girl and boy on littlebig balance bike and pedal bike 2022

Balance Bike Age Range | How To Choose The Perfect Bike

While age is a factor in deciding what balance bike to get, children are all unique and develop at different rates. Other factors have to be considered too, such as coordination, strength, size, special need. 

Some kids will happily pedal independently at 3 or 4 old, while others might take a bit longer to ride off into the sunset. It’s not uncommon for some kids to scoot along on their balance bikes until they’re 6, 7 or even older.

MTB with kids review the LittleBig bike
Two year old on a LittleBig balance bike at Bootleg Canyon, USA

When a child is 2 years old old they are usually physically and developmentally ready to start riding a balance bike. But there are no hard and fast rules. If your child is 18 months old, and wants to try out a balance bike, there's no reason to discourage them. They can hold the bike upright to support themselves, ring the bell, and get accustomed to it.

Top Tip!

Our LittleBig 3-in-1 balance bike with pedals grows from a little balance bike into a big pedal bike and can suit kids age 2-6 years old.

To check if the balance bike size is right for your child, get your little one to sit on the saddle and hold the handlebars. With their shoes on, they should be able to reach the floor with the flat of their feet.

Your child should be able to reach the handlebars comfortably without stretching forwards, or the bars being too cramped and close. Ideally your child will have a slight bend in the elbows and torso slightly leaning forwards.

If you want to buy a bike and check it fits first, measure your child's inside leg length and ensure it's within the minimum and maximum saddle height range. 

The child should begin balancing almost immediately as long as they can already walk and they are on a light bike that fits them correctly. Some kids can take longer than others if perhaps they aren't as confident or maybe not as strong, but they will surely get there in their own time.

Kids will normally begin by walking with the bike, then can progress to striding and gliding with their feet up. The main reason I started LittleBig bikes was that I saw how intuitive balance bikes were for kids, there is very little "teaching" involved, kids will sort it out themselves.

In order for kids to begin pedalling safely, they need to be:

  1. Confident balancing and turning with their feet up. They should ideally be able to glide along for 10 seconds or more. If they are able to glide, it will take away the urgency from learning to pedal. 
  2. Able to use the brakes to stop safely. While some balance bikes come without brakes, we recommend using a balance bike with brakes. With a pedal bike, they won't have their feet near enough to the ground to stop safely, so hand brakes (or back pedal brakes) are essential. 
  3. Fit their pedal bike correctly, with the their feet on the ground while sitting in the saddle.

 Find out more on our post - How To Teach Your Child To Ride A Bike Confidently And Safely

There are many reasons why the LittleBig is one of the best balance bikes for a 2 or 3 year old toddler:

  • Growing design means it's with them on the whole of their learn-to-ride journey.
  • Lightweight high-quality materials, it's built to last.
  • Cool design and bright colours your child will love
  • Chunky tyres and smooth rolling wheels allow a smooth, comfortable ride
  • Sustainable & eco-friendly. with reduced material waste and assurance of a long product life.

When choosing the best balance bike for a 2 year old child, you need to consider safety & stability, along with the aesthetic appeal. Your child will love riding the balance bike, while you'll have the assurance of knowing it's helping them learn to cycle easier and safer.


A balance bike will help your child improve their balance and coordination. It's great exercise too, so will help with their overall physical development.

The LittleBig balance bike in the "Big" mode will typically fit kids aged 4 or older.

The rear of the frame can be flipped, converting the little balance bike into a bigger balance bike with a higher saddle and longer arm reach. If your child has been riding the LittleBig since the age of 2 or 3, flipping the frame will keep the familiar feel of the old bike while making it more comfortable to ride.

5 Year old rider on the LittleBig in pedal mode

The average age for learning to pedal a bike independently is around 4 - 6 years old. This is a broad age range, but as mentioned, all kids are different and will begin pedalling at different ages. Some kids are daredevils and hit the skatepark at age 3 (or younger!), while others still tip-toe along age 4 or 5. It's best to let your child learn to ride in their own time with perhaps a little nudging to get them onto their pedal bike if needed. If your child is reluctant to begin pedalling, you may find our guide on how to teach a child to ride a bike confidently and safely useful.


There is no need to rush into pedalling. If your little one is happy on the balance bike, that's great! They are still developing their balance and coordination and the more confident they are on the balance bike, the more seamless the transition to pedalling will be.


Usually, starting to pedal is the stage at which you'll put aside the balance bike and have to buy a new pedal bike. Clearly this isn't the most sustainable or budget-friendly solution


Fortunately, the LittleBig has a solution to this problem. As it's a balance bike with pedals, when your child is ready to start pedalling, you can simply fit the pedal kit. Since your child is already familiar with the bike, they'll be able to start pedalling independently far sooner than they would on a different bike.

A little nudge from Daddy and off you go. ..

While the vast majority of balance bikes have 12 inch wheels, there are some 14 inch balance bikes that are suited to older kids. In most cases, the frame is scaled up in relation to the wheels so the handlebar reach and saddle height will suit the taller riders.


In the case of the LittleBig bike, the frame itself grows so while it has 14 inch wheels, the starting size is more akin to a 12 inch balance bike, and in big mode its more like a 16 inch bike. To see how much the LittleBig grows, view our sizing guide

girl on pink littlebig bike

It's really hard to answer this question without knowing more about the child's specific needs. But what we can say is that kids with special needs such as Autism, Dyspraxia and Down Syndrome will certainly benefit from the LittleBig's Balance Bike for a child with special needs because of its unique design.

The growing frame will allow the child more time to get comfortable and confident on the bike. This means your child can learn to cycle at their own pace, without the bike feeling too small.

My first son has Autism and was 7 when he learned to get his balance on the LittleBig bike, and we had tried other bikes to no avail, my second son has Dyspraxia and learnt to cycle in 2 weeks using the bike, I lent it to a friend of mine with a boy with Autism and he also learnt to cycle using it and now its back to me and my youngest child is 4 tomorrow and we promised him we would put the pedals on it when he was 4, so its going to teach its fourth child how to cycle now, and its still in immaculate condition after 3 years. It's an amazing bike.

With a typical age range of 2-6 years, the LittleBig's unique growing frame means it will fit your child for longer than normal balance bikes which will usually be outgrown in 2-3 years.

Age of Child

Best Balance Bike for Child’s Age


2-3 years oldLittleBig Balance Bike (“Little” mode)Your child will love the look & feel of the bike. You’ll love the high quality engineering, longevity & sustainability.
4+ years oldLittleBig Balance Bike (“Big” mode)Unique design allows you to “flip” the rear frame so it has a higher saddle and longer arm reach. Kids can stay riding the balance bike mode as long as they wish, it’s great fun!
4-6 years oldLittleBig in “Pedal” mode)Just add the pedal attachment to convert the balance bike into a pedal bike. Your child will learn to pedal sooner and you’ll save money by not having to buy a new bike.
Child with special needsLittleBig Balance Bike (From “Little” to “Pedal” mode)The unique convertible design gives your child more time to learn to cycle on a comfortable and familiar bike.

Shop For Balance Bikes

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Round the world cyclist, mountain bike racer, engineer and all round bike geek, Simon Evans clearly loves all things BIKE.

Simon worked as a Structural Engineer in Cambridge for a number of years before setting off on an 18 month, 30,000km cycle around the world, testing his bike, body and mind to the limit and giving a wealth of wonderful experiences.

Coming home in 2010, he wanted to combine his engineering with his love of bikes to create a better and more sustainable bike for kids. In 2015 he launched LittleBig bikes which have now been sold to 77 countries around the world giving thousands of kids the best start on two wheels.


  1. Mary McCarthy

    Hi My Daughter is 8 years old and has dyspraxia. She is 127cm tall and i wanted to enquire if any of your bikes would suit her.

    Thank You

    1. Hi Mary, the LittleBig is normally only for kids age 7 max but if you measure your daughter’s inseam you can gauge if the bike will work for her. You can see the full sizing guide here. Hope this helps, Simon

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