• July 17, 2023

Children’s bicycles – How to buy a children’s bicycle

Kids love bikes, and if you have kids, chances are you’ll need to buy a bike for them at some point. But there’s more to buying a kids’ bike than just picking a random bike. You really have to put some thought into it or you may end up with the wrong bike and an upset kid.

You might be tempted to keep your bike purchase a secret, especially if you’re buying a bike for a child’s birthday or other holiday. However, if you plan to do this, you should listen to your children’s opinion about bikes before buying one. It can be hard to figure out which bike he or she likes without saying outright “what bike do you want?” But it can be done. You know your child very well and you should at least have some ideas about what he likes in terms of colors and such.

When you first see the huge selection of kids’ bikes, you might be a bit overwhelmed. There are many of them, and they seem to come in many different designs and colors. But you can narrow down your selection pretty quickly. Are you shopping for a boy or a girl? Some girls’ bikes are actually designed differently. Many of these bikes are pink in color or have streamers on the handles, a basket on the front, and other girl-oriented additions. Children’s bikes usually do not include a basket in the front and some have a bar or two in different places. In general, however, there is no real functional difference between boys’ and girls’ bikes. Any girl can ride a bike built for a boy and vice versa if she wants to.

You also need to know if your child wants some kind of cartoon character on his bike. Today’s bicycles usually include some image or reference to popular television characters. If your child loves a certain show, buying them a bike with that show’s character on it can be a great decision. However, keep in mind that children’s interests change quickly. You can buy him a bike with his current favorite character on it, but in a few short weeks, that character may have been replaced.

Your child’s age and coordination will dictate whether or not the bike needs stabilizers or a trike. Also, children under the age of five generally have difficulty using handlebar-mounted brakes. Unlike adult bikes, children’s bike sizes are based on wheel diameter, not seat height or frame size. The chart below should help you narrow down your search, but it’s worth testing your son out with a few variations at bike shops or her friends’ shops before you buy. One big factor is the brakes, as coaster brakes tend to be easier for younger kids, but become less common as bikes get older.

Age of childreninside the legwheel diameter
2-4 years – 35-42 cm (14-17 inches) – 12 inches
4-6 years – 40-50 cm (16-20 inches) – 14 inches
5-8 years – 45-55 cm (18-22 inches) – 16 inches
6-9 years – 50-60 cm (20-24 inches) – 18 inches
7-10 years – 55-63 cm (22-25 inches) – 20 inches
9+ years – 60-72 cm (24-28 inches) – 24 inches

Once you’ve determined the look and size of the bike, it’s time to think about what type of bike your child needs. If he or she will be riding in the country or on unpaved roads, you will need to select a bike with stronger, thicker tires with a deeper tread that will withstand a lot of abuse. If, on the other hand, he or she is going to ride more in the city, she can go with thinner tires. It really depends on where you think your child will be traveling the most. If you want to err on the side of caution, go with the fatter tires. They will work well on paved streets, but skinny tires won’t fare as well on dirt or gravel.

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