The Top 5 Best Big Wheels for Kids and Toddlers – 2018 Edition
Big wheels are big fun for little kids! These durable, ready-to-roll three-wheeled vehicles are suitable for kids as young as two. Big wheels are a classic toy you might have even enjoyed as a child yourself – but do you know how to find the best big wheel?
Searching for a big wheel for your child is easy with our complete buyer’s guide. Plus, we’ve also included five 100% honest reviews of popular models. Ready to find the best big wheel? Let’s get rolling!
Our #1 Choice – Radio Flyer 474 Deluxe Big Flyer
This award-winning Big Wheel from Radio Flyer features chrome handlebars and a classic racing design.
- Adjustable seat
- Classic chopper-style design
- Low center of gravity
- Bold red color is very eye-catching
- Seats have no padding
- Assembly required
The Deluxe Big Flyer from Radio Flyer is a chopper-style tricycle with a 16” front tire, chrome handlebars and bold red coloring. Also has an adjustable seat for growing riders. Plus, the front wheel has a performance grip tread to help prevent slips and spinouts.
Designed for kids ages three through seven, the Big Wheel’s weight capacity is 65 pounds. Steel reinforced construction helps prevent the body from splitting over time. With a low center of gravity, the trike remains stable and easy to ride.
Our #2 Choice – Original Big Wheel Sidewalk Screamer
With bold colors and 47 weather-resistant decals, the Sidewalk Screamer has plenty of personality kids are sure to love.
- Classic low-rider design
- Bright colors are easy to see
- 47 decals kids can apply
- 11-inch front tire
- Assembly can be complicated
A mid-sized trike for kids between ages two and five, Original Big Wheel’s Sidewalk Screamer has a low-rider profile with a contoured seat and 11-inch front tire. Plus, 47 weather-resistant decals are included so your child can customize the bike’s look.
This big wheel is generally considered very safe. The classic design of the big wheel has a low center of gravity, making it far less likely to tip over than a standard tricycle. Plus, the bright colors of the body and wheel are highly visible, even in overcast weather.
Our #3 Choice – Fisher-Price DC Super Friends Batman Trike
Let your little one take to the streets of Gotham City with this Batman-inspired upright big wheel.
- Batman design with decals
- Makes lights and sounds
- Upright big wheel design
- Designed for kids ages two to six
- Max weight of 60 pounds
- Not sturdy enough for older kids
Holy Big Wheel, Batman! This DC Super Friends trike has a handle bar faceplate with working signal lights and push-button Batman sounds.
As you’d expect from Batman, this trike is built to last with sturdy plastic construction. This is an upright big wheel which is a great stepping stone towards a traditional tricycle or even a bicycle. A large front wheel and wide wheelbase help keep this Batman-Big-Wheel stable for young riders.
Our #4 Choice – Big Wheel (Brand Name) 16 inch
Why mess with the classics? This is a sturdy black-and-blue big wheel with a 16-inch front wheel.
- Lightweight, durable metal and plastic construction
- 16-inch front wheel
- Adjustable seat
- Assembly can be complicated
- Sticker sheet is small
This lowrider-style big wheel from Big Wheel might not dazzle with design, but it’s solid, fun to ride and easy to control. Made from both plastic and metal for a great combination of lightweight durability. Recommended for kids between the ages for three and eight with a weight limit of 70 pounds.
Assembly is required. Includes the black-and-blue frame, one 16-inch front wheel, two smaller back wheels, handlebars, seat, two pedals and a fun sticker sheet.
Our #5 Choice – Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike
Little riders can roll out with this big wheel inspired (and created by) Harley-Davidson.
- Classic Harley-Davidson design
- Easy to pedal and steer
- Fun storage stash under seat
- Assembly can be confusing
- Built for smaller, younger kids (two and up)
While these are two names you probably never thought you’d see together, Fisher-Price and Harley-Davidson have created one terrific trike. Has a big wheel up front, two smaller wheels in back and an eye-catching black and orange design. Even includes flame decals!
Designed for kids two and up. Big foot pedals and easy-to-grip handlebars are built with kids in mind. There’s also a “secret” storage compartment under the seat.
What is a Big Wheel?
A Big Wheel is a tricycle for kids where the single front wheel is significantly larger than the two wheels in the rear. There are three different types:
Lowrider Big Wheels
This is the one most commonly referred to as a “Big Wheel.” Lowrider, or classic, big wheels have a relaxed, backward-leaning seat. The rider sits low to the ground, with his or her feet forward on the pedals, which are located on each side of the front tire. Handlebars move the front wheels while the back are fixed.
Upright Big Wheels
These aren’t quite as common. An upright big wheel is similar to a traditional tricycle, but with a large front wheel. The seating feels pretty stable, making these a good fit for kids who feel too old for a lowrider big wheel but aren’t comfortable sitting on a conventional tricycle.
Push-Along Big Wheels
On the other, push-along big wheels are designed for kids who want a big wheel but just aren’t quite old enough to operate the pedals. With a push-along big wheel, a lower seat lets kids propel themselves forward using their feet. Push-Along Big Wheels are only designed for young toddlers.
What Features of a Big Wheel are Important?
Big wheels have a simple design but each component plays an important role in function and safety:
Most Big Wheels are made from high-quality plastic. Both durable and lightweight, plastic frames are able to handle rough play around the neighborhood, including dirt trails and other off-road riding. Plus, plastic frames allow for a wide variety of colors and even molded design elements.
However, plastic big wheels do have a few downsides. They’ll need to be kept out of the sun or else the colors can fade. Also, plastic can crack in an accident, and is not always possible to repair.
Although not as common as plastic, metal big wheels are also pretty popular. Metal big wheels are very durable and can even be handed down to other siblings. Plus, metal big wheels have a shiny appearance kids love.
Metal big wheels can be pretty heavy, which can make them difficult for younger children to use. Also, metal big wheels are generally more expensive than plastic models.
Tires are one of the most important parts of a big wheel. After all, the word “wheel” is right there in the name! Four tire options are available:
Hard plastic wheels are lightweight, durable and puncture-proof. They’re the most common type of wheel used and also the easiest to maintain over time. On the downside, they can provide a rough ride by magnifying the effects of small bumps in the road.
Softer than plastic, foam tires provide lots of cushioning against bumps. While they’re puncture-proof and do offer traction, they’re also not really suitable for off-roading or uneven surfaces.
These are puncture-proof tires with plenty of cushioning and usually pretty decent traction. They’re not as durable as plastic tires.
These are similar to bicycle tires. They have plenty of cushioning and traction, but they can be punctured. Overall, air-filled rubbers tires require the most maintenance of all big wheel tires.
Colors and Design
Big wheels are available in a wide variety of colors and styles. You can find plenty of licensed characters such as superheroes, Harry Potter and more. Obviously, the look of the big wheel will be pretty important to young ones. You’ll probably want to let the child pick out their own big wheel so they’re sure to have the style they want.
Are Big Wheels Safe?
As long as they’re properly used, big wheels are very safe. Most kids are able to learn how to use them without much of a problem. However, there are a few features which help make riding easier and safer.
The most important rule is to always follow the recommended age guidelines. If the child is too young, controlling the big wheel can be difficult. If the child is too old, he or she might push the big wheel beyond its intended capabilities, which can also be unsafe.
Next, make sure the pedals aren’t too stiff. If the young rider has to place too much pressure on the pedals, turning can be difficult. Unlike a bike, big wheels have no chain, which means they can be pedaled both forwards and backwards.
Handlebar sensitivity is important. Generally, kids tend to oversteer. So the handlebars can’t be too sensitive or too hard. Parents can sometimes adjust the handlebars with a wrench.
Another feature to consider is the wheelbase. A wide wheelbase improves stability, especially at faster speeds. Plus, a wide wheelbase helps prevent spills and tipping during tight turns.
Don’t forget about a comfortable, contoured seat. Fitting securely into the seat helps the child build momentum when pedaling. Plus, the seat provides back support by bracing the torso.
What’s the Right Size of Big Wheel for My Child?
When the child sits in the big wheel, his or her feet should be able to cover the pedal without bending the heel forward excessively. At the same time, his or her knees shouldn’t bend up to the point of discomfort when pedaling.
All big wheels will have a weight limit. Generally, metal big wheels will be able to support more weight than plastic. Make sure your child is always under the weight limit for their big wheel, even if they fit in the seat comfortably. Excess weight can cause the big wheel to move too fast to control safely.
Many kids as young as two can safely ride a big wheel. Generally, big wheels are a precursor to riding a tricycle. Big wheels help kids learn basic concepts such as using handlebars to steer and pedaling to create forward motion.
Big wheels are the same for girls and boys. There are no physical differences between the two sexes which require a “boy’s big wheel” and a “girl’s big wheel.” You’ll probably find certain types of big wheels marketed towards one gender or the other, but don’t let that prevent you from buying your child whatever big wheel they’re interested in.
Are Big Wheels Adjustable?
Adjustable seats allow your child to use their big wheel as they grow. The seat back will slot into three different positions to fit different heights. Adjustability allows your child ride their favorite big wheel from the age of two or three all the way to eight and older.
You might also find some big wheels with lockable pedals. This keeps the pedals from moving when the wheels turn. Younger kids can then sit and push the big wheel forward with their feet without the pedal spinning around on their own.
Not only are big wheels big fun, they help with muscle development and motor control. Kids as young as two can learn to ride a big wheel, and they can continue to be used until the age of eight and more.
Do you have fond memories of riding your big wheel during your childhood? Help your child create fond memories of their own by giving them a big wheel today!