Sturdy construction. A low center of gravity means less chance of tipping over. Carries heavier kids with ease and even has a bicycle bell.
There have been reports of poor attention to finishing details (stickers with bubbles under them, etc.).
Grows with your child: stroller, pushing tricycle, learn-to-ride tricycle, and then a classic tricycle.
Components can be a chore to attach and remove.
Unique design provides stability while training for the weight balance of a two-wheeler. Folds for easy carrying and storage.
Not suitable for rougher terrain due to tiny wheels, and that means it can't go places other tricycles can.
An iconic model that has provided generations of fun. Quality features include the large front wheel (16"), bold colors, and adjustable seat.
Though the build is durable, it's not quite as solid as models with metal components. The tires don't have adequate traction on all surfaces.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
A tricycle, or "trike," is the very first independent mode of transportation for most children. If you remember your first trike with a warm nostalgic glow, then it follows that you'll want to buy the perfect tricycle for your child to help create the same kind of fond memories.
But now comes the hard part – how do you pick the best tricycle from the hundreds available? If you need a helping hand, BestReviews is the place for you. It is our mission to aid you in finding the right products to fit your needs.
Read our shopping guide below to learn more about tricycles. When you're ready to buy, check out our top five choices in the product list above.
Tricycles have lots of qualities that make them a better choice than a bicycle (with or without training wheels) for your child.
With three large wheels and a wide wheelbase, tricycles are extremely stable and unlikely to tip over.
Trikes give children a chance to cycle before they're ready for a two-wheeler.
Many tricycles are relatively inexpensive, so it doesn't matter if your child grows out of his in a year or two.
You can find tricycles with high-back seats, harnesses, and other features that make them safe and suitable for very young riders.
Quality and comfort
With its relaxed lowrider style and handlebar tassels, this classic tricycle has a vintage feel to it. And, more importantly, its high-back seat is comfortable and secure for young riders. The quality metal frame is so durable that this trike can easily be passed down to younger siblings.
Although you can find a handful of tricycles made for adults, this guide is focused on tricycles for children. Here are some of the main varieties of tricycles.
Push tricycles have three wheels like regular trikes but no pedals. Instead, the rider sits on the seat with her feet on the ground and pushes the tricycle along with her feet. These trikes are suitable for toddlers who aren't yet ready for pedaling.
Big wheels are retro-style tricycles with a large front wheel and a reclined seat. Not only do these trikes look cool but they also tend to be stable. The high-back seat provides extra support that's particularly useful for younger riders.
Often referred to as three-in-one or four-in-one tricycles, these models start out with a full harness, disengaged pedals and steering, and a handle for an adult to push. Your child sits on the trike, but she doesn't control it. Later on, you can choose to engage the steering, engage the pedals, remove the handle, and remove the harness at various stages to suit your child's development and ability. Eventually, it converts into a standard trike.
Upright tricycles are very similar to standard bicycles but with three wheels instead of two. They don't usually have high-back seats, so they don’t offer as much support for toddlers and younger children, but these are great for children who are almost ready for a two-wheeler bike but still need that extra bit of stability.
You can find foldable tricycles that pack down for easy storage or transportation. A handy feature for parents.
Tricycles with air-filled rubber tires give a smoother ride over bumps than those with solid rubber or plastic tires.
One of the most important factors to consider is the size of the tricycle. If your child can't reach the pedals and handlebars, then it's not much good. A trike’s suitable height range or age group is usually indicated for each model. If not, you'll need to compare the tricycle’s dimensions to your child's height and inseam. Children generally feel more confident riding a trike when they can touch the ground with their feet when seated.
Some tricycles allow you to raise or lower the seat and move the handlebars. If you choose a tricycle with some adjustability, it can grow with your child, meaning you won't have to replace it in six months when your little one has a growth spurt. Ideally, you should choose a trike that's the correct size for your child on its lowest settings. That way, there's more room for your kid to grow into it.
Most children's tricycles do not have a chain – the pedals drive the front wheel directly. That means the trikes don't have brakes, so your little one will need to exercise caution when stopping.
Tricycle frames are either metal (usually aluminum) or plastic.
Metal frames are more durable and long lasting, plus they feel more like standard bicycle frames, which makes it easier for children to transition to a two-wheeled bike.
Of course, your child's safety is one of your primary concerns. You'll find some tricycles that have adopted a range of safety features to keep kids safe from harm. Common safety features include the following:
Harness (particularly on convertible tricycles).
Anti-tip steering (keeps steering column from being rotated more than 9°).
Wider wheelbase (less likely to tip over).
You can find tricycles to suit every budget, and you don't have to spend as much as you might think. Expect to pay between $30 and $200 for a tricycle.
Inexpensive: Basic plastic trikes cost around $30 to $50.
Mid-range: Metal tricycles tend to cost $50 to $100.
Grows with your child
This four-in-one tricycle starts out as a glorified stroller with the pedals and steering disengaged and an adult pushing it. You can transform it gradually as your child grows, so that it eventually becomes a regular trike that your little one can pedal and steer independently.
Choose a color or theme your child likes. You might not care much about what color your kid’s trike is or whether it features jungle animals or cartoon princesses, but your little one probably will.
Make sure the tricycle you choose is age appropriate. It shouldn't be too big or too small for your child, nor should your kid exceed the maximum weight limit.
Buy a bicycle helmet. Although your child is less likely to fall off a tricycle than a bicycle, it's still possible. Plus, it's a legal requirement in some states that children wear a helmet when cycling.
Consult your child. Assuming your child is old enough and you're not buying the tricycle as a surprise, one surefire way of finding a trike your little one will love is by letting him choose from a selection of suitable options.
Q. Are tricycles suitable for a certain age group?
A. Some tricycles – such as push models – are suitable for children basically as soon as they can walk. And you can push your baby along in a convertible trike before she's even mobile. However, other tricycles shouldn't be ridden until your child is old enough to safely pedal and steer, usually around age two to three. Although there's no upper age limit for tricycles (and you can even buy adult trikes), you'll find most children want to progress to a two-wheeler by the time they reach school age.
Q. Are tricycles safe for young children?
A. Thanks to their three wheels, tricycles are very stable and therefore a safe choice for young children. That said, your child shouldn't be riding on the sidewalk or anywhere close to traffic until he has steering and braking 100% under control and can be trusted to stop at intersections.
Q. Are there any useful accessories for tricycles?
A. Other than bicycle helmets, as mentioned above, there aren't really any essential accessories for tricycles. That said, if your child will be riding her trike after dark, she should have some lights and reflective strips for visibility. You can find lots of (not essential) accessories that kids might enjoy, such as baskets, flags for the back of the trike, and tassels for the handlebars.
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