Buying your child their first bike is an exciting moment for any parent. But with so many makes, models, and sizes on the market, it can be hard to know which one to go for! In this article, we are going to be sharing our tips for choosing a bike for your child, so you can be sure you’re choosing the right one.
When buying your child their first bicycle, there are a few key things that you will want to keep in mind:
1. The type of bike
By this, we mean the type of bike that will be most appropriate for your child’s age and current level of skill.
A lot of the time, children will start learning to ride during their first couple of years of life. For the under-twos, a small tricycle or ride-on toy will usually be the most suitable selection.
Scooters and balance bikes may also be used as an optional stepping stone around the 18 months to two years, to help children prepare for their first “big bike”. You can learn more about the pros and cons of balance bikes here.
By the time children turn two, they will usually be ready for their first pedal bike.
2. The size of the bike
It is also very important that you buy your child a bike that is an appropriate size for their height. If you get one that is too big or too small, it may be harder to control and more difficult for them to ride. An incorrectly sized bike may also make for an uncomfortable riding experience!
Sizing for children’s bikes is usually based on wheel size – not the size of the frame or height of the seat, as with a lot of adult bikes. Each wheel size will correlate with a specific age, height, and inseam length inseam (the measurement from the crotch to the floor).
The three most common kids’ bike sizes are:
- 40cm or 16-inch wheels (for kids aged between 4 and 7, with a height of 100 – 120cm)
- 50cm or 20-inch wheels (for kids aged between 7 and 9 with a height of 120 – 135cm)
- 60cm or 24-inch wheels (for kids aged between 9 and 11 with a height of 135cm – 145cm)
However, a range of other bike sizes are also available – for example, 12-inch, 16-inch, 18-inch, and 20-inch.
A variety of kids bike size charts are available online, which outline the size recommendations for different age groups and height brackets in more detail. You can also learn more about kids’ bike sizing here.
3. The material that the bike is made of
Generally speaking, the lighter a bike is, the easiest it will be to maneuver. Because of this, it is recommended that you look for a kids’ bike that is lightweight, as this will make it as easy as possible for your child to control and handle it.
Aluminium is one example of a lightweight material that is commonly used to construct kids’ bikes. By comparison, something like steel is much heavier, which will make the bike much harder to steer and control.
4. The cost of the bike
Like shoes and clothes, children tend to grow out of bikes quickly. For example, your child will quickly grow out of the bike that they learn to ride on when they are two or three, and they will require a bigger bike by the time they are five, six, or seven.
Because of this, it is recommended that you look for a bike that is safe and high-quality, whilst still being cost-effective. This will make it easier and more affordable for you to upgrade your child’s bike as need over time, to keep up with their growth.
5. Whether you will require any accessories
In addition to the bike itself, you may also need to invest in additional accessories for your child, particularly when they are first learning to ride.
For example, you may wish to install training wheels or stabilisers on your child’s bike. These are essentially an extra set of wheels that can be attached to the back of your child’s bike near the rear wheels. These provide some extra support and help with balance whilst your child is first learning to ride. Learn more about training wheels here.
You may also want to invest in a parent assistance handle for your kids’ bike. Special steering bikes are available, which come with a handle that is permanently fixed to the back. However, we recommend opting for one that is removable, meaning that you can clip it onto any bike (even when your child sizes up out of their old one, or when you want to use it on more than one child’s bike).
Push Me Home’s parent assistance handles are telescopic, extendable ergonomic handles that clip onto your child’s bike to help:
- Reassure your little one as they continue to grow their confidence on their first rides
- Keep their bike on course when they get distracted looking around at their surroundings, putting an end to crashes, tears, and grazed knees
- Put in the muscle on those rises where they need a little extra help and support
- Give them a hand braking on steep downward hills
- Control the speed they are riding at
- Provide that extra push where needed
- Allow you to leave your child on the bike, then push them back home when they end up too tired to ride home themselves
There is one more accessory that you will need, and that is a good helmet. This is a must-have, even for more experienced riders, as it will protect your child from serious injury in the event of a fall or crash. You can learn more about the importance of kids’ bike helmets and how you can choose a good one here.
Need more help with choosing your child’s first bike? Be sure to check out our blog. Here, we have a range of other blog posts, articles, and resources to support you as you get started on your child’s learning to ride journey.