Finding the right bike for your child can be confusing as kid’s bikes aren’t measured the same as an adult bike. Kids bikes go by wheel size rather than frame size.
With no standard height for a seat to be for any wheel size, leaves you as a parent or grandparent guessing what size they need. However, with this guide you can take the guesswork out of the equation and get the right bike first time.
Kids 14 Inch wheel bikes reviewed
When my youngest daughter was learning to ride, she had this bike. I found the stabilisers were very robust and didn’t bend.
I found the handle on the back of the seat to be a massive help and something that was missing on my eldest daughter’s bike when I was teaching her to ride.
My youngest daughter absolutely loved the water bottle and holder and wouldn’t go riding without it being filled up, it’s also a great way to ensure you have a drink when riding.
The only downside I found was that the bike was heavy. This is due to the fact that the frame is made out of steel, so it can take a lot of abuse and without any performance issues.
To put into perspective an average weight for a three year old is 14.5Kg and this bike weighs 10.2Kg, so you’ll find the handle on the back of the seat coming in handy when going up a hill.
Because this bike is heavy your child may find it hard to start if you’ve removed the stabilizers. Due to them not being able to stand up and put all their weight on the pedal to get the bike going.
But don’t worry as they grow this will become less of a problem.
According to the testers this bike is very sturdy and well made. Because of this it’s a little on the heavy side weighing in at 10Kg.
The bike is easy to assemble although the instructions were found to be a little different to what was actually required, but not too difficult to work out.
The hand brake was a good size for small hands and easy to operate. We also noted that there was a coaster brake pedal as well, so there shouldn’t be any issues stopping.
Our research into this bike also found out that if you have an issue when you receive the bike the company goes out of their way to make it right.
One tester stated that a wheel was delivered out of true when spun. The company asked him to take it to a local bike shop and have it put right. They then paid for it all upon receiving the receipt for the work.
The other thing we liked about the bike was the enclosed chain preventing little fingers from getting caught between the chain and gears.
A lot of testers have said this is a well made and easy to assemble bike straight out of the box.
The instructions are spot on and easy to follow with assembly time no more than 20 – 30 minutes. This includes Assembly of Pedals, Handlebar, Stabilisers and blowing up the tires.
One down side that our testers found was just how difficult it was for a three year old to pedal this bike. When investigating further we worked it out to be because of the weight of the bike.
An average three year old will weigh around 14.5Kg and this bike weighs in at 19.2kg. Trying to get this bike going is hard when pushing something that weighs more than you.
I would also recommend you only use this bike with stabilisers until your child is heavier than the bike. The reason for this is that it will be easier for them to stand up and push down on the pedal with their weight with stabilisers on.
Once your child has learnt to ride and has built up their leg muscles this will be a good bike for them and should last a long time.
Schwinn have been making bikes for a long time, and you don’t stay in business if you don’t make quality bikes. The Schwinn Keon doesn’t disappoint with the way it’s been designed.
The bikes geometry has been designed to kids proportions when riding, giving your child a better experience for their first bike. This is important for them to enjoy riding.
The bike has a narrower pedal geometry to accommodate your child’s hips. Smaller grip stance and a better seating position compared to other bikes that are often just a down sized adult bike.
The downside to this setup is the stabilisers aren’t well made and are quite flimsy. I would recommend that you purchase another set if your child will be using them for a long time.
Out of the box you’ll have to assemble a few parts, pedals, wheels etc. We found that you’re not supplied with all the required tools. If you buy this bike, you’ll need additional allen wrenches and an adjustable spanner to complete the assembly.
The last thing we noted was that the tires are directional so make sure you place them on the right way round. There should be a direction indicator on the tire.
The girl’s equivalent of this bike is the Schwinn Elm
The second Joystar bike to make it into the review is the Pluto. Just like the Totem this bike is well made and solid to withstand the bumps that will no doubt come with learning to ride.
There were no issues with parts of the bike on the one we tested; I did, however, find during my research that other reviewers had some issues like the one described in the Joystar Totem review.
While testing the bike out we noted that if you wore nylon shorts or leggings then you would slide around on the seat. This made it difficult for our small tester to stay on the seat, but this didn’t happen with cotton shorts.
The bike will need some assembly like the others, except that the instructions that come with this bike are truly shocking. If you don’t have any experience in bike assembly or maintenance then watch the video below to guide you.
Do you know what size they need
The first place you want to start will be with their age. We start here as a rule and this is due to all manufacturers advertising the bikes with a certain wheel size and age range.
No two kids of the same age will be the same. My daughter is five months younger than her cousin and they’re in the same school year. Yet her cousin is a good six to eight inches (15cm – 20cm) taller than she is so the same bike wouldn’t be suitable for both of them.
So, we need to measure them, specifically the inside leg or inseam. With this measurement you now need to check the bike specification for the seat height.
The seat height that is given will be a range which includes the adjustment. This size is important as you want your child to be able to put their feet flat on the floor when stopped.
What you don’t want to do is buy a bike that they’ll grow into. This could put them off wanting to ride the bike and spoil the enjoyment for them.
I’d recommend that you look to buy a bike where the minimum seat height is within 1cm of your child’s inseam measurement. It can be slightly higher so they’ll reach the floor on tiptoes but kids of this young age do better if they can put their foot flat on the floor.
Five Things to Consider Before Buying a Bike
This is probably the second most important factor after measuring your child. The heavier the bike the more they’re likely to struggle in terms of lifting the bike.
I normally recommend that you look for a bike that is no more than 40% of your child’s weight. However, you need to balance this with cost as they’ll not be using the bike for long as they’ll outgrow it.
The other consideration with weight is the length of time they can pedal it before becoming tired. The longer they can ride for the longer the fun lasts, and the less time you need to carry the bike for.
Generally, most kid’s bikes are made out of steel tubing, this is to withstand the rough treatment it will receive. Being thrown to the floor when your child gets off or hitting the ground during a tumble.
However, not all kid’s bikes are heavy. If you want a light bike then you’ll pay a premium for it, at this point you need to ask yourself is it worth it when they’ll grow out of that size within a few years.
There are two types with kid’s bike at an early age, coasters (where your child pedals backwards) and normal handbrakes. There are pros and cons to both setups
Most kid’s bikes come with a front handbrake as well as a coaster brake. I’ll admit I’m not a fan of the coaster brake system as I think they’re dangerous when going downhill.
Having said that coaster brakes do have their place, if your child can’t pull the handbrake on their first bike. With that said I’d recommend the following bike to just be handbrakes so your child gets use to them as quickly as possible.
It’s always tempting to buy your child a bike with all the bells and whistles on it, but honestly, they’ll have enough to think about just learning to ride.
Adding in the complication of gears and trying to teach them when to use each one will remove their enjoyment. Stick with a single gear until they’re about ten then they’ll be ready for the next stage in learning to ride.
I’d normally recommend that you buy a balance bike first so that your child gets use to the balance aspect before progressing to a pedal bike. It then takes less time to learn to ride on two wheels.
Having said that a lot of kid’s bikes are heavy and, in some cases, a three year old would struggle with the weight of some bikes. In these cases, look carefully at the training wheels as some are too flimsy.
Cycling Ambition Recommendation
The research for children’s bikes brought to light some interesting points that I’d failed to take into account when buying my daughters bikes at an early age.
I only really went with the age group when buying a bike. It wasn’t until I bought my youngest daughter a 24 inch wheel bike that I actually measured her. After this I discovered that the bike, I was going to buy wouldn’t work for her.
Of the bikes I’ve reviewed and tested I recommend the Schwinn Koen or Elm. These bikes really are in the sweat spot in terms of value for money and weight.
You have to remember that a 14 inch wheel bike is really only going to be used between the ages of three and five. After this period most kids have outgrown the bike, so spending a lot of money on a bike doesn’t really make sense until they hit teenage years.