The Best Toddler Bikes (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
These are the best toddler bikes, made for first-time riders up to three-years-old.
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BY Heather Fishel / LAST UPDATED ON March 28, 2021
Learning how to ride a bicycle is a big step in a child's life — and when it’s time for your kid to master the skill, you want him or her to learn on a bike that’s perfect for first-time riders. However, some kids are ready to start learning earlier than others. If you have a toddler who wants to try riding a bicycle, a basic beginner’s bike might not be the right fit. You need a toddler bike instead.
Made just for the size and motor skill level of one to three-year-olds, these petite bikes make it easy and fun for little ones to get a grasp on the basics. Available in different sizes and styles and custom fit for various experience levels, toddler bikes provide plenty of options. Check out our list of the best toddler bikes, all of which little bike riders and their parents will love.
A well-built toddler-sized version of a grown-up bicycle that’s safe and extra stable.
- Wider tires for extra stability
- Includes training wheels
- Reinforced frame is extra durable
- May be a bit heavy for smaller toddlers
A lightweight, small starter bike just for very young toddlers - with an affordable price.
- Ideal for 12 to 24 months
- Sturdy and stable
- Great for learning balance
- Doesn’t include pedals
- May be too easy for older toddlers
A classically designed toddler cruiser made with high-quality parts and cool style.
- Made with premium steel
- Durable enough for first-time learners
- Looks and feels like an adult’s bike
- Somewhat difficult to assemble
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Toddler Bikes
- Easy to balance. Toddler bikes — particularly toddler balance bicycles — are far easier to balance than your average kid’s bike. They’re specifically designed to help younger, smaller riders master the basics of balancing, which means they make it easier for toddlers to put their feet down and control their stability. Many toddler bikes are also built for increased stability.
- Builds strength and coordination. Toddlers are still honing their motor skills and coordination. Learning how to ride a toddler bicycle lets them strengthen their muscles (particularly those used for balancing) while mastering the coordination of steering while moving their legs. Over time, this improves coordination, muscle strength, and agility.
- Increased safety. Bikes for toddlers are safer for little ones to learn on. They’re built with increased stability and extra features like training wheels. Some are even lower to the ground to reduce the potential dangers of falls. Many toddler bikes are also made to meet safety standards and certifications — just double-check to make sure a bike is certified safe accordingly.
- Helps kids transition to larger bikes. By starting with a toddler bike, your child will grasp the basics of riding a bike on a smaller, more stable bicycle. As they grow, this will make the transition to larger bicycles easier. It can also help kids feel more confident as they upgrade to a “real” full-size bike.
Types of Toddler Bikes
Toddler Balance Bikes
Toddler balance bikes are a style of kids’ bicycles that are simplified and easy to ride. Designed to teach little ones how to balance and steer, balance bikes are designed for toddlers as young as 18 months old. They don’t have pedals; they simply have handlebars, two wheels, and a frame that keeps riders very low to the ground. Balance bikes help toddlers learn how to propel themselves forward, brake with their feet, and shift their weight so they stay upright. These “first step” bicycles help toddlers build confidence and skills quickly.
Pedal bikes are essentially “real” bicycles — they feature the same frame style, wheels, and pedals as full-size kids or adult bikes. But pedal bikes are built for toddlers’ weight, size, and capabilities to help them make a smooth transition from beginner to novice. They teach kids how to balance a bike, how to pedal and increase their speed, and how to maneuver with the handlebars. Suitable for kids as young as two and a half years old, pedal bikes can be ridden with or without training wheels for extra stability.
Schwinn has been one of the biggest names in bicycles since the company was founded in 1898. With a storied legacy of creating quality bikes, you can find a wealth of different bikes made just for toddlers, including options like the Schwinn Grit and Petunia Steerable Kids Bike. Backed by trustworthy quality, these toddler bikes will perform.
Yvolution is a California-based brand that’s all about building fun, safe kids’ products. From scooters to bikes, Yvolution designs options that are perfectly sized for the smallest, youngest riders. The brand particularly specializes in toddler balance bikes like the Yvolution Y Velo Flippa 4-in-1 Toddler Trike to Balance Bike and the Yvolution Y Velo Junior Balance Bike.
Toddler Bikes Pricing
- Under $50: For under $50, you can find a wealth of different toddler balance bikes. These pedal-free bikes are a great, affordable first choice.
- $50 to $100: In this middle price range, you can find both balance bikes and pedal bikes made just for toddlers. Pedal bikes tend to fall at the more expensive end.
- $100 to $150: High-quality toddler bikes with all the bells, whistles, and design features of full-size bicycles fall in this price range. You’ll also find more premium options for older toddlers.
A low frame is particularly helpful for first-time bike riders. The lower toddlers sit to the ground, the lower their center of gravity will be. That helps toddlers achieve balance and stability more easily, meaning they’ll have an easier time riding and strengthening their skills. Balance bikes are typically very low to the ground, offering the best stability and centering.
Wider, thicker wheels offer toddler-aged bike riders more stability. As these young riders get their footing and learn how to balance properly, wider wheels will offer the right amount of assistance. A few extra inches of width can make it easier for toddlers to stay in control, especially while they’re still figuring out how to balance while maneuvering.
While pedals can be a good option for older toddlers with a little more experience — or with bikes that have training wheels — it’s better for little ones to first learn how to ride without pedals. Being able to “pedal” or propel themselves with just their feet helps toddlers master balance, making the transition to a larger bike with pedals much easier.
- Don’t Worry About Wheel Diameter. While you’d normally want to consider the diameter of a bike’s wheels when picking one out, this important detail isn’t important at all for toddlers. Because toddlers are just learning how to move on a bike, most toddler bicycles are designed differently — eliminating the need to find the right wheel size. Look instead at the age range to determine which bikes are best for your toddler.
- Training Wheels Aren’t a Necessity. If your toddler is starting with a balance bike, they likely won’t need training wheels when they make the transition to a larger, more traditional bike. If you’re unsure whether training wheels are what your toddler needs, you can always choose a bike with removable training wheels just in case.
- More Stability is Always a Good Idea. When it comes to the most important detail to consider in choosing a toddler bike, think stability above all else. Mastering balance is the biggest challenge for first-time riders, and it can be especially difficult at such a young age. Always think about how stable a toddler’s bike will be when you’re considering and comparing different options.
Best Toddler Bikes Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Can’t decide between a balance bike and a pedal bike? You can turn a pedal bike into a balance bike by removing the pedals, giving your toddler the chance to balance with their feet first.
- Simplified bikes are best for toddlers. You don’t want to overcomplicate the learning process with hand brakes, chains, gear shifts, and other way-too-advanced parts. Focus on finding a simple bike until the basics are mastered.
- Make sure your toddler always wears a helmet when riding a bike of any kind. A helmet is the most critical piece of safety gear.
Q: What is the best bike for a 2-year-old?
A toddler balance bike is the best choice for 2-year-olds. We like the Retrospec Cricket Baby Walker Balance Bike because it offers excellent value and is a great way for toddlers to learn the basics of balancing.
Q: What kind of bike is best for a 3-year-old?
Three-year-olds are more advanced and tend to have better motor skills than younger toddlers, so they can ride pedal bikes and other more traditional bicycles with or without training wheels. Our top pick, the RoyalBaby Kids Freestyle Bicycle, is a great choice.
Q: What age should a child start riding a bike?
Children can start learning how to ride a bike whenever they’re ready. This age varies from child to child, but many are ready to begin pedaling a balance bike or pedal bike with training wheels between ages one and three years old.
The RoyalBaby Kids Freestyle Bicycle is our top choice for a quality toddler bike. To get very young toddlers started at an affordable price, you can also choose the Retrospec Cricket Baby Walker Balance Bike. Which toddler bike do you think is the best of the bunch?