Follow these guidelines to choose an age-appropriate bike for your child.
- Balance bikes (suitable for 18 months to four years): Balance bikes have no pedals and usually only have one handbrake, as your child will use her feet to stop the bike. Riding a balance bike will teach your child the core fundamentals of balance, coordination and steering control.
- Pedal bikes (suitable for three to five year olds): These are the classic first-bike models and help your child transition from a balance bike to a bike with pedals and brakes. For this age range, ensure that the bike is as durable and lightweight as possible.
- Training wheels: Bikes with training wheels can give children the confidence boost they need to start riding on their own.
- Head protection: Helmets are a safety essential, so don’t forget to buy one at the same time that you purchase the bike. Make sure the helmet fits snugly, and insist that your child wears it whenever she rides her bike.
- Safety and durability: Check the front wheel to make sure it spins freely but is secure when moving the bike from side to side. Look for a wheel with metal hubs, spokes and a rim.
Here are some of our favourite toddler bikes
Muna 12” Pinkie First Bike
R1 050, Sportsmans Warehouse
This first bike will help your child learn balancing skills and nurture a love of cycling. It features an oversized steel frame with comfort-rise handlebars and a rear handbrake. The stem and seat heights are adjustable so your child can enjoy riding the bike as she grows.
Y-Bike Extreme Pro Balance Bike
R1 300, Kids Emporium
This bike’s solid rubber wheels are puncture-proof, so there will be no reason to interrupt the fun. It has high-ground clearance for a safe ride over bigger obstacles, and an internal fork locking mechanism to prevent the bike from overturning.
Raleigh 12” Rookie BMX
R699, Makro and Game
This bike is ideal for children between the age of two and four, who are ready to start riding with pedals. With training wheels and a back-pedal brake, your little one can safely learn to pedal and balance at the same time.
R2 099, Kids Emporium
Suitable from the age of two, FirstBike was designed with no pedals to enable younger kids to learn to ride a bike naturally. It’s lightweight and safe, thanks to the flexible frame, smooth edges and recessed bolts. The U-shaped saddle will help prevent your little one from falling off the bike.
Avalanche Minimax 12” Bike
R1 200, Sportsmans Warehouse
With an appealing design for kids, the Avalanche Minimax also provides peace of mind for you, as it has a durable and safe construction. The steel Y-frame, back-pedal brakes and training wheels are perfect for helping your child build confidence on a bike.
Kokua Like-a-Bike 16’’ Pedal Bike
R3 900, like2bike.co.za
Once your child has mastered her skills on her balance bike, this is the perfect follow-up option. The gears are easy to use and if the pressure on the pedals is light, the bike switches back to the first gear automatically. It’s available in five colours with either handle brakes or back-pedal brakes.
*Prices correct at time of publishing on 20 April 2017.