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Balance Bike vs. Tricycle for a 2-Year-Old, Which Is Better?

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People often have different opinions on how kids should learn to ride a bike. While some believe a child should learn with a tricycle, others think a balance bike is more fitting.

When choosing between a balance bike and a tricycle for a 2-year-old, which is better?

All things considered, a balance bike is better than a tricycle for a 2-year-old.

While learning to ride a bike, a child’s main challenge is steering and balancing, not pedaling. However, tricycles are already well-balanced, so your 2-year-old will not learn either skill while riding one.

There is more to choosing balance bikes over tricycles for a 2-year-old, though. So in this article, we further discuss the balance bike vs. tricycle debate.

Two cute little boys and adorable blond girl riding their balance bikes in park

Balance Bike Over Tricycle

As we already mentioned, a balance bike is better for a 2-year-old.

When a child starts learning how to ride a bike, understanding how steering affects the bike’s balance is the biggest obstacle. But since tricycles are stable, the child will not notice how steering affects balance when riding one.

Besides that, tricycles have a higher center of gravity than balance bikes. As a result, they tip over easily, causing your child to fall and increasing the risk of injury.

Tricycles easily tip over on uneven surfaces. They are also slow and awkward to handle.

Children learning with tricycles learn how to ride in an unbalanced manner. Unfortunately, they cannot transfer their unbalanced riding to a real bike. So, when it is time to ride a real bike, they suddenly have to learn how to ride with balance.

little boy riding a balance bike on the playground

Why Balance Bikes Are Better for 2-Year-Olds Than Tricycles

Here are some other reasons why balance bikes are better for 2-year-olds than tricycles:

Balance Bikes Are a Better Fit

Tricycles are a poor fit for toddlers since the toddlers cannot reach the pedals easily. Apart from that, the top bar of a tricycle is too tall, so toddlers cannot swing their legs over them with ease. This makes getting on and getting off the tricycle problematic for them.

Balance Bikes Are Safer

Unlike balance bikes, tricycles are less safe and are prone to tipping over. Tricycles can lose balance when one wheel is higher than the other, especially on an uneven surface. Balance bikes, on the other hand, can handle any terrain.

The seat of a balance bike is also closer to the ground. So, if your child falls, the crash is not as hard as the fall from a tricycle.

Also, balance bikes are not as fast as tricycles. So, they have a lower possibility of a high-speed crash.

Balance Bikes Are Light and Easy to Ride

Father interacting with daughter on on how to ride a balance bike in patio

Balance bikes are lighter than tricycles and easier to move around. Contrarily, kids riding tricycles may find it harder to move around because of the extra weight.

A balance bike weighs about 6-12 lbs. This is less than half of what a tricycle weighs.

With a tricycle, a child will put in a lot of effort to move a few feet. This is why most tricycles come with push bars; most kids cannot ride them without the push from their parents.

Balance bikes do not have pedals, so your child will not struggle with pedals. Instead of laboring with inefficient pedals, they use their legs to create motion. This way, they can focus all their energy and attention on learning how to balance.

A balance bike also makes it easy for children to put their feet on the ground to steer or stop. It gives them a greater sense of control. This, in turn, improves their confidence.

Balance Bikes Help Children Learn Coordination

A balance bike is a good way for a child to learn coordination. With a balance bike, children simply use their arms and legs to move the bike.

Besides coordination, balance bikes improve agility and motor skills and build their strength.

Balance Bikes Offer Years of Fun and Independent Riding

Little kid riding a balance bike with his mother on a bicycle

Although the amount invested in a balance bike and tricycle is usually the same, you can adjust balance bikes to fit children from 18 months – 4 years old. On the other hand, a child will use a tricycle for just over a year.

Both types of bikes might cost the same, but their life span differs. A balance bike will last twice as long as a tricycle.

Balance Bikes Are Okay for Various Terrains

Once a child masters riding a balance bike, he will continue enjoying it. It does not matter what terrain he decides to ride it on. On the other hand, a child on a tricycle has no choice but to slowly ride up and down on paved surfaces.

Balance Bikes Instill Independence Earlier Than Tricycles

Small children boy and girl with helmets and balance bikes outdoors playing

A balance bike teaches a child how to ride independently from day one. While tricycles make children depend on their parents to reach longer distances since they will not get very far on their own.

Balance Bikes Make Transitioning to Pedal Bikes Easy

With a balance bike, a child learns balance while seated or in motion. But tricycles do not offer the same riding conditions.

The premise behind tricycles was that children cannot balance a bike. But balance bikes seem to show otherwise. Even a 1-year-old can learn how to balance a balance bike successfully. Tricycles teach children how to pedal, which is not a difficult skill.

Your Child Will Not Need Training Wheels After Learning With a Balance Bike

A boy in a helmet riding on a rural road on a balancing bike on a hot summer day

Children learning to ride with balance bikes will not require training wheels since they already know how to balance.

On the other hand, learning with a tricycle means the child must learn how to balance a bike before riding. As a result, most children using tricycles to learn will end up with training wheels.


Balance bikes are better than tricycles for 2-year-olds. Unlike tricycles, balance bikes give your child the balancing skills required for transitioning to a pedal bike.

They also teach your child how to ride a bike and help them improve their motor skills.