Learning to ride a bike is a childhood rite of passage. Strider Bikes aims to make the process easier, faster, and more fun for kids everywhere. The Strider is what is referred to as a no-pedal balance bike or run bike.
In a nutshell, the concept is that learning to balance is easier when a child is able to place his feet on the ground and does not have to worry about pedaling. Pedaling, the easy part, comes after the child has learned to balance. By starting with a balance bike, the child never has to suffer through the anxiety-producing process of removing the training wheels…or as balance bike enthusiasts like to call them “restraining wheels.” Strider has the science to back up this claim–an independent study by the University of South Dakota showed a measurable improvement in balance among children aged 3-5 over a four week period.
After trying out the Strider ST-4 with my sons, ages 2 and almost 5, I wish I had started my eldest on a balance bike.
Balance Bikes for Toddlers
The mini saddle and seat post that comes included with the Strider ST-4 ranges from 11-16″, making it perfect for most kids aged 18 months to 5 years old. An optional, inexpensive seat post can extend that range from 14-19″ and extend the life of the bike in your family.
Like most toddlers, my two year old son began by straddling the bike, holding the handle bars, and walking the bike without sitting down. The Strider weighs less than 7 lbs so it is easy for him to turn it and lift it. He’s safe, he’s secure, and, most importantly to him, his bike looks like the big kids’ bikes. He’s a little daredevil so I am sure we will have him up and running and gliding after a few more sessions. Check back for updates later this month.
Balance Bikes for Preschoolers and Kindergartners
My almost five year old son tried the Strider twice so far. We used the XL seat post to extend to a better height for him. It is really easy to switch the seat posts out and adjust the seat post and handlebar height with the Strider quick clamp so my two boys could take turns.
He got the idea of pushing himself along on the Strider almost immediately. The second time he tried the Strider, he was able to lift his feet and even rest them on the Launchpad footrests for a few seconds. He’s getting the hang of “running” rather than coming to a complete stop each time he pushes off and glides.
I am very eager to see how quickly the Strider enables my son to ditch the training wheels. He’d like to be riding by the fall and I think that is a realistic goal now that we have the Strider.
Balance Bikes for School-Aged Kids, Trick Riders, and Children with Special Needs
My daughter, who is almost 7, wants to get rid of her training wheels but she is very nervous. She was eying the Strider as her brothers learned to balance. She offered her little brother a turn on her scooter in exchange for a chance to try to balance on the Strider. I raised the XL seat post to its maximum height and she was off.
She loves the Strider bike and wants one of her own to help her learn to balance independently.
The seat is still a little low for her and the overall bike is a bit small since she is tall for her age. However, Strider just released the SUPER 16 SS-1, which is a no pedal balance bike that is just the right height for children ages 6-10. The adjustable padded seat ranges in height from 17.25″ to 25″. We haven’t tried out this bike yet but it features an ergonomic hand lever and caliper brake and 16″ pneumatic “dirt jump” tires.
This means that not only will older kids have fun performing tricks and stunts, it also means that older children of all riding ability levels, including children with special needs, will be able to get on their bikes and ride. That’s why Strider has received a high Able Play rating. For children with special needs, the physical and social benefits of being able to ride a bike are huge.
Choosing a Balance Bike
When choosing a balance bike, there are a few things to take into account. The seat height and ease of adjust-ability are huge factors for me with my family size (three kids and another on the way). With the optional XL seat post, Strider has one of the widest height ranges on the market.
The frame is another factor which affects both durability and ease of use. The Strider has a metal (steel) body that is lightweight and the ST-4 has a powder coat finish for increased durability.
Tires are another choice and the EVA polymer tires on the ST-3 and ST-4 are maintenance-free.
Strider gives you a lot of flexibility and durability at its price point.
All of my kids are really eager to continue with the balance bike. I will be updating with more video so you can see their progress!
DISCLOSURE: My family received an ST-4 Strider Bike from Strider to facilitate our test. As always, all words opinions are my own.