Bikes for kids ages 2 and up to the 3rd birthday: These kids are definately ready to start experimenting with a balance bike both physically and developmentally!
The problem a lot of parents face at this age is getting the right size bike for this age. We have heard many times that parent unknowingly buy a bike with a seat height that is too high for their child this age because a lot of bike companies label their bikes "for kids 2 - 5 yrs old". However, this is not always true and the seat height may be too high for your child to ride at first.
On the opposite spectrum, we've had kids turning 3 who are the size of a 4 1/2 year old that needs to be on the largest 12" bike instead of a bike based on his age alone.
Things to think about:
- Kids turning 3 and younger usually still have a pretty short inseam, plus they are still developing their coordination skills. So it's important to measure their inseam and not buy something too big or heavy that they "will grow in to" . Many of these kids will be able to pedal bike within a year - so it doesn't have to last 2 -3 yrs (maybe a hand me down for the next one or neighbor!)
- Kids closer to 24 months will not be able to use a handbrake yet - however, kids close to 3 may be able to depending on their coordination skills. Kids will automatically use their feet and ignore a handbrake until they are ready. It is good to not force them to learn or use the brake before they are ready because you want them to stop immediately when they need to and this instinctually will be with their feet.
- If you child's inseam is greater than 13 - then toggle between these choices and the next size up. If their inseam is 14" or greater, the next size up may be the category you should focus on more.
Bikes in this age range:
1. Strider Prebike: This bike has a great range on it - from 11" up to 20" with the XL seat (though kids with an inseam over 16" should choose a bigger bike if they are just starting out). Easy to use, easy to carry for both kids and parents, throw on the back of the stroller, under your arm. If you want ease and convenience (and lightweight!) this may be your choice.
2. Kinderbike e-series Air, Laufrad and Mini If your child's inseam is 13" or longer, we suggest the Laufrad regular over the Mini because the kids will have a longer use on the older end of the bike. These bikes have air tires and handbrakes (e-series does not have a handbrake) and are built like a real bike. The new Kinderbike Morph is on hold and is not expected before holidays of 2014 is suppose to have a seat range of 12" - 20" and transition into a pedal bike and may be able to fit kids as young as 2 1/2 up to 6. This will carry a much higher price tag and some parents will choose to get a balance bike for longer use, and pick up a used or less expensive 12" pedal bike which is usually only used 6 -8 months before getting into a 14" or 16" pedal bike.
3. Glide Bikes: Ezee Glider for 20 months and up and the Mini Glider for 2 1/2 and older. The Mini glider fits kids closer to 3 alittle more comfortably because the seat is set back alittle more from the handlebars which are set wider apart than on the Ezee Glider. These bikes are fairly lightweight at only 8 - 8 1/2 pounds and come with a patented foot peg which is removeable without a tool if you prefer to not have it. Also has a handbrake and comes in several appealing colors.
4. FirstBIKE: This is a great quality bike (pictured above) - but you will probably will have to buy the lowering kit and the child should be closer to 3 or a tall 2 1/2 year old. The Street model will be lower to the ground than the Cross or Special Editions. Your child's inseam should probably be close to 13" to fit comfortably on this bike due to the wider seat (which is very comfortable!)
5. MUNA: This affordable bike has great features at a great price. Rugged air tires, great seat range of 13" - 18 for long lasting riding, adjustable handlebar both up/down and front and back with 2 cool designs to choose from.
6. Early Rider Lite and Wishbone wooden bikes: Both of these high end wooden balance bikes are works of art and will fit kids between 2- 3 and grow with them until 5 yrs of age. We now have plenty of XL seats for the Early Rider series.