For better or worse, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many of us to learn new skills. Some of us filled the role of virtual homeschooling teacher, others of us mastered bread making, while many of us have used this quarantine to teach our kids how to bike. If you’re still looking for that perfect set of wheels—or maybe your kiddo is ready to upgrade their bike—we’ve done the research on the best kids bikes, tricycles and scooters. From kids mountain bikes to kids dirt bikes to the beginner scooter, read on for our picks for the best of the best.
Best Tricycles for Kids and Bikes for Babies (Start ‘Em Young!)
Best Bike for Babies: Strider 2-in-1 Rocking Bike
Can't wait to get your little rider on wheels? This bundle gives you a Strider Bike—and a place to prop it—so your tot can climb on and test his balance by simply rocking back and forth. He'll feel like he's really riding and will be that much closer to the real thing. Then, when he's ready, just pop the bike out and hit the road.
For kids ages 6 months to 5 years.
Best Splurge: Bentley 6-In-1 Stroller Tricycle
For trendsetting tots (er, parents) who like to roll in style, this trike will be on every Fancy Nancy's wish list. Designed in collaboration with Bentley Motors (the wheels are an exact replica of the Bentley Continental GT, and the kids tricycle is available in the same colors as the cars), this luxurious stroller trike can accommodate your child from babyhood and beyond. And before you scoff at the outrageous price tag, consider that this little gizmo is at once a forward and backward-facing stroller, a push trike and a pedal trike—with a few phases in between. It's pricey . . . but it'll last you five years.
For kids ages 6 months to 5 years.
Best Tricycle to Grow Into: EZ Fold 4-in-1 Stroll ‘N Trike
If you're more bargain than Bentley, Radio Flyer's EZ Fold 4-in-1 tricycle will do the job just fine. It starts as a push stroller and easily transforms to become a push trike, learn-to-ride trike and finally a classic tricycle. The set of wheels also features a removable wrap-around tray with a cup holder, a rear storage bucket, an adjustable canopy and a three-point harness for safety.
For kids ages 9 months to 5 years.
Best Classic Tricycle: Radio Flyer Classic Red Tricycle
We're Red Tricycle after all so our list wouldn't be complete without Radio Flyer's classic red tricycle. We've hauled these bad boys around to events, let our kids ride them around our neighborhoods and have even been known to take a spin ourselves. The steel construction makes these tricycles extra durable (believe us—some of ours have taken a beating and are still wheeling around in prime condition). Most of all, we love that classic look won't ever go out of style.
For ages 2-4
Best Balance Bikes for Kids
Best Bike with Modern Geometry: Mongoose Title Tot
Little rippers start here. The road to awesome is paved with confidence-building fun when kids learn to ride on the Title Tot by Mongoose. The smallest member of the Title BMX race series, the Title Tot is designed to help young kids learn to ride by putting the focus on balance and gliding before they graduate to a pedal bike—eliminating the need for training wheels. But don’t let its tiny size fool you, this balance bike has got it all: a lightweight aluminum frame, air filled tires for grip and control, and even a ball bearing headset and wheel hubs for quality performance. Plus, the quick-adjust seat makes it easy to adjust the height for growing kids. Let the wild ride begin with the Title Tot by Mongoose.
Best Budget Balance Bike: Joystar
For a cool-looking balance bike that doesn't break the bank, the Joystar is a perfect fit. Featuring an adjustable seat and handlebars plus a footrest that sits where the feet would be if the rider were pedaling, this budget bike helps newbie riders find their center of gravity and get gliding right away. It also has air-free tires so you never have to worry about filling up. Available in black, blue, green and pink.
For kids ages 1½ to 5 years.
Best Balance Bike with Real Brakes: Woom 1
There's a reason you see so many Woom 1 bikes on the sidewalks with beginner riders: it perfectly fits the smallest riders who may still be learning to work on their motor skills. The bike is easy for the littlest toddlers (ages 1.5 to 3 years old) to jump on and glide, ensuring that they're able to learn to ride and balance with confidence. The bike even comes with real rear brakes, which are specially-designed for small hands to operate so kiddo can learn how to safely bring her bike to a halt. Our Editorial Director counts herself a big fan of this model—her toddler now rides with confidence thanks to the stability and design of the Woom 1 (you'll catch her sprinting behind struggling to keep up).
For kids ages 1.5 to 3 years old.
Best First Bike: Specialized Hotwalk
If we want to inspire the next generation of riders, kids deserve better bikes. That’s why Specialized took the same tech behind their world championship-winning bikes and combined it with proportional design to build the ultimate balance bike. The Hotwalk features an A1 Premium Aluminum frame, along with Rhythm Lite Airless tires designed to be fast rolling while maintaining enough grip for dirt.
Ages 18 months to 4 years
Cost: $175. Hotwalk Carbon available for $1,000.
For Off Roading: Giant Pre Balance Bike
Similar to the above, Giant's Pre Balance Bike is a hit amongst the balance biker toddler gangs of the preschool world. With the fatter tires than the above Woom 1 bike, we found this bike easy to learn how to ride (and great if you're taking your balance bike on dirt paths or to the bike park). The newest Giant model features a redesigned frame that gives the bike a more sporty feel. Little riders will also like the footrest feature and updated geometry that makes the bike adaptable to riders as they grow taller.
Best Scooters for Kids
Best Scooter That Ages Well: Razor A Scooter
Razor was the first to market in 2000 (maybe you even had one back in the day) and they've managed to stay a step (or a scoot ahead) of the competition throughout the years. Why? The scooter is aluminum, which makes it lightweight, yet durable. Handlebars can be adjusted easily, and while there's no assembly required when you open the box, the scooter does fold down for quick and easy carry and storage.
For ages 5+
Best Scooter for Toddlers and Beginners: Micro Kickboard Original
For those first learning to balance and ride on wheels, we suggest the original Micro Kickboard (tried and tested by our Editorial Director's toddler son who picked it up after just a handful of outings). We were impressed with the scooter's engineering: it's stable and easy to balance on without feeling flimsy, simple to steer and tough as nails (or as Mico Kickboard says, they're "virtually indestructible" and we'd have to agree). The design and quality of the scooter means it'll still be in great condition year after year, which is the type of product we love investing in.
For kids ages 2 to 5 years.
Best Convertible Scooter: Swagtron 4-In-1 Scooter & Trike
It's a scooter! It's a bike! It's . . . both! Swagtron's K6 4-in-1 scooter has a simple-to-use modular design capable of switching between two- and three-wheeled versions of both a balance bike and stand-up kick scooter. It's perfect for growing with kids as their balance and skills increase. With the simple click of a button, the seat of the balance bike rotates to become the deck of a stand-up scooter. Use two rear wheels in either mode for greater stability or swap out for a single wheel. The single wheel features a heel brake for use in scooter mode, just like the big kids.
For kids ages 2 to 5 years.
Price: $49.99 & up
Best Scooter That Even Parents Love: Svolta
When SVOLTA designed their scooters, they essentially made scooters they (adults) wanted to ride, but in kid sizes. They opted for premium materials, so the construction is solid and sturdy. The scooters ride smoothly and have a variety of added style details like matte satin finishes, champagne gold accents and lightning bolt patterns. They've got different scooters for little ones (the 2-in-1 sit and stand convertible), toddlers (3-wheel kick scooter) and bigger kids (2-wheel kick scooter) so you'll be able to find something that works for you.
For kids ages 2 and up
Best Scooter for Any Age: Globber ULTIMUM Scooter
Tired of having to upgrade your kid's scooter as they grow? The ULTIMUM scooter from Globber solves this problem. Designed to be used from age 5 all the way up to adults, the scooter has a 6-height adjustable T-bar and adjustable steering angle control system. The extra-wide scooter deck supports up to 220 lbs. and comes with an anti-slip deck design. You'll love that the scooter folds down for easy carrying.
Ages 5 and up
Best Powered Scooter: Segway Ninebot eKickScooter ZING E8
If you are looking to add a little power to your scooter, check out this option from Segway. The Ninebot eKickScooter ZING E8 has a max speed of 8 mph with 4 hours of charge time. There's a hand-operated brake plus a foot brake for easy stopping. It also comes in 10 mph and 12 mph models.
Required height 3’9”–4’9”
Best Powered Scooter for Tweens/Adults: Segway Ninebot KickScooter ES1L
You'll love the smooth ride from this Segway scooter that has won design awards and is a favorite of tweens, teens and grown ups. Whether you use it to commute or just to tool around the neighborhood, you'll love the front electronic, and rear foot brakes to keep you safe. Headlights make you stand out when the sun goes down and the max speed of 12.4 mph gets you where you need to go.
Max weight 220 lbs.
Best Two-Wheeler Bikes for Kids
Best First Pedal Bike: Gecko 12” by Cleary Bikes
The Gecko fits kids with inseams of 14” to 18”. First-time riders with an inseam of 15” plant their feet comfortably on the ground while sitting on the saddle. The Gecko is a lightweight, high-quality bike option. The freewheel version (shown here) weighs 13.5 pounds—lighter than similar bikes on the market. Recent upgrades to the Gecko include a smaller saddle for the littlest riders that features a handle tucked seamlessly beneath it. The Gecko also has a knobby tire, making it great for trail pursuits.
Lightweight was a priority for Cleary Bikes’ founders, who are parents who know well what it’s like to carry home a 40-pound kid—and a 40-pound bike— after a little rider has lost steam.
Cleary’s hand-made steel frames are super strong, meaning there is no weight limit on any of their bikes, including this Gecko, which comes in five colors. (Yes, Mom and Dad, you can ride the Gecko!) Built to last, these bikes are durable enough to last through multiple siblings, friends and neighbors. Cleary guarantees all its bikes with a lifetime warranty.
Gecko fits kids ages 2 to 4 years.
Best First Pedal Bike (#2): Priority Start 16
This bike company was founded in New York City by a dad who wanted to shift his “priorities” from spending so much time in the office to sharing a long-time passion for cycling with his family. So he set out to make high-quality bicycles and deliver them directly to customers. The company’s Priority Start 16 is ideal for kids graduating from a balance bike. Designed with kids in mind, it is grease-free and belt-driven (without the coaster brakes typical of other “big kid” bikes), while its frame is made of lightweight aluminum. And while it may seem like a high price tag, blogger Twowheelingtots rated it the "Best Bang for Your Buck" because of its solid "quality, lightweight build, and unique belt drive."
Training wheels ($29.99) and kickstand ($12.99) can also be purchased. For older kids, there are 20" and 24" models.
For kids ages 3 to 8 years.
Price: $329 for the Start 16.
Best First Pedal Bike on a Budget: Schwinn Koen
If you want to stick to big-name bikes without exorbitant price tags, the Schwinn Koen is a great choice. The Koen features Schwinn's SmartStart technology, which means the bike is designed for kid-sized proportions—with the pedals closer together for an easy ride, a lengthened wheelbase (so kids' knees don't hit the handlebars) and reduced overall weight. It also features both a rear coaster brake and a front hand brake as well as a full-coverage chain guard to protect little hands feet and clothing. Includes training wheels, a saddle handle for towing and storage, a number plate and a limited lifetime warranty for as long as you own the bike.
For kids ages 3 years to 10 years. (Available in 12-, 14-, 16-, 18- and 20-inch wheelbase).
Price: starts at $154
Best for Safety: Guardian Bikes
You may recognize Guardian Bikes from Season 8 of Shark Tank, where they accepted a $500,000 contingent offer from Mark Cuban. The mission at the heart of the company has been to create the world’s safest children’s bikes. Their patented and award-winning SureStop™ Braking System does just that to avoid head-over-handlebars or front-wheel skidding accidents that new riders can make. So how does SureStop work? It reduces stopping distance, distributes braking power to both wheels for better control and has an easy, single-lever system. We tested it out, and the bike does, indeed, stop a few seconds faster than other bikes, without giving us that scary feeling of propelling forward.
The bike has a lightweight aluminum frame, is available in its original version and an Ethos model which is about $100 cheaper and comes in 16-, 20- and 24-inch rides (the 20-inch rides come in single-speed or geared options). For added safety, a certified mechanic sets up the bike, including a 34-step safety check. All that’s left to do is install handlebars and pedals and get riding.
Not sure what size to get your rider? Guardian's online RideSizer feature lets you enter your child's age and height and get a customized recommendation for which bike to choose—and how long it'll last your child.
For kids ages 5 years to 12 years, depending on the model.
Price: $239 and up.
Best Intro to Gears: Kids’ Sprocket 20” 7D
Learning how to use gears is easy with this modestly-priced (but still not cheap!) seven-speed bike from Electra. Featuring the company's patented Flat Foot Technology, the bike is designed to let kids plant their feet on the ground—without leaving the saddle or being forced to balance on their tippy toes—when stopping. The lightweight, aluminum frame has a unisex design, so boys and girls can focus on selecting their favorite color (there are four different choices) while its solid construction means it'll make a great hand-me-down for younger sibs. It also features puncture-resistant tires, and a dual position crank arm, which allows parents to adjust the pedals to grow with kids.
For kids ages 5 to 8.
Best Intro to Gears (Splurge): Woom 4
If your kid is ready to tackle hills and start shifting, this bike is worth the splurge. Featuring eight gears (with easy-grip shifters), a lightweight frame, and Kenda off-road tires, it's great for exploring basic trails as well as doing all-day rides around town. It also has a low minimum seat height, which means your little rider can get in the saddle earlier (if she's ready).
Note: If you're reluctant to fork over the cash for this relatively high-priced set of wheels, just remember that TwoWheelingTots (in our opinion the best kids' bike blogger around) called this bike "the cream of the crop" and the "best all-around 20" bike" it tested.
For kids ages 6 years to 9 years
Coolest Looks: Schwinn Brookline Cruiser
We love the retro styling of this Schwinn cruiser: It's got the look of bikes long gone, but the safety technology of today's industry standards. The 7-speed twist shifters provide precise gear changes, while the front and rear alloy V-brakes provide secure, reliable stops. Plus, the tool-free adjustable seat post and premium stitched spring saddle make it easy to find your perfect fit and a comfortable ride.
Ages 7 and up
Best Intro to Mountain Biking: Cleary Bikes 24” Scout
The Scout is the real deal of kids mountain bikes. When they’re ready to tackle trails, this 10-speed, purpose-built rig provides the ideal platform. The Scout is stable, lightweight and rips down flowy singletrack with ease.
Components were not overlooked; this bike features parts you’d commonly find on a well-equipped adult mountain bike. Disc brakes ensure precision stopping power, while the Suntor XCR Lo 24 Air fork provides a supple riding experience. The additional clearance of the Scout’s new shorter crankset makes rallying turns and hitting jumps even easier.
The Scout is built to take hits on and off the trails. It’s backed by Cleary’s lifetime warranty and can be handed down to future generations of riders.
The 24” Scout fits riders 50”-57” inches tall, with inseam measurements of 21.5”-26.5”.
Buy it here (currently sold out but you can sign up to be notified when they're available again)
Best Bike to Grow On: Prevelo Bikes
For Prevelo founder Jacob Rheuban, a father of two (and Red Tricycle Spoke contributor!), bikes and kids should add up to fun, ease and confidence. So 100% of Prevelo Bikes are engineered for kids, including positioning kids closer to the ground (for a confidence boost), short crank arms (for a comfortable ride with that lower saddle height), durable yet lightweight frame (think: steel and aluminum), rounded axle bolts (to avoid leg scrapes), third-party chemical testing (no phthalates or lead here!) and handbrake levers that are kid-sized (the reach is adjustable too). Prevelo has bikes that are good on the streets and bikes that are meant for the trails (the Zulu line is bona fide mountain bikes).
Because that kid-sized engineering is so key, the company offers a cool Factory Trade-Up Club ($69 for a lifetime membership), allowing you to move on to another model while getting 40% back from the purchase price of your previous Prevelo. You can trade up from the AlphaZero balance bike, for instance, all the way through to the AlphaFour 24-inch bike.
Ages 18 months to 11 years, depending on the model.
Price: $199 & up
Most Unique Bikes for Kids and Families
Best All-Terrain Bikes: Trek Bikes Precaliber
Trek Bikes wants your kids to enjoy biking just as much as you do, so they put the same amount of dedication and know-how into their bikes as they do to their adult bikes. This matters because learning to ride on a well-designed bike is both easier and more enjoyable, and when your little one loves riding as a kid they'll love riding forever. Each one of their kids’ bikes is made with durable, high-quality materials and assembled by a professional mechanic so you can focus on having fun with your little ones for years to come.
Trek's Precaliber offers a range of sizes (from 12”-24” wheels) and price points that fit just about any kid’s needs. Precaliber is perfect for beginners, neighborhood riding or just getting out and having a blast on two wheels!
Plus the benefit you get with every Trek kids' bike: Lifetime warranty, high-quality build and assembly, and their awesome trade up program to provide parents a great value for when their kid grows out of their bike. When you buy a kids’ bike at a participating Trek retail location, you can bring it back within three years and get up to 50% of the bike’s original purchase price in credit toward the purchase of a new one.
Ages 3 years to 12 years.
Price: starts at $209
Best Ride-Along Trailer: Kazoo by Burley
This 7-speed trailer-cycle offers a great way for kids to get comfortable both with pedaling and with speed, all while remaining safely attached. It features a versatile 7-speed rapid-fire style thumb shifter, adjusts easily for growing children and offers superior stability with Burley’s patented aluminum ball-bearing guided hitch. Gotta love the safety flag, too. Talk about a fun way to get around town!
For kids ages 4 to 10 years (with a recommended 2-1 adult weight-to-child ratio).
Best Recumbent Bike: Mobo Triton Cruiser
A recumbent bike isn't the first thing a kid would think of for their new set of wheels, but this zippy little three-wheeler will have parents wanting to hop in the saddle, too (There's one for you, too, Mom and Dad!). Part go-cart, part bicycle, the Mobo cruiser lets kids sit back and pedal away. Voted a "Best Gift for Kids" by the Today Show, the Triton uses a rear-wheel steering system (you steer with your hands using levers on either side of the bike) and a single-speed gear. It's ideal for cruising sidewalks and bike paths as opposed to tackling steep hills or trails. And, with an adjustable frame to fit heights up to 5’2”, it'll last your kids into their teens. Frozen fans: there's even a special version just for you!
For kids ages 7 years to 12 years.
Family Cargo Bikes
If you are looking for a bike that transports you, the kids, groceries and maybe even the dog too, a cargo bike might be the perfect purchase. Many have electric assist so it's smooth sailing for the parent pedaling, and there are tons of configurations that can definitely fit your family.
If you want to roll down the road or up hills with the greatest of ease, consider a smooth riding electric bike to gently push you along. Electric bikes are great for many reasons including reducing fossil fuels, making it easier to ride long distances or up hills and effortlessly hauling extra weight. Pretty much every kind of bike has been made into an electric version which makes the joy of electric cycling accessible to so many people in so many ways.
Whatever bike you buy, follow these guidelines for finding the right bike size for your little cyclist.
Don’t see your favorite kids bike, scooter or tricycle on our list? Send an email to our editor (Editor AT redtri.com) and let us know what we missed!
—Erin Lem, Kate Loweth, Melissa Heckscher & Jennifer Massoni Pardini
All products were listed at this price upon publication.