How to Choose Kids Bike?

Looking for kids’ bike is somewhat different than looking for adult bikes. The reason is that when we are purchasing the kid’s bike, then they are measured by the size of the wheel.

However, on the other side, we choose the adult bike based on the frame. Usually, the kid’s bike starts at 12 inches wheels and runs through 24-inch wheels. After that, when the kid’s size becomes more significant, you can choose from adult-sized bikes that start with 26-inch wheels.

Wheel size is the first thing you should consider when looking for a kid’s bike. Below is a chart that will guide you in purchasing the correct kid’s bike. I provide you with the estimated age range in this chart, but certain kids whose ages are less, but their height and body size are bigger.

Remember that age is not the major factor when you are sizing a bike for a child. The reason is that there is a difference in kid’s height, legs, and torso within an age bracket. Sometimes, a bike is fit for a 7 years old child but not fit for other children. This is because there is a difference in the body size of both the kids. The bikes which have the same size are also different between bike manufacturers.

Guide to Kids’ Bike Sizing

Bike Wheel Child Height (in.) Approx. Age Inseam (inside leg length)
12-inch 30-39 2-4 12-17
14-inch 37-44 3-5 16-20
16-inch 39-48 5-8 18-22
20-inch 42-52 6-10 21-25
24-inch 50-58 8-12 24-28
26-inch 56+ 10+  

 

Guides to kids bike sizing

You should purchase that bike for your kid, which fits well because when the bike size is larger, it is difficult for a child to run it. If the bike size fits well, then it is easy for the kids to handle it. On the other side, it is safe and more fun to ride. For this purpose, you must consider the wheel’s size you need and then give your child to try several bikes out.

Buying guide for purchasing a new bike for your child

  1. First of all, you should enquire how tall your child is, especially, you should measure the legs. You can measure it by measuring the distance between the top tube and the ground. This is a very important factor in locating the size of a kid’s bike. For this purpose, the child will be able to travel the bike with their feet flat on the floor. At this point, the crotch is not resting on the top tube of the bike. This thing will ensure the safety and comfort of your kid.
  2. Is your child reach the handlebars? While purchasing the kid’s bike, you should keep in mind that your child is comfortably gripping the handlebars without fully extending their arms. The ideal thing is that there is a slight bend in the elbows. In a 20 inch bike, kids can easily steer and squeeze the hand brakes, which your kid should also do.
  3. Seat height: the seat height is very much important as some bikes are designed so that the kids could write in a more upright position. So your kids would be able to sit comfortably and see their surroundings easily. At the bottom of the pedal stroke, should also bend the legs to some extent.

After all, you should measure the inside legs’ length to make sure that there is enough clearance above the bike standover height. Measuring the length of the inside leg is called the child’s inseam. So for this purpose, you will compare the standover height for specific bikes with the child’s inseam. The child’s inseam should be higher than the standover height, so the child is not resting on the top tube. For example, if the standard height is 17 inches, then the child’s inseam should be 18 inches.

How to measure the child’s inseam?

Usually, the manufacturers make their bikes sizing according to the child’s age or height, but we always recommend to measure the child’s inseam instead of the child’s age or height because it is much more accurate.

  • Wearing the shoes, take your child stand against the wall, feet slightly at a distance.
  • In between the legs, put a hardbound book, spine towards the crotch.
  • When the spine of the book firmly touches the crotch, raise the book.
  • Then level the book with the floor and measure from the ground up to the book’s spine; this is called inseam.

How to check the perfect seat height keeping in mind child inseam and riding ability?

  • The child’s first bike’s seat height should be set by keeping in mind the child’s inseam.
  • The seat of a confident kid can be set to 2-4 inches above their inseam.
  • If the bike has training wheels, then the seat should be set from 0 to 3 inches above the child’s inseam.
  • For the balance bike, the seat should be set 0.5 to 1.5 inches below the child’s inseam.

Kids Bike Guide of different ages

  • 12-inch- and 14-inch-wheel Bicycles

Approximate range: ages 2 to 4 (depending on child’s height and leg length)

Kids always feel freedom and fun to ride on bikes with 12-inch wheels. These bikes have low seats and perfect for the smallest riders. This thing will help the small-sized kids put their feet down and help in learning balance and scooting.

Here you can choose the balance bikes without paddles or the bike with pedals. Sometimes, there are also removable training wheels, so when the child gets used to keep up with the balance, these wheels can be removed.

Balance Bikes

Balance bikes are the simplest ones that have no crank, pedals, or chain. These bikes have just a frame and wheels. So when the child scoots or walks on the balance bikes, the feet serve as brakes. The good thing about balance bikes is that the kid can easily ride on them and handle them. These bikes are also light in weight so that the kids will travel surprisingly fast on them. The youngest kids will also learn how to coordinate balance and steering.

Bikes with Pedals

These types of bikes come with training wheels and pedals and usually have 12 inch or 14-inch wheels. Keep in mind that you can remove these training wheels and pedals. Training wheels are very good at boosting confidence so they can easily ride on their own. They have coaster brakes at the back and they are also single-speed bicycles. In some models, you can also see an additional rare brake controlled by a hand lever. Young kids do not have enough power to pedal so you have to wait until they are bigger or start them off with a balance bike.

16-inch-wheel Bicycles

Approximate range: ages 5 to 8 (depending on child’s height and leg length)

When the kids start their first bike, the kid will definitely go for the 16-inch bike. This is considered to be the child’s first pedal bike. These bikes usually have rear coaster brakes and usually, come with a one-speed option. In some bikes, the training wheels can be removed. However, if you like to purchase the cruiser bike, then you can go for it if your child is conscious about styling. 

20-inch-wheel Bicycles

Approximate range: ages 6 to 10 (depending on child’s height and leg length)

When you look for a bike with 20-inch wheels, then you will definitely reveal the most bike features. The good thing about these bikes is that they have hand brakes and you can also choose multiple gears. These features are not present in cruiser bikes because coaster brakes are present in them.

Choose the gearing:

Single-speed: These bikes are very easy to use as these are less complicates. It is sometimes difficult to bike up hills.

Geared

If your kid’s bike has gears then he or she can easily ride and going uphill will also be easier. So you should go for bikes which have gears, especially for the active kids. If you live in hilly areas then a bike with gears is good for you. Learn more in our article on Bike Gears.

Choosing the style

Mountain Bike: The mountain bikes for kids have wider tires and also has front shocks to soften the impact of rough terrain. So the tires can easily compress and rebound while riding uphill. These wheels are helpful in overall stability. They are good for the kids who want to travel in rough terrains and hilly areas.

Hybrid-style bike: These types of bikes are good for all-around riding. The tires of Hybrid-style bikes are lighter and have narrower tires with front shocks.

24-inch-wheel Bicycles

Approximate range: ages 8 to 12 (depending on the child’s height and leg length)

24-inch bikes have features and options similar to adult bikes. The bike fits into the child and also it depends on how the child plans to use it. It also depends on whether your child wants to take it around the city or to ride off-road. When you purchase the cruiser bike then you must look for the gears and hand brakes. Depending on the styles, there are also different gear options.

Mountain bikes: If your child wants to go off road then mountain bike is the best option. In mountain bikes for kids many features are available specially the size front, suspension, number of gears, as well as components such as hydraulic disc brakes.

Hybrid-style: Hybrid style bikes are suitable for riding around city or neighborhood. These bikes have narrow tires and nano front shock absorbers. Many kids like the hybrid style bikes because they are very easy to handle as well as light in weight.

Other Bike Shopping Tips

  1. First of all, you should check the hand brakes. Keep in mind that your child’s hands can easily operate them.
  2. With the passage of time, you should make adjustments. When your child is learning how to ride on a bike then the seat height should be low enough. If the seat height is low then the kid could easily touch the ground with both feet to stop and catch themselves if they fall. With the passage of time, the child could easily put the feet with tiptoes. Then the kids can easily pedal in a more efficient way. Moreover, it is not hard on their knees.
  3. Accessories: the accessories for the kids bike is very important. Normally, the accessories which are used are streamers, horn, and other accessories.
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