Prior to the release of the Strider ST4 model in 2013, Strider’s ST3 balance bike model was a well-received, versatile balance bike in 2012. This page is dedicated to our Strider ST-3 review.
Its weight of 6.7 pounds, combined with its durable frame design made the ST3 easy for an 18-month-old to handle and challenging enough for a 5-year-old. Furthermore, the ST3 is a bike that can grow with the child’s physical requirements and riding experience.
Generally, with the introduction of the ST4 – a newer model with “improved” features – the Strider ST3 has become almost obsolete. It is still a very good bike with high-quality features. It continues to succeed in developing a child’s balance and coordination skills. But, it is now more of a collector’s item. With a price as high as $140, consumers may decide to choose the ST3’s successor – which is only at $100.
The ST3 is manufactured by the U.S based company Strider, who are well known for their innovative balance bikes. They are strong believers in the benefits of balance bikes and promote them through Balance Bike competitions such as the Strider British Balance Bike Championships and the Strider World Cup Championships in Florida.
Released in 2012, the ST3 succeeded the ST2, and offered an array of new features. It was lighter than the ST2 and offered redesigns in the handlebars, and seats – the ST3 was more ergonomic in those areas.
New Seat Design
The seat on the ST3 is smaller and weighs less than the seat on an ST2. The smaller size can better accommodate children with smaller hips. The seat is padded with a new comfort technology. Although the Strider ST3 comes standard with the new and smaller seat, Strider provides the consumer the option of purchasing a larger seat for older children.
The shape of the handgrips was redesigned to contour better to the child’s hands. The ridges provide a better grip and they are smaller in diameter.
The handlebars on the ST3 have also been redesigned to have a motor-cross look. Additional padding provides added protection for the rider.
The Strider ST3 comes standard with 12 inch foam tires. Strider calls these tires the Ultralight one-piece molded tires. Nothing needs to be assembled. The tires are made with EVA (Ethylene Vinyl Acetate) polymer tires which are puncture-free. Strider bikes favor the foam tires over the pneumatic as they are generally maintenance-free. Some major complaints about foam tires are that they are not as shock absorbent as pneumatic tires. Furthermore, they are not as good on non-paved surfaces as their pneumatic counterparts. They are not as flexible. Consumers, however are able to purchase a separate set of pneumatic tires and install the on the ST3.
The Strider ST3 uses cone and cup bearings for a smooth rotation of the wheel, and therefore a smooth riding experience. However, the cone and cup bearings are no longer the bearings of choice for Strider. The ST3’s successor – the ST4 – is equipped with sealed cartridge bearings, which prevent moisture and grit from entering it. Less maintenance is required, and a smoother, faster rotation of the wheel is achieved.
The benefit of the Strider ST3 is that it can accommodate several different-sized riders.
- Seat – As mentioned earlier in our review, the seat can be changed to a larger size. In addition to that, the seat height can be altered from a minimum height of 11 inches to 16 inches. If that range is not tall enough, extendable seat posts are available for purchase.
- Tires – Standard to the ST3 are molded, or foam, tires. Not everyone is convinced with the performance of the foam tires. Fortunately, the ST3 allows the consumer to switch from foam to air tires. The air tires need to be purchased separately.
- Handgrips – The hand grips on the ST3 come standard with the new Mini grips, but if these turn out to small, additional handgrips are available for purchase and come in a variety of colors and sizes.
- Footrests and Brakes – Another benefit to note from this Strider ST3 review are the unique add-on accessories that are usually unavailable with wooden balance bikes. Footrests and brake kits are available for consumers who prefer to have those features on the bikes. They do not come standard on the ST3, and many prefer it that way. The absence of footrests allow more running room for the child, and brakes can sometimes impeded with the child’s ability to learn balance and coordination on the balance bike.
- Ski Attachment – An accessory worth mentioning is the separate ski attachment. Attached right underneath the wheel, the ski attachments allow the child to continue developing balance and coordination even during the winter season.
Compared to many of its competitors, particularly the wooden balance bikes, the ST3 provides the rider the opportunity to develop skills beyond the balancing and steering. The ST3’s steel frame design make it durable for interesting bike tricks. Additionally, the ST3 can be used during the winter season, if ski attachments are purchased.
- Weight: 6.4lbs
- Dimensions: 30” x 10” x 6”
- Maximum weight capacity: 60lbs
- Seat height, adjustable: 11” to 16”
- Quick clamps on handlebar and saddle post
- Handlebar height 20” to 23”
- 12” molded wheels
- Puncture free EVA polymer tires
- Welded steel frame and handlebars
- Thing gauge steel frame design
- LAUNCHPAD footrests
- 12” molded wheel with cup and cone bearings, but sealed bearings with ST4. Susceptible to wear.
- 1 year warranty
- Available in red, green blue, orange and pink
- Add on accessories, pneumatic tires, xl seat, extendable seat post, brake kit, and ski kit
- New and ergonomic features provide a better riding experience over its predecessors. Such same reasons make the ST3 available for toddlers as small as 18 months old.
- Enough cannot be said about the ST3’s versatility. With several options available to modify the bike for summer or winter seasons; and the availability of add-on accessories to adjust the bike according to the rider’s physical attributes, the ST3 is a very good bike to own. It can get passed on to several children in the family.
- The quality of the bike makes it durable against different weather conditions, and rider use. The steel frame, and puncture-free tires (to name a few), makes the ST3 a better investment over its wooden balance bike competitors.
- The ST3 is being outshined by its successor the ST4, so it’s the older model. Its successor, the ST4 has several upgraded features such as: a new tread pattern on the tire – which is supposed to be better at traction. The sealed cartridge bearings on the wheels are more durable. They do not allow grit in and therefore less wear and maintenance is required on the ST4’s wheels. The ST3 has a cone and cup bearing which are easily worn out if moisture gets into them.
- Currently, the ST3’s price is higher than the ST4 (unless the consumer can find it on sale elsewhere). In some sense, it’s becoming a collector’s item. Since it is no longer being manufactured as much as the ST4 (if Stider hasn’t already discontinued production on the product), the demand for the ST3 is low; hence the higher price.
On its own, the Strider ST3 is a great balance bike for children. It’s still relatively a new product that came out in 2012 which isn’t that too long ago. Its features are of excellent and durable quality, so it can withstand the harsh weather conditions, and harsh riding treatments. It still offers the same flexibility in its accessories as the new ST4. It’s also just as versatile. One of the major things working against the ST3 is the fact that it is now an older model. Consumers tend to go for the new as we automatically assume that the new one is better.
Furthermore, the ST3’s price is a little higher than the ST4. Currently, at price of $130. Consumers may be able to find the ST3 cheaper elsewhere, and if they do, they should not hesitate in purchasing it. It’s a great bike that can be passed on to siblings, or friends, and still maintain a high quality performance.