Finding an option to suit your little strider from the reams of the best toddler bikes is, just like the ride itself, a balancing act: you want it strong and sturdy, but not so heavy they can’t lug it themselves; small enough to be ridden straight away, but not without the adjustability to grow with them.
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That’s where our pick of the best bikes for toddlers comes in – we’ve rounded up the best first bikes and balance bikes from across the shops to give you (and them) a head start.
Our top pick is the Chicco Bullet Balance Bike, for its crowd-pleasing combination of adjustability, sturdiness and a pleasingly low weight. For slightly older toddlers who’ve already graduated from these pedal-less bikes and are looking for their next challenge, there’s the Vitus Fourteen or the Frog 43 14w 2018.
Balance bikes are partly to thank for children beginning to ride bikes at an earlier age, and this one’s sturdy build and sweet looks, in addition to that confidence-building prowess, makes it our best bike for toddlers. Aimed at children between three and five years old, the seat adjusts from 33 to 38 centimetres, giving it admirable longevity during those early years when they’re still finding their feet.
The ultra-light metal frame gets them used to hauling around a bike as well, while the balance bike design teaches them the reaction times and mechanics of riding a bike without confusing matters with pedals.
A diddy racing bike for toddlers? They grow up so fast these days, but while the slick silver design of the Strider 12 Pro Super Light will make them feel like one of the adults (can we talk about that sweet racing number plate?) it’s certified suitable from just 18 months, so you know they’re in good hands.
Cited as the only bike they’ll need between one-and-a-half and five years, reviewers agree it has unparalleled longevity, and also found it incredibly light without sacrificing on build quality. If you’re after a balance bike for a growing kid, or one that’ll last through two or three of them, give this one a try.
This 14”-wheeled bike is just the right size for kiddos between three and five years old, and design-wise, a happy medium between a balance bike and a big-kid model. If you’re buying for that intermediary stage between them coming onto pedals and tearing off at 100 miles an hour on your next family bike ride, this is ideal, with its pared-back design that ensures there’s nothing extraneous to confuse them, or get in the way, while they’re focusing on the important things. With a lightweight frame and rigid forks, it’s a great meeting of sturdiness and manoeuvrability too.
At £240 RRP, the Frog 43 is our most expensive toddler bike by quite a wide margin, but reviews say it’s certainly worth it. Like our previous pick from Vitus’ Fourteen range, it makes a great first pedal bike, with a strong but ultra-lightweight all-aluminium frame that’s easy for small ones to lug around, scaled-down brakes that are easy for little hands to properly grip and engage, and soft handlebar grips to avoid discomfort. Those chunky hybrid tires are a blessing when it comes to versatility too, meaning they’re equally at home scooting down the drive, the promenade, or the track.
This all-aluminium 14” bike brings together a chunk of the charms we’ve already seen in our list – lightweight frame, quality bearings, responsive brakes – but with one vital difference. That difference is stabilisers, which reviewers said were solidly built and high-quality, if a little tricky to fit, so be sure to set aside some time for setup. That small addition makes this the perfect in-betweeny bike for kids who still need a little reassurance to be their best cycling self, and testers were really pleased with the streamlined design that allowed their kids to gain confidence without confusion, calling it a “proper bike”. What more do you need?