For any parent, choosing the right bike for your child is important for a variety of reasons including development and enjoyment of outdoor activities. With several types of kids bikes available, it can certainly be overwhelming to know where to start.
Not to worry! In this blog, we're going to look at the different types of bikes available for children between the ages of 2 and 16 and how to choose the right one. We're also going to look at how to measure your child to find that perfect bicycle and discuss one of the most important aspects of kids bikes - safety.
Types of Bikes for Kids
Balance bikes are built and designed for young children who are just learning how to ride. They have no pedals, and the child uses their feet to propel themselves forward. These bikes are effective in developing a child's balance and coordination, and are great in building their confidence too.
Balance bikes are typically lightweight and incredibly easy to manoeuvre, making them an ideal option for children aged between 18-months and four-years-old.
First Pedal Bikes
Once your child has outgrown their balance bike, they are ready to step up to a first pedal bike. As the name would suggest, they come with pedals and a chain, allowing the child to propel themselves forward.
This kids bike comes in a variety of sizes and styles, and are suitable for children between the ages three and six-years-olds. First pedal bikes often come with stabilisers or training wheels to help a child learn how to balance.
However, they add extra weight, can be tricky to fit, and, more importantly, prevent a child from learning how to properly ride a bike.
Hybrid & Off-Road Bikes
Designed for children who are aged between five and 14-years-old, hybrid and off-road bikes are ideal for children who want to explore a wider range of terrain. These kids are designed with thicker, more durable tires that can handle rougher terrain such as gravel or dirt paths.
Furthermore, they have suspension systems built to absorb any shock and make every ride that much smoother. Hybrid and off-road bikes are ideal for kids who are starting explore off-road trails and need a bike that can handle it.
These bikes are designed for children who want to ride on smooth, paved surfaces including bike paths and roads. They have lightweight, narrow tires that allow for fast speeds and easy manoeuvrability.
Road bikes have drop handlebars, which allow your child to change hand position and adjust their posture while riding. If your child have a keen interest in road cycling or triathlons, these bikes are a good choice.
If your child wants to ride on dirt tracks, ramps or perform tricks, then a BMX bike is the ideal choice for them.
They have small frames and wheels, which ensures they are lightweight and easy to manoeuvre. Often used for freestyle riding or racing, kids BMX bikes come with a number of features including pegs for grinding on rails.
Does your child like to ride on rough terrain and trails? If so, you ought to choose a mountain bike for them. Their wheels are thick and durable, and these bikes come with suspension systems that absorb all shock which makes your child's riding adventure that much smoother.
They also often come with gears to make uphill riding easier, and can have features such as disc brakes for better stopping power. Mountain bikes are a good choice for children who have a keen interest in taking their riding beyond the pavement.
How to Measure a Child for a Bike
Now that you're well versed on the different types of bikes that are available to your child, lets take a look at how to measure your child for their ideal bike.
To put it simply, the most important factor when measuring your child for their bike is their inner leg length. This ensures they'll be able to reach the floor properly and have the best experience possible on their new bike.
Below is a handy chart we created that we think will perfectly explain inner leg measurement. Alternatively, you can put your child's age and height into our handy interactive bike finder to see all the bikes that are suitable for them.
Kids Bike Safety
Now that you've chosen the right bike for your child, it's now time to turn your attention to ensuring they are safe while riding. Here are some handy bike safety tips for kids:
- Wear a helmet. This is an essential piece of bike gear that will protect your child's head in case of any nasty falls. Ensure that the helmet fits properly and is worn snugly.
- Wear reflective clothing. If you and your child happen to be riding in low light conditions, make sure they are wearing clothing with reflective materials to increase their visibility to drivers.
- Using lights. Again, if your child is riding in low light conditions, make sure their bike has light make them more visible to drivers.
- Follow the traffic laws. It's important to teach your child to obey traffic laws, including stop signs and traffic lights.
Use bike lanes and paths. Whenever possible, encourage your child to use designated bike lanes and paths to avoid riding in traffic.
Stay alert. Teach your child to always be aware of their surroundings and stay alert for potential hazards like potholes or debris on the road.
Choosing the right bike for your child is very much a fun and exciting process. By understanding the different types of bikes available and how to measure your child for the right size bike, this will help ensure a comfortable and safe riding experience at all times.
Make sure that your child is always safe by encouraging them to wear a helmet, use lights, and obey traffic laws at all times. With the right bike and proper safety measures, your child can enjoy the many benefits of cycling, including improved health, coordination, and confidence.