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How to Choose a Children's Bike?

A bike is an important investment into your child’s future healthy lifestyle and their growth as an active sports enthusiast. That’s why you should carefully consider your options before purchase.

Avoid the Most Common Mistake When Choosing a Children's Bike

Some parents or grandparents tend to buy their child a bigger bike, so that it will “last longer”. That is, however, a big mistake. Nothing will turn your child off the sport more as an enormous, heavy and sometimes not even functional bicycle (that’s when people are trying to save money as well). 

Key Parameters to Consider When Choosing a Children's Bike:

  1. size
  2. frame quality
  3. components

When picking out a children’s bike, consider mainly the height and experience of your child. Beside the size of the frame, take into account also its weight and material. With a small child, think about using training wheels. Many children gain the abilities needed early by riding on a training bike. 

Think about the components used, brake adjustment and ask your child about their design preference (there are many colours and designs both girls and boys can choose from). Finally, assess the price/quality ratio of the prospective bike.

The size of a children's bike

When choosing a children’s bike, always start with size. Easy steering depends on the correct size of the bike. The bike must always fit the child’s stature – it cannot be too big or too small. The size (height) of the frame constitutes the distance between the central axle and the end of the saddle tube on the frame. It is usually given in inches (1 inch = 2.54 cm).

Does this seem complicated? Try it this way: when your child stands over the top of the frame, the distance between their groin and the frame should be ideally 5 cm. Once seated, it is important to make sure the handlebar distance is optimal. Adjust the saddle so that the child will reach the ground with their feet.

Determine the correct bike size according to the height and approximate age of the child:

Wheel diameter in inches

Child's height in cm

Child's age in cm

 12"

   90–110 cm 

 2–4 

 14"

   95–115 cm 

 3–5 

 16"

 100–125 cm

 4–7 

 20"

 105–135 cm

 6–9

 24"

 115–155 cm

 8–12

 26"

 155 cm +

 10 +

 Children's bikes' components:

  • 12ʺ, 14ʺ, 16ʺ - the smallest children’s bikes, directly following training bikes. Their components include training wheels (that can be attached or detached at will). They don’t have a gear shifting mechanism and children brake by pedalling backwards (coaster brake) while slowly learning to use the brake lever. The saddle and handlebars can be adjusted. When picking out one of these bikes, make sure the handlebars ends are secure and that there is a chain cover.
  • 20ʺ - more advanced children’s bikes using gear shifting mechanism with up to 6 speeds. Similar to bikes for adults, they have 2 brake levers and a hub. A suspension fork makes riding in rough terrain more comfortable.
  • 24ʺ, 26ʺ - the biggest children’s bikes (junior), practically identical to adult’s bikes. They have gear shifting, front derailleur, 2 hand brakes and a suspension fork. With this bike, your child can handle a longer cycling trip.

Frame quality of children's bikes

Bicycle frames are made of aluminium, magnesium, scandium, carbon, steel and sometimes titan.

  • Aluminium is lightweight, yet rigid.
  • Carbon is durable and extremely light.
  • Steel (Hi-Ten) is rigid, flexible and affordable. To lower the weight, steel alloys are used, such as Cr-Mo or Columbus.

Children's bikes' components

It is best if the components (separate parts) of the bike are a part of one set, being made by the same manufacturer on the same level. The higher-quality, yet more expensive materials ensure better reliability, adjustability and longer service life of the bike. They also make it lighter, which will be appreciated by both children and parents on longer rides and cycling lessons.

Bicycle Helmet

If you have successfully picked out a bike for your child, don’t forget to buy a helmet as well. According to the Czech law, children under 18 are obliged to wear a helmet – not just while cycling, but while inline cycling or skiing as well. Follow your country’s laws and regulations in this regard. Statistics show that a helmet will prevent a serious injury 85% of the time. Do not underestimate the importance of the helmet even in the vicinity of your own home, because that’s where most injuries occur.

To prevent abrasions, use special gloves as well. Other accessories include reflectors, bell, water bottle or a basket (which are often part of the new bike). Common and definitely useful equipment for young cyclists are reflective vests and flags of various colours. The flags are attached to the centre of the rear wheel.

Now you have done everything to improve the safety and cycling awareness of your child. With a clear conscience and under patient supervision, you can let them loose into the world of cycling.

And which bicycle will you choose?

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