How to Choose the Best Kid’s Bike to Buy

Teams GB’s astonishing achievements at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games have inspired more youngsters to get on their bikes. With six gold, four silver and two bronze cycling medals, medal winners such as Jason Kenny have motivated a new generation of cyclists to get kitted out with a new set of wheels.

If your little ones are keen to learn to ride and want to get out and about on a bike – here are our top tips for choosing a suitable cycle – and some great deals on kid’s bikes for the ultimate in pedal power this Autumn.

What size bike should I buy?

It’s important to choose the right sized bike for your child. Not only will it provide a comfortable ride, but it will also be safer for them when out cycling, as a bike that is too large or small will cause balance issues and result in problems controlling the bike.

Choosing a kid’s bike is all about finding the right wheel size to match their height. Take your child to the bike shop and get them to try a few for size. Ideally, the balls of their feet should be able to touch the floor while they are sitting upright on the saddle, and there should be enough room for them to stand up over the bike’s crossbar.

Check your child’s position on the bike too – they should have straight arms when holding the handlebars, but not look as if they are over-stretching to reach them.

If the bike is a surprise birthday gift, then taking your little one to try a selection of bikes may not be an option. In this case, measure your child’s height and select the best bike for them based on their measurements.

How are bikes measured?

All bikes are measure in inches by wheel size – follow the bike sizing guide below to see which size is most suitable, depending on the height of the rider:

  • Height: 98 – 112cm = 12” Wheel Size
  • Height: 105 – 117cm = 14” Wheel Size
  • Height 112 -127cm = 16” -18” Wheel Size
  • Height: 98 – 136cm = 20” Wheel Size
  • Height: 127 – 145cm = 24” Wheel Size
  • Height: 138 – 154cm = 26” Wheel Size

What types of bikes are best for younger kids?

A bike with 12” wheels is an ideal first bike for kids aged between 3-5 years old. Many bikes in this size range will include stabilisers to help your child develop their balance and prevent the bike from falling over if they cycle too slowly.  Stabilisers will help children to gain their confidence while they focus on pedalling and getting to grips with steering.

We love this unisex Paw Patrol bike, featuring Chase and his pals. The bike has a comfortable padded saddle and removable stabilisers for when they can cycle confidently.  This vibrant blue bike also includes an enclosed chain guard to keep little fingers safe.

For those on a budget, this Stardust Kid’s Bike with 12” wheels is a bargain at just £48.74 from Argos. It has a single gear, making it uncomplicated for novice cyclists and EVA puncture-free tyres.

As your child grows, a 14” wheel cycle is a sensible choice. Designed for kids between 4-6 years old many bikes in this size range still come with removable stabilisers.  Treat your superhero to a Batman themed bike or sit pretty on this Disney Princess cycle – both of which have front and rear calliper brakes, plus adjustable saddle and handlebar heights so the bike can grow with your child.

Best BMX bikes for older children

When your children outgrow a bike with stabilisers, a BMX bike is a great next step as they are considered very robust and have a compact frame which makes them easy to transport if you need to load it into the car.

Most BMX bikes are lightweight and have an uncomplicated one-gear system, which makes this type of bike a good stepping-stone between a first bike and a multi-geared mountain bike.

Confident riders can also begin to learn tricks and stunts – or simply cycle with ease in an urban environment.

An ideal first BMX is the X-rated Shockwave 16” Wheeler from Halfords. It has a sturdy steel frame and front and rear V-brakes for reliable braking. You can even add a personalised sticker to the frame for an added touch of individuality.

For a taller child, this Jet BMX with 20” wheels is available in striking lime green, camouflage-printed or bright red wheels to make it really stand out at the bike park.

Mountain bikes for tougher terrain

For off-road biking and rural areas, a mountain bike is a sensible choice for active kids. With multi-speed gears to make light work of gradients and heavy-tread tyres for additional grip, riders can explore the outdoors with ease.

The Galaxy Energy Unisex mountain bike is a great entry-level cycle for juniors, with front suspension to tackle tricky terrains and an 18-speed gear system.  It’s currently available with a £70 saving, reduced from £199.99 to just £129.99 online.

For a great all-rounder, the Licorne Guide mountain bike is available in a choice of 20”, 24” and 26” wheels, is equipped with front and rear lights and features a 21-speed gearbox.

Stay safe when cycling

When out and about on a bike it’s important to protect your child with a cycle helmet. Most helmets are measured by head circumference – take the measurements by placing a flexible tape measure around the head approximately an inch above the eyebrows.

If your child is reluctant to wear a cycle helmet, let them chose one with a funky design – like this unicorn-print helmet or this roar-some tiger helmet made from reflective material.

From toddlers to teens, cycling is a fun way to keep your kids active and healthy – and you’ll also benefit from many ‘proud parent moments’ as you help them get to grips with two-wheeled transport.