Bike for 3 Year Old?

Updated on July 25, 2011
P.C. asks from Portland, OR
10 answers

My beloved son is 3, and will be 4 this fall.

He has a scooter and a trike. He also has a little bike with no pedals.

He is now wanting a bike that has training wheels (and of course pedals).

What do folks think about giving a young child a bike with training wheels, as opposed to waiting until he is ready for a real bike?

I am a single dad, this is my only child.



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So What Happened?

I really appreciate all the great answers.

What brands of bikes do folks suggest? (made in USA?)

I saw the trek suggestion. Thanks.


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answers from New York on

Yes it will be great for him to learn to pedal a real bike. All three of my kids had small bikes with training wheels and took the training wheels off when they were brave enough. One at 4 1/2 (very athletic and daring) one at 5 and one at 7. The 7 yr old was very coordinated and athletic but she hated falling! I dont think training wheels slows them down, little kids bikes with no pedals are not usually set up to teach them to balance.

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answers from Albuquerque on

My girls have balance bikes too (no pedals) and we're about to get them real bikes... But will NOT be using training wheels. The owner of our local bike shop told me that we'll undo all the good balance work the girls have already done if we use the training wheels. So my advice is that if yourbson can handle the balance bike well, go straight to a regular bike.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Personally, I think the training wheels, if left on for too long will drag out the process of learning to ride a 'real' bike, so if you get a little 2 wheeler with training wheels (ToysRUs has REALLY well trained bike people who can help you find the right fit), I would put a time limit on the training wheels and take them off when it's up! (Say, by age 5.)
Have fun!



answers from Minneapolis on

Definitely. I do suggest a good one though that is stable. We just got my 3.5 yr old a Trek. It is a little more expensive but so much more stable/solid than some of the neighbor kids bikes from Target or Kids R Us. (plus we have a little one that will be able to ride it after him) Make sure he has a good helmet that fits well too!



answers from Dallas on

My 4 yo got a bike with training wheels at 3.5 years. It was a great transition and has taught him how to push the peddals (somewhat different than a trike that is more of a forward push as opposed to an up an down motion).
I think it helps prepare them for the training wheels coming off. Good thing is after the trainin wheels are off it is a "big kid" bike:)



answers from Oklahoma City on

He is old enough for the 12" bike with training wheels.



answers from Kansas City on

I think you should get it for him for sure! My daughter got a little 12" bike when she was about 2.5-3 and she loved it. It made her feel so big time b/c she was actually riding a bike! ;) Of course it had training wheels and we didn't even make them uneven yet because we figured she might not be ready for that. Her cousin gave her a bike (that she had grown out of) that is the next size up (16"???) and now that she's almost 4 she can use that one too. My daughter is off the chart for height though so she can easily reach the pedals. Depending upon how big your child is I would compare the 12" and 16" ones before you buy. You'll want one your son can use for a while. I do agree that probably around 5 you can take the training wheels off and try to teach him how to ride the two wheeler. Have fun!



answers from Detroit on

My daughter will be turning 4 in a few weeks and she got her first real bike (with training wheels) this past spring. She's done great with it and riding her bike has become one of her favorite things to do. I was riding a bike with training wheels when I was 4 and then the training wheels came off when I was 5 or 6. Learning how to pedal and steer (without worrying about balancing) is essential. By the time he's ready to try balancing without training wheels, he will have the pedaling and steering down. And of course, it's also great exercise. Just make sure he's wearing a helmet every time!



answers from Cincinnati on

My son is 3 and has a bike with training wheels. He received it for Christmas right before his 3rd birthday. He LOVES it and he rides it all of the time. I don't see the problem because I remember having a bike with training wheels when I was a kid. I remember the day the training wheels came off and the first time I rode without them. So I don't think starting off on training wheels is going to prevent him from learning to ride a bike without them one day.



answers from Washington DC on

If he can pedal the tricycle and glide well on the balance bike, just get him a 12 inch bike (they usually come with trainers already in place) and take OFF the training wheels. There is no reason to go from a balance bike (the bike with no pedals) to a bike with training wheels, ESPECIALLY if he has experience with the trike.

Make sure the seat is low enough that he can put his feet firmly on the ground if/when he needs to, and let him try.

My son was able to ride a "real" bike right after he turned 3, so it's totally doable if he's interested.


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