids to use
  • Teaches kids how to balance and steer
  • Allows kids to keep feet planted to the ground for more safety
  • Makes transitioning to a bigger bike easier
  • The ideal first bike for younger toddlers

Cons

  • Heavier and bulkier than scooters
  • More expensive than scooters
  • Kids tend to outgrow their balance bikes very quickly
  • Stopping at high speeds can be a problem

Scooters

Scooters (especially mini scooters) are also a great way to build a child’s coordination, balance, and motor skills. They teach kids how to become confident on their feet and transform into young, agile scooter riders.

With scooters, kids simply stand on the platform with one foot and propel themselves with the other – almost like a skateboard with handles. The scooters can be built from composite, wood, or metal and can be potentially electric. For kids, the best micro scooters come with 3 wheels so that the little ones have more stability while both in motion and when stopped.

Scooters have the advantage of letting your kids remain upright and literally always have one foot on the ground which translates to less risk of wiping out. Similarly, it gives them the freedom to move around without requiring the help of dad or mum to hold on to them.

Compared to balance bikes, scooters lighter, mobile, and far more cheaper than the average bike. At the same time, scooters have a much longer lifespan since your kids can grow alongside the same unit for years. But on the downside, it’s a bit tiresome for the kids since unlike balance bikes that use both feet to propel, scooters only continually make use of one foot.

Pros

  • Safe and stable 3 wheeled design
  • Intuitive steering makes it easier to learn
  • Lighter and less cumbersome than balance bikes
  • Removable and foldable parts make it convenient to store
  • Kids can grow alongside their scooter
  • More economical than balance bikes

Cons

  • Doesn’t prepare kids for bicycles
  • More tiresome due to one-foot propulsion
  • Smaller wheels make it easier to wipe out

Verdict

There you have it parents; a detailed comparison of balance bike vs scooter. Now that you know some of the pros and cons of both, it will be easier to get your kids the most suitable option. However, you might want to take your child’s interests into account.

If they’re dying to get a balance bike, then there’s nothing wrong with indulging them. And if they live for scooters, then you’ll be doing them a disservice by buying anything else. Because in the end, it’s all about the little ones having loads of fun in the great outdoors.

Jack C. Bennett
 

Jack Bennett is the founder and editor of Kidsonbikes.co.uk. In personal life he is a proud father of twins. He believes it is more important than ever before to encourage children to experience the joy of bike riding. Kids on bikes make as much sense as the sunshine in our world.

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