I remember walking to our car with our first daughter just 4 weeks after she was born. We had taken her to a local restaurant to meet some friends for a bite to eat. That is when I saw a tiny little girl about age 2 flying on her bike at the pace of a light jog. She came to an abrupt stop a couple metres from the crosswalk after hearing her mom, about 5 metres behind her, shout “STOP”! When I looked closer at the little girl’s bike I saw that she was riding a bike without training wheels or peddles. I was amazed with the amount of speed and grace she could ride her little bike. I learnt from her mom that she was riding a Strider balance bike.
Why Use a Balance Bike
Seeing such a tiny girl showing such incredible balance and speed on her bike really stuck with me. I started asking more about these bikes and learnt that they had become extremely popular with outdoor parents because they build bike balance at a young age. Many parents that use balance bikes find the transition smooth from running/gliding on the bike to using pedals without ever having to use training wheels. One of the most popular brands that makes a well-designed affordable bike is Strider Bikes.
Why Strider Bikes ?
Strider bikes was one of the first brands to explode the balance bike market with their high quality lightweight bikes. I also have found that it happens to be the brand that many outdoor families recommend when talking about which balance bike to purchase.
Review of the 12 inch Sport Strider Balance Bike
*I was given product in exchange for this review but all views are 100% my own.
Strider bikes are a great value for the price. They seem to have hit the right balance at $159.99 for their Strider Sport. They managed to create a well-designed bike for toddlers that is lightweight, quick to adjust and easy to ride for beginners but less expensive then bikes of similar design. You also have the option of buying the Strider classic for $109.00 CAD but it does not come with certain features like the XL seat post designed for taller riders over 3 years old and it does not have a seat that is easily adjustable without tools like the Sport and Pro models.
Putting the bike together was so simple. So simple in fact that my two daughters were able to help out! The Sport Strider bike also does not require any tools when adjusting the handlebars or the seat which allows you to move them up and down as needed while biking.
Strider bikes are lightweight and weigh roughly 6.7 lbs. It weighs less than many other balance bikes on the market. This matters when you are buying a bike for your newly walking toddler. It makes it easier for them to pick up the bike and control it while riding.
Why does this matter?
The Strider bike made a significant difference in riding capability for our 19 month old. She could pick up the bike by herself and maneuver it fairly well. In comparison, we also own a different brand of balance bike that we had bought second hand for our oldest daughter when she was 18 months old. It was heavy and the fit was too big for such a small toddler. I realize now that the bike we bought would have been better for a 3 year old and even then the Strider bike would have been a better option. I was disappointed that I had not just spent a little bit more to buy a new Strider bike.
The tires are essentially maintenance free. They are foam tires and do not require air which means you do not have to worry about flat tires. This has been a nice feature since we have run into a few flat tires on my daughters non-strider balance bike while riding around outside.
What to consider?
Foam tires do not provide as much traction as air tires. That being said the Strider foam tires provide more traction than most other balance bikes that use foam tires and work really well on cement surfaces for beginner riders.
Grows with the Child
The seat adjustment on the Sport and Pro Strider bike gives lots of room for the rider to grow. It is also extremely easy to adjust and you can do it without any tools. As mentioned above, they even have included an extra XL seatpost bar in the Sport and Pro Strider that raises the seat for taller riders up to age 5! Our youngest daughter started using the Strider bike at 19 months. Right now she is just walking with it at 21 months old but the seat goes down lower then my other daughter’s bike allowing her to start building the balance she needs to properly ride a bike. As mentioned above, my oldest daughter had to wait quite a bit longer before she fit her non-strider bike. It just was not for small riders.
What to consider?
While the bike can be used to age 5, I would consider a bigger framed bike if you are just thinking about buying a bike for your 4-5 year old. Strider does have other options like their 16 inch framed Strider Bike that also comes with a hand break and air tires instead of foam.
Handle bar adjustment
The handle bars are adjustable and can be adjusted without any tools. This is great for when you realize your two year old grew 2 inches and you have already arrived at the park (It has happened)!
The footrest is an added feature that provides a place for your toddler to put their feet when they are gliding. Is this necessary? No… but it is a nice feature and they have designed it so that it does not effect how the bike is supposed to be ridden.
There is a two year warranty on the bikes in case something happens. This will get you through at least one child before they are ready to soar into peddles! If you find that certain parts need to be updated they have a bunch of parts that you can buy separate to make the bike as good as new for the next child in line.
Resale Value is High
Strider bikes, at least where I am from, sell used at a high price. This is because families have placed a high value on Strider because of their durability. The bike is meant to last. As mentioned above, replacement parts can also be bought online which means that you don’t have to get rid of the durable frame because of one tire that needs to be replaced.
Strider has become a community. I think this is one of my favourite things about Strider Bikes. They have become a community that really prides itself on getting really young children biking while they are still little. Within this community they occasionally run Strider bike races for toddlers in various locations around the World. Unfortunately, I have never participated in one of these events but I hope one comes to Calgary as they seem like a positive way to reinforce active living and bike riding into young children.
Strider events around the world can be found here.