Are you looking for a great Christmas gift for your child, little sibling, or nephew? Perhaps, you should opt for something that’ll allow them to spend more time outdoors, especially after a year of isolation Down Under. That’s right – a new bike. Bike riding is an incredibly fun and skilful activity that contributes to better physical and mental health, important for building social connections at a young age and increasing happiness.
From tricycles to tiny mountain bikes with front suspension, several options are available for young cyclists, which makes choosing the best one for your kid more challenging. Therefore, in this post, we’ll share how to choose a bike for kids so your toddler or middle child can hit the road or trail while you get the best value for your money.
Choosing a Bike for Kids – 4 Main Factors to Aid Your Purchase Decision
The first thing you need to know about bikes for kids is that, unlike adult bikes, they’re measured by wheel size, not frame size. Here’s a simple bike size guide for kids:
|Bike Wheel Size (in)||Kid’s Height (in)||Age Range|
Please note that when using this chart to pick the suitable size, keep in mind that the child is growing. You neither want an overly large bike that he’s unable to ride right away nor a small one that he’ll grow into sooner than expected. Ideally, you should pick one that’s with a slightly greater inseam ( inside leg length) and an adjustable seat so they can adjust according to their height.
- Type of Bike
Whether you shop online or head to a local store in your area, you’re bound to come across different options, not just in terms of price but also type. However, bikes generally fall into three categories:
A tricycle is a bike with three wheels instead of two. It is ideal for toddlers since they’re quite low to the ground, making them safer and more stable. However, these bikes neither help the rider develop the skill of balance and can be difficult to maneuver depending on their weight and the kid’s leg strength.
- Bike with Stabilizers/Detachable Wheels
Ideally, this is the best option for kids ages 5+ since they allow them to transition from four wheels to two wheels by gradually developing the skill of balance. This bike type features detachable wheels that act as stabilizers and will eventually come off after training. The only downsides of training wheels are that they can be unstable for young riders, especially upon turns, making them more susceptible to falls and injuries. Secondly, instead of transitioning, many kids rely on those extra wheels like a crutch, prolonging the learning period.
- Standard Two-Wheel Bikes
Finally, you can opt for standard two-wheel bikes suitable for ages 8 and above, especially those that already know how to ride a bike. So, if you’re planning to gift your kid an upgrade, this is the go-to choice and comes with many options, such as road bikes, mountain bikes, folding bikes, cruisers, etc.
- Usage and Style
From the ages of 7 and above, most kids will have started using their bikes differently and different design preferences. Some will use it for daily commute to school, while others will ride it recreationally on trails and off-road. Therefore, you’ll need to refine your choice in terms of style, usage, terrain, and accessories. For instance, if the kid spends more time riding off-road, they’ll require more safety accessories other than helmets and guards, such as goggles, mudguards, and front headlights. Those who regularly run errands around the neighbourhood would require accessories like a basket, pannier, and reflectors for traffic.
Ideally, you should opt for the lightest bike you can afford since it’ll be much easier to ride. However, lightweight bikes fall at both ends of the quality spectrum; therefore, they can be made from aluminium or titanium. Aluminium is prone to damage upon impact and not as durable as steel, while titanium is lighter than steel but equally strong. The only advantage of heavier bikes is enhanced leg muscle development due to greater force exerted onto the pedals.
Of course, there are other factors you need to consider when choosing a bike for kids, such as price, warranty, and additional features. However, these are all secondary compared to the ones mentioned above. With this information, you can make a more informed decision when visiting a local bike store or shopping online and bring joy to the young receiver’s life.