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  1. #1
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    Default What age for a 12" bike

    I know this is variable by DC, depending on height, leg length, and other factors but I'm wondering between what ages kids typically fit on a 12" bike. I'd like to do a balance bike conversion for DD and used 12" bikes are so much more available than used 10" bikes (which all seem to be horrible Barbie bikes and the like). She is admittedly a shrimp so I guess this is wishful thinking but I'd love to hear from enablers
    momma to DD 12/08 & DS 3/13

  2. #2
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    Friends of ours have given 12" bikes as 3rd birthday gifts to their kids, and found that within 6 months they're outgrown (though I don't know if they're adjusting the seat height up at all, or just saying "outgrown"). So 2.5 doesn't seem too young to me - can you take her to the bike section of Target or Walmart and see how she fits?
    Allison

    DD1 11/05
    DS 04/08
    DD2 11/11

  3. #3
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    I bought 12" for my 3 yo who is big for his age and fit him fine. However my friends with kids the same age and smaller buy 16" so they would have "growing room". I personally think 3 us the right age. I got 16" for my dd when age was 3 and it was way too big. I got a 12" later and even now she still prefers the smaller bike. Just my opinion.
    Maggie, mama to DD 10/05 and DS 12/07

  4. #4
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    My small just turned 3 y/o DD has a strider that fits her perfect but the 12" bikes at tru that she tries (because she likes the Minnie mouse and princess ones there) are too big still. She def can't reach the ground and her feet aren't even flat on the pedals. Sorry I don't know her height in inches but she was just 30%height at the peds. Just go try one at tru or walmart.
    Also my older dd has a 16" bike that we've been unable to take the pedals off - we've tried everything we've read. We have taken pedals off her 20" bike but that wasn't so helpful.

  5. #5
    niccig is online now Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    DS was riding a 12" bike without training wheels at a little over 3.5 years old. We did a 12" balance bike when he was 3. He's a shortie and at a little over 3.5 was the earliest we could do the 12" pedal bike. He couldn't touch the ground. Friends who did training wheels got 16" bikes as don't need to touch the ground for those.

    Whatever you do, try to get a light weight bike. DS had been riding his bike for over a year without training wheels, then at friend's house got on their bike with training wheels and it was really heavy and difficult for him to get going. His friend was having trouble using it too, and I think the extra weight was partly to blame. My DS gave up, jumped back on his bike and took off.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the advice. I decided to just get a balance bike as the weight issue was something I hadn't really thought of. The nicer 12" bikes that I was looking at weigh a good fraction of what she does and I think as a conversion the seats would be too high (I measured her inseam at about 12" so I can't even imagine how long it will be before her feet reach the ground from a 12" bike.) I didn't really want to deal with the fit that would come with going to a store to see how she fit on the bikes. Hopefully the balance bike will get her through until she's ready for a 16" bike.
    momma to DD 12/08 & DS 3/13

  7. #7
    Katigre is offline Emerald level (3000+ posts)
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    FWIW, DS got a 16" bike for his 4th birthday (he was under 40" at the time) and it was just small enough for him to ride, and he easily has 3 years of growing space on it. I look at 12" bikes and they look so small! I definitely think they're best for kids who are around age 3 and it shouldn't be too big for your child .
    Mom of 4: Boy (8), Girl (5), Boy (2), Girl (Baby)

  8. #8
    o_mom is online now Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    One thing that you might do is pick up a cheap 12" one from Goodwill or borrow from a friend when she is ready to transition to a pedal bike. I found that after the balance bike, a 12" was good for a month or two of transition time where they could have their feet flat, etc. After that, we moved up to a 'good' 16" bike (from CL ).

    DS2 used a balance bike until age 4 and then moved to a 12 in bike for a few months and then onto a 16 in Trek. He will move to a 20 in this year at 6 yrs. Also, keep in mind that different bikes fit differently. The Trek bikes, for example, tend to have a lower seat, so they can fit on them sooner which is good for my tiny kids.
    Mama to three boys ('03, '05, '07)

  9. #9
    vonfirmath is online now Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snow mom View Post
    I know this is variable by DC, depending on height, leg length, and other factors but I'm wondering between what ages kids typically fit on a 12" bike. I'd like to do a balance bike conversion for DD and used 12" bikes are so much more available than used 10" bikes (which all seem to be horrible Barbie bikes and the like). She is admittedly a shrimp so I guess this is wishful thinking but I'd love to hear from enablers
    My son is 3.5 and has short legs.

    We have the Specialized Hot Walk as our balance bike: http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...jsp?spid=32773 which is built on a 12-inch frame and we just moved the seat up to its highest position. He could use the seat a tad bit higher to have his feet flat on the ground as they are supposed to be (instead of out at an angle). But it will not go. He can play with it the way it is. I'd like it to last a little longer (maybe until age 5?) so am looking into getting him a higher seat for it. He has a pedal bike already -- but is not ready for it yet.
    Married 3/04
    DS 8/07
    DD born 8/11

  10. #10
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    For comparison (to answer will the strider work until a 16" size wise?). I am working with my tall 7 year old on going without training wheels so we try her on her old 16" bike where she can easily touch (I can't get the pedals off) and her sister's strider at the top height and I think that the 16" at the lowest and the strider at the top might be a decent transition.
    At out local bike store, the guy there (who is an absolute cocky jerk so I didn't buy there and just went to tru) hates balance bikes (becuase he doens't sell them) and said my smallish 2.5 year old should be on a 16" bike with proper adjustments. I'm not so sure about that as I see no way possible that would work but he swore that HIS 16" bikes are not like the cheap walmart 16" bikes which I am sure is true but I don't know how she'd even coem close to riding a 16". He was so rude I didn't bother to even bring her in to see further. So if he is correct and you buy a better 16" bike and you really can use them properly adjusted at that small size, you shoudl be fine, going right from a blance bike.

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