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Big bike for a 3 year old

62 replies

Chefwifelife · 28/04/2020 06:36

Our son is 3 at the end of July and an absolute whizz on his balance bike. Looking for recommendations for his next bike. Do you just skip stabilisers if they’re mastered a balance bike? He’s on 25th percentile height wise.

Many thanks in advance

OP posts:
Nix32 · 28/04/2020 06:39

Yes, skip stabilisers. Have look at for quality bikes.

Chefwifelife · 28/04/2020 06:41

@Nix32 thank you 😊

OP posts:
homeschoolchaos · 28/04/2020 07:05

Go for an islabike, second hand if you can find one. Both of ours started cycling at 3, straight from a balance bike, and my 5yo can happily cycle 8-10 miles in one go now. You’ll probably need a cnoc 14 for a 3yo but have a look at the website and see if you can work out (based on his height) whether it’s a 14S or a 14L. We’ve bought all our islabikes second hand and sold for similar prices to what we paid. Best to do it this way because they are quite expensive and you might need to go up a size every 6-9 months initially (my almost 4yo is now on a cnoc 16). If you can’t buy second hand because of coronavirus and can afford new, you should still get >60% of the purchase price back when you sell.

homeschoolchaos · 28/04/2020 07:06
WoeIsMee · 28/04/2020 07:09

Definitely skip stabilisers and get an islabikes cnoc14 small. Mine were riding theirs at 2 and 3, they wouldn’t have coped on a cheap heavy bike, they sit them totally differently.

Remember when you’re getting them going, hold the child NOT the bike - a scarf round their front and under the arms, held at the back by a parent running alongside works best.

Good luck!

Pickles89 · 28/04/2020 07:12

a scarf round their front and under the arms, held at the back by a parent running alongside works best.

That's a good idea, I wouldn't have thought of that!

What's so special about that (eye wateringly expensive) bike?

BikeRunSki · 28/04/2020 07:18

Agree with all of the above! With children bikes, second have quality is far, far better than low quality, new. Islabike are the market leaders, Frog not quite so much, but about 1/4-1/3 cheaper, and can be leased through The Bike Club link Nix32 posted above. There are FB pages for people looking to buy/sell preloved Islabikes and Preloved Frog bikes. DS started on an Islamic Cnoc 14 at 3 and a half, but DD was off on her own younger and we managed to get her a second hand Cnoc 12.

Definitely don’t use stabilisers!

P0lka · 28/04/2020 07:21

Isla cnoc or frog 48. Yes, they are expensive, but often available secondhand.

Why is it worth paying the money? They are far lighter and more easier to steer for a child. A child will get more enjoyment, and be able to deal with almost any terrain on this, compared with a cheap 'bike shaped object' from a supermarket or toy store.

As an alternative to tying a scarf around the child, consider a backpack (the type that fasten over the child's chest) with a top handle, you can hold the handle, no chance of dropping it in the chain/wheels

HenTeeth · 28/04/2020 07:23

My dd had a 14 inch bike when she was three and then a 16 inch one when she was five. I think some dc struggle as the bikes are too big or small.

CheriLittlebottom · 28/04/2020 07:36

Frog and Isla bikes are the best on the market but I would recommend a Wild bike. They are made by go outdoors and they are brilliant. They are very almost as good as frog and Isla bikes in terms of weight and components, and so much cheaper.

Lifesabeach86 · 28/04/2020 07:39

Ours went straight from a balance bike to riding with no stabilisers just before his 3rd birthday. I'd definitely recommend a frog bike, they are quite pricey but many places sell them second hand.

BikeRunSki · 28/04/2020 07:40

What's so special about that (eye wateringly expensive) bike?

I worked with my cycling club kids section for several years, and I’ve seen hundreds of kids learn to ride, and compete, on all sorts of bikes, but here are my thoughts and experiences on Islabikes. My own dc have had a mix of Isla and Frog. I hace seen a lot of kids learn to “hate” cycling by learning to ride on a cheap/old/heavy/too large/too small/badly maintained/badly designed bike , either new or out of a neighbour’s shed type of thing.

Isla Rowntree was British/World champion in a number of cycling disciplines and started Islabikes with the purpose of designing and manufacturing bikes designed for children, rather than “shrink and pink” versions of adult bikes. She knows from experience what makes a good bike, it’s her livelihood!
1 - they are very light for their size. 1 kg here and there makes a huge difference when the rider’s weight is only 20kg!
2 - the proportions are designed to fit those of children. Isla have used a massive body of research on children’s height, back/leg proportions at different ages to design their frame geometry.
3 - scaled down components for each size, rather than shoehorning on cracks and brake levers that are too big.
4 - Bigger wheels for their frame size = more distance for the pedal effort, faster riding.
5 - High quality engineering and build. Everything is strong, runs smoothly and can be repaired as it wears out. Proper bearings and air tyres (not a given on all small bikes).
6- can take a huge amount of bashing without the wheels buckling or France cracking (I’ve seen both on Halfords type kids bikes).
7- where gears come in, they are ratio’ed for little legs and wheels, appropriate to each size.

Frog don’t do 4, and are not quite as good as Isla on all the other points.

Both brands hold their value very well, although The Bike Club has affected the resale value of Frogs a bit.

BikeRunSki · 28/04/2020 07:44

I would recommend a Wild bike

They may be light, but they are not as strong as Isla and Frog. I know of 2 Wild Bikes where the frame has split along a weald (2?seperate occassions). GO customer service were not interested, and said the bikes had been used inappropriately.

TwistyHair · 28/04/2020 07:46

We went straight to pedals. One trick is to hold them under their armpits while they’re learning to pedal as it’s easier on your back then trying to hold the saddle. We got a Wild bike which are supposed to be similar to Frog and Isla. However they’re still pretty expensive for a kid’s bike. If you don’t want to spend that much then go into Halfords or Evans and see which is the lightest bike. Heavy bikes are horrible to ride

TwistyHair · 28/04/2020 07:47

@BikeRunSki we’ve not had any problems with ours but I’ll keep an eye out for that.

INeedNewShoes · 28/04/2020 07:49

Make sure you measure the inside leg.

DD is nearly 3, 50th percentile but her inside leg is only 35cm which puts a lot of the options out of the window.

The cnoc would have to be the newer small version and the smallest Frog gives a minimum inside leg of 40cm.

Pollyputthepizzaon · 28/04/2020 07:49

Yep isla bike or Frog if your budget is slightly smaller.

The little cnoc 16 small size will be perfect. You can unscrew the pedals to make it a balance bike and then put the pedals back on and he'll be away

All 3 of my children were riding it with no stabilisers at 3.5 years old. We went straight from balance bike to isla bike with pedals

Vincent05 · 28/04/2020 07:52

Get a secondhand Isla bike. My DD went straight onto an Isla bike on her third birthday and just rode it!!!! Having ridden a balance bike. Everything is in the right place for them, they are light and can use the brakes. We had other old bikes in the shed she couldn’t ride those.

reefedsail · 28/04/2020 07:52

Agree with all of the above that it's worth investing in an Islabike. They are easy to re-sell.

IkaBaar · 28/04/2020 07:55

Have a look at the Cyclesprog website. They have a good article on why the expensive bikes are so much better. They also review all the good kids bikes and hire vs buy. So you don’t have to do the research yourself.

We have Islabikes, so good to have at the moment!

Chefwifelife · 28/04/2020 08:01

Morning all. Wow what a massive response; I wasn’t expecting so many replies and such good advice. It’s really nice to have advice from someone like @BikeRunSki with professional experience and then parents that have been there and done that.

Silly question but how long would you wait to buy it so you’re more spot on height wise? He’s 3 on 21st July.

OP posts:
KittenVsBox · 28/04/2020 08:03

+1 for the second hand Frog or Isla, and no stabilizers.
As a petite 3yr old, you need to be careful it is small enough, and light enough.
I looked at a halfords bike for petite DS aged 4. The bike was going to weigh as much as him. No way I'd contemplate peddling a 70kg bike!!!

KittenVsBox · 28/04/2020 08:05

Sorry, just seen your reply. If you are going second hand, start looking now. It might take a while. From a shop, early July. I dont think you will be looking for anything other than the smallest pedal bike tho..

Chefwifelife · 28/04/2020 08:10

I’ve just checked his height chart and he’s currently 90cm tall bless him. His balance bike was less than £25 from Halfords with NHS discount and was the only one size wise that would fit him. He’s had that for about 18 months after he was gaining air on his scuttle bug!

OP posts:
BikeRunSki · 28/04/2020 08:11

Hi @Chefwifelife - Islabikes are pretty adjustable in size, and should last a growing a couple of years. Their online size guide is pretty spot in though, and I would really buy a bike until my child was within 2-3 cm of the recommended inside leg. You really don’t want to put your child off by putting them on a top big bike. You can drop the saddle lower than you can initially by removing the reflector.

If you are near Shrewsbury, or could manage a weekend away, you can go to the Isla HQ and try our bikes for size. They usually go “on tour” to cycling events with a full range of bikes for people to try, but obvs, this ring be happening anytime soon. I don’t know if they are open at the moment, but give them a ring - they are really helpful. It seems they only employ cycling enthusiasts! Or at least
Cycle enthusiasm is mandatory induction training !

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