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5 Good 12 &14 Inch Quality Bikes for Kids Age 2, 3, & 4

Updated on May 5, 2015
Huffy Girl's Disney Princess 21-inch Bike
Huffy Girl's Disney Princess 21-inch Bike

Buying a bicycle for anybody can take a bit of dedication to make sure that you get the right sized bike.

Especially since young children are just learning to ride, buying the appropriate bike for them is essential.

What Size Do You Need?

The first thing you need to start with is knowing how to tall your child is. Height is the most important thing to know when you are getting the correct size of bicycle. An easy way to determine the the correct size is to have your child stand over the bicycle.

There should be about an inch or two between the crossbar and your child's groin. Make sure that there is no more than 3 inches however. It is also advised that you have your child wear the same kinds of shoes that they will be wearing while writing the bike so you get an accurate fit.

Have your child sit on the bike and reach out to grab the handlebars. Many new bikes made lately are too long for the height. This ends up having your child stretched too far towards the handlebars. This will make it hard to steer and brake effectively.

When your child is making the down stroke on the paddle, their knees should be almost straight. If their knees look too bent, move the seat up a little too remedy this.

Use the following guide to help you in determining the size of bike you need for your child. Bicycles for children in the 12 to 14 inch range, are usually the kind that come with training wheels.

Huffy Boy's Disney Cars Bike, Trophy Grey/Black, 16-Inch
Huffy Boy's Disney Cars Bike, Trophy Grey/Black, 16-Inch

Guide to Kid's Bike Sizes

Age Child's Height Bike Wheel Size

Age 2 - 5 26 - 34 inches 12 inches

Age 4 - 8 34 - 42 inches 16 inches

Age 6 - 9 42 - 48 inches 18 inches

Age 8 - 12 48 - 56 inches 20 inches

Youth 56 - 62 inches 24 inches

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Schwinn Girls' Petunia 12-inch Steerable Bike
Schwinn Girls' Petunia 12-inch Steerable Bike

Features to Look For

The following features are will give your child a much better bicycle riding experience.

Removable training wheels will allow your child the time to learn how to ride a bike with help, yet you will be able to remove these training wheels when they have finally mastered the balance they need to ride on two wheels.

We bought a bicycle for my daughter that did not have an adjustable seat. This made it so the bike was out of use within a couple of short years. If you don’t want to have to turn around next year to buy another bike, since kids grow so fast, make sure your purchase includes an adjustable seat.

Braking systems on bicycles usually include coaster brakes which are pretty standard and activated by pushing feet back on the pedals. Hand brakes give your child a chance to learn how to ride larger bikes. It’s really about your preference. Bicycles within the 12 to 14 inch range typically do not come with hand brakes.

It is a good rule of thumb to not buy big wheels for small riders. Big wheels do roll over obstacles much better, but they are also heavier and you do not get as good of a steering response as you do with smaller wheels.

Consider the weight of bikes while shopping for your child. Most likely they will be maneuvering it without riding it from time to time and a heavy bike will just be more cumbersome for them.

Especially in the summertime, children love to play outside after it gets dark. I recommend finding a bicycle that comes with reflectors, bright colors, and perhaps even a bell or a horn.

Jeep Boy's Bike (14-Inch Wheels)
Jeep Boy's Bike (14-Inch Wheels)

Other Things to Keep in Mind

With bicycles, you really do get what you pay for. Super discounted bikes are usually not made of the best quality materials.

Having a bicycle can help teach your child how to take care of mechanical equipment. Learn the basics yourself, and be willing to teach them, on how to make simple repairs. I remember it being very helpful when my older brother taught me how to replace a chain that has come loose while riding. I was always so intimidated by it, especially getting my hands dirty, that I never attempted it without first being shown and being comfortable with fixing it myself.

New Bike, New Helmet

Buying a helmet and a bike should go hand in hand. If you have your child help you pick out a fun and colorful helmet, they may be more willing to wear it.

Look for a helmet that has vents to help your child's head breathe. If they are uncomfortable wearing a helmet at all, you are guaranteed to catch them without it. Make sure that it meets all standards for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Helmet Fitting

Wrap a tape measure around your child's head at the largest part two. This will typically be the part that covers the top of his ears. Check each manufacturer's label to find out how to convert the measurements you got from your child’s head to their recommended helmet size. One size does not fit all so make sure to check each individual helmet you are considering for purchase.

The helmet must not move from side to side on their head. If you find this is happening, make sure that the manufacturer gives you sizing pads to help with this. Your child should have no more than two fingers width, horizontally, between the tops of her eyebrows and the bottom of the helmet.

Bikes for Kids Ages 2, 3, & 4

For little princesses, consider this Huffy Girl’s Disney Princess 12 Inch Bike. Your little girl will love being able to take her dolls with her in the removable doll carriage in the front of the handlebars.

5 stars for Huffy Girl's Disney Princess 12-inch Bike

For boys, this Schwinn Boys 12 Inch Grit Bike will be popular because of the push handle that helps you steer him along while he’s trying to learn to ride without relying on his training wheels. I love that the chain is fully enclosed to reduce catching.

Girls will also like having help with the balance on this Schwinn Girls Petunia 12 Inch Steerable Bike. The push handle is easily removed when you no longer need it. Fun features include a water bottle and a storage bag between the handles.

Check out this Jeep Boy’s 14 Inch Bike that comes in bright yellow and black accents. The padded crossbar and enclosed chain help keep your little man safe.

Little dudes might also like this Huffy Boys Disney Cars 16 inch Bike. It features a case on the front of the handlebars to store all his little treasures.

© 2013 Lexi Belliston

What bikes do you kids have?

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