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Best children’s bike 2022: We pick the best kids' bike for every age and ability level

Victoria Woollaston
24 Jun 2021
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Whether your child is a budding biker or an absolute beginner, these are the best children’s bikes to buy

Helping your child learn to ride a bike is one of the great joys of being a parent, which is why choosing the best children's bike for your little one can be both a source of happiness but also stress.

Whether they've already got used to the idea of riding a bike via a balance bike, with stabilisers or a tricycle, eventually, the training wheels need to come off.

Making such an important purchase can seem daunting at first, with several manufacturers claiming to have created the ideal bike for children. So, in order to help you make the right choice, we’ve compiled a list of the best kids bikes on the market, as well as a buying guide laying out the key questions to consider before purchasing.

READ NEXT: Best bike racks for cars


Best children's bikes: At a glance


How to choose the best children’s bike for your child

What size bike does my child need?

Picking the right-sized children's bike is vital. You don’t want to end up in a situation where your son or daughter is whacking their knees on the handlebars or failing to reach the pedals. Most bike shops and websites will offer their own guides, relating the size of your child to the various wheel size options on the market, but this chart from IceBike.org provides a suitable system for estimating your child’s bike size before perusing the options:

Wheel SizeAgeHeight
12″2-32’10” - 3’4″ / 85-100 cm
14″3-43’1″ - 3’7″ / 95-110 cm
16″4-53’7″ - 4’0″ / 110-120 cm
20″5-84’0″ - 4’5″ / 120-135 cm
24″8-114’5″ - 4’9″ / 135-145 cm
26″11+4’9″+ / 145+ cm

Alternatively, on some retailers’ websites, you’ll see size options that compare your child’s inseam to the numerous wheel size options.

IceBike offers this comparison of how inseam measurements should match up to wheel size. By basing your choice of bike on your child’s inseam measurements, you ensure that they will have enough standover clearance to get on and off the bike safely and comfortably.

Inseam length (Inch) Inseam length (cm)Wheel size
12” - 14″85-90 cm10 inches
14” - 17″35-42 cm12 inches
16″ - 20″40-50 cm14 inches
18″ - 22″45-55 cm16 inches
20″ - 24″50-60 cm18 inches
22″ - 25″55-63 cm20 inches
24″ - 28″60-72 cm24 inches
28 inches and longer72 cm and longer26 inches

What sort of bike does my child need?

Is your child an absolute beginner, a budding cycling prodigy or somewhere in between? Depending on where they sit on that sliding scale of bike-based proficiency, you’ll want to pick an option with the right amount of features to suit your child’s needs. It’s best to start the youngest and smallest riders off with a simple balance bike to help them get the hang of riding a bike (you can check out our balance bike buying guide here), then move them up to a simple single-speed model with a single brake. Once they’ve mastered that, you can start looking at models with dual brakes and multiple gears which will allow them to both go faster and tackle more hilly terrain. We’ve included every kind of bike in the list below.

Will my child outgrow a bike too quickly?

If your child is at the upper end of one of the segments in the wheel size tables above, you’ll want to take care as to which size of bike you choose. To avoid this pitfall, it’s worth making sure that a bike has some adjustability which will allow it to grow with them. Check whether the manufacturer has any recommended inseam measurements, and make sure your child’s inseam fits at the lower end of the range – that way you can simply raise the seat and or the handlebars as they grow. Failing that, take them to a shop and get them to try a few sizes from different brands to give you an idea of how the sizes match up in the real world.

How much do I need to spend?

If you’re limiting your spend to £100 or thereabouts, you should still be able to pick up a single-speed bike for a younger child to learn with. If you can push past the £200 mark, you’ll be able to get something bigger with a variety of gears. And if you can go up to between £300 and £500, you’ll find really impressive features such as adjustable frame sizes, suspension and hydraulic brakes.

Which tyre width do you need?

As a general rule, slimmer tyres are better for speed on smoother paths, while chunky ones are better for riding on bumpy off-road terrain. In this article, we’ll cover a range of options from sleek 1.5in tyres to all-terrain-friendly 2.8in ones. Thinner tyres will roll a little more quickly on smooth ground, but if you want a true do-it-all bike you might want to consider a bike with wider tyres – that way your child won’t get put off exploring rougher ground or forest paths.

READ NEXT: The best mountain bikes to buy

The best children’s bikes to buy in 2022

1. Frog 40: The perfect starter bike

Price: £290 | Buy now from Tredz

Designed specifically to be an ideal first pedal bike for young riders, the Frog 40 (so-called as it’s suitable for riders with at least a 40cm inseam) has soft handlebar grips, a locking headset for steady steering and easy-to-reach brakes with adjustable levers for smaller hands. It also comes with a bell, reflectors and mudguards as standard, meaning that your child’s safety and cleanliness is completely covered. There's a range of colourful designs to choose from, including block colours, zany spots and even a Union Jack paint job. It's pricey, but Frog bikes hold their value pretty well, so you're likely to recoup some of your costs when selling it secondhand.

Key specs – Approx age: 3-4; Wheel size: 14in; Number of gears: Single speed; Weight: 6.4kg; Tyre width: 1.75in (off-road tyres); Stabilisers included: No

Buy now from Tredz


2. Pedal Pals: The best children's bike on a budget

Price: £90 | Buy now from Argos

Decent children’s bikes don’t come much cheaper than this. If you just want something affordable to swap in as a replacement for your growing child’s now-defunct balance bike, the Pedal Pals Street Rider is a strong choice that’s well worth considering. It's compatible with stabilisers, to assist until your child becomes more confident.

The seat height, the handlebars and the brake levers can all similarly be adapted to match your child’s growing confidence. The Pedal Pals is lightweight, which is handy for travelling. And it is highly durable, too, which makes it a plausible hand-me-down or resale item when your child moves onto bigger things.

Key specs – Approx age: 5+; Wheel size: 16in; Number of gears: Single speed; Weight: 9kg; Tyre width: 1.75in; Stabilisers included: Yes

Buy now from Argos


3. Strider Sport 12in: The best balance bike

Price: £110 | Buy now from Strider

If your child is between 18 months and five years old, and you’re looking for their first wheels, you may want to look into this Strider Sport balance bike. Balance bikes differ from conventional bikes in that they don’t have pedals, so rely on the rider using their feet on the floor to control the movement. This allows young children to get acquainted with the concepts of steering and balancing before moving up to proper bicycles.

What we love most about the Strider Sport is its adaptability. With an adjustable seat post, adjustable handlebars and a replaceable saddle, it saves you from having to buy a new balance bike every time your child grows. What’s more, it has a sturdy frame and EVA foam tyres, so it should have no problem standing the test of time.

Key specs – Wheel size: 12in; Number of gears: 1; Weight: 2.9kg; Tyre width: not given; Stabilisers included: No

Buy now from Strider


4. Hoy Bonaly: The best bike for intermediate children

Price: £300 | Buy now from Evans Cycles

As your child reaches the age of 5, it’s probably the right time to transition them over to something a bit more challenging than their first bike. It’s time, quite literally, to take the stabilizers off. The Hoy Bonaly, which is associated with Olympic legend Chris Hoy and named after one of his favourite off-road cycling spots, would be a great choice for a child that is no longer a beginner. And this intermediate option offers a mountain bike feel without over-complicating matters. The Hoy Bonaly’s short cranks and rigid forks provide support and control for smaller riders, while the semi-treaded tyres are designed to make off-road cycling that little bit easier. If you want a bike that your child can use on rougher terrains such as grass and uneven paths, this would be a great choice.

Key specs – Approx age: 5-8; Wheel size: 20in; Number of gears: 6; Weight: 8kg; Tyre width: 1.75in; Stabilisers included: No

Buy now from Evans Cycles


5. Trek Wahoo 24: The best all-round kids bike

Price: £490 | Buy now from Trek

If your child sometimes has trouble manoeuvring their bike when not riding, then the Trek Wahoo kids bike could put them back in control. The hybrid bike is incredibly lightweight, with the frame made from Alpha Aluminium and easy to pick up and move around. It operates well on a variety of surfaces with multi-surface tyres and a total of eight gears, and most of all it's been designed with little ones in mind. The padded seat keeps things comfy when riding for long periods, and the non-quick release wheels make it even safer.

Key specs – Wheel size: 24in; Number of gears: 8; Weight: 9.24kg; Tyre width: 1.95in; Stabilisers included: No

Buy now from Trek