Best Bikes for Toddlers

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Toddlers are like a whirlwind of energy. They can tire you out in a matter of hours. Well, why not put that energy into something useful like riding a bike? Before you shake your head and think that your baby’s just too young, let us tell you that there are bikes perfect for kids ages 2-4 years old – toddler bikes. And there are the benefits. Aside from tiring them out, riding a bike at that young age can help their development – balance, coordination, and control. It’ll also help them learn independence. Plus, even kids need to exercise. Now, there are plenty of toddler bikes available. But if you don’t have time to peruse all the choices, you can just stick to those that we’ve deemed best. We’ve listed them all down below.

Ride-On Toy:

Chillafish BUNZI Review

This Ride-on Toy is perfect for children aged 1 to 2 years old. It’s a 2-in-1 bike where your little one can start out using the 3-wheel mode which has a bike seat that’s 22cm high. Once your child is big enough, you can transition him or her to the 2-wheel mode that has a bike seat that’s 25cm high. The bike itself is made of lightweight, ABS material with a hidden storage box within the seat where your toddler can put his toy or snack. What makes this our favorite among all ride-on toys is the fact that there’s no need to use tools just to switch between modes. However, the bike height is only adjustable if you switch between modes. It can be quite easy for your child to outgrow this toy; a lot of children 2 years old or above may be too tall for this toy.

PROS
  • 2-in-1 ride-on toy
  • Lightweight
  • Hidden storage box
CONS
  • Seat height is not adjustable
  • Very small; your child may outgrow it quickly

XJD Baby Balance Bike Review

This is another ride-on toy that caught our eye because of its easy assembly and durability. You don’t need any tools to assemble the bike. And while it is quite light, the frame is still made of steel. The toy comes with a comfortable banana seat, soft handlebars, and anti-skid mute wheels that are completely enclosed to ensure your kid’s feet do not get pinched. Plus, the toy is ASTM F963-11, EN71, CE Certification Approved. However, this is only good for children 10 months (if already walking) to 2 years. As some parents have reported, your child may quickly outgrow this as the seat is not adjustable. It is more expensive than the BUNZI. And this is not ideal for use on the carpet.

PROS
  • Easy to assemble
  • Durable
  • ASTM F963-11, EN71, CE Certification Approved
CONS
  • More expensive
  • Seat is not adjustable
  • Not for use on carpets

Balance Bikes:

Banana Bike LT Review

If your child is too big for a ride-on toy, then the next step to take is to get a balance bike. And the Banana Bike LT is our first pick in this category. This bike can be used by children as young as 18 months old because it has a seat that has a minimum height of 12.2 inches. The maximum seat height is 15.75 inches. The bike itself is quite light, easy to carry. However, there is no footrest on this balance bike where your toddler can put his feet up as he glides. The tires are made of plastic which some parents dislike. Also, some report that the handlebars on their kids’ bikes frequently become loose.

PROS
  • lightweight
  • easy to assemble
  • minimum seat height of 12.2 inches
CONS
  • plastic tires
  • handlebars get loose frequently
  • no footrests

Critical Cycles Cub Review

The Critical Cycles Cub is quite similar to the Banana Bike LT. It comes with air-free plastic tires and a high-tensile strength steel frame. The difference is the seat. The minimum seat height is 12.5 inches while the maximum height of the seat is 17.5 inches which means your kid can use it far longer than the Banana Bike LT. Also, it’s quite easy to adjust. Another difference is the presence of footrests which make it easier for your kid to glide. Just take note that smaller kids might find their heels hitting the footrest as they try to get some speed. The paint which looks cool does get scratched very easily. Also, it is heavier compared to the Banana Bike LT.

PROS
  • easy to assemble
  • footrest
  • wider range of height adjustments
CONS
  • paint is easily scratched
  • plastic tires
  • heavier

Strider 12 Pro Balance Bike Review

The Strider Pro is the most advanced of all balance bikes on our list. The frame is made of aluminum alloy which allows the bike to be a light 5.3 lbs. Both handlebars and seat are adjustable. Both have pads as well. Aside from the standard seatpost which is ideal for kids aged 18 months to 36 months, this balance bike also comes with the XL seatpost which enables your kid to use the bike until he’s under 60 lbs (5 years old). Just in case you’re wondering, the seat height range on this one is 30-48 cm (11 to 19 inches) which makes it perfect for kids with an inseam of 30-51 cm (12-20 in.). However, it still has plastic wheels. It is quite expensive – almost 3x the price of the other two. And there’s no handbrake.

PROS
  • incredibly lightweight
  • comes with an extra seat
  • adjustable seat and handlebars
CONS
  • expensive
  • no handbrake
  • plastic wheels

FirstBIKE Cross Bike with Brake Review

The FirstBIKE Cross Bike is one-of-a-kind and not only because of its unique design. It has a weatherproof composite frame, a child-sized handbrake, a steering limiter, and air tires. Speaking of the tires, these are designed for off-road surfaces. The entire bike’s frame is smooth with recessed bolts which helps reduce the risk of your child getting injured by the bike should he fall. Have we mentioned that the frame has a lifetime warranty. The seat is U-shaped and has a gel-like composition. The seat height ranges from 12 to 18 inches. The weight of the bike is 8.4 lbs. However, it has no footrest and it’s expensive. Also, the flexibility of the frame can make it uncomfortable for a kid older than 3 years or over 40 lbs to ride because it wobbles.

PROS
  • weatherproof composite frame
  • child-sized handbrake
  • off-road tires
CONS
  • not for kids more than 3 years old or 40 lbs up
  • no footrest
  • expensive

Cruzee UltraLite Balance Bike Review

The Cruzee Ultralite Balance Bike is another high-end model. It has a rust-free anodized aluminum frame, maintenance-free sealed bearings, low-profile axle bolts, and an integrated footrest. It’s actually much lighter than any of the other models at just 4.4 lbs. In addition, the handlebars and seat are adjustable. The bike comes with 2 seat posts. It can be ridden by kids as young as 18 months (lowest seat setting is 11.5 inches) and as old as 5 years of age (max seat height is 19 inches). However, the frame scratches easily. There is no handbrake. And the foam tires don’t get good traction unless on paved surfaces.

PROS
  • lightweight
  • handlebar and seat heights are adjustable
  • integrated footrest
CONS
  • no handbrake
  • foam tires may not get good traction except on paved roads
  • no handbrake

Pedal Bikes:

RoyalBaby BMX Freestyle Kid’s Bike Review

The RoyalBaby BMX Freestyle Kid’s Bike is the perfect choice for when your kid is ready to graduate to pedaling. The bike features a sturdy steel frame, a one-piece crank, ball bearing drive shaft, a full chain guard, and steel wheels with pneumatic rubber tires. The bike comes with a variety of tire sizes. The range of the seat height varies depending on the size of the tire. As for safety, the bike comes with two kinds of brakes – a front caliper brake and a rear coaster brake. There’s even a water bottle and holder. However, it is a heavy bike. And some parents report that the pedals on their kids’ bikes come loose at times. Also, there’s no kickstand to keep the bike upright.

PROS
  • comes with a variety of tire sizes
  • features a water bottle and holder
  • two brakes
CONS
  • heavy
  • pedals tend to come loose
  • no kickstand

Woom 2 Review

The WOOM 2 is another great toddler bike for kids who can now ride a pedal bike. The bike is designed for kids ages 3 to 4.5 years of age or those with a height of 37 to 43 inches. Like the RoyalBaby BMX Freestyle Kid’s Bike, this model comes with a front & rear hand V-brake and a coaster/foot brake. The bike is very light at 11.7 lbs. This bike has 14-inch wheels which can be ridden by kids between 3 and 6 or an inseam of 38 to 49 cm.

However, the seat is non-adjustable and set quite far from the handlebar which can be quite uncomfortable for some kids. This bike is quite expensive for a toddler bike, more than 3x the other model on our list.

PROS
  • lightweight
  • 2 types of brakes
  • easy to assemble
CONS
  • seat may be set too far from handlebars
  • very expensive

Toddler Bike Buying Guide

Buying your little kid a bike isn’t easy. There are a lot of things to consider – types, tire size, features, and cost. Then there’s comfort, style, safety,ease of use, etc. It can be hard to keep track of everything important. Fortunately, our buying help you navigate this minefield to ensure that you don’t end up getting the wrong bike that your child refuses to ride.

Types of Toddler Bikes

Ride-on Toys

A ride-on toy is a 3- or 4-wheeled bike typically made of wood or plastic that your child can scoot around with. This is a great starter for the little one who isn’t big enough for a balance bike yet (around a year old) but already wants one. The Chillafish BUNZI is a great ride-on toy that transitions between a tricycle and a balance bike.

Balance Bikes

Like ride-on toys, this kind of bike has no pedals though it does have a handbrake. This kind of bike is great for kids who are ready to learn coordination, balance, steering control. Balance bikes are perfect for toddlers around 18 months old, preparing them for a pedal bike. A balance bike is a better option than a pedal bike with training wheels as the latter is heavier and will not help a child develop balance. The Banana Bike LT is a good choice for a balance bike.

Pedal Bikes

Pedal bikes are just that – bikes with pedals such as the RoyalBaby BMX Freestyle Kid’s Bike. Children as young as 2.5 to 3 years old can ride this kind of bike without training wheels as long as they’ve already mastered balance and coordination.

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Toddler Bike

Tire Size

Toddler bikes have tires of varying sizes ranging from 10 inches to 16 inches. Why is the tire size important? Well, unlike with adult bikes, the size of the wheel is the basis of the proportions for the rest of the bike. To determine the wheel size of your kid’s bike, its best to use a sizing chart like the one below.

Wheel SizeAgeHeight
10”-12″2-32’10”-3’4″85-100 cm
14″3-43’1″-3’7″95-110 cm
16″4-53’7″-4’0″110-120 cm
16”-20″5-84’0″-4’5″120-135 cm

You can also use this sizing chart:

Wheel SizeAgeInseamInseam
12″2-314-17′35-42 cm
14″3-416-20′40-50 cm
16″4-518-22′45-55 cm
20″5-822-25′55-63 cm

 

The Strider 12 Pro Balance Bike for example, can be ridden by children with an inseam of 12-20 inches.

Bike Seat Height

The height of the bike seat is another important factor to consider because it will help you determine if your child will feel comfortable when using the bike. The perfect height for your child is one where he or she is able to sit on the seat with both of his/her feet completely flat on the ground. Not slightly flat. Not on tippy toes. Completely flat. At this height, he or she should be able to quickly hop off the bike without anything getting snagged (very important if your toddler is a boy). If you’re unable to take your kid with you, below is a sizing chart based on the bike seat height.

Bike Seat Height

AgeWheel Size
28″-38″1-412”
38″-48″3-716”
42″-52″5-918”

 

Another way to determine the perfect bike seat height is to check your child’s inseam. Make sure that the minimum seat height is just as long as his or her inseam.

Handlebars

The handlebars should be easily turned by your toddler to their full extent without causing their arms to become overstretched. They should also be at the right height to ensure your little one remains comfortable. Too low, like a mountain bike, can cause shoulder and neck pain. It can also cause your kid’s knees to bounce of off it. Too high, it can become too hard to maneuver and turn for your child. Look for a handlebar that’s mid-rise.

Weight

The lighter a toddler bike is, the better. This is because the smaller wheel base makes it harder for a kid to pedal. A heavy bike will just make it even harder. The same thing applies for balance bikes. As a rule, the bike’s weight should be not more than 50% of your child’s body weight. Ideally, stick to bikes that are around 35% of your kid’s body weight. The Woom 2 is a very lightweight pedal bike while the Strider 12 Pro Balance Bike is one of the lightest balance bike on our list.

Brakes

Once your child becomes confident in his biking skills, he will become more adventurous, pedaling as fast as he can. For his safety and your peace of mind, look for a bike that features a brake that’s easy to use.

There are two types of brakes – the handbrake and the back pedal brakes. The handbrake is perfect for little ones who are starting to learn how to bike because it is less confusing. However, you should make sure that your little one is strong enough to pull the brake using his hands and fingers. Back pedal brakes, as we’ve already mentioned, can be confusing to a toddler still learning how to balance and pedal. However, it is much simpler to operate and requires no maintenance. The FirstBIKE Cross Bike with Brake is one of only a handful of balance bikes with a brake.

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