Best Bike/Tricycle for 3 Year Old...

Updated on April 08, 2010
J.K. asks from Marblehead, MA
7 answers

My daughter is about to turn three and we are thinking of getting her a tricycle or bike for her birthday. Any recommendations? I don't know anything about bikes. She has been using our neighbors tricycle for almost a year now when she goes over to their house...not sure if we should go the tricycle route or get her a real (toddler size) bike. Any advice and recommendations for specific products would be great - thank you!

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answers from Washington DC on

I would recommend a trike or big wheel - absolutely! They each have their advantages. I was particularly fond of my son's big wheel because it was noisy on hard surfaces. I could be in the house and know exactly where he was!

At three she is not ready for a bike!!!!! Sure, she might be able to pedal the thing and make it go - but she does not have the brain maturity to anticipate danger and react in time. (We have all seen the TV videos of little kids riding 2 and 4 wheelers and cluelessly running into trees, cars or over their siblings. Those videos are the ones where no one gets hurt.)

The mechanics of a trike are very simple. You pedal and you move; you pedal faster and you move faster; you stop pedaling and you stop moving. With a bike you pedal and and you move; you pedal faster and you move faster; you come to a slight down hill and you don't do anything and you move faster; you stop pedaling and you keep going; you push back on the pedal or squeeze the levers on the handles and you stop? (That's logical?)

For me, having a bike is one of those milestones. It's something a child really, really wants for quite a while, but has to "earn" it with behavior and actions - proving they are ready for the responsiblity of a bike. Having a bike means a child is ready for a little bit of independence.



answers from Washington DC on

Go with the tricycle. At this age the bicycle will have four wheels anyway. Because there is a step on the back of the tricycle, it is easy to give them a push if they get tired. I will also tow my son's trike sometimes. My son is 6 and still rides a tricycle. We have a long gravel driveway so, when he was 3 we found him a really cool, retro styled, sturdy, adjustable trike with real rubber tires at the local bike store. My husband and I have almost as much fun using it as a scooter. We might get him a bike next year.



answers from Washington DC on

I love the idea of the balance bike - I've never heard of that! What I was going to say, is to make sure you get something that fits your daughter now and will grow with her a little bit. We really want to get my son a bike for this summer, but after trying out several of them, we've yet to find one that will let his feet actually touch the pedals the whole way around. (he's on the short side though, so this may be less of a problem for you!) Now I'm going to check out the balance bikes!



answers from Huntsville on

Have you thought about getting a balance bike? They are pricey, but it teaches balance waaaay better than a bike with training wheels!

For a regular bike, you'll either need to get a 10" or a 12" bike, depending on your daughter's height. 10" is harder to find. We got ours at Toys R Us. Wal Mart only carries 12" & up.

We actually got our daughter a 10" bike, but left the training wheels & pedals off. This way she can use it as a balance bike (without the huge pricetag...) and we can add the pedals when she's ready.

If you get a regular bike & use the pedals & training wheels, then I wouldn't get her a tricycle. The bike at that point will basically be like a tricycle anyways.


answers from Barnstable on

Kettler makes an awesome tricycle - built like a tank. Mine is 9 years old and my son now uses it, but my 70 lb daughter, who is 10, ALSO rides it! Worth the money!



answers from Topeka on

I just bought my 3 yr old daughter a 12 Inch bike with training wheels it's so cute she loves it comes with a bell and a basket with pom poms on the handle bars bright pink with cupcakes all over the bike.A tricycle she was getting tired of it wanted something more with physical activity and motor skills if it is to high for her they sell 10 inch bikes @ Kmart seen them but to small for my daughter she is almost 31/2



answers from Norfolk on

I would recommend getting her a balance bike, which is a bike with no pedals or gear system. The kid sits on it and pushes along with their legs and learns to balance. When they're ready, they pretty much hop on a real bike and go! It's the opposite of how most of us learned to ride a bike, balance then learn to pedal. They can be found online or at specialty bike shops. Our son was 2 when we got him a Specialized Balance bike (about the size of a 10" bike). At 3 he really got the hang of it and loved it and then just before he turned 4, he learned how to ride a pedal bike - just a normal 12" bike handed down from our neighbors. It was a great transition! I will never torture my kids with training wheels again! Good luck!

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