Why are we such fans of Strider? Experience. They have a range of sizes to suit different stages/ages of rider, plus great support after sales and the accessories range. Plus they're well made, durable and with the footrests, actually make a well thought out balance bike that allows a rider to use one on a BMX track...
Their range starts at £60 for a 12" wheel bike - suitable from 18 Months to about 5. There are a lot of bikes available, giving you lots of choice. There are bigger wheeled versions, suitable for older riders even a 20" wheeled Strider allowing adults to learn!
Starting from around 18 Months old, children can use a Balance Bike to get their first real taste of fun on two wheels!
Balance bikes are the alternative to kid's bikes with stabilisers. They don't have pedals, or cranks or any drivetrain at all in fact. If you think of the precursor to the modern bicycle, the "Hobbyhorse" then you have a balance bike in mind!
They work by allowing a rider to sit on the seat and propel themselves with their legs, effectively running along. The clever bit is when the rider lifts their feet up, the bike carries on at speed and the rider learns the vital balance needed to safely ride a bike. This doesn't happen on a bike with stabilisers! With "Stabs" fitted, the balance element is removed. The rider can pedal about all over the place, but once the stabilisers are removed, it can bring their progress to a halt, as they were used to speed without the need for control and balance and have to learn it suddenly!
Balance bikes allow young children to develop essential riding skills, they can be used on a BMX track and make the ideal entry into the wonderful world of BMX.
Balance bikes come in a variety of styles and materials; many are little more than stylised toys, looking like a pony or a motorcycle. Whilst these can be fun, for BMXers or those looking to become BMXers, they have drawbacks. Most of these types designed to look like motorcycles or other things are made of wood. Wood will warp in certain weather/storage conditions, reducing the effectiveness of the balance bike. They can have limited steering, durability and therefore, actual effectiveness.
Balance bikes made from proper bike materials are best, several bike companies manufacture their own range. The market leader, with good reason, is Strider.
Strider have a great support network in the UK and organise races. They produce a range of accessories which includes pads, designed for the littlest arms and legs.