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TM reader Woodshop Cowboy points out on his blog that this project originated as a way for him to express his mechanical interests via his woodworker skills. I’m betting that the lucky kid who received it cares less about where it came from than where it’s going — which is all over the neighborhood.

For those wondering, the balance bike (he also calls it a “suicide trike”) features two wheels at the back instead of one. The result, in the Cowboy’s words:

“…training wheels, instead of promoting balance, promote a kid to lean over the bike for stability. The training wheels train a kid to ride the bike the wrong way because he or she isn’t strong enough to get it up to speed while pedaling. A balance bike lowers the center of gravity, removes the pedals, and teaches a kid to ride upright. When the kid gets up to speed, the bike stays up! The transition to pedaling happens at a more natural age (six to eight) and is easier because the kid has already learned to balance.”

This is full of win, in our opinion, for two reasons: 1) It sounds pretty well thought-out and rings true to our ears, and 2) Anyone whose parent/guardian/friend thinks this far ahead into their future is already starting out with a big leg up.

So kudos from the TM crew, ‘Cowboy. And if you other Toolmongers have a sec, check out his blog as it’s full of other interesting thoughts, collections of fun finds, and slick projects. And hey — why not share your most recent project with the TM crowd via the TM Flickr Pool?

This Week in the Shop: Balance Bike [WoodshopCowboy.com]


9 Responses to Reader Project: A Kick-Ass Balance Bike

  1. I had never heard of balance bikes until a few days ago from The Kneeslider but I really dig them now. Not only are they good at teaching kids to balance for bicycling but for future motorcycle riding as well. The videos on the knee slider article are great. The kid is just fearless. http://thekneeslider.com/archives/2012/09/20/getting-your-knee-down-the-very-first-time/

  2. N. says:

    We heard about this a couple of years ago and tried it out. Specifically, we gave our youngest a bike that was a little bit too short for him (firm feet on the ground while on the seat), and then we removed the pedals.

    He took to riding around, pushing with his feet, and loved going down the driveway because he got up to speed to stay upright easier. All in all, it took him a couple of days to figure it all out, and he’s learned to ride a bike much quicker and younger than our kids that used training wheels.

    I wish I would have heard of balance bikes 10 years ago. And I wish I would have made a sweet black and flames one instead of cheaping out and taking the pedals off an existing bike.

  3. Jim says:

    You lost me when I saw the staples holding the plywood together. I have yet to see a construction project where staples held tight.

    • browndog77 says:

      I have to object to that, Jim. In my experience staples, when used correctly(the right fastener for the material/application), are far better than nails. I have installed plenty of hardwood flooring w/ a pneumatic flooring stapler and never had a squeak or a loose board. In the few occasions where I have had to remove a board (because of a defect I missed before fastening), it was quite obvious that the staples do the job! In box goods construction, if you add glue to the equation you will create a very strong joint.

  4. Aleksejs says:

    In Europe they have been for a while already:

  5. Mr Patrick says:

    Thanks for the Reader Project guys! I’ve been reading this blog for well on five years and started woodshopcowboy to because of the reader projects here. I’m no tinkerman – but I do love putting together some fun pieces for my boys.

    @ n – Screws would be a better choice. I used pretty long brad nails, clamped and glued the thing like crazy and it’s surprisingly sturdy. I wouldn’t put my boys on it if it wasn’t. It’s intended for 3 year olds – how maniacal can they be?

    Wait, wait, don’t tell me….

  6. Matt says:

    We bought my older daughter a balance bike when she turned 3, it works really well! She loves riding it, and can go farther and faster than other kids her age on bikes with training wheels. We’ll probably move her to a pedal bike when she’s between 4 and 5.

    I stayed away from the wooden Skuut brand bikes because they didn’t seem like they’d last more than 1 kid… this one looks a bit sturdier.

  7. Balance bikes are great for kids really helps them learn how to ride and I wish I had a bike as cool as this when I was a kid!

  8. Nice answer back in return of this matter with solid arguments and describing
    everything on the topic of that.

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