We know you are all here mostly for the “list” but before we go into the details we should really start with a good idea of what a 12 inch bike is good for.
They are good for riding…Of course. Kids can pretty much figure out how to get out and go on anything if they have the desire. Think back to your first bike. It was probably a third-time hand-me down that weight about as much as a Toyota Prius. You figured it out and started the love of cycling. But today’s technology far exceeds what we had to live with. So, A 12-inch kids bike should be light.
But the most important thing is proper fit. Do we sound like a broken records. Proper fit is the most important thing on almost any bike. Your child’s inseam should be the same as the seat height. In other words, when your child is standing over the seat her feet should touch the ground. Leave a little room for growth so you don’t have to come back and find the next sized bike in a couple of months.
A 12-inch bike will probably have coaster brakes. But it is also a good idea to introduce rim brakes at this point as well. Your child might not use them yet but learning how they work and playing with them once in a while is good. If I have a choice I try to get a bike with only rim brakes.
If your child is not interested in pedals then stick with a balance bike. There is nothing wrong with riding a balance bike as it will build confidence. The whole point at this age is to keep the love of cycling alive and build more balance and confidence. So, be sure to explore the pedal bikes with your child so she can show an interest in pedals before making the switch to pedals. Our older kids still love to scoot around on the balance bikes. They are just pure fun!
Buying a cheap bike may lead to frustration for both you and your child. The cheaper bikes are heavy, have low quality equipment, and are more difficult to ride. You’ll save a lot of money if you buy a balance bike and get a much better machine that your child will enjoy.
Ok, so you’re committed to getting a pedal bike. Don’t get training wheels. If the bike has training wheels they should be the first parts removed. If your child spent a little time on a balance bike the training wheels will only frustrate your child. If your child is just now starting biking, well, consider a balance bike (again), or remove the pedals from the bike. Let your child get used to the feel of the bike. Once you see your child coasting around with her feet off the ground you can re-introduce the pedals.
Here are some of the top choices for a 12-inch pedal bike.
Cleary Gecko. Cleary just makes great bikes for kids. They are built with quality materials and parts. If something breaks they have parts in stock that make repairs easy.
Woom 2. Woom specializes in kids bikes. The Woom 2