The best 14″ starter bikes for children aged 3 and 4 years

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If you're looking for advice on a first bike for your 3 or 4 year old we're here to help!

We're really glad you found Cycle Sprog - we're parents who have been writing about and recommending kids bikes for almost a decade now (you can read about us here).  We don't sell any bikes - so we can recommend the bikes we really like, rather than those we have in stock.

As this is possibly your first time buying a child's bike do please take a few minutes to do some research and make sure you're buying a bike that will be fun, easy and safe for them to ride.

We regularly get messages from parents who found us later down the line and say they wish they'd known about us earlier!

Before you start take a moment to GRAB YOUR FREE KIDS BIKE BUYING CHECKLIST which will help you record all the information you need to find the perfect bike for your child. 

Buying a first bike for your child

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.

The golden rule - can you (and your child) lift the bike?

The Woom2 is lightweight enough to be lifted up by a 4 year old

If you struggle to lift it up, then think how difficult it will be for you to carry it when they've had enough of pedalling.  Or how you'll struggle to get it into the car boot or carry up any steps and stairs.

Buy a proper bike - not a "toy" bike!

This is the most important bit of advice you're doing to get!

A proper lightweight kids bike, made by a proper bike manufacturer, that is the correct size for your child, will get loads of use.

A "toy" bike covered in cartoon characters is going to be much heavier and more difficult to ride, and some are so badly made they don't last more than a few rides.

If you want to know more about this, check out our You Tube Video which explains the difference.

Buy the correct sized bike

You wouldn't buy your child a pair of shoes that are so big they can't walk in them, would you?

So please don't do the same with a bike.

Buy a bike that your child is at the lower end of the sizing and it will have plenty of room for growth, and they will be able to ride it and enjoy it now.

Buy one that's far too big and they won't feel confident and it won't be safe - and the bike won't get used.

Worse, it can put your child off using it when they do finally grow into it.

Extra advice:

14" wheel not the right size? 

Check out these other articles to find a smaller or bigger bike:

The best balance bikes as recommended by parents

The best 12" wheel first pedal bikes 

The best 16" wheel bikes 

or use our Kids Bike Finder to discover the perfect bike for your child

New, used or subscribe?

A brand new "proper" kids bike will cost more than a "toy" bike, but a well maintained second hand bike may cost less, and will certainly last a lot longer and bring a lot more joy to your child.

Most of the bikes we list are good secondhand options if a new bike is out of your price range.

An alternative is a long term rental via the Bike Club.   You pay a monthly subscription in return for one of their quality kids bikes and swap it for the next size up when they outgrow it.

You'll see we list all three options where they're available for each bike, so hopefully there will something for you whatever your budget.

Extra advice:

The best 14" wheel kids bikes for kids aged 3 - 4 years 

 

In this article, we're looking at the best 14" wheel bikes, so expect lightweight, well constructed bikes that will be fun and easy to ride.

Click here to get our handy checklist on buying a kids bike to help you make a speedy decision - we'll send it directly to your inbox. 

BTwin 14

BTwin 14" wheel cheap kids bike

Price: £110
Typical Age range: 3 - 4.5 years
Height range: 90 - 105cm
Bike weight: 8.7 kg;

Brakes: Cantilever brakes at the front and drum brakes at the rear
Components: Stabilisers
Frame:  Steel
Available colour: White, Pink, Orange, Blue, Black

The BTwin range is sold exclusively at Decathlon and is popular throughout Europe.  There's a few things about the BTwin 14" wheel bike that make it different from the others on the page.

Firstly, it's got a drum brake at the rear.  This type of brake is popular in Europe, and is renowned for being very long wearing. However, if it goes wrong you may struggle to find someone to repair it in the UK.

The frame is steel, which usually means a very heavy bike. The style of this one, with the low step over and lack of cross bar helps keep the weight down to below 8.7kg.  This is still a lot heavier than the more expensive aluminium framed bikes, but less than the 10kg plus bikes you get elsewhere (and it has "proper" tyres - beware other 14" wheel cheap bikes with foam tyres)

The very low frame itself will be easy for children to get on and off, plus the braking system is designed specifically for smaller hands.

The stabilisers unscrew easily - although if your child isn't ready to pedal we'd recommend a balance bike instead.

Buy New

WILD 14 

Best and cheapest kids bike for a 3 year old 14" wheels - the Wild Bike 14

Price: £195
Typical age range: 3 years +
Minimum inside leg: 40cm;
Height Range: 90 - 100cm;
Bike weight: 5.8kg;
Brakes: Tektro V-brakes;
Frame: Lightweight aluminium frames;

Available colours: Pink, Blue;
Warranty:
All Wild bikes have a standard 12 month warranty

Wild Bikes are a good choice if you're looking for a lightweight, modern looking kids bike but don't have the budget for one of the really established names.

They have been popular with Cycle Sprog readers over the past few years as you're getting a decently specified bike for a very good price.

The warranty is only for 12 months whereas some of the other bikes on this page come with 5 years, but these other bikes are also significantly more expensive!

Buy New

Ridgeback Dimensions 14

Ridgeback Dimension 14

 

Price: £349
Typical Age range: 3 to 4 years
Height range: 100 to 110cm
Bike weight: not stated
Brakes:  Promax V-brake (rim)
Frame: alloy
Tyres: Vee Tyre Speedsteer (14 x 2.00)
Available colours: Teal, Blue
Warranty: 1 year

The Dimension range is Ridgeback's premium kids bike offering, and comes in two striking colour schemes.

The Dimension 14 has all the features you'd expect from a bike at this price point - a lightweight aluminium frame paired with child sized components plus v-brakes front and rear.

It's designed for children between 100cm and 105cm tall and is a great, hardwearing choice that should last several kids.

Buy New Buy Used

 

Carrera Cosmos 14

Carrera Cosmos 14"

 

Price: £180
Typical age range: 4 to 6 years;
Height range: 105 to 117cm
Bike weight: not stated;
Brakes:  V-brake (rim);
Frame: Aluminium
Tyres: Kenda (14 x 1.5)
Available colours: White/green or black/orange
Warranty: Frame and Forks - lifetime guarantee - all other parts 1 year.

Carrera are sold exclusively in Halfords, who until quite recently 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."

With the Carrera Comos you get a bike with aluminium frame, kenda tyres, child sized alloy v-brakes, plus a chain guard to protect clothes and fingers.

Buy New  Buy Used

Scott Contessa / Roxter 14

Scott Contessa 14" wheel kids bike for children aged 3 and 4 years

Key data:

Price: £349
Typical age range: 3-5 years;
Height range: 90-110cm
Bike weight: 7.4 kg;
Brakes: Front v-brake, Rear coaster brake
Components: Stabilisers;
Frame: alloy 6061;
Tyres: Kenda K841 contact / 14 x 2.125
Available colour: Pink (Contessa) Black (Roxter)
Scott Bike Warranty: Frame - 5 years  Forks - 2 years - must register bike online within 10 days of purchase

The main thing to realise about this bike is that the rear brake is a coaster brake.

This means that your child needs to pedal backwards to stop their bike.

This will happen without them having to use the brake lever for the front brake.

Some young children struggle with brake levers and prefer the backpedalling motion, and can learn to use the single brake lever in their own time.

However, do remember that they will need to learn to use two brake levers when they move onto the next sized bike.

Whilst this bike comes with stabilisers we'd recommend a balance bike instead if they're not ready to pedal just yet.

Buy New

Other 14" wheel bikes

Obviously we can't fit all the 14" wheel kids bikes into our article, and many are unfortunately currently out of stock new.  Here's some other options you might like to check to see if they're more suited to your child - alternatively you can check out our kids bike search to narrow down to the perfect bike for your little one.

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 manoeuvre, 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.

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 buy a cartoon bike for under £100 you're possibly going to find that it's not enjoyed anywhere as much as the great, lightweight children's bikes featured above, as 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 lifetime.

PLEASE READ OUR ARTICLE ON WHY YOU SHOULDN'T BUY A REALLY CHEAP KIDS BIKE IF YOU'RE TEMPTED TO GO AHEAD AND BUY ONE OF THESE BIKES

So, what are your options if your budget is less than £100 for a bike for your 3 or 4 year old?

RENTAL and SECOND HAND of course!

There is a roaring trade in good quality secondhand 14" wheel 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.

Or you can lease for just over £10 per month, and swap the bike when your child outgrows it.

Other articles you may find useful:

These articles will help you:

Need more help on buying a kids bike?

We know that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find that perfect bike for your child - especially when stocks are low or timescales are tight.

Please don't get too stressed!  We've got lots of articles to help you through the process to ensure you find the best bike for your child, plus our FREE kids buying guide will help you record everything you need.

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Comments

Nick Mark

hi,
Thanks for this great article. Couldn’t get the right one for my boy without your help. I selected Skog black mountain for him as he is a little rusty. he loved it. and I’m satisfied. thanks to you that It could possible without any hassle.

Penny Millar

Hi Nick
Thank you for your message, we’re thrilled that you found the perfect bike for your boy and that Cycle Sprog were able to help with this. We’re big fans of the Black Mountain range and are sure he’ll have many a happy cycling adventure on his SKOG! Happy cycling, kind regards, Penny

Beth

Hi Karen. Thanks for all the info on your website. We bought our son a super 10″ Chilla Fish BMXie for his 2nd birthday which he loves, we then – dare I say – bought a toy bike for his 3rd birthday which he has used a few times and got the hang of without stabilisers but it stays in the shed most days as it is too heavy for me to carry and my son (4&1/2) still prefers the Chilla Fish. Unfortunately he is almost too big for it now so really need to invest in something else. I’d get a larger, pedal version of that if they had one but they don’t so I keep coming back to the Strider 14″ with pedal option as it ticks my size, weight and budget boxes. I feel like I need some reassurance though as I’m concerned they no longer have a UK retailer and the model seems quite old, (your comments above refer to it in 2018). What do you think?! Thank you.

Penny Millar

Hi Beth
Thanks for your comment and it’s great to hear that your son loves his cycling. The Strider range is great, but as you mention they don’t currently have a UK retailer. There are some great alternatives if that’s a concern, and it’s worth posing your question on the Family Cycling UK page on Facebook, you’ll find lots of parents on there with first hand experience of biking with children of your son’s age and size. It might also be worth you having a look at The Bike Club, hiring a bike for him to use could be a great way for him to progress on to a larger model without the worry of a large upfront cost. I’ve linked to a post where you can read all about how it works. We hope this helps! Penny

Claire Hardy

Hi,
Thank you for these recommendations. I wondered if you could advise. My LO is 3 and hasn’t managed to master the balance bike yet. She is tall so needs a 14″ wheel. Would it be wise to buy a lightweight pedal bike and remove the pedals, if so which bike would you recommend for that?
Thank you
Claire

Penny Millar

Hi Claire
Thanks for your comment. This isn’t something we have tried, so we probably aren’t best to comment, however, if you head to the Family Cycling UK page on Facebook and ask the question there, we’re sure you will find parents with first hand experience of trying this will be able to give some advice. Hope this helps and good luck. Penny

Sharon Lewis-Jones

My son currently has halfords balance bike/trike that has been a disaster. He just can’t ride it. He won’t sit to balance he just walks with it between his legs (regardless of seat hight) so we tried the trike mode and the pedals are impossible for him to turn due to the short crank size.
We are looking to try a real bike and are on a fairly tight budget. The advice here will definitely help me make the choice. I would love to have home choose but he would probably pick something with paw patrol on it ?.
I can always get stickers afterwards.
Thanks.

Karen

Hi Sharon, Thanks for taking the time to get in touch, and I’m so glad you’re looking for a decent second hand bike – it will be a much better use of your cash. If he demands Paw Patrol then stickers are a great idea, but I’m betting he totally forgets about that once he’s riding!! Hope he enjoys what ever you end up with. Karen

Victoria

I have spent the last week reading and researching all the bikes in this article, it has been amazing in helping me look for a bike for my 3 year old. The only problem is that he is very small and won’t fit the majority of the bikes listed here. He’s 95cm with a 36cm inside leg and I wondered if you knew of any other starter bikes that I could have a look at? He’s brilliant on his balance bike so I’m sure he’s ready to have a go on a pedal bike but his height (and the fact most bikes seem to be out of stock right now!) mean that we’re really restricted. Have looked at secondhand isla bikes but they all seem to be in pink and he refuses to have a pink bike…

Thanks for providing such amazing information and making looking for a bike so much easier.

Penny Millar

Hi Victoria
Have you had a look at the Black Mountain Pinto? It has a recommended height range of 90-109cm, but the brilliant thing about their Epok range is that they are ‘growing bikes’, starting off as balance bikes that you add pedals to when they are ready. You can also increase the frame size as your son gets taller, which cuts down on the need to replace the bike sooner (making it more cost effective!). The Squish 14 and Wild 14 would also suit from a size perspective. Unfortunately, lots of the bikes in his height range are sold out at the moment, but suppliers are replenishing stock often, so it’s worth revisiting the pages regularly and seeing if you and pre-order. Good luck, it sounds like you have a budding little cyclist there! Penny

Victoria

Thanks, I hadn’t really looked at black Mountain pinto in that much detail due to the price, but looking again it does look like a good option for him, his wee brother is very small as well so it’s worth getting a bike that suits smaller children so he can use it when he’s older as well. Will look at the others you recommend as well, hopefully find something for him before the summer is over. As my boys are half Dutch I’m hoping cycling is in their blood!

Thanks so much for your help.

Fran

Great article, thanks! What’s your verdict on Bobbin bikes?

Penny Millar

Hi Fran
Thank you, we’re glad you’ve found the article helpful! We’ve actually reviewed the Bobbin Bike and it features in a number of our posts. I’ve linked some here so you can have a read. One thing to note, the Bobbin Bikes are heavier than most of the other kids bikes, so something worth considering when deciding if they are right for your little cyclist. We hope this helps! Penny

Chris

Good article, thanks. I read this before I bought for my 3yr old son, but didn’t choose one of the bikes reviewed here.

What we went with, and what I think has been overlooked here, is the Raleigh Performance 14″. It comes in at a relative 6.2kg and has a spec to rival the above. The bike has cool BMX stylings and should be able to pick up for under £200, which I think is top value. My 3 yr old (approx 95cm tall) is flying on his and I’m very happy with the choice.

Cheers.

Penny Millar

Hi Chris
Thanks for your comment. We pleased that both you and your son are happy with the Raleigh Performance 14″, it sounds like you have made an excellent choice for him! Whilst we didn’t include it in this post, we have looked at the Raleigh Performance 16″ in the post ‘The best 16″ wheel bikes for 4 and 5 year olds’, perhaps one worth considering when he’s ready to move up a size? Sound like you have quite the budding biker there! Penny

Carly Penfold

Great article and very helpful, thanks.

I would also suggest looking at the Early Rider Belter 14 which has just been released.

We got the Belter 16 for our 4 year old and can highly recommend it. Very lightweight and a belt drive, so no chain.

SO pleased they have a smaller frame out now we can get for our soon to be 3 year old.

Aaron

Little one could not ride it so I gave up on the Ridgeback, which honestly I think anyone looking at this article should also do. The Halfords bike is MUCH better and similarly priced.

I got a woom2 for my little one, it’s amazingly light (quoted weight of 5.2kg is with pedals!)

For the bike buffs, has great design touches like sealed cartridge wheel bearings. Q factor is 140mm, perfect for tiny people.

Buy cheap, buy twice! That includes the Ridgeback. Won’t make that mistake again.

Gen

Thank you for the sound advice in this article. A huge help in deciding which first peddle bike to get for my little 4 year old. Very much appreciated!

Karen

Thanks Gen for letting us know that – glad to have been of help! Hope your 4 year enjoys their bike. Karen

Aaron

Hi,

I was *this* close to buying a Bumper Sparkle 14 until I saw this article, which snapped me out of a potentially very heavy tassle and basket trap.

Santa is bringing my 1m tall 3 year old a Ridgeback Honey to replace her giant pre, and I’m excited for her!

We went for that as it should be light enough, we like pink and so does she even if that’s old-fashioned now, and it was from a retailer happy to ship to us abroad.

Thanks to you and your site 🙂

Karen

Hi Aaron – glad to be of assistance! Hope your daughter has a fabulous time riding the Ridgeback – she’s a lucky girl. Karen

Aaron

It arrived today and I must say I’m disappointed. The quill headset is tight and has a detent at straight ahead, bottom bracket similar issue. Worst though, it the rims. They are poorly joined so that the rim brake will catch on every revolution of each wheel.

Mine weighs 7.6kg with pedals without stabilisers (which are supplied although not mentioned on the retailer or maker websites).

Better buy something a little more expensive if you’re looking at the Ridgeback.

Karen

Aaron – that is very disappointing to hear. It certainly sounds as if you should contact the retailer as it should have had a pre-dispatch check and you should expect the wheels to turn freely. Weight wise the Ridgeback, as stated, is one of the heavier aluminium framed bikes, and I’ve updated the post to say 7.6kg with pedals (some manufacturers will give a weight without pedals, which is annoying). As you say, the more expensive bikes will, undoubtedly, be better quality. Thanks so much for taking the time to feedback,and I hope you resolve the issue. Karen

Kazzi

No mention of the strider 14x?

Karen

Hi – I hadn’t realised they were now finally in stock in the UK! That’s great news – I’ll have to update the website when I get a moment. Karen

Dean

Hi Karen! Any news on the Strider 14x? We were close to pulling the trigger on the strider until we found this great article! Would love to see how the Strider 14x holds up against these options!

Karen

Hi Dean – We’re hoping to get a Strider 14x to test soon. However, the process does take quite a long time as we need the bike to be put through its paces, so at the moment I can’t really comment on them. Strider do have a very good reputation for their balance bikes, so it will be interesting to see if the transition to pedals works as well. Karen

Rowan

Hi Karen,
Have you had a chance to test the Strider yet? We have loved our balance bike and would be tempted by a similar pedal bike. Any word on comparisons would be greatly appreciated.
Many thanks,

Karen

Hi Rowan, We’ve not had a chance to test the 14x yet – we had a reviewer lined up, but they got too big before we could arrange it unfortunately. Hopefully we’ll get something sorted later in the year. Karen

Laura

Dear Cycle sprog

Thank you so much for the advice and information without this we would have made a major mistake in our first bike purchase for our son. We are proud new owners of a Cnoc 14 for our son. This advice saved us a lot of money and led us to a much better bike!

Thank you!

Karen

Hi Laura – so glad to have been of help. I do hope your son enjoys his Cnoc 14 – a great lightweight bike – good choice! Karen

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