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The best 14" starter bikes for ages 3 and 4 years
Do you know a 3 or 4 year old desperate to ride their first pedal bike? Are you wondering which bike will be best for them but you're not sure where to start looking? Fear not, here at Cycle Sprog we've done the hard work for you and gathered together the best of this seasons 14" wheel kids bikes. Check the bottom of the post for a list of bikes by weight and price.
A few thoughts before you buy a pedal bike for a 3 year old
Children are now starting to ride pedal bikes (without stabilizers) at a much younger age (often from 3 years old), mainly due to the success of balance bikes teaching them the coordination and balance needed to progress to a "proper" bike. This means that younger and smaller children are needing pedal bikes and thankfully some manufacturers (listed below) have stepped up to the mark and developed 14" wheel kids bikes that are well made, lightweight and fun to ride. Many other quality manufacturers jump from a balance bike to a 16" wheel bike, which is usually too big for a 3 year old or small 4 year old to handle.
Can they pedal yet?
If this is your child's first go on a bike of any type, then consider getting them a balance bike, rather than a pedal bike to start with, as they tend to be cheaper and will give them the skills they need to move on up to a pedal bike when they're ready. Alternatively, you can buy a 14" wheel pedal bike from this list and take the pedals off to turn it into a balance bike.
Are you buying a bike or a toy?
If this is your first foray into buying a pedal bike, then you may be wondering what makes a decent kids bike, so take a look at our article 12 things you need to know before buying a kids bike. You'll then realise that the weight of the bike and sizing of components on a first bike is crucial to ensure your child really enjoys riding it, and that they can do so safely and confidently.
For that reason at Cycle Sprog we only recommend "proper" bikes, which are designed specifically with 3 and 4 year old riders in mind, rather than "bike shaped objects" which are too heavy for a young child to manoeuvre, are hard to ride (including safe braking) and will deteriorate quickly. Thankfully the number of lightweight bikes is expanding all the time, with some cheaper priced options becoming available (as well as more expensive ones).
The golden rule - can you (and your child) lift the bike?
If you struggle to lift it up, then think how difficult it will be for you to carry it home from the park when they've had enough of pedalling.......
At the end of the article you'll find our comparison table, which gives weight, minimum saddle height and price, so you can compare each model.
The best 14" wheel kids bikes for kids aged 3 - 5 years - Autumn/Winter 2018
Frog 43 - 14" wheel kids bike (£240)
One of the most popular bike brands dominating the quality kids bike market is Frog Bikes. Their range of bikes are lightweight, hardwearing and fun, with a great range of colours to choose from. Their smallest pedal bike is the 14" wheel Frog 43 (Frogs are named after the shortest leg length that the bike suits - in this case 43 cm). It weighs a respectable 6.3kg, so is easy for a child to ride, and has all the child sized components that give parents peace of mind that their child is riding safely. You can read our review of the Frog 43 here.
Frog Bikes are hard wearing, so you should be able to pass the bike or, or get a good resale value when your child has outgrown a 14" wheel bike.
Ridgeback 14" bikes (£159.99)
Ridgeback come as a "Girls" and a "Boys" bike. We're not quite sure why they need to do this, as a bike is a bike is a bike! The "boys" bike is called the "MX14" and comes in either green or red, whilst the "girls" bike is called "Honey" and is, as you'd probably expect, pink.
The bikes are sturdy and reasonably specified, with off-road tyres and an aluminium frame that comes with a lifetime warranty. The Ridgebacks are heavier than most of the others included on this page, coming in at 7kg, but that is reflected in them being at the cheaper end of the price spectrum.
Pinnacle are Evans Cycles in house brand, and the Pinnacle Koa 14 is another good choice at the cheaper end of the price spectrum. The extra weight over some of the more expensive models may be noticeable to a young rider moving up from a lightweight balance bike, as it does come in at 7.1 kg, making it the heaviest bike on the list. However, this is still significantly lighter than the majority of the cheap kids bikes on the market, with the lightweight aluminium frame with aluminium rims keeping things light. Quality bearings in the hubs, cranks and headset make for a smooth ride, and if the reviews on the Evans website can be believed, these are a popular choice for a first pedal bike. The Koa also comes in an interesting range of gender neutral colours - Orange, Purple and Light Green.
Evans will deliver free, or you can order online and collect in store, where they will assemble the bike for you free of charge.
Carrera Cosmos and Star (RRP £190 - currently £152)
Carrera are an in-house brand of Halfords, and they've recently extended it to cover the smaller end of the kids bike range. This is good news, as previously Halfords were renowned for stocking incredibly heavy, steel framed kids bikes. We're not making this up - they confess this themselves on their website! "Coming in at nearly half the weight of the Police Patrol, the Cosmos is much easier to ride and is perfect for those graduating from a balance bike."
Where Halfords have got some catching up to do is with the branding - does the Cosmos really need to be branded for boys and the Star for girls? Isn't a bike a bike at this age?
With the Carrera Comos and Star you get a 6kg bike with aluminium frame, kenda tyres, child sized alloy v-brakes, plus a chain guard to protect clothes and fingers. This is at the price of £170, plus their nationwide network of stores to collect from, who will assemble the bike free of charge for you.
Squish 14 bike (£229.99)
Squish Bikes are a new kids bike range that have sprung up to cater for the demand for lightweight kids bikes. With child proportioned components such as brakes, saddles and crank arms, and weighing in at just 5.8kg, the Squish 14 is certainly trying to give the bigger names a run for their money. The sizing guide suggests the Squish is suitable for slightly taller kids, with a minimum leg length of 40cm.
Vitus Fourteen (£174.99)
Another good choice for those looking for a budget bike is the new Vitus Fourteen, which has an RRP of £175. It is designed with young riders in mind, with adjustable brake levers for smaller hands and kendra tyres designed to cope with grass, gravel and tarmac surfaces. The weight is very respectable, coming in at 6.4kg, thanks to an alloy frame and wheels, which have been coupled with steel forks. This is a great entry-level bike that is lightweight and designed for smaller riders, without breaking the bank, and comes with a 2 year frame warranty and 12 month parts warranty.
Premium 14" wheel kids bikes for kids aged 3 and 4 years
If your budget stretches to over £225, then you can get a brilliant quality bike for your money. As with most things in life, you do get what you pay for, and all these bikes should give your little Cycle Sprog several years of fun, plus the ability for you to sell the bike on when it's finished with (or pass onto younger siblings).
The Islabikes Cnoc 14 (£289.99)
Islabikes are the original manufacturers of quality kids bikes, and when you buy an Islabikes you're getting over a decade of obsession to detail and quality. Over the years they've realised that children are requiring a pedal bike earlier and earlier (or are just at a lower height percentile than the majority of kids their age), and have brought out two versions of their 14" starter bike. The Cnoc 14 Small is, as the name suggests, their smallest pedal bike offering, and has a tiny 6.5" frame with a weight of just 5.6kg. Of all the bikes on this page, it's the one suited for the shortest inside leg (just 34cm). Please note that this is a very popular bike and you may have to wait for stock to become available. The Cnoc 14 Large is, as the name suggests, a slightly larger bike, with a standard 8" frame and weight of 5.7kg.
Islabikes are only available direct from the Islabikes website or their showroom in Ludlow. The bikes really retain their value and there is a very active second-hand market, with many Cnoc 14's selling on Ebay or the Preowned Islabikes Facebook Group. Please note that Islabikes only brought out the Cnoc 14 Small in the summer of 2016, so most older bikes are just labelled as "Cnoc", which equates to the new "Cnoc Large".
Woom 2 (£260)
Woom Bikes are an Austrian company who make lightweight, great quality kids bikes. They've only recently become available in the UK, and offer parents looking to spend that little bit more on their child's first pedal bike an alternative from the Islabikes and the Frogs. We've seen the Woom2 up close and personal, and are very impressed with the quality. You can read our review of the Woom 2 here, or see our video review of the Woom2 here. It's the lightest bike in this list, coming in at just 5.2kg.
The Woom 2 is available from The Little Bike Company, priced £260
Cuda CP 14 (£230)
The Cuda Performance range is another alternative to look out for - it's sold mainly through smaller independent bike shops so you get a chance to size the bike against your child before you buy - always useful. We've reviewed the CP20R (the bigger sibling in the range) and were impressed. The Cuda CP14 weighs in at a very respectable 6.4kg, and has an RRP of £230. Cuda have recently relaunched this range, and made some modifications, including a new smaller saddle to improve the riding position.
14" wheel kids bikes for girls and boys aged 3 - 4 years
I know that over £100 may seem like a lot to spend on a kids bike for a 3 year old, especially if you don't know whether they're going to enjoy cycling. But please remember, if you by a lump of heavy steel for under £100 you're probably going to find that it's not enjoyed anywhere as much as these great, lightweight bikes that come in between £100 and £210. They've all got child sized components, good brakes, decent tyres and should allow your child to develop a love of cycling that will last a life time.
Cheapest bikes for a 3 year old for under £100
OK - you've read the article, so you're not going to be surprised when we say that we don't recommend a really heavy, cheap steel hunk of a bike that your child is going to find hard to maneuver, which won't last long, and may even, in extreme cases, be unsafe for them to ride, especially if they can't work the brakes.
So, what are your options if your budget is less than £100 for a bike for your 3 or 4 year old? SECOND HAND of course! There is a roaring trade in second hand Islabikes and Frog Bikes, precisely because they are built to last. You may have to hunt around a bit, but it's possible to get a decent bike for under £100. Here's a couple of links to get you started:
And don't forget to check out our post on buying a second hand kids bike, so you're prepared on what to look for.
Summary of the best 14" wheel kids bikes
Here's a quick overview (sorted by price - high to low) of the 14" wheel kids bikes discussed above. All weights, dimensions and prices are from the manufacturers publicly available information. If we've missed off your favourite 14" wheel pedal bike, do please let us know, either in the comments section, or via Facebook.
You might also want to check out our list of discount codes for the various retailers and manufacturers to see if you can get a good deal on your chosen bike.
|Bike (with link to retailer)||Minimum Inside Leg||Maximum Inside Leg||Weight||Price||Frame size|
|Islabikes Cnoc 14 Small||34cm||42cm||5.6kg||£289.99||6.5"|
|Islabikes Cnoc 14 Large||38cm||48cm||5.7kg||£289.99||8"|
|Dawes 14 Inch Academy||-||-||5.82kg||£239.00||-|
|Pinnacle Koa 14||-||-||7.1kg||£180.00||-|
|Carrera Star and Cosmos||-||-||6.0kg||£170.00||-|
|Ridgeback Honey and MX14||-||-||7.0kg||£159.99||-|
Other articles you may find useful:
- 12 things you need to know before buying a kids bike
- Cheapest Frog Bikes
- Discount codes for kids bikes
- The best kids bikes
- Best girls bikes - as recommended by girls who ride bikes
- Buying a second hand kids bike
- The best 16″ wheel starter bikes for ages 4 to 6 years
- Review of the Frog 43 First Pedal kids bike
- Bobbin bikes – stylish city bikes for kids
- Vitus bikes replace Wiggle’s Verenti kids bike range
Disclosure: Some of the links in this article on 14" wheel kids bikes contain affiliate links, which means we may get paid a small commission if you purchase something after clicking on them. This isn't the case for all the bikes featured, and doesn't affect whether we recommend a bike or not.
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