Strider Balance Bike Review
Strider bikes are so popular that they’ve become almost synonymous with the term “balance bikes.” The company has gained this brand name recognition through a fantastic marketing and distribution effort. Strider runs photo contests, hosts balance bike races, and their bikes can be found in nearly every bike shop around the world.
So, do their bikes live up to the hype? Yes and no. Strider bikes are fantastically cute and fun. Compared to a pedal bike with training wheels, balance bikes allow toddlers to start riding much younger, help develop gross motor skills, and build confidence on a bicycle. The Strider price-point is also super competitive, with the entry-level version costing only $89.
On the other hand, Strider is missing many of the features that other balance bikes on the market have–such as hand brakes and pneumatic (air) tires. If you are looking to buy the BEST balance bike on the market, Strider probably isn’t it. If you are looking to buy your kiddo a fun bike that all the other kids on the block are riding, then look no further.
Review in a Nutshell
- A Strider gains you entry to the “Strider club.” (You too can be like all the cool families on the block).
- The XL seatpost allows the bike to fit a large range of ages.
- Accessories and upgrade kits allow for a wide range of customization
- Foam tires provide limited traction for off-road riding
- No hand brake
- Weight: 6.7 lbs
- Seat Height: 11”-16”
- Tires: 12” foam
- Fits: Ages 18 months – 5 years (with XL seatpost)
Strider Balance Bike Review
Fits a wide age range
One of the nicest things about the Strider is its ability to fit both the very youngest riders (18 months old) and older kiddos (up to 5 years). The fact that it weighs only 6.7 pounds makes it very manageable for young toddlers. If you want it to grow with your child (or if you want to use it for two siblings) make sure to get the Sport version which comes with an extended seatpost and a quick-release to make seat adjustments easy.
Large array of accessories and upgrades
Once you’ve chosen a Strider, you have the option to upgrade to your heart’s content. These upgrades and accessories include pneumatic (air) wheels, a footbrake, XL handlebar, colored grips, and even snow skis.
Strider also offers Strider-branded jerseys, elbow and knee pads, helmets, gloves, and more.
Affordable (Well, kinda)
The $89 Classic Strider bike is just about the cheapest balance bike on the market. (The Haro PreWheelz 10 is comparable). If you want something that’s going be easy on the wallet, you probably can’t beat a Strider. You’ll get a fun, quality bike for not a lot of money.
The problem comes when you start upgrading. The Sport bike is $119 and provides you with the XL seatpost, quick-release adjustments, an upgraded saddle, and a foam handlebar cover. If you want the pneumatic (air) wheels or a footbrake, the bill keeps going up. By the time you’ve added those upgrades, you could have bought a different balance bike for less.
Foam tires can be a pro or a con depending on your point-of-view. For people that like them, they appreciate the fact that the tires won’t ever go flat. There’s nothing more obnoxious than getting your toddler ready to ride only to find out that their tire is flat. 12” tubes aren’t something that most of us just have lying around the house either.
That said, I still much prefer pneumatic (air) tires. They provide better traction and cushioning. For young kids who don’t venture far beyond the driveway, they may not be necessary, but for more aggressive riders who might want to ride at the bike park or off-road, I’d highly recommend looking for a balance bike that comes stocked with air tires or investing in the upgraded Strider wheels.
No hand brake
This is another feature that may not be needed for young kids, but that is nice to have for older kids. Young toddlers do just fine dragging their feet to stop, but once kids are 2.5 or so, they have the coordination required to begin using a hand brake.
The Strider does not come with a hand brake, but they do have a unique foot brake that the bike can be upgraded with. For parents who want to save a pair of shoes or two, the upgrade is a good idea and works well.
For me personally, I still prefer a bike with a hand brake because it teaches a child how to use it at a young age, and by the time they are ready for a pedal bike, they will be able to skip a coaster and go straight to a freewheel and handbrakes.
Everybody loves the Strider. You can’t beat the price-point of the Strider Classic, and with a few upgrades, it can grow with your child for years. The Strider races, jerseys, and other marketing events make your purchase a sort of membership fee to join the brand club. If you do choose the Strider, I would strongly suggest eventually upgrading to pneumatic (air tires); but if you upgrade too much, the cost makes it more worthwhile to choose a balance bike that comes stock with those features.