This post has been updated 4/2010 to reflect the changes to the 2010 mini glider which is slightly smaller than previous versions. Above photo is the 2009 version of the mini glider and the handle bars are now about 1 1/2 inches lower to accommodate younger children.
I did not know I would love the mini glider so much until Kids Balance Bikes received it and test rode it a few days ago. Here is why I love it….
1. It is super light – only 8 pounds- one of my favorite features in a balance bike. This means it is easy for young riders to handle, turn, pick it up off the ground and manage it without a grown-up!
2. It fits an age group really nicely…. the taller 3 1/2 – 4 year olds who were tall for the standard balance bikes but too small for the 16 inch go glider. Because the handle bars sit up a few inches higher than most of the other standard balance bikes, it accommodates taller and older children much better. Children who were close to a 5T sometimes were hunched over on the other standard balance bikes because they were starting to reach the higher end of the seat and handlebar range. Although the max seat height on the Mini glider is 18.5 – 19 inches, the handle bars allow for a taller child. This bike is closer to the size of a 12 inch pedal bike compared to the standard balance bikes.
3. Brakes are not very critical for young riders and most of the younger riders with tiny hands cannot manage a hand brake. I thought this would be the case for my 3 1/2 year old as well who has been on balance bikes for over a year (the Strider mainly which he loves!). However, he really enjoyed and was able to use the hand brake and thought it was quite fun.
Again – we recommend this bike for kids at least turning 3 up to 5 1/2 (or still comfortably in a 5T) as the best fit. This means for kids who are the size of a 3.5 to 5.5 year old as well! We see many 3 year olds who are tall and wearing a 5 T because of their size and height. There are also older kids that are tiny like my younger son who is almost 4 but just starting to wear a size 3T.
For kids just getting into size 3T and smaller, we still highly recommend the Strider Balance Bike as first choice. The higher handle bars on the mini glider can make the bike challenging if the child is too small. My son struggled for a few minutes because of the size of the mini glider compared to his Strider – but because he is an experienced rider – can even ride a pedal bike now, he was able to adapt and ride the mini glider after a few minutes. He still fits the Strider balance bike better and if he were inexperienced, I would be more comfortable seeing him on the Strider balance bike because of his small size.
If your child’s inseam is 45 inches or longer, consider the 16 inch Go Glider or call us for other ideas and options!
Feel free to call Kids Balance Bike if you would like to consult on which bike is best for your child! There is a balance bike out there for every size child age 18 month – 8 or 9 years old – so please ask! or visit us online at http://www.kidsbalancebikes.com for sizing charts and detailed balance bike information!