5/24/11

Skip the Tricycle and Go With YBike Balance Bikes

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Photo: Courtesy of DGCPR
YBike, a balance bike with no pedals for toddlers and preschoolers, helps kids develop balance, coordination, and confidence. Based on European kids’ bikes that forego training wheels, the balance bikes prepare kids to ride a two wheeler. YBike has just enough stability and at the same time instability to teach children balance.

YBike's manufacturer recommends this product for ages 2-4, though it states that kids 5-8 also enjoy it. According to its website:
  • Substantial improvements in both static and dynamic balance
  • Substantial improvements in bilateral coordination
  • Observable improvements in physical self-confidence (testing by Prof ES Bressan, Dept of Sport Science, Stellenbosch University)
  • Studies conducted at the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa showed that children who used YBike over a 2 week period showed up to 700% improvement in some cases in various tests of their balance and co-ordination skills.

YBike has won several industry awards:
  • Creative Child Magazine 2010 Toy of the Year Award
  • Oppenheim Best Toy Award - The most prestigious toy award in the USA. Products are tested extensively with children before awarding. 
  • SABS design award - A design award for all products in the market – not just toys. YBike won due to its appealing aesthetics and unique design features.
Photo by M.Adcock
Intrigued with the idea of a bike that could help young kids more easily transition to a two-wheel bike, I tried the YBike with several toddlers and preschoolers (ages 2-5) in Long Island, NY. The YBike boasted a cool sleek and slim design. Made of study plastic, the YBike proved pretty simple to assemble. The instructions did not require extra tools beyond those supplied.

Once assembled, the Ybike instantly garnered kids’ attention – they all clamored to try it. No matter what the kids’ ages were, once on the bike, they all tipped over. There are double wheels in the back that together act like one thick wheel to provide a bit more stability than a traditional two wheel bike. The bike was meant to have a slight tilt to encourage kids to learn balance.

Photo by M.Adcock
At first the older kids who had experience riding tricycles seemed puzzled by the YBike’s tilt, but quickly hopped back on and tried with success. The younger kids (2 year olds) were more hesitant to try again. They were scared by the fall and resisted parents placing them back on. Their differing reactions simply reflected normal behavior for their age groups.

Like with any bike, learning to ride required practice. Two year olds may need more encouragement to keep trying. The YBike seemed ideal for three to four year olds. Five year olds (right outside the cusp of the recommended 2-4 age group) figured out how to ride the YBike the fastest and really loved it, though the bike seemed a bit too small for someone that age.

The manufacturer’s website stated that if kids used the YBike enough there would be a good chance they could progress to a normal bicycle at the age of 3 or 4 without using training wheels or stabilizers. I can see this happening, especially if one is able to start her kid on the bike at age 2.

My recommendation: Try the YBike for toddlers and preschoolers. It offers more developmentally than traditional tricycles. Kids need to practice on it (just like learning on any bike), so don’t let them give up if they tilt over the first time they try it.

For more info:
The YBike weighs 7.7 pounds and can hold a max weight of 100 pounds. Suggested retail price is $79.99. Purchase through Toys R Us www.toysrus.com, Fat Brain Toys www.fatbraintoys.com and the manufacturer’s website www.ybikeusa.com. YBike's manufacturer also produces several other unique products for a range of age groups that help kids develop balance and coordination skills. Check out their products at www.ybikeusa.com.

Follow and learn more about YBike:
·         Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ybikeworld
·         Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/ybikeusa
·         YouTube videoshttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XHZjlylaIeU
·         Amazon reviews: http://amzn.to/YBIKE_amazon

Disclosure:
Author did not receive any monetary compensation for this post. Author received product sample solely for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are those of the author.

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3 comments:

  1. Yikes! This a bad pun.

    Regards,
    Lance A.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Last summer I was looking at something similar for Z.E.N. It was called the Playskool Glide to Ride Bike. It was a balance bike that also came with pedals that you could install afterwards. I never did wind up getting it so we're just going to get him a regular bike with the dreaded training wheels, because he's pretty tall for his age and will quickly outgrow the 12" - 14" balance bikes that I'm seeing on the market.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This looks very interesting! Thanks for the review - I will have to check it out for my 2 yo!

    ReplyDelete

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