Best Bikes For 2 Year Old of 2018 & Buying Guide
When it comes to kids and bikes, every parent’s greatest concern is safety. While two might seem a little young for some kids to start riding, most experts agree it can be a valuable time to hone motor skills and confidence—and instill a lifelong love of biking and exercise.
There are plenty of options for kids at various skill levels, but narrowing these down can be frustrating in its own way. Our buyer’s guide will answer some commonly asked questions parents have about toddlers and bikes, and evaluate some of our favorite picks for little ones.
Is my child ready for a bike? Should I wait another year?
Experts recommend waiting until your child is at least 12 months old before they play on wheeled toys, and 2 years of age before you think about trikes and bikes. This is because, prior to age 2, most kids aren’t capable of pedaling.
Consider waiting to purchase your child his or her first bike if they seem to fear them, or if their coordination or development is noticeably lagging.
The most important factor, however, is interest; a child who doesn’t want to ride a bike, won’t.
Most kids are ready by age 5 at the latest. Only you can decide if your child will benefit from a bike right now, or if you’re better off waiting.
My child seems afraid of his/her bicycle—how can I get them used to it?
Children are rarely afraid of the bicycle itself. What they really fear is falling off and getting hurt, especially if it’s happened before. To make your child more comfortable with the idea, emphasize the importance of helmets and knee and elbow pads. Let him do a few pratfalls in the grass, to show him that falling off isn’t the end of the world. Sometimes, it can even be fun!
If your child is still reluctant to learn, consider utilizing constructive peer pressure: take him to a park where children frequently ride bikes. Watching other kids zipping along and having a blast might convince him to get back up on that seat himself.
Lastly, some kids just aren’t very confident in their own coordination and skills yet. Have your child walk his bike, straddling the frame and using his feet on the road to propel himself forward. Once he’s gotten used to that, he can practice coasting down small hills with his feet lifted off the pedals. Eventually, he’ll be willing to pedal himself.
Above all else, remember: patience is key. While some children seem like they were born to bike, others take more time to pick it up—and some will never cultivate a genuine interest in the activity, which is totally fine! As long as you take the time to teach them correct posture, safety rules, and the basic mechanics, you’re doing exactly what you should: giving them an important life skill that just might turn into a lifelong hobby or passion.
What should I look for in a toddler bike?
Overall, the most important factor is size. Your child should be able to straddle the top bar of the bike with both feet flat on the ground. While it’s common practice, do not purchase a too-large bike so your child will grow into it; this will affect his coordination and skill level negatively. The right size bike is crucial in maintaining control and learning to ride properly.
Besides height, you should also consider your toddler’s preferences. Today’s models come in many colors, with designs and characters from popular children’s shows, which can make learning more appealing.
Toddlers don’t have the coordination or height to operate most kids’ bikes, which can come equipped with various gears and brake types. In general, most toddler bikes are tricycles, or two-wheelers with removable training wheels. Many parents purchase balance bikes (ones without chains or pedals) for their toddler first, so they can work on balance and steering before they have to learn pedaling.
The type of bike you get should fit your child comfortably, appeal to them visually, and be suited for their skill level, as well as where they’ll be riding the most. While hard plastic tires, like on toy trikes, are fine on asphalt, they won’t exactly cut it when your kids wants to bike through the grass or dirt.
Should I get a plastic model, or a metal one?
In regards to children’s bikes, plastic vs. metal is less a question of materials, and more a question of design: most plastic bikes are trikes, stroller bikes (with handles for parents to push), and toys rather than true bikes, which are usually made from aluminum.
Usually, the material you choose will be decided for you when you determine whether a bike or toy-style trike is best for your child.
That said, there are metal trikes (Radio Flyer is a popular brand with this design), as well as plastic bikes (even for adults). The advantages of plastic are a generally lower cost, lighter weight, and potentially easier bike for your child to handle.
Aluminum bikes, however, have much greater durability: while the paint might fade or the frame might dent, you won’t see a sun-bleached, dried-out and splintered kid’s bike in somebody’s yard if it’s made of metal, which is the fate of all too many plastic trikes.
Best Bikes For 2 Year Old Reviews
1. Dynacraft Magna Gravel Blaster, Boy’s Review
With an adjustable seat and training wheels—plus a paint job in black and lime green almost any boy will love—the Magna Gravel Blaster from Dynacraft is a smart option for parents keen on a “grow with the kid” kind of design.
Its 12-inch wheel size makes it suitable for most 2- to 3-year-olds, and it should last until the child is around five or six. The best part? Its ultra-thick tires take this bike from smooth asphalt to rough gravel with no problem—perfect for any future off-roaders.
If your child is rough on toys, consider the Gravel Blaster. It’s designed to withstand gravel, crashes, and more, and its steel frame should hold up nicely through all of it. As with most kids’ bikes, we foresee the handlebar padding wearing out within a few months (especially if the bike is kept outside), but this can be replaced/removed easily. Our favorite factor, besides the ultra-thick and sturdy tires, is the price: it falls within most budget ranges, and comes in at about half what you’d pay at a bike shop for similar models.
2. Stargirl by Royalbaby, Girl’s Review
A rather quintessential “girl’s” bike, the Stargirl won’t have many male riders eager to try it out—which is a shame, because behind the Barbie-esque pink paint job, woven basket, and ribbon handlebar tassels is an impressive bike that’s crafted with quality (fortunately, the company makes boys’ and gender-neutral models, as well).
Toddlers and young children who love all things pink (though it also comes in a pretty blue with pink accents) will adore the Stargirl from Royalbaby. Its adorable basket and bell are sure to be a hit, and parents are sure to love the fair price.
3. BMX Freestyle from RoyalBaby, Gender Neutral Review
If you’re sick of bikes emblazoned with cartoon characters, glitter, flames, and useless foam padding that will fall apart in a month, consider the gender-neutral BMX Freestyle from RoyalBaby.
The brand has designed a classic but modern bike that’s perfect for kids, but honestly doesn’t look like a typical kids’ bike—which, in our opinion, is a very good thing.
Parents looking to ditch the whole concept of girls’ and boys’ bikes will find this style refreshing, and kids will love the range of colors to choose from. With a classic design and features like a water bottle mount (but without typical kids’ bike features like foam padding, which quickly falls apart), the BMX Freestyle is a modern choice with classic, long-lasting appeal.
4. WeeRide Co-Pilot Bike Trainer, Gender-Neutral Review
To be fair, this is a bit of a “cheat pick” on our part, because this isn’t actually a bicycle. The WeeRide Co-Pilot Bike Trainer attaches to the back of a standard adult bike, and features only one wheel.
Its handlebars don’t steer, but rather provide stability and the sensation of riding a bike. We’ve included this for the children who just aren’t ready to ride alone—and the parents who need a fun way to prepare them.
This definitely isn’t a traditional first-bike choice, but it could be the perfect option for some parents and kids. If your little one is fearful of biking, or if their coordination needs some improvement, consider letting them hitch a ride on the WeeRide Co-Pilot for a while.
Finding the right bike for your child can be difficult, but you can make it easier—on both of you—by encouraging him or her to participate in the selection process. Measure their height and inseam to determine the best bike size, then consider factors such as cost, type, and appearance. Pretty soon, the perfect bike for them will be all too easy to pinpoint; all that’s left is teaching them to use it!