The Kettler Violet (for girls) and El Toro (for boys) earn the best reviews among 12-inch kids' bikes. Reviewers say the Kettler Violet and El Toro are a good fit for children who have outgrown their tricycle and are ready for their first "big" bike. Recommended for children between the ages of 3 and 6, the bikes have removable training wheels, adjustable seats and a rear coaster brake. Parents like the adjustable seat and handlebars, as these features make it easier to achieve a good fit, even for younger kids. Most say that the Kettler bikes are sturdy and durable. However, one expert says the training wheels are slightly wobbly, and we saw several reports that the assembly instructions are confusing. Like many steel-framed kids' bikes, the Kettler Violet and El Toro are heavy, which makes them harder for younger kids to pedal. Once your child is ready to graduate to a 16-inch bike, we found the best reviews for the Schwinn Jasmine or Scorch (*Est. $100).
Twelve-inch kids' bikes aren't covered by many professional sources, so the recent review from Babble.com is especially helpful. The parenting website tests a variety of kids' bikes and hands out awards to the best performers. There are also a few user reviews at sites like Amazon.com and Buzzillions.com.
The Kettler Violet and El Toro earn a Readers' Choice award from Babble.com. Editors say the 12-inch bikes are a good fit for kids who have outgrown their tricycle but aren't quite ready for a 16-inch bike. However, they say they wish the training wheels were more stable.
Review: Readers' Choice: Kettler 12-inch bike, Michelle Horton, June 2011
The Kettler Violet receives only a handful of reviews at Amazon.com. Most parents say the bike is durable and fun for their kids to ride, but one owner says the training wheels are wobbly.
Review: Kettler Violet Girls' Bike (12-Inch Wheels), Contributors to Amazon.com
The boys' El Toro bike also receives a few ratings at Amazon.com. Two parents say the bike is sturdy but too heavy, while another calls it "worth every penny."
Review: Kettler El Toro Boys Bike (12-Inch Wheels), Contributors to Amazon.com
Buzzillions.com also has a few reviews of the Kettler Violet. Parents here have few complaints, saying the bike is easy to put together and is good quality. The instruction manual could be better, however.
Review: Pulse Violet 12" Girls' Bicycle, Contributors to Buzzillions.com