Biketoworkday is supported by its audience. When you buy through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Balance Bike vs Training Wheels: A Quick Comparison

Written by Gary Johnson / Fact checked by Henry Speciale

balance bike vs training wheels

Kids bikes come in two forms – balance bikes and bicycles with training wheels. Both are designated training bikes for toddlers to learn balancing and basic biking steps.

However, as a parent, it is crucial to identify the critical differences between these two. This way, you will know what kind of bike your child needs to build their confidence in biking and enhance their balancing skills.

So, here is a detailed comparison between a balance bike vs training wheels.

What Are Balance Bikes?


Balance bikes have the same appearance as regular road bikes but have one primary difference.

  • Balance bikes lack pedals. It only has wheels, handlebars, and a bike seat.
  • These bikes cater to young kids from 2 – 4 years of age.

Balance bikes are excellent to use when enhancing a child’s motor skills. It is easy to learn, convenient, and simple to navigate.

It is the perfect bike to choose from if you want your child to familiarize themselves with biking basics. Since there is no balance bike with pedals, your kid will be encouraged to use their feet and legs to move forward. The child must keep their feet on the ground, create force, and push the bike through the handlebars.

Balance bikes allow your child to know how to bike upright and cycle when seated. The design and construction are ideal to fit your child’s small frame. The bike’s height and the handlebars’ distance accommodate a preschooler’s body frame.

What Are Training Wheels?


  • Training wheels or stabilizers are usually attached to a regular road bike to create steady cycling. They are two little wheels protruding from two sides of the back tire.
  • The stabilizers prevent the bicycle from getting wobbly or tipping, even when your kid is pedaling.
  • These pieces are perfect for kids aged 5 and above.

Bikes with training wheels are the most convenient way of learning how to bike. It gives your child the whole cycling experience as it comes with pedals. Using a bike with training wheels is the best after your kid outgrew the balance bike.

As your child is already familiarized with biking but needs to learn an essential cycling skill – pedaling, then the training wheels are the right pick.

How do Balance Bikes work?


It is incorrect to say that balance bike waste our money. These bikes have many benefits.

Since it lacks pedals, drivetrain, and chain, the only thing your kid needs to learn is how to balance. It is the perfect way to build confidence in biking and learn all the basic skills like sitting and standing on the bike while moving the bike forward.

  • The balance bike’s simplicity enables your child to have complete control of the bike, while using their arms and legs.
  • The feet will be on the ground all the time, and their hands can completely navigate the handlebars.
  • In this manner, they feel more stable and have more body awareness while biking.
  • Your kid will enjoy using the balance bike since it can provide grip when practicing turning left or right.
  • It gives your little rider a sense of responsibility to keep the bike moving forward. If your kid fails to push the bike in a certain direction, the bicycle will not turn.

Since you rarely encounter a balance bike with training wheels, a balance bike is a great way to develop one skill at a time.

How Do Balance Training Wheels Work?

A bike with training wheels is perfect if your child has already developed biking fundamentals and improved body awareness. With mounting brackets, parents can install training wheels for strider bike for their kids to start practicing.

  • Training wheels can prevent most falls due to pedaling and balancing at the same time. They can be used when kids practice on pump tracks and rough surfaces.
  • It is still an excellent physical activity where your child can use both the arms and legs. However, with an added pedaling system, your kid needs to use his legs more.
  • Kids using bikes with training wheels are still in the learning process. But this time, they can completely experience everything about biking. They can now learn how to pedal while balancing.

Differences Between Balance Bikes and Training Wheels


1. Purpose

  • Balance bikes are designed to cater to toddlers. Balance bikes are the best way to go if you want your kid to master biking basics, such as the correct steering, body position, and awareness.
  • On the other hand, training wheels are great for younger kids who want to practice good pedal strokes. Since it has a simple pedaling system, your kid can develop balancing on the bike while pedaling.

2. Age requirement

  • Balance bikes are suited for preschoolers from two to three years of age. It is considered the first bike for every young learner, too.
  • On the other hand, training wheels is a pedal bike meant for children aged 5 and above. These bikes have saddle heights higher than a balance bike.

3. Design and Construction

  • A balance bike is also not as durable as a regular bike. It is generally made of hard plastic. You will hardly see balance bikes with brakes or those made of heavy steel.
  • Balance bikes are more lightweight than bikes with attached training wheels. Therefore, your kids will not have difficulty using a balance bike for practice.
  • Meanwhile, a bike with training wheels is already a complete set. It can be used for a long time, even when your kids get taller.
  • Traning wheels provide more stimulation and challenges during biking, thus encouraging kids to practice more.
  • Aside from these, as a big kid bike, training wheels also have a higher saddle height and typically come with a rear brake. The rear brakes allow your child to stop and control their speed, especially when running on uneven surfaces.

Pros and cons

Balance bike

  • Kids learn the basics of steering, cornering, and balancing with a balance bike
  • Children can pay attention to how to ride a bike properly
  • Kids will not be overwhelmed by learning multiple skills at the same time
  • Children can develop the right attitude when riding on a bike
  • Balance bikes for older kids are lightweight and easy to maneuver
  • Balance bikes are fun to use where children hey can walk and sit while on the bikes
  • Kids can easily outgrow a balance bike
  • Does not give the ultimate cycling experience because it lacks pedals
  • Not suitable for older kids
  • No balance bikes with brakes

Training wheels

  • Pedal bikes provide excellent support to children learning to balance while pedaling
  • Kids pedal bikes are complete bike sets with pedals, brake, wheels, handlebars, and seat
  • Bicycle with training wheels come with at least one brake giving your children full control of when to stop
  • Excellent bike to learn pedaling
  • Pedal bikes are suitable for kids who outgrew a balance bike
  • Easy to ride without being wobbly or unsteady on most surfaces
  • Does not fundamentally teach the child the skill of steering
  • Not ideal for first-time bike learners


Learning to cycle is an important process in a child’s early development. However, picking the wrong choice between a balance bike or training wheels can heavily impact your child’s learning process. You must assess the needs of your kid before buying a bike.

Hopefully, this comparison between a balance bike vs training wheels provided you with the right information about the best bike suitable for your child.

5/5 - (4 votes)