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Training Wheels Vs. Balance Bike

August 26, 2022 4 min read

Since the introduction of the balance bike, parents have questioned if traditional training wheels are still a viable option for developing young racers. The two share a similarity in teaching children how to ride a bike. However, each platform goes about its task differently. For this article, we’ll highlight the pros and cons for both, hopefully leaving you with a clear winner.

Starting Age

Training Wheels

Because training wheels are fitted to full-size pedal bikes, the starting age tends to be at least four years old. Due to the size of the bike, your child is limited until they can reach the pedals.

Balance Bike

We’ve seen riders as young as two years old ripping up the track on balance bikes. Due to its smaller size, the balance bike can accommodate smaller riders allowing for an earlier starting age and a head start on learning.

Bike Weight

Balance Bike 

The Supercross balance bike comes in at just about 8 lbs. They’re the ideal size and fit for your child’s smaller frame. The lightweight nature of the bike gives your child better control and increased independence since it’s light enough for them to pick up.

Training Wheels

As mentioned before, training wheels are fitted to full-size pedal bikes so the weight is substantially more than the balance bike. A typical training wheel set up weights about 20 lbs. That’s twice as heavy as the SX balance bike. Any child would struggle to move a training wheel bike on their own, thus decreasing independent learning.


Training Wheels

Training wheels are only designed to work on flat, smooth surfaces. So while it’s effective for teaching your child how to ride up and down the street, training wheels aren’t capable of letting your child learn how to ride a BMX track. This stalls development even further, making it one more thing your child must learn when transitioning to a micro or mini bike.

Balance Bike

Due to the free nature of the balance bike, your child can ride just about any surface they want. Anything from BMX rhythm straights to even mild mountain bike trails. If they can touch the ground, they can ride! Your child can now learn how to maneuver rollers and other various jumps on any race track. After climbing the jump, they can coast down the back side learning how to carry speed into each jump. This stage allows your child to grow more comfortable with the track and increases their enjoyment of riding leading to more longevity in the sport!


Balance Bike

The balance bike produces independence giving your child the confidence to try new things and enjoy the biking experience. One day they’re walking the bike and learning how to maneuver it. The next day they’re blasting down the rhythm straight, feet up coasting along. The most significant advantage here is that there is so much more to learn and your child gains a better grasp of basic bike control.

Training Wheels

We’ve said it before, but training wheels hold your child back. Once it’s time to take the training wheels off, it’s back to square one, learning how to balance AND pedal. Despite knowing how to pedal before, it’s a different experience without the training wheel assist. Ultimately, the training wheels don’t work in teaching your child, they lessen the initial entry point to cycling but raise the difficulty of transitioning into a real bike. 

Skills Learned 

Training Wheels 

Again training wheels limit skill development. They’re designed to be uneven and wobbly, making for a pretty uncomfortable ride. It also makes leaning into turns virtually impossible because the wheels restrict the lean angle. Steering is tricky as well because the bike is only designed to move forward.

Balance Bike

Steering, turning, and balancing are all skills needed to succeed in riding a full-sized bike. These are skills your child can learn on the balance bike making the transition to pedal racing easier. After mastering the balance bike, your child only needs to focus on pedaling the larger micro bike because the other skills required have become second nature. With fewer things to concentrate on your child develops faster!

Brining it all Together 

The balance bike is the clear winner here. Your child can start earlier on a lighter bike and develop more skills. Also, the balance bike allows them to ride the track at a younger age, so it’s not as intimidating the first time they attempt on a pedal bike. Because of all these factors, your little shredder will develop balance, stability, and independence all while growing confidence. 

Training wheels have remained the same since the 1950s. They were a practical design back then, but now it’s time for a change after seven decades. In the modern era of cycling, the benefits of a balance bike cannot be denied.

What Makes Our Balance Bike Special?

Our unique balance bike design offers more adjustability than most. Everything from the seat height to handlebar position is adjustable meaning your rider can grow with this machine. It also features spoked wheels and rubber tires instead of the plastic wheel / tire combo seen on competing models. Similar to our other racing products, we’ve taken extra measures to provide you with a high-quality balance bike. Why? Because we stand behind our message of #onlythebest

Not to mention the graphics are based on our multi-time award-winning ENVY BLK2 carbon frame! In addition to what we discussed before, this produces a quality bike that looks as good as it performs. We all know that you have to look good to feel good, so start your child off right with one of our Supercross Balance bikes. These are available in 5 different colors; click here to shop the SX balance bike!

- Written by Jonnie Vance