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Bike for a 3 year old

Dizzy the EggDizzy the Egg Posts: 153
edited August 2011 in Family & kids cycling forum
I'm hoping to get a bike for my wee boy's 3rd birthday. Can anyone recommend any decent places to go? Also, I've heard a few good things about the new starter bikes (the ones without pedals that help with balance) but don't know anyone who has bought one.

Can anyone point me in the right direction?



  • wolvesdugwolvesdug Posts: 25
    Isla bikes is where i have got my kids bikes from.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    Have a look in Decathlon if there is one near you - I've had a few kids bikes from them and all have been very good - I think my youngest two had 14" bikes with stabilisers from them about that age. Great little bikes and while some will argue stabilisers but my daughter was riding without them before her 4th birthday so it couldn't have had too much of a negative effect. Good thing is the stabilers remove by hand so it encourages you to give them a go without them when you think they may be ready - if you need to get the spanners out you are less likely to take them on and off for practice.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • Daz555Daz555 Posts: 4,040
    Balance bike is the way to start imo. Coolest balance bike has to be the Early Rider series. Build quality is superb also.
    You only need two tools: WD40 and Duck Tape.
    If it doesn't move and should, use the WD40.
    If it shouldn't move and does, use the tape.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 7,137
    I got mine a balance bike - they didn't like it and wouldn't use it. If you think about it kicking yourself along with both feet isn't that easy - if you want something they balance on and kick with their feet then a scooter makes more sense.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • inceince Posts: 289
    Hi Dizzy

    IMHO the balance bike is a great way to start, my eldest had the Islabike balance bike from around 18 months.
    I would say by 2 he was quite happy to balance and propel himself at a fair speed. On the flat you would have to jog/run to keep up!

    At 2 1/2 we bought him his first real bike,
    After about a month with some gentle encouragement he was able to ride this bike with out any issue. He is now 3 1/2 and still on the Cnoc 14, we will look to move him onto his next bike by the end of next summer when he's 4 1/2 going on 5. At this point his little bro will be big enough for the Cnoc.

    Islabikes are great quality and hold their value well in the secondhand market (80% on ebay last time I looked). The initial out lay may seem a lot for such a small bike, the quality and ease of use my son has had to my justify the cost. Both bike will be passed on to my youngest, who at 14 months is already trying to get onto the Rothan. :D

    I have no experience of any other makes. To be honest since we bought the first bike I was so impressed I have not looked in to any other makes.

  • if you want something they balance on and kick with their feet then a scooter makes more sense.

    Nope. A scooter is great fun for a kid and will give then the opportunity to enjoy scootering. But imho the best way to get kids cycling is in three easy steps:
    1 Tricyle to get them used to pedaling.
    2 Balance bike to get them to balance.
    3 Decent bike sans stabilisers (eg Islabikes cnoc)

    Job done. No2Son has just moved to stage 3 after about 3 months or so with the balance bike.

    It's been done to death by everyone else, but merely because it's true.... buy an Islabike because they're great :) Although I'm not sure I'd bother with an ISlabikes balance bike since they're likely to be using it for a pretty short period of time. Save the money at that stage and then spend it all on a decent pedal bike.
  • joelsimjoelsim Posts: 7,552
    My son used an Early Ride balance bike from about 2, then from 3 1/2 we bought him a 12" bike and he rode it straight away without stabilisers. He wouldn;t have done that without having had a balance bike.
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    I'd agree that a balance bike is probably the best way to go. It does what it says on the box: it teaches them to balance without having to try to co-ordinate pedalling at the same time. We use 3 we got from Lidl's 2/3 years ago, or, if the kid is a bit too big for them, we put them on a bike with the pedals taken off to serve the same purpose.

    I'd agree about Islabike's Rothan, as well. Pricey to start with, but cheaper in the long run with a high s/h value, altho' the truth to tell, others will suit your purpose more than adequately.

    We teach about 40 kids per year using the balance bike/bike w/out stabilisers approach and it's worked even with a lad with severe dyspraxia.

    Good luck.
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • johnboy183johnboy183 Posts: 765
    Have to agree with balance bikes and Islabikes. My son had EarlyRider initially swapped to Cnoc14 and bow Beinn20. Best purchases ever
  • cjcpcjcp Posts: 13,345
    My youngest just turned four. We bought her the Cnoc and took the pedals off to help her develop a sense of balance. It took a while, but a smooth surface is much better for them than a pavement. But put them on a slight decline and they'll soon crack it.
    FCN 2-4.

    "What happens when the hammer goes down, kids?"
    "It stays down, Daddy."
  • tailwindhometailwindhome Posts: 15,275
    Got my 2 1/2 year old twins these from Decathlon


    I'm happy enough with them and they've really taken to it. Contrary to the opinion of the poster above I think the 'hobby horse' running action is really intuitive.

    I'm sure Islabikes Rothan are a great bike. I just can't reconcile the £119 v £35 price difference as being worth the investment. Though I do take the point on resale values
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  • GiraffotoGiraffoto Posts: 2,078
    This is my first post - hello everyone!

    I bought my little boy (now 3) an Isla Bikes balance bike (called a Rothan) for his 2nd birthday, and he loves it - he did a couple of miles on it last weekend. I'd recommend this one because (1) it has a brake - lots of them don't and (2) it's very light , so he finds it easy to ride and I find it easy to carry.

    He also has a pedal bike with stabilizers which he's just started to pedal around the garden, but then his legs have only just got long enough to push the pedals all the way round. It's a rather heavy all-steel model, and I'm seriously contemplating something lighter for when the stabilizers are ready to come off: light weight is a huge advantage for a child's bike
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  • GussioGussio Posts: 2,452
    The point about having a break is a good one. We've been down the balance bike followed by Islabike for the first child. The balance bike is a Kokua Likeabike Jumper, which is awesome. Having had my heart in my mouth more than once, I've just fitted a front brake to the Likeabike in readiness for child number 2 taking up the reins.
  • GiraffotoGiraffoto Posts: 2,078
    Thank you. I'm surprised at how few of the balance bikes on the market have any sort of brake, particularly given the speed that they can reach. That brake has saved me a few episodes of sprinting after him!

    I forgot another important point (for me) with the Rothan - presta valves. I hate Schraeder valves on bikes with a passion as a purely personal taste thing, but on a 12" wheel I've finally got a practical reason for it
    Specialized Roubaix Elite 2015
    XM-057 rigid 29er
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