Buying the right kid’s bike is very important as the wrong size or type can be dangerous, uncomfortable and a needless expense. There are no specific rules for buying a particular bike for a child however, the tips below should point you in the right direction.
How to Buy the Right Size Kids Bike
Ensure the bike is a safe size. Your child should not be too far stretched and must be able to safely reach the controls. For example, it is important they are able to turn the handlebars safely, touch the ground with the tips of their toes and reach the brake levers so that they can operate them correctly. Children’s bikes are measured by their wheel size, for example a 20” bike will have a wheel diameter of 20”. Although there are no hard and fast rules for buying particular size bikes for a child of a particular age, the guidelines we recommend are shown below.
Suitable for ages 3 to 5
Suitable for ages 5 to 8
Suitable for ages 7 to 10
Suitable for ages 9 to 12
Suitable for ages 12+
Buy a Bike From a Trusted Kid's Brand
Although what brand you buy often comes down to your budget, the better brand bikes generally have increased performance, are safer and are more durable.
The best place to start looking for the right kid’s bike is at your local bike shop, where you will be able to get the bike fitted to your child. Importantly, buying a bike from a bike shop will mean it has been assembled by someone who knows exactly what they’re doing and how a bike works (versus DIY assembling from a box – even if we think we know what we’re doing we may not have every single base covered) click here.
Safety Vs Value When Buying a Kids Bike
The main issue for most people when purchasing a kids bike is trying to find a happy medium. That is, finding a suitable size bike for the present yet one that allows room for the child to grow to get maximum value for money. Perhaps the most important factor to consider here is to ensure the child is comfortable and safe on the bike. If the bike is too big and the child is intimidated by its size, they will not enjoy riding it, the bike will not be used and this may result in losing the value of the purchase.
Starting Out on a New Kid's Bike
Training wheels are a great way for a child to get use to balancing on two wheels. The smallest bike that you can buy for a child (12” bike) generally comes equipped with training wheels. You can however attach training wheels to larger bikes.
You’ve Got the Bike – Now What?
Starting to ride for the first time can be so daunting! Many of us still to this day remember the first time our trainer wheels were removed and we went free-style. Some good tips to getting your child feeling comfortable with their new bike:
- Take them to the park or onto the grass in the backyard, not an asphalt or otherwise hard surface.
- Avoid traffic for a while, until your child is naturally comfortable and confident with the bike and how to handle it. Slowly introduce traffic, but in baby steps. EG – take them onto a bike path so they’re dealing with other cyclists, versus a road where they’re dealing with motorists.
- Let them get used to it under their own steam. We all learn at our own pace and in our own way. Some kids may just want to keep their feet on the ground and push with their legs for a little while before they take to the pedals.
- Many kids love to embellish their bikes with handlebar streamers, stickers etc. This is a great way to get them feeling comfortable about their new two wheels.