These days kids bikes come in many shapes and tire sizes. And to make things even more confusing, consider their age as well.
One of the commonly asked questions is, what age is a 14 inch bike for?
In many cases, they are suitable for kids aged between 3 to 4.
Having said that, this also depends on many other factors such as the kid’s height, inseam, and more importantly, your budget. Here are some important features to consider :
- Bike frame materials are either steel (cheaper) or aluminum (higher price).
- Single gear only so that the kid can focus on their balancing skills.
- Training wheels are found in most models. They’re easily removable if needed.
I’ll cover these (and more) in detail in the buying guide section below to guide you through the decision-making process and also share with you some of the models that we love.
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite 14 Inch Kids Bike
Editor’s Pick : Guardian Ethos 14
“A lightweight design, sweet paint job, and easy to use caliper brake.”
Value for Money Pick : Strider 14x Sport Balance Bike
“A very well-known and reputable brand when it comes to kids’ bikes.”
Budget Pick : Schwinn Koen
“Excellent value bike from a long-time and reputable brand.”
Guardian Ethos 14
A lightweight design, sweet paint job, and easy-to-use brakes; what more could a kid ask for?
That’s what you get with this bike. When your child is learning to ride a bike, the most important factor is that they are able to stop it easily. You don’t want them to have to stretch their hands to grab the levers with their fingertips. Guardian’s SureStop technology keeps the reach for the levers child-size.
Your child also needs to be able to handle the bike. A lightweight steel frame makes handling easy for smaller bodies. The Ethos tailors the rest of the bike for smaller bodies with shorter cranks, smaller grips, and a low step-over height.
Other features include a seat with a broad range of adjustments, so your child will put some mileage on this bike before it’s time for the next level.
- Pros : Brake levers child-size, making them easy to reach.
- Cons : Only available in either blue or pink.
Value for Money Picks
Strider is a very well-known brand for its balance bikes. But recently, they started producing a 2-in-1 bike which is a great balance to pedal bike conversion.
The Strider 14x is ideal for kids who are getting their first pedal bike and are trying to learn to pedal for the first time. What’s really interesting about this bike is that it comes with an adjustable seat post and handlebars that allow kids aged between 3 to 6 to ride this bike (instead of the age group 3 to 4 years).
It’s designed for kids by making the frame design very lightweight (weighing only 12 lbs.), and has even included a footrest. Also, safety is taken to another level by introducing a chain guard, soft handlebar grips, and even a padded seat so the kids can ride for many hours.
- Pros : 2-in-1 design easily transforms to a balance bike.
- Cons : Expect to pay slightly more, because it’s Strider.
Budget Picks with Training Wheels
Schwinn Koen 14
The Schwinn Koen is an affordable boy’s bike that includes training wheels, which is actually built on a SmartStart frame design. Even though it’s a steel frame, it’s designed specifically for kid proportions to make pedaling and handling easier right from the start.
One of the most important safety features is a full-coverage chain guard that will protect hands, feet, and even clothing during the ride. However, one of the most important and unique features for parents is the saddle handle that makes transporting this bike a lot easier.
- Pros : Excellent value bike from a long-time and reputable brand.
- Cons : Steel frame can be heavy for smaller, beginner riders.
Another affordable option would be the Joystar kids bike which is based on a steel frame. It isn’t the lightest frame but it’s ideal for surviving the bumps of learning. What’s great about this steel frame is the lifetime warranty provided by Joystar.
It features a full-coverage chain guard that can be personalized. This way, kids get to take their bike to another level by applying decals over the chain guard. It’s a great step to help kids fall in love with their bike even before actually learning to handle it themselves.
- Pros : 5 colorful designs to choose from.
- Cons : Assembly manual can be complicated for some parents without bike mechanic experience.
RoyalBaby Freestyle 14
Being on a budget doesn’t mean you can’t go find a sporty bike that is worth the money. This is where RoyalBaby Freestyle 14 is a great example.
The frame is made out of steel, while tires are made out of pneumatic rubber which increases the durability.
- Pros : Budget-friendly and comes equipped with all the bells and whistles a kid would love.
- Cons : Takes a bit of patience and time to assemble.
Girls Bikes with Training Wheels and Basket
RoyalBaby Little Swan
RoyalBaby went a step further to introduce a completely different frame to their bike, featuring a Pulse TIG welded frame that looks like a swan.
But other than a very cool (and durable) frame, I personally liked the RoyalBaby’s touch on some of the components such as the brake lever. Their wheels, braking system, and almost everything else you see on a bike are optimized for small hands and feet of the kid’s age group.
From the features that every kid will love, it’s definitely the basket, unique frame, and color.
- Pros : Comes in pink which most girls will love.
- Cons : Heavier than most similarly priced bikes.
Schwinn also features their unique SmartStart design with Elm girl’s bike that introduces better proportions that help girls handle bikes a lot easier.
What’s unique about Elm girl’s bike is the adjustable seat height and saddle along with a slack seat-tube angle which allows kids to ride the bike even when they slightly overgrow it.
Along with a full chain coverage, this bike also includes training wheels, a saddle handle for easier storage, a front basket to carry some snacks.
- Pros : Lifetime warranty for the first owner.
- Cons : Not easy to assemble at home.
Joystar Fairy 14
The Joystar 14 is specifically made for girls. The shockproof seat is actually a bit bigger than most standard seats to provide a lot more comfort during cycling.
The frame is made out of durable steel material that is made to survive the first steps to riding independently. However, what I really liked was the 85% assembled body where parents only have to complete the build by assembling the other 15% of the bike (which is quite easy and is described very well in a manual).
For girls, I’d say they’ll love the classic bike basket and leather handlebar grips that go really well with the leather saddle.
- Pros : Wider and padded seat makes a more comfortable ride.
- Cons : No basket or bell included.
Lightweight Bike Picks
The Pello Romper features an easy-to-ride geometry into their Ride Right Geometry frame. The bike is 95% assembled and checked by professionals where you only have to adjust a couple of things before putting your little one on the bike.
Along with the specific frame, this bike features Kenda K-50 tires which provide an ideal grip for both on and off-road dirt trails adventures. Pedals are specifically sized to provide a stable platform for the kid’s feet along with the seat which is made to properly fit little bottoms.
Since the frame of this bike is very light, Pello went a step further by introducing lightweight wheels that feature smooth bearings for the most efficient rolling.
- Pros : Comes 95% pre-assembled and almost ready to be ridden.
- Cons : Chain is not fully covered.
Lightness is important, especially for kids who are learning to handle their bike and Woom 2 is a hand-assembled lightweight bike based on an aluminum frame.
It’s full of Woom unique features such as a Woom customized coaster brake, Woom crank, chain guard, Woom comfort saddle, Woom steering limiter, Woom stem, Woom tires, and wheels.
Even though the Woom 2 is a bit pricier than other models, I find it to be really worth the price since it provides a lightweight bike where everything is adjusted to the correct age group.
Short crank and the low bottom bracket is another Woom unique feature that helps kids with keeping balance, and even when they lose balance.
- Pros : Lightweight frame makes it easy for kids to learn bike handling.
- Cons : Expect to pay more over the other brands.
Prevelo Alpha One
Prevelo Alpha One features a lightweight aluminum frame that is made with custom-formed tubing and has an attached alloy fork.
The front hub comes with a low profile and with safety improvements, where there are no rounded bolts and no harsh edges.
There is no full chain guard protector, but it has double-sided chain protection at the front crank. What’s also really useful is the custom-made crank by Prevelo which is sized specifically to fit kids between 3 to 4 year old.
- Pros : Top-quality bike components all-around.
- Cons : One of the most expensive models on the market.
14 Inch Bikes Buying Guide
Getting a new bike is always an exciting time for any kid. But for the parents, the experience can sometimes be overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time.
You’ll soon realize that there isn’t one size fits all bike and kids bikes come in all sizes.
But don’t worry. I’ll walk you through what to expect in these bikes and the most important aspects you should look out for.
I’ve also written a separate kids’ bike guide which will cover each of the topics below in detail.
1. Ideal for Kids Aged 3 to 4 Year Old
When you have a look at the wheel sizing chart, you’ll notice that 14 inch bikes are generally suitable for kids of age 3 to 4.
This is a good starting point.
However, from my experience, there are some exceptions to this, especially if the kid’s height is above the average height of kids their age. So, a more accurate way to determine the ideal bike size is by measuring their inseam.
What’s an inseam?
Inseam is a length measured from the crotch to the floor while the kid is standing over the bike frame.
In this case, 14 inch bike would require the child’s inseam length between 16″ to 20″.
If the inseam is longer, then you might want to consider the next size up, which is 16 inch.
If it’s shorter, then you want to be looking at one-size down, a 12 inch bike.
2. Aluminum or Steel Frame
The two most common materials used to produce kids’ bikes are either steel or aluminum. Even though both materials provide durability and are actually sturdy, they differ in weight.
On the other hand, premium and reputable brands will use aluminum for their bike frames, making them both lightweight and durable. You can consider the Prevelo Alpha One, or even Woom 2 if the cost is not an issue.
But even though there are differences in frame materials, there is actually no difference in frame design as both materials will still produce the standard frame style used in the bikes.
3. Single Gear Only
When it comes to gears, you will notice that all of them come with a single gear.
The reasoning behind this is 2-fold.
Firstly, the kids are just starting out. So the focus is on learning how to balance and control the bike rather than how to use the gears.
Secondly, the bike is too small to fit a rear derailleur as it will be placed too close to the ground and have a high risk of being damaged.
4. Coaster Brakes
It’s a standard for every bike to come with a coaster brake which is activated by backpedaling and a front caliper brake which is activated by pulling the brake lever. V brakes used to be common 10 to 15 years ago but it’s getting phased out nowadays.
In many cases, the brake lever’s reach is adjustable, so you don’t really have to worry about the kids not having the ability to brake safely. Disc brakes are very rare.
5. Air or Foam Tires
The bikes come with a variety of tires and the most common tires you can see on these bikes are either air or foam tires.
Air tires require air pressure inside the tube while foam tires act as tubeless tires where they don’t require air pressure.
I find the foam tires to be a better choice since they can’t be punctured and are basically maintenance-free.
6. Comes with Training Wheels
You’ll probably have noticed that most come with training wheels. Training wheels are removable and are ideal for kids who have had no prior riding experience in a balance bike or trike.
Unless you’re really sure that your kid is ready to ride a bicycle without training wheels, I’d recommend you to get one with training wheels first. Then as your child’s skills improve, you can then remove them later at any point.