Tricycles Versus Balance Bikes: Enhancing Young Riders’ Journeys

Peter Simms // Last Updated on October 2, 2023

It is a moment of pride and joy when your toddlers take the first step. But soon enough, they will be ready to take on a new challenge, riding a bike. As your kid starts to explore the world on the wheel, you become overwhelmed when deciding between a balance bike or tricycle.

The main difference between a balance bike and a tricycle is that a tricycle has pedals, while a balance bike does not. Balance bikes have two wheels and are suitable for kids aged 2-5. On the other hand, tricycles have 3 wheels and are suitable for kids aged 2-4.

Besides these, you will find more differences between them. Here, I will help you make the right decision by letting you know all the differences. Let's explore the quick comparisons and differences to assist you in choosing the best ride-on gift for your little one.

Balance Bike Vs Tricycle-Quick Comparison Chart

Balance Bike Vs Tricycle-Quick Comparison Chart

Highlighted Features

Balance bike


Number of Wheel



Age Range

2 to 5 years

2 to 4 Years

Purpose of use

Learning Balance and coordination

Learning stability and prevent falls

Foot Power

No Pedals






Excellent safety

Good safety







Best make and model


Radio Flyer

Balance bike vs Tricycle- Key Differences

Number of Wheels

The number of wheels is the most noticeable difference between a balanced bike and a tricycle. A balance bike has two wheels, while a tricycle has three.

Two-wheel ride-on balance bikes may be suitable for kids younger than 2. But a tricycle can be a better option if you are looking for kids over 2.

Age Range

The age ranges for balance bikes and tricycles differ slightly. Balance bikes are usually designed for children ages 2-5.

On the other hand, tricycles are suitable for children aged 2-4. So selecting between the two depends on your children's age.

Purpose of Use

The purpose of a balance bike and a tricycle is also different. A balance bike is designed to teach a child how to balance on two wheels. Toddlers propel the bike with their feet and learn to balance and steer using their body weight. 

A balance bike is an excellent tool for teaching young kids to ride a bike without using training wheels. It can impede balance and coordination development. A tricycle, on the other hand, is designed to provide stability and prevent falls.

Tricycles are often the first introduction to riding a bike for children. It can help them build confidence and develop their motor skills. However, tricycles do not teach balance, a crucial skill for riding a traditional bike.

Foot Power

Another difference between a balance bike and a tricycle is how they are propelled. The child pushes themselves forward on a balance bike by pushing their feet along the ground. It helps the child develop the coordination skills to balance and steer a bike.

Tricycles, however, are propelled by pedaling. Pedaling can help build leg muscles and coordination.  But it does not teach balance or the motor skills necessary for steering a bike.

Therefore, a balanced bike's foot-powered design is better for children learning to ride a bike for the first time.



For maneuverability, a balance bike is typically preferred over a tricycle. Balance bikes have two wheels, are lightweight, and have a lower center of gravity. Children can easily turn and navigate thanks to this design by simply leaning in the desired direction.

Tricycles, on the other hand, have three wheels and a wider turning radius. They might be difficult to steer and unstable when turning quickly.


Both balance bikes and tricycles can be safe options for young children. But each one has its benefits and drawbacks. Balance bikes are safer on uneven surfaces and allow kids to ride farther. But they may not ensure as much stability as a tricycle.

Tricycles, on the other hand, are heavier, making them more stable. But it is also increasing the risk of tipping over. Turning, hills, and lane position are critical elements in tricycle safety, and oversteering can cause the vehicle to tip.

Ultimately, proper supervision and safety gear, such as helmets, should be used with both types of bikes to ensure kids' safety.


When comparing tricycles and balance bikes in terms of speed, tricycles are more consistent and fast.

Balance bikes do not have pedals, and kids run them with the help of their foot movements. Children who are older and stronger can ride balance bikes at higher speeds than children who are younger or weaker.

However, a tricycle has more consistent speed because it is pedal-powered. Even young kids can attain fast speeds by pedaling.


When comparing the two bikes' prices, tricycles are regarded as more expensive. They are heavy, have more wheels, pedals, and have versatile designs. So, they are expensive.

On the other hand, balance bikes are lightweight, with no pedals and less number of wheels than a tricycle. So, they are less expensive than tricycles.

The make, model, and features of the bikes, among other things, affect the price of bicycles.

Best Make and Model (balance bike vs tricycle): 

Best Make and Model (balance bike vs tricycle)

Both bikes' make, model, material, designs, and features differ. Some extended features may make one better than the other.

Balance bikes come in a simple design made of lightweight materials such as wood or aluminum. On the other hand, tricycles come with a complex frame and are made of heavier materials, such as steel.

Some additional features, such as color, size, and style, may make one model more suitable for you. One bike may have better brakes, handlebars, adjustable seats, and other accessories that make you prefer it over the other.

Special Concern: The best option for balance bikes is Retrospec Children's Balance-Bikes. It has air-free tires and a steel frame to suit different conditions. Its versatile design, size, and style make it suitable for different age groups.

On the other hand, the Radio Flyer Red Rider Trike is one of the best tricycles to choose from. It is a well-known brand with a versatile design that makes it trustworthy. It is an affordable, long-lasting ride-on toy that can last years without significant wear and tear.


At what age should kids start using a balance bike?

Most children can start using a balance bike between 18 months and 3 years old. However, readiness for a balance bike may depend on a child's physical abilities and interests. Choosing a bike appropriate for the child's size and skill level is essential.

At what age should kids start using a tricycle?

Children usually start using a tricycle between the ages of 2 and 3. It is when they have developed the necessary balance and coordination to pedal and steer the tricycle.

Can a balance bike be used as a tricycle?

Can a balance bike be used as a tricycle

No, a balance bike cannot be used as a tricycle because they are two different types of bikes. A balance bike only has two wheels and teaches children how to balance. On the other hand, a tricycle has three wheels and is designed for stability and support while riding.

Are balance bikes more expensive than tricycles?

Yes, balance bikes can be more expensive than tricycles. Balance bikes are often made with lightweight materials, adjustable components, and durable construction. So because they have such high-quality components, they are more costly than tricycles.

My Opinion - [ Balance bike VS Tricycle]

In my opinion, the choice between a balanced bike and a tricycle depends on your child's age, purpose, and the skills you want them to learn.

A balance bike is best for younger children who need to learn balance and coordination skills. A tricycle is better suited for older kids who require stability and confidence-boosting techniques.

However, the ultimate decision is up to your preferences and purposes.