I’m not sure who was more excited about putting the Early Rider together – my three year old son or my husband. Caution: Dads may act like a kid on Christmas putting together a cool looking bike for their child that features flames, a leather seat and fat boy tires! “It’s like a motorcycle” they both exclaimed almost at the same time!
The Early Rider is a wooden balance bike that is made of birch wood and features “fat boy“ tires, embossed flames and a faux leather seat. With a bike like this, your child will be the hippest kid on the block! Believe us, the Early Rider got so much attention everywhere we took it from not only kids but their parents as well. We were a little taken aback at the number of dads who approached us inquiring about the little bike! And when our tester set it down at the park, there were always a few kids that bee-lined to the bike to try it out.
So, what is a balance bike, you may ask? It’s a small, pedal-less bike designed for small kids (2-5 years old) that helps your child learn to balance in preparation to ride a traditional two-wheeler. No more training wheels necessary when you have a balance bike first! There are no pedals and kids ride it “Fred-Flintstone style”, walking and jogging along, coasting when they feel like it. The point of the bike is to concentrate on learning to balance; kids can work on gross motor skills and gain self-confidence before throwing in pedaling.
A balance bike eliminates the need for training wheels and we found that our older toddlers learned much quicker how to ride a traditional two-wheeler if they first had a balance bike rather than with training wheels. Training wheels can take months if not summers to help your child gain the confidence and try to ride a two-wheeler. Once you remove the training wheels, you may still be looking at weeks and months to master the two-wheeler. Why? There is just so much to learn all at once! Yet, our balance bike riders could master a two-wheeler in weeks and at a younger age because they learned the most important skill of bike riding – balance.
While the bike isn’t going to teach your child how to ride a bike, it will assist in your child learning how to balance and steer much quicker before they move on to learning how to pedal. As we all remember, it is quite hard to learn balance, steering, pedaling and braking all at once. And what is the most important part of learning to ride a two-wheeler successfully? Figuring out the balance. You can’t pedal if you can’t balance. You can’t brake if you can’t balance. The Early Rider will help your child master the balance first before throwing in all the other elements. And they will have a blast doing it!
The Early Rider has an adjustable seat height to accommodate taller and shorter children properly. The bike also has two choices of steering. The “restricted steering” setting is designed for little kids and beginners. The “unrestricted steering” setting on the bike also provides an extra 2.5cm of reach as your child becomes more confident on the bike and gives experienced riders the chance to learn to use steering to correct balance loss rather than their feet.
The Early Rider comes in three sizes, for smaller and larger preschoolers and kindergartners. Weighing in at 7 lbs,the “Lite” is the lightest Early Rider available and is made specifically for kids 20 months to 4 years old. The Classic, at 10.5 lbs, is designed for 2-to-5-year-olds and the Evolution is 11 lbs and designed for 3 ½ – 6 year olds. The Lite comes in two colors: natural and pink. The Classic is available in natural, pink and blue and the Evolution only comes in natural.
Our only complaint with the Early Rider is the foam hand grippers on the handlebars. Since there is no kick stand on the bike, you child is going to throw it down on the ground frequently. And when they do, the foam hand grippers are going to scuff quite a bit from the concrete. We would like to see a more durable material on the handlebars that won’t scuff or damage when hitting concrete.
The Early Rider bike was an absolute hit with our toddler testers and their dads. This lightweight bike is not only so easy to take with us on-the-go but teaches our kids balance on a bike so that they can ride a two-wheeler unassisted that much faster. Plus, our testers had a blast on the bike!
SHOP Early Rider Balance Bike
To watch our fulll video of the Early Rider Balance Bike, click the video link below:
*Thanks to Early Rider for providing us with the bike to review!