Jackson has had a balance bike since he was about 18 months old. He loves it, we love it, it's adorable, but sadly at 3 1/2 he's finally starting to outgrow it. He was so little when we started out, that I looked for a balance bike that was lightweight and had a nice low seat. I found this wooden Kinderfeets Chalkboard Balance Bike and it had one of the lowest starting seat settings I could find. It's perfect for a wee little toddler, so I snagged it up for him in black.
As tempted as I am to just get him a bigger balance bike, I think he's ready for a "real bike" with pedals like his friends have. At least he will be by Spring. So I started my search this week for a new bike for him...because I'm totally on top of Christmas shopping like that. (Can we all just stop for a moment and praise Jesus for Amazon Prime for which without it, there would be many a house with nothing but "Your gift is on the way" notes wrapped up under the tree.) Anyway, back to my big boy bike search. Within two minutes of shopping, I felt like I'd been puked on by Disney. Does EVERY single little boy item need to be themed with Cars or Spiderman? I mean, my son doesn't even know who those characters are yet. So after much continued searching, reading reviews, and asking grandparents if they would be willing to pitch in for Jackson's big gift (Praise Jesus for awesome grandparents too!), I finally found one that I loved.
Here's why I love the RoyalBaby BMX Freestyle.
It comes in five solid colors that could work for boys or girls and won't ever go out of style. (Since I don't know the gender of baby #2 yet and I try to plan on using most big purchases for more than one child, gender neutral is important for me. We got white and it is so sharp, but I almost went with blue. Add a few pink stickers and a girl could totally rock that pretty blue.)
It comes in 12", 14", 16", and 18" sizes, (14" bikes are hard to find, but from what I've read it's a great transition size for early riders switching from a balance bike.)
Because the same style is used from 12" to 18" it really looks just like a big boy bike, so he should be able to ride it to Kindergarten without mean third graders poking fun at him. (Nothing against third graders, but reports on the street from local Kindergarteners confirm that the big kids do, in fact, poke fun at the kids on "baby" bikes.)
It has a water bottle built in. Jackson will think that is supremo cool...and I don't have to carry his water to the park anymore.
Even though it's pricier than the Disney models, it looks to be better quality and hopefully that means it will last longer and hold up for at least one more kid. (Once we've had this bike for awhile, I'll write an update to confirm whether this is true or not.)
Little touches, like a handle on the seat to carry the bike (when your child gives out on you half way through a ride--I'm sure your child will never do that though), a cushioned seat, all metal finishes.
Great online reviews. 108 reviews with 81 five stars and only 4 one stars.
Note: It is made in China. If American-made is important to you, this bike might not be for you.
Next up on my list, a new helmet. His helmet now is a Cars helmet from Target. I bought it in a hurry one afternoon and I never liked it much. It's hard for him to get on his head by himself because the plastic band inside folds in on itself and adjusting the tightness is a chore. Plus, CARS ugh. I really don't like to pay to have my child be a walking billboard for a movie he won't even sit through. The least Cars could offer me is an hour of peace and quiet. A neighbor's dog chewed on the front a little and the plastic in the back is starting to come off the foam, so I decided, big boy bike needs a new safe big boy helmet. Except, oh my goodness, toddler helmet options are worse than toddler bike options. It's either Disney or Skulls and Crossbones. Not a whole lot in between.
Finally, after searching "childrens bike helmets" instead of "toddler bike helmets" on Amazon, I found the Giro Rodeo Bike Helmet (no longer available, but this youth helmet by Joovy looks close.) Super cool...and it comes in three solid colors--blue, neon yellow, and fuchsia pink--and some patterns that at least aren't Disney characters. I got the neon yellow in the 19.75-21.75 inch size. I think it will look cute with the white bike, plus one reviewer said it made it easy to spot their child quickly. (Jackson's head is 19.5 right now, so he may not fit into it immediately, but probably will by summer.) For younger kids, the Giro Me2 Infant/Toddler helmet comes in the same colors, so if it's really big, I may exchange it for that one.
I'll update you guys after Christmas on how these gifts actually work out for us, but I thought I'd share my shopping decisions if any other minimal-loving parents are looking for a last minute stylish Christmas gift for their little one. Both bikes and the helmets are eligible for free 2-day shipping if you are an Amazon Prime member, so it's not too late to have a shiny new bike under the tree by Christmas morning (without actually having to leave the house)!
Note: This post contains affiliate links.