I researched available balance bikes and decided that the Mini Glider is the best for my son. He loves it and couldn’t be happier. (He has the blue one, but the color doesn’t make a difference.) Here’s what sets the Mini Glider apart from the other choices:
- Super lightweight. Shipping weight is 6 pounds. Compare to the 14 pound Kettler Sprint. The lighter, the easier for a young child to manipulate. Watch my son mount, turn around, dismount, and even lift his Mini Glider with ease.
- Foot pegs for ease of riding and transition to a pedal bike. Most brands have no foot rest for training foot position. The Glider Rider Bike has a 10-inch footplate, but my son’s shoes are already 9 inches long. His big feet fit on the Mini Glider’s foot pegs with no trouble.
- Hand brake. Some others leave this out, saying that the child shouldn’t go faster than his feet can stop him. My son figured out how to use the brake on his own. It is helpful to him when stopping at the bottom of a hill. At the end of the video, just before the last notes of the music, you can hear the “Shhh” of the brake as he brings the glider to a safe stop.
- Solid, no-pump tires. With a vehicle this lightweight, you don’t need the hassle of airing up tiny tires. These tires are sturdy and give plenty of traction.
- Seat height easily adjusts with the turn of one bolt.
- Minimal assembly required. Simply insert the handle bars, tighten with the included tool, adjust the seat, and go.
- Excellent customer service from the manufacturer. I had a question about adjusting the brake, and when I called the # in the instruction manual I spoke to a real person immediately.
My son is a tall (44-inch) 4 1/2 year old. Not particularly athletic or graceful, it took him until the age of 4 to learn to pedal a tricycle. When he became interested in bicycles, I got him the Mini Glider. At first, he straddled the seat and waddled with the glider. He soon progressed to walking, running, one-foot-pumping, and coasting with his feet on the foot pegs. The video shows his amazing progress from his second day of riding the glider through 2 1/2 weeks of learning. He loves showing off his skills to everyone, and he wants to go riding every day.
Edit: The new model now offered for sale has a quick-release seat clamp. No tool is needed to adjust the seat. They have also made the handlebars adjustable, for an even more customizable fit. Excellent!
Sistersmom, Bothell, WA08/06/2013, 03:22 AM
These are awesome! I chose this brand after reading a review on a few brands in a NY Times article. After struggling with a clunky, heavy, tippy training wheel bike that never gets ridden we decided to try this route. We are only on ride #3 and the confidence is unbelievable. My daughter can go most anywhere on this and is now even putting her feet up on the pegs for short distances. She is 4 (almost 5) and hope she will soon be moving on to her big girl bike so little brother can have a shot.
ProudMom, Madison, WI08/06/2013, 03:22 AM
We got this glide bike in April for our incredibly uncoordinated 4 year old. When we got it, she could barely pedal a tricycle so we thought the glide bike would last us a while. She loved her glider and rode it as often as she could all summer long. In early September, while playing at a neighbors, she borrowed their “pedal” bike and started riding without training wheels. There was no hesitation and none of the normal scrapes or frustration associated with learning to ride a bike. Best of all, she was so proud of herself!
Dolores Reese, PT, Easter Seals UCP, North Carolina08/05/2013, 08:56 PM
We have had the opportunity to use Glide Bikes at Easter Seals/UCP Preschool in Wilmington, NC over the spring and summer of 2010. Even though typically developing children enjoyed trying the Glide Bikes, children with special needs also enjoyed using them. As a physical therapist, I found the Glide Bike to be a very beneficial tool when working with young children. The Glide Bike was especially helpful for a young child with cerebral palsy. This four year old boy has a diagnosis of diplegia. He underwent surgery to release the spasticity in his lower extremities and over the past two years has undergone intense therapy for strengthening and trunk control to walk independently. The Glide Bike provided a means to not only strengthen his lower extremities by propelling the glider forward, but also worked on his balance and trunk control. This little boy enjoyed riding the Glide Bike with assistance, attempting to propel it independently. Although he was not able to propel the glider without assist, he benefitted greatly by giving him another means of strengthening/balance exercise that was fun! The Glide Bike also proved beneficial for children with a hemiparesis. Controlling the Glide Bike forced them to try to hold onto to the bike with the involved hand, and to balance and push the glider forward with both feet. This was easier than attempting to push the pedals on an adaptive tricycle since both feet were on the ground. (Guidance and assistance were needed from the therapist).
I highly recommend the Glide Bike as a therapeutic tool when working with children. The Glide Bike can be used as a tool for generalized strengthening, endurance and balance activities regardless of the diagnosis. It is a “fun” way for children to perform an exercise activity. As they gain control of the Glide Bike it also increases their confidence.
JillTz, Nashville, TN08/05/2013, 08:55 PM
This was by far the best money we have spent on something for our children. Our 5 year old was struggling with learning to ride without training wheels. We purchased the Glide Bike & in less than a week of practicing on her Glide Bike she was ready for her big bike. No hesitation, no help, just off like she had been riding for years.
It boosted her confidence and allowed her not to get frustrated. Since she was in control of the Glide Bike, it was easy for her to handle. We look forward to our 4 year old learning next. The Glide Bike has a lifetime guarantee so be prepared to pass it down. It is a great product.