Expert review: Designed to teach balance to toddlers, the Strider is a solid bike with lightweight tires. It sits low to the ground and doesn't have pedals or brakes, so all your child will focus on is walking the bike with his feet, balancing and steering. The idea is that, down the road, he won't need training wheels since he'll already have gotten the balance thing down from using this type of bike.
Why we love it: Innovative bike-riding teaching method; adjustable seat and handlebars for growing kids; lightweight frame; bright colors (we especially like orange!); and strong EVA polymer tires—they're not as shock-absorbing as air-filled tires, but there's no pumping needed and no risk of getting a flat.
What we wish it had: Clearer directions; better-quality bolts. Great for: Toddlers with no experience on a traditional bike with training wheels.
Bottom line: The Strider is a great bike for teaching balance and coordination. It performs well, but is difficult to assemble if doing it yourself. Consider purchasing it already put together.
What our parent tester thought: "I love the concept of the Strider and my son loves the bike. But the broken bolt during assembly and the fact that tires seem flimsy keeps this bike from getting a 5."
"I didn't use the directions, because they didn't have any visuals."
"My son rode the bike all around the streets of Brooklyn. I was impressed with the tires since he didn't jerk forward too much when he hit a bump in the street."
-- Allison, and her 3-and-a-half-year-old son, of Brooklyn, N.Y.