The best bike for a 1 year old toddler - 2020

Do you have a one year old who is desperate to get on two wheels? Or are you a keen cyclist yourself, wondering when your offspring is going to be able to accompany you on a bike ride? Perhaps you’re looking for a present for a one year old, and wondering if they’re old enough for a bike yet? Here at Cycle Sprog we’re here to help demystify cycling with sprogs, and in this post we’ll be looking at what the best choice of bike is for a one year old.

Here at Cycle Sprog we need to make enough money to feed and clothe our growing Sprogs! One way we do this is by using affiliate schemes where possible. This means we may receive a small commission from sales made when our readers click a link and buy a bike. Thanks for your support.

Can a 1 year old ride a bike?

There can be a real difference in the physical abilities of children at this age, especially between those who have just turned one and those who are approaching their second birthday. Each toddler will develop at a different rate, so please be patient and don’t force them to ride a bike if they’re not interested or not ready. If they’re still crawling, then they’re not ready to ride a bike.

Frog Tadpole Mini in use - one of the best balance bikes for a 1 year old toddler

What type of bike can a one year old ride?

Of course a one year old won't be riding a pedal bike, but there are several options available which are mainly suitable from about 18 months and over, although some toddlers will be ready slightly earlier than that and others a lot later. A pre-balance bike like a Toddlebike is a great choice to get them started and is suitable from as soon as they can toddle around. After that, they can move onto a balance bike (such as the Frog Mini Tadpole pictured above). If you don't know what one of these is, see our cunning titled post What is a Balance Bike.

Can a 1 year old really ride a balance bike?

The majority of one year olds aren’t ready to progress to a balance bike, but there will be some children who are physically mature for their age may start to be ready for a balance bike whilst they are still 1.

As most children won’t be ready for a balance bike until the age of at least 2, balance bikes tend to be sized for slightly taller children. In this post, we only feature smaller balance bikes which are suitable for ages 18 months and over. If you want a fuller list, then check out our other post on the best balance bikes.

The best bike for a 1 year old

Here's our selection of the best ways you can get a one year old onto wheels. As you'll see they are roughly in age order based on a mix of physical development and inside leg measurement.

Scramblebugs and Scuttlebugs 

Scramblebugs and Scuttlebugs are a really popular choice with parents who have younger children desperate to get moving about on wheels, but are still too young to master a more traditional balance bike. We had a Scuttlebug for our Sprogs and they absolutely loved it, plus we appreciated the way it folded up for carrying and strorage.Scramblebug - best bike for a 1 year old

The Scramblebug is aimed at ages 10 months to 2 years and has 4 wheels to provide maximimum stability. The wheels move 360° so the rider can move around in any direction - forwards, backwards and even sideways.

Scuttlebug - best bike for a toddler

The Scuttlebug has three wheels and is aimed at children aged 1 to 3 years. It requires steering, so is the next stage in helping your child develop their motor-skills (whilst having great fun and getting exercise).

Both the Scramblebug and Scuttlebug fold up so they are easy to carry and transport.

Buy now: The Scramblebug and Scuttlebug are both available via Amazon in a wide variety of fun colours



Toddle Bike / Lena

A Toddlebike (also known as a Lena First Scooter) can be used as soon as a  child is confidently walking (often about 18 months). Designed to be more stable than a balance bike, the Toddlebike / Lena has two wheels rather than one at the rear. The geometry is narrower than a traditional three wheel trike, which enables them to learn the balance skills needed to progress quickly onto a balance bike. It can be used inside and outside the house, and is REALLY lightweight (less than 1kg).  This product is sometimes known as a Toddlebike but is manufactured by Lena - who for some reason call it a scooter! Confused? So are we!!

Toddlebike / Lena 
Inside Leg measurement: 20cm
Tyres: Solid
Weight: 0.8kg
Frame: Durable plastic with steel axles
Guarantee: 3 years
Price: Check price on Amazon


Frog Tadpole Mini balance bike 

Frog Tadpole Mini Balance Bike in use

Welsh based Frog Bikes have a vast range of kids bikes, all designed with the age of the rider in mind. Their very smallest bike is the Tadpole Mini balance bike, which comes with tiny 10” wheels. It is the smallest balance bike we can find and it’s suitable for children with an inside leg of just 24cm. It has a safety steering lock which stops your child from turning the handlebars too vigorously which can cause accidents.

Frog Tadpole Mini
Inside Leg measurement 24cm
Brakes Tektro rear brake with small, easy reach lever
Tyres Kenda 10” hybrid tyre
Wheel size 10”
Weight 3.46kg
Frame Lightweight aluminium
Guarantee 5 years on frame and forks
Price RRP £145 from Tredz - use code shown below to get 10% off
Cycle Sprog readers get 10% off Frog Bikes at Tredz with our exclusive code, plus Tredz offer free home delivery. Just click on our affiliate link before 23.59 on 31st March 2020 and enter the code MAT8QHK7 at checkout.

Strider Balance Bikes 

Strider Balance Bike Cup - Manchester

Strider Bikes only make balance bikes, so they really know what they’re doing! Built to be incredibly robust, fast and fun, Striders are used in balance bike racing the world over, as well as by children who just want to ride at a more leisurely pace.

The most popular model is the light weight Strider Sport which is readily available here in the UK. The saddle goes as low as 27cm, which Strider claims is suitable for 18 months plus, but remember every child is different!

There are two other models also available.  The basic model is the Strider Classic, although we've recently learnt that the UK distributor of Strider Bikes has stopped stocking them, so they are only now available second hand.  There's the aluminium framed Strider Pro too if your child is planning to ride very fast!

You can often pick up good quality second hand versions of both from eBay.

Strider Classic Balance Bike
Standover height 27cm to 41cm inside leg  (can be extended to 49cm with longer seat post)
Brakes No – although can be fitted
Tyres Solid EVA polymer (i.e. won’t go flat)
Wheel size 12”
Weight from 2.9 kg
Frame Steel
Price Varies by model


Strider Balance Bike Rocker (£61 plus bike)

The Strider balance bike could be the best bike for a 1 year old as it can be used with the rocker base from their 1st birthday and then turn into a balance bike at about 18 months If your child can sit up unaided but can't yet walk (often about 12 months onwards) you can get them onto two wheels with the innovative Strider Rocking Base, which turns an ordinary Strider Balance bike into a rocker. No need for rocking horses any more!!

Cost wise, you do need to invest in both the bike and the base at the same time but this option means as soon as they're ready to progress to using the balance bike you just need to remove it from the base and away they go.

Strider Rocking Bike
Inside Leg measurement: 22cm
Tyres: Solid
Price From £60.99 for the base plus the Strider Balance Bike (from £60)

Wishbone 3-in-1 bike (from £203)

Wishbone 3 in 1 is one of the best bikes for a 1 year old, as it is a three wheeled bike for a 1 year old and can convert to a balance bike when they reach 2 years old

The Wishbone is a 3 in 1 bike that is designed to grow with your child. It starts out as a three wheeler trike for toddlers with an inside leg of 27cm, which easily converts to a small two-wheeled balance bike. For older children, the frame can be flipped and seat post extended to cater for children up to an inside leg of 46cm (probably about 4 years).  There is also a 2-in-1 version that skips the trike bit if your child doesn't need it.

Wishbone is a New Zealand based company, and their environmental credentials are worth mentioning. The wooden version is made from sustainably produced birch and the plastic version from recycled carpet fibres and only one product is needed to span several years.

Wishbone 3-in-1
Inside Leg measurement 28cm (trike mode) to 46cm (large balance bike)
Brakes No
Tyres Solid
Wheel size 12”
Weight 5.4kg (trike) 5.3kg (balance bike)
Frame Wood
Price RRP from £203


A bike for a 1 year old is just the start - do keep in touch!

We hope you’ve found this post useful, and you find the best bike for your one year old. As they grow (rapidly!) over the coming years you’re going to be facing lots of decisions about what bike to buy at different ages, where to ride and what to wear. Keep up to date with all the news, views and opinions on family cycling by following Cycle Sprog on Facebook and Instagram, or signing up for our newsletter. Welcome to the Cycle Sprog family!!

Other posts you may find useful:

Affiliate disclosure:  In order to keep Cycle Sprog going, we use Affiliate Marketing, which means that on some of the links on this page we may get a small commission if you make a purchase. This doesn't cost you any more but helps us to keep the website going. Thanks for your support.

This post was first published in July 2018 and updated in January 2020 to reflect current prices and stock availability.

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