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My son is about to turn two and he really likes the Skuut Balance Bike, but is this functionally any different than a small Bmx bike with no drivetrain?

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Update

Specifically, is a run-bike designed to be easier to balance (e.g. by changing the distribution of weight relative to a bmx bike)? by the way, I was thinking of bmx-style of equivalent size, not a true 20" bmx bike–

Since my original post, I have found that this type of bike is called a 'run-bike' and that they are made by multiple companies. However, I have never seen one in a regular bike shop.

Knowing the generic name, it was easy to find the wikipedia site and answer my own question 'no'. But I am still open to the possibility that there are differences.

I have found a related but distinct question on the best method to teach a child to ride a bike

Update 2

My son received a Kinderbike for his birthday. I decided on the kinderbike based on this NYtimes article and some Amazon reviews that suggested that the Kinderbike is of better quality than the Skuut. alt text

Review

Indeed the Kinderbike uses 'real' (if cheap but sufficient) bike parts, including a real brake and headset. It even comes with a bell! I don't want to talk up the quality too much - while certainly better than what you might find at a box-store like Walmart (those bikes are often non-serviceable), but nothing like what you might find on an entry level adult bike. Out of the box, the rims were out of true, the headset was on too tight, and the tires smell like plastic fumes. But this is all fixable since the components are basically like a regular bike. The Skuut, on the other hand, apparently has plastic washers and cheap tires that make the bike overall not as durable. Although I prefer the aesthetics of a wooden bike, common sense chose durability.

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Are you trying to find out if it has the same general geometry as a bmx bike? Do they even publish any kind of detailed specs for these things? –  dotjoe Dec 2 '10 at 15:13
    
I am more interested in if there are design aspects that are particular to the teaching goal of a run-bike, and if so, what they are. –  David Dec 2 '10 at 15:39
    
my son loves his Skuut. It is hard to pump the tires up on it, but I find all small wheeled pneumatic tires hard to pump up. Some advantages to the Skuut: lighter than a metal run-bike conversion, and narrower handlebars, so it's easier to bungee to your kid trailer or Xtracycle. –  memnoch_proxy Aug 26 '11 at 14:11

3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted
+50

Are you thinking to get a small BMX and take the drive train off instead of getting a run bike, so you can put the drive train back on when he's ready? Otherwise I don't quite understand the purpose of the question, sorry.

If that is you're idea I'd suggest that's probably not a good idea. It's going to be difficult to find a BMX small enough for a two year old to easily put their feet down and run, and you're paying for extra components (chain, cranks, pedals, brakes) that you don't need. Unlike an adult bike those components aren't likely to be easily removeable, and it's likely to be a lot heavier and more clumsy for your son to use.

A run bike is going to be focused on what is most important at that age - teaching balance - and everyone I know who has had one has enthused about how easily their child was able to transition to a bike with a drive train after having a run bike. Also, because they tend to be quite well made and not abused, there's a healthy market in them on ebay, so you should be able to sell it relatively easily when it's time for the first proper bike.

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+1 just to add to Chris' answer. Most good "run-bikes" or "balance bikes" would have limited handle-bar movements as a safety feature. That prevents the child from making sharp turns and falling as a result. –  kristof Dec 2 '10 at 8:33
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Also those bikes are usually much lighter and somehow smaller and do not take that much space in the car boot,which means that you are more likely to have it with you more often, we got one for our daughter when she was 2 and a few months later we were using it all the time instead of the buggy, the size/weight helped with that greatly. –  kristof Dec 2 '10 at 8:38
    
I don't understand the popularity of this answer; 12" wheeled kids bikes are basically the same as the things suggested in the question, relatively ubiquitous, and the cranks and pedals are almost certainly American one-piece (Ashtabula) - easily removed with household tools. –  lantius Mar 6 '11 at 8:35

You can use a kids bike without the drive train. Specialized Hotrock 12" without a drive train works. The Specialized Hotwalk was small for my son. By removing the pedals etc and lowering the seat to the min it worked well.

Downside, it cost $160. Upside, I can put the pedals back on.

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The answer is 'yes', given that a 'run bike' is defined by wikipedia as any bike without a drivetrain or training wheels.

But it is possible that some models have specific advantages, e.g. related to geometry, weight distribution, or handling

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