Thanks to my wife, Sarah, who wrote up this great review for the Glide Bikes Ezee Glider that we got to review online.
When we lived in Ashland, OR, balance bikes were the norm. Rather than seeing kids tooling around playgrounds on tricycles or bikes with training wheels, you’d see little kids scooting themselves along on balance bikes. I had never seen or heard of balance bikes before and they piqued my interest as Caleb began to show signs of one day becoming mobile. On the recommendation of a blog I like, we bought Caleb a Pewi Ybike, which is a cross between a push toy that helps kids learning to walk and a pre-balance bike. With three wheels and a handle, Caleb was able to both learn to walk while holding onto it and sort-of learn to ride by sitting on it and pushing himself along. It was great for learning to walk when Caleb was 1 and for learning to ride the summer Caleb was 1.5, but this summer we realized it was way too small for Caleb to be able to use it as a bike again. So I began to research balance bikes.
Although I was already sold on wanting one for Caleb, this site helped me learn more about balance bikes (so I could explain them to Adam and our parents) and begin to compare different models. Money was a big factor for us since our budget is very tight, and after doing some research, I decided the other key factors were: warranty, size (I wanted something that Caleb could ride now and next summer, and ideally until he is ready for a bike without training wheels), sealed ball bearings (keeps dirt from getting into the wheels so they continue to spin smoothly instead of slowing down over time), and air tires (foam tires seem great if you want to be able to use the bike indoors, but air tires provide more traction for riding outdoors).
Factors I didn’t care too much about were footrests, brakes, and turn limiters (I didn’t care if the bike had those features or not), the weight of the bike or the status of the bolts (recessed bolts mean less chance of scrapes when your kid falls off). Ideally I wanted to spend under $100, but I quickly realized this was unlikely to happen as the majority of bikes that fit all of my qualifications were closer to $130-$150. So I made a list of my top picks and started watching for sales.