Riding around the neighborhood. Playing with friends. Making family memories. Bikes are a great way to get some exercise, build confidence, and fuel adventure for kids of all ages. And believe it or not, little ones can start their journey before their second birthday on a balance bike.
A balance bike is simply a bicycle with no pedals. Some version of a balance bike has been around for quite a while now, and over the decades, it evolved into what we know today as an amazing tool for little Riders to start zooming around on two wheels. The balance bike has surpassed training wheels and tricycles as the parent-preferred method of introducing kiddos to biking.
1. Balance Bikes are Superlight
When kiddos are first learning to stay steady on a balance bike, the lighter it is, the easier it is. And that makes sense — try to balance something that weighs as much as you do, and it’s tough! The woom 1 balance bike is only 6.6 lbs. That’s about a quarter or third of what the average 18-month-old child weighs, making them easy for little ones to manage.
Children can learn to ride a woom balance bike as young as 18 months old because they are built out of superlight, double-butted (the technical term for “safe and sturdy”) aluminum. And the lighter the balance bike, the easier for a small child to balance on it.
The result? Kiddos master the skill of balancing quickly and confidently. Before you know it, they’ll be zooming around the driveway!
2. Balance Bikes Teach the Right Skills
It’s easy to learn new skills the wrong way, especially when those shortcuts may seem like they are helping you get you to where you are trying to go quickly. Training wheels appear to be helpful for little Riders because there’s no challenge of balancing added to the experience.
Alas, training wheels inadvertently train children to lean on them for support and take away the opportunity to learn the skills of balance and steering — skills Riders need to learn how to ride a pedal bike.
Balance bikes help kids learn how to ride pedal bikes because they teach balance and steering without the complication of pedals. When kiddos learn with training wheels before graduating to two wheels, they lose the opportunity to successfully build the necessary foundation for riding a bike.
3. Balance Bikes Teach Your Rider How to Stop
If you have ever watched a child learn to ride a bike, you have probably nervously watched them not stop soon enough before crashing. Along with learning to balance, kiddos who start on balance bikes also have the opportunity to master the critical skill of braking before they pedal. This won’t prevent every future fumble but can help kids get more comfortable with slowing down before they get into trouble when they’re going too fast.
Kids first learn to control their speed on balance bikes — starting and stopping — with their feet. The faster they move their little legs, the faster they go. And when they need to slow down, they use their feet, as well. After mastering this essential skill, kiddos can practice using the handbrake. It’s beneficial because when they graduate to a pedal bike, a handbrake is familiar and comfortable.
On woom balance bikes, you can also adjust the brake lever reach to accommodate your Rider’s tiny hands, and it’s color-coded to help it stand out. On the woom 1 and woom 1 PLUS, the right brake lever and the corresponding rear brake pads are both green, making it intuitive for learning cyclists. Kiddos who haven’t turned 2 years old yet have a hard time with left and right shoes. Colors are easy for kids to recognize, so they don't have to think about left or right and front or back.
Ultimately, this helps kiddos feel confident and excited about biking. They’re not as discouraged or overwhelmed trying to learn everything all at the same time. Balance, steering, and braking can be mastered before complicating the process with pedals
4. Balance Bikes Help Younger Kids Learn to Ride
Have you ever tried to learn a new language? As an adult, for those of us who don’t have a knack for it, learning a new language is often clunky and takes significant focus and effort. However, it’s much easier as a child, especially when it’s just part of growing up and life before you are old enough to remember it.
Like learning a language, learning to ride a balance bike at a young age makes it second nature. Learning to ride a balance bike just after learning to walk makes the skill of biking as natural as getting around on two feet.
5. Balance Bikes are Comfortable and Safe
Kiddos who are young enough to ride a woom 1 or woom 1 PLUS may not articulately describe an experience, but they sure do let grownups know when they are not comfortable. And that’s rarely a pleasant experience for anyone within hearing distance. They might not know how to use their words, but their message is clearly communicated.
Choosing a balance bike that is as comfortable as possible for a young child's size, shape, and weight is critical. If kids are placed on a balance bike with an uncomfortable seat, handlebars that are too big, or a brake that can’t be adjusted, they may be discouraged and never want to get on it again.
Every detail of the woom 1 and woom 1 PLUS was explicitly designed for kiddos! This ingenuity includes the ergonomic contact points – the saddle, grips, and pedals. The Steering Limiter prevents accidental overturning, and the integrated stem and handlebars eliminate any protruding bolts or sharp angles.
How to Select the Best woom Balance Bike for Your New Rider
Both the woom 1 and the woom 1 PLUS come with a superlight aluminum frame for easier balancing, an innovative braking system to help them learn how to stop safely, and Ergogrips to provide a comfortable slip-free grip.
The woom 1 is ideal for children 31” - 40” tall, so as young as 18-months-old. Featuring adorably tiny yet durable 12” high-quality tires, the woom 1 will offer your Rider plenty of traction and ensure they’re noticed thanks to reflective sidewall striping. These features keep them safe and help them have the most fun possible as the smallest woom Riders.
Unlike the woom 1, the woom 1 PLUS also comes with a SURFBOARD Footrest. That feature allows the Rider to place their feet up when coasting. As kiddos get a little older, they often like the idea of going fast, and this helps them do that safely. (If preferred, you can add this to the woom 1.) The woom 1 PLUS is for kiddos 37 - 43” tall.
Is your new Rider even taller? The woom 2 and woom 3 can also be used as balance bikes. Simply skip installing the pedals until your Rider has mastered their balance bike skills.
If you want to learn more about how to pick out a bike for your little Rider, check out our woom bike finder — it provides some helpful information for you to use.