The child is female and is of 2.8 years old.

We have a choice between 12 inch, and a 14 inch cycle. Don't have any cycle shops around. Will be purchasing this online.

I don't know what 14 inch stands for, but as you can see there is a size difference between the following 12 inch cycle and the other 16 inch one.

Cycle is supposed to have supporting wheel.



How to measure which sized bicycle can a toddler ride?

  • What height can she comfortably straddle? It's that and how high can she lift her leg without falling over. But also, what are the 12" and 14" measurements of, exactly? Without knowing that we can't even guess how big the actual bikes are. Also, are these balance bikes or ones with pedals?
    – Móż
    Feb 9, 2016 at 9:23
  • @Frisbee my child started walking without support when she was 8 months old. She never crawled. I will be soon buying roller skates for her. Feb 9, 2016 at 9:27
  • 5
    ok, I think training wheels are a really bad idea unless you're dealing with an adult who has balance issues. In my experience kids learn faster and more easily using a balance bike. The balance bike makes moving round easy, and even really little kids can sit on it and scoot round. But training wheels make the bike hard to ride, if the ground is rough they lift the rear wheel off the ground, and so on. By 3 years old they will normally be outgrowing a balance bike - my LBS has an infant almost a year old who rides one...
    – Móż
    Feb 9, 2016 at 10:18
  • I fully agree with @Moz about balance bikes!
    – RoKa
    Feb 9, 2016 at 10:54

1 Answer 1


I found A definitive guide to sizing a child's bike and Children: Choosing A Bike / Buying a Bike using a search for "size child's bike".

Bike fit for young kids, especially kids who are about to learn to ride, is quite different than for older kids and adults. Rather than being about comfort while riding, it's more about lack of pain when falling off.

The two things I think matter are stand-over height which also matters for adults, and how high your child can lift their feet without falling over.

  1. Stand-over height is basically how high their crotch is when they're standing up. Normally for adults we'd say "a little daylight between crotch and top tube of bike", but for kids I feel at least 5cm is needed, and ideally they'll be able to lift themselves off the bike seat with both feet on the ground. This is about feeling safe on a new toy rather than having an efficient riding position for longer distances.

  2. Foot-lifting height is because kids rarely start by doing the "swing leg over back of seat" mount that adult men do, they lift their foot over the top tube of the bike. Or they try to, and fall over if it's too high.

Other major considerations are budget and community, because they determine how long you're likely to keep the bike before swapping to a bigger one. If this is your one bike until your child is riding to school then training wheels will probably be better than a balance bike. A 5 year old can ride a bike that used to have training wheels, where a big kid on a little balance bike won't work. But if you're in a position to buy a balance bike and a bigger bike, the balance bike will work better. Likewise, if you can pass a balance bike around friends or family and get a second hand bike the same way, it's much cheaper and easier to do that than buy anything.

This was superseded in many ways by a later question about balance bikes but it's worth answering anyway.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.