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Strider Balance Bike Review

Jeff Balton

Strider Bikes

If dinosaurs had bicycles back in the day, they’d probably learn how to ride them on training wheels. But your child shouldn’t. Instead, a much better option is teaching them how to ride on a Strider balance bike. If you’re wondering why find out below.

Strider has made a name for themselves by producing balance bikes that work and popularizing them in the US. Strider’s founder, Ryan McFarland, was dissatisfied with the fact that his son could not learn to ride a bike on traditional learn-to-ride vehicles and follow him on his rides.

What was the next logical step?

Create a machine that suited his son better.

That’s how he came up with the concept of Strider—light and simple two-wheelers that focused on the fundamental skill of balance and nothing else.

 

What Is a Strider Bike?

A Strider bike is a simple balance bike that has no pedals. It’s used to teach a child how to ride a bike by helping them develop their balance on two wheels.

Strider bikes are available with 12″ and 14″ wheels and have a very low standover clearance. That makes it possible for children to have both of their feet firmly on the ground while sitting on the saddle, which boosts confidence.

To propel themselves, they simply push with their feet and maintain balance by pushing against either side with their legs. Once they learn the ropes, kids can gain momentum, lift both legs in the air, and happily cruise around on their own.

The 14″ Strider bike can easily be transformed into a pedal bike, so kids can use it to learn how to ride and continue riding it once they’ve mastered the art of balance.

 

What’s the right age for a Strider?

Talking about the lower age limit, if your child can walk, they can also have fun on a Strider balance bike. Specifically, that usually means between 18 months and 5 years for Strider 12″ models and 3 to 6 years for the 14″ model.

However, if you want to get your toddler used to bikes even earlier than that, you can get them a Strider Rocking Bike, which we’ll tell you more about below. It’s a good choice for kids between 6 and 18 months of age who still haven’t mastered walking.

Balance Bikes Explained

 


12″ Balance Bikes


 

  • Strider 12 Classic

  • MSRP: $100
  • Inseam: 12.0″ – 17.0″
  • Age: 18 months – 3 years
  • Bike Weight: 6.7 lbs

 

Strider 12 Classic is the simplest and cheapest of all Strider bikes. It costs just $100 and comes with all the features your little rider needs and none that they don’t.

The frame and fork are made from steel, so they can carry a rider that weighs up to 60 lbs. The tires are made from foam, so you don’t need to worry about adding air to them. They’re great for light riders.

While Strider 12 Classic has the lowest seat height of all balance bikes, the seat post can be upgraded to fit taller children as well.

The only downside to this budget-friendly balance bike is that it comes in one color. Good luck convincing your toddler to ride it if they’re not a fan of red.

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  • Strider 12 Sport

  • MSRP: $120
  • Inseam: 12.0″ – 20.0″
  • Age: 18 months – 5 years
  • Bike Weight: 6.7 lbs

 

Strider 12 Sport is the best all-around balance bike for all tiny-legged toddlers out there. If you want your little rider to enjoy their Strider bike for longer, you should get them the Sport model.

It has pretty much all the same specs as the Classic model, but it fits children with an inseam of up to 20″ thanks to a longer seat post. Plus, it costs just $20 more.

It still rides on foam tires, has a plush saddle, and ergonomic tiny grips. An additional benefit of choosing this model is that it’s available in six fun and exciting colors—blue, green, orange, pink, red, and yellow.

Get your kid the right tool to learn and a source of fun and adventure for years to come with the Strider 12 Sport model.

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  • Strider 12 Pro

  • MSRP: $180
  • Inseam: 12.0″ – 20.0″
  • Age: 18 months – 5 years
  • Bike Weight: 5.6 lbs

 

Ideally, balance bikes should be as light and simple as possible. While 6.7 lbs for the Classic and Sport models is very low, Strider 12 Pro goes even lower. Thanks to its aluminum frame, this balance bike weighs just 5.6 lbs.

The saddle and handlebar are height-adjustable, so your child can use and abuse this performance-oriented two-wheeler until they’re about 5 years old.

If your little rider craves speed, Strider 12 Pro is the model that will put a smile on their face. It comes with textured footrests, so they have where to plant their tiny feat once they reach maximum velocity.

Again, the only downside is that it comes in two colors (silver and blue) which might not be every kid’s favorite choice.

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  • Strider 12 ST-R

  • MSRP: $900
  • Inseam: 12.0″ – 20.0″
  • Age: 18 months – 5 years
  • Bike Frame Weight: 466g

 

If you want the best, the lightest, the most nimble, and the fastest balance bike for your talented racer, then things don’t get much better than Strider 12 ST-R. However, they also don’t get much more expensive, as this carbon monster costs $900. Ouch!

Still, if your wallet is deep enough and you don’t mind breaking the bank to get your toddler the meanest superhero bike, we say go for it.

Strider 12 ST-R has a full carbon fiber frame and fork with a carbon steerer and a Cane Creek® AER® headset with bearings. Moreover, the 10-spoke carbon fiber rims are wrapped in Schwalbe Big Apple tires that will stick to any surface like glue.

Strider 12 ST-R is a special bike that’s not for everyone. But any Strider Rider would feel like a superhero cruising around the neighborhood on it.

 


Strider 14X Sport Balance and Pedal Bike


 

  • MSRP: $160
  • Inseam: 16.0″ – 23.0″
  • Age: 3 years – 7 years
  • Bike Weight: 12.5 lbs (without pedals)

 

The Strider 14X Sport balance bike is the only Strider bike with pedals. This model rolls on 14″ wheels with air tubes and 1.75″ all-purpose tires. That makes it suitable for taller toddlers and preschoolers.

The beauty of the Strider 14X Sport is that an additional pedal kit can be purchased and fitted on it. Therefore, when your mini rider masters balance, you don’t need to go out of your way and buy another bike for them. Just fit this one with pedals and watch them have fun for a few more years.

The Strider 14X Sport balance bike is also equipped with wide footrests and comes in three funky colors: blue, green, and pink, making it suitable for both boys and girls.

Converting it from a balance bike into a pedal bike is quick and easy, as Strider provides you with all the tools and instructions you need. The pedal kit has coaster brakes, which will make skidding your Strider rider’s new favorite thing to do.

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Rocking Bikes for Babies

Strider Balance bikes are intended for kids who are at least 18 months old or kids who have mastered walking even earlier.

Product image for black

But what if your baby wants to ride before that? Strider has thought about it. They can easily do it on Strider’s Rocking Bikes.

Rocking Bikes are basically a 2-in-1 solution that can provide your child with loads of fun for years to come. Strider made these by offering their Strider 12 Sport and 12 Pro models with a special platform that supports the bike and allows it to rock back and forth.

When the baby is ready to start balancing on their own, the bike detaches and your kid is ready to feel the freedom and excitement that balance bikes bring.

 

Accessories

Apart from selling complete balance bikes, Strider also has a bunch of useful and quirky accessories. You can get these to make riding more enjoyable and more fun for your toddler cyclist.

For example, if you want to make riding balance bikes safer, you can get Strider’s elbow and knee pads, helmets (a must!), lights, and gloves.

To upgrade the bike and make riding more fun, you can get the Strider 14X pedal kit, a kickstand, variously colored grips, snow skis, carbon wheels, and more.

Basically, Strider can provide you with whatever you need to keep your kid’s favorite balance bike running for a long time, even when they start growing out of it.

Consider Also: Woom 1 Balance Bike

Strider Events and Races

How to make children fall in love with cycling? Make it as fun as possible, of course! Strider’s events and races are the perfect opportunities to show kids what riding bikes is all about—spending time outside, racing, making friends, and having a blast of a time!

Strider events

Strider frequently organizes events and races all around the world that both kids and parents can enjoy. These can be both competitive and non-competitive, teaching kids about riding skills and sportsmanship.

We especially love the Strider Adventure Zone with obstacles, as well as Exploring and Discovery rides. But the racing events are super-fun and cute as well, and there are even nice prizes in place for the winners.

 

FAQ:frequently asked questions about Strider

  • Are balance bikes worth it?

Yes, balance bikes are definitely worth it. It’s the easiest, fastest, and most natural way for children to learn how to ride a bike. When children learn how to ride on a balance bike, they can easily switch to a pedal bike, which is not the case with training wheels. Plus, balance bikes are pretty cheap!

  • What is the point of a Strider bike?

Strider bikes are made to provide children with the fastest, easiest, and most natural way of learning how to ride a bike. Children quickly learn how to maintain balance by propelling and supporting themselves with their feet. Strider bikes are light, fun, and simple, so they are great for building confidence. Plus, parents love them because they’re affordable.

  • Is Strider the best balance bike?

Strider makes some of the best balance bikes in the world. They might not be considered the very best by every parent and child, but the majority will be more than happy to own one. Strider provides an excellent value for your money reflected in the materials used and the quality of the build. The results are balance bikes that work well and last a long time.

  • Is 5 too old for a balance bike?

No, a five-year-old is not too old for a balance bike. The correct measurement to use to determine whether a child will fit on a balance bike is the inseam length. Children above five should ride Strider’s 14X Sport balance bike, which can be converted into a pedal bike and ridden for longer.

  • Should I get a Strider with brakes?

Strider does not make balance bikes with brakes. The only exception is the pedal kit that can be fitted on the Strider 14X Sport bike that comes with a coaster brake. Balance bikes don’t develop high speeds, so brakes are not necessary as children can slow down and stop by using their legs.

  • Do kids need a balance bike?

Yes, in order to learn how to ride a bicycle in the easiest and fastest way, kids need a balance bike. With balance bikes, children usually master balancing on two wheels in a matter of days and transition to a pedal bike in a matter of hours when the time comes.

  • Are balance bikes a waste of money?

No, balance bikes are not a waste of money. On the other hand, children bikes with training wheels are a waste of money. When children learn how to ride on a balance bike, they can easily transition to a pedal bike. However, when they learn how to ride with training wheels, they need to relearn everything once they get on a pedal bike.

  • Are balance bikes better than training wheels?

Yes, balance bikes are much better than training wheels. Training wheels are a thing of the past. Children learn how to ride a bike much faster with balance bikes compared to training wheels, which never really give children a chance to balance on their own. It’s the natural and intuitive way of figuring out how to balance on two wheels.

  • Do you need a helmet for a balance bike?

Yes, you do! Children and adults should always wear a helmet, no matter what kind of bikes they ride and how fast they go. Accidents can happen when you least expect them, even at very low speeds.

See the selection on REI or on Amazon