Is your child ready for their first pedal bike or maybe they have outgrown their current set of wheels? Buying a kids bike is a major purchase in terms of investment and enjoyment, so getting the right one is important. There is an overwhelming amount of choice out there, so where do you start finding the right bike? Here are some tips to buying a kids bike.
Choosing the right type of bike
What sort of riding does your child enjoy? Once they get passed 20″ wheel size bikes start to become more specialised. If they ride off-road get a mountain bike, if they like the tarmac get a road bike. Hybrid bikes are also available, they are capable of a bit of everything from forest tracks to the school commute.
For younger children that are moving from a balance bike to a first pedal bike look out for frames that are made from aluminium rather than steel. A lighter frame will make the bike much easier to control. Stabilisers aren’t always necessary, especially if your child is confident on their balance bike. Read some more tips on how to teach your child to ride a bike is this article.
Does the bike need gears?
Gears can be confusing for younger riders so probably best avoided until they reach at least the 20″ wheel size.
Once they start to want to ride further or hit some hills, then gears become important. Keep things simple and look for a single chainring at the front with a decent ratio range at the back. Bear in mind the gears can be tricky for small hands to operate and some practice will be required! Look out for bikes that come with child sized components including gears, brakes and saddles.
Finding the right size
How do you know what size bike your child needs? Age is not a very reliable guide as all children grow at different rates. Getting the right size is important as it will inspire confidence and make riding more enjoyable. Children can easily be put off riding a bike that is too big for them, as tempting as it is to get a size ‘up’ so there is room to ‘grow!’
All bikes do vary so, if possible, it is always best to get your child to sit on the bike before you buy it. Inside leg measurement is a really good way of getting a good fit;
- Stand the child in socks against a wall
- Place a small book between their legs, as high as is comfortable
- Ask the child to move away and measure from the top of the book to the floor.
Once you have measured the inside leg, use the measurement to look at the fitting guide for the bikes your are interested in.
A bike is an investment!
Investing in a good quality is an investment that can provide years of enjoyment. Buy a decent lock to keep it safe. Keep it clean and well maintained and it can be passed down to younger siblings or sold second hand to recoup some of the costs.
Who are the good brands?
Frog Bikes – We have owned two Frog bikes and would not hesitate to recommend them.
Isla Bikes – The original quality kids bikes.
Vitus Bikes – Great components and value for money.
Specialized Kid’s Bikes – Miniature versions of the bikes we all love from one of the best brands in the business.
Giant Bikes – Giant kid’s bikes are built in their very own factory so it is no surprise that they offer superb value for money and exceptional performance.
You can also looks at kids bike clubs, so rather than buying a bike out right, you pay a monthly subscription and lease it. The advantage of this is when your child has outgrown the bike they will just swap it for a larger size!
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