Feb 06, 2022
Strider bikes are the perfect first bike for a toddler and have been for my three kids! Strider produces lightweight balance bikes which are ideal for toddlers. The lighter the bike, the easier it will be for a toddler to handle the bike and, ultimately, learn how to ride.
Strider bikes are adjustable which makes them perfect for a growing child. Why buy a new bike each year when you don’t have to?
My oldest son, at the age of 4, has successfully gone from these balance bikes to the Strider 14x pedal bike with never having to use training wheels.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links. This means that, at zero cost to you, I will earn an affiliate commission if you click through the link and finalize a purchase. Rest assured all products I suggest are products I have bought or would buy based on personal experience or through my network of other mommas.
A balance bike is a bike with no pedals. The objective of a balance bike is to learn how to handle a bike by gliding with your feet. Your toddler will learn how to balance a bike between their legs and how to steer.
A beginner will go slow on a balance bike and almost walk their legs along. Over time your child should get more comfortable and move towards a glide with moments of both feet off the ground. My 3 year old toddler can ride his strider faster than I can walk.
If your child can master a balance bike they should be able to move to a pedal bike without training wheels. Training wheels are put on bikes for kids that have not yet mastered the balance of the bike.
Once a baby has mastered walking they are able to start learning how to ride a balance bike. For my detailed recommendations of timing read my article Best toddler bikes for a 1, 2 and 3 year old.
However, it may take your little one time to show interest in a balance bike. Letting your child decide when they are ready is best. I recommend to keep showing them a balance bike and encouraging them, but do not force them on it.
Once my toddler reached 18 months I would show him/her our Strider balance bike every time we played outside. I wouldn’t get upset if he wasn’t interested and overtime his interest peaked so that he started to ride it.
Some days he would only ride down the driveway, other days a nice long ride down the neighborhood streets and some days not at all.
If you want the earliest exposure strider has to offer then you can start with the Baby 2-in-1 rocking bike. This bike starts attached to a rocking base and as your toddler grows you can disconnect it to become a balance bike. You can also purchase the Strider 12” and rocking base separately.
Using the bicycle with a rocker does not teach a baby balance or how to glide. This option is purely to get them used to a bicycle and holding onto the handle bars.
The bike comes in two different styles: the Strider 12” sport or the Strider 12” pro, skip to the next bike for more features on the Strider 12”.
Age Recommendation: 6 months to 5 years
The Strider 12” balance bike comes in 3 different styles; sport, classic and pro. The 12” is referring to the wheel size of the bicycle.
All the bikes are balance bikes with no options to attach pedals. Each bike has a footrest included and seat height and handlebars are adjustable.
The classic balance bike is the cheapest and only recommended to use up to 3 years of age. The other options are recommended up to age 5. The other two models have more options available that grow with your child.
The bike features a steel frame, flat-free foam rubber tires, a built in footrest and the lowest seat height of any balance bike. The plastic seat height can range from 11-16 inches which coincides with an inseam of 12-17 inches.
You do have an option to purchase a larger seat post to attach to this bike to extend the use past the typical 3 year old.
The balance bike comes in three different colors; red, pink and blue. It weighs 6.5 lbs which is perfect for a young toddler. Heavier balance bikes are harder for a toddler to handle.
The handlebars are also adjustable between 18-22 inches.
Recommended Age: 18 months to 3 years
The **12” Sport balance bik**e only costs slightly more and gives you more options for growth and also more color options (7 different options).
The Sport bike also has a steel frame that weighs only slightly more than the classic at 6.7lbs. The seat height range is from 11-19 inches and supports an inseam of 12-20 inches which gives your toddler 3 more inches to grow. Also the seat is upgraded to an ergonomically padded seat.
The wheels and handlebar adjustment heights are the same and include the built in footrest.
The additional costs are for the seat improvement and growth with your child. Also the handlebars come with mini-grip and a safety pad that isn’t included in the classic version.
Recommended Age 18 months to 5 years
The Pro strider balance bike is the most expensive and designed to be the elite ultra-light bike. These are designed for the toddler daredevils that need to take the world on at top speed.
The bike has an all-aluminum frame and weighs only 5.6 lbs! The lighter the bike the faster you can go! It is only made in silver.
The bike has the same seat height range of 11-19 inches supporting the inseam of 12-20 inches. The seat is a performance padded seat. The handlebars, like the sport option, come with mini-grip and a safety pad.
This bike comes with an upgraded textured performance footrest and official Strider number plate to make your little one feel like they are in the dirt races. The wheels are foam rubber tires engineered to be ultralight weight.
Recommended Age: 18-5 years
Strider offers a balance bike with wheel size 14”. This is the only balance bike that can also converts into a pedal bike and has the option of a kickstand. The pedal kit and kickstand are sold separately. The balance bike is only offered in one variety, the Sport.
The strider 14” balance bike sport is a great option for an older toddler wanting to learn to ride a bike. The bike comes as a balance bike and you have the option to purchase the pedal kit to attach to the bike.
This is the pedal kit I purchased for our strider 14x bike that allowed my son to never use training wheels.
The bike weighs more than the 12” sport at 12.5 lbs compared to 6.7 lbs. The extra weight is due to the different wheel design which is necessary to convert to a pedal bike. The tires are not flat free like the 12” foam tires and will require you to monitor and pump up when necessary. Also the change in handlebar design adds weight.
The bike features a steel frame and fork, footrest, 14” all purpose tires and alloy rims and hubs with chrome spokes. The seat height is still adjustable from 15-22 inches, which supports a child’s inseam of 16-23 inches. The seat is a custom performance saddle that is adjustable with a lever clamp.
The pedals are slimmer than most, however it was designed this way. For a kid used to the balance bike it gives their feet room to scoot up to speed than transfer their feet to the pedals. A larger pedal would prevent them from also scooting.
Recommended Age: 3 to 7 years
I wouldn't opt to buy the baby 2-in-1. The rocker is quite pricey for what it is and I do not see it being worth the money. Normally priced around $85 above the price of the 12” balance bike. I love for my babies to get interested in bikes early, but I think I can wait until they can walk to introduce the 12” balance bikes. Otherwise you will be holding your baby on the bike which defeats the purpose.
I did buy and would recommend over and over again to buy the Strider 12” Sport once your little one can walk. The extra money on the Sport is worth it compared to the Classic. I find the grips in the handlebars and safety pad worth it. Also you can get a couple more years out of it than the classic due to the additional seat height adjustment and upgraded seat.
I love how lightweight the strider balance bike are and my toddlers can more easily handle the bike. We have had other brand balance bikes that weigh more, when my toddler tipped those bikes over he struggled to get it back up and got frustrated.
I don't find spending the extra money on the Strider 12” Pro a worthy investment. My toddlers are enjoying riding the Strider Sport, but personally I do not feel the additional number plate, upgraded footrest and reduction of a pound necessary. Also you only have one color option, silver, which I can see getting dirty very quickly.
The strider bike my toddler takes out in all weather, rain, snow or sunshine. Adjusting the seat has been easy and I can easily adjust it between my two toddlers who are 18 months apart.
If you didn't get on the balance bike when your baby was learning to walk and looking for a first bike for your 3 year old or older I would buy the 14”. An older toddler will be able to deal with the extra weight of the bike and teach your toddler balance before you transfer him/her to a pedal bike.
I highly recommend balance bikes for toddlers. Learning how to balance a bike and to steer accelerates their development towards riding a pedal bike. If you do not have to go down the training wheel options even better.
My 4 year old went from the 14x Strider balance bike to converting it to a pedal bike. **He never used training wheels! **It took him less than 30 seconds to learn to pedal since he already knew the bike!
Toddlers should always wear a helmet when riding their bike. The helmet should fit their head otherwise the helmet will not protect them. If your toddler resists make sure you demonstrate good behavior by always wearing your helmet!
Make sure that the toddler's seat height is appropriate for him/her. Your toddler should be able to touch the ground with both feet while on a balance bike with a straight leg. If the seat is too low it will prevent them from learning the gliding motion effectively.
If you have concerns about your toddler falling off the bike you can purchase knee and elbow pads. Falling is normal when learning a new skill. As parents it can be hard to watch your child fall, but this is the best way for them to learn.
Hope this strider bikes review helps you decide what is best for your toddler!