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Best Bicycles For Toddlers

Updated on December 21, 2014

The Best Bicycles for Toddlers - Balance Bikes v Bikes with Training Wheels

If you want to choose the best bicycle for a toddler there are two choices.

1.) The Balance Bike. Balance bikes are designed so that toddlers can scoot or stride along on a bike without having to go through the training wheel phase. There are no pedals but the bikes teach balance, co-ordination, and steering so that toddlers can graduate onto bikes with pedals more easily.

2.) The bike with training wheels. These are traditional bikes with training wheels which will help toddlers and young children ride a bike and balance before taking the training wheels away. You can get bikes with training wheels that also have parent handles so you can push toddlers along until they learn to pedal.

Which type of bicycle should you choose for a toddler?

It does depend on your preference and the child. Many toddlers find it very challenging to pedal a bike and many will probably enjoy the balance bikes more. With balance bikes there are no worries about whether their feet will touch the pedals or if they have the strength in their legs to push them. They can pretty much use them straight away - but will just go a bit more slowly. As they get better at mastering them, they will be able to build up their speed. It also gives them the opportunity to master the balance and co-ordination needed to ride a bike without worrying about the pedals yet.

However some parents and toddlers may prefer a bike with training wheels. You don't learn how to pedal unless you practice and if the bike has a parent handle, parents can push their child around to make use of the bike first. If they can already master pedaling a trike or already have the balance and co-ordination to use a balance bike, it may be worth looking at a bike with training wheels. They can get the hang of learning to pedal on a bike.

Read on for suggestions of balance bikes and training wheels bikes. Here are the best bicycles for toddlers.

Training Bike with Parent Handle

If you're looking for a bike with training wheels for a toddler that has never ridden a bike before, a bike with a parent push handle may be good choice.

The great thing about parent push handles is that children have the confidence to pedal and try to balance without the worry of falling as they know there is somebody behind them.

The Schwinn bikes below feature a parent push handle that not only pushes the bike but actually steers it (which not all parent handles do). It can also be removed easily when child is riding along so is a great first bike.

It has been designed with safety and stability in mind too. The wide street tires make the bike very stable and gives a comfortable ride. The fully enclosed chain guard keeps the child clean and safe. Heavy duty training wheels for stability and a quick release saddle adjustment for growing children. Front and rear fenders keep the road grit off the rider.

Schwinn Boys' 12-Inch Grit Bike,Orange
Schwinn Boys' 12-Inch Grit Bike,Orange

There are reviews of children as young as 18 months and 2 years riding this bike.

Features include a water bottle holder on the push bar. It also includes a bell which young kids will love.

 
Schwinn Girls' Petunia 12-inch Steerable Bike,Pink/White
Schwinn Girls' Petunia 12-inch Steerable Bike,Pink/White

This is a pink version of the bike - obviously great for girls and boys who like pink. It also features streamers on the handle bars.

 

Bike Trainer Handles

If you already have a bike you can also buy parent handles to fit onto existing bikes, check out some options below. Parent handles are great options. The parent can use the handle to steady the bike and help the child balance. When you are ready to take the training wheels of bikes off the children can learn to balance without the worry of falling. This can help them learn to balance and ride a bike more quickly.

There are some great options - one of the most popular is the balance buddy featured below - this has adjustable height control - which can help save your back.

Balance Buddy (Adjustable)
Balance Buddy (Adjustable)

You install the balance buddy on the back of the bike.

It's easy to install and remove. It also has adjustable height control.

It dramatically decreases the time required to master balance skills.

 

Balance Bikes for Toddlers

If you've decided on a balance bike - there are lots to choose from - this shows how popular they are. There are a few things to consider.

Right seat height - The most important thing when choosing a balance bike is that your toddlers feet can touch the floor when riding them. As they will need to use their feet to push the bike along. The lowest seat height you can generally get on a balance bike is around 11 inches. To make sure you have the right seat height measure your child's inseam (from their ankle to just below their crotch). The seat height of the bike should ideally be an inch shorter than their inseam so they can easily get on and off the bike.

Height adjustment - Most balance bikes come with seat and handlebar adjustment which is a must for growing toddlers.

Lightweight or easy to carry - It's worth investing in a bike which is light or easy to carry as when your toddler gets fed up of it you can easily carry it back home / to the car for him or her. Lightweight bikes are also easier for toddlers to control. Some bikes also have a carry handle.

Age range - Some bikes are designed for toddlers as young as 18 months to use. So if you have a young toddler consider these first.

Other features - Other features of bikes include foot pegs (to rest feet when bike is in motion - great for practising balance and gliding too), handbrakes and other features such as a limited steering radius for extra safety.

Strider PREbike
Strider PREbike

This is a great option for the youngest of toddlers as it's designed for kids aged 1 to 5. It's lightweight and easy to control and features an adjustable seat and handlebars to accommodate a growing child. The seat height range is from 11 to 16 inches so should be fine for most small children.

There are launch pad footrests for gliding and learning advanced riding skills as well as puncture-proof all-terrain tires.

It also comes with a 1-year warranty

 
Smart Gear Wooden Classic Smart Balance Kids Bike
Smart Gear Wooden Classic Smart Balance Kids Bike

This is aimed at kids from aged 2. The seat height range is 12.5 to 17.4 inches.

It's a wooden balance bike with five-position adjustable seat height to grow with child

There are rubberized handle bar grips for comfort and a limited steering radius to prevent jackknifing

It features pneumatic rubber tires and spoke-less wheel discs for safety

There's a unique carry handle incorporated in the bike's body

Its made of renewable birch wood construction and non-toxic building materials.

 
Glide Bikes EZee Glider Kid's Balance Bike (Orange, 12-Inch)
Glide Bikes EZee Glider Kid's Balance Bike (Orange, 12-Inch)

The PV glider is designed for kids from 18 months to 4 years.

It features foot pegs and easy to adjust quick-release seat clamp to allow for tool-free seat height adjustment.

 

My son on his balance bike

Here is my son on his balance bike. He received it for his 2nd birthday and it's one of the best toys he has. He rides it almost every day.
Here is my son on his balance bike. He received it for his 2nd birthday and it's one of the best toys he has. He rides it almost every day.

More Option of Balance Bikes

There are lots of options of balance bikes for toddlers

For toddlers you are generally looking at bikes from about with a wheels size of about 10 to 12 inches.

Remember when buying a balance bike, your toddlers feet will need to be able to touch the floor so kids need balance bikes to be smaller than bikes with training wheels as with bikes with pedals their feet need to only reach the pedals.

YBIKE Balance Bike (Blue)
YBIKE Balance Bike (Blue)

This is a cool design.

It is aimed at kids from 2 to 4 years old

It has two wheels at the back and aims to lean slightly so kids just have to use enough balance to ride the bike.

It can be used indoors or outdoors.

 
Smart Gear Wooden Smart Balance Kids Bike - Bubbleicious
Smart Gear Wooden Smart Balance Kids Bike - Bubbleicious

The bubbleicious balance bike is designed for kids age 2 and above. The seat height ranges from 12.5 to 17.5 inches.

Its the pink version of the classic wooden bike featured above.

It features rubberized pnuematic tires and spokeless wheels for safety.

It has 5 different adjustments for different heights as your child grows.

 

Advantages of a Balance Bike

Here are some more advantages of a balance bike.

Children can learn to ride them pretty much right away. You don't have to wait for them to master pedaling. This can help them increase their confidence as they don't have to struggle.

Children who use balances bike can make the transtion to pedal bikes quite quickly and easily and without the need of training wheels.

Balance bikes tend to be more lightweight so it's easier to carry them if your toddler gets fed up while you're out and about.

The child is in control of moving and stopping the bike so you don't have to worry about brakes.

Plasma Bike

PlasmaBike Ride On Toy - Red
PlasmaBike Ride On Toy - Red

The red plasma bike is one cool looking balance bike for toddlers. Children as young as 18 months can ride this bike.

The unique thing about this bike is the extra wide wheels which assist children with balance and in an upright in a stopped or stationary position.

It weighs 8Ib so is lightweight and is easy to transport once toddlers have had enough!

The wide wheels are a plus point - the only downside for me is that it doesn't have an height adjustment capabilities.

 

Plasma Bike

Do you prefer balance bikes or bikes with training wheels for toddlers?

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      ohcaroline 6 years ago

      I'm leaving you an April Fools Day blessing....no, really I am! No joke!