Strider Science

EVA VS PNEUMATIC WHEELS

Ethylene-Vinyl Acetate (EVA) is the material used to create the foam rubber tires found on all Strider 12 Balance Bikes. You can also find this versatile material in tons of types of padding and equipment for different sports like ski boots, bicycle saddles, hockey pads, and is even used as a shock absorber in sports shoes! Woah! Cool!

Why do we use EVA foam rubber and not the more typical pneumatic heavy-duty rubber tires on our bikes? Well, because EVA tires are lightweight and don’t need maintenance. There are plenty of other reasons for using EVA tires as well. They’re totally puncture proof and durable. They provide the best ride for your little pumpkin butt across different terrains.

Here’s the thing. We want to keep our bikes as light as possible. In order to do that, we use top-of-the-line EVA tires to give little tykes the easiest start. Because EVA tires are nearly half the weight as pneumatic air tires, the EVA tires make the overall weight easy for little Strider riders to manage. Weight is an extremely important factor to keep in mind when choosing a bike for little kids to start out on.

Although EVA tires are lighter, you shouldn’t rule air tires out completely. By about age four, when your kiddo as a little more riding experience under their belt and ready to make that transition to a pedal bike, pneumatic/air-filled tires can help them adjust to the heavier weight of a pedal bike. Pneumatic air tires are great for when your child is ready to start going off the beaten path. It provides good bounce and cushion to help them maneuver through tougher ground. Once they are ready for the transition, the weight of a bike won’t be as new to them, and they’ll be a professor of pedal before you know it!

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BUSHINGS VS BEARINGS

Lightweight design is fundamental to the efficiency and functionality of a bike. Likewise, the efficiency and functionality of a bike are fundamental to a child's success when learning to ride. Before we get into the difference between bushings and bearings, it is important to note that the “headset” is the name given to the bearings or bushings that fit into the head-tube (where the fork and handlebars meet the frame) of the bicycle. The headset bearings support the weight of the rider while allowing for steering rotation.

Typically found on adult bikes, a bearing is designed to “bear” more weight. Since bearings are designed to carry more weight, they have multiple parts to them such as a threaded fork tube, steel ball bearings, steel bearing cups, steel cone nuts, steel lock nut, and steel washers. While this heavy-duty assembly might be necessary to support a full-grown adult, it’s simply extra weight and complexity when there’s no need for it to support the weight of a toddler.

By contrast, bushings are designed as a single part. The Strider bushing headset provides astounding weight reduction, weighing in at around 23 grams (0.05 lb.), while the typical bearing headset found on the pedal bike weighs 130-205 gram (0.25 lb. – 0.34 lb.). An average Strider rider weighs about 13 kg (29 lbs.), which makes utilizing lightweight components fundamental to the overall bike design. The headset bushing on a Strider uses durable, injection-molded, polypropylene bushings (science is so cool with words like “injection-molded” and “polypropylene”) and washers top and bottom. These support the rider’s weight while still maintaining smooth steering action for all their riding adventures.

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STAND-OVER HEIGHT AND ADJUSTABILITY

The U.S.-patented Strider frame design creates the ideal rider position when it comes to giving toddlers the best bike handling. The design of Strider Bikes strikes the perfect balance between wheelbase, stand-over height, center-of-gravity, footrest position, handlebar position, seat position, front-to-rear weight bias, and steering geometry (yeah, our scientists took all that into consideration!). Every component, like seats and grips, are appropriately sized and shaped to fit young riders. The result is a bike that’s safe and easy to learn on, completely intuitive, and naturally comfortable to ride. Strider Bikes grow with your child and offer premium performance at every skill level. These aspects all combine to give your child increased confidence and ultimate success.

Riding a Strider Bike is a natural and intuitive next step after learning to walk, which is why learning to ride a Strider can happen at an extremely early age. With the Strider Baby Bundle, you can introduce riding to children as young as 6 months. It’s so important that the minimum stand-over height be aligned with the average inseam of children this young. A tall stand-over height delays the start age and misses critical development years. That’s why the stand-over height of the Baby Bundle is “sunk in” to the base. When you remove the bike from the base, the Strider Bike still has the lowest stand-over height around. Awesome, right?

However, we know kids grow faster than weeds during the early years, so the adjustability of the bike is also important. A small adjustment range means your little burrito butt has outgrown the bike after just a few months. BUT, the unique shape of the Strider Bike frame has earned a U.S. design patent. Not only does it allow for an early start age, but it is designed to be highly adjustable as the child grows – not for months, but for years.

Also, we have to admit something…we’re bicycling, motorcycling, and racing geeks. Just gonna get that out in the open right now. Because we get excited about those things, we’ve built subtle performance capabilities into the design that make it a safe starter bike. This means, your kiddo has an amazing, high-performance, skill-building, two-wheeled awesome machine that provides years of fun.

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STRIDER BALANCE BIKE FOOTRESTS

Footrests on a balance bike. Do you need them? We’re firmly in the pro-footrest camp. We have our reasons for thinking footrests are a must, and we also understand why there are so many questions regarding them in the first place.

The main purpose of a balance bike is to teach young children how to steer and balance on two wheels while building up enough skill and confidence for them to easily transition to a pedal bike or motorcycle. Children have a sense of security when they have easy access to placing their feet on the ground without anything getting in the way, which is why Striders footrests were built into the frame (we thought long and hard to give it the performance-oriented design). To make sure there’s no nasty ankle bruising, the footrests are smoothly intergraded on the rear wheel struts of the frame. By doing this, there’s interference with the ‘striding’ motion of those little legs when propelling the bike. The footrests are also properly positioned below the rider’s hips, which gives the most natural body position while kiddos are trying to glide. Once little riders get a little more advanced, the position of the footrests make it able for them to easily raise themselves off the seat to absorb bumps, do some sweet jumps, show off some bunny-hops, and even trick ride. Showing off sweet skills and looking totally hardcore? Yeah, that’s how Strider riders do.

So…is it bad if the balance bike does not have a footrest? Well, after years of research, we believe that a bike without footrests seriously reduces the riding and gliding comfort because the rider has to hold their feet in the air while trying to balance and steer all at once (that’s a lot of concentration going on for someone learning how to ride). Adding footrests encourages the rider to create enough momentum, place their feet on the footrests, and glide with full balance as long as possible.

So, is it bad? Look, we’re not going to speak for every other bike company out there. We want you and your child to get years of value out of your balance bike. By adding footrests, it increases the comfort of learning how to ride, which makes your child enjoy it longer. Strider Balance Bikes set the gold standard for footrests.

Strider also has a black, plastic, ergonomically-shaped footrest that comes installed on the Strider Sport & Pro frames. These provide a slightly larger and raised textured surface for riders to place their feet and ensure a firm grip for advanced riding.

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STRIDER BALANCE BIKE BRAKES

Other than the lack of pedals on a Strider Bike, you might notice that there aren’t any brakes. So, how does your kiddo stop? Well, we’ll explain the method to our madness at Strider.

Our team of super-secret Strider scientists and designers have spent years in a state-of-the-art underground laboratory researching brake designs and observing toddlers on bikes. Here’s what they found.

First, there are three different types of brakes our scientists had to consider: No brakes (feet on the ground), foot brakes, and hand brakes.

Children who start out on Striders typically begin at a very young age, sometimes even before they can talk! Amazing, right? Young riders intuitively know one thing, “feet control my movement; they hold me up, make me stop, and help me go.” So, our young riders who are already naturally using their feet to make their bike go, slow down, and stop would only be confused by adding an extra step to the process, which means putting your kiddo’s safety at risk. For toddlers, foot control means confident speed control!

Although our Strider 12 models don’t come with a foot brake installed, but the next logical step – after they’ve gained confidence and are proficient balance bike masters – is learning how to use a brake. So, we scratched our heads, and came up with a solution. Our foot brake is a simple bracket that can be attached to the bottom of all Strider 12 models. The brake has no cables or levers and requires no maintenance (we like to keep things simple). When your tater tot is ready, they’re able to push their foot on the brake instead of keeping their feet to the ground. This also encourages them to keep their feet on the footrests. Bonus!

While hand brakes are the final and best solution for a teenager or adult bike rider, they have some major drawbacks when it comes to young kids learning to ride. Most of the levers on hand brakes are too large and difficult for a child or toddler’s tiny hands to reach and squeeze, which means they can’t actually stop. Like…the whole point of the brake is now moot because they can’t actually operate the brake.

Hand brakes also require young kids to understand how they work and what lever to pull for the correct brake. Have you ever tried explaining something to an 18-month old? Not even something complicated, just something simple? Now imagine explaining how cable brakes work to that same 18-month old. What’s that? They’re not listening anymore and playing with the dog? Yup, all our fancy equipment and state-of-the-art lab can’t help us out here.

Also, the concept of a brake doesn’t quite make sense to these tiny riders. It doesn’t offer any functionality, either. Trying to teach a toddler how to use a brake during just adds confusion and frustration to their experience. We really believe in simplicity. The added weight plus the extra parts/protrusions (levers, bolts, cables, etc.) are major safety hazards for tiny riders. They could injure the rider during a less than graceful fall.

Simple. Simple. Simple. That’s why we go with the most n conclusion, we vote to keep it simple natural approach. A young child on a Strider Bike can quickly slow or stop the bike by simply following their instincts and pushing their feet to the ground. Once your child is ready for the next step, the foot brake kit can be added to their Strider to enhance their riding skills.

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