Which big wheel tricycle is best?

With screen time and tech gadgets dominating childhood more and more, anything that gets a child playing outdoors is a win. If it happens to also include a bit of healthy exercise, well then, it’s a no brainer. Big wheel tricycles check off both those boxes. They are easier to ride than a bicycle, since no balance is required, yet they provide just as much fun and excitement.

There are many styles of big wheel trikes to choose from these days but it’s hard to go wrong with a classic lowrider like the Radio Flyer Deluxe Big Flyer. Reminiscent of what most 30- to 50-year-olds used as children, these not only provide a sense of nostalgia for you, but endless hours of entertainment for your kid.

What to know before you buy a big wheel tricycle

Types of big wheel tricycles

The classic big wheels many of us had as children came in a single style: the lowrider. These comfortable and highly stable tricycles had a backwards leaning seat, plastic wheels and a batwing handlebar. These are still available today and remain one of the most popular styles, especially for young children. 

If your child is a little older and wants something that offers more of a thrill, a drift trike may be the answer. These also have a low seat, but are designed to go faster than low riders and feature either wide and slick plastic wheels on the back or casters that enable them to drift around turns. 

Big wheel tricycles also come in upright models, which have a higher seat than the previously mentioned styles. These more closely resemble traditional tricycles, but still have a front wheel that is larger than the rear ones. Some upright models are designed to be pushed by an adult or older sibling via a long handle that sticks out the back.

Aesthetics

Children can be notoriously fussy about their belongings, so it is important to buy them a tricycle that appeals to their burgeoning sense of style. Thankfully every style of big wheel trike comes in a variety of colors and patterns. You can even find some with themes of popular cartoons like Paw Patrol and Disney princesses. If you are unsure which style your child will like most, consider getting them involved in the buying process.

Safety

Anytime your child is riding something, safety should be a top priority. One of the ways to help ensure your kid’s safety is to buy them a big wheel tricycle that is appropriate for their age. This means avoiding drift trikes for children that are too young to handle them and opting for slower models instead. It is also important to provide your child with proper safety gear that includes a helmet at the very least, and potentially elbow and knee pads too.

What to look for in a quality big wheel tricycle

Frame material

Big wheel tricycles are either made from metal or plastic. Metal models tend to be more expensive, but they are also more durable. In fact, many can be passed down from child to child without being much worse for the wear. The downside is that metal trikes are heavier than plastic models, which can make them difficult for young children to handle.

Plastic big wheels are lightweight and can easily be picked up by an adult and even most children. Unlike with metal models, you don’t have to worry about the paint chipping off of plastic trikes, though if left out in the sun too often, they can get brittle and the colors could fade.

Tires

The tires on big wheels may be made from plastic or rubber. Plastic offers very little traction, which is why the rear tires on drift trikes are often made from it. It also doesn’t provide any cushioning, so you can expect a tricycle with plastic tires to have a bumpy ride on rough pavement. 

Rubber tires may be solid rubber or air filled. Solid rubber tires are nice because they never need any maintenance. You don’t have to worry about them deflating over time or getting punctured. Both solid and air-filled rubber tires provide good traction on most surfaces, but the latter offers superior cushioning.

Adjustability

It’s no secret that many children grow as fast as weeds. With that in mind, it isn’t a bad idea to purchase a big wheel tricycle that offers some adjustability in terms of seat and handlebar height. This ensures your child can use their trike as long as possible before growing out of it.

How much you can expect to spend on a big wheel tricycle

Most big wheel tricycles cost between $50-$250.

Big wheel tricycle FAQ

How do I know what size big wheel is right for my child?

A. A good rule of thumb when trying to find the right size trike for your child is that they should be able to comfortably reach the pedals without them being so close that their knees come up or back uncomfortably close to their body. When in doubt, choose one that is a little too large rather than a little too small so your child will get more use out of it for longer.

Do big wheel tricycles require assembly?

B. There is no definitive answer for this as some do require assembly and others don’t. This should usually be specified somewhere in the product details. If you can’t find that information there, try checking some previous buyer reviews. 

What are the best big wheel tricycles to buy?

Top big wheel tricycle

Radio Flyer Deluxe Big Flyer

Radio Flyer Deluxe Big Flyer

What you need to know: This well-made big wheel tricycle features an adjustable seat to grow with your child and eye-catching chrome handlebars.

What you’ll love: It is suitable for children from 3 to 7 years of age. Also, the large front wheel has a performance tread that offers decent traction on most surfaces.

What you should consider: The vague assembly instructions can be confusing for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Buy Buy Baby

Top big wheel tricycle for the money

The Original Big Wheel

The Original Big Wheel

What you need to know: A near perfect replica of the original model released in 1969, this 50th anniversary model can provide your child with all the same fun and fond memories that you experienced as a kid.

What you’ll love: The bright colors will appeal to nearly any child, and the three-position seat ensures they can use it comfortably for years to come.

What you should consider: The plastic wheels don’t offer much traction, especially on smooth driveways and sidewalks.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Sullivan 18" Jnr Big Wheel Drift Trike

Sullivan 18″ Jnr Big Wheel Drift Trike

What you need to know: Ideal for older children looking for a thrill, this high-end drift tricycle will allow them to impress their friends as they pull sweet 360s and rip around corners.

What you’ll love: The wide rear axle ensures stability through all kinds of high-speed maneuvers, and there is a hand brake to help keep the trike under control.

What you should consider: It can take kids some time to get used to the feeling of drifting, so it can be intimidating to some at first.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.

Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.