All our 12" bikes are real bikes; that is, they have pump up tyres, back pedal brakes and serviceable bearings. Beware the cheap look alike pavement toys that don't have these features.
Age Recommendation: 2 to 4 years old.
Back Pedal Brakes - If any hills are to be ridden, the back pedal brake (or coaster brake) is essential to allow control of the bike when riding downhill. Hand brakes are ineffective on this size of bike as any child small enough to ride this sized bike is too small to use hand brakes effectively, no matter how well adjusted the brakes are. Fixed wheels can be OK indoors, on the veranda or on a sealed and flat area, but if one is ridden downhill, the pedals speed up as the bike speeds up, with the result that the rider can't keep their feet on the pedals and cannot control the speed of the bikes. So, for safety and ease of use, the back-pedal brake (supplied on all real 12" bikes) is the way to go.
Pump up tyres - These give the best traction and handling. That's why all the bigger bikes have them!
Adjustable handlebar angle - It's cheaper to make the handlebar and the handlebar stem a single welded piece, but it's better if the handlebar can be adjusted forward, further away from the seat, as the child grows so the bike won't be outgrown as soon.
Steel Seat Clip - Some bikes have a seat that's moulded over the seat post. These are OK until someone's big brother decides to ride the bike and splits the plastic around the post. A new seat then will fix the problem, but buying a bike with a steel seat clip (the same as all the bigger bikes) in the first place will be the most reliable.
Frame Length - Some 12" bikes have relatively short or relatively long frames, and will suit slightly shorter or taller riders accordingly. A bike with a shorter frame, (from seat to handlebars) will be outgrown sooner.
Crossed Spokes - Some 12" bikes have radial spokes rather than crossed (they point straight out from the hub to the rim instead of coming out of the hub at and angle). Radial spoking is an easier and therefore cheaper way to build a wheel, but the spokes are not able to transfer pedalling and braking forces between the hub and rim well, so can result in the spokes becoming loose over time, which in turn makes the bike difficult to control.
Handlebar Bags and Baskets - Popular with young girls, they can carry a sandwich, a drink or a teddy bear companion.
Doll Seats - Dolls and bears can travel in style in these, held safely in place with a seat belt. However, they're not very strong so, don't expect them to last as long as the bike.
Serviceable Bearings - All our 12" bikes come with adjustable and replaceable crank bearings and steering bearings, but many toy type bikes don't. Beware - they might be cheap, but they won't last long.