The fastest way to get your kids on two wheels
Balance bikes are a great way to get kids familiar with being on two wheels. Kids sit on the bikes while pushing themselves along, taking longer and longer strides, eventually being able to roll along and balance with full confidence, and eventually preparing them for riding bikes with the addition of pedals and even electric assist.
The balance bike has its roots in the original bicycle from the early 1800s, where adults started getting around on a “running machine” called the Velocipede, invented by Karl Drais. Bicycles with pedals didn’t surface until the latter part of the 19th century.
The Strider balance bike is the name brand everyone recognizes and is a push bike only. Now, however, there is a motorized balance bike that kids can use to get up to speed (okay, pun intended) on quickly without it being a cheesy, character-of-the-moment, licensed, plastic electric tricycle or a full-blown kids’ motorcycle. The Staycyc Stability Cycle is a bike moms will approve of, and most love the 17–19-pound weight for carrying it around or lifting it into a car.
The Staycyc looks like a pretty normal balance bike, perhaps with a little more plastic cladding in the front triangle. But on closer inspection, you see the details. The bike has real bike parts on it. The stem is the same design as you’d see on a good BMX or mountain bike. All the components, even every nut and bolt, are a quality part you’d find on a quality bicycle. The bars have a nice bend to them, with a twist-grip throttle on the right and a rear brake on the left.
Next to the throttle is a control to select the power curve. You can have the system off, or set to go up to 5, 7 or 10 mph on full throttle. Power comes from a cordless drill battery designed for Stacyc. Each bike comes with two, plus a charger, so you can swap them out and continue riding.
“We just wish they made them in adult sizes!”
The standing platform looks like an extension of the plastic, which it is, but underneath there’s a metal platform for strength.
The 12eDrive is the small, 12-inch version designed for smaller, younger kids who have up to a 17-inch inseam. The 16eDrive is the 16-inch version designed for 4- to 10-year-olds who weigh up to 75 pounds and have an inseam from 17 to 23 inches.
WHO IT’S MADE FOR?
This is a first-time bike for beginner kids who may or may not have a penchant for daredevilish stunts and fun. It’ll instill riding confidence in any kid from ages 2 to 8 and gets them used to balancing on two wheels, whether they’ll be riding bicycles or motorcycles, or both. It adjusts to their size via seatpost height, up to a 24-inch inseam and 75 pounds.
We’re too big to ride one, so we were jealous of the kids who were riding them. It was enjoyable watching a 2-year-old try it trepidatiously, starting with using it as an unpowered balance bike then adding power. Afterwards, we couldn’t but think, where were these when we were kids?
These bikes allow for great progression. With the system off, it’s just a balance bike. The kids learn to balance while pushing it along, then taking longer strides until they can just coast. Adults can supervise and even help hold up the kids while they get used to this.
Turning the system on, it starts in the slow mode, with a red LED light on the display by the throttle. This can actually help get them used to balancing while pushing along at up to a running speed (5 mph). From there they can ramp up to the next level, a 7-mph cruising speed (yellow LED light on the display). That’s pretty fast when you’re on a small bike, and kids find this pretty fun!
Older, advanced riders can go up to the 10-mph level. Watching experienced riders rip up a mountain bike trail then back down made us want an adult-sized one.
Watching an older kid rip up a trail was a blast. He was wearing a permagrin! This bike also gave him the confidence to blast right back down the same trail. It was stuff we’d have thought twice about at his age, but he’s already acquired the skills needed. It is a great way to get your kids ready to go on serious rides with you, either with this bike or their own pedal bike.
We’ve seen kids launch off ramps with these as their skills improve. It’s so much fun to watch. There’s a reason why we’ve seen some kids in full-face helmets and plenty of safety gear while on these.
If your kids don’t bonk before the batteries run out, you can order extra batteries. The 2-amp-hour battery for the 12eDrive is $126, and the 4-amp-hour battery for the 16eDrive runs for $164. You already have two with the bike, plus a charger, so extras are probably not needed unless you’ll be nowhere near a power source and will be riding a lot.
Balance bikes in general are one of the best ways to give a kid confidence and proficiency in riding on two wheels. These things take that to an entirely new level. They’re not cheap, but they’re built to last with quality components. You can even take your kids mountain biking on fire roads or anywhere that electric bicycles are legal, and the kids can climb and descend with you. We just wish they made them in adult sizes!
Kids learn important skills descending too. A good rear brake lets them modulate speed.
Battery: 4 Ah/2 Ah
Charge time: 60 minutes
Top speed: 10 mph
Range: 120 minutes/60 minutes
Drive: BMX chain and freewheel
Weight: 19/17 lb.
Color choices: Black