Whether they are called strider bikes, balance bikes, push bikes, or running bikes, they all refer to kids bicycles that don’t have pedals. These have been popular in Europe for a long time, but they are becoming more common in the US lately.
My daughter’s present for her third birthday was a Kinderbike Mini Laufrad balance bike. She loved it right away, and I think she we could even have gotten it earlier – like when she was 2.5. She had a lot of fun with it, and it really helped her get the feel for balancing on a moving bicycle. While she was trying to learn to ride without training wheels, she would switch back and forth between the balance bike and her pedal bike.
I liked the Mini Laufrad because it’s very lightweight and makes it easy for the kids to handle. It also fits shorter kids, but they may outgrow it before they are quite ready for a bike with training wheels or a pedal bike. In my case, I bought a longer adult-sized seat-post (the M-Wave Seat Post, 27.2mm) and used a hacksaw to cut it shorter so that it wouldn’t hit the ground. This might not be a problem with the non-Mini Laufrad
There are some balance bikes made out of wood, but I don’t recommend them because they are not as durable, and somewhat heavier. I’ve seen more than one of them broken at the connection between the handlebar and the downtube. There is a nice review of some of balance bikes in the New York Times that was published in 2009.
|Kinderbike Silver Mini Laufrad – Ages 18 Months – 4|
|KinderBike Laufrad Balance Bike|
|M-Wave Seat Post, 27.2mm|