The Best First Bike For Kids – Guide & Reviews

Are you thinking about buying your kid their first bike?

We have some great recommendations for all ages from as young as 1 year to 5 years and above. We’ll also give you some tips on how to select the right first bike for your kid.

When To Buy Your Kid a Bike?

You can buy a bike for a child as young as 9 months. As soon as they are able to walk on their own, they are ready to ride.

Of course they can’t ride a normal bicycle. You should start with something simpler like a balance bike.

Balance bikes are great for toddlers from around 1 year to 3 years. They don’t have pedals, a chain or hub. Just the frame, a saddle and handlebars.

Kids scoot along with their feet, gradually learning how to steer and balance.

By the time they are 2 or 3, they are usually ready to ride a proper bike.

At that age, you can get them a normal 2-wheeled bike. You can get them one with training wheels and then take them off when they have fully learnt how to pedal, steer and balance.

At around 3-4 years, most kids are ready to ride a normal kids’ bicycle.

From here on, it’s all about buying the right size that is safe and comfortable to ride. At around 6-7 years, you can upgrade to a mountain or road bike with gears and other advanced features.

Factors to Consider When Buying the First Bike For Your Child

1. Type of bike

There are generally three types of bicycles for kids (5 years and under).

  • Balance bikes – Best for teaching kids how to ride a bike. They are ideal for kids as young as 9 months but there are also some designed for older kids between 3-5 years.
  • Training bikes with stabilisers – Ideal for kids starting from 2 years. They help kids learn how to pedal and steer a bike. You can raise the training wheels as they get better and eventually take them off.
  • Tricycles – These are essentially toy bikes as they don’t really help kids learn how to ride a bike. They are ideal for young kids starting from around 1 year to around 3 years.

If you want your child to learn how to ride quickly, a balance bike is the best option. If you just want a bike that your toddler can have fun with around the yard, a tricycle is great.

2. Bike size

Size is one of the most important things to consider when buying a bike for your child. Buying the wrong size will not only be uncomfortable for your kid, it can be dangerous too.

They need to be able to place their feet firmly on the ground when seated. This ensures they can prevent a bad fall if the bike slips or loses control.

Kids’ bikes are measured in wheel sizes rather than frame sizes.

For the smallest kids of 1-3 years in age, a 10” bike is usually ideal. For kids 3-5 years old, go up two sizes to a 12” bike. Between 5-8 years, a 14”, 16” or 18” bike will do. For pre-teens, a 20” or 24” bike is ideal.

The first thing you should do before buying a specific bike is to check the age recommendation from the manufacturer.

You can also use your child’s inseam measurement to pick the right bike size.

3. Maintenance

Find a bike that is easy to maintain. For balance bikes and tricycles, look for bikes with puncture-proof EVA wheels. If you are buying a mountain bike, I recommend those with rim V-brakes. They are much easier to maintain.

4. Adjustable

Finally make sure the saddle and handlebars can be adjusted to keep up with your growing child.

Best First Bike for Kids Reviews [UK Market]

1. U-Kids First Pro Boy Lightweight Aluminium kids bicycle, 14”

This stylish orange and black bike is perfect for 4-6 year olds who have never ridden a bike before.

It comes with stabilisers to help them learn how to balance and steer the bike. You can adjust the stabilisers to five different positions as they get better at balancing. When they can ride on their own, the stabilisers are easy to remove.

The bike itself is very light, which makes it even easier to ride. The secret is in the material used in the frame.

Most bikes use a steel frame which is durable but heavy. The U-Kids bike uses an aluminium alloy frame that is just as hardy but much lighter.

Another unique feature is the disk brakes in the front and rear wheels.

It’s unusual to find these types of brakes in kids’ bikes; most use simple V-brakes. Disk brakes offer safer braking especially in wet conditions.

They have colour-coded the brake levers on the handlebars to make it easier for kids to identify the front and rear brakes.

What we like about it:

  • A well-made bike with a lot of focus on safety.
  • Adjustable and removable stabilisers.
  • Disk brakes with colour-coded levers for improved safety.
  • Cool design.

2. LA Sports Lightweight Girls Pink First Kids Balance Bike, 12”

For 2-4 year old girls who are getting a bicycle for the first time, this balance bike is a great starting point. It will help them gain confidence when riding, learn how to balance and perfect their steering.

It’s super easy to assemble and all the tools you need are included in the package. You just need to put together the wheels, saddle and frame.

When assembling it, make sure you’ve set the saddle to the correct height for your child. Check that they can comfortably reach the ground with the feet when seated.

As they grow taller you can raise the saddle up to a maximum height of 44.5cm.

The wheels are EVA meaning they are puncture-proof and don’t need any air. They are super easy to maintain.

What we like about it:

  • Puncture-proof EVA wheels that are easy to maintain.
  • Cool design.
  • Great for teaching kids how to steer and balance on a bike.

3. Bikestar Original Safety Lightweight Kids First Running Balance Bike, 10”

This balance bike has a nice sporty look and design. It looks really well made too compared to most balance bikes.

It also has brakes and air tires, both very unusual features in most balance bikes.

It’s faster, handles better and is lots more fun for kids. It’s safer too thanks to the brakes and the limited steering angle which prevents oversteering.

You can set the saddle at a height of just 30cm, which is ideal for younger kids of around 2 years. As they grow older and taller, it’s easy to adjust the seat upwards to make sure the bike is always safe to ride.

With a wheel size of 10” however, you’ll need to get a bigger bike by age 4 by when your child should already have learnt how to ride a proper bike.

This one is just to help them learn how to balance properly and steer in a straight line.

What we like about it:

  • Sporty design that is more fun for kids.
  • Includes brakes and steering limiter for added safety.
  • Adjustable saddle.

4. Bikestar Original Safety Lightweight Kids First Running Balance Bike, 12”

If you are looking for a larger balance bike for a 3-5 year old, I recommend this one by Bikestar.

As with their 10” bike above, this one also has brakes and pneumatic (air) tires. It takes a bit more work to maintain but it is safer and more fun to ride.

The alloy wheels and the frame are very sturdy and designed to last long. A suspension system helps keep the ride comfortable on a bumpy path.

The seat is ergonomically designed for maximum comfort. They can ride the bike for hours without feeling sore. As they grow taller, you can easily adjust the saddle height to keep the bike comfortable and safe to ride.

It’s available in 8 colours including blue, black, green and orange.

What we like about it:

  • Available in several styles.
  • Includes brakes for improved safety.
  • Adjustable seat.

5. Cruzee Ultralite Balance Bike, 12”

Weighing just 2.7kgs, this is one of the lightest balance bikes. It’s designed for kids as young as 18 months and up to 5 years. It’s quite versatile.

The ultra-light design makes it incredibly easy and fun to ride.

Within no time your little one will learn how to balance and steer without falling or bumping into things.

The puncture-proof EVA foam wheels allow riding on any surface whether it’s outside in the grass or inside on the floor (the wheels won’t cause any damage on your flooring).

The anodized aluminium finish is rust-free so you can be sure it will last a long time without losing its beautiful look.

It’s available in 8 stylish colours including gold, white, purple, red and white. Just pick your child’s favourite colour.

What we like about it:

  • Ideal for a wide range of ages from 1.5 to 5 years.
  • Durable and rust-free.
  • Adjustable handlebar and seat.   

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which is the best first bike for a kid?

A balance bike is the best first bike for most kids. It quickly teaches them how to balance on a bike. They learn how to ride a bike much faster than they would on a bike with training wheels.

For younger kids who just want to have fun, a tricycle is a great choice. You can then get a balance bike when they are ready to start learning how to ride a bike.

Some parents prefer starting with a bike with training wheels. Training wheels are great for teaching kids how to pedal, but you’ll have to remove them to teach your child how to balance on a bike.

2. Can I turn a normal bike into a balance bike?

If you already have a pedal bike, you can turn it into a balance bike by removing the pedals, cranks and chain. Store them safely and put them back on once your child has learnt how to balance on the bike.

3. Do balance bikes have brakes?

Not all of them. The smallest balance bikes designed for toddlers usually don’t have brakes. They are meant for scooting around on flat ground.

Bigger balance bikes for older kids come with one or two brakes for safer riding on sloping ground.

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