Whenever we go to visit other children, my daughter is obsessed with trying to ride their bikes. Being 19 months she can rarely touch the pedals- let alone the ground! Luckily a few friends of ours have balance bikes that she can be supported on by an adult, which she loves. And I’m sure it won’t be too long until she can reach the ground more easily and motor along by herself. Having seen quite a few different balance bikes, it’s apparent that they need to have three main qualities: they need to be durable, they need to be light and they need to be adjustable.
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We were lucky enough to be offered the opportunity for my daughter to review the Zippizap Balance Bike so I kept these three attributes in mind when she was using it. Honestly, the first thing I noticed was the minimal efforts required to put the bike together. This was a big tick! It was also really nice to hear Elka’s delight. “Wow! Mummy! Bike!” Super cute, and a very positive sign.
Bike assembled, both hubby and I commented on the sturdiness of the bike. It’s steel frame seems really strong and comes with a 3 year warranty, which is pretty awesome considering the wear and tear we expect this bike will get in our growing family! Of course, my husband commented that because it’s not wooden it can be left outside (he notices when toys are left out in the rain, whereas they all just blend into the environment to me!). I was a little concerned whether the wheels had innertubes because of past experiences patching pram tyres (highly annoying! Why do they always puncture at the worst possible moment?). But when I felt the wheels of the Zippizap, I noticed they felt sort of like a dense foam and clearly won’t need pumping up. (After checking the box it turns out they are maintenance free EVA polymer tyres which is like an industrial strength foam.) Another tick! So far the Zippizap is winning on the durability front PLUS the frame and tyre materials seem to have contributed to a very light weight bike. Another important attribute!
I know the lightweight frame is really important to mums and dads and that’s actually one of the reasons I was so excited about the Zippizap. It weighs less than 2.8kg, which makes it easy to carry when your little one hits a hill that’s just too steep to ride. It’s light weight will make it easy to throw on top of the pram handles and head for home without feeling like you’re lugging lots of extra weight. This is a big plus because, let’s face it, sometimes kids will run out of steam a LONG way from home and you don’t want to be carrying a really heavy bike back with you while also pushing a pram. So this was a really big tick for me too.
So, if I’m honest, I was a bit skeptical that the bike seat would go low enough for Elka to be able to use it- but it did! Just to give you an idea, Elka is on the 95th percentile for height so she’s not tiny, but her feet were comfortably on the ground. We also turned the handlebars around so that they were closer to her, which meant she didn’t have to stand up to reach them but could sit on the seat and steer with ease.
Once she was on and walking (she’s not yet at the ‘gliding’ stage) the bike around the backyard, it was pretty obvious that Elka was loving it. She is going through that lovely (jokes) stage of wanting to do everything herself and losing her MIND if anyone tries to help her. I guess this is a good thing, but I was a bit nervous about her trying by herself as she is still just learning about balance. BUT I had to remind myself that balance was one of the reasons we wanted a balance bike in the first place and that toppling a very small distance onto grass really wasn’t going to be the worst thing in the world. #amiahelicopterparent?!
FYI, just as a side note, balance bikes are really, really good for balance (obviously!) and coordination. One of the reasons they are so popular, and certainly the reason we were keen to get one, is that they don’t have chains or pedals to obstruct or injure a child, who, like Elka, clearly wants to ride a bike but is not yet steady enough to balance on a bike with pedals. Balance bikes are great because they offer the look of a bike, but allow a younger or less confident rider to learn how to balance and walk with the bike, before moving onto pushing off with both feet and ‘gliding’ with the bike. Kids who learn to ride on a balance bike transition really quickly to a regular 2 wheeled bike rather than having the painful experience of trying to ditch the training wheels down the track!
So, we let Elka have a go on the grass by herself then, as there are a few different surfaces in our yard, we then helped her navigate from the grass to pavers to bricks to garden (goodbye flowers) and through the dirt. It was very cute. She was LOVING it (flowers… not so much).
We have some great friends across the road who have a 3 year old son so we took it over to him to have a go too. He already has a balance bike (two actually!) so it was great to hear that both he and his mum commented really positively about the Zippizap. Mr 3 thought it was, “Really fun, Mummy! I can go really fast!” And his mum made mention of the fact it was lighter than the other balance bikes they had, but also that it seemed very strong. It was also nice to hear they thought the tyres were really grippy as this wasn’t something I’d thought of but is good to note.
I think a point of difference with the Zippizap is that BOTH the seat and handle bars are adjustable. To be honest, many balance bikes do have adjustable seats, but they can be quite difficult to alter and require a trip to the tool shed to do so. If your tool shed is anything like ours then this can be quite a long process of finding the spanner! So it’s very handy that the Zippizap adjusts really simply with quick release seat and handlebar clamps, but it is also very secure when it’s tightened at the height you require for your child. Keep in mind that being able to adjust handlebars is something not many balance bikes do, so this is a really good point of difference for the Zippizap. We were able to adjust the bike quickly for Mr 3 and Elka ran around chasing him before having the standard toddler tantrum because she wanted her bike back. #givemepatience
I mentioned that the Zippizap is designed to suit an age range from 18 months to 5 years old, which makes it a great investment. If you’re going to pay $119.95 for a balance bike then you want to make sure it’s going to be (a) used a lot and (b) last a long time. I can certainly see the Zippizap being a staple piece of equipment in our household for many years to come. It has one of the lowest heights for the seat so this means kids can start on it at a younger age than other balance bikes too and, as mentioned, because it’s so easy to adjust it will be great for our family as our youngest one gets older (only 6 weeks old so not yet ready! Haha). Most importantly though, it’s good to know that it can be shared with Elka’s friends when they come over or we go to the playground.
For those of you who have an eye for good looking gear, the Zippizap is a winner here too. We have the blue and white Zippizap but it comes in plenty of different colours, so there’s bound to be one your child (and you!) will love. Plus they look really sleek and comfortable.
My husband and I (and Elka!) would definitely recommend the Zippizap to those looking to purchase a balance bike. They tick all the boxes- lightweight, durable and adjustable. Winning all round (except maybe the flowers, which are still flat).
To check out the Zippizap visit the links below….