Kazam Balance Bike Reviews of 2018 & Buying Guide
Balance bikes are a fairly new phenomenon, popping up everywhere from big box stores to specialty bike shops, with a dizzying amount being sold through online retailers. Experts recommend them for kids 18 months and older because they take pedaling out of the picture: kids only have to focus on steering and balance, which prepares them for traditional pedal bikes very quickly and efficiently. In fact, most kids who use balance models don’t need training wheels on their next bikes.
Kazam Bikes, a company founded by two parents when their son was in diapers, specializes in balance bikes for kids. They also sell a ride-on for very small children, pedal bikes for older ones, and accessories such as helmets and safety pads. Their balance bikes have been featured on the hit television show Shark Tank, and today are sold worldwide with astounding popularity.
Our buyer’s guide will answer frequently asked questions regarding balance bikes, take an in-depth look at this booming brand, and highlight a few of Kazam’s best-selling balance bikes.
What is a balance bike? How is it different from other kids’ bikes?
Balance bikes have no pedals or drivetrain mechanisms, but are otherwise normal children’s bikes. They let kids focus exclusively on balance and steering, and help them familiarize themselves with bike riding before they move on to traditional pedal bikes.
The trend took off in Europe first. Kids learned to ride more quickly on these bikes; many didn’t even need training wheels on their two-wheelers when they outgrew the balance versions. Some parents have reported their kids learning to ride a bike in as little as a few weeks or days—and occasionally, just a few hours! Most will use their balance bike for 2 to 3 years, then graduate to a regular model.
Besides the obvious difference of no pedals, balance bikes differ from regular two-wheels in that they need no training wheels whatsoever, either. Kids keep their feet on the ground, sometimes coasting with feet lifted as their skills progress. Pedal bikes’ training wheels can be removed when kids no longer need them, a timeline that varies per child.
Trikes are good for teaching kids pedaling and steering, but the age group they’re intended for usually aren’t capable of pedaling yet. For that reason, trikes are more “toys” than vehicles. That said, they can be useful for familiarizing kids with bikes, and especially useful if the child is so fearful that he or she doesn’t even want to try a balance version.
Every type of bike for children has drawbacks and pluses, some of which can only be determined on an individual basis—in other words, only parents can properly decide what type of bike is best for their child.
Is my child old enough to ride one?
Experts recommend waiting until your child is between 18 months and 2 years before getting them a balance bike. Some kids might be ready sooner; others, later. It depends on your child’s physical abilities, comfort level, and what kind of balance bike they’re using.
One advantage to balance models, however, is that kids of many skill ranges can use them, and even fearful tots will warm up to the idea: because their feet can stay on the ground most of the time, they’re not as likely to fall over or get hurt, which diminishes the fear.
Kids as young as three years of age can transition from balance bikes to pedal bikes (sans training wheels), while some will be ready at age four or five. By contrast, the average age a child who learns on a training bike can comfortably ride a two-wheeler is six; up to nine years old is not uncommon, and some kids take even longer.
What makes Kazam different from other bike companies?
Kazam got its start with balance bikes, and that’s what’s made them such a popular and successful brand today. Instead of expanding their wheelhouse, they perfected it—you won’t see them rolling out adult pedal bikes or trailers and such. Their focus is on kids’ bikes exclusively, and they do it quite well.
The company has charming roots, too: it was founded by the parents of small children, who saw the growing balance bike trend in Europe and thought it was brilliant.
Several years later, the company has grown exponentially—and won several awards and recognition from the likes of The Today Show and Parents magazine—yet that charm is still present. Their designs are simple and fun, and their website makes it clear this company is still all about the kids.
What’s their customer service like?
The company’s Contact Us link is at the bottom of their web page, in an easy-to-spot navigation bar. You’re taken to a page with a contact form, as well as an email address and phone number.
We received response via the contact form in less than one hour; the phone number connected us to a real person in under one minute. Both representatives were friendly and helpful, and had impressive knowledge on almost all Kazam’s products (including accessories).
The company is also on several social media outlets: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and even Pinterest and YouTube. While we didn’t test the response times on these avenues, we noticed the response to other customers’ concerns was quite fast and pleasant.
Kazam seems to understand the importance of good customer communication. They have a pretty good return policy, which covers manufacturer’s defects under the warranty (2 years). Returns for any reason are also accepted up to 14 days after purchase (through official site only).
Kazam Balance Bike Reviews
1. KaZAM v2s No Pedal Balance Bike Review
Thanks to Kazam’s patented “step in” footrest design, kids won’t be faced with a typical balance bike dilemma: too-small footrests that don’t let encourage them to pick up their feet and coast, testing their balance—or too-large ones that interfere with striding, especially for petite children.
Kazam has solved this problem beautifully, by putting it in the frame itself. The result is a generously sized footrest that won’t trip kids up, like other brands can.
The v2s has a lighter weight, which kids can easily handle—and a light price parents can handle, too! It grows with your child, which makes the investment all the wiser. Kazam considers this an “older toddler’s” bike, meant for kids 2 to 4 years old, although it can accomodate kids up to 5 years in age.
2. Kazam Swoop 20-Inch Balance Bike Review
For older kids learning to ride a bike, Kazam has engineered the Swoop—a bike that looks every bit as fun as its name would suggest. It features brightly colored rims and handlebars, but that’s not why it stands out: the geometry allows for easy mounting and coasting, thanks to a deeply bowed bar. The adjustable seat even comes with a backrest, for ultimate comfort.
Kazam has really outdone themselves on this one. It’s hard to find balance bikes for kids over toddler age, much less with a kid-friendly design that won’t make them feel embarrassed to take their balance bike out with the neighborhood kids and their brightly-colored pedal bikes. We highly recommend this to parents whose children haven’t learned to ride yet, or whose kids want to ride but can’t pedal a traditional bike for whatever reason.
3. Kazam Blinki Balance Bike Review
If you’re letting your child help pick his or her balance bike, your search might end here: meet the Blinki, a light-up balance bike with customized LED inserts.
Your child can light up the night and tear up the streets as long as his or her heart desires, thanks to Kazam’s ultra-cool poly-carbonate frame, which looks like clear Lucite in the daylight…but shines in any number of fun colors when the sun starts going down.
We can’t think of any kids who wouldn’t absolutely love the Blinki. Its only drawback is the lack of footrests, which might be a dealbreaker for some parents—kids won’t pick up their feet as often, which discourages coasting and can slow down the process of learning balance. Other than that, it’s a great balance bike with a great price, and a very cool feature that could get even the most stubborn or fearful kid out and about.
4. Kazam v2e No Pedal Balance Bike Review
Strikingly similar to the v2s, the v2e is considered an entry-level balance bike, meant for younger riders (although it can also be ridden by kids up to 5 years of age). It’s cheaper, as well, and has puncture-free EVA tires. If you’re tight on money and love the v2s, this might be a suitable replacement.
We wouldn’t recommend this bike for older riders who will be off-roading on the lawn, but other than that, the v2e is a solid option with an incredibly affordable price. For parents stuck between the v2s and this (if the slight price difference isn’t a big concern), we’d recommend the v2s—the air-filled tires will provide kids with a better sense of what a “real bike” feels like, making the transition to a pedal model all the easier.
Kazam Bikes is clearly a frontrunner in the balance bike game, and it’s easy to see why. They deserve every bit of the praise they’ve received from media outlets, child development experts, and parents: these bikes are designed thoughtfully, constructed well, and feature fun colors and features kids will love. They know that instilling a love of cycling starts young, and seem genuinely thrilled to take part in that.
What’s more, all of their products are reasonably priced—after all, who wants to pay an arm and a leg for something a child will outgrow in just a few years? Kazam understands the need in this market, and they’ve spent the last few years honing their craft down to a science…yet with plenty of room for fun and innovation, the way every children’s product company should operate.