Ottawa Balance Bikes - a Strider Prebike Dealer Canada

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you have STRIDERs in stock?
I try to have all colors and models in stock at all times but run out of a color occationally between shipments. If you have a particular color in mind please let me know and I can set one aside for you or order one in if I'm temprarily out of stock.

Do you have demo bikes for viewing and test rides?
I have several demo bikes that you can see and check out and test ride. Contact me to schedule a test ride or to see a bike.

How do I know if a STRIDER will fit my child?
The STRIDER will fit most kids ages 18 months to 5 years. The seat can be adjusted from 11 inches to 16 inches to accommodate the needs of your growing child. You want about a 1/2 to 1 inch gap between the child's crotch and seat when standing flat footed and straight legged over the bike. For children with an inseam (crotch to floor with shoes on) longer than 16 1/2 inches an optional XL seat post (extra-long) is available this increases the max seat height to 19". If the rider is 4 or 5 years old or a long legged 3 year old they typically require the XL seat post. If you bring your child along to test ride a bike it can be easy to see if they are too tall for the regular seat and would require the additional taller one. Another way is to simply measure the child's inseam from floor to crotch with shoes on. An easy way to do this is to place them back to a wall with their legs together. Slide a book skinny ways through their legs up against their crotch like a bike seat and mark the wall. Then measure the height on from floor to the mark on the wall. If the height is greater than 16 1/2 the taller seat would allow them to ride properly. The STRIDER also has a max rider weight of 60lbs. If you think your child may be too big for a STRIDER but are interested in a balance bike please contact me and I can help to offer other options.

My child already has a tricycle.  Why should I get a Strider balance bike?
Kids can only pedal along on the sidewalk with a tricycle.  STRIDER running bikes are really fun.  A kid on a STRIDER can go anywhere.  If you take your child for a walk with a tricycle, you are always waiting for him or her to catch up.  If you take a child for a walk with a STRIDER running bike, you’ll be hurrying to keep up with your child.  Kids learn balance, steering, and self-confidence on a STRIDER.  On a tricycle they don’t learn any of the skills needed to eventually ride a regular pedal bike.  In addition, the STRIDER running bike weighs less than half as much as most tricycles and, therefore, is much more manageable for a small child.

My child is about ready for a regular bicycle.  Wouldn’t I be wasting money buying her a STRIDER balance bike?
We don’t think so.  Most STRIDER kids easily make the transition from their STRIDER running bike to a regular pedal bike without the need for training wheels.  They’ve already learned the necessary balance and steering skills.  Most kids still ride their STRIDER running bike after they get their pedal bike because they can do more tricks, have more fun, and go more places on the running bike.

What can a child do on a STRIDER running bike that he/she can’t do on a tricycle or regular pedal bike?
We’ve set up demonstration courses and had first time riders going up ramp-like teeter-totters in fifteen minutes.  It’s really rewarding to watch a formerly timid three- year old shout, “Daddy. Watch me!” just before he/she goes up and over the teeter-totter.  Kids also make their STRIDER into off-road vehicles, which they cannot do on tricycles and regular pedal bikes without great strength and skill.

My child is already using a pedal bike with training wheels-can the STRIDER still be a useful learning tool for him/her?
Training wheels are very scary for children. The sensation of tipping from side-to-side keeps them from focusing on the task at hand, pedaling and steering. Learning to balance and steer on the STRIDER makes the transition to the pedal bike much easier. Forget the training wheels, once the child is confident on the STRIDER, he/she will be able to transfer quickly to a pedal bike without training wheels.

How old does a child have to be to ride a STRIDER balance bike?
The STRIDER PREbike is built mainly for children ages 1 to 5 or up to 50 lbs.  If a child can place his/her feet flat on the ground while sitting on the seat, he/she can ride a STRIDER running bike.  A few kids fifteen months old have learned to ride a STRIDER better than they can walk.  We suggest a 1 to 5 year old range and an inseam of at least 11”.

How do I teach my child to ride a STRIDER running bike?
Don’t worry, your child will figure it out a lot faster than you will figure out a way to teach him/her.  For some reason STRIDER operation seems to come to children naturally. They do better getting encouragement from parents rather than getting riding tips or instruction. It is normal for kids to walk with the bike when they first start. Most kids won't even sit down to begin with. Eventually they wll sit and glide. Some kids catch on after watching another child ride either in person or on a video. Another way to get them to try sitting is to find a small hill to go down. This way they can sit, lift their feet and let gravity provide the momentum. They can easily put their feet down if they get off balance or feel like they are going to fast.

We live in a place with no sidewalks. Can my child still use a STRIDER running bike?
Sure.  Kids can’t develop enough leg power to operate a regular bicycle “off-road,” but they can ride a STRIDER running bike on grass, gravel (if it is not too deep), and up and down dirt mounds.

Can the seat height be adjusted?
The standard seat that comes with all STRIDER 12 models can be adjusted from 11 inches to 16 inches to accommodate the needs of your growing child. When they outgrow the standard seat the XL seat can be used. It can be adjusted between 15 inches and 19 inches in height. It can be purchased seperately or come included with the sport, KTM, Husqvarna and Pro models. Those models come with 2 seats.

Is any assembly necessary?
Assembly is very basic, taking approximately 5 minutes: Only and allen key, which is provided, is required and you simply have to slide a few pieces together. Adjust the seat height and handle bar height to fit your child and your STRIDER is ready to go.

What does the STRIDER weigh?
The STRIDER weighs 6.4 pounds, (less than 1/3 the weight of a comparable pedal bike with training wheels!) It is light enough for a very small child to lift over obstacles and easy for a caretaker to throw in the back of the car for an outing at the park. The Pro weights in at just 5.3 pounds

What colours does the STRIDER come in?
The STRIDER 12 Classic is available in Red and Blue. The Sport in Green, Blue, Red and Pink and the Pro in silver. The branded STRIDERs such as the KTM come in various colours. The STRIDER 16 and 20 models come in red, blue, green, white and black.

Does the STRIDER have brakes?
The beginning rider should only use his/her feet against the ground to control speed and to stop. For the advanced rider, the STRIDER is designed to accept an optional foot-operated rear friction brake that not only stops the STRIDER quickly, but also creates a cool skid mark when applied hard! The brake is a simple one-bolt installation.

How does the rear brake work?
The rear brake is a simple lever that presses a friction plate against the rear wheel. The lever has a single pivot located on the underside of the frame and an elastomer spring to hold it disengaged. The rear brake is a simple one-bolt installation that takes just a couple minutes with basic tools. This can be ordered through our online store.

Why doesn't it have a hand brake?
We want children to be safe. We researched various "stopping" methods as they relate to really young children. In the end, in a panic situation, the natural instinct of children is to put their feet down. Even children capable of using a brake revert to planting their feet if they have to stop quickly. The hand brake option does not make sense based on child anatomy... just gripping the bar is a handful for a 2-3 year old hand... their fingers are not long or strong enough to pull a brake lever.

What kind of tires does the STRIDER have?
In keeping with our emphasis on the "Fun" factor, the STRIDER comes with super-light, maintenance-free EVA Polymer tires. No flats, no pumping air, just get on and go. The STRIDER uses an 8" moulded rim with top quality sealed catridge bearings that roll smooth and never need adjusting. The actual outside diameter of the foam tire is 11 inches.

What type of material is used to build the STRIDER?
In keeping with our emphasis on the “Fun” factor, the STRIDER comes with super-light, maintenance-free foam tires. No flats, no pumping air, just get on and go. The STRIDER uses an 8” molded rim riding on sealed bearings and a steel axle. The actual outside diameter of the foam tire is 11 inches. The majority of the STRIDER frame is made from durable, light gauge steel tubing, the wheels from heavy plastic, and the tires from solid foam. The STRIDER is not a fragile toy; it is a well-built vehicle that should easily serve several growing children.

How does riding a STRIDER benefit a child?
With the light weight and simplicity of a STRIDER, young riders soon feel confident and in control. At this young age, bicycles are simply too tall, too heavy, and too complex for youngsters to feel this sense of control. Advances in coordination and balance follow quickly as do the development of the thought processes necessary for steering, crossing obstacles, backing up, and doing tricks. To watch this development of thought and skill is actually quite amazing.

Does the STRIDER have benefits for parents or other caretakers? Could one even hope for benefits for a parent from such a small vehicle that benefits kids so much? You Bet! Freedom! Freedom from carrying a tired or rebelling child, and freedom from coaxing a dawdling one to keep up. In fact, the parent will soon become the one trying to keep up; brisk walks, jogging, or bicycling now become exercise options to make outings more enjoyable for everyone. The outings will no longer be limited to flat, hard surfaces either, the STRIDER will easily handle a forest trail or a two-track dirt road if you feel like a walk in the woods... try that with training wheels or a trike!

How will I know when my child is ready to move from a STRIDER to a regular pedal bike?
When you see your child coasting down hills with his/her feet up, going over and around obstacles, and speeding along with forceful strides, you will know that he/she has mastered the necessary techniques of balance and steering to begin riding a pedal bike. The transition will be quick and easy. However, you will discover that even though your child can ride his/her pedal bike without training wheels, he/she will continue to ride his/her STRIDER for pure fun. On the STRIDER, a child is confident enough to continually push to higher levels of expertise. Eventually, these higher thinking, higher level skills are transferred to his/her pedal bike. At this point, the child may 'hang up' the STRIDER. However, we have found there is usually a one to two year overlap when the child rides both. Both my kids pedalled before 4 but still rode the STRIDER well past 5. When they learned to pedal on a 12 inch bike they had to stand and pedal like mad to get the same top speed as they had on their STRIDER. The pedal bike used much more energy as their legs were going like crazy where the STRIDER they could just run and reach the same speed. They also loved the STRIDER to just goof off and try new stunts and tricks especially at the skate park.

How early should a parent introduce his/her child to a new physical activity like biking?
Pediatric neurologists have long noted that there is a rapid learning curve in children ages 0-6. Most of the great masters in sports and music have begun study at a very early age. We have found that kids have a natural curiosity about the STRIDER. Watch some of our video clips to see pre-two year olds start their STRIDER experience. They are not frightened by the STRIDER, and they advance quickly on their own.

Why doesn't the STRIDER have a steering limiter like some other brands?
Through our testing and research, we've come to believe that a steering limiter is a hindrance to the child's development and a potential safety issue in the event of a fall. A steering limiter becomes a 'crutch' that keeps the child from fully learning the skill of steering a two wheeled vehicle. Bicycles don't have steering limiters so at the time of transition to a bicycle, the child runs the risk of not understanding how to set his/her own steering limits through rider input. We feel this steering control should be learned from Day 1 while the child is moving slowly and evolve with the child through the years. As for safety, a steering limiter keeps the handlebars from being able to fold flat to the ground in the event of a fall and potentially impaling the child in the face, neck or chest.

Where are you located for pickup?
We are located in Barrhaven in Ottawa, Ontario.  If Barrhaven is too far shipping or possibly an alternate pickup location can be worked out.  Contact us for more info.

Where do you ship?
For the price of shipping we will ship anywhere in Canada.  If you can not pickup your order in Ottawa and would like it shipped contact us for a quote on shipping costs and delivery estimates.

My child is kind of timid.  Will they be able to ride a STRIDER running bike?
Probably.  Most kids feel very comfortable on a STRIDER running bike, because they feel totally in control.  They have four points of contact with the ground (both feet and both wheels) and the running bike is much lighter than a conventional bike or tricycle and, therefore, easier to handle.

I’ve heard a lot about toxic paint.  Is the paint on the STRIDER safe and what colors are offered?
STRIDER running bikes are manufactured in China.  The paint has been tested by an independent lab and has been certified safe.  It exceeds the safety standards set by codes such as California’s Proposition 65. 

Why can’t I just take the pedals off a regular bike?
You could, but a conventional bike will still be too tall and too heavy for your two year old.  The STRIDER running bike is uniquely designed to allow the seat to be adjusted five or six inches lower than the seat on a conventional bike (or other running bikes) and at only 6.4 pounds it weighs about half as much as a regular pedal bike.

Does the STRIDER have a warranty?
Yes, the STRIDER comes with a 2 year warranty against manufacturing defects. The warranty is limited to riders less than 60 lbs. The STRIDER serial number needs to be registered to activate the warranty. The bottom line, though, is we want you to be satisfied with the product, and we want you to share that satisfaction with other parents. We welcome feedback and will quickly respond to warranty issues. STRIDER doesn't get a lot of claims, almost all are a part that can be replaced, not the whole bike. If it’s just a part, they send it out as soon as they are satisfied that they know the problem. If I have the part in stock you can pick it up from us or you can wait for it to be shipped to you directly. If the entire bike needs to be replaced then the faulty bike needs to be shipped back to Strider and a new one will be shipped to you. We can handle this for you. If I have a bike in stock in the correct color you can take a new one home that day. If I don't have the exact color you can choose from the colors I have in stock or wait for STRIDER to ship you a new one in your original color. I make an attempt to keep all colors in stock on a regular basis. All shipping fees are covered by STRIDER

What forms of payment do you accept?
We accept Cash, Cheque, Email Transfers, PayPal, Visa, Master Card and American Express.

How do I go about purchasing a bike or scheduling a test ride?
Just send me an email or give me a call and we can set up a time that is conveniant for both of us. I am located in Barrhaven and my pickup times vary since I have 2 of my own and work part-time but I am flexible and will work with you to find a time that can work for everyone.

What is the difference between the various STRIDER 12 models?
Compare the various models here.