As parents who love to ride bikes, the Belsize 12-inch balance bike is an eye catcher. With its traditional triangle bike frame design, this bike looks like it belongs out on the trails.
The Belsize is very lightweight, helping your little one build their bike riding confidence and skills. It is easy to hold up, hop on and go for a ride. We like it for both young budding riders and more advanced riders who know how to balance and cruise.
Read on to learn more about what we thought of the Belsize 12-inch Balance Bike.
Review in a Nutshell
- Lightweight aluminum alloy frame
- Steering limiter to prevent overturning
- Adjustable seat height
- Made for all-terrain
- Quick assembly out of the box
- No footrests
- No brakes
- No quick-release seat post clamp
Belsize Video Review
We were very drawn to the traditional bike frame design that Belsize went with for their 12-inch balance bike. It comes in silver, ruby and carbon, This makes it great if you are in the market for more neutral but sporty looking color options for your little rider. It’s a gorgeous bike, and looks really expensive.
Top Tube Makes Getting On And Off The Bike Harder For Tiny Riders
While we love the aesthetic look of the traditional frame design, the top top tube can be an issue for the youngest riders. We noticed that our smallest rider had a bit of a hard time swinging his leg over the back of the bike during his first couple of tries getting onto the bike.
This was not an issue for our three-year old, but it is something to consider for younger toddlers. Getting on the bike is the first skill you want your kids to feel confident with as they begin their balance bike riding. For smaller riders, we’d recommend a bike with a step-thru style frame (like the Co-Op Rev 12 pictured below).
Pneumatic Air Tires Provide Lots Of Traction
The 12-inch pneumatic (air) tires not only add to the pro look of this balance bike, they also provide great traction. They roll well on everything from cement sidewalks to dirt trails.
Pneumatic tires are a big step up from the foam or plastic tires found on many balance bikes. Having tires with tread is great for the kind of riding we do as a family especially as we introduce a lot of mellow trail riding to our little rascals.
Adjustable Seat…But No Quick Release Seatpost Collar
We are big fans of having an adjustable seat on balance bikes. It not only makes for a bike that can grow with your child, but also means the bike can be shared if you have more than one child.
The seat post has pre-marked positions for easy height adjustability. This comes in handy if you need to drop the post all the way down (35cm/13.78”) for your child’s height or to make it easier for your child to walk with the bike. You can also raise the seat up (maximum height of 46cm/18.11”) if your child is tall or if your child is showing signs that they are ready to sit and coast on the bike.
The Belsize website recommends using this size bike for children between 18-36 months old and between approximately 33 – 39 inches tall. A better indicator of whether the bike will fit your child, is to measure their inseam. (The inseam range for the Belsize 12-inch Balance Bike is 14-19 inches).
For most kids, this means that the bike will fit around ages 2 to 4. Because of the higher minimum seatpost height AND the higher standover on this bike, it’s not going to provide the greatest fit for most 18 months old. If you have a tiny rider that’s ready for a balance bike, look at a bike like the Yedoo Too Too or Woom 1 instead.
We do wish that the seat clamp was quick release for tool free height adjustments. Because it doesn’t, make sure you bring the correct size allen wrench with you in case you need to adjust the seat height during your child’s ride. You can always add a quick release seatpost collar after the fact as well. (They are cheap).
One thing we do really like about the saddle is that it is well-padded making for a comfortable bike ride for little ones.
Removable Steering Limiter
The Belsize 12-inch Balance Bike includes a steering limiter to prevent accidental overturning. The turning radius with the steering limiter connected to the front fork still provides plenty of room to maneuver when a child is making a tight turn.
In our experience, the steering limiter hasn’t been a need for the type of balance bike riding our children have done, but we can see the benefit of having it for stabilizing steering when younger or newer riders are learning to walk with the balance bike. We notice that when a child is younger, they typical turn the handlebars side to side as they are learning to hold onto handlebars and walk with the bike between their legs. A steering limiter definitely helps with stabilizing how much the handlebars are moving as your little rider is learning to ride.
The steering limiter on the Belsize is also removable (not all are), so you can remove it once your child has the balance bike thing down.
Lightweight Aircraft Aluminum Bike Frame
One of our favorite features of the Belsize 12-inch Balance Bike is its weight at an impressive 6.4 lbs. We can’t stress enough how important a light weight bike is. It makes it so much easier for kids to handle and build their confidence when the bike is lightweight. The Belsize 12-inch is made of durable and lightweight aircraft aluminum making it easy for young kids to maneuver and handle.
We’ve seen the difference in desire, confidence, and ability when our kids’ balance bikes are lighter weight. They’re able to easily pick up the Belsize. They can hold it steady as they balance on one leg while throwing their other leg over the bike to go ride.
They feel confident walking with it, scooting on it, and sitting and coasting with it. When kids are done riding it, they can hop off of it and easily walk their bike back to be put away.
Bonus for parents, the lightweight Belsize means it is easy to load up for a ride, and easy to carry when your rascal is finished riding and has left you with the task of putting away their bike.
One con for us is that the Belsize 12 does not have footrests which hurts to say because we really like all of the other features this bike has to offer. It has been helpful to have footrests (especially footrests with grip tape for keeping little feet in place) in our little riders’ balance bike journeys.
While our two-year old is only walking over the bike and sometimes sitting and scooting himself on balance bikes, he loves putting his feet up on footrests while mom or dad push him around to ride. When we pushed him around on the Belsize, we noticed he was only focused at looking down to where he could put his feet up. He tried to rest his feet on the frame near the rear tire, but the heels of his shoes would get caught in the rear wheel while being pushed which made him want to have his feet down.
This is not ideal when pushing your child around on their balance bike. Being able to have a place for kids to put their feet up while a parent is pushing them is also a helpful experience for kids learning to feel what balance feels like.
For an older child or a child who has figured out how to sit and coast on their balance bike, having footrests is helpful for building their confidence to have their feet up off the ground. This is great in preparation for introducing them to a bike with pedals.
With no footrests on the Belsize, we noticed our three-year old, who knows how to balance, sit and coast, was searching for a place to put his feet up. In one of our video clips, you can see him start to get going on his ride, find a place to briefly put his feet up and then stop riding because he didn’t feel secure about his feet placement.
He, like his younger brother, was distracted with looking down for the footrests. He did continue to ride the Belsize after we explained there wasn’t a proper place for him to securely rest his feet, but not having footrests was an immediate dislike for us for where we are with our kids’ different riding levels.
Riders using the footrest on the Woom 1 Plus. This is one feature that’s lacking on the Belsize balance bike.
No Hand Brake
The most noticeable thing missing on the Belsize 12 is a handbrake. At this pricepoint, you’re right at the verge of getting one. The Yedoo Too Too ($169), for instance, has one.
Other Things Worth Mentioning
- Rounded, (mostly) recessed bolts. Many balance bikes has exposed bolts on the wheels. These can scratch kids when striding or in the event of a crash. That’s why we appreciated that the bolts on the Belsize 12 are mostly (though not fully) recessed. There isn’t much of a bolt end sticking out.
- Flanged grips. The outside of the grips have ends to help keep little hands from slipping off.
- High-quality components. While not many of the components on the Belsize 12 are brand name, they are decidedly quality feeling. The bearings in the hubs and the threadless headset are smooth and the entire build feels durable.
Quick to Assemble
The Belsize 12-inch Balance Bike is neatly packaged out of the box with loose components zip-tied to the frame and protective packaging to keep the bike safe in transit for arrival to your doorstep. Once you remove all of the protective packaging, you’ll see that there are two easy steps for quick assembly.
With a quick loosening of the allen screws at the neck with the provided allen wrench, attach the handlebars, and tighten back up the handlebar clamp. Then loosen the allen screws at the front axle to attach the front wheel. Tighten the screws and give the wheel a quick spin to make sure the wheel is ready for riding.
After putting the bike together, make sure to adjust the seat height to your child’s needs. Do a quick air pressure check on the tires, and make sure you have the steering limiter attached to the front fork to help prevent any accidental overturning. Now that we’re all assembled and done with our quick once over, it’s time to gear up and hop on for a ride.
Belsize Balance Bikes vs The Competition
The premium features, look and construction of the Belsize 12-inch balance bike look high end, but the price tag falls at the mid-range price point of a balance bike budget. Compared to the Strider Classic ($89), you get a lot of additional features like the pneumatic air tires and higher quality components. That said, you’re missing a handbrake like you would find on the more expensive Woom 1 ($199).
From an aesthetic standpoint, the Belsize looks a lot like the Early Rider Charger 12. The Early Rider 12 has a similar frame design but offers a brake. It also comes in quite a bit more expensive ($220).
Did we mention that we love how lightweight the Belsize 12-inch Balance Bike is?? The 6.4lb weight make this bike a great balance bike to encourage your child’s love for biking.
The Belsize 12 is packed with great features including the steering limiter, pneumatic air tires and simple assembly. This is a good quality bike at a good value as long as you don’t mind not having footrests or a brake.
Learn More About Balance Bikes
- Everything You Need To Know About Balance Bikes
- 5 Best Balance Bikes For Your Toddler & How To Choose!
About The Reviewers
Our Rascal friends, Warren and Therese, met through their mutual love of riding and have injected their passion for bikes into their family unit. Warren grew up riding dirtbikes at a young age, which expanded into mountain biking and BMX racing. Therese rekindled her love for bike riding when she was introduced to dirtbikes and mountain bikes. They share their joy of riding with their two young boys, “Cuatro and Ez.” You can find them out at Wheelie Ranch, building bike lines and dirt tracks or out at their local tracks, bike parks and trails.