12 Inch Bike FAQs (What Is It & Is There One?)

12-inch bikes are the lowest category in terms of wheel size that you can find for a kid, especially for kids who are starting out on their biking journey.

Many parents are often perplexed with questions regarding 12-inch bikes concerning weight, wheels, frames, price, etc. We, at Inchbike, have compiled a list of questions that people also ask when searching for a 12-inch bike.

If you feel that you have any additional questions that are not answered here, please feel free to ask them in the comments and we would try to answer that.

What Does a 12-Inch Bike Mean?

12 inch bikes refer to a category of bike size for kids.

Kids’ bikes are measured in terms of wheel sizes and 12-inch bikes typically are the starting size in a brand’s bike-size lineup.

These bikes are for kids who have just started out and are taking their first steps in biking.

Some bike brands opt for a 14-inch bike as their starting category instead of a 12-inch as they feel a 14-inch bike provides better fit and geometry.

So 12 inch bikes lie in a category just before the 14-inch in terms of wheel size.

Where Can I Find a 12 Inch Bike?

Depending on the brand and the place that you are from, 12-inch bikes are available in local bike shops, big box retailers, online e-commerce stores, as well as on the brands’ websites.

Not all local bike shops stock 12-inch bikes though.

And even if they do, you may not see all the models and brands stocked.

Some brands such as Joey, Strider, etc sell through e-commerce marketplaces such as Amazon and Target.

Some brands cut the middlemen and make their bikes available only through their websites, thereby trying to provide additional features at reduced prices.

Who is 12-inch bike for?

12-inch bikes are best suited for kids who are 3 years old. If your kid has been on a tricycle and is now ready to graduate to a real bike, that’s where the 12-inch bike comes in.

However, age is not the ideal factor to size up a bike for a kid.

It should only be used as a guideline.

The size or height of the kid is a much better gauge on how the bike fits the kid and how confident and comfortable the kid is going to be with the bike.

What size does a 12 inch bike fit?

Kids who are 32 and 40 inches tall are the ideal candidates for a 12-inch bike.

If your kid is a little bigger than an average 3-year-old, then you can consider a 14-inch bike.

14 inch bikes have better geometry and fit compared to 12-inch ones.

Although, keep in mind that not all bike manufacturers have 14-inch bikes in their lineup.

Most of the 14-inch bikes are built by boutique kids-specific bike brands and the cost will also be significantly high compared to a 12-inch one.

What size inner tube do I need for a 12 inch bike?

Inner tube size varies depending on the width of the tire.

A 12-inch wheel bike may have different tire widths depending on the model and the brand.

This can be, roughly, be between 1.5 inches to 2.5 inches wide.

So, a 12-inch bike with a 2-inch wide tire would require a 12 x 2-inch inner tube.

Check the tire size for the bike on the brand’s product manual or the website and then choose accordingly.

How to assemble a 12-inch bike?

Most of the 12 inch bikes come assembled from the manufacturers, except, in certain cases, the training wheels.

Attaching the training wheels is a pretty simple affair where you have to unscrew the nut/bolt using a wrench, fit the wheels in, and then screw it back.

Check the product manual for more details specific to the brand and model or you can also check the manufacturer’s website for the details.

How to measure a 12-inch bike?

The 12-inch bikes are measured by the size of the wheels.

If the wheel’s diameter measures 12 inches from one side to the opposite side, then it’s categorized as a 12-inch bike.

This is how kids’ bikes are measured. However, the size of the wheel may not be an indicator of the size of the frame.

The frame size may vary for the same wheel size depending on the model and the brand.

Is 12-inch bike big?

A 12 inch bikes are the smallest in size that you would see in a brand’s lineup of kid’s bikes.

These are for kids that are around 3 years old.

The 12 inches refer to the size of the wheel and is 1 foot in diameter.

However, the weight of a 12-inch bike will vary depending on factors such as the material used, additional features such as training wheels, etc.

Is a 12-inch bike frame for kids or adults?

Adult bikes are categorized depending on the length of the frame, unlike kids’ bikes which are measured based on the wheel size.

The length of the top tube from the fork to roughly where it meets the seat tube is how the frame is measured.

So, a 12-inch bike frame would measure 12 inches roughly from the fork to the saddle.

As you might have guessed, 12 inches or 1 foot in length is very small for an average adult bike’s frame size.

So, the 12 inch referenced in this case is not the length of the frame but the size of the wheels.

How long will a 12 inch bike last?

Good quality 12-inch bikes will last several years.

The brands mentioned in this 12-inch bike article will last multiple kids.

If you have a good quality 12-inch bike, and when your kid grows out of it, you can then hand it down to younger siblings or other kids.

You can even look at listing it in the used-bikes market that has good demand for quality used bikes.

How much are 12 inch bikes?

Good 12-inch bikes start at around $200.

You can also get bikes under $200 but those bikes come with poor quality that results in a bad experience for the kid.

One of the factors that you need to consider in a 12-inch bike is the weight of the bike and the geometry.
Both these factors play a big role in how the kid experiences biking.

A poor quality bike would be heavy with poor geometry that can ruin the child’s biking experience.

In case you are not able to afford a good quality bike, we would recommend checking the used bike market.

You’d be able to find a good quality used bike that would be much better than a brand-new big-box retail brand bike.

How to put training wheels on a 12-inch bike?

Fitting training wheels on a 12-inch bike is not that difficult.

There may be slight variations in specifications for different models and brands, though.

You require a wrench to unscrew the nut and bold, fit the wheels in and then screw it back.

Check the brand’s product manual for specifics, or if you don’t have the manual, then check the brand’s website where you’d be able to find the details.

Check this article for additional information and questions regarding 14 inch bikes.

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