For Micah’s two year old birthday, we wanted to get him the perfect toddler present. Micah loves cars, motorcycles, and anything with wheels. In our neighborhood, Strider balance bikes were getting really popular for toddlers. We would see our neighbor’s kids ridding them to and from church all the time. Some of these kids would only be 1 years old and they were flying on these bikes! Every time Micah would see a kid with a bike he would say “Bike!” So we knew the perfect present for our toddler would be a balance bike. After doing some research on toddler balance bikes, I realized that these bikes were really expensive!! Strider bikes range from $89 to $109 online. That is the price of a cheap adult bike! My husband, who is super into biking and mountain biking, thought that was ridiculous. I kept on researching and found a cheaper balance bike called WeeRide balance bike for $37 on Amazon. I liked everything about it. The price was reasonable and the colors were pretty; but, as I read the reviews, people said that the bike was a little bit too big for their tall two year old. So I realized that the WeeRide bike would probably be better for kids ages 3 to 5.
As I was about to give in, I had a dream that my husband, Dallin was a bike inventor. On the same day, I was studying out of the Doctrines of the Gospel Manual for scripture study. I was on Chapter 1, page 3 when I read this quote, “Our Father, the great God, is the author of the sciences, he is the great mechanic, he is the systematizer of all things, he plans and devises all things, and every particle of knowledge which man has in his possession is the gift of God.” I realize that God could help us make Micah’s bike. After that inspiration, Dallin and I decided to make the bike. We decided that the learning process to create and quality family time spent making the bike would be more valuable than just buying a bike. And guess what?! It turned out a lot easier than we thought!
Here’s a movie I made on how Micah progressed with riding the bike:
First, I researched online if anyone has made a balance bike before. These are the sites/videos I found:
- Toddler Balance Bike from used child’s bike by Seamster
- Make your own Balance Bike by Chicargobikes
- DIY: [Wooden] Balance Bike by Free Our Kids
- Convert child’s bike to balance bike for older learner (i.e. strider bike) video by Timothy Krispin
Then, we went to the DI, Deseret Industries, a local thrift shop to find a 12 inch bike that would work for our project. We also looked on KSL. This is what we found at the DI for $10!
After we got the bike, we took off the pedals and chain. With a balance bike, you don’t need pedals because the toddler sits on the seat and balance by walking the bike. There are a lot of tutorials online that teaches you how to take the pedals off the bike.
The we took of the wheels, seat, seat post, and seat post clamp off the bike so we could saw through it.
We needed to go to the hardware store to buy a hack saw that would cut through the metal tubes of the bike. We needed to saw through the bike because 12 inch bikes are too big for a two year old. The bike frame is too tall to be a balance bike and the seat is too high for the toddler to sit on. We got this hack saw for less than 5 bucks at Lowes.
After we got the tools, we drew out a plan. We decided that we wanted to cut the who top of the bike off. Here is the bike ready to be sawed apart. The arrows are where we wanted to cut through the bike.
There were also extra pieces on the bike that we didn’t want and needed to saw off:
So here we are sawing the bike. It really was easy and it only took like 15 minutes to saw the whole thing.
We also didn’t like the handle bars on the current bike so we took it off and swapped with one of the bars we sawed off. We took of the rubber grips on the old handle bars and put it on the new handle bars.
Positioning the bike seat was the hardest part. We actually had to keep on cutting down the bike post AND seat post to make it shorter because it was still too tall after 2 tries. We were afraid to cut it too short so we only cut off little bits at a time to test the height with our kid. After we got the right height we had to cute a notch in the back for the seat post clamp.
Alright there you go. Total price of the bike was $15. We’ve used this bike for 2 months now and Micah is blazing on the bike! He loves his bike. He takes it everywhere and insist on parking it in his room at night. It works just like a normal balance bike. Micah goes so fast that I have to run to keep up with him! He even wants to go off-roading mountain biking and jump curbs… Yikes! I think it will help him eventually learn how to ride a real bike. I think it’s so cool that a 2 year old can ride a bike. We are so grateful that it worked out and that we could make him a balance bike for his birthday!
If you don’t want to put the work into a bike, I’ve recently seen cheaper smaller balance bikes or this one on Amazon but I don’t think you’ll have as much fun as we did building our bike!
- When you out trying to find a used bike, you could find one with removable or low handle bars so you can change it up.
- We made sure to sand down or pound down with a hammer the metal tubes so it didn’t leave any sharp edges.
- Be safe when you cut through the pipe! Wear safety goggles and keep the kids away!
- Always wear a helmet!
- It just takes practice… it was hard at first but after a few weeks Micah learned to love his bike.
- This is not really a tutorial but an idea. You’ll have to figure out some of the parts on your own or by Google. Every bike is different so there are going to be different things you’ll have to adjust on each bike. But you can message us if you have any questions!
- We got our helmet at the thrift store DI for 2 bucks!
Use at your own risk! We are not responsible for any injury, deaths or damage during the process of making or using this bike. We did not get paid for write this post. This is just our idea that we wanted to share with you.
Toddler Balance Bikes on Amazon: I researched some more balance bikes for you if you want to just buy one. Make sure to read the reviews!
- Strider $99
- Children’s Balance Bike $56
- WeeRide balance bike for $37
- Kazam Balance Bike $95
- Strider $89
- Diggin Active Wooden Balance Bike $75
- Royal Baby $49
- Mwave Balance Bike $55
- Bike Star $80