Generation Balance Bike
The Berlin Bike Show claims that everything there is trendy, anything exhibited is the new thing. Let's have a look at what comes after next: Bicycles for Children, or rather Balance Bikes.
The Berliner Fahrradschau (or Berlin Bike Show) has got everything on display that makes urban cycling today. In fact, the show can righteously claim to be a fair that is less trade than trend and that has helped to make bikes and accessories for urbanites a movement of its own.
Balance Bikes: Focus on Children
However, when looking for what’s new, it quickly turned out that while many fresh and even more stylish things were there, most of them have been around some time like steel frame fixies or Dutch-style city bikes – beautiful, but little exciting. So what comes after cool city cycling? The kids of the urban dwellers. And here they were, multiple brands catering to the needs of the youngest bike citizens.
Start with balance bikes. These two-wheeled machines powered by the smallest of feet have turned the market for children’s bikes upside-down. Quietly so, as they started a silent revolution that made support wheels obsolete. German kids bike specialist Puky has now stopped delivering its bicycles with supporting wheels – they have added a stand instead.
Walk your Bike
For nowadays children, the balance bikes live up to their name as they enable kids from the age of 18 months to 3 years to learn how to balance a bike pretty much while standing, or better, walking.
Furthermore, the little ones can thus first learn how to roll without falling before taking to the more demanding task of steering. Only after that comes pedalling but when it gets to that stage, it is just a small step on the way to proper cycling.
Some of the balance bikes already introduce brakes at an early stage, so another obstacle to controlled cycling is ruled out and learned early on. Viennese Woom that claims to build “the better kids bike” for example already equip their balance bikes with a tiny brake. Later models do without a coaster brake.
Another company that trust the children to handle “real” bikes is German Supurb. Founder Sebastian Tegtmeier is a passionate mountain biker himself and was simply looking for a solution to inspire the same love in his son. His range of kids bikes use MTB components and specialist knowledge. Already the balance bike comes with fat tires for suspension.
Suspension is a tricky thing for small machines due to the light weight of their riders. Latvian BrumBrum has found a rather beautiful solution. Their stylishly curved frame made entirely out of wood is so stable that even an adult can sit and seesaw (a little) but flexible enough to even out any bump a child may run over with excitement.
However, in the end it is the parents buying the bike and thus British Kiddimoto has come up with a broad range of balance bikes. While essentially the same in shape and size, they come in colourful themes for little pirates and princes and even special editions that reminisce about motorbikes. The designs are completed with matching helmets and gloves.
Who would not want to make sure that their child is the coolest in Kindergarten?! But beware when choosing the first vehicle for a loved one as in the end it has to fit the child. While prices range from 74 to 299 euros, it is wise to give the present of individual mobility on a special occasion like a birthday as it will thus become even more meaningful for the little one.