What Size Bike For 3 Year Old? (Kids Bike Size Guide)

At three years, your child is probably trying to get into your bike or that of an older sibling or a kid in the neighborhood. So, you probably want to get them a bike but are asking, what size bike for 3 year old?

Well, a 3-year-old with a height of 2’10” – 3’4″ (85 – 100 cm) or an inseam of 14 – 17″ (35 – 42 cm) should ride a 12-inch bike. On the other hand, a 3-year-old who is 3’1′ – 3’7″ (95 – 110 cm) or with an inseam of 16 – 20″ (40 – 50 cm) should ride a 14-inch bike. 

So, there are two bike sizes for 3-year-olds (12-inch and 14-inch), depending on the child’s height and inseam. The taller they are, the bigger the wheel size. So, yes, a 12-inch or 14-inch bike refers to the wheel size as it’s the only realistic way of measuring a kid’s correct bike size

I’ll explain more about how to size a kid’s bike to enable you to get your child a bike that fits. I’ll also explain the existing bike types for kids and what they offer as well as shopping tips and tips on teaching your 3-year-old to ride a bike. 

Here we go!

Best Bikes For 3 Year Old

In a rush? Below are the best bikes for three-year-olds on Amazon. 

3 Best Bikes For 3 Year Old 

  1. KRIDDO Toddler Balance Bike – Best Balance Bike For 3-Year-Olds 
  2. Schwinn Koen & Elm Kids Bike – Best Pedal Bike For 3-Year-Old Boys 
  3. Schwinn Grit And Petunia Steerable Kids Bike – Best Pedal Bike For 3-Year-Old Girls 

What Size Bike For 3-Year-Old Boy Or Girl?

Generally, kids’ bikes are sized according to the wheel size, and you’ve to consider not only the age of the kid but also their height and inside leg (inseam) length. 

And since the age is never conclusive, I suggest you consider the height of the inseam. Let’s talk about the two.

Bike Size Chart By Height

Below is a bike size chart to match your kid (based on height) with the right bike size (or wheel size).

Child’s Age Child’s Height Wheel Size 
2 – 3 years 2’10” – 3’4″ (85 – 100 cm)12″
3 – 4 years 3’1″ – 3’7″ (95 – 110 cm)14″
4 – 5 years 3’7″ – 4’0″ (110 – 120 cm)16″
5 – 8 years 4’0″ – 4’5″ (120 – 135 cm)20´´’+
8 – 11 years 4´5´´ – 4´9´´(135 – 145 cm)24´´ +
11 years +4´9´´ + (145+cm)24´´’+

The table above shows that a 3-year-old can ride a 12-inch or 14 inch bike depending on their height. If the child is 2’10′”– 3’4″ tall, they can ride a 12-inch bike, but if they are 3’1″ – 3’7″, they can ride a 14 inch kids bike. Any bike above 14 inches will be too big for a 3-year-old. 

Bike Size Chart By Inseam 

Alternatively, you can determine your kids’ bike size by looking at their inseam/inside legs length. Here’s a table to help you. 

Child’s AgeChild’s Inseam Wheel Size
2 – 3 years 14 – 17″ (35 – 42 cm)12″
3 – 4 years 16 – 20´´’(40 – 50 cm)14″
4 – 5 years 18 – 22´´’(45 – 55 cm)16″
5 – 8 years 22 – 25´´’(55 – 63 cm)20″
8 – 11 years 24 – 28´´’(60 – 72 cm)24″
11 years +26´´ + (70 cm+)24´´ +

The table above indicates that a 3-year-old can ride a 12 or 14 inch kids bike depending on their inseam length. Those with an inseam length of 14 – 17 inches should ride a 12-inch bike, while those whose inseam is 16 – 20 inches can ride a 14 inch bike. 

Hopefully, you can use any of the two tables to get the right bike for your 3 year old. Let’s now talk about how you can determine their height and inseam. 

How To Measure Your Kids Height

Here’s how to do it: 

  • Ask your child to wear the shoes they’ll be cycling with 
  • Position them straight up while the back is against the wall and the feet are shoulder-width apart
  • Place a textbook above their head and push it against the wall 
  • Then measure the kids’ height from the bottom of the textbook to the ground.
  • The measurement you’ll obtain is your child’s height, which you can use on the above tables to determine what bike size is for your 3-year-old.

How To Measure Your Kids’ Inseam Length

It’s essential that your kid can stand on the bike, and that’s where the inseam length is critical. You have to get it right, and here’s how to do it:

  • Ask your kid to stand straight up against the wall and keep the feet apart shoulder length
  • Put a textbook between the kids’ legs and push it as high as possible but not to hurt the child 
  • Then measure from the top of the textbook to the ground
  • The measurement you’ll get will be your kids’ inseam length, which you can use to determine whether to get a 12-inch or 14-inch for your 3-year-old. 

Bike Types For 3 Year Old 

After determining the spot-on bike size for your 3-year-old, you may want to know what bike to get them. Essentially, there are two bike types to consider:

  • Balance bikes (pedaless)
  • Pedal (small-wheeler) bikes 
  • Balance Bikes For 3-Year-Olds

1. Balance Bikes for 3-Year-Olds

Before your child can learn to pedal a bike, they’ve to learn to balance, and that’s where a balance bike comes in. This pedaless bike builds their confidence to enable them to balance on the bike and independently steer it. 

Most parents consider them a better alternative to tricycles and a good option for transitioning to pedal bikes. 

One such bike you can get for your three-year-old is KRIDDO Toddler Balance Bike (Check Amazon Link Above). Any child between 18 months and five years can ride this balance bike, making it a worthwhile investment for your 3-year-old. 

Balance Bikes for 3-Year-Olds

This 12c inch balance bike comes in a lightweight carbon steel frame construction, allowing your kid to push it around and quickly hop on it. Its rubber grip handlebars and well-cushioned saddle promise optimal comfort, while its thick all-terrain puncture resistance tires allow your kid to ride on all surfaces outdoors. 

Even better, it comes with customizable detachable plates to allow your kid to customize it the way they want. Check the Amazon link on the hotlist above. 

2. Pedal (Small Wheelers) Bikes For 3 Year Old 

As the name suggests, small wheelers are kids’ bikes with smaller wheels. These usually are first-pedal kids’ bikes, and you can expect them to feature training wheels. 

Unlike balance bikes, these bikes allow your kid to pedal, and with the help of the training wheels or stabilizers, they don’t have to be afraid of falling. The stabilizer improves the bike’s ground stability to allow your kid to balance and steer the bike independently of you. 

One fantastic bike for a three year-old-boy in this category is the Schwinn Koen & Elm Toddler Kids Bike. This 12-inch bike for 3-year-olds comes in multiple colors and features a set of training wheels to assist your child in learning to balance, steer and pedal.

It’s designed with safety in mind, judging by its crisp front caliper and rear coaster brake. Its seat post is adjustable to allow your kid to grow with it and features a number plate. 

Its alternatives for girls are the Schwinn Grit and Petunia Steerable Kids Bike.  It’s generally the best bike for 3-year-old girls for several reasons. One, it features a set of heavy-duty training wheels and a push handle to enable your little girl to grow in confidence quickly. 

Once she does, you can detach the two to allow the little one to ride independently. Aesthetically, it’s one of the most colorful and girly bikes out there and enjoys an adjustable seat post to let your little girl grow with it (check the Amazon links for the two bikes on the hotlist above).

Tips For Helping Your Child To Learn To Ride A Bike 

At three years, your child needs all the help you can offer to enable them to ride a bike. Here are the things to remember: 

  • Training wheels help your kid build confidence and learn to ride independently. Don’t be in a hurry to remove them. 
  • A push handle may help but don’t let your kid over-rely on your support each time they ride. Learn to release the young one. 
  • Encourage your child to wear a helmet and use the brakes to improve their safety. 
  • Choose a low-traffic spot for your kid to learn to ride, as it’s much safer and with few distractions. 
  • Ensure your kid can reach the bike’s handlebars and ride more upright. 
  • Always start your kid on a balance bike unless they know how to balance and are comfortable pedaling. 
  • Avoid holding the handlebar when assisting your child, as that prevents them from balancing and steering.
  • If you must support the child, hold them and not the bike.
  • Choose a more solid and flatter surface to train, preferably in the park but not on grass, as grass slows down the bike. 
  • Stay close even if the child can steer the bike independently to inspire confidence and support them when they get out of the cycle or fall. 
Bikes For 3 Year Olds

People Also Ask 

1. What Size Bike For a 3-Year-Old Boy?

A 3-year-old boy who is 2’10” – 3’4″ tall (85 – 100 cm) or has an inseam length of 14 – 17″ can ride a 12-inch bike. However, a 3-year-old who is 3’1″ – 3’7″ tall (pr 95 – 110 cm) or has an inseam of 16 – 20´´’can ride a 14 inch bike. 

2. What Size Balance Bike For a 3-Year-Old?

Consider a 12-inch balance bike for a 3-year-old who is 85 – 100 cm tall or with an inseam of 14 – 17 inches. But if the 3-year-old is 95 – 110 cm or has an inseam of 16 – 20 inches, get them a 14 inch balance bike.

3. What Size Bike Helmet For 3 Year Olds?

A 3-year-old can wear either an extra small (below 20 inches) or small (20 – 21.75″) helmet, depending on the circumference of their head. Just ensure it feels comfortable and adjustable. 

4. What Size Pedal Bike For a 3-Year-Old?

You can get a 12-inch or 14 inch pedal bike for a 3-year-old. A 12-inch pedal bike is best for a kid who is 85 – 100 cm tall, while a 14-inch option suits a kid who is 95 – 110 cm tall.

5. What Size Strider Bike For 3 Year Olds?

The right size strider bike for a three-year-old is either a 12-inch or 14 inches, depending on the kid’s height. A kid who is 2’10” –  3’4″ should ride a 12-inch strider bike, while one who is 3’1′ – 3’7″ can ride a 14 inch strider. 

6. What Size Dirt Bike For 3 Year Old?

A 3-year-old should ride a dirt bike with an engine capacity that doesn’t exceed 50cc with a seat height of about 17 – 21 inches. However, most dirt bike seats are adjustable, so this shouldn’t be a big issue. 

7. What Size Bike Tire For 3 Year Old?

Consider a 12-inch or 14-inch bike tire for a three-year-old. It depends on the kid’s height and inseam. A 12-inch tire bike suits those who are 85 – 100 cm tall, while a 14-inch tire bike is best for those who are 95 – 110 cm tall.  

8. What Size Bike Is Suitable For a 3 Year old?

A 3-year-old, depending on their inseam and height, can ride a 12- or 14 inch bike. A 12-inch bike is best for those who are 85 – 100 cm tall (or with an inseam of 14 – 17″), while a 14 inch bike is best for those who are 95 – 110 cm tall or with an inseam of 16 – 20 inches. 

Closing Remarks 

Now you know what size bike is for 3 year old. Depending on their inseam and height, you can get a 12-inch or 14 inch bike. 

Usually, a 12-inch kids bike is best for kids who are 2’10” – 3’4″ tall and with an inseam of 14 – 17 “. Meanwhile, a 14 inch kids bike is best for those who are 3’1′”– 3’7″ and with an inseam of 16 – 20″.

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