The 8 best trikes for babies and toddlers

12 May 2020

best trike

If you have a child eager to start cycling, we've rounded up the best baby trikes to buy this year.

Tricycles are a helpful introduction to the world of cycling and a good alternative to trusty balance bikes.

As well as allowing children to burn excess energy and have fun outdoors, trikes help to develop gross motor skills and build confidence.

But, like children, trikes comes in all shapes and sizes and what fits one may not fit another. So you'll want to choose a tricycle that's suitable for your child's age while also thinking about safety and development.

We've spent time researching the trikes that come most highly recommended, consulting parents on the Mumsnet forums as well as looking at online bestseller lists to narrow down the best baby trikes to suit all budgets.

And we have our winners. Here are the eight best trikes for babies and toddlers.

1. Little Tikes 4-in-1 My First Trike

“I have the Little Tikes trike for DD (eight months) and she loves it!”

1. Little Tikes 4-in-1 My First Trike

Little Tikes tricycles come highly recommended – and for good reason. The My First Trike is a four-in-one tricycle that can be used from just nine months old all the way up to two years, supporting children in the early stages of their riding development.

With an adjustable and detachable push handle for parents, it's great for those times in the park when you'd just like to move that tiny bit quicker. The three-point seatbelt and protective safety bar also keep younger children securely in the seat, and the bar can be removed when they're ready to be a bit more independent.

All-in-all, this tricycle is the ideal option for children eager to get started and it's one that will grow with them too.

Key features

  • Three-point safety harness
  • Removable waist bar
  • Adjustable footrest and seat
  • Storage bucket for all the things toddlers love to collect
  • Sun hood
  • Can be used in four different stages: parent steers and waist bar down (nine months); parent steers and waist bar removed (12 months); footrest up and child learns how to pedal (18 months); parent push bar removed and child pedals and steers (30 months)

At a glance

  • Age: 9 months+
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: £50
Buy now from Argos

2. smarTrike 7J Folding Baby Tricycle

“We bought DD1 a smarTrike for her first birthday and she loves it! The parent handle is great and doesn't stop her wanting to pedal it herself – it just means I can guide her.”

2. smarTrike 7J Folding Baby Tricycle

If you're after a trike that functions as a lightweight buggy, then smarTrike's Folding Baby Tricycle may be right up your street.

One of the great things about this trike is that it can be used in eight different ways, converting seamlessly from a baby trike into a tricycle for a one- then two-year-old.

Boasting a high-back swivel seat, a frame that folds down neatly for travel and storage, and an advanced back-wheel braking system, this trike will go down very well with parents and children alike, especially those usually reluctant to sit in a pushchair.

Key features

  • 180-degree swivel seat
  • Has eight different modes
  • Compact fold
  • Enhanced parent steering and control
  • Detachable and adjustable sun canopy with UV protection
  • Quick-release and detachable pedals

At a glance

  • Age: 6 months to 3 years
  • Warranty: 2 years
  • Price: £160
Buy now from Amazon

3. Bentley 6-in-1 Stroller Trike

3. Bentley 6-in-1 Stroller Trike

Whenever Bentley is concerned, you know it won't come cheap. But if your budget will stretch and you want a luxury tricycle that'll last for years, then the 6-in-1 Stroller Trike is worth considering.

Its design is nothing short of striking (we'd expect nothing less from Bentley) and the trike can be used by children from 10 months all the way up to three years – and possibly even beyond depending on the child.

With six modes that see children through the developmental stages of cycling, it also features a height-adjustable and removable handle for parents, a reclinable swivel seat that offers rear- and forward-facing travel, a footrest, a safety harness and an extra-large sun canopy for those sunnier days.

Key features

  • Height-adjustable parent push handle
  • 180-degree swivel seat
  • Two recline positions
  • Remove early-stage footrests
  • Folding basic footrests
  • Safety guard
  • Five-point harness with shoulder pads
  • Adjustable waterproof sun canopy with UPF 50 protection
  • Storage basket
  • Can be used in six stages: parents have complete control (10 months); early-stage footrests removed (18 months); parent handle, safety guard and footrests removed (two years – stages three and four); back support, safety harness and basket are removed (three years – stages five and six)

At a glance

  • Age: 10 months+
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: £229.99
Buy now from Smyths Toys

4. Scuttlebug

“Scuttlebugs are brilliant. They fold up really easily and are bright and colourful. We always have people ask about ours.”

4. Scuttlebug

When it comes to trikes, the Scuttlebug is a firm favourite for toddlers learning to balance and steer.

With four designs to choose from – the Butterfly, Beetle, Bumblebee and Grasshopper – the Scuttlebug is a fun, easy-to-manoeuvre ride-on for one-year-olds who are keen to get moving.

We like the fact that it can be used both indoors and out, making it an ideal choice for parents in need of a budget-friendly all-rounder to keep kids busy during playtime.

Key features

  • Scratch-free wheels
  • Three-click folding system for easy storage
  • Front wheel steering
  • Bug design
  • Doesn't need assembling

At a glance

  • Age: 12 months to 3 years
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: From £19.99
Buy now from Amazon

5. Galt Toys Tiny Trike

“The Galt Trike always appealed to me as a lovely ride-on and I would still consider buying one for my next DC!”

5. Galt Toys Tiny Trike

Looking for something more traditional? Galt Toys' Tiny Trike is the ideal ride-on for children aged one or over.

Built from hardwood for maximum durability, this wooden trike also boasts a safety steering lock as well as dual front wheels that aid stability.

It also sits at the lower end of the price range, which means it's an affordable option for most families looking for their very first tricycle.

Key features

  • Hardwood frame
  • Safety steering lock
  • Dual front wheels
  • Easy assembly

At a glance

  • Age: 12 months+
  • Warranty: Not stated
  • Price: £40
Buy now from Amazon

6. Radio Flyer Deluxe Steer and Stroll

“Radio Flyer do some nice-quality trikes.”

6. Radio Flyer Deluxe Steer and Stroll

Radio Flyer are a household name when it comes to trikes and their Steer and Stroll is a real toddler-pleaser.

Suitable from age two onwards, this trike features a steering handle for parents, which can be removed whenever the rider wants to pedal off by themselves.

We especially like the covered storage bin for those all-important toddler essentials and the trike's small bell – ideal for children who are particularly enthusiastic.

Key features

  • Removable steering handle
  • Adjustable seat
  • Covered storage bin
  • Bell
  • Pedals can also be used as a footrest

At a glance

  • Age: 2 to 5 years
  • Warranty: 1 year if not registered and 2 years if registered
  • Price: £128
Buy now from Amazon

7. Chad Valley My First Trike

7. Chad Valley My First Trike

If colour's what you're after then you can't go far wrong with the Chad Valley My First Trike.

With grippy handles and wide wheels, this trike is great for short trips to the park with toddlers who are just building up confidence – and it won't break the bank if they soon want to trade it in for balance bike.

It also features a safety belt, handy storage bucket and a parent handle for those times when they just want a little push.

Key features

  • Parent handle
  • Safety belt
  • Wide wheels
  • Easy grip handles
  • Storage bucket at the rear

At a glance

  • Age: 2+ years
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: £20
Buy now from Argos

8. Xootz Trike

8. Xootz Trike

For children aged three upwards, we love the Xootz Trike.

Quite possibly the ultimate beginner tricycle, the Xootz has a lightweight frame for easy lifting, grippy EVA tyres and soft handles suited to small hands.

It's a good option for parents too, thanks to its easy-clip assembly which means this trike is ready to ride in a matter of minutes. It's easy to carry and store as well.

Key features

  • Wide, puncture-proof EVA tyres
  • Easy-grip handles
  • Lightweight steel frame (3.98kg)
  • Easy-clip assembly
  • Adjustable seat with an extra-wide rear platform

At a glance

  • Age: 3+ years
  • Warranty: 1 year
  • Price: From £43.99
Buy now from Amazon

What is a trike?

A trike (abbreviation of tricycle) is a three-wheeled pedal bike for children.

Trikes are designed to be easy to pedal, with three wheels to help keep the bike stable as a child starts their cycling journey.

What age is a trike for?

Trikes or ride-ons tend to be used by children aged one and above, but can be used from as early as six months if your child is ready.

A good indication that your child is ready for a trike is if they are learning, or have already learnt, how to walk.

Most children will move on to a balance bike (one with no stabilisers) after starting out on a trike or use a trike all the way up to age four when they can then start learning how to use a kids' bike.

Benefits of trikes

Trikes are particularly useful for children who have started walking. They are a fun and safe way to help kids develop balance and motor skills, and are great for both coordination and muscle strength.

Most trikes will also teach pedalling, with some even converting from a pedal bike to a one that can be pushed by a parent when little legs get tired.

As such, parents can find them to be handy alternatives to lightweight buggies for short trips outdoors and a good stepping stone for eventually teaching their children how to cycle on two wheels.

Trikes also support independence, allowing children to build up speed and confidence while keeping active. According to the NHS, toddlers should be active for at least 180 minutes (three hours) a day.

Balance bikes vs. tricycles

Many Mumsnet users say they favour balance bikes over tricycles, citing the transition to pedalling as being much easier (and often shorter) thanks to the absence of training wheels right from the get-go.

However, while balance bikes teach kids how to balance, trikes help them to master pedalling without ever having to worry about balance, and are a great option for use indoors as well as out.

How do I choose a tricycle?

When choosing the right trike for you and your child, be sure to think about the following:

  1. Assembly – consider opting for a trike that requires little to no assembly so your child can get riding straight away.
  2. Frame – the heavier the frame, the harder the trike will be for your child to lift and, of course, for you to carry. Lightweight is key!
  3. Tyres – a grippy set of wheels and puncture-proof tyres are best suited to rough terrain, so if you plan to use the trike on the grass in your local park, then opt for a trike with large wheels.
  4. Size – find a trike perfectly suited to your child's age and development.
  5. Seat – an adjustable and comfy seat will mean that the trike grows with your child.
  6. Usage – consider a folding tricycle if you don't have much storage space or need to transport it regularly. A trike with a parent push handle will allow you to control the trike if you need to. A wooden trike is the best type of trike to use indoors or on a smooth surface. 
  7. Material – look for a trike made of sturdy materials (metal may be more serviceable for you than plastic).
  8. Safety – keep an eye out for additional safety features, including a safety harness, sun hood and steering lock, and make sure that your chosen trike meets European safety standards.

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