This is the first in what I hope becomes a regular feature at Laughing Mom – an honest product review of new / cool / fun items for children and / or families.
When MammaCangura asked if I was interested in reviewing the B-Bip Balance Bike (also known as a Running Bike), I was hesitant. What if I didn’t like it? Worse, what if my son didn’t like it? Could I review an item honestly after a company went to the trouble to send me an item? I needn’t have worried. The B-Bip Balance Bike turned out to be a fun, easy to use, first bike.
The B-Bip is for children aged 2-5 years, with a maximum weight of 66 pounds. The bike is identical to a pedal bike, without the pedals. The child pushes the bike with his or her feet and can coast when they have enough momentum. As opposed to training wheels, this teaches the child to balance on a two wheel bike at a younger age, making the transition to a two wheel pedal bike easier.
Thought of Everything.
I was pleased with the amount of thought that went into the bike. Plastic wheels (no need to inflate during the season), extremely light weight, hand guards, and flush bolts so your toddler can’t scratch themselves. I ran my hands over the entire bike and couldn’t locate anywhere I could get a finger or a piece of clothing caught. It is also entirely non toxic and 100% recyclable.
Comparison to other Running Bikes.
Brakes. The bike does not come with brakes – a child stops the bike with their feet. Internet research tells me that there are pros and cons to having brakes on a running bike. The primary pro being that it teaches children an additional skill and the primary cons being that it adds an additional step for younger children and adds cables which come with safety hazards. It seems that most running bikes on the market come without brakes.
Foot Rest. Some competitor bikes come with a foot rest. After scouring discussion boards, I was unable to find a consensus on whether or not these are needed. People who bought a bike with a foot rest posted that their children have never noticed it, while others commented their child uses it all the time. The general consensus seemed to be that the foot rest was used by older children as opposed to younger ones.
After reviewing the bike in person, and carefully reading all of MamaCanguru’s literature on the bike, I was unable to find Canadian verification of it’s non toxicity. I don’t think children are going to start chewing on the bike anytime soon, and I appreciate other countries’ certification, including the ones provided on their website, but I would like to see a Canadian stamp of approval somewhere.
Originating in Italy, MammaCangura products are now available in Canada. Their website states their mission to be, “…dedicated to ensuring top quality service for all our customers by offering safe, environmentally friendly and innovatively designed products everyone can afford.”
At $139, the B-Bip is competitively priced – other bikes in its class can cost between $130 and $200. In addition, their website offers free shipping and a present offer of an additional 25% off for liking them on Face Book.
The toughest critic: Did my 2.5 year old like the B-Bip?
Yes! He didn’t immediately start running around on it like the child in the video below, but he understood what to do within minutes, and he enjoys riding it. I suspect it will be a favorite next summer when he is a little older.
A lot of attention has been paid to making this bike usable and fun for a toddler and is an excellent addition to our summer outdoor activities. Will it make the transition to a pedal bike easier? I’ll let you know in a few years!
How the B-Bip looks in action: