One of the biggest challenges for parents when it comes to buying a bike for their children is balancing the desire to buy a good bike with the reality that your child will soon outgrow whatever bicycle you pick.
In this post, we share several options. This includes 2 bikes that convert from a trike to a balance bike, and another 2 that convert from a balance bike to a pedal bike. These convertible balance bikes offer an attractive option to parents who want to buy a bike that can grow with their child for a while.
For parents with slightly older toddlers or preschoolers, we also offer a DIY option. Read on to learn more.
Trike To Balance Bike
The very smart Wishbone 3-in-1 bike converts from a three-wheeled trike to a small balance bike to a bigger balance bike, making it the only thing you’ll need until your child is ready for pedals.
It’s durable, well made, and eco-friendly. It is made of environmentally-responsible materials like birch and post-consumer recycled plastic.
Price: $249.99 (Last updated: 2021-04-20 at 06:35 – More Info)
YVolution YVelo Junior
The Yvolution Yvelo Jr balance bike has a unique design. For very young children it has two rear wheels that make the bike extra stable. Then, once they are a bit older, you can convert it to a single rear wheel.
We love this bike for an indoor toy. The tires are non-marking so you don’t have to worry about your floors.
Read Our Review: Yvolution Yvelo
Price: Price not available (Last updated: 2021-04-12 at 17:35 – More Info)
Balance Bike To Pedal Bike
The LittleBigBike is a 3-in-1 14″ wheeled bicycle that converts from a little balance bike to a big balance bike to a pedal bike. Unlike it’s closest competitor, the Strider 14x (listed below), the LittleBig offers dual handbrakes which we love.
It also has high-end features like internally routed cables, and nice wide pneumatic tires.
The only thing to be aware of is that while the bike is advertised for kids up to age 7, by age 5 or 6, kids will be far better suited by a 16″ or even 20″ bike.
Read Our Review: LittleBig Bike
Strider makes the best known balance bikes around, but you might not know that they make a popular balance to pedal bike as well. The Strider 14x has 14″ wheels with pneumatic (air) tires, and weighs in at respectable 12.5 lbs.
The only thing we don’t love about the bike is that it has a rear coaster brake and no hand brakes. It also has short crank arms, which means that it’s okay for a starter pedal bike but your child will be limited in their ability to grow and improve on the bike.
Price: $149.99 (Last updated: 2021-04-12 at 17:35 – More Info)
DIY Option: A Pedal Bike With Pedals Removed
Our last bike isn’t a specific bicycle recommendation at all, instead it’s a DIY option! If your child is old enough for a pedal bike, but hasn’t already mastered a balance bike, consider buying them a good pedal bike and then just removing the pedals.
You want to make sure you buy a bicycle that has a minimum seatpost that’s at least as long as your child’s inseam so that they can place their feet flat on the ground while sitting on the saddle. Then, remove the
Encourage them to practice scooting and then coasting on the bike just like you would with a balance bike. Then, once they have the balance thing down, you can put the pedals back on.
Here’s a chart to give you a little more information about each bike.
|Bike||Type of Conversion||Tire Type||Weight||Minimum Seatpost Height||Wheel Size|
|Wishbone 3-in-1||Trike to Balance||Pneumatic||13.8 lbs||11"||12"|
|YVolution Y Velo Jr||Trike to Balance||Plastic||7.94 lbs||11"||10"|
|LittleBig Bike||Balance to Pedal||Pneumatic||14.5 lbs||14"||14"|
|Strider 14x||Balance to Pedal||Pneumatic||15.1 lbs||15"||14"|
Is A Convertible Balance Bike A Good Idea?
It can be. If your primary concern is buying a bike that will last for a while, then a convertible balance might be the way to go. This is especially true for the bikes that convert from 3-wheel trikes to 2-wheel balance bikes.
That said, none of these bikes are perfect, and this is especially true of the balance bike to pedal bike conversions. By trying to be okay at multiple things they don’t excel at any.
The Strider 14x, for example, is a bit heavy for a balance bike and the 14″ wheels may still be too big for smaller balance bike riders. As a pedal bike, it lacks brakes and the geometry (aka low bottom bracket) forces shorter than normal crank arms.
They may be a good short-term solution, but sooner than later you’ll want to upgrade your child to a higher-quality pedal bike. Or simply use the DIY option we mentioned above and get them that good quality pedal bike now.
Learn More About Kids Bikes
Looking for our top picks? We prefer most of the bikes on these lists to those listed above.