I'm a father of five who works from home with my wife. We review products, run boutiques, and take care of our crazy kids together!
If you have a toddler or young child, a tricycle is a great way for you to encourage physical activity. Too many children in our society are learning inactivity by watching television and playing on smart devices.
I have a three-year-old that loves playing with her tricycle all the time. Our yard is not big enough for a lot of outdoor play equipment, and we don't have a park nearby, so the tricycle gives her the opportunity to ride around with the big kids and get some fresh air and sunshine, as well as exercise. Here are five picks from various price points that are sturdy, safe, and a lot of fun!
The 5 Best Budget Toddler Tricycles
- Stroll Trike from Radio Flyer
- Radio Flyer Classic Tiny Trike
- Schwinn Roadster 12”
- Pink Dual Deck Tricycle
- Fisher-Price Tough Trike
1. Stroll Trike From Radio Flyer
Price: $70-$100 (depending on style)
If you've got a young toddler who you're buying for, I recommend you invest in this 4-in-1 Stroll Trike from Radio Flyer. As a parent, my garage quickly fills up with various wiggle cars, trikes, bikes, and more. So, rather than buying four different options, use these four designs while your toddler grows from 9-18 months to 3-5 years.
From nine months to three years, you'll use the push bar design. When they're old enough to ride on their own, you can simply remove it. To help children learn to balance, this tricycle comes with handles that you can use to push from behind while your child learns how to pedal. It also features a backrest with safety straps and a canopy to help shade your child.
The tray around the seat helps kids feel more secure and can be removed if not wanted. As they learn, the seat can also be adapted for a more independent rider. The 4-in-1 trike is a great investment as a first-time purchase. For children older than two, you'll have to decide whether it's worth it or not. For a child who is three or older, I'd definitely recommend a more standard model.
2. Radio Flyer Classic Tiny Trike
For young kids or toddlers, ages one to three years old, the Radio Flyer Classic Tiny Trike will get them used to the idea of sitting on a tricycle. It gives them the chance to get the feel of it without worrying about pedals. There is a place in the front for them to rest their feet, but this is a push-along type of tricycle.
I like that it is made of solid wood, yet it features chrome handlebars for more durability. This is a much simpler design than the 4-in-1 Radio Flyer we discussed, but it is cheaper and can even be used indoors.
3. Schwinn Roadster 12”
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If you’re interested in a low riding tricycle, consider the Schwinn Roadster 12” Tricycle. Since the seat sits so low, you have a very stable center of gravity to help avoid tipping. It also comes with a bell. The backrest on the seat seems to keep a more upright seating position rather than a laid-back one, which is not so good for posture.
Additional features include a low center of gravity for safety, chrome handlebars, steel construction, a real wood deck, and a burned-in logo from Schwinn.
4. Pink Dual Deck Tricycle
Don't want to spend a fortune? Here are a few trikes under $50 that still offer great features and quality. We have some top-of-the-line trikes in our household. But, when some girls come over, they skip past all of that to anything that is pink. For those girls, I recommend this inexpensive but kid-friendly Dual Deck pink tricycle from Radio Flyer.
It comes in a vintage design with chrome handlebars, a bell, and two steps in the back. Though the seat sits high, the tricycle is very sturdy. It comes with a ringing chrome bell and has a controlled turning radius for additional safety.
If you're looking for a red version of your bike, it's around the same price (just under $50). It's another great option for those who are looking for quality on a small budget.
5. Fisher-Price Tough Trike
Okay, so let’s say you want something inexpensive that won’t put you out a lot of cash if it takes a beating and suffers for it. This Fisher-Price Tough Trike is very affordable and is the most common tricycle I see in my neighborhood. Kids love the storage compartment under the seat.
Every kid is different. For this trike, you can pick between a rough and tough Harley or Kawasaki design or Dora the Explorer and Thomas the Train. All of them have the same specs.
Keep in mind that this tricycle is made of plastic, as are the wheels. I have often found that these types of trikes can struggle with traction on some surfaces, or if a child tries to pedal too fast. The manufacturer states that this can be for children 24 months to 6 years. However, most parents agree that because of the size, the Fisher-Price Tough Trike is best for a three to five-year-old.
My Final Recommendation!
Overall, all of these trikes offer great value at their price points. The Schwinn models are some of the most durable I've come across. Radio Flyer gives you great quality with a classic look. Fischer Price also makes a budget alternative with fun designs and storage.
More Great Tricycles for Toddlers
As a youngster’s first tricycle, the Joovy Tricycoo is a nice way to introduce a novice to balance and coordination. While the frame is constructed with steel to support children who weigh up to 44 pounds, the plastic tires aren't very durable.
If you’re looking for the basic model of your youth, the SmarTrike Zoom is probably overqualified. It’s designed with a special navigator button that allows you to switch steering control from child to parent and vice versa. Plus, it has a storage basket with a lid.
Before an infant is capable of riding it, you can use the Besrey Glide as a baby walker by simply removing the pedals. Once your child is old enough to ride independently, you can quickly reattach the pedals and let the fun begin.
Qaba Easy Ride
The wheels of the Qaba Easy Ride are built from tough plastic for smooth, quiet riding indoors, with a mudguard positioned over the front tire for rides out in the elements as well. The seat is sturdy and adjustable, so kids will feel secure while they cruise.
Whoever said tricycles are only suitable for small children has evidently never experienced the Razor DXT, which is designed for downhill drifting. With a 20-inch pneumatic front wheel, a welded two-piece frame and a handlebar brake, it’s ideal for extreme sports lovers.
Shopping Tips for Good Tricycles
If you'd like the safest tricycle for your child, choose one that has a very low center of gravity and a recumbent position for kids that may struggle and need more help with balance.
Size is also an issue. If a child's feet can comfortably reach both pedals fully extended, as well as reaching the ground, then it is a good fit. A good tricycle should be easy to get on and off and also does not wobble.
If you find a tricycle with extra features, your child might be more inclined to ride it more frequently. This might include a bell or a horn on the handlebars, as well as a basket or other storage compartment to carry toys.
Trike Buying Guide
What should you look for in a quality trike?
Some of the key features to any tricycle you purchase include the materials it's made with, seat and handle design for comfort, and versatility. Tricycles are not as straightforward in type as you might think.
There are low riders, classic traditional tricycles, those made of metal vs. those made of plastic, and even those that come with more bells and whistles to cater to a beginner on a tricycle.
What type of material is best?
Tricycles come with mostly steel construction or plastic. You can find some that are made with wood materials. Even though steel can have a tendency to rust if left outdoors, I prefer the durability of metal over plastic.
Plastic can also be fairly durable, but over time, as it is exposed to the sun, it can crack and fade. Plus, plastic is much lighter weight. While good for your child in terms of being lightweight and easy to move around, it is subject to tipping and does not drive as well.
Finding the Right Comfort in a Seat
Some tricycles come with a triangular seat, which is pretty basic. Others add a little bit of a backrest, which I think is more comfortable for children overall. There are also versions that come with seats positioned like a regular bicycle would be, and some that sit lower to the ground.
How Long Does a Typical Tricycle Last?
Manufacturers are making tricycles that are easier to adjust for growing children. Regardless, your child will likely be done with their tricycle once they begin to ride a bike. For my kids, this was around five to six years of age.
For durability, trikes vary based on how you treat them. That being said, trikes with hollow plastic wheels typically don't last as long as sturdier options.
Why Should I Buy My Child a Tricycle?
Unfortunately, too many children in our society are learning inactivity and spending too much time on technology. Riding a trike is great exercise and helps with hand-eye coordination. Most children are ready to start riding a trike around age three. Buy a tricycle that is built low to the ground and has big wheels. This type of trike is safer for toddlers because they are less likely to tip over.
When Is It Safe For My Child to Ride a Trike?
In general, children don't have the balance and muscle coordination to ride a two-wheel bicycle until around age seven. However, it's safe for your toddler to start riding a trike as early as age one. Push trikes are better for younger toddlers, but older toddlers can start using a peddle trike to help them practice their coordination. Your toddler can push the bike forward with her feet or you can push them along from behind. Eventually, as your toddler gains confidence, they'll slowly get the hang of how to balance on the trike. When your toddle is around three years old, your toddler may be ready to try pedaling.
History of Tricycles
- The first tricycle was built in 1680 for a German paraplegic named Stephan Farffler, who lived near Nuremberg.
- Two Frenchmen, named Blanchard and Maguier invented a new kind of tricycle in 1789, which prompted the Journal de Paris to coin the words "bicycle" and "tricycle."
- Denis Johnson patented a tricycle in England in 1818.
- On November 18, 1876, James Starley introduced the Coventry Lever Tricycle. This was a side-driven two-track, lever-driven machine, and that started the tricycling craze in Great Britain.
- In 1877, Starley introduced the Coventry Rotary, one of the first rotary chain drive tricycles.
- In 1879 alone, twenty types of tricycles and multi-wheel cycles were produced in Coventry, England.
- By 1884, there were over 120 different models produced by 20 manufacturers. Tricycles.
- From 1881 to 1886 in Great Britain, more tricycles were built than bicycles.
- This was a class phenomenon. Tricycles were more expensive, seen as more genteel, and the upper classes had the disposable income to buy them for the women in the family.
- By the 1990s, this class distinction was no longer true, so many British manufacturers stopped making them.
What Were Tricycles Used for?
A tricycle is a human-powered three-wheeled vehicle. In the United States, tricycles are used primarily by older persons for recreation. In Asia and Africa, tricycles are used primarily for commercial transportation. Some tricycles, including cycle rickshaws and freight trikes, are used for commercial purposes, especially in the developing world.
© 2014 Brandon Hart
Speak Your Mind
stacy on August 13, 2019:
what is the name of the bike in the very first pic with the boy sitting up tall green bike with pedal under seat
Marrio on March 14, 2019:
Tricycle is best option for develop kids motor skill. Choosing a best tricycle for toddlers is important for kids safety and comfort. Thanks for best tricycle for toddlers review. Really helpful guideline to choose best one. https://www.babescare.com/best-tricycle-for-toddle...
Fred on May 25, 2018:
Too many children in our society are learning inactivity by watching television and playing on smart devices. Also, make sure you go to the bathroom otherwise you could poop your pants!