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10 Best Balance Bikes on a Budget (Under $100)

3 year old riding RoyalBaby Pony balance bike - running to gain speed

The vast majority of budget kids’ bikes aren’t actually designed for kids.  Instead, the manufacturer simply walks through a warehouse full of parts and picks pieces together to build a bike.  After a quick paint job and some decals, a brand new bike is born, without ever testing it out on a child!  As a result, most inexpensive bikes are poorly designed and can be difficult for kids to ride.

Our Recommended Budget Balance Bikes at Work

Toddlers riding balance bikes - Schwinn Skip 4, Strider Classic, Toot Scoot

Fortunately, there are a few budget bikes that, while they don’t compete with the higher-end bikes, do a great job for under $100. We tested out all of the bikes below and while they’re not the best of the best, they get the job done.  Their seats aren’t as cushioned, their bearings don’t roll as smoothly, and they don’t have the durability to last for generations, but they’re a great buy for those on a tighter budget.

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Swagtron K3


MSRP: $59

FEATURES: Very lightweight, aluminum frame, air tires, low-roll-resistance wheels, soft hand grips (these are insane features at this price!!)

BEST FITS: Kids in 2T months to 4T pants.

KEY CONCERN:  Limited seat height range (3″), no quick-release seat post (tools required)





MSRP: $69

FEATURES: Extended wheelbase for more room to ride, upright and natural body position for the rider,  adjustable-height handlebars, well-designed footrest, cool design and colors, incredible quality for the price.

BEST FITS: Kids in 2T to 4T pants with 13″ to 19″ inseam

KEY CONCERN: None. This is a fantastic budget bike!

COLORS AVAILABLE: Black/green, red/yellow, blue/yellow, hot pink



Banana Bike GT


MSRP: $69

FEATURES: Long wheelbase, taller handlebars and long seat post great for taller riders, true headset, adjustable-height handlebars, quick release seat post, air tires for under $70!

BEST FITS: Kids in 3T to size 5 pants.

KEY CONCERN:  Heavier than the lighter-weight Banana LT with foam tires

COLORS AVAILABLE: Blue, red, yellow





MSRP: $69

FEATURES: Super lightweight frame (just 4.4 lbs!), brightly colored rims

BEST FITS: Kids in 18 months to size 3T pants.

KEY CONCERN: Grips are hard, seat and handlebars require tools for adjusting

COLORS AVAILABLE: Pink, green, purple, blue

FULL REVIEW: Bixe 12 & 16


Radio Flyer Glide & Go


MSRP: $69

FEATURES: Comes with a bell, quick- release seat post, a lightweight frame, and air tires.

BEST FITS: Kids in 3T to size 5 pants.

KEY CONCERN: Seat has very little padding, cheap headset.


FULL REVIEW: Radio Flyer



MSRP: $75

FEATURES: Small frame is ideal for young toddlers. Wide tires help the youngest of riders learn to balance quickly, while still allowing them to cruise when they get older. Helps timid kids transition to a real balance bike. Adjustable-height handlebars.

BEST FITS: Kids in 18-months to 2T pants.

KEY CONCERN: Minimal room for growth.  Kids will likely outgrow the bike close to their 3rd birthday.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Red, blue, pink



Schwinn Skip 4


MSRP: $79

FEATURES: Wider air tires for additional cushioning, balancing, and smoothing bumps in the sidewalk, comes with number plate accessory, quick- release seat post.

BEST FITS: Kids in 3T to size 5 pants.

KEY CONCERN: High step-through makes it harder to maneuver for timid or less ambitious riders (or those kids who need things to be easy from the get-go).

COLORS AVAILABLE: Green/black, purple

FULL REVIEW: Schwinn Skip 4

Strider Classic


MSRP: $89

FEATURES: Lightweight build (the lightest bike on our list). Low center-of-gravity geometry for increased stability. High-quality quick release on seat and handlebars make the Strider the easiest bike on this list to adjust. When extended seat post is purchased, the bike is easily adjustable to fit two siblings of different heights. Foam tires.

BEST FITS: Kids in 18-months to size 3T pants (up to size 5 with extended seat post).

KEY CONCERN: Non-padded seat, must buy extended seat post to raise the seat over 16″.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Green, red, blue, pink

FULL REVIEW: Strider Classic


Chillafish BMXie


MSRP: $89

FEATURES: Puncture-proof Rubberskin tires (provide more traction than foam but no additional cushioning), tool-free seat adjustments, sporty-styling, removable footrest, fun colors and patterns to choose from, comes with cool number plate with stickers, frame has finger slots for parents to carry the bike, lightweight and durable frame.

BEST FITS: Kids in 2T to 4T pants

KEY CONCERN: The wide rear portion of the frame can interfere with a child’s stride.  It was only problematic for our more petite riders, but could be an issue for some average-framed kids as well. While the seat doesn’t require tools to adjust, it takes time and is a bit of a pain.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Boy camo, girl camo, blue, green, pink, red, yellow, patterned


RoyalBaby Pony


MSRP: $100

FEATURES: Air tires, cushioned saddle with balance bike carrying strap in compartment underneath, quick-release seat post for easy height adjustments, sprint pad, true headset, low step-through frame

BEST FITS: Kids in 24-months to transitioning to 3T pants.

KEY CONCERN: Heavy for petite riders.

COLORS AVAILABLE: Black, blue, pink

FULL REVIEW: RoyalBaby Pony



In addition to the bikes recommended above, we also tested out several other popular budget balance bikes, such as the Chicco Red Bullet and the Critical Cycles Cub.  Both of these bikes have amazing reviews on Amazon, but based on our tests, we do not recommend them.  While they are well-priced and many Amazon reviewers have had positive experiences with them, we found major flaws in their designs and believe the bikes listed above offer a superior balance bike experience for a similar price.

Chicco Red Bullet – $49

The Chicco Red Bullet’s main flaw is its extremely short wheelbase.  With the two wheels of the bike very close together, the child’s center-of-balance is higher than on other bikes, which makes the bike more difficult to balance.  The short bike also prevents kids from leaning into the bike when running, which can hinder their natural stride.

Critical Cycles Cub – $59

The footrest on the Critical Cycles Cub is its downfall.  The footrest sticks out too far past the seat and caused our youngest testers to hit the back of their legs on the footrest while walking the bike.  Considering footrests are entirely optional (most kids don’t use them and rarely ask for them when a bike doesn’t have one), there’s no need to risk ruining a child’s balance bike experience with a unnecessary and burdensome footrest.

Related Articles

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How to Teach a Child to Ride a Balance Bike

12 Cool Accessories to Make a Balance Bike More Fun!

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