A balance bike helps children learn to keep their balance and prepare for the right bike ride. By the way, whizzing around with the wheels is also a lot of fun, provided safety is guaranteed. Stiftung Warentest has 2018 checked some wheels and found harmful substances in most models. Round 75 percent of the wheels failed in the test, so the devastating Conclusion. In the end, consumer advocates can only recommend three models. We present the recommended models in the following report.
The test was carried out by Stiftung Warentest and issued in 12 / 2018 first published.
impeller test: These are the best wheels
Wheels in the test: Stiftung Warentest lets 11 Models fail
Stiftung Warentest published in its December issue 2018 all in all 15 different wheels checked and warned in front of almost all bikes. 11 of the models tested failed the test because they contain critical pollutants. Only three models passed the pollutant test well, another model was rated “satisfactory”. In addition, consumer advocates have examined how resilient the wheels are and how easy it is to get on, get off and ride – even on unpaved roads. The sitting position was also included in the evaluation. Because children should not develop a deformity at a young age.
Exercise bikes help children to keep their balance and prepare them for cycling. But when buying a wheel, parents should take a close look: critical amounts of pollutants in the handles, saddles or tires have ensured that Stiftung Warentest had to punish eleven wheels.
1.Puky wheel LR1 (top recommendation | good: 2.2)
- free of pollutants
- good driving dynamics
- easy ascent and descent
- easy to use
- good comfort
- very good resilience
- with running board
- Plastic wheels with little profile and poor suspension
- mediocre protection against weather influences
test winner is this Puky LR1 impeller ( on Amazon ) with the overall grade “good” (2.2). It is free of pollutants and suitable for children up to 5 years. The impeller scored well in the test thanks to its good driving dynamics and by simply lifting, getting on and off. Many parents attach great importance to the fact that the wheel can be easily adjusted and lasts for a long time – the Puky wheel can also convince here. A drawback are the plastic wheels, which have little profile and hardly spring. Nevertheless, with the LR1 you get a good wheel at a solid price: It costs round 73 Euro.
However, you should take a close look: While that Puky LR1 ( at Amazon )) test winner, the Puky LR 1L bike failed due to too many pollutants. The reason is polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in the tires. Some of the compounds can be carcinogenic and affect fertility. The manufacturer declares that it “cannot understand the conspicuous PAK value tested” and refers to its own (unobtrusive) tests and a test seal. “Our LR 1L also has a current GS certificate, which uses exactly the same test criteria as the Stiftung Warentest test”.
2. BTwin Runride 100 (Price Tip | Good: 2.5)
- attractively priced
- almost free of pollutants
- secure hold thanks to the narrow handlebar limit
- very easy
- good Ha Handling
- weak agility
- poor protection against weather influences
- only satisfactory driving characteristics
In addition to the Puky impeller, the Run Ride 100 Wheel from BTwin in the test by Stiftung Warentest and scored with an overall rating of “good” (2.5). The impeller could especially because of the low price of just around 35 Euro score. The steel balance bike, without running board and without stand, is very light with a weight of 3 kg, easy to handle and suitable for children up to the age of 4.5 years.
The wheel is recommended especially for rather insecure children, because of the relatively tight handlebar limit of 60 degrees granted a better grip. However, this limits the maneuverability. Children are not exposed to pollutants through direct skin contact, since the Stiftung Warentest did not detect any pollutants in handles or in the saddle. Only the tires probably contained a small amount of pollutants, but this is not of concern. The wheel performed satisfactorily in terms of riding characteristics.
3. Kettler Speedy 10 '' (Price Tip | Good: 2.5)
- attractively priced
- free of pollutants
- very easy
- good security & durability
- only satisfactory driving characteristics
- Plastic wheels with little profile and poor suspension,
- little comfort
The impeller Speedy 2.0 from Kettler not only shares second place with the Run Ride, but is also priced at round 40 Euro similarly cheap. Similar to the BTwin model, the Kettler model also performs satisfactorily in terms of driving characteristics. It is very light and offers good safety and durability, is very resilient and is particularly convincing when driving against obstacles. However, the wheel offers a little less seating comfort and has no running board. However, the saddle can be individually adjusted – both in height and in angle. The balance bike is therefore suitable for children up to 5 years.
With regard to pollutants, the Speedy 2.0 wheel performed very well and showed no harmful substances in handles, saddles or tires. However, the plastic wheels have little tread and do not cushion well, so there is a risk that the children will slip away, especially on smooth or wet floors.
You get that much for your money
The price range for wheels ranges from 30 to over 200 Euro. The prices vary in particular with regard to the manufacturer, equipment and the materials used. Of course there are also cheaper or even more expensive models on the market – but the products tested definitely cover the standard price range for wheels.
As the test showed, more expensive is absolutely not always better. On the contrary: of all the two cheapest models made it into the top three and the test winner with an average price of just under 73 Euro rather in the low to medium price segment. The expensive models with prices in the three-digit range were not all convincing in the test and only achieved “poor” as a quality assessment. In particular, the high pollutant values were criticized.
Consumers can safely resort to somewhat cheaper models for their little ones without having to dig deep into their pockets, the best wheels cost between 30 and 80 Euro.
So Stiftung Warentest tested
The Stiftung Warentest sent a total of ten three- to four-year-olds from a daycare group to the wheel test. The kids provided the 15 Impellers rushing around on the test bench. The Stiftung Warentest experts observed them very closely and recorded various driving behavior, preferences and problems in detail.
The selected wheels all come without brakes. It is simply safer for children to brake with their feet. The 15 tested impellers, of which eleven made of metal, three made of wood and one made of plastic, were mainly examined in the test for the aspects of “driving”, “safety and durability”, “handling” and “pollutants”. To devaluations and ultimately 11 poor quality judgments have led in particular to the increased amounts of pollutants, which were found primarily in tires but also in handles and saddles.
What types of wheels are there?
There are different types of wheels. We will explain to you how the different wheels differ. Basically, you can orient yourself in the following three categories.
Impellers are either made of metal, wood or plastic. From bright colors to simple designs, everything is possible. In the test of the Stiftung Warentest, however, the experts were able to state that the children were particularly impressed by the bright, colorful wheels. In addition, the wheels differ, among other things, on the tires. While the test winners were equipped with plastic tires, many wheels have rubber tires.
There is also a distinction between wheels with and without a footboard and with or without a stand. However, the fewest wheels have a stand, but it is not absolutely necessary, since the children usually put the wheels on the ground rather than put them down carefully. On the other hand, half of the tested bikes had a running board. These were noticeably well received by the children.
The wheels are also suitable for different body sizes and ages – when buying, you should therefore pay attention to the characteristics of the child. Furthermore, the wheels differ in terms of steering angle.
Advantages and disadvantages of wheels
Balance bikes have the advantage that toddlers train their motor coordination and learn to control their balance. They also develop a better feeling for speed and braking through cycling, which means that the children are already taught important skills for normal cycling. Switching to a normal bike is therefore usually very easy for the children, which means that there are often no support wheels. Another advantage is of course the great fun that the jogging around with wheels holds for the children.
The wheels have disadvantages, as has already been seen, particularly with regard to the pollutants to which children are exposed in some models. In addition, due to the lack of support functions and the high speeds that children can reach with the wheels, parents always have to keep a careful eye on their kids running around to prevent dangers and injuries.
What you should pay attention to when buying a wheel
There are numerous variations of wheels. With the large selection of models, you can easily lose sight of the essentials. But what properties should an impeller have? If you are considering buying a wheel, you should pay attention to the following criteria:
- Age and size suitability: That probably The most important purchase criterion is that the wheel is suitable for the respective child – both in terms of size and age. Most wheels are for children from a height of 93 cm suitable. Maximum height is usually depending on the model 108 cm, 112 cm or 115 cm. In addition, the wheels are suitable for children up to the age of four, four and a half or five years. The suitability also varies here depending on the model.
- Material: Another important one The criteria are the materials used. While the frame is made of steel, wood or plastic, the tire is usually made of a plastic or rubber material. It is important to note that rubber tires in particular often have high levels of pollutants entail.
- Weight: Especially for small children, who usually do not have too much strength, the weight is also a key point. Depending on the model, the wheels have a weight of approximately 2.7 to 4.9 kg. The lighter the model, the easier it is for the child to handle it and to pick it up easily.
- Equipment: The different wheels are of course also equipped differently. There are wheels with running boards, stands, steering locks or just without these features. In particular, a running board and a steering lock turned out to be very useful components in the test.
- Price: When buying one Impeller is of course not to be ignored the price. While the price range goes up to a few hundred euros, you can also get for 30 to 75 Euro already very good models. The test winners, for example, are all more likely to be located in the cheaper price segment.
Pollutants: How dangerous are the impellers?
Pollutants in impellers are not a question of price: Stiftung Warentest has detected questionable quantities of undesirable substances in models of all price classes. “The amounts found are not acutely toxic. However, the substances can have a long-term effect in the organism if the little ones absorb them through the skin,” explains Stiftung Warentest. This already happens when there are harmful substances in the handlebars and in the saddle.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are particularly common in rubber tires. “Seven of the eight wheels, which have air-filled rubber tires, contained so much PAH that we rated them as poor,” summed up consumer advocates. This is annoying because rubber tires often contribute to better driving comfort. However, some PAH compounds can damage the genome, cause cancer and impair reproduction.
Concerned parents can contact the manufacturer and inquire whether stressed components or even the entire impeller is replaced. Among other things, Hudora, Kokua, Strider and Bikestar (Star Trademarks) have already announced that they are offering customers an exchange of parts.
What should parents pay attention to?
Children can reach high speeds with the wheels and be exposed to hazards again and again with any obstacles. Parents must therefore note that they always keep a watchful eye on the little ones when they whiz around with the wheel. A helmet is also indispensable in order not to endanger the child's safety.
Especially at the beginning, when the little ones learn to ride a bike, parents should guide them a little and support them if necessary. Of course, it is also important to start in protected areas without major dangers and obstacles.
Parents must also estimate when a child is ready to ride a bike. Children develop differently, which is why the beginning of cycling should not be fixed to an age. It is much more important for parents to decide whether the child is ready for this in terms of mental, physical and motor development or not.
In addition, parents should generally make sure that both the handlebar and the seat are correctly adjusted to the height of the child. It is particularly important that the little ones sit upright, can reach the steering wheel well and can of course touch the ground with their feet in order to drive and brake well.
What accessories are there for an impeller?
Basically, an impeller only has to bring two tires, a frame, seat and steering wheel with it. Equipment such as a running board or stand can, however, be useful additional equipment. Running wheels with running boards were particularly well received by the test children. This allowed them to rest their feet on it while driving and did not have to hold them uncomfortably in the air. Stands, on the other hand, turned out to be rather superfluous in the test.
A steering lock offers the children a little more security, as they can only turn the handlebars to a certain extent when driving. So instead of the handlebar around 360 To be able to turn degrees, turning to the left and right is restricted. Especially unsafe children can be given a safer hold. In return, however, cornering is somewhat difficult.
The most important questions about wheels at a glance:
How much does an impeller cost?
The price range for wheels up to a few hundred euros, but you can get a good wheel for 30 to 75 Euro. The test winners are all to be found in the more affordable price segment. Therefore, you do not have to spend a fortune to make your child happy and enable safe driving.
What types of wheels are there?
Wheels differ in particular in the material of the frame and the tire. While the frame mostly consists of steel or also of wood or plastic, the tires are usually made of rubber or plastic. There are also wheels with and without running boards and with and without stands. The wheels also differ in terms of steering angle.
For what age are wheels suitable?
When children can start using the balance bike depends heavily on the child's mental and motor development. As a rule, depending on the model, wheels are suitable for children up to the age of 4-5 years.
What equipment should a wheel have ?
With an impeller, the only requirement is that two tires, seat and steering wheel form a stable overall picture and the child can safely jet around. Helpful features include an adjustable seat and a footboard. A tight steering stop is also recommended for unsafe children. Plastic tires often contain fewer PAH pollutants, which is why they are more recommended.
How dangerous are the PAH pollutants on impellers?
The contained amounts of PAH – Pollutants in the tested impellers are not acutely toxic or life-threatening. Nevertheless, they can be absorbed through the skin through long-term contact and work in the organism. Some PAH compounds can damage the genome, cause cancer and impair reproduction. However, it should be mentioned that such pollutants have been found in tires in particular and skin contact here is generally rather minor.
Which wheel size fits?
Impellers are usually between 10 and 12 inches tall and suitable for different body sizes. However, since the models differ from manufacturer to manufacturer in this regard, the respective manufacturer's information and the size of the child should be taken into account. It is best to take your child with you to buy the wheel to find the right wheel size.
Where can you buy wheels?
wheels can be found online, for example at Amazon or Decathlon, as well as retail. Both bicycle dealers and baby markets usually have wheels in their range. Of course, wheels can also be bought used, such as on eBay or flea markets.
Overview of the test winners