Our 2-year-old has been test-driving the Decathlon Runride 520 Cruiser balance bike for the past few months and it’s already turning him into a proper little cyclist. Here’s our review…
Balance bikes are the perfect way to introduce toddlers to cycling but there are an almost bewildering amount of options out there for first-time buyers.
Our eldest son learned to ride on the excellent Kiddmoto Super Junior balance bike. But one of his nursery buddies was using the Runride 520 Cruiser at the same time and I was always envious of its retro design and rear brakes. So for kid No.2 we decided to give it a go!
Scroll down for our Decathlon Runride 520 Cruiser balance bike review…
How do balance bikes work?
Very simply, they’re small bikes that don’t have pedals. What that means is your child uses their feet (like Fred Flinstone) to propel themselves along the pavement, while mastering the act of balancing on a bike at the same time. We started both of our boys on balance bikes around the time of their second birthdays and they both picked it up very quickly.
What to look for in a balance bike
Most balance bikes are very straightforward in their design. Metal or wooden frame, wheels usually made from foam to avoid punctures, plus an adjustable seat and handlebars that can be raised or lowered to suit your child’s height. Some, like the Decathlon Runride 520 Cruiser, may even have brakes. Some kids may love having proper brakes, while for others it could be a distraction they don’t need as they focus on learning to balance.
5 key features of the Decathlon Runride 520 Cruiser
- Beautiful design. It looks like the kind of bike a gangster would be riding around in a Bugsy Malone movie. Steel black frame, cushioned tan-coloured seat, and a pair of white-wall tyres. Love it.
- Puncture-proof wheels. The 10-inch white wheels are made from solid foam, which absorbs impact well and is easy to wipe down when they get muddy.
- Lightweight frame. At just 3.5kg this is a lightweight steel-framed bike, making it easy to manoeuvre around the pavements. Your child will probably never notice that, but you definitely will when you have to carry it!
- Rear brakes. My main beef with our first son’s balance bike was that he had to use his feet to slow down, which resulted in him destroying countless pairs of trainers. One of the best features of the Decathlon Runride 520 Cruiser balance bike is the drum brake attached to the back wheel, which allows your child to master braking on a bike from a very young age. This is a great skill to have before moving up to a pedal bike.
- Great value. You can pay a lot of money for balance bikes. Decathlon have more expensive options on their website, plus some excellent lower-priced ones too. But for the feature set you get with the Decathlon Runride 520 Cruiser, £50 is a very good price. It should certainly last your child a couple of years, by which time they’ll hopefully be ready to move on to a pedal bike.
Anything we’d change?
Personally no. We chose this bike specifically for the features it has because it offers something our eldest son’s balance bike didn’t. But do think carefully about if you want to the distraction of brakes on your child’s first bike. We think they’re awesome and Dougie has mastered them quickly, but they won’t be for everyone at this stage.
Verdict: Decathlon Runride 520 Cruiser balance bike review
The Decathlon Runride 520 Cruiser is everything we could ever want in a balance bike. Cool design, solid build, lightweight frame, puncture proof wheels, and the added bonus of rear brakes which a lot of balance bikes don’t have. Our 2-year-old loves it!The Outdoor Dad