Recently I was writing an article about the best balance bikes, and asked a group of cycling parents for their recommendations. I have to confess I was surprised by the number of people who recommended the Puky Balance Bikes. I had so many comments I couldn’t fit them into the original article!
As I started looking at the different models of the Puky Balance Bikes I started to get a bit confused, as they all have similar names. To help clarify what’s available, here’s my summary of the different Puky balance bikes, together with the reasons that parents have given me for loving them.
“We love our Puky. Currently on our second daughter, hoping to transition straight to pedals without stabilisers as we did with our eldest. A solid little bike that hasn’t let us down!” – Emma
At the end of the post you’ll find a comparison table, which I hope you find useful.
Who are Puky and why do parents love their balance bikes?
Puky are a German company that have been manufacturing kids bikes and scooters since 1949. They launched their first balance bike in 2003, and over the past 13 years the Puky Balance Bike has become a firm favourite both in Germany and here in the UK. Recently, I asked a group of parents which balance bike they used. The Puky came out as the most popular, with every comment incredibly positive to reflect the quality of German design and manufacture.
“Some things I like about the Puky:
The footrest – it looks much more comfortable for children than holding legs in the air, everything is rounded (unlike some scooters where they can bash your shins painfully when you carry them);
the tyres / wheels seem very easy to balance on;
and the price – sufficiently cheap to be within many people’s budget and could be a real bargain 2nd hand. Also light and durable and can go really fast.
You see them in lots of toy shops in Germany which is great and probably is one reason why so many German families use them. Also seen children use them on a pump track in Germany. In its standard red trim, it is also a really nice looking bike, would do both boys and girls and won’t date.” – Catherine
Different models of the Puky Balance Bike
Since 2003, the Puky balance bike have evolved into a range aimed at different ages and sizes of children. There are currently 6 different models, with differences including size, wheels, colour choice, tyres and braking. All Puky balance bikes (except the LR Ride) come with the following features, so I won’t list these out for each model:
- a low step through frame and platform
- learner bike saddles which are ergonomically shaped to support the child’s walking movements
- carry handle on saddle for when your child gets fed up with riding
- height adjustable handlebar and saddle, allowing 7cm of growth from the smallest recommended height
- handlebar grips
- sealed precision ball bearings used on steering and wheel hubs
- tough scratch resistant powder coating which makes the steel Puky balance bike frame robust in all conditions
The six different models are listed below, together with some of the comments I received from parents whose children have used Puky balance bikes.
Puky LR M Balance Bike (RRP £69.99)
The LR M is Puky’s smallest balance bike and is suitable for toddlers with a height of 85cm (inside leg from 30cm), which is about the age of 2 years. At only 3.5 kg the Puky LRM is an incredibly light balance bike. The Puky LR M comes with soft foam tyres that are lightweight and flexible, and won’t suffer from punctures.
“For my youngest we bought the 18 months plus size Puky when she was 2 and a bit and just left it on the floor to see what she would do with it. She picked it up, pushed it to the pavement and got on it as if she had been riding a bike her whole life and gently sat-walked down the street! She rode that bike till she was 4 1/2 as Puky bikes seem to have much larger than average seat adjustment (seems to apply to their bigger bikes too) and mean Mummy and Daddy weren’t going to buy yet another small bike when her big sister had one to pass down! The lack of pedals wasn’t an obstacle for either speed or distance as she could manage a trip into town at age 3 and the Puky was small enough to bungee onto my bike when she got tired and put her in the child seat. She’s 9 now and still remembers that bike and points them out when she spots one “that’s My bike”!” – Mair
Puky LR 1 balance Bike (RRP £79.99)
The Puky LR1 is larger than the LRM, being aimed at ages 3 years and over. The minimum height for the LR1 is 90cm, with an inside leg of 35cm. It comes with the same soft foam tyres as the LR M, but also has a kickstand. The larger frame and kickstand bring this bike in at 5.2kg.
The Puky LR 1 is available in two colour choices, Red and Green. However, there are very few of these bikes available in the UK. Most of the bikes sold are the LR M and the LR 1L (coming next), although some are incorrectly listed as being the LR 1. Check the tyres and the kickstand to check you’re getting the model you want!
“Puky all the way! My little girl was riding an Islabike pedal bike by the time she was just 3 years old thanks to the 2 Puky balance bikes we had bought her. My son likewise.” – Louise
Puky LR 1L balance bike (RRP £79.99)
The main difference between the LR 1 and the LR 1L is that the latter comes with pneumatic tyres. All sizings and weights on the Puky LR 1L are the same as the LR 1. The pneumatic tyres (on all the relevant Puky Balance Bikes) come without hub cabs to meet safety regulations about small detachable parts that could pose a choking hazard.
“Both my children had Puky balance bikes (a very hard wearing German make). My eldest rode to kindergarten and back on pavements and unmade tracks every day, rode round forest tracks whilst walking the dog etc, from the age of 3 and quickly progressed to a pedal bike (no stabilizers) at 3.5yrs. My youngest child had less exposure to balance biking as we had moved to an area that was not as cycle friendly, but he was still pedalling before his 4th birthday. Puky can be expensive but really well made and robust enough for some off roading” – Helen
Puky LR 1L BR balance bike (RRP £89.99)
The Puky LR1 BR is the same frame size as the LR1, but comes equipped with a rear brake. This balance bike is Puky’s best selling model.
Some parents like the addition of brakes, others feel their youngster is too young to use them properly and stick with the LR 1L.
“My son had a Puky which had a brake which got him started riding. He’s now 14, so this was a long time ago. We then had several other Puky’s as they are very good.” – Adam
Puky LR XL balance bike (RRP £115.99)
Now, if I was in charge of the Puky naming conventions, I would have called this the Puky LR 1XL BR, as it’s larger than the LR 1L and comes with pneumatic tyres and rear V brake. I guess this is a little too much to remember, so the Puky LR XL it is (and why I’m not in charge of the Puky naming conventions!)
The LR XL differs from the other bikes in that it has spoked pneumatic wheels, which make it look more like a “proper” bike. The larger frame size is designed for kids with a height of 95cm and inside leg 42cm. Weight-wise it’s slightly heavier than the previous models at 5.5kg.
The Puky LR XL retails at an RRP of £115.99 and comes in two colour choices – green , black and white.
Puky LR Ride balance bike (RRP £194.99)
Puky’s top of the range model is the LR Ride. Aluminium frame, forks, hubs and rims together with rear suspension and brake and a weight of just 4.2 kg indicate that Puky may be having to compete with a new generation of lightweight balance bikes from other manufacturers.
You’ll notice that the distinctive Puky footrest is missing on this – the design is more aligned to the balance bikes other top end manufacturers now make.
None of the parents who contacted me had this bike – it’s new and will therefore be appealing to anyone looking for something a bit different in the playground. The price means it’s unlikely to usurp the other models any time soon.
A summary of Puky Balance Bikes
The Puky balance bikes are well loved by so many parents, and looking at the history of the brand and the detailing on the bikes, I can see why. Puky have a range of bikes at various price points, which should appeal to the vast majority of parents. The comments I kindly received from members of the Family Cycling UK and Preowned Frog Bikes For Sale Facebook Groups were all incredibly enthusiastic – it seems Puky balance bikes are as popular with the parents as the kids!
An ‘at a glance’ summary of the Puky Balance Bikes
We took this link from www.cyclesprog.co.uk – UK’s leading website for family cycling, written by parents for parents