When I think back to my favourite things as a kid, riding a bike was definitely up there. As a pre-teen, a bike can make you feel on top of the world – the thrill, the speed, the ability to go anywhere and do anything. If I remember rightly, I had an orange Raleigh Chopper – although it was probably a cheap knock-off version – and it went with me on all my adventures after the momentous achievement that is learning to ride your bike.
Things have changed a bit though. These days, it’s all about toddler balance bikes. These look like ‘normal’ bikes, but they don’t have pedals. The idea is that your kid learns the important skill of balancing by sitting on the bike and pushing themselves along with their feet. As their confidence grows, they then learn to steer as they take their feet off the ground. As such, they transition to proper bikes quicker and smoother without the need for stabilisers or a parent frantically chasing them down a hill after accidentally letting go.
We therefore decided that a balance bike would be a great present for Toddler L’s 2nd birthday. I’d actually received a press release from Kiddimoto – the makers of the first balance bike – so thought I’d chance my luck and see if they were interested in a blog review. Thankfully they said yes and sent us a Kiddimoto Super Junior Max balance bike, helmet and gloves in pastel dotty design. Result!
You’ll find my full review below, but first, here’s a quick vlog showing the unboxing of the balance bike and Toddler L’s first attempts at riding it once assembled.
The products are described as:
The Super Junior Max is our highest spec metal balance bike, a lightweight frame gives children aged 2-5 the confidence to ride independently and learn how to balance. With padded seats and pneumatic tyres it’s super comfy for little backsides, while a lightweight frame and rear drum brake ensure a safe and smooth ride. Specs include:
- Seat Height: 340mm to 450mm
- Wheel Size: 12in
- Weight: 4.1kg
The Pastel Dotty helmet will help your little rider stay safe while looking stylish and playful! Eleven little vents keep your child’s head cool while they’re whizzing along, and the extra pads provide a comfortable fit personal to your child’s head. The ABS hard plastic BMX dirt-style shell is available in two sizes: Small (48-53cm) and Medium (53-58cm). The rear wheel adjustment, internal comfort padding plus adjustable straps all help to ensure a perfect snug fit. These child’s helmets don’t just look great but tick all the boxes for helmet safety standards.
Kiddimoto’s cycling gloves protect little hands while being comfortable, functional and super cool. Kiddimoto cycle mitts are comfortable, functional and look cool while doing the all-important job of protecting vulnerable little hands. With padded palms, breathable lycra-backed fabric and a handy Velcro wrist strap, these kids’ gloves fit even the smallest hands and give excellent grip on the handlebars. Say goodbye to grazed hands and tears.
The three products – the helmet, gloves and bike – arrived separately. As you’d expect, the helmet and gloves were ready to be used straight away, however the bike required a bit of assembly first. We’d gone with the ‘pastel dotty’ pattern for all three products so that they’d match and Toddler L would be even cooler. I really liked the multi-colour design and the fact that it was gender-neutral appealed too – the last thing we’d want is an overly girly pink number.
On opening the Super Junior Max balance bike box, I was greeted with a number of components and the instructions. As shown in the vlog above, the bike assembly was pretty straightforward. It was just a matter of putting the seat, wheel and handlebars into the main bike frame, then tightening all of the bolts. I did find a number of black plastic bits which confused me initially, but I discovered that these were just for protecting the bike during shipping. It took 15 minutes or so, although someone more capable who wasn’t juggling an excited toddler could do it quicker, I imagine.
It’s taken Toddler L a while to get used to the balance bike over the last six months. I thought she’d love it straight away, but it’s definitely been a slow burner. I think all toddlers are going to be different when it comes to something like a bike though – some will be wary, whereas others will jump straight on. The sprog is very confident and willing to give things a go, but she was a little apprehensive with the bike for the first few months. It’s only really been the last two months when she’s become more confident and happy being on it.
I think this comes down to her height. Toddler L is a shrimp, so even though the seat was at its lowest setting, she couldn’t put her feet firmly on the floor. I think this resulted in her feeling out of control, which she didn’t enjoy. She was still interested in the bike – for instance, we’d push her or she’d push us – but she only really interacted with it for a few minutes at a time. Although I’d have loved for her to have taken to it straight away, I saw no point in forcing it upon her in case it did more harm than good.
This seems to have been the right approach as she is a lot more confident on the bike now. A growth spurt seems to have made a difference too – she’s now taller and stronger so is able to manage the balance bike that bit better. As such, she now actively asks to go on the bike, so much so that it’ll often come with us when we walk the dog. I just need to make sure that I’m not alone – handling a dog and toddler is difficult at the best of times, let alone when you add a bike to the equation!
I’ve been really impressed with the Kiddimoto Super Junior Max – it’s well made, the seat is soft, the tires have good grip and it is pretty light. In addition, the seat and handlebars can be moved up and down so that the balance bike will grow with your child. There’s also a nifty little handle on the back of the seat which makes it easier to push your kid or carry the bike, whilst both tires can be pumped up to the required hardness depending on the terrain. The only issue we’ve had was a back tire that squeaked as it rotated. I did a bit of tightening / untightening and gave it a quick clean and the noise went away.
The point of a balance bike is to teach your kid how to balance rather than just learn to pedal by relying on stabilisers. In just a few short months, I’ve seen Toddler L’s skills and confidence come on massively as a result of this. We’re not quite at the point where she can push herself, lift her feet and steer as she freewheels, but we’re not far off. She enjoys walking and steering whilst sat on the bike, plus lifting her legs as I speedily push her. For me, a balance bike seems the most logical way of teaching your child to ride a bike.
So that’s the bike. Let’s now take a quick look at the matching helmet and gloves which can be purchased separately. The helmet comes in two sizes – small (2 to 5 years old) and medium (5+ years old) – and is in a similar shape to those cool looking BMX helmets. The outside is made from a hard plastic, whilst the inside has pads for both comfort and safety. There’s also eleven ventilation holes on the top to stop your little one’s head getting too hot.
As you’d expect, the helmet can be adjusted to fit your kid’s head. There’s a wheel at the back which makes the inside part of the helmet bigger or smaller to fit your child. There’s also two places to adjust the strap underneath the ears, and another point where the two straps click together. Although a bit of a faff when you have a wriggling toddler, the adjustment process is quick and easy.
Similarly to the helmet, the cycling gloves have the same pastel polka dot design and come in a small and medium size. Despite going with small, they are still quite big for Toddler L’s hands so we’ll get a lot of use out of them as she grows. The mitts are fingerless, come with padded palms for protection and grip and are made from a stretchy fabric. They also have a Velcro strap which fastens around the wrist to keep them in place.
Toddler L has fallen off the bike a few times and the gloves have certainly protected her hands from scrapes and grazes. Similarly, during the colder, winter months, it has meant that she’s still been able to grip the handlebars which she wouldn’t have been able to with normal wool mittens. The only ‘issue’ I’ve discovered is that it takes a few attempts to get each tiny finger into the correct hole. Bloody small toddler hands!
The Super Junior Max balance bike and accessories can be bought directly from Kiddimoto or from other retailers such as Halfords, Evans Cycles and Amazon. The bike retails at £84.99, the helmet £26.99 and the gloves £7.99, however you can make a saving if you buy as a bundle from Kiddimoto – this is £111.98 for the trio instead of £119.97.
This is in-line with what I’d expect to pay for toddler balance bike stuff. As with most things, you can buy cheaper products and more expensive products – a quick Google suggests balance bikes could set you back anywhere between £30 and £150.
I’ve been really impressed with the Kiddimoto Super Junior Max balance bike, helmet and gloves. Although it took a few months for Toddler L to get comfortable with being on the bike, this was more down to her confidence than anything to do with the kit. Now that she’s used to it, she’s been enjoying riding – well, being pushed and moving herself with her feet – it a lot more.
In terms of the actual bike, it has everything I’d expect. The seat and handlebars can be raised to grow with your child, it has a rear brake, chunky tires and is light enough to be manoeuvred comfortably. Assembly was quick and the only maintenance so far has involved solving a squeaky back tire. From an aesthetics perspective, I really like the pastel polka dot design which covers the bike – this is made even better by the fact that you can team it with a good quality helmet and gloves to protect your little one from those inevitable falls.
All in all, Toddler L likes the bike and is spending more and more time on it. I can totally see this being her go-to mode of transport for the foreseeable future. Not only will it mean our walks our sped up, but she’s also learning the skills needed to ride a proper bike when she’s old enough. Win win!
The DADventurer Star Rating
Super Junior Max Balance Bike – 5 out of 5 stars
Helmet – 5 out of 5 stars
Gloves – 4.5 out of 5 stars
N.B. This review was written by me (Dave) and represents my honest opinion of the product. The balance bike, helmet and gloves were sent to me by Kiddimoto with the purpose of writing an honest product review in exchange for the products.
N.B. This post includes an affiliate link(s). For more info, read my Disclosure policy.