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Now we are really talking! This is the age when there is nothing to stop children getting on their bikes, learning to ride and really finding their independence! Although some 2 year olds might be reluctant to start using balance bikes, and many 6 year olds will have grown out of balance bikes, most 3 year olds should be raring to go!
This means that there is a huge range of models available for children aged around 3, so it would be impossible to fit them all into this review. We have selected our favourite 5 models and listed them in the table below, so you can see the sort of bikes that are available when you are looking for the best balance bike for 3 year olds.
Banana Balance Bike GT
32cm - 44cm
28cm - 48cm
Birtech Balance Bike
36cm - 41cm
Specialized Hotwalk 2020
34cm - 43cm
32cm - 39cm
Puky 4014 Learner Bike
34cm - 45cm
Boppi Wooden Bike
35cm - 39cm
How to find the Best Balance Bike for a 3 year old
Find the most suitable saddle height
By the time your child is approaching their 3rd birthday, they will probably be too big for one of the smaller balance bikes we featured in our reviews for the best balance bikes for 2 year olds.
This means they will need a bike with a larger seat height, and this is probably the most important factor to consider when buying a balance bike!
You need to make sure that the lowest setting of the saddle is around 2.5 – 3cm lower than the inside leg of the child. The average inside leg measurement for a 3 year old is between 35 – 38cm, so this means that you should be looking for bikes with saddle heights starting from between 32 – 35cm.
This means that the child will be able to get on and off the bike comfortably, and as long as the seat is adjustable (which it will be on most models), then a good quality bike bought at this age should see them right through to their first pedal bike.
We have more details on seat height in our Balance Bike Seat Height Guide.
The majority of the best balance bikes for 3 year olds have traditionally been made from either a metal or wooden frame.
The advantage of metal frames is that this means the bike is usually more lightweight than wooden frames and metal bikes generally have more of an appearance of a 'real bike'.
Another big advantage of metal frames is that range of saddle heights is much greater than on wooden frames, and this is important at the age of 3 when children are growing so quickly.
However, this does not mean that you should discount wooden balance bikes for a 3 year olds as these bikes are also very popular.
Wooden balance bikes can be painted in a number of funky designs, and a good example is the range of Kiddimoto balance bikes. These bikes usually have a birch wooden frame so they are better for the environment.
Another option becoming more widely available is aluminium frames. A balance bike with an aluminium frame will be even lighter than a metal bike, and one of the lightest bikes currently available is the LAVA Sport balance bike which has an aluminium frame and fork.
There are plenty of other things to consider though when choosing a balance bike for a 3 year old, including style, tyres, brakes and plenty more! We have examined a few of our favourites below.
Recommended Balance Bikes for 3 year olds
Strider Sport Balance Bike
We have included the Strider Sport balance bike in our recommendations for 2 year olds, but we also think it is perfect for 3 year olds as well!
Strider are renowned for producing quality balance bikes, and the Strider Sport model has plenty of features that make it an excellent choice.
Firstly, it has a stylish and sporty design, and it is very lightweight at just 2.9kg which makes it one of the lightest balance bikes on the market.
It also has a very low starter saddle height at just 28cm, which makes it suitable for very young children and this can be extended all the way to 48cm with the help of a seatpost extension. However it is likely your child will have mastered balance before they need this if they start riding at age 2 or 3..
The Strider Sport also has a footrest which is handy when the child is gliding, and although it is more expensive than some of the other balance bikes available it is a great choice as a first bike for your child.
Banana Balance Bike GT
The Banana Balance Bike GT is one of our very favourite balance bikes for 3 year olds for a number of reasons.
The signature curved frame gives it a fun and stylish design, and this also has the added benefit of making the bike easy to access for the child.
The bike is lightweight and strong, and it is the perfect size for a 3 year old to grow with a saddle height between 32cm and 44cm,.
The GT version includes 12" alloy wheels as well as air tyres for a smooth ride. In addition, the threadless headset provides a steering and handlebar set up that is often only found on adult bikes.
Chillafish BMXie Balance Bike
One of our favourite models for 3 years old's is the Chillafish BMXie balance bike which is featured in the table above.
The Chillafish BMXie balance bike has a cool and stylish BMX design, with a frame made from high quality fibre glass material and inflatable tyres for excellent grip. This bike looks and performs like a real BMX!
The seat height ranges from 32cm – 39cm so this is perfect for 3 year olds, and the robust design means that this bike should be able to stand the test of whatever most energetic 3 and 4 year olds can throw at it!
Puky 4014 Learner Bike
Another great option is the Puky 4014 Learner bike.
Puky provide models for children of all ages, but we find that the Puky 4014 Learner bike is perfect for this age group.
The lowest seat height of this bike is 34cm, and it is also different from some other models with the low platform which makes it easier for smaller children to get on and off the bike.
Wooden Balance Bikes for 3 year olds
If you would prefer a wooden balance bike for your 3 year old, then there are several options in this category.
One of the advantages of wooden balance bikes is that they can be painted in all colours so they are available in a lot of fun and exciting designs. Although the saddle does not usually have as many available heights, the range on most bikes should cater for 3 year old needs.
Kiddimoto Kurve Balance Bike
The Kiddimoto Kurve series of bikes is perfect for 3 year olds, and you can choose between designs such as Pastel Dotty, Union Jack, Police and Fire among many more.
They have a very different look to metal balance bikes – and you may have even seen them on Dragon’s Den!
The Kiddimoto Kurve has a higher saddle height that some other balance bikes, with height starting at 37cm and can be adjusted to 39cm. This means it is better for slightly taller children but should be suitable for most 3 year olds.
The Boppi Wooden Balance Bike is another great option and is usually slighty cheaper.
Top of the range balance bikes for 3 year olds
Specialized Hotwalk 2020 Balance BIke
- Step through frame
- Rubber skin, puncture proof tyres
- Padded saddle and high quality build
Finally, if you can stretch your budget to over £100 or more then we would recommend the Specialized Hotwalk Balance Bike.
This is a stylish and high quality bike that caters perfectly for 3 year olds, and it has been redesigned for 2020 with a step through frame and rubber skin, puncture proof tyres.
This new generation of balance bike tyres provides fantastic traction without the concern of a puncture. This bike is also easy to handle and is equipped with a range of top quality features such as a padded seat and stem with threadless headset.
The saddle height is from 34cm - 43cm, so this is a fantastic way for your child to learn the fundamentals of balance and steering.
It is very important to choose the best balance bike for your 3 year old, as if you select the wrong model at this age then it can easily set your child back a good couple of years when it comes to riding a pedal bike.
However, with such a wide range of quality models available, there should be something for all 3 year olds who are looking to get on their bike and explore the world.
We have featured many more on this website, so happy riding!