How early is too early to introduce your child to bikes? If you consider yourself a cyclist, and you’re also a parent, you may have already pondered that question. When it comes to first bikes, balance bikes seem to have won out as the gateway to pedaling freedom, but what comes before a balance bike?

For Strider, that answer is the 2-in-1 Rocking Bike. Think balance bike meets rocking horse. Only, this rocking horse can detach from its base and roll around the neighborhood as a fully functioning balance bike as well.

Strider Sport 2-in-1 Rocking Bike base platform pieces

First introduced a handful of years ago, Strider just made a substantial improvement to the Rocking Base design. Namely, the complete platform is now entirely tool free. After shipping out in a box the same size as a 12″ Strider bike, the Rocking Base assembles from five main pieces.

Strider Sport 2-in-1 Rocking Bike base platform locking pin

Once you snap each of the rocking runners together, the top platform interlocks with the runners. Then, large locking pins hold it all together.

Strider Sport 2-in-1 Rocking Bike base platform wheel support

It’s the same story for the bike support stands. They simply slide into place, locking with an audible ‘click.’ Note that there are two different sets of supports – one for the front and one for the rear.

Strider Sport 2-in-1 Rocking Bike front wheel mount

Strider Sport 2-in-1 Rocking Bike rear wheel mount

Which allows for the biggest improvement to the Rocking Base – quick release bike mounts! As you transition your little one from the rocking stage to the balance stage, there will be plenty of times where you’ll want to take the bike off the Rocking Base for a quick exploratory session. But then mount it right back onto the Rocking Base until the next time.

Easy Installation and Removal

Strider Sport 2-in-1 Rocking Bike rocking platform

Thanks to the quick releases, installation and removal of the bike is extremely quick. Just line up the front axle with the slots on the front wheel support, slide it back, place the rear axle on the rear support, and snap on the quick release caps. To remove, just revers the process.

In spite of the lack of tools and quick releases, the Rocking Base is surprisingly secure. And strong. Strider lists a maximum rider weight of 40lbs (18kg), but I can confirm that it can support my full weight…

The new Rocking Base is sold separately for $79.99 and is compatible with the 12″ Strider bike line including the Classic, Sport, and Pro Balance Bikes.

Strider Sport 2-in-1 Rocking Bike

Strider Sport 2-in-1 Rocking Bike complete bike

But the platform is also sold in a package with a 12″ balance bike to go along with it. There is a choice for the Sport model shown above which features a steel frame, or the Pro model which lightens things up with an aluminum frame for a bit more money.

Strider sent over the Sport 2-in-1, and like the Rocking Base that came with it, assembly was tool free. Almost. Shown above is how the bike actually ships with the wheels and seat/seat post already installed (that extra seat post is the XL post for when your kid grows out of the first one).

All there is to assemble the bike is to slip a plastic “bearing” over the steerer, put the steerer in the head tube, add another plastic disc on top, and then install the quick release and the bar/stem. I needed the included allen wrench to tighten the quick release bolt, but that was the only tool needed for the job.

Cartridge bearings are used in each hub, so no adjustments needed there. The axle nuts were plenty tight. The tires are air-less and made from a super light foam, so you can forget the pump (and flats). And without a real headset, there is nothing to adjust. Strider seems to acknowledge that while most kids ride bikes, most parents are not bicycle mechanics. And thanks to the clever packaging, if your kid opens this as a gift, you’ll be able to get them riding in no time – regardless of your technical abilities.

Without the Rocking Base, Strider lists the 12″ Sport Balance Bike as intended for 18 mos – 5 years old. However, add in the Rocking Base and that recommendation drops down to 6 – 18 mos. That obviously depends on your child’s development and their ability to balance themselves on the seat and grasp the handlebar. Our daughter is just over 11 mos. now, and is able to fully support herself on the Rocking Bike, and is curiously figuring it out at her own pace.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Dads & moms out there, it’s worth the effort to find a balance bike with brakes, at least rear brakes. My son and later daughter both rode single-track with me on his Cleary Starfish with front and rear brakes. After a month or so of practice on road. Without brakes, kids have to drag their feet to slow down and ruin shoes in process. Slowing down with feet also makes it easier to lose control. With brakes they learn to manage speed better and have a skill they can build upon when they move on to pedals.

    • They do sell a brake kit for these bikes. It’s a foot brake, that attached the bottom hole under the chainstay. Probably not as effective as hand brakes, but for $10 and no cables and no adjustments to make, it seems like an interesting option for most young riders. But yeah, if you have a talented young rider, then teaching them how to properly use both brakes early is a good idea.

  2. Agree on the brake. They really need to fix the headset on these too. It’s just a bushing and my son didn’t like riding it because it had a lot of stiction. It makes it so they have to make a ton of corrections just to stay straight. If you have ever had a bad headset on your bike you’d know that a smooth headset is so important. (We moved to a kick bike with a bearing headset and he loved it as did my daughter)

  3. I have enjoyed watching my son progress from the rocker base to pushing his strider around to the side. At 21 months he’s not coasting just yet. I do wonder about the weird handling given the bar mounts directly above the steerer tube with no forward offset as a bike with a stem would have. There is a slight curve to the bars and he prefers to steer it with ends of bars facing forward which seems backwards but actually puts his hands in a more natural position relative to the head tube/ steerer. Anyone else have input on this?

COMMENT HERE: (For best results, log in through Wordpress or your social media account. Anonymous/fake email comments may be unapproved or deleted. ALL first-time commenter's posts are held for moderation. Check our Comment Policy for full details.)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.