- Kids push off balance bikes with their feet and let nature and instinct take over.
- Sustainable woods have become preferred materials for balance bikes.
- For a decent wooden balance bike, you should expect to spend at least $70-80. Some premium design models could cost up to $300.
- If you want the best bang for the bucks, get a 2 in 1 or even 3 in 1.
We’ve spent hundreds of hours researching more than 30 balance bikes to put together this list of the very best wooden balance bikes on the market right now. Our current top recommendation is the Kinderfeets TinyTot Plus 2-in-1 ( Link to Amazon ) – an amazing 2-in-1 convertible balance bike/trike. For less than $100, you get a premium quality wooden balance bike with best-in-class comfort and safety.
Kinderfeets TinyTot Plus 2-in-1
- Best for ages 18 months to 4 years
- Handmade with sustainable birchwood
- Easily converts from bike to trike
- Comfortable 9-inch airless tires
This gem is built to delight toddlers over the age of 18 months, and it’s available in four colors plus a bamboo version that’s ideal for parents eager to help protect the environment by purchasing items made of sustainable wood. A larger version of the popular Tiny Tot, this 2-in-1 bike easily converts from tricycle to 2-wheel balance bike using the provided conversion axle. Youngsters weighing up to 55 pounds can comfortably ride this clever product.
The adjustable seat height feature and 9-inch airless tires mounted on 10-inch wheels show off solid design. Padded handlebar grips crafted of non-toxic materials welcome little hands, and this bike is safety tested for European, North American, and Australian markets, thus it comes with myriad certifications that offer detailed safety assurances. Every Kinderfeets balance bike sale benefits Trees for the Future, a non-profit committed to tree replenishment throughout the globe, so your purchase can help make a difference to the world’s forests, too.
Read more: Teach Your Kid to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels
-Most Comfortable Ride-
Early Rider Classic Bike
- Best for ages 2 to 5 years
- Bigger 14-inch front wheel
- Durable pneumatic tires with aluminum rims
- Water and weather proof marine-grade plywood
When your little one outgrows her need for three wheels because she has mastered the art of proper balancing, this “two-wheeler” is the perfect follow-up. It’s artfully crafted of aluminum and FSC-certified birch, so your child enjoys a solid, sturdy ride made for youngsters between the ages of 2 and 5. Engineers testing this product have determined that riders quickly adjust to the 14-inch front wheel, and the pneumatic tires are fitted with aluminum rims with notched fork ends, so assembly is a breeze.
Backed by a 1-year warranty, this Early Rider Classic is so stylish, the manufacturer calls it “a balance bike with attitude” courtesy of its cool, laid-back chopper silhouette, yet every aspect of this bike is built with longevity and safety in mind. Parents can remove the pedals and training wheels once junior is ready to take the next step thanks to increased fine motor skills developed by riding this classic.
-Vintage Style, Great Parts-
Janod Scooter Mint Balance Bike
- Vintage wood styling
- Best for ages 2 to 5 years
- Ergonomic rubber handles
- Great inflatable tires
This iconic mint-green scooter/balance bike is the ultimate ride. It may look like it was plucked from a street in Milano, but this product is all about body development and skill-building, so children are introduced to cycling on a pedal-free ride. Youngsters love the riding experience. Parents love the Euro design, but this Janod product is more than a pretty face. Vintage wood styling and an adjustable seat will grow with your kid.
Ergonomic rubber handles kind to kids hands and durable tires (they’re inflatable, so you can adjust the air pressure for indoor and outdoor activities) plus Janod’s mission – to deliver heirloom-quality products that help children develop properly – are all assured for kids up to age 3 if they own this ride. Given this commitment, it’s no surprise that this balance bike meets the European and American safety standards parents trust.
-Quick and Comfortable-
Hape Wooden Wonder Ride
- Hape makes high-quality toys since 1986
- Best for ages 3+ years
- Certified child-safe finishes
- Airless rubberized wheels
This Wonder Ride may weigh less than a pound, but clever engineering and design contribute to this cleverly-designed balance bike that earns rave reviews from parents who like the styling as well as the price. Recommended for youngsters at least 3 of age, this bike helps kids develop balance and contributes to active playtime, yet parents can rest assured that materials used to craft this ride are non-toxic and safe.
Would you like to keep an eye on your toddler while he rolls around the house? You can do so without worrying that your floors will be scratched or marred. The rubber-rimmed wheels prevent scuffing, even if your tot knows only one speed: fast. Monochrome colors and solid construction, plus reassurances from Hape that no detail has been forgotten in terms of child-safe finishes and quality hardware, your child will have a blast scooting around while developing confidence on this carefully-crafted ride.
BIKESTAR Wooden Lightweight First Running Balance Bike
- Best for ages 3+ years
- Smooth-rolling 12 inch air tires
- Comfortable seat
- Affordable price tag
Despite being one of the most affordable balance bikes on this list, BIKESTAR did not skimp on solid materials, design, and innovation when they took this patriotic-looking ride off the drawing board and put it into production. Kids aged 3 and up are invited to climb on board for a spin through the neighborhood or around the house. Weighing 8.8 pounds and engineered for stability and longevity, this comfortable ride has an ergonomic saddle and 12-inch air tires that leave other products in the dust.
First-time parents who tend to worry more than veteran moms and dads agree that this bike’s solid frame offers extra safety assurances. This BIKESTAR will be around for siblings down the road once big sister moves on to something more sophisticated. The vertical rod added to the front of the frame allows handlebars to pivot, giving riders some early training in the art of steering.
-Best for 12m Plus-
Hape Scoot Around Kid’s Wooden Ride On Balance Bike
- Rubberized wheels
- Durable and child safe
- Award-winning design
- Great for balance
You couldn’t miss this little citrus-colored balance bike if you tried! Kids love colors. The brighter, the better – so you won’t have a problem convincing yours to try this 4-wheeler out for size. Get all the features Moms and Dads demand without cleaning out your toddler’s college account: Rubberized wheels go easy on your floors even for tiny speed demons, and all materials — Wood, Metal, PP, EVA, ABS, and water-based paint — are top quality.
Winner of the 2013 Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award and 2013 Parent’s Choice Recommended Award, this Hape Scoot Around is the ideal way to help your little one test her mobility, develop excellent motor skills, strengthen muscles and enhance muscle memory as balancing skills are mastered. Recommended for tots between 12 months and 3 years, this mean green machine will make playdate pals green with envy!
-Lightweight, Classic style, All-in-one-
Wishbone Design Studio Original 3-in-1 Bike
- Made from sustainably-harvested birch and eucalyptus wood
- Ideal for 12 months to 5 years
- 3 colours available
- Fully Repairable
This original 3-in-1 bike is truly unique. It’s a pricey product, but when you discover how much you can expect from it, you may not care. Weighing 13.8 pounds, this bike is mounted on hefty 12-inch wheels and tires. If awards impress you, consider these: The 3-in-1 was named best-in-category winner of 2009 TIME Magazine Design 100, took Dr. Toy Best Green Toy honors in 2011, Dutch BEST BABY TOY AWARD in 2009, JPMA Innovation Award 2009, and Babble.com named it Best Kids Bike in 2011.
Why so many accolades? Attention to quality and engineering. Fabricated of sustainably-harvested birch and eucalyptus woods and assembled with non-toxic glues and finishes, this unique product “transforms” itself through 3 stages, going from baby walker to push tricycle to small and then large balance bike functions. Because this product exceeds European, US, and Australian toy safety standards, this Wishbone Design product won’t disappoint, so consider this product an investment rather than just a balance bike purchase.
-Affordable and Simple Ride-
Brybelly Wooden Balance Bicycle
- Comfortable pneumatic rubber tires
- Limited steering capacity
- Made from real wood
- Best for ages 2+ years
Your 2-year-old announced that he’s “a big boy now” and he wants to retire his tricycle. How to make that happen? Invest in this Wooden Balance Bicycle, and the transition can begin immediately. Built of solid wood, this ride may not have pedals or spokes, but that’s the purpose. Kids weighing up to 50 pounds straddle the bike and push, developing lower torso and leg muscles until they find themselves coasting along like pros.
No worries about accidents and tip-overs. This bike has limited steering capacity, a spoke-free design, wood hubcaps for safety, and materials used to fabricate it are all non-toxic. Even the pneumatic rubber tires sport longer stem valves, so air pumping is easy.
Time on this bike introduces coordination, balance, and skills needed to master a “real” two-wheeler down the road. It takes just 5 minutes to assemble (only 3 bolts to tighten), and the cushy saddle specializes in pampering little bums.
What is a balance bike?
Balance bikes may be contemporary additions to the scene of the juvenile product, but many resemble hand-crafted, old-world scooter designs. These rides are bikes without pedals, yet you’ll recognize familiar components found in other bike types: frame, fork, handlebars, wheels, and decorative features.
Balance bikes aren’t made with brakes, drivetrains, or stabilizers since the objective is allowing kids to develop balancing skills before they confront pedals onto a training bike. Operation? Simple. Kids push off with their feet and let nature and instinct take over.
Read more: Best Bicycle Brands
Balance bike weight range
For the most part, weight is rarely a major factor in selecting a balance bike, which is why some of the ones in our review weigh next to nothing. There’s a reason for this. Riders need to be able to push the unit forward easily without having to work out in a gym to get buff. Depending upon size, you probably won’t run into a wooden balance bike that weighs more than 15 pounds.
Tires and wheels
Product designers will almost always choose wheels with air tires for wood balance bikes in addition to alloy rims and hubs with steel spokes. This combination provides more cushioning and grip, and knobby tires are a great extra if your little one intends to tackle rough surfaces.
Puncture-proof tires are great on larger bikes, but they don’t grip as well as those requiring air. Experts also recommend looking for a balance bike fitted with ball bearings or cartridge bearings rather than nylon (plastic) bushings, or your bike may invite unwelcome rattling sounds that drive you crazy.
You can assess proper seat height by the rider’s ability to put their feet flat on the ground while comfortably reaching the handlebars. Choose a balance bike that is fitted with a quick-release clamp so the seat can be adjusted as the child grows.
Ideal positioning is achieved when the rider’s torso is angled slightly forward. Seats that force a child to ride in an upright position could impair his ability to push forward.
Wood or metal: Which do you prefer?
Sustainable woods have become preferred materials for everything from furnishings to flooring, and balance bikes are no exception. But that doesn’t mean you won’t have choices. You’ll find balance bikes crafted of wood and metal and some hybrids on today’s market, too. Once retired, wooden balance bikes can be repurposed and used to make other things.
Not so for metal balance bikes that can wind up rusted and clogging up landfills, despite the fact that aluminum versions of these products are often chosen because they weigh much less. Wooden products tend to be heavier than metal, offering more heft. Pricing for products made with either are competitive, but in terms of vintage design, wood knocks it out of the ballpark when it comes to style.
Combination balance bikes
If you read the description of the Wishbone Design Studio Original 3-in-1 and our pick, the Kinderfeets TinyTot Plus 2-in-1 Wooden Balance Bike, you get the idea. If you’d like to buy one that transforms through stages to adapt to toddlers’ growing skillsets, read product descriptions carefully to make sure the one you choose is capable of transitioning.
These styles may cost a little more but remember that you’re getting more years out of one purchase due to these bikes’ versatile nature.
Age of the child
Balance bikes are recommended for kids aged 18 months to 7 years old. Why such an expansive age range? Because kids grow and develop at different rates, but as a rule, every mobile child should be able to ride one of these because they are very intuitive products.
Since they are low to the ground and light, these safe toys can stick around as long as a child feels comfortable pushing her way around – or until she announces that she’s a big girl now and has designs on a two-wheeler with training wheels.
When we talk prices, we always have in mind the MSRP ( manufacturer’s suggested retail price ), which is the price manufacturer recommends. Often MSRP is different from retail prices due to supply/demand and other factors. For a decent wooden balance bike, you should expect to spend at least $70-80. Some premium design models could cost up to $300.