Best Bikes For A 4 Year Old | PedalChef

Being an enthusiast or expert in the best bikes for a 4-year-old gets befuddling when your little one requires their first ride.

My Munchkin seems to be hitting a weekly milestone and a growth spurt every other day, so it first seemed reasonable to me to get a bike they’d grow into, just like my parents did for me. But, my own experience with that ordeal and current knowledge quickly refuted that notion.

I have ventured far and wide to bring you only the best bikes for a 4-year-old.

  1. Strider 14X Sport
  2. Bixe
  3. Strider 12 Sport
  4. Retrospec Cub
  5. Banana LT Balance
  6. Bixe Balance
  7. Radio Flyer Balance
  8. Joystar
  9. RoyalBaby Freestyle
  10. Joystar Totem
  11. Woom 2
  12. Pello Romper
  13. Prevelo Alpha One

Having a 4-year-old is an exciting time and a significant period for your child to develop balancing skills, and choosing the correct bicycle for their first ride sets them up for success. Knowing what you are catering for is crucial before deciding on a specific choice because each entry offers something slightly different.

I have surveyed and reviewed a ton of feedback from parents in coming up with this list. I also took notes from Rei reviews, Bikeradar, and some industry experts. By evaluating these critiques and advice against my own experience, I have developed the most extensive list for this category of bikes.



Balance Bikes For 4-Year-Olds

The bicycle industry has advocated replacing bikes with training wheels with balancing bikes. This shift has begun paying off as kids can quickly move from scooting and balancing themselves on these bikes to being on full-sized bikes without training wheels.

This switch succeeds because it's not paddling on the bike that kids struggle with; it’s keeping the bike upright. So, I chose bikes to cater to your child's different stages while mastering their riding skills.

I looked at the wheel size of the bike, bike seat height, and inseam height where applicable to match the average height of 4-year-olds. The wheel size directly works with the bike’s frame size, determining how big the bike is. You want a wheel size of between 12 to 16 inches for that age.

The inseam height is the length from the ground to the bike's top tube. You should measure your child’s inseam height before purchasing their bike and ensure that their inside leg height is at least an inch higher than the chosen bicycle's inseam height.

1. Strider 14X Sport

Picture of the Strider 14X Sport

Weight: 12.5 pounds

Wheel size: 14 inches

Inseam height: 16 inches to 23 inches

This Strider model is with the growth of your little one in mind. The steel frame is incredibly durable for the inevitable roughage it will have to endure and comes in a range of funky colors to capture those tiny starry eyes. The rubber tires suit all terrains and are compatible with standard bike pumps.

Strider 14X sport has a slanted frame that makes balancing easy while cruising, allowing a generous inseam range. The adjustable seat doesn’t require any tools and can be replaced easily with similarly comfortable seats.

This sports model is worth upgrading from the classic model because of the long and easy-to-adjust seat post alone.

The cruiser handlebars are made of soft material that provides a secure grip. The vibrant bike colors improve rider visibility and can be equipped with bells and reflectors for added security.

The best thing about this bike is the easy-to-install pedal conversion kit with coaster breaks. It only needs about 20% assembly and has all the required tools except a Philips head screwdriver.

2. Bixe 16

The picture of the Bixe 16

Weight: 4 pounds

Wheel size: 16 inch

Inseam height: 15 to 22 inches

The 16-inch bike frame is made of aluminum steel and is superbly light. Footrests give your child’s feet a comfortable rest in-between scooting and cruising. True to the Bixe brand, the color of the bikes is washed in white with minimalist color highlights.

The bike’s durable rubber wheels are compatible with bigger bike pumps and can stride over rougher terrain with little push and supports your kid’s confidence in balancing on the bike.

This Bixe model prides itself on the easy-to-adjust straight handlebars and seat, which can be adapted to match rapidly growing kids. Unlike the Strider bike, the handlebars and seat require an Allen key for adjustments.

The frame also feels oddly inferior to the Strider 14X sport, but it is a competitive bike once you assemble everything. You can lift the comfortable seat to 22 inches and still keep easy balancing for taller kids.

This bike requires only the slightest assembly and inches over some of its competitors because of its humble price tag and steady build.

However, the bike colors aren’t bright enough to be considered a safety feature and need you to install reflectors. Your child can drag their feet to bring the bicycle to a halt. The Bixe bicycle might also become quickly limiting for your maturing 4-year-old because it doesn’t have an option to install breaks and paddles.

3. Strider 12 Sport


Weight: 6.7 pounds

Wheel size: 12 inches

Inseam height: 12 to 20 inches

The Strider 12 Sport is built to improve the confidence of small children to balance and ride from an earlier age. The inner steel frame is mainly the downtube running from the straight handlebars down to the plastic-covered footrest at the base of the seat tube. The outer aluminum keeps the bike lighter than the Strider 14X.

The 11 to 16-inch ground-to-seat height and 18 to 22-inch handlebar height make riding safe for kids above and below their average height range.

The giving range of bright frame colors isn’t the only added security, but the padded bar helps keep your kid’s teeth right where they should be–inside their mouths.

The seat may not be padded, but slight drawbacks are the easy-to-grip handles and non-flat tires. Because of the strider name, the Strider 12 isn’t a cheap balancing bike, but it remains intact as a hand-me-down for large families with multiple children requiring bike training.

4. Retrospec Cub

Retrospec Cub
The picture of the Restrospec Cub

Weight: 9 pounds

Wheel size: 12 inches

Inseam height: Step-through

The Retrospec Cub has a step-through frame right to the ground. There are gripless footsteps underneath the seat tube. This balance bike design is safer because kids don’t have a frame to step over when they ride.

The only determining height restrictive factor is the seat height. The seat can only go as low as 12.5 inches, and you can easily adjust it to a maximum height of 16 inches. The bike offers no growth potential, even though you can adjust the handlebars and seat height.

The air-less tires might be great for not having to maintain the bike, but they can be uncomfortable on rougher terrains. Unlike some of its competitors on this list, the bike can’t be equipped with paddles and air tires as the kids grow, and kids can grow fast.

Another significant issue is the large footrest, which is comfortable once the kids are cruising, but while they are pushing, they tend to hit their legs against it. However, the uniform frame build offers less to worry about in the long run.

5. Banana LT Balance

The picture of the Banana LT Balance

Weight: 6.4 pounds

Wheel size: 12 inches

Seat height: 12.2 inches to 15.7 inches

Inseam height: Step-through

The easy entry step-through frame is durable and straightforward. Banana LT has an extra cushioned seat that they didn’t put together by stapling a small tarp over a plastic seat mold. The padding is uniform and shows no staples, which helps it be hard-wearing.

The air-free foam tires do wear out after some time and can be easily replaced by reaching out to the company and receiving an Amazon link to the replacement tires. They have a similar issue of not being super comfortable on rougher terrain.

Fortunately, the small footrests behind the seat post make up for any shortcoming. Unlike the Retrospec Cub, the footrests don’t interfere with the rider while scooting; however, they don’t have any grip tape on them and could be slippery if the feet or the frame is wet.

The handlebars are easily adjustable and have genuine bearings inside, making for a smoother ride. The bike doesn’t have any attachment for paddles for transitioning your child to a paddling bike. Butt, the smooth seatpost, and lightweight frame help against injury in cases where the bike falls over.

6. Bixe Balance

The picture of the Bixe Balance

Weight: 4 pounds

Wheel size: 12 inch

Inseam height: 11 to 18 inches

The aluminum frame is ridiculously lightweight on this 12-inch Bixe, which is great for preventing injuries from the rider falling. It also helps riders go uphill without much resistance from the bike, but customers have reported the bike’s fork snapping by the welds on two occasions.

Although I didn’t have the same issue, a small number of customers that have complaints against the product relate their awful experience to either the quality of the product or the delivery. There’s feedback on missing parts upon receipt of the package.

The clamps to adjust the handlebars and seat post are great for quick adjustments, but they wear quickly. Like most foam wheels, the wheels can be slippery, but I found them and the entire bike to be of quality build. The affordability of the bike, when bought at a discount, makes up for any shortcomings.

Lastly, I found the footrests to be some of the most ergonomically placed on the market. Because of the grip tape and their slight slant towards the feet of the rider, they make cruising less straining for kids on longer rides.

7. Radio Flyer Air Tire Balance

The picture of the Radio Flyer Air Tire Balance

Weight: 9.53 pounds

Wheel size: 12 inches

Inseam height: About 12 inches

The Air Tire version of this bike is great for riding on any terrain. Unlike the foam tire version, the Radio Flyer Air won’t have rocks embedded in the tire and won’t be slippery when ridden indoors or on smoother surfaces. The steel frame is durable, and the red color coating is bright.

The easy-to-adjust seat goes as low as 13\14 inches, and you can adjust the seat at various heights without the seat sliding down. The knurling on the seat tube allows for secure adjustments for more extended, and although the pleasant seat isn’t of a uniform mold, it does appear to have the marks of a long-lasting seat.

The affordability of the bike makes it one of the best options on this list, but shabby manufacturing choices mar that status. The bell breaks easily, and the bike doesn’t have any footrests. The seat tube is glaringly exposed because of the lack of footrests, and kids can hit their legs while pushing.

8. Joystar Roller

Weight: 6.39 pounds

Wheel size: 12 inches

Seat height: 18.5 inches to 22.6 inches

Inseam height: Step-through

The Joystar Roller has one of the best designs on this list. The step-through frame has a wide footrest that doesn’t protrude far away from the frame and has a back wheel protector that helps kids avoid accidental contact during scooting.

The wide padded seat is comfortable, and along with the handlebars, it is easy to adjust with the quick release bracket. Assembly is also straightforward, and the bike comes with all the necessary tools. Unfortunately, the foam tires suffer the shared issue of all-foam tires and are best suited for pavement riding.

Another issue that other customers encountered was the bike arriving with a bent frame, faulty wheel, or minor defects. Overall, the bike is one of the unique builds and most comfortable on the market and helps kids feel confident in staying upright faster. It is also one of the cheapest.

View on Amazon

Stabilizer Bikes For 4-Year-Olds

You are probably more familiar with these bikes when teaching kids to ride for the first time. They make great transition bikes as some of them allow for their paddles to be removed and can act as a balance bike.

The option of training wheels is great for kids that still have less confidence with the paddle situation, but you should only leave the training wheels on when you see that your little rider is struggling with the leap. The bikes also give kids pride since these bikes look like miniature versions of bigger bikes.

Even though I reviewed the 12-inch bikes in this category, most of the bikes here have 12-inch, 14-inch, and 16-inch size options. There are even 18 and 20-inch sizes, so there’s plenty of choice for your fast-growing one.

9. RoyalBaby Freestyle

Weight: 9.5 pounds

Wheel size: 12 inches

Inseam height: 15.8 inches to 17.5 inches

The RoyalBaby Freestyle comes in a balance bike version with handbrakes and a version with training wheels. The stabilizer version also comes in different sizes, making it ideal if your child is slightly taller for their age group. The design is simple and beautiful and provides a smooth ride.

There’s a water bottle behind the ergonomic seat, and every bike comes equipped with a chainguard. The chainguard helps protect the rider against scraping their leg against the chain while paddling and protects them from falling injuries once you remove the balancing wheels.

Although the air-tire wheels are comfortable, they don’t have an aggressive enough grip for slippery surfaces but are great for most bumpy terrains. The bell, reflectors, and bright color options make for a safer ride. The seat uses a quick-release clamp for speedy adjustments.

Just be careful not to buy the coaster brakes version; although coaster brakes are great because they feel the most intuitive for kids, they deter from the final goal of helping kids learn to ride a complete bike confidently. You want to help cement the handbrake habit while simultaneously helping strengthen your kid’s wrist.

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10. Joystar Totem

Weight: 18.5 pounds

Wheel size: 12 inches

Inseam height: 14 inches to 17 inches

Joystar is back with another vintage-looking gem. The Joystar Totem comes equipped with a chainguard and removable training wheels for one of the smoothest transitioning options for kids. The bike also has reflectors all around the bike and a loud bell.

The quick-release seat clamp adds to the bike's adjustability and is effortless. However, the chain seems to slip off more than its competitor bikes, and the wheel nut threading also appears not to be great as it feels like it's going to loosen at some point. The tires also struggle to stay inflated more than some of the other tires in my experience.

The bike is also heavier with the training wheels, taking it up to about 25 pounds. Fortunately, the bike won’t topple over while you have the training wheels. Also, the frame is sturdy and appears to be one that should last your child a long time.

View on Amazon

11. Woom 2

Weight: 12.3 pounds

Wheel size: 14 inches

Saddle height: 16 inches to 19.1 inches

Inseam height: 14.2 inches

Rider height: 37 inches to 43 inches

The Woom 2 might detract from the spirit of a cheap introductory bike for young riders, but the quality material makes up for the heft $359 price tag. The frame is light and strong because of the high-quality AA 6061 aluminum.

Like bigger quality bikes, the frame has butted tubes to allow strength near welds while shaving off weight on the rest of the bike. The tires are knobby for the best grip on all terrains while providing comfort to the rider, and the rims are made of aluminum for longevity.

The color-coordinated brake levers are positioned ergonomically by the grippy handlebars. They operate dual mini v-brakes designed for children to provide adequate stopping power without requiring a ton of force.

I found the highrise handlebars to be great for providing a line of sight and control, but some riders might find it too upright and uncomfortable.

View on Woom

12. Pello Romper

Weight: 15 pounds

Wheel size: 14 inches

Inseam height: 15 inches to 17 inches

Pello Romper is delivered almost fully assembled and comes with a bell and an extra tire tube, but the bike doesn’t come standard with training wheels. The knobbly Kenda tires come with a Presta tube to help young riders glide over bumps and rocks on the road.

The rugged wheels and mountain-bike geometry are great for teaching your little one to ride off-road. The clear chainguard protects riders without making the bike seem clunky and childlike.

The frame is aluminum, and the wheel spokes are made from steel to provide strength without adding extra weight to the overall build.

Everything on this bike is reminiscent of adult mountain bikes, from the aluminum stem Ahead to the aluminum micro-adjust saddle. Unfortunately, the $350 price is also up there. Also, some riders might find the bigger tires a little bit unwieldy because of all the extra weight they add.

Although the bike has a front Tektro-aluminum V-brake and a rear coaster brake, you can easily convert it to a dual v-brake bike with the freewheel kit that the company sells.

The newer versions of the bike seem to come already equipped with dual v-brakes, making the price even more passable.

The cherry on the cake for buying this bike is that you can take the paddles off without destroying the bike and have it used as a balance bike. The Romper is one of the few bikes that can survive the rigor of being used by kids and still act as a functional hand-me-down.

View on Pello Bikes

13. Prevelo Alpha One

Weight: 14.4 pounds

Wheel size: 14 inches

Inseam height: 14 inches to 16.5 inches

Prevelo once again knocked it out of the park with the Alpha One. There is little to complain about with this bike; if we overlook the $370 price label and the standard rear-wheel coaster brakes, it's probably as close to perfection as a children’s bike can get.

Firstly, you can replace the coaster brakes using a freewheel kit that takes care of that issue. Secondly, the aluminum front V-brakes, sealed bottom bracket set cartridge, threadless headset on the aluminum stem, Kraston rubber grips, and more justify the price.

The company also allows buyers to add custom touches to their purchase, like adding custom lettering of the rider’s name. Although the bike doesn’t have a chainguard and doesn’t allow space to install an aftermarket one, it is cleverly designed in such a way as to tuck away in its construction.

View on Prevelo