As my wife and I started looking for a balance bike for our son we naturally wondered if any balance bikes had brakes and if they did was it worth buying one with brakes.
After doing a little digging it became clear that virtually every balance bike for toddlers (made by any manufacturer) do not include brakes out of the box – you have to add them yourself. However some of the balance bikes for older toddlers and kids do. You can see some of my favorite balance bikes with brakes here.
Kid bikes do not frequently have hand brakes installed; pushing backwards on pedals is much easier for many kids to master when first learning to ride bikes – even though it’s not ideal for seasoned riders.
With balance bikes however there are no pedals and there isn’t a drive chain either so you can’t include pedal brakes. And because small kids are sometimes less capable than older kids hand brakes are simply out of the question. Of course there are always exceptions to the rules and many kids take to riding bikes very naturally so it does make sense to add hand brakes to a child’s balance bike if you think your kids are ready for them.
If you are looking for a balance bike with brakes for your two year old then you are likely out of luck and would be better served looking for a regular kid bike (possibly with training wheels) which includes pedal brakes. Having said that we have found that there are quite a few hand brakes that you can separately attach to a kids balance bike. We’ve featured a few of the better one’s on this page. You can also see this page for a short list of good older kid balance bikes with installed hand brakes.
In all honesty toddlers on balance bikes aren’t going to going fast enough to need anything more than their own two feet to slow down and if they are going faster than they can safely stop then it may be time to upgrade them to a big kid bike or even a big wheel for a little more fun.
My son started out in the very beginning with a simple Ybike Pewi which is a bit more than a baby’s walking/riding toy. From there he’s graduating to wide wheel balance bikes. We may get him a wooden balance bike after he turns three but when he gets a bit bigger we’ll definitely going to be putting him on a big kid bike as soon as we think he’s ready… you know, unless he seems to really take to the balance bike thing then maybe we’ll have to get him a big kid balance bike with hand brakes to keep him safe.
If you are looking for balance bikes that are better for older toddlers than check out our hand picked selections in the store.