A balance bike helps children learn balance and steering. It has no pedals or drivetrain. The idea behind a balance bike such as the Strider is that children learn balance first before moving on to pedals.
For the bike to work properly the child must be able to walk the bike while sitting on the seat comfortably. Which was an issue for us when we were looking for a bike for our daughter Bean as she was not quite 2 yet and would not fit on a 12" frame which at that time was all that was available where we live. After driving all over town looking we ended up purchasing a Strider from a woman selling them from her home. The reason we chose the Strider was that the seat and handle bars move to accommodate a growing child and it has an 11" frame which worked for Bean. We have since learned you can buy different brands in 10" or 12" but most don't allow for growth. Here is Bean on her very first ride.
Bean started off by walking while sitting on her bike, as she grew more comfortable she started to run on it and eventually she would run and then lift her feet, resting them on the bike gliding. By the times she was 2.5 years old she was fast and comfortable. Before her third birthday she could probably have moved up to a pedal bike but as it was going into fall we held off until this spring.
Bean started off this year on her strider and started to race in BMX.
This month we ordered her a pedal bike (an amazing bike by the Canadian company Spawn Cycles). We took her out on her new bike helping her for about 20min on the way to the park. Once at the park we let go of the back seat and she was off. She spent the better part of the day riding circles around us. The next evening she was on the BMX track with it.
I'm positive that her quick transition to the pedal bike was because of her ability to balance and her confidence that she gained through using the Strider. I have nannied in the past where kids have used training wheels and it took years and bike camps to be able to remove the training wheels.