The 14 inch bike segment is relatively new to the kids’ bike size repertoire. Most of the kids-only bike brands have embraced the 14-inch bikes wholeheartedly and have completely ditched the 12-inch ones.
The rationale being that it’s better to have kids learn on a balance bike that is more intuitive to learning, and then transition to a 14-inch pedal bike later.
So, is a 14-inch bike a better option than a 12-inch bike? Short answer – Yes. Because of the better geometry, and also the additional room the bike provides to accommodate for the child’s growth spurts. But here’s the caveat – it’s gonna cost more.
We have evaluated dozens of kids’ bikes and here’s our pick of the best 14-inch bicycles for 3-year-old girls and boys under $300 dollars.
Best 14-Inch Bikes For Boys & Girls:
|Brand||Guardian 14 Inch Ethos Bike||Vitus 14 Kids Bike||2021 Park 14 Pedal Bike||Joey2.5 Ergonomic Kids Bicycle|
|Brakes||SureStop||V Brakes||V Brakes||Caliper|
A 14-inch kids bicycle is better suited for 3-year-old boys and girls.
If your child is below 3, we recommend starting her on a balance bike, and if she is 4 or 5, a 16 inch bike would be a good option depending on the size of the child.
For more details, please check our Kids’ Bike Sizing guide.
Guardian 14 Inch Ethos Bike
Guardian belongs to the hallowed kids-only bikes stables. The focus is solely on kids’ bikes.
And because of this, the bikes that come out of this stable are all pretty good, albeit a bit pricey. But worth it.
The Guardian founders set out to start this company because of personal experience with safety, and so the brand was born with its marquee feature – the SureStop brakes.
The highlight of this brake is that it only has one lever that activates both the rear and front brakes, sequentially.
This would dramatically reduce the braking faux pas that many of the kids might encounter during the early days of their bike learning curve.
The bike also has the added benefit of having no coaster brakes.
The bike sports a steel frame and weighs in at 16 lbs, and comes in two color variants.
Another standout feature of this bike is their 100-day test policy wherein, if you didn’t like the bike, you can return it within 100 days for a refund.
You’ll also get to donate the bike to a local charity. This is a testament to the company’s belief in its product.
Awesome return policy
Vitus 14 Kids Bike
Vitus is a high-performance bike manufacturer based out of France with a good lineup of kids’ bikes and has put some thought into kids’ bike-specific requirements.
The 14 Kids Bike has good geometry and has aluminum written all over it.
The bike has aluminum in its frame, forks, as well as hubs.
Not the lightest in 14 inches, but at 13.31 lbs, it’s the lightest on this list.
Equipped with V brakes at both the front and the back, the company has given some thought to it by making it short-reach; ideal for the small grips of kids.
Also, the bike has a good Q-factor which narrows the space between pedals that brings the hips in line with the legs reducing the splay while pedaling.
The wheels are all-purpose 2” wide, which enables the kid to take the bike off-road too. A removable chain guard is also supplied with the bike.
The bike comes in 3 colors.
Short grip V Brakes
Low Q factor
|Couldn’t find any|
2021 Park 14 Pedal Bike
Park is another kids-only bike company from Canada that focuses only on kids’ bikes.
Although they are not as popular as the other kid’s bike brands, they do have some interesting products that are worth a look at.
The 2012 14 inch pedal bike sports an aluminum frame and weighs in at 15.5 lbs, including seat weight.
Not exactly lightweight, but something that you can expect at the under $300 price range. The bike is equipped with V-brakes which is a plus point.
Comes in with a decent 5-color option to placate both gender’s preferences.
Joey 2.5 Ergonomic Kids Bicycle
Joey is a cute little brand that makes cute little kids’ bikes.
Although not exactly on par with, say, Vitus or Guardian, Joey can hold sway on its own.
The one striking feature of the lineup is the number of color variations the bike has that can lead to choice paralysis.
Made of steel alloy frame, this bike’s the second one on this list that features a steel frame and not aluminum.
But surprisingly, for the steel frame, the bike weighs in at a not-too-heavy 15 pounds.
The bike is fitted with caliper brakes and thankfully, not coaster brakes. All the bikes come fitted with detachable training wheels and a push handle.
6 color variants
FAQs On 14-Inch Kids Bikes Under $300
14-inch bikes are suited for kids aged 3 to 4 years. It’s a step up from a 12-inch model.
Age is only a guideline as kids of the same age can vary wildly in terms of their height and size.
If your child is 4 or 5 and has already learned biking, we would recommend you to check out a 16-inch bike depending on what size your kid is.
That way you are factoring in for your kids’ growth spurt too. If your child is below 3, then a balance bike would be a better option.
Once your child has learned steering and balancing, you can then transition her to a pedal bike which would be much more easier and fun for the child.
14-inch bikes generally fit kids between 36-42 inches tall. A better way to size the bike up is to measure your kid’s inseam length and then choose the bike.
If it is the child’s first pedal bike, then adjust the saddle to be lower so that the kid can place the feet firmly on the ground while sitting.
If your child had already learned to balance, you can then increase the height of the saddle so that the kid can tip-toe which would help them pedal efficiently.
The weight of a 14 inch kid’s bike varies widely depending on the manufacturers, the model as well as the materials used.
The ideal weight to aim for is 30% of the child’s body weight.
The child’s physique is not developed yet to lug around weights that are heavier in proportion to their body weight, unlike adults.
This is one aspect that is most overlooked by adults when buying children’s bikes.
The weight of the bike can make a big difference in how the child experiences biking.
The geometry of the bike is also an overlooked aspect with little kids’ bikes as most of the bike manufacturers focus on adults’ bikes.
However, there has been an influx of kids-only bike companies over the last couple of years that has changed the dynamics of how kids’ bicycles are designed and manufactured.
For eg, the size and placement of the brake levers might look like a small modification but has a big impact on how the kid applies the brakes.
For kids, the space between the handlebar and the lever has to be narrower, proportionately, than the adult bikes as their hands haven’t fully developed yet.
A couple of things that need to be kept in mind for the geometry of a 14 inch bike are:
The length of the wheelbase (the distance between the 2 wheel hubs).
The longer the wheelbase, the better the control, but the lesser the nimbleness.
The Q factor: Measurement of the space between the two pedals. The lesser space, the better the alignment of the hip in line with the knees, which reduces the splay while pedaling.
Cheap bikes usually have a high Q factor that requires the child to exert more effort than is required otherwise.
Crampy seating position. If the distance from the saddle to the handlebars is short, the child would be crampy with the knees bent at 90 degrees or more during the top of the stroke that results in extra effort from the child to move the bike.
The type of material used in a 14 inch bike has a direct bearing on the weight of the bike.
The most common materials used in kids’ bikes are steel, aluminum, or alloy. Although steel is durable, it’s heavy and prone to rust.
Aluminum is lighter and is also less resistant to rust, but is pricier than steel.
In the end, everything boils down to the price for a lot of parents who are in the market for buying a nice bike for their kid.
The Cheap quality big box retail brands come at a price: Quality. It’s not just the quality and durability of the bike we are talking about here, it’s also about the quality of the overall biking experience for a child.
The better the quality of the bike, the greater the joy of riding for a kid. The under $300 dollar 14-inch bikes straddle between the cheap and the expensive options.