Electric Balance Bike: A GRB Parent’s Guide
By Sam Hartman
Take it from this crusty old guy, there’s nothing like sharing your passion with your kids. Ok, maybe I’m not that old, but my joints sure feel like it sometimes.
Still, if I’ve learned anything from being a dad, it’s that seeing your kid start to love something you’re passionate about is one heck of a feeling. So when my son first sat eyes on an electric balance bike and went “Daddy, what’s that?” I had to hold my excitement at bay.
You can’t let your kids know you like something too much, that’s a great way to drive them off.
Now, you might have gotten through that sappy start and are thinking “wait, I also don’t know what an electric balance bike is?” Or you hit the ol’ Google machine and typed that in after you heard your kid mention something about that.
Well, if you’re wondering just what the heck an electric balance bike is, you’ve stumbled onto the right blog. We’re Go Ride Bikes, a community of people passionate about, well, riding bikes! I’m particularly a fanatic of the electric bike, which makes me particularly qualified to wax poetically about electric balance bikes!
So… what is an electric balance bike?
Right, cut to the chase. An electric balance bike is a lot like a normal electric bicycle, only it doesn’t have pedals! Ok, that technically makes it more like a mini electric motorcycle built specifically for young riders… which is also pretty cool!
Balance bikes have been around for a long time. They’re just bicycles without pedals, an alternative to training wheels for teaching kids about cycling.
Now, a typical balance bike doesn’t have much mobility. It relies on the rider pushing with their feet or a parent pushing while they balance. But when you slap an electric motor on that bad boy, you’ve got yourself a mini electric bike without pedals!
There are so many electric balance bike benefits for young riders, including:
- Improved balance
- Heightened confidence
- Hand eye coordination training
- Introduction to cycling
- Encouraged physical activity
- Plain old fun!
Electric balance bike safety
I can already see what you’re thinking.
“Oh, so I’m just supposed to put my toddler on a bike with an electric motor and trust everything will be fine? I’ll get an ice pack now.”
I’m not going to sit here and say there won’t be any bumps and bruises while playing with an e bike, but it’s actually a much safer option than you’d think.
First, the electric motor in these kids electric balance bikes, whether a hub motor or mid-drive motor, isn’t very powerful. Most of the time they are outfitted with safety features like a killswitch and speed limiter, so you know the bike will stay at low speed to protect your young rider.
When to introduce your kid to electric balance bikes?
So there’s not really a blanket answer to “when should I introduce my kid to an electric balance bike?” Because every kid is a little different. Typically kids can start to balance on a bike between 18 months and 2 years old, but you should definitely wait until your kid is at least walking well on their own.
Now, when you should introduce electricity and mobility to the mix is a whole other animal. Most kid’s electric balance bikes are rated for 2 years and up, but no matter when you start them, be prepared for some falls early on.
Key features to seek
Keeping your kid safe is of course the ultimate priority. You should purchase riding gear before letting them loose, or at the very least a good helmet. As for the bike itself, here’s some safety features to look out for.
- Speed limiter for controlled riding. Max speed 10-15 mph.
- Kill switch for immediate turn off when necessary.
- Light frame for easier e bike handling.
- Low speed setting and non powered mode.
Battery life and range
When your kids get focused on something, you know they’ll want to keep going and going. Kind of like the Energizer Bunny, which hey, great segue into batteries! (nailed it)
Most electric balance bikes are powered by a lithium battery, and you definitely want to make sure the one you get has a good lifespan. That way, your kid can ride in the backyard for hours on end while you sip whatever beverage you care to enjoy.
Keep in mind, taking good care of your electric balance bike and making sure to charge the battery after use are all things that can help extend battery life.
Speed and power
While a lithium battery is the power source, the electric motor is the engine that takes your kid’s bike from a stationary frame to a mini motorcycle. Your electric balance bike should have an adjustable power setting so you can tailor the ride to your child’s skill level.
Pro tip: start with the bike in non powered mode, then as your kid builds up their confidence and skill, gradually introduce more speed and power.
Comfort and ergonomics
The funny thing about kids is, they’re constantly growing! So when you’re purchasing an electric bike you need to keep growth in mind, especially for young kids.
Things like an adjustable seat height and having the right handlebars with or without a twist throttle are all important for keeping your young rider comfortable.
Also don’t forget the importance of suspension and tires. Not only with things like pneumatic tires and a suspension system make for a more comfortable ride, they will also provide more stability and easier balance.
GRB’s Top Electric Balance Bikes for Kids
Max speed: 9 MPH
Drive range: 6 miles/50 minutes
The best bang for your buck, the Hiboy BK1 is a fantastic choice for your child’s first electric bike. It features a lightweight frame that allows for a smooth ride, and it has a debug brake and “pedal” stands so your kid can keep their feet off the ground.
Max speed: 9 MPH
Drive range: 7 miles/60 minutes
Stacyc makes top of the line models, and the 12EDrive is no exception. This e bike is built for kids with at least a 14” inseam so they can touch the ground with a slight bend in their knees for the best fit. It also features adjustable power modes, with a low speed setting of 5 MPH all the way to the advanced skill setting with a 9 MPH max speed.
Go Ride Bikes
Whether you’ve got a little one just starting to get their balance, or you’re the parent of a little ripper born to ride, electric balance bikes are a great experience for young riders of all ages and skills.
Go Ride Bikes is our name, but it’s also our philosophy. We want to encourage everyone to get out and, well, go ride bikes. Explore the Go Ride Bikes electric bike reviews, read more of our informative blogs, and keep up with curated lists of the best ebike advancements from our experts.