Big wheels are trikes but come with a much larger front wheel (hence the name) which allows kids to sit lower to the ground, making it safe to ride and also provides a unique riding experience. Originally introduced in the 1970s, big wheels have proven to be a great source of fun for kids, and are a safer alternative to the standard trikes. You can check out more Ride-on toys here.
Big Wheels: Buying Guide
What is a Big Wheel?
A Big Wheel ride-on toy is basically a tricycle for kids in which the single front wheel is much bigger than the two rear wheels.
Also known as Lowrider, the classic, big wheels have a relaxed, backward-leaning seat. The rider seat is quite low, so the child sits low to the ground, with his/her feet forward on the pedals.
Big Wheel Toys vs other Ride-on Toys
Big wheel toys are different from other popular ride-on toys in several ways, including:
- Size: Big wheel toys are larger than most other ride-on toys. They typically have a larger front wheel that can be up to 16 inches in diameter (most balance bikes have 10 to 12 inches wheels).
- Low center of gravity: Big wheel toys have a low center of gravity (due to the smaller rear wheels), which makes them more stable and easier to balance.
- Pedal power: These are manually powered and do not come with batteries or motors. Children use their legs to move the toy forward, which helps to develop their gross motor skills.
- Unlike other ride-on toys that may use batteries or motors, big wheel toys are powered by pedaling. Children use their legs to move the toy forward, which helps to develop their gross motor skills.
Related: Popular battery powered ride-on toys (are rechargeable and have limited top speed).
Big wheels are typically designed for children between the ages of 2 and 7 years old (although you do get big wheels for adults as well).
These are particularly popular among preschool and early elementary school-aged children, due to its low design, which makes them ideal for younger children who are still developing their balance and coordination skills.
Big wheel toys often come with safety features such as a seat belt or a handlebar that children can hold onto while they ride.
Since, big wheel have a big front wheel and a low center of gravity, these are unlikely to topple. Because of its low design, the Consumer Products Safety Commission has even declared the Big Wheel to be safer than the traditional bikes/trikes.
However, if your child is using a bigger sized big wheel ride-on and will be using it outdoors, you should take safety precaution such as making your child wear a helmet.
History of the Big Wheel?
The first big wheel was designed by American toy company Louis Marx & Co., where the designers played around with the design of a tricycle, and came out with a upside down looking trike, which performed like a race car.
The new design became an instant hit with kids as they were able to do 360-degree spins.
The Big wheels became a national phenomenon, and over time, also become part of our popular culture. It is featured as one of the icons of 20th century pop culture in the Pop Century Resort in Disneyworld, Florida, where you get to see a 3-story tall replica of a Big Wheel.
Big wheel races are now quite common, with both kids and adults participating in these races.
Big wheel remains a favorite toy for kids
The Big Wheel has several unique features that make them stand out, and these ride-on toys remain a favorite toy for many toddlers and very young children.
Big wheels are fun to use, helps a child learn motor skills and get some exercise for the legs, these can be used indoors as well as outdoors and have a nice, low design which makes them safe.
Because of the big wheels and better balance (compared to a tricycle), kids can ride this ride-on faster and also spin them around easily (without fear of tripping over).
Types/Variants of Big Wheel
While the Big Wheel may have undergone changes over the years, its fundamental design has remained more or less the same for decades.
Here are some of the common types/variants of big wheel toys available on the market today.
- Classic Big Wheel: This is the traditional, big wheel toy that features a large front wheel, small rear wheels, and a low-slung seat. It is often brightly colored and has a retro look.
- Spin Big Wheel: Spin big wheels have a special spinning feature that allows the rider to spin the toy around in a circle while they ride. This can be a fun and exciting way to play with a big wheel toy.
- Some Big Wheel ride-ons come with features like adjustable seats and pedals to accommodate children of different sizes and abilities. These allow the toy to grow with your child as they get taller and their legs get longer.
Features to consider :
- Frame: Available in plastic (easy to handle, various colors) as well as metal (durable, shiny appearance). These are often made of lightweight materials and are portable, although most big wheel ride-on toys are not foldable.
- Tires: Plastic, Foam, Solid-rubber, Air-filled Rubber. Some are designed to be ridden indoors, while others are suitable for outdoor use.
- Colors and Design: Variety of colors and styles. Some big wheels may have features like lights and sounds to enhance the riding experience.
- Weight Limit: All big wheels have a weight limit (choose one that is weight and age appropriate)
- Adjustable seats allow the toy to be used for a few years. We recommend a seat with some back support for the rider’s torso, especially useful for young riders.
Most models are gender-neutral and can be used by both “boys” as well as “girls”.
Best Big Wheels for Kids (At a Glance)
Big wheels are ride-ons with a big wheel in the front, and two smaller wheels in the rear, providing more stability and fun while riding. There are several brands of big wheel ride-on toys such as Radio Flyer, Fisher-Price, Razor and more.
- Radio Flyer Deluxe Big Flyer (Ages 3-7)
- Razor RipRider 360 Caster Trike
- Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike (Ages 2 5 years)
Related: Check out more ride-on toys here
Big Wheels for Kids: Reviews
RadioFlyer Deluxe Big Flyer
Fly by your friends on the Deluxe Big Flyer (from Radio flyer), a chopper-style tricycle with sleek racing design. It features a big 16″ front tire and extra wide rear racing style tires for stability. This big wheel ride-on features an adjustable seat that will grow with your child and can be pedaled forwards as well as backwards. A racing pennant makes this trike more visible and safer for the child. This trike features real chrome handle bars (borrowed from a Harley), molded handgrips, double barrel fork resembles the design of most mainstream superbikes.
Although it says, its designed for ages 3-7 years, its a bit small in size and will be more comfortable for kids aged 3-5 years.
Radio Flyer is a trusted brand, well-known for its red-colored wagons and other ride-on toys, including the big wheels (available in red and pink colors).
You can also check out the Radio Flyer Junior Flyer Trike (for ages 2-5 years) if your child is still too small.
RipRider 360 Castor Trike
If you have a child who is 5+ years old (max weight: 160 lbs), they are going to just love the RipRider 360 Castor from Razor. The Rip Rider 360 features two inclined casters at the rear that makes spinning and drifting really a child’s play (compared to other big wheels out there).
The casters on the back of the RipRider 360 spin 360-degree which allows resistance-free drifting and spinning action for a unique riding experience.
The big wheel ride-on features MX-style handlebar with rubber grips, double crown fork design, and welded steel frame and fork. It feels rugged and is built of superior quality. While the seat is not adjustable, it is still comfortable for most kids to ride.
It is easy to assemble, construction is rock solid, is safe to use, and has nice design. Overall, a great trike for kids.
Razor is another popular brand that makes excellent scooters and ride-ons that provides excellent performance for the best riding thrills.
Razor FlashRider 360
The Razor Flash Rider 360 is similar in specs to the RipRider 360 (reviews above) but comes with a modern twist – a “spark bar”. The Razor FlashRider 360 allows kids to spin and spark; it creates sparks (without compromising on safety) that further ignites your kids excitement.
Just make 360 degree spins and pull the spark lever to let the sparks fly. You can buy the Spark Cartridges separately as well.
Overall, a great trike with exciting feature and stylish looks.
Radio Flyer Cyclone Ride-On
The Radio Flyer Cyclone Ride-On has a unique design, and unlike other big wheel ride-ons, this one has two 16″ big wheels in the front (instead of one) and features one caster wheel on the rear. And instead of your legs, you exercise your hands to move the thing.
Recommended for ages 3-7 up to 70lbs.
Kids can sit on the bucket seat with their legs outstretched and two hands on either side of him, gripping the pedals that turn the two wheels. Because the toy’s center of gravity is so low to the ground, the child can go really fast and not worry about tipping over. And the toy can maneuver over grassy areas with ease.
You can go forward, reverse, or spin 360 degrees using arm powered action. It features Solid steel frame, comfort handgrips to guide your ride and an ergonomic seat for a comfort ride. Easy to assemble (you need a hammer, screwdriver, and wrench to set it up and get ready to ride).
Fisher-Price Harley-Davidson Tough Trike
For kids ages 2 5 years
Weighs just 4 pounds and measures 29.5 inches by 22.5 by 22.
Large, rugged front wheel and sturdy frame provide enhanced stability while riding. Big sized pedals and adjustable seat makes it even more comfortable to ride.
It also has a small secret area where your little one can store their favorite toys.
Fisher-Price DC Super Friends Batman Trike
Big front wheel help kids pedal faster, Easy-grip handlebars, slip-resistant pedals and a three-position adjustable seat. It also has a Small storage space behind the seat.
Lots of features at bargain price. Adjustable seat, easy to assemble. For smaller kids. It plays recognizable phrases from his favorite superhero, Batman.
Disney Big Wheel 16″ Ride On
With its large 16″ front wheel, the Big Wheel is a popular ride-on with kids. Available in more exciting graphics such as Spider-Man, Princess, Cars, Frozen and many other kids favorite Disney characters.
Low-riding design offers easy on and easy off access and a low center of gravity for comfort and security.
Assembly takes around 40-45 minutes. Instructions are clear and all the tool are included, all the stickers are also included. For the rear axle, tap the washer onto the axle using the tool (just to get it started on the axle); then hammer on the cap.
- Colorful character graphics included
- Sturdy plastic construction
- Grow with Me’ 3 position seat to fit your child’s growing needs
- Recommended weight limit of 70 lbs
- For ages 3 to 8 years
- Product Dimensions are 34.5″l x 21.3″w x 23.5″h
Adult-Size Big Wheel
Big wheels are not just for kids, even adults can have some fun using these, and one such product is the High Roller Adult Size Big Wheel. Use them for open-road riding, skidding, and spinning.
You can see videos of riders whipping down the driveway, spinning and turning, skidding to a halt, and—best of all—keeping up with their siblings and friends across multiple kinds of difficult terrain.
- Steel frame and alloy rims
- Seat is adjustable.
- Pneumatic 26-inch front tire designed to support up to 275 pounds.
- 14-inch high-density polyethylene plastic wheels in the rear (five times thicker than the ones available on the kids version). These can be replaced easily if they wear out.
- The High Roller comes with a handlebar-operated V-brake.
Replacement Parts, Kit Assembly for Big Wheel
It’s common for ride-on toys to go through wear and tear, and certain parts may break or may require replacement.
The good thing is that its easy to find replacement parts such as wheel, axle, seat, and pedal for your big wheel ride-on toy.
FRONT WHEEL 16″ Diameter Replacement Parts Kit Assembly for The Original Big Wheel
If your little one is sad that the front wheel of his bike is broken, its now way to find a replacement; just buy one of these.
FRONT WHEEL replacement kit for the original Big Wheel.
BLACK FRONT WHEEL 16″ Diameter
A new pedal washer is Included
Parts Made in USA
Funtoyworld is a family-managed website with me (Ben), and my wife doing most of the work. We are proud parents of two wonderful kids and love reviewing toys. We have a firm but friendly “democratic parenting” style and offer several practical suggestions backed by extensive research. Our own experience with raising two children prompted us to share our knowledge. Read more.