Wooden Balance Bikes Vs Metal Balance Bike

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If you’re deliberating on whether to buy a child a wooden or a metal balance bike, read on. I will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each one, which should be able to help you decide which is best for you and your child.

Wooden Balance Bikes

✔️ Environmentally Friendly - One of the main reasons parents choose a wooden balance bike is  that they are environmentally friendly compared to a metal bike. The wood can be recycled and will biodegrade when the bike has been finished with. You can also find balance bikes made from sustainable wood sources.

✔️ Weather Considerations - Perhaps the biggest disadvantage with a wooden balance bike is that it will not withstand the rain as well as it's metal counterpart. Many bikes are finished with a lacquer veneer which will protect the bike from the elements to some degree. But if they are left outside in the rain a lot they are likely to warp and rot. Therefore if you have a wooden balance bike in most cases you will have to be careful not to leave the bike outdoors when you have finished riding it.  Most wooden balance bikes will be fine if they are taken out in the rain just for a ride, it's leaving them outside that will cause damage.

If you are worried about this there are balance bikes made out of marine grade wood (essentially the same type of wood that boats are made of). This type of wood eliminates the danger of the bike being damaged by the water or rain so you don't have to worry if the bike gets left outdoors too much. However, bikes made out of marine grade wood do tend to be a bit more expensive.

✔️ Seat Adjustments - Most wooden balance bikes will have 2 or 3 different seat heights. They can often provide the perfect seat height for kids of different heights. However, they generally don't have as large a seat adjustment range as metal bikes. This means they may not last the child quite as long as other bikes. It also makes it more important that you buy a wooden bike with the right seat height for your child.

✔️ Lightweight - Generally wooden bikes tend to be lighter than their metal counterparts (although not always). The lightest balance bike I could currently find is a wooden balance bike. The Bopster balance bike only weighs about 2.5kg.
This makes is super easy for little kids to control and manoeuvre. It also makes it easy for parents to pick up and carry if their little ones get tired and have had enough.

✔️ Cool designs - Many people like the look of the wooden balance bikes too. They have a retro feel to them which brings many people back to their own childhood. There are some fantastic painted designs on wooden balance bikes that are perfect for boys and girls.

Check out some of the best wooden balance bikes for kids from 18 months to 5 years.

Metal Balance Bikes

The main advantage most metal bikes have over most wooden bikes is that they are more durable.

✔️ Type of Metal - Metal balance bikes tend to be made of either steel or aluminium. Each type of metal has advantages and disadvantages.

Aluminium tends to be more lightweight but is also a strong metal. Bikes made out of aluminum tend to be a good choice for younger riders as their lightweight frames means that they can be easily controlled and maneuvered by lighter children. However, as kids get older the weight of the bike matters less as they can control heavier bikes when they get stronger and bigger. Steel bikes tend to have a higher weight capacity than aluminium but normally an aluminium bike will have a high enough weight capacity for most kids that want to use it. Check the weight capacity of the bike if you have concerns.

✔️ Seat Adjustment - Metal bikes will tend to have a seat with a larger range on the adjustment range which can make it a good choice if you want to share the bike between siblings or want the bike to last a long time.

Metal bikes also tend to have more modification options that their wooden counterparts. So you may be able to get a seat post for a metal bike so that older kids can ride the bike too.

✔️​ Look and feel - Many kids like the look of the metal bikes as it makes them feel like a big kid riding their bike.

Wooden bikes and metal bikes tend to be within similar price ranges. The price range will often depend on other factors including the quality and design of the bike as well as the material that it’s made from.

Wooden Balance Bike - Top Choice - Kinderfeets Classic Chalkboard

This Kinderfeet is an award winning wooden balance bike. Kinderfeet recommend the bike for very small children from around 85cm tall. However,  check that their inside leg measurement is at least 35.5cm so that it is at least 2.5cm bigger than the lowest seat height of 33cm. This is to ensure that a child's feet can push along the ground

The seat height can be adjusted up to 40cm. A low cut frame means that young children can easily mount and dismount the bike.

The company has an eco friendly wooden design. The bikes are made of birchwood and are FSC certified (Forestry Stewardship Council).  There is also a tree replanting program. Birchwood is typically a fast growing tree and for each bike purchased a tree is replanted.

The seat pad is removable and washable and also comfortable for kids to ride.  Perhaps one of the downsides of the bike is that tools are needed to adjust the seat height.

The tyres won't puncture as they are made of EVA foam and can be used indoor and outdoors.

The bike weighs 4.3kg.

The really fun part that kids will love is the chalkboard element. Kids can chalk on the frame, and chalk is included with the purchase.

✔️ Top Tip - the seat height on a balance bike should measure about 1 inch (2.5cm) less than a child's inseam so they can put their feet flat on the floor to push the bike along.
Find out how to measure an inseam here

Top Metal Balance Bike - Strider Sport

The Strider balance bike is perhaps the most well known brand of balance bike that has stood the test of time so far so you know this bike has a certain level of quality. It's not the cheapest, but not the most expensive either. The bike has a well thought and executed design, a durable construction and some excellent features.  There is a lot to like about this bike.

One of the best things about this bike is that it can last kids for many years. The adjustable seat and seat post has a range from 27 to 48cm so it can be used by kids from 18 months through to 5 years. The handlebar height can be adjust t00. The seat height post is easily adjustable, so it's quite feasible that it could be shared by siblings as well.

The other exceptional feature of the strider is that it's super lightweight. It weights 2.9kg so it can be carried when not in use. Perhaps when going up a hill, carrying into a house or lifting into the boot of the car.

The tyres are EVA foam so you don't have to worry about punctures.

When you've finished with the bike, if it's in good condition it's a good one to pass onto a sibling, friend or to sell second hand.