Before you shell out good money for a pretty little bike, remember: your special girl doesn’t just need sparkles. She also needs safety.
Buying a bike for a child is complicated. You need to know how to pick a size (hint: you won’t be looking at the frame), the type of braking system on the bike, and you’ll even want to pay special attention to the bike chain. It can be…a lot.
But hey, that’s why I’m here: to share my knowledge about kids bikes and guide your shopping way. Let’s go over some bicycle basics, and then I’ll show you five of the best girls bikes on the market.
The buyer’s guide to girl’s bikes
When shopping for your best girls, bike safety is a number one priority. Here’s how you can select the right ride for your kiddo.
Selecting a bike size
Good news: frame size isn’t an issue for a kids bikes; it’s all in the wheels.
Bad news: you will have to get your little girl to hold still long enough for you to measure her inseam.
Simply put, you will be using the bike wheel size, along with your child’s inseam measurements, to determine what size bike is best for the little girl in your life.
Stanford Children’s Health has assembled a general guide for sizing a bike:
4-5 Years-Old: 12-14 Inch Bike Wheel Diameter, 14-20″ Inseam.
6 Years-Old: 16 Inch Bike Wheel Diameter, 18-21″ Inseam.
7-8 Years-Old: 20 Inch Bike Wheel Diameter, 22-25″ Inseam.
9+: 24 Inch Bike Wheel Diameter, 26 “+ Inseam
Bike tire types
Wheels aren’t just there for sizing a bike, of course. You will also want to look at the tread on the tire and consider what kind of ground your kids will be riding over.
All-Terrain Wheels are great for every surface type. Frequently found on bikes designed for younger kids, namely in the 12-inch to 14-inch range, this type of tire is perfect girls of all ages.
A bike with a tread pattern that is more concentrated in the center of the tire tends to be better on forest trails. You will often find this type of wheel on a mountain bike.
Smoother tires that feature a shallower tread will allow bikes to glide over paved surfaces with little effort, making them ideal for neighborhood rides.
For the daredevil girls out there, BMX wheels are available. With their knobby tread, these tires will grip surfaces while still providing enough cushion for the bike to absorb those leaps and jumps.
To parents, brakes are an essential part of any bike their girls will be riding. There are two types of brakes commonly found on girl’s bikes.
A bike for a younger child will often feature coaster brakes, which are very simple to use. Your daughter will need only to pedal in reverse to halt her bike.
Bikes with this braking system tend to be less expensive and do not need extra wiring on the frame. Coaster brakes function well in all weather, including on wet surfaces, and an inexperienced rider is less likely to fall forward as she engages this type of brake.
For older girls, bikes with handbrakes are often the better option. Located on one or both handlebars, a handbrake engages a caliper that squeezes a brake pad on each side of the tire, allowing for a more gradual slow down.
Bikes with this type of stopping mechanism tend to be a bit more expensive, but, unlike coaster brakes, hand brakes are fixable should they malfunction.
Some companies employ both front and rear brakes products, but this is less common on kids bikes.
Weight consideration is essential when looking at bikes; if a bike is too heavy, your girls will have a heck of a time tooling around the yard. Aluminum and titanium frames tend to be the lightest material, but when it comes to bikes for kids, durability also needs to be considered. For girls who like to beat up their bikes, steel is a heavier, but more hardy, frame material.
As you shop, keep in mind that you will want to purchase a bike that is less than 40% of your child’s body weight.
If your kid bikes for an hour, you certainly don’t want her coming inside with a sore behind. Look for good padding, a shape that won’t chafe your child’s derriere, and consider getting an adjustable model to ensure a perfect fit.
Our top picks of the best girl’s bike in 2022
Now that you’re a bit more familiar with what to look for, let’s find your best girl a bicycle so that she can get rolling.
Best Overall Bike
Here we have one of the best bikes on the market, and it’s within a reasonable price range.
You can pick from a 12-inch tire up to a 20-inch model, so it’s suitable for a wide array of ages. Models up to 16-inches include training wheels, and the 16 through 20-inch versions come with a kickstand. Moreover, the adjustable seat is padded and provides a smooth ride.
Upon assembly, the wheels are solidly held in place and won’t wobble, so girls who are new to biking will have less trouble finding their balance. Although not technically a mountain bike, the 2.4 inch wide tires on this bike make for easy balancing and can conquer rough terrain. It’s easy to steer, pretty enough for a princess, and kids as young as two years old have enjoyed learning ride on this bike.
The RoyalBaby Kids Bike (check price on Amazon) has even included a mud flap on its largest model. Clean AND tired kids? That’s a big win. Plus, there is a water bottle holder attached to the rear, so your child can stay hydrated on exciting bikes around town.
Large, comfortable bike handles make for easy gripping, while the pedals come coated in a slip-resistant resin. A chainguard keeps clothing from getting caught, and a dual braking system ensures that your kiddo always has a way to stop. RoyalBaby’s bikes have undoubtedly earned their CPSC compliance certificate by excelling in safety features.
This bike comes 95% assembled, so your child won’t learn any new swears as you put it together.
Ages: 3-4 years old (12″), 3-5 years old (14″), 4-7 years old (16″), 5-9 years old (18″), 7+ years old (20″)
Tire Size: 12 -20 inches
Frame Type: Steel
Brake System: Coaster Brake and Handbrake
What we love
- The Bike is available in multiple sizes and colors.
- The padded seat is adjustable and won't chafe.
- A durable steel frame can withstand plenty of wear and tear.
- A tad on the heavier side due to its steel frame.
Best bang for your buck bike
Available in three colors, these bikes come in a 12-inch, 16-inch, and a 20-inch model. While many bikes geared towards older kids tend to have handlebars that encourage a rider to lean forward, even the largest Jazzi (check price on Amazon) enables kids to keep a safe, upright position. With that said, experienced riders will have no problem popping out of the saddle of these bikes to get a bit more speed.
While not quite suited for riding on softer forest trails, these bikes feature all-terrain tires that solidly grip pavement and dirt roads. The wheels are constructed with a broad base, making it easy for kids to keep their balance. Younger girls who still need the extra help that training wheels provide will find them included in the 12 and 16-inch versions of this bike. Once your special girl has mastered the art of biking, you will be able to remove the training wheels without any trouble.
Assembling one of these girls bikes is straightforward, with all the necessary tools included in your purchase. Some parents highly recommend greasing the seat before sliding it into the frame to make any seat adjustments easier.
The covered pedal area keeps these bikes chains hidden away with an adorable sprinkle-design chainguard. Another excellent safety feature is the dual braking system featured on the 16-inch model, something not always seen on a bicycle this affordable.
This series of bikes is great for girls who need an adjustable seat, something that is easy to steer, and comfortable to ride on for long periods. While it won’t break the sound barrier, it can reach speeds that will delight both beginners and intermediate girls. Your little girl will be able to get plenty of use out of this bike, making the price tag even more reasonable.
Ages: 2 – 4 years old (12″), 3-5 years old (16″), 4-8 years old (20″)
Tire Size: 12-inch, 16-inch, & 20-inch
Frame Type: Aluminum
Brake System: Coaster brake and handbrake
Weight: 17.75 lbs (12″), 18.7 (16″), 21.8 lbs (20″)
What we love
- The bike wheels will grip well on grass, pavement, and dirt.
- A limited lifetime frame warranty is included with your purchase.
- All three models of these bikes come in unisex colors.
- Each bike size only comes in one color.
Best bike for young girls
When it comes to the littlest girls, bikes need to be classy, comfortable, and easy to ride, and the Macarons bike ticks all those boxes. These bikes come available in 14 and 16-inch tires, but the 12-inch model is ideal for those fresh to cycling and is our personal favorite for new riders.
You will love how simple this bike is to put together. The tools for needed assembly come included with your purchase, although some parents recommend keeping a smaller screwdriver handy to attach the tire reflectors.
One of the best aspects of JOYSTAR Macarons (check price on Amazon) is how customizable it is. The seat adjusts from 17-inches to 21-inches. The handlebars can be set at a low 24-inch height for smaller girls or extended up to 27 inches. You will be able to quickly make any height modifications, so your little girl won’t have to wait around for her wheels to be ready.
There is plenty of room on the handlebars to add a basket and bell without compromising the steering. Some parents have even attached a baby doll bike seat to the rear of the bike and report that their kiddo was still able to bike with ease.
The bike tires will traverse dirt and pavement with equal vigor, but you won’t have to worry about your little one building up to an unsafe speed. These wheels are plenty wide to keep her balanced, while the training wheels add extra stability.
Ages: 2 – 4 years old
Tire Size: 12 inch
Frame Type: Steel
Brake System: Coaster brake
Weight: 19.8 lbs
What we love
- A multi-colored design makes it appealing for young girls.
- No tools are required to remove training wheels.
- Works well for children who are on the petite side.
- The accessories shown in the pictures are not included.
Bester intermediate bike for girls
With wheels measuring 16-inches, the COEWSKE Kid’s Bike (check price on Amazon) is perfect for kiddos who aren’t quite ready to ride without training wheels but are too big for smaller bikes. It has a classy silhouette that older girls will greatly appreciate as they build up their skills on a bike that doesn’t look ‘babyish.’
The tires can tackle rough surfaces with ease and have been designed with stability in mind, sporting a width of a little over 2 inches. You won’t need to worry about these tires getting punctured by a stick or rock; the rubber is durable enough to roll right over nature’s speed bumps.
The training wheels on this bicycle are uniquely quiet, allowing your child to hear what is going on around her so she can stay safe. You won’t have to worry about her clothes getting sucked into the chain, as it is securely tucked away behind a guard.
This bike comes with plenty of other safety features, like slip-resistant pedals, a frame that can handle anything kids can throw its way, and a single gear design that will prevent your kiddo from zooming around too fast. Since the seat and handlebars adjustable, adventurous little girls can use this bike through at least one growth spurt. When she is prepared to ride on her own two wheels, the training wheels can be popped right off by an adult.
Ages: 4- 8 years old
Tire Size: 16 inch
Frame Type: Steel
Brake System: Coaster brake and hand brake
Weight: 27.6 lbs
What we love
- The bike comes 95% assembled.
- An affordable bike that doesn't skimp on quality or safety features.
- The fenders help protect your child's legs from mud spray.
- The kickstand isn't included in your initial bike purchase but can be bought separately.
Best bike for teenage girls
When you have a tween or teen who is at least 5 feet tall and is no longer in the market for a bike with training wheels, look no further than the Beach Cruiser (check price on Amazon).
While having the appearance of a typical adult bike, this tamed down model is a single speed. This makes it perfect for girls who are casual riders and aren’t quite ready for the get-up-and-go that extra bike gears provide.
Girls won’t suffer from cramped fingers while riding one of these bikes; large, foam handles make for a comfortable grip. The handlebar itself is gently curved to encourage good posture and prevent arm or neck stiffness.
If you’ve ever experienced tailbone pain from a long bike ride, you will appreciate the plushly cushioned, dual-spring supported seat. This model also has a chain guard to protect your kiddo’s legs and is low to the ground for extra stability.
For girls who need extra storage, this bike comes with a rear rack on which you can easily attach a basket. In fact, the entire installation of this bike is simple. The only extra tool you will want to have on hand is a Phillips screwdriver. Everything else you need comes included in the box.
Your little girl will find this to be one of the best bikes for riding on flat surfaces. While it’s no mountain bike, the tread on the wheels will grip well on almost any terrain, truly excelling on pavement or dirt trails. It’s even great for a girl who goes for bikes by the beach.
Although it has a steel frame, this fun kids bike is surprisingly lightweight. The materials hold up well, but, to avoid rust, you shouldn’t leave it exposed to the elements for a long time.
Ages: Tall tweens and teens
Tire Size: 26 inch
Frame Type: Steel
Brake System: Coaster brake
Weight: 10 lbs
What we love
- The bike has a classic appearance without being too advanced for young riders.
- The low base allows kids to stand over the bike, so there's no need to dismount to take a quick break from peddling.
- Easy to follow instructions make assembly a breeze.
- The single-speed model does not have hand brakes.
Girl’s bikes FAQs
Can I just buy a bigger bike, so my daughter will have room to grow into it?
24-inch bike tires might provide lots of growing room for a 7-year-old, but she could easily harm herself trying to ride it. Stick to what she will be comfortable with to keep her safe on her bike riding adventures.
How do I measure my child’s inseam for a bike?
- Have her stand against a wall in the shoes she will be riding her bike in.
- Have her hold a hardbound book between her legs, as close to the crotch area as possible.
- Use a pencil to mark the space where the top of the book meets the wall.
- You may now release the child back into the wild while you measure from the floor to the mark on the wall.
When should I take the training wheels off a bike?
A 4 to 5-year-old girl will generally be able to ride on her own two wheels. By now, she is capable of maintaining her balance while working the peddles and steering. However, there are no hard and fast rules as to when the training wheels need to come off. If your kiddo is excelling at bike riding, there’s no need to keep these balance helpers on, and a child who is 6 years old and still struggling with her biking skills shouldn’t feel pressured to remove them.
Can make a DIY bike basket?
You sure can! Check out this video, which shows an affordable way to make and install a bike basket.
Hopefully, this information has taken some of the stress out of shopping for girls bikes. If you’re still on the fence as to what to buy for your girl, I recommend giving the RoyalBaby Kids Bikes another look. I genuinely love the front and rear braking system, as well as the extra stability that comes from broad tires and the sturdy construction that can withstand plenty of rough riding from kids.
Regardless of which bicycle is ideal for your best girl, I wish her happy trails and smooth riding.