Balance Bike or Training Wheels for 4-Year-Old | Which Is Better?

  • By: Kevinsmak
  • Date: January 12, 2023
  • Time to read: 8 min.
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When growing up, you probably had a bike with training wheels. You might have even gotten rid of the training wheels and started riding on two wheels when you were around four or five years old.

But what if your child wants to start biking at four years old? Is a balance bike or training wheels better for a four-year-old? Both have their benefits and drawbacks, so deciding which option is best for your child can be challenging.

The balance bikes are better than the training wheels for several reasons. The balance bike will teach your child how to balance on two wheels from the beginning. Balance bikes also fit kids much better than the 12-inch training wheels bikes. The seat is lower to the ground, so kids can touch their feet on the ground when they need to.

What is a Balance Bike?

A balance bike is a bike without pedals that helps your child learn how to balance on two wheels. The child propels the bike by walking or running. Balance bikes don’t have stabilizers (aka training wheels).

Kids have their feet on the ground to develop balance and coordination without needing stabilizers. Once the child has learned how to balance, they can transition to a regular bike with pedals.

What is a Training Bike?

A training bike is a bike that has two wheels of the same size and is ridden without pedals. Training bikes help kids learn how to ride a bike without pedals.

They are also called strider bikes or balance bikes. Training bikes have several benefits over traditional pedal bikes.

Why are Balance Bikes Better than Training Bikes

There are several benefits of balance bikes over training wheels.

Trains the Kids to Balance

Training wheels can give kids a false sense of security and don’t teach them how to balance. With training wheels, kids learn to pedal first and balance.

This can be difficult for some kids because they have to relearn how to ride a bike without the training wheels once they are ready to transition to a pedal bike.

With a balance bike, kids learn to balance first, and then they learn to pedal. This is the natural order of things, and it’s much easier for kids to transition to a pedal bike once they’ve mastered balancing.


Balance bikes are superior to bikes with training wheels because they provide a more comfortable fit for young riders. Too often, children’s bikes with training wheels are too large for them, and they cannot easily reach the pedals.

The seat is also higher above the ground, making it harder for children to reach the floor. It may be more difficult for them to control the bike and get back on if they fall off.

Kids may easily put both feet on the ground when riding a balance bike due to its diminutive size and low seat. If they fall off, they won’t hurt as badly and will be able to get back on the bike more quickly.

Uneven Surfaces

Training wheels can make it difficult for kids to ride on uneven surfaces like gravel or grass. The training wheels can get caught on uneven surfaces and cause the bike to tip over.

Kids can easily ride on uneven surfaces with a balance bike because their feet are on the ground. This helps them develop the coordination and skills they need to ride a bike on all types of surfaces.

Light and Easy to Ride

Little ones can learn to ride with ease on a balance bike because of how light and simple they are. Bikes with training wheels can be cumbersome and challenging to pedal for young children.

This may hinder their cycling abilities and put them off of taking up the sport altogether.

Kids may learn to ride a bike and have a great time with a balancing bike. They’ll learn to enjoy biking from a young age because of this.

Fun and independent Riding

Kids love balance bikes because they teach them to ride without training wheels and encourage them to explore their environment on their own. When using training wheels, children frequently require assistance from an adult, whether it be for mounting or dismounting the bicycle or maintaining a stable riding position.

Kids can hop on and off a balancing bike without assistance from an adult. They’ll have more freedom and fun if they learn to ride the bike on their own.

Transition to a Pedal Bike is Easy

Balance bikes make it easy for kids to transition to pedal bikes. Once they’ve mastered balancing, they can easily add pedals and start riding a pedal bike.

This is not the case with training wheels bikes. Kids often have difficulty transitioning from training wheels to pedal bikes because they must relearn how to ride without the wheels.

Drawbacks of Balance Bikes

You should be aware of a few drawbacks of balance bikes.

Initial Cost

Balance bikes can be more expensive than training wheels bikes because they are specialty bikes. You can often find training wheels bikes on sale at big box stores for around $50.

Balance bikes can start at around $100 and go up from there.

If you have more than one child, you might want to consider buying a used balance bike. You can often find them for sale on classified sites or garage sale groups on social media.


Balance bikes often come unassembled, and you have to put them together yourself. This can be a challenge if you’re not mechanically inclined.

If you’re not comfortable putting the bike together, you can take it to a local bike shop and pay them to assemble it. This will add to the cost of the bike, but it might be worth it if you don’t want to deal with the hassle of putting it together yourself.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bike for Your 4-Year-Old

There are a few things to think about before settling on a balance bike or a bike with training wheels for your child.

Your Child’s Skill Level

If your youngster is just beginning to learn how to ride a bike, a balancing bike might be the ideal choice. Kids can gain the coordination and abilities necessary to ride a bike by using balance bikes.

A classic pedal cycle with training wheels might be a good option if your child is already an expert cyclist. They will be able to switch to a pedal bike more simply, thanks to this.

Your Child’s Age

Kids between the ages of 2 and 5 are the target demographic for balance bikes. A classic pedal bike is a good option for children over the age of five.

Your Child’s Size

Balance bikes come in different sizes, so you can find one that’s the right fit for your child. Training wheels bikes often have adjustable seat posts and handlebars, so they can grow with your child.

Safety and Convenience

Balance bikes are a more practical and secure alternative to traditional bicycles with training wheels. Your child can hop on and off a balancing bike without any assistance from an adult.

Alternatively, they can use the bike without assistance.

A youngster using training wheels would typically require assistance from an adult when attempting to mount or dismount the bike or maintain balance.

Fun and Adventure

Kids always want to have a bike they will have fun riding. A balance bike can provide your child with hours of fun and adventure. 

Kids often have more fun with balance bikes because they can ride them independently and explore their surroundings. Training wheels can limit a child’s ability to explore and adventure.

Kids often become bored because they feel like they’re not really riding a bike.

Balance Bikes vs. Training Bikes| Which is Better?

The balance bikes are better suited for kids just starting to learn how to ride a bike. They are also safer and more convenient than training wheels bikes.

I would recommend that you buy a balance bike for your child.

If you are looking for an adventurous bike for your kid, go with the balance bike. The training wheels will limit the ability to explore and have fun.

Choose the balance bike! It is worth every penny.

Kids Bikes FAQs

Final Thoughts

For a 4-year-old, a balance bike is the most appropriate because they are just starting to learn how to ride. Your kid will learn how to balance and steer with a balance bike before they start worrying about pedaling.

This will make it much easier for them to learn how to ride a pedal bike when they’re ready. On the other hand, training bikes are more limited in what they can offer and are not as safe.

I would recommend getting a balance bike for your child.

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