Why a STRIDERâ„¢ Balance Bike

 

With the popularity of STRIDER balance bikes, it was inevitable that the market would soon see numerous new entries, and even copycats. They say "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." While we like flattery, we hate seeing kids on imitation bikes. There is only one STRIDER, and we’ll detail the reasons to choose it. STRIDER bikes are designed and built by riders/parents, not a toy company trying to make a widget. From the company Founder all the way to the warehouse shipping staff, Strider Sports Intl., Inc. is full of riding enthusiasts, most of whom are also parents of young STRIDER-riding children. Our team knows kids, knows riding, and knows how to make a bike that truly FUNCTIONS for young riders. It is the difference between a wannabe bike and a STRIDER bike and it is what moves a child’s biking mindset from indifferent to inspired!

Company Mission: "At Strider®, we love riding bikes and we love inspiring kids to ride. Our mission is to build lightweight, efficient, all-terrain bikes that build two-wheeled balance, coordination, and confidence in children."

While it may look simple, don’t be fooled, for as Da Vinci stated, "Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication." To achieve a truly functional simplicity requires considerable effort. STRIDER bikes are the result of 8 years of development, manufacturing improvements, riding, observation, testing, and even racing. When you purchase a STRIDER, you buy into the 'club' that is TEAM STRIDER, you become one of the early adopters that are changing the paradigm of how kids learn to ride and setting the new standard at how young children can be actively involved in riding, racing, and exploring the world on two wheels. You are supporting the research that is guiding the entire channel for balance bikes, not just for young children, but also for children, teens, and adults with special needs that have been told they can't ride… until now! This chart will walk you through the subtle but staggering differences in design (and philosophy) of the STRIDER brand vs. the 'others'.


FEATURES & BENEFITS COMPARISON

  STRIDER 12 Sport Other Balance Bikes

Start Age

18 months / as soon as child is competently walking & running.

STRIDER brand also meets the more strict testing requirements of a product for an 18 month old child.

Many are targeted for 3+ years old and miss the ideal age for balance development of 18-36 months.

NOTE:  product safety testing for products marked 3+ years is less stringent than products approved for 18+ months.

Start Size

28 cm minimum seat height to properly fit the short inseam of toddlers.

Many are 31-36" minimum seat height and again miss the target for the ideal entry age of 18-24 months of age. 

Bike Weight

3 kg.

Many are 4-6,5 kg and too heavy for a young rider to start, control, and stop effectively.

Safety Tested

Complies with the strict Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act standards of products intended for children 18+ months.

Many are marked 3+ and don’t meet the testing standards.

Some knock-offs may not even be tested.

Handlebars
-height

Height adjustable from 56-61 cm plus an aftermarket option for even more adjustment.

Many don’t have any handlebar height adjustment.

Handlebars
-grips

Custom molded Strider grips with padded ends and internal cushion to withstand bike tip-overs

Off the shelf item with questionable durability

Handlebars
-pad

Includes foam pad for cool styling and extra protection

Many don’t offer a pad on the handlebar

Handlebars
-quick release

Standard equipment for easy 'no-tool' assembly and adjustment.

Many don’t offer any handlebar adjustment.  Most don’t offer a quick release for the steering and require tools for adjustment.

Seat
-saddle design

Mini-saddle and standard saddle.  Both ergonomically shaped and sized for the growth of the child.

Many have a saddle that is too large for a beginning rider’s narrow hip spacing.  
Some don’t use a rounded, ergonomic shape.

Seat
-post length

Two seatposts for various lengths and adjustment ranges from 28-49cm

Most models start too tall for the smallest riders.  Most have very little adjustment. 
Some models have no adjustment at all. 

Seat
-quick release

Standard equipment for easy 'no-tool' assembly and adjustment.

Many require tools for seat height adjustment.
Some don’t have any seat height adjustment.

Wheels
-rim

Proprietary one-piece molded-plastic ultralight 5-spoke design with 10 bearing support gussets.

Many use a three piece design with no bearing support gussets which leads to wheel failure.
Some use steel spoke wheels which burden the rider with extra rotational weight.

Wheels
-bearings

High-quality, maintenance-free sealed cartridge bearings.

Many use a cone-and-cup bearing of lesser quality requiring maintenance and adjustment.

Wheels
-tires

EVA polymer tire (industrial foam) is extremely light weight and durable.  Never needs air/never goes flat. (STRIDER offers a heavy duty pneumatic wheel set for older riders and performance riding.  Sold separately).

Many use a pneumatic tire and inner tube as found on an adult bike.  This tire is heavier and requires frequent maintenance.  For an experienced rider, it can offer an increase in traction (if properly inflated), but the added weight and maintenance is a detriment to beginners in the 18-36 month age range.

Frame
-material

Durable, powder-coated thin-gauge steel.  Seven vibrant colors.

Some are made of wood and subject to weather deterioration and delamination.  
Some are made of plastic and subject to warping and cracking from heat/cold/UV exposure.

Frame
-design

US Patented design features a low center of gravity for easy balance, a low standover height for small riders, performance geometry (frame angles) for precise steering and predictable handling.

Many have designs that seem focused more on fashion and whim than rider function.  For the life of us (as riders) we don’t have a clue what some designers were thinking.  Terrible standover, high center of gravity, terrible steering angles, improper rider compartment proportions, and more.

Frame
-footrests

Unique footrests integrated into the frame to avoid interfering with the child’s striding motion.  
Located DIRECTLY below the saddle for proper rider position for seated gliding and standing riding (advanced skill for rough terrain).

Most lack any type of footrest at all meaning a child’s learning potential is substantially limited.  The few that do have footrests have them located at odd locations on the frame (far forward) which won’t allow the rider to lift their body weight off the saddle with their legs, a fundamental bicycling and motorcycling skill (imagine riding off a curb without lifting off the bike seat).

Brake

Balance bike riders naturally use their feet to slow and stop just as they do to make the bike go.  The use of a brake by a very small child is not only counter-intuitive but difficult.  

For older, advanced riders, Strider offers a foot brake that mounts to any Strider 12" frame and encourages the child to keep their feet up and push on the brake instead of pushing on the ground.

Many models don’t come with a brake and have no provision for adding a brake later in the product usage as children get older and more skilled.

Some models promote the use of a hand brake.  While this sounds good, a child’s hand is too small to grip a handlebar and reach for a brake lever, and not strong enough to pull it even if they could reach it.  We’ve actually seen children let go of the handlebar and try to reach for the brake lever separate from the bar.  This is obviously a recipe for disaster.

Steering
-bushing

Custom 2,5 cm length polypropylene steering bushings are super light weight, maintenance-free, and ensure a snug fork fit and smooth steering action.

Some models use ball bearing headsets which are heavier (overkill for a young child) and require skilled maintenance and adjustment for proper performance.

Some models use plastic bushings but skimp on length with only 1 cm of bushing support at upper and lower location resulting in early failure.

Steering
-rotation

Fully functional steering without stops similar to pedal bikes and motorcycles so a child learns proper steering skill and responsibility from Day 1 and doesn’t have to unlearn when transitioning to a pedal bike.  Bike safely lies flat during a tip-over so the child won't be poked by the bar end..

Some models claim a steering limiter as a feature on their design.  However, steering limiters create a bike response that is UNLIKE a pedal bike or motorcycle.  This ‘crutch’ can create an unsafe situation when the child transitions onto bikes with normal steering.  Steering limiters also keep the handlebars from laying flat during a fall which can cause the child to be poked by the bar end sticking up.


STRIDER balance bikes are the industry leader when it comes to teaching youngsters to ride.
STRIDER balance bikes have taught more toddlers how to ride than any other brand in the world.


The next question becomes, "Which Strider model do I choose?" 12" Model Comparison