Best Pedal Bike for Kids
The Duzy Customs has lots of features including dual brake styles, and a parent handle to help little ones stay upright. It has folding pedals for storage and comes with spoke wheels in various sizes and five different colors. It features rubber handgrips and a roller pad on the handlebar.
This bike has stiffer forks than the competition, and the wheels didn't spin as freely as we'd like. However, it is a child's bike, and we suspect kids won't notice the difference in performance. Overall, it is a flashy and cool-looking bike kids are drawn to that works well.
The Huffy Moto X is a nostalgic, throwback bike you might remember from your youth. This cool-looking bike comes complete with training wheels, wire-spoke wheels, a number plate, folding pedals, rubber handgrips, and two types of brakes. It has quick-connect parts and is one of the lightest in the group.
There isn't much to dislike about this bike, and compared to the competition, it fared well. We imagine some kids won't like the number plate, but this accessory is optional and easy to skip. We think this is a good option for parents on a budget or looking for something with a handbrake for prepping for future bikes.
The RoyalBaby Freestyle pedal bike is an excellent option for parents thinking long term. This quality bike is put together nicely with impressive materials and attention to detail. It includes two brake styles, a water bottle, alert bell and comes in various bright, eye-catching colors. This bike is easy enough to put together, with a good majority of parts coming pre-assembled.This bike is one of the heavier options in the group, so it might not be the first choice for smaller riders. That said, a three-year-old tester managed to transition from a balance bike to this option with nary a hiccup. The print on in the user manual is oddly tiny, making reading the setup instructions harder than they need to be. Overall, we love this sturdy, well-constructed bike, and experience tells us it will last for years, making its slightly higher price worth the cost of admission.
The TOMY John Deere is brightly colored in green and yellow and includes training wheels and a rear rack for strapping adventure supplies. This kids' pedal bike was a tester favorite and is sturdy enough that it felt like it could carry two kids. The Tomy has metal spoke wheels and rubber handgrips.
This bike came poorly packaged, with parts somewhat floating around in the box. This packaging snafu meant the final product was scratched before we ever rode it. Not a big deal, but it could be a bummer if you buy the bike as a gift. Also, the instructions are so poorly written we tossed ours aside and built it without them. Assembly isn't too hard, considering we winged it, but still disappointing. Overall, this bike was a tester favorite, and we think it is a good option for parents who love John Deere or are looking for a bike with a rack.
If you're looking to reminisce about the 50s, then the JOYSTAR Vintage is the kids' pedal bike for you. This white and tan bike has under-seat springs, and a front basket that will have you seeing peddle pushers and poodle skirts. It comes with included training wheels, faux leather grips, and spoked wheels.
This bike is one of the heaviest in the review, and the quality is only so-so. The weld points have visible holes, and some of the parts are rough around the edges. This light-colored bike was scuffed easily during our test period, and we suspect the basket won't stay attached very long. Overall, we think there are better bikes to be had, but if you can't resist the cool nostalgic feel, this bike works well and will likely last as long as your child is the right size to ride it.
The Schwinn Koen is a steel frame bike with a parent holding handle on the seat. It comes in various wheel sizes for children of different heights, and it has included training wheels if your little one needs them. This bike has hand and coaster brakes so kids can switch or get more comfortable with a hand brake commonly found on more grown-up bikes.
The bike we purchased had a loose seat, and no tightening solved the problem, leading to some seat shifting. It also has stiff pedals and wheels that prevent free-flowing rotation. This friction might cause more concern in an adult bike, but it could still be taxing for little ones to push harder all the time to gain forward momentum. Overall the Koen is a nice-looking bike and feels well constructed. However, the loose seat and hard-to-push pedals mean it may not be the best choice for everyone.
The JOYSTAR Totem is a straightforward kids' pedal bike with many accessories compared to the competition. This less expensive bike includes stickers for naming your bike, a bell for alerting others you're on the path, training wheels, and reflectors. This bike is available in multiple sizes and has metal spoke wheels.
The Totem is heavier than much of the competition, and it lacks the level of quality we saw in some of the other contenders. With holes in the weld points and rough edges on some parts, it has an unfinished, cheaper feel. This quality concern aside, we think this option will get your little one from A to B without a hiccup, and the lower quality doesn't seem to affect the functionality. However, there are better bikes to be had with similar price tags.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our pedal bike review is led by Bob Wofford, Senior Review Analyst, and father of 7. Bob spends a lot of time outdoors and on his bike commuting to work when the weather permits in the great mountains of Colorado. Bob has led our other bike-related reviews and has assembled almost every product through the BabyGearLab doors over the last eight years. The team also includes Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor and mother of 2 bike-riding friends. Wendy reviewed and assessed Bob's testing results to help determine bike ranking and award winners. Each bike was tested side-by-side with the competition for ease of assembly, features, quality, and more to help you make happy buying decisions. For this update, Abriah Wofford joins the team with assembly and testing analysis. Abriah has been with BabyGearLab since 2015.
Analysis and Test Results
We purchased and tested some of the best kids' pedal bikes on the market to find the right option for every need and budget.
Each option requires some effort of assembly. Depending on your know-how or assembly savvy, this process can be anxiety-inducing or barely impacts your buying decision. We respect that not all parents want to assemble a bike, and this is where our experience putting these bikes together can come in handy. If you're worried about putting a bike together, this is the metric to consider closely.
The quickest assembly time is about eight and a half minutes for the Huffy. This bike has what the company calls quick-connect parts, and they are right. The instructions are only average, and they miss a step where you need to remove a plastic part included for shipping, but it quickly becomes apparent it can't work with the plastic in place. Putting on the training wheels is a tool-free operation that can be useful if you need to add or remove them while biking. The second easiest to set up is the Tomy John Deere. This simple bike has terrible instructions, but there are only a few parts, and it is somewhat intuitive to put together.
We acknowledge that we know a thing or two about assembly, but it still feels like something most parents can handle. The hardest to assemble is the Duzy Custom. The Duzy is a little intense for a kids' bike, and we had to adjust the brake cable length on the front brakes to make it work. The front tire is the most challenging part because you have to take the brakes apart to get the tire to fit through. We also had trouble with one of the handlebar bolts stripping while hand tightening.
Features and Quality
Many of the bikes come with additional features. Few of the features impact overall performance or a child's ability to use the bike, but they definitely appeal to kids on different levels. All come with training wheels, and some are even tool-free to add them to the bicycle. It's the unique features that set each bike apart, like the Huffy number plate and rubber grips or folding pedals.
Other standouts include the Joystar Vintage, with the seat springs and front basket. Both look cool, but the springs are for looks only, and the basket may not last long in its front placement before falling or being taken off.
The Tomy John Deere has a rear storage rack suitable for strapping all kinds of treasures and supplies, and our testers loved the idea of pondering what they might place there. Even if it is just giving a ride to a favored stuffed toy, we can see how this rack will get a lot of use. The RoyalBaby FreeStyle includes training wheels, reflectors, water bottle holder, alert bell, chain cover, and parent handle on the back of the seat.
Some bikes like the Duzy, RoyalBaby, and the Huffy have handbrakes and coaster-style brakes, which can help prep kids for more grown-up bikes. And the Totem comes with a handlebar alert bell, naming stickers, and reflectors. It also features a parent handle on the back.
Don't be fooled into thinking accessories make a product better or higher quality. Unfortunately, in this review, it seems to mean the opposite. Both Joystar bikes have multiple accessories, but they are also the lowest quality options compared to the competition. While their quality issues (in our opinion) are unlikely to impact everyday use, we suspect parents might find them disappointing given their prices. The RoyalBaby, Huffy, and Tomy are the group's highest quality options, with the Duzy coming in next.
Selecting the right pedal bike for your kid can expand their world and increase their participation in outdoor adventures. Learning to ride a bicycle is a time-honored tradition for many kids and includes developing important skills and getting valuable time outdoors. Your little one may remember their first bike for years, creating memories with family and friends. This makes choosing the perfect first bike potentially intimidating. We think there is a bike for almost every child in this lineup of impressive competitors, and our test results can help you find the best kids' pedal bike for your child so you can enjoy new adventures together.
— Wendy Schmitz