Balance Bike vs Training Wheels for Kids Guide

by Kid Crave | Last Updated: 06/27/2015

Balance bike vs training wheels

The debate of run bike vs training wheels has been ongoing for a while. To me, there are pros and cons for both and so I shall not commend on which one is the most effective way to train a toddler or kid. In fact, I don’t believe that there is a best option for any parents. It all depends on what are your primary concerns when training your kid to ride a bicycle.

So, in this article, I am going to list out the kind of concerns each type of bike training method can eliminate so that you can make a better choice. I am leaving out effectiveness as I already stated that both ways can help a kid to master bicycle riding.

Balance bikes vs Training Wheels

The purpose of a balance bike is mainly to train a child on his or her balance as well as steering ability. Unlike big wheels for kids, there are no pedals as kids pushed themselves forward to propel the bike. In essence, it is almost like a child running but with a bike between their legs.

Parents who bought this believed the getting the balance correct is the most important thing in learning to ride a bicycle. Once the kid mastered balancing in a safe way, riding a real bike will be easy.

No fear of kids falling and hurting

One of the biggest draw factor for many parents to buy a balance bike is the elimination of the kind of falls and cuts the kids will usually suffer with normal bikes on training wheels. The seat is set low such that the kids can easily prevent themselves from falling so it is uncommon to see them being hurt.

No need to run after kids or hold the bike

Due to the balance bike’s limited ability to go fast (as it is propelled by the kid’s own legs), a parent does not need to be constantly running after them for fear of their safety. This is a real concern for many parents as bikes with training wheels can gain a bit of speed especially on a down slope, resulting in a potential for accidents if the kid loses control.

In addition, as balance bikes are easy to balance, parents don’t have to hold the bike while the child is using them. Overall, balance bike place less burden on a parent vs a bike on training wheels.

Another great way for your children to enhance their balance is on a motorcycle rocking horse. However, this is only suitable for younger children.

Bicycle with training wheels

Most of us should be familiar with training wheels as most of us grew up in them. They can definitely help a child to learn how to ride a bike but are they the best options for you? It all depends if any of the following describes your concern or preference.

Budget constant

If there is a budget concern, getting a bike with training wheels will be a much cost-efficient option. With a balance bike, you still need to buy a real bike eventually once the child has masted his or her balance and steering. For training wheels, all you need to do is to take off the wheels and the kid can continue using the same bicycle.

Kids are too old for a balance bike

One common complaint about the balance bike is that they are small in size and this is true. As such, it is not realistic for a 5 year old to start on a wooden balance bike as it is simply too small for him or her to enjoy playing with it. In such cases, bikes on training wheels make a lot of sense.


For parents who believe balancing is important and want a more safe and hands-off approach, buying a balance bike is the best way to go. If you need recommendations in this area, check out our article on the best balance bike for 2020.

For parents who think balance bike is a waste of money, using bike with training wheels work as well. It is just that you need to be more hands off to ensure your kid is safe during the riding process.

Also check out the best toys for 2 year old boys in 2020 and our guide to best tricycles for kids.

Article by Kid Crave

Welcome to Kid Crave. This website was created as an informational resource to the best toys and games for all age groups. We offer a range of professional perspectives and opinions on which products parents may want to purchase for their children.