Bike for a Three-year Old

Updated on March 25, 2014
J.D. asks from Lockport, NY
23 answers

The Easter Bunny wants to bring a bike for my three-year old son. Any suggestions as to which kind? Balance bike, tricycle, or just a kids bike with training wheels??

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answers from Columbia on

What has he already had and done well with? Just go up a level of difficulty from that. Also consider his abilities. Great balance and not very klutzy? Bike with training wheels. Not so great balance and a bit klutzy? Trike. You want something that he'll enjoy.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think it really depends on the kid.

My son wasn't ever interested in his tricycle and so, didn't really 'get' pedaling before he got interested in his balance bike (around 5-- I should add that he has a vision issue which impacted his depth perception considerably). For his sixth birthday we found a right-sized bike for him with training wheels, because I realized he'd need to learn to pedal too.

If I were to do it over again, I'd still do the trike first.

And don't forget to find a helmet that fits correctly. Teach him early-- no helmet, no wheels!

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answers from Dallas on

I'd go with a kids bike with training wheels... three is on the upper end for a trike or balance bike. my little girl was just turned four when we took the training wheels off...

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answers from Norfolk on

Get him a balance bike.
It's a bike without pedals.
Training wheels are annoying.
He'll scoot along and get a feel for his balancing.
When he outgrows it he'll be ready for a regular bike with pedals.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Danville on

I have a special needs daughter. Two years ago the 'easter bunny' wanted to get a bike for her too...

I searched all of the special needs catalogs for 'trikes' in a bigger size for fear she could not balance. HAPPILY, I went for a mid size bike with training wheels. She has been a SPEED DEMON!!

It took a few days for her to feel comfortable on the 'higher' bike. I do not know if she will ever loose the training wheels...but I was glad we have had success with a more 'typical' bike!

Best luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Iowa City on

I'm late to the game, but my vote is regular bike with training wheels. My daughter has been using a bike as a three year old. She started on a tricycle at 2.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

A regular small bike (made for kids of that age) with training wheels that you can take off when the time is right.

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answers from New York on

Big wheels for a three year old. Plenty of time
for a regular bike.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Boston on

Depends on how coordinated he is. My youngest (now 8) was totally ready for a small bike (12 or 14 inch wheels) with training wheels at age 3. Balance bikes weren't really a thing with my older kids so we never considered them. They all started off with a small bike with training wheels at that age too and did fine, but my youngest definitely took to it more quickly than they did and was riding without training wheels when he was 4.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Your child is 3 now. Soon, he will 'graduate' to a bike without training wheels.
Don't know what the 'age' range is for a balance bike.

Also to consider, is the height, of your child and that kids grow pretty fast.

For our kids, they both had bikes, with training wheels. I had that too, as a kid. But REAL soon after, both my kids were just riding without training wheels. They learn balance just from a regular bike... which was sized to them, per their height.

At 4, my son could ride without training wheels. And was just riding a regular bike after we took off the training wheels.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Get a regular bike with training wheels. My son was 4 when we took the training wheels off. You will get much longer use from it this way.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

For what it's worth, my kid is 3.5 and is now too big for his radio flyer trike. Santa bought him a bike with training wheels. Time to get it assembled I think.

F. B.


answers from Los Angeles on

TRAINING HANDLE! The best invention ever. It takes a regular bike that your kid can grow into, but puts a removable handle to control steering and balance. We also have the removable training wheels for our three-year-old. My sisters' kids where very proficient at bike riding by three, so a regular bike if you have a great bike riding neighborhood and a physically advanced three-year-old. We live on a hill. We only bike once in a blue moon. I am so glad we bought the one we did for our three-year-old. This particular one is a little heavier than I'd like, but all the kids bikes we felt were heavy. I'm guessing your standard kids bike is not made out of light weight metals.



answers from Las Vegas on

I have always gone bicycle with training wheels, but that is only because they didn't have balance bikes for my girls. If they were around for my little one, I missed it. Anyway, if I were to do it again (and I am not saying I will), I would go balance bike.



answers from Oklahoma City on

I think it entirely depends on if he has the pedaling stage done yet. That's a hard stage for kiddos. If he has never had a bike before then get him a larger tricycle. It's hard to manage balancing that tiny bit a 2 wheeler requires since the training wheels almost meet the pavement so they are there when the kid loses his balance.

The tricycle will help him learn that pedaling action and once he gets that down he'll be ready for a 12" bike at Christmas.



answers from San Francisco on

I got my dd a bike with training wheels from Target. I think it was a 12" bike. It was perfect for her first bike.



answers from Detroit on

I agree that it depends on the particular kid and their abilities. My son had a big wheel at 2, a 12 inch bike by three, 16 inch at 5, and 20 inch at 8-when he finally learned how to ride without training wheels.
DD had the big wheel at 2, 16 inch bike at 3.5 (she's tall) and was riding it without training wheels at 4.



answers from Boston on

Kids bike with training wheels. Both my boys got them at 3 years old and rode all over the driveway like crazy on them! The nice thing about them is we have a bike path nearby and they can ride them on the bike path as well. They also have big wheels which are fun, but if I had to choose I'd go with the bike.



answers from Washington DC on

Here's another vote for Balance bike... or a scooter if he doesn't have one.



answers from New York on

My daughter got a regular bike with training wheels for her 4th birthday, and rode it maybe three times because she was afraid or unable to maneuver it. She wanted to keep using the trike we had in the basement. This spring at almost 5 she is enjoying the bike. My girl is no super athlete, but that's just our experience for one more. Some kids at three seem fine with a bike, but I have heard of other parents with our same experience.
You can find bikes pretty cheap on Amazon. Not built to last but safe, I think. Worth it till you know your child is interested.



answers from Los Angeles on

I wouldn't get a trike, since you'll be pretty limited in how long he uses it. A 12" bike with training wheels is probably your best bet, though finding an inexpensive balance bike would be great too.

My three year old daughter has a balance bike now and is getting good on it. She'll be ready for a real bike soon.


answers from Grand Forks on

My boys graduated from their tricycles to a 12 inch bike with training wheels when they turned three. I don't know anything about balance bikes.



answers from Detroit on

kids bike with training wheels my son learned to ride a 2 wheeler when he was 4.. he had a 12 inch bike he learned on .. at 5 he got a 16 inch bike.. and he will get a 20 inch bike for his 7th bday..

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