Updated on November 16, 2020 by Lyric Fergusson
Whether your toddler is ready for their first balance bike, training wheel bike or a “big kid bike” it’s important that they have a reliable one that will last. Chances are your little one will stumble and fall on occasion and need a durable and safe bike they can rely on for at least a few years. And if you have more than one kid then you may want to spend a few extra bucks to get one that will last a long time.
We understand that you don’t have an entire day to review every bike out there so to save you time we’ve rounded up the 11 best toddler bikes based on our experience to help make your decision easy so your tot can quickly get to having fun on their new bike.
The Best Toddler Bikes for Girls & Boys
(Most reliable big toddler bike — $$$)
Why it’s great: It comes with training wheels, but they are easy to remove when your kiddo is ready to cruise all on their own. The simple to use design makes it easy for your young tots to learn to pedal and steer the bike and comes with a kickstand they can use when they’re ready to park it. You’ll also have peace of mind knowing that it comes with both handlebar and coaster breaks, so they have multiple ways to stop quickly. The saddle handles will help keep your child’s little hands steady as they learn to use the pedals for the first time. As your kiddo grows, the quick-release seat clamp makes it easy to raise the seat, so they get the best use out of it.
Keep in mind: The kickstand can be hard to get in position and coordinate for little kids who are just learning to ride without training wheels.
Good for: Tots 3 to 4 years who are learning to ride with training wheels but want the option to take them off when they’re ready.
(Most features — $$)
Why it’s great: Parents love this one because they can teach their little one to use a tricycle starting out as soon as ten months old. It can easily be converted into a balance bike as they get the hang of it. If your tot isn’t big enough to use the peddles quite yet there is storage space on the side of the bike for them. One of the best features of this bike is how easy it is to assemble, and the instructions are clearly written out. When your tot is ready to switch to the balance bike mode, it’s an easy transition to install the handle and seat. It offers smooth steering, too, making it super safe. The non-slip handlebars can also be adjusted to the best position for your child’s height.
Keep in mind: It’s a bit small compared to other balance bikes. So it’s best to get this one as soon as your toddler is ready to learn to ride a trike so they can get the most use out of it.
Good for: Littles 10 months to 2+ years learning to ride a tricycle and transition to a balance bike.
(Best budget balance bike — $)
Why it’s great: Its unique design makes it perfect for kiddos just learning the concept of riding a balance bike while keeping them safe. The protective ball in the middle of the handlebar provides added protection when you’re little loses their balance, and the padded handlebars protect from sudden stops and make it easy for little hands to grip. If your child needs to take a quick break, there is a convenient footrest in the middle of the frame under the seat. It comes in a few different colors so you can get your tot involved by picking out the one they like best. It’s also fairly easy to put together so your little one can quickly be on their way to play with their new toy while saving you time too.
Keep in mind: The seat post doesn’t go super high, so it’s not ideal for tall or older toddlers.
Good for: Tots 18 months – 3 years olds who need a little added protection when they fall down.
(Easiest to assemble — $$$)
Why it’s great: Getting a new bike can be a joyous experience that your whole family will remember for a long time. This Phoenix Cruiser Bike created for boys and girls will make a brilliant first choice. With it’s sleek design, wonderful safety features, and beautiful details, this bike is a step towards confidence. It’s simple to put together, easier to ride and has wider wheels that provide more stability. The vintage basket is the cherry on top of this amazing new bike that your little one will love!
Keep in mind: This can be ordered as either a 14, 16 or 18 inch bike depending on the height and needs of your child.
Good for: Children ages 3-9 years old.
(Most environmentally friendly — $)
Why it’s great: This push balance bike is an award winner! The Hape Scoot Around Ride On Wood Bike will help create muscle strength, balance, and coordination for your little one. The rubberized wheels make this toy a wonderful indoor option as it’s gentle on floors of all kinds and won’t damage surfaces while they play. It’s created with environmentally sourced wood and safe non-toxic paint so your mind will be put to ease while the memories abound.
Keep in mind: This scooter comes with one hex key included that is useful for assembly. Some parent reviews have suggested that it’s useful to have one 13mm wrench and a medium standard slotted screwdriver on hand to help as you put it together.
Good for: Toddlers who 12 months- 3 years old.
(Most comfy balance bike – $)
Why it’s great: This adorable balance bike will help your little one gain confidence and be ready when the time comes for a pedal bike. It comes with a cute plush animal cover that’s comfy for them to sit on and gives them extra cushion when they fall. It’ll also help spark your child’s imagination as they ride around with their new buddy. The plush is easy to remove if your child prefers to ride without it and can be thrown into the wash when it’s dirty. The bike itself is lightweight and easy enough to transport when you’re headed out for a family adventure and has durable tires that require minimal attention.
Keep in mind: The assembly of this bike isn’t the easiest so give yourself some time to do so.
Good for: Tots ages 18 mo to 2 yrs learning to grow their confidence riding outdoors.
(Most realistic design — $$)
Why it’s great: This bike will instill confidence and empower riders with the coolest bike on the block! The Yamaha 12” Moto Child’s BMX Bike features a durable and realistic design that your child will love to cruise the neighborhood with. It comes with training wheels that can be removed when your little one is ready to fly.
Keep in mind: Adult assembly is recommended and can take approximately 30 minutes.
Good for: Children ages 4 years old and up.
(Most loved by parents — $$)
Why it’s great: This is the most popular balance bike for toddlers and for good reason. They can learn to ride without training wheels at a young age. The seat and handlebars adjust with no tools required. The mini grips make it easy for tiny hands and give them a sense of control. It comes in an assortment of colors perfect for getting your child involved in the decision-making process. An extended seat post allows for your little one to use as they grow. It’s one of the lightest balance bikes so it will be easy for your kiddo to move around. The bike frame and handlebars are made for little bodies and the low stand-over height is perfect for easier balance.
Keep in mind: It is the most pricey balance bike option on this list but it’s also the best quality. It can be a little small for older preschoolers.
Good for: 18 months to 3+ years old, ready to take on the world while riding their new balance bike.
(Best training wheel toddler bike — $$$)
Why it’s great: It comes with three modes to help your child quickly learn how to ride a big kid bike, including pedal mode, cycling mode, and sliding mode. This is a great bike for young kids who are ready to start the transition to no training wheels. The chain guard protects your child from getting any cuts or scrapes and makes it safe to wear shorts. If your kiddo loves Paw Patrol, this bike will have them excited and ready to take it out for a spin! The bike is easy to pedal and actually quite big, making it great for most preschoolers.
Keep in mind: We recommend as an added safety measure check the pedals occasionally to make sure they are firmly tightened to give you peace of mind.
Good for: Kids 2 to 4 years old, ready to learn to ride a big kid bike.
(Best indoor friendly balance bike — $)
Why it’s great: For starters, the rubber wheels make it great for indoor use and won’t damage tile or hardwood floors when your little is practicing using their bike for the first time. The lightweight frame makes it easy for your tot to reposition themselves when they’re ready to move in a new direction, and the large wheels and high ground clearance are designed for safer play to give you peace of mind. The adjustable seat and handlebars make it easy for your kiddo to use as they get older. The best part is how easy it is to assemble so you can spend more time playing with your little one or get in some work while they ride around on their new balance bike!
Keep in mind: The tires aren’t the best for outdoor riding if your toddler is going to ride on unpaved surfaces.
Good for: Toddlers 18 months to 2+ years ready for their first indoor balance bike experience.
(Best bike for beginners — $$$)
Why it’s great: You can give your child the freedom to feel like the big kid that they are while they learn the basics. This steerable kids bike comes equipped with a parent handle that will help give your child what they need as they learn how to be a confident rider. When your child is ready, the training wheels can be removed to turn into a two-wheel bike that they can ride alone. This bike will be wonderful for your child as they are just starting to learn how to ride and will encourage growth at their own pace.
Keep in mind: The handle and training wheels can be removed whenever you feel like your child is ready to independently ride.
Good for: Children ages 2-5 years old.
FAQs About Toddler Bikes
1. When Can a Toddler Ride a Balance Bike?
Most kiddos can be introduced to a balance bike at 18 months to 2 years. When they first get their new bike make sure they have a safe padded area to practice on at first especially if it’s the first time they’ve tried a glider bike. Be sure to encourage them to get back up when they fall and if they aren’t ready right at 18-month try again in a couple of months when their hand-eye coordination and balance skills have improved.
2. Can a 2-Year-Old Ride a Tricycle
Yes, in fact, it may come as a surprise that many trikes are suitable for littles as young as ten months old. It can be a great way to grow your baby’s confidence early on and help them learn to be independent while they discover something new that will improve with their development.
3. When Can a Toddler Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels?
Some kiddos can learn to ride a bike without training wheels as early as three years old. However, most are ready when they’re four or five. It’s important that before your child makes the transition, they have a good understanding of the safety precautions to take when they ride a big kids bike and always make sure to have a helmet on. Every child is different, and you’ll be able to tell when your preschooler is ready to say goodbye to training wheels.
4. How Do I Teach My Child to Ride a Balance Bike?
Start by teaching your little one how to get on the bike and stand as they walk. Once they feel confident, they can sit down as they walk. Both these steps will help them gain confidence and become familiar with how the bike works. When they’re ready to balance and glide, you can help them the first few times get the hang of it. Be sure to encourage them every step of the way, even when they fall down or get sad.
When you’re on the search for a bike for your toddler, make a list of all your preferences. Take your child’s age into consideration and what type you think is best for them. Are you looking for a balance bike for them to use just until they’re ready to transition to a bike with training wheels or do you prefer something they can use for a longer period of time as they get older? Once you’ve been able to figure out what your needs are, then you can make the decision about which bike is best for your little one and give yourself peace of mind knowing that you made the best choice.
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