best bike for 4 year old must be light but also sturdy and easy to control

Best Bike For 4 Year Olds

Purchasing the best bike for a 4 year old is a major decision. In terms of committing to spending potentially quite a bit of money. So how do you ensure that you pick the best bike? A bike that will inspire confidence, grow with them and be sturdy enough to survive the bumps and scrapes as your child learns? 

Here at Inspired Cyclist, we have created this review, so you can see our top picks of the best bikes for 4 year olds. 

Best First Bike for Your 4 Year Old - Our Pick

Black Mountain Pinto 

Black Mountain Pinto
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Take a deep breath, because this bike’s pricing may take your breath away! At over £300, it is a pricey bike. However, when you look at what it can offer, you may change your mind. 

The Pinto offers a bike that grows with your child. Mode 1 is a small balance bike, so no pedal trauma. Mode 2 involves attaching pedals and an oil-free belt drive, so the Pinto becomes a small two-wheeler. Finally mode 3 involves adjusting the frame, so it becomes up to 20% larger than the original size frame. 

Clever stuff and ultimately will provide your child with a scenario where they are building confidence bit by bit and when they are ready, their bike moves to the next stage with them. For you - okay it’s a dent in your pocket at first, but you won’t need to buy a separate balance bike, and the bike will last your child longer! 

Specs

  • Age of use: Around 2.5 to 5 years old
  • Height Range: Around 90cm to 109cm
  • Weight: 5.7kg (12.5lbs)
  • Frame: Black Mountain EPOK
  • Dimensions: 106 x 47 x 62 cm
  • Fork: Black Mountain 6061 T6 Aluminium
  • Adjustable seat post, frame and seat rail position
  • Rims Black Mountain 14”
  • Rear sprocket Black Mountain IN:GEAR 30/25
  • Brakes: Tektro V-brake, micro-adjust lever
  • Tyres: Kenda Small Block 8
  • Belt driven: CDRIVE
  • Colour: Neon Green, Sky Blue, Orange, Purple
  • Price: From £349.00

What We Like

  • Extremely light for small bodies learning to balance
  • Can be used as a balance bike without the pedals fitted first.
  • Frame, handlebars and seat adjust as child grows. 
  • Smooth, even ride - can handle rough surfaces, tight corners and kerbs easily 
  • Every detail of this bike oozes excellent quality - very durable. 
  • Unisex - can be handed down
  • 90% pre-assembled. Easy to assemble
  • Belt driven which means the bike is easy to drive for little legs and of course, no oil stains. 

What We Don’t Like 

  • It is way more expensive than most first bikes.
  • You may have to pre-order and wait longer than other bikes. 

Our Verdict

We are in no doubt that this is the best bike for a four year old, or any young child wanting to learn how to ride a bike. Regardless of height, children develop their love of cycling for life with this little bike as their first early memory.

Also Great - Early Rider Belter 16"

Also Great
EARLY RIDER Belter

Super light so easy for little ones to handle. No messy oil stains - this cute little bike is driven by a plastic belt.

Can be used as a balance bike without pedals.

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If you loved the idea of the Pinto, also great is the Early Rider Belter. The Early Rider Belter offers the ultimate flexibility, as you can use the bike initially without pedals, to get your child used to balancing properly first. From fabulously chunky, stable tyres, to a super-light aluminium, this bike will build your child’s confidence to take risks immediately. 

It certainly isn’t one of the cheapest bikes for 4 year olds but the quality confidence-inspiring experiences is well worth the money in our opinion. 

Specs

  • Age of use: from 3.5 - 6 years old  
  • Weight: 5.9kg 
  • Dimensions: 106 x 47 x 62 cm
  • Fork: Handbrushed AL6061 
  • Wheels: 16 inch aluminium (double walled AL6061)
  • Adjustable seat post and seat rail position
  • Brakes: Linear pull 
  • Seat adjusts from 47.5 cm up 
  • Height adjustable handlebars (18mm)
  • Belt driven
  • Colour: Silver

What We Like

  • Extremely light for small bodies learning to balance
  • Smooth, even ride - can handle rough surfaces, tight corners and kerbs easily 
  • Every detail of this bike oozes excellent quality - very durable. 
  • Unisex - can be handed down
  • Easy to assemble
  • Can be used as a balance bike without the pedals fitted first.
  • Belt driven so no oil stains. 

What We Don’t Like 

  • It is more expensive than most first bikes. 
  • Pedals can scratch small legs, so get your child to wear long trousers when first using the bike. 

Our Verdict

A gorgeous looking little bike that delivers on style as much as benefiting your child’s learning and confidence. Backed up by fabulous engineering. Your child will be a daring rider very quickly using this bike, although your pocket might hurt for a bit. It will be worth it! 

Royal Baby Space-no1 freestyle bike 

Great all-rounder
Royal Baby Space-no1 Freestyle Bike

A gorgeous, chunky all-rounder. Comes with stabilisers, water bottle and holder.

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Royalbaby Space-no1 offers a chunky all-rounder, that will take a beating and come through the other side. It certainly is a lot heavier than other alternatives but this can be a plus point if your child is on the taller side as they will quickly learn the way the bike moves.  

It comes supplied with stabilisers if you need to use them. Check out this article on the benefits of using a balance bike for confidence, rather than training wheels. 

Specs

  • Age of use: 14 inch frame - 4-6 years 
  • Weight: 9kg
  • Frame; chrome alloy steel
  • Adjustable seat post and seat rail position
  • Brakes: Caliper
  • Bottle, bell and enclosed chain.
  • Padded, adjustable seat.  
  • Colour: Black, orange or red.

What We Like

  • Sturdy, wide tyres. 
  • Comes with durable, removable stabilisers 
  • Unisex - can be handed down
  • Easy to assemble
  • Enclosed chain to prevent trapped fingers.

What We Don’t Like 

  • Pedals may need adjusting as they can come over-tightened. 
  • The bike is on the heavy side, so some children may struggle to maneovre the bike. 

Our Verdict

A solid bike that will last the test of time and many bumps and scrapes. Could be too heavy for children who are a slight build.

Perfect for smaller four year olds

Perfect for Smaller 4 Year Olds
Puky ZL 18

Mid price range step-through cruiser style allows for smaller legs to mount the bike without any falls or scrapes. The seat can also be postioned lower for 4 year olds of a smaller build.

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Puky offers a cute cruiser, with a step-through frame perfect for shorter legs. If you are looking for a light bike, this is the one. Its chunky appearance is deceptive as it is so light, your child will find it easy to remount the bike and stop and start riding seamlessly.  

Specs

  • Age of use: 4 years  +  
  • 18 inch frame
  • Weight: 9.9kg
  • Dimensions: 106 x 47 x 62 cm
  • Frame:aluminium 
  • Wheels: 
  • Easy step through for small legs. 
  • Brakes: Caliper
  • Front and rear reflectors. 
  • Mudguards to prevent muddy clothes. 
  • Cute pannier
  • Padded, adjustable seat.  
  • Child-friendly handlebars. 
  • Colour: Blue or green

What We Like

  • Sturdy, solid but lighter than some children’s bikes of the same size. 
  • Oozes good quality - all aspects are very well made. 
  • Excellent quality brakes particularly. 
  • Easy to assemble
  • Mudguards  - these are brilliant especially in rainy UK. 


What We Don’t Like 

  • The price is high, but we feel that you get excellent workmanship in return. 
  • The bike is on the heavy side, so some children may struggle to maneovre the bike. 

Our Verdict

Another solid bike that will last the test of time and many bumps and scrapes. Superb for children who love to get out in the rain and mud on their bike - handy mudguards limit the amount of mud spatter. 

Could be too heavy for children who are a slight build. 

Best Budget Bike For Taller 4 Year Olds 

Great for taller kids
NDcent Flier BMX Bike

Great first BMX but adapted dimensions to accommodate small children who are learning. That said, this bike would suit the taller four year old. Available in read and pink. Cross bar mount.

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NDcent Flier BMX Bike

The NDcent Flier brings a touch of BMX class to the party. It is surprisingly well made for its price ticket. Its chunky tyres and heavier steering give a predictable ride for your four year old, who will soon be whizzing around confidently. We would say this bike is best for taller than average 4 year olds. It offers great seat adjustment, for when they grow further, so you can be sure you will get value for money over time. 

Specs

  • Age of use: 4 years + 
  • Inside leg 18-22 inches.  
  • 10.5 inch frame
  • Weight: 9.9kg
  • Dimensions: 98 x 48 x 18 cm
  • Frame:steel
  • Wheels: 16 inch 
  • Tyres; Kenda
  • Brakes: V type
  • Partial chain guard. 
  • Soft padded seat
  • Colour: Black and red, or pink and blue

What We Like

  • Sturdy, solid but lighter than some children’s bikes of the same size. 
  • Can be fitted with universal stabilisers 
  • Brakes can be adjusted easily to suit different grip capabilities. 
  • Excellent quality brakes particularly. 
  • Easy to assemble - minimal assembly necessary. 
  • Mudguards  - these are brilliant especially in rainy UK. 

What We Don’t Like 

  • Pedals can be fiddly to assemble and fit tight enough. 

Our Verdict

Packed full of practical, sturdy style, this bike is perfect to build the confidence of taller children. It is the ultimate in easy to adjust for your child’s needs, from the brake softness, to the seat height and position. Just what your child needs to experience from their first BMX. 

BIKESTAR® Premium Safety Sport Kids Bike 

BIKESTAR Sport Kids Bike with sidestand
$153.99

Easy to mount and dismount with step-through frame.

Comfortable child-friendly, sprung saddle.

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09/03/2021 06:14 pm GMT

Bikestar have excelled themselves with this beautifully crafted cruiser. They have thought of everything from your child’s point of view. The resulting bike is one that will give many positive, fun experiences and memories of learning to ride a 2 wheeler. Easy, independent mounting of the bike is possible due to the low step through frame. Your child will be comfortable as they progress to more daring riding, on the sprung ergonomic saddle - no matter the surface, the chunky tyres will give an even predictable ride for your child, as they learn how to cycle.  

BIKESTAR Crossbar Version
$144.99


Crossbar design version of the Bikestar


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09/03/2021 05:20 pm GMT

Specs

  • Age of use: 4 years + 
  • Saddle height: 50-62 cm
  • Minimum inside leg: 48cm 
  •  Handlebar height: 64-67 cm
  • Low step-through frame
  • 10.5 inch frame
  • Weight: 10kg
  • Dimensions:117 x 66 x 78 cm
  • Frame:steel
  • Tyres:40.6cm (16 Zoll)
  • Brakes: V type
  • Partial chain guard. 
  • Soft padded, sprung saddle
  • Comes with a stand. 
  • Colour: Violet, Mint, Lilac and White, Multicolours

What We Like

  • Step through cruiser frame allows children to mount the bike easily. 
  • Brake is easy for a small child to squeeze. 
  • The bike can be back pedalled to enable the child to slow down. 
  • Excellent quality bottom bracket ensures your child has a smooth ride when pedalling 
  • Mudguards  - these are brilliant especially in rainy UK. 
  • Reflectors - front, rear, on pedals and between spokes. 

What We Don’t Like 

  • The bell and basket are flimsy and won’t last long.


Our Verdict

We love this little cruiser! It really does have all the bells and whistles to ensure your child gets the best start to their bike riding experience on two wheels. Best of all it runs smoothly, no matter what surface your child finds themselves riding on. The back pedals come in useful also for teaching the child how to position the pedals for push-off. Backpedaling allows them to experiment! 

Schwinn Boys Scorch Kids Bike, Yellow/Black, 16" (Age 4+)

BMXs always have a place in our hearts. This number looks in every detail like a BMX but its subtle upright riding position, slim pedal arrangement and specially shaped seat, are modelled with your young child in mind. Your child will stay oil-free thanks to the full chain guard.

Schwinn Boys Scorch Kids Bike
  • 16" Frame
  • Adapted lowered crossbar for helping little legs get on their bike successfully.
  • Padding on handlebars and crossbar for added protection.
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Specs

  • Age of use: 4 years + 
  • Stand over height: 17.5"
  • 10.5 inch frame
  • Weight: 11kg
  • Frame:steel
  • Wheels: 16 inch 
  • Brakes: mechanical rim
  • Safety reflectors & bell
  • Chain guard & handlebar pad
  • Padded seat specifically designed for small children.
  • Crossbar and handlebar pads. 
  • Kickstand included 
  • Colour: Black and yellow.

What We Like

  • Small diameter handlebars to allow your child to grip easily. 
  • Upright riding position to help your child master the basics. 
  • Narrow pedal width, matched perfectly for slimmer hips and eliminate wobbling.  
  • Chunky tyres makes the bike more predictable and balanced to ride. 
  • Bike has a lot of adjustment in both the seat and handlebars, so should last your child a while.  
  • Comes with a lifetime guarantee. 

What We Don’t Like 

  • The assembly tools are not the best quality. 

Our Verdict

Overall, this bike scores highly. From its sturdy little frame, to the consideration the makers have given to making a bike fit small children, it really constitutes a safe ride. Schwinn passionately believe that making bikes for children is not just about scaling down an adult bike. In our opinion, they have achieved this massively and have provided children with a safe, sturdy bike that they can take risks on as they learn to ride. 

Benefits of Choosing the Best First Bike for a Four Year Old

the best bikes for 4 year old girls are lightweight but sturdy and have step-through frames.

Learning to ride a pedal bike is a complex learning journey for a four year old. The benefits of choosing a great first bike include: 

  • a confident child, who learns to ride quickly and can assess risks effectively. If your child has a bike they feel confident on from the start, they are more likely to learn how to ride more quickly. Being able to assess small risks when riding, will help with other parts of their life that they have to assess risk. It's a great way of introducing safe ways of behaving near roads and increasing your child's self-awareness.  
  • a child who's motor skills are developing in line with their development stage. Bike develops balance, co-ordination and both fine and gross motor skills. If these are well-developed or at the correct age level, your child has more chance of doing well at school. For example - learning how to write is easier if hand motor skills are already developing from squeezing  handlebars and brake levers.
  • a child who develops a long term love of cycling. If your child has a great experience of sport early in their life, they are far more likely to carry on loving sport, as they become adults. In terms of health, this can only be a great thing. In the long term, cycling will keep your child fit and active as they grow. 

Things to Look For In a Good First Bike

An upright riding position

Being upright will help your child balance better, as it is the closest position to standing. Also it will help them feel that they can put their feet down whenever they feel they need to. 

Step-through frame

A frame without a crossbar lets your child mount their first bike without trying to swing their leg over a higher crossbar. If your child is nervous or has a smaller inside leg, they will find it more comfortable to step through. A step-through frame is also very similar to most balance bikes. It will let them put their feet down. 

best bike for 4 year olds are lightweight but sturdy

Short Cranks (Pedals)

Ensure that your child's first bike has pedal cranks measuring between 90-100mm. Some bikes aren't scaled down correctly for children and have overly long pedals, which lead to unnecessary crashes. 

In Seam Length

Good manufacturers will always disclose this as you need to make sure the bike fits your child's inseam. 

Rascal rides explains how to do this below: 

  1. To measure your child’s inseam, grab a tape measure, a book, and a kiddo. Ask them to stand against a wall, either barefoot or with socks. 
  2. Have them hold a book between their legs, as close to their crotch as possible, and mark the wall at the top of the book. Then, use a tape measure from the floor to the mark. Easy!
  3. When it’s time to go bike shopping, have that info on hand. Choose a bike that is within the low end of the recommended inseam range so that your kiddo has a bit of room to grow.

Whatever you do, don’t buy a bike that’s a size up. Riding a bike that is too big is both frustrating and dangerous.

Source: rascalrides.com

Sturdiness versus Weight

The best bike for a 4 year old boy or girl needs to be tough enough to be thrown down, and survive plenty of bumps and scrapes. However, a bike can still be sturdy and light. 

Your four year old needs to be able to move the bike around independently, so check bike weight before you buy. Lighter frames to look for include aluminium frames, but they can carry a higher price tag. 

Child-friendly Brakes

One of the most frustrating things for your little one will be not being able to squeeze the brake levers to stop. It could lead to scuffed and damaged shoes, as they resort to other ways of stopping. 

Brakes on a bicycle for a 4 year old should have child-friendly levers that are easy to squeeze. They also should be adjustable. 

Other Considerations When Choosing a Bike for a Four Year Old.

Can your child pedal yet?

 We recommend using a balance bike first to develop balance. Most children progress very quickly to a pedal bike from a balance bike. 

Read more about balance bikes and the benefits here.

8 Best Balance Bikes 2020

 Below is one of our recommended balance bikes, but again Black Mountain's Pinto is amazing too.

Our Pick
Strider - 12 Sport

This sturdy little number will see your child through from 6 months to when you pick their first push bike for them.

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Should a 4 year old be able to ride a bike?

All children are different, so it really depends on your child, not just their age. When looking for a bike, think about your child's level of confidence, height, and motor skills. 

Would they benefit from learning how to balance first? A balance bike would be the best idea here. 

Are they already zooming around on a balance bike? Now they are ready to progress to a 2 wheeler. 

Are balance bikes better than training wheels?

In our opinion yes. 

Your child will make the transition from a balance bike to a push bike very quickly and will not need trainer wheels.  Within 5 to 10 minutes of giving them the push bike, they're usually pedalling around without much instruction.

This is because balance is the most crucial thing to learn when riding a bike. Trainer wheels don't teach balance. 

In Conclusion

The benefits of buying the best bike for your 4 year old are many. From building motor co-ordination, balance, confidence and awareness to inspiring them with a love of exercise and cycling. 

When you come to decide which bike to buy for your 4 year old, measuring your child is the most important thing to do.

Other considerations are the weight and sturdiness of the bike as opposed to how strong your child is, or what build they are. How tall is your child and do you mind buying a larger bike when they grow? 

Finally do you want them to experience a balance bike first or trainer wheels? 

Remember that for them confidence will help them succeed.

In our opinion, the Black Mountain Pinto or the Early Rider Belter deliver all the things you need for your child to succeed. They will be with your child throughout their balance bike stage, but then convert into high-quality pedal bikes, when your child is ready to transition. 

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