Kids Bike Buyers Guide

Kids Bike Guide


How to measure a child for a bike

  • 1. Stand them up against a wall with the backs of their feet butted upto the wall.
  • 2. Hold a book up between their legs as far as it will comfortably fit.
  • 3. Ask them to move away from the wall and whilst holding the book in place, measure the distance from the floor to the top of the book.

Kids' bike size guide

Encourage your kids to explore their neighbourhood by bike - it builds confidence and independence, and sets them up for a lifetime of healthy, active living. Getting the right-sized bike is crucial - children grow fast, but don't be tempted to pick a bike that your child will grow into - if the bike is too big, then it's going to be uncomfortable and difficult to control.

Approx. age Min. inside leg Wheel size Frog Bike size
1-2 years 24cm / 9" 10" Tadpole
2-3 years 31cm / 12" 12" 13", 14" (X Small)
3-4 years 38-43cm / 15-17" 14" Tadpole Plus, Frog 40
4-5 years 48cm / 19" 16" Frog 48
5-7 years 52-58cm / 20-23" 20" Frog 52, Frog 55, Frog Road/Track 58
8-12 years 62-67cm / 24-26" 24" Frog 62, Frog Road/Track 67
10-14 years 69-78cm / 27-31" 26" Frog 69, Frog Road/Track 70, Frog MTB 72, Frog 73, Frog 78

Age 2-3 Years : Kids First Bike - Balance Bikes and 12-Inch Pedal Bikes

For toddlers learning how to find their stability on two wheels, balance bikes offer a way to learn the ropes. Due to the lack of stabilisers and pedals, balance bikes build confidence in movement and give children the sense of coordination needed to ride a bike. Alternatively, 12-Inch bikes with pedals and stabilisers allow toddlers to experience the feelings of pedalling and movement without feeling they're at risk of a fall.

Both methods work, although using a balance bike tends to get your child riding unaided quicker, as they're already acquiring the balance and coordination they'll need, while scooting around on their balance bike. These bikes can also be taken over rougher, more uneven ground than a bike with stabilisers.

Whichever method you choose, the most important thing is not to rush your child into learning to ride a bike. Building confidence is the key here, so let your child go at their own pace.

Age 4-6 Years : 14-Inch to 18-Inch Bikes Are Ideal

As toddlers grow up and learn how to ride without aid, 14-Inch to 18-Inch bikes are the next step. Here, they begin to resemble a bicycle that an adult might ride, with brakes, pedals and drivetrains. They tend to be an easy single-speed set up to allow for simple use and maintenance. Small frame designs allow for easy mounting, too.

These bikes come in a series of bright designs and often include (or can be fitted with) accessories that will inspire children to step outside and explore the world around them.

7-9 Years : 20-Inch Bikes

At this stage, children's bikes begin to resemble adult's mountain bikes or hybrids. Components begin to be more robust and these bikes usually have several gears, allowing kids to tackle a greater variety of terrain. Many will include front suspension to give reliable handling and comfort, whilst tyres will generally come with a bit of tread for some light off-road trails.

10-12 Years : 24-Inch Bikes

24-Inch bikes are the final step before children get to ride smaller-sized adult bikes. This means they have a lot in common with adult options and become more varied in the style of riding they are designed for. For example, road bikes are available in this category to give children their first experience of road cycling and perhaps some junior racing. Alternatively, off-road focused bikes are ideal for budding adrenaline junkies.

Road versions will have lightweight frames and rigid forks to aid power transfer and speed, whereas off-road bikes will have suspension and trail-focused gearing. Either way, this is the perfect time for children to find their favourite cycling discipline.

youth bikes

Kids Bike FAQ

Kids bikes are designed to make learning to ride a bicycle easier and more enjoyable. We all remember what it's like to learn how to ride a bike and it's an important part of finding freedom as you grow up.Whatever their age, it is important to choose the right bike for your children. Whether they are just learning or are looking for their next ride as they grow, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Size will be the first determining factor when looking at kids bikes. Always buy a bike that fits your child now, rather than one they'll grow into. Smaller kids bikes are generally categorised by size and whether they have pedals rather than by discipline - at least until they're a bit bigger. Then there are a much wider range of MTB, Road and Hybrids available for ages 10+Weight is also very important, particularly for younger children, and as an adult it's easy to overlook this. If you consider that some kids bikes weigh almost as much as the child, then you start to appreciate how tricky it can be for kids to pedal and control these bikes. Much better to invest a little more in a children's bike that is lightweight and uses good-quality brakes, gears and tyres - it will be easier and more enjoyable for your child to ride, and will stand the test of time, even after it's been handed down a few times.

No! Balance bikes are actually available from 18months upto adult sizes! They're not a one-size fits all and there are lots of tyre sizes. For kids aged 5 and up you can remove the pedals from any bike and have them use it as a balance bike. It might take a bit more effort as they're heavier than an actual balance bike, but if it's all you've got - go for it! Even older kids learn faster on a balance bike.

It depends how often they're on their bike! Most children can sit and glide on a balance bike within a few months with the really outdoorsy kids picking it up in a matter of weeks.

If they've mastered their balance bike, that's being able to ride, balance and stop - then they've shown enough skill to be able to manage a pedal bike.There are no real rules and some kids might feel more comfortable on a balance bike until they're tall enough for a 16-inch pedaller.

Stand them against the wall making sure their heels are right up against it. Put a book up between their legs as high as is comfortable.Ask them to move away from the wall and measure from the top of the book to the floor. That's their inside leg measurement which should determine the frame size you need.

Most kids' bike sizes are based on wheel size; a few brands (eg. Frog Bikes) size by minimum inside leg length (so a Frog 52 is suitable for a child with an inside leg length of at least 52cm, and should continue to fit until the child's leg length increases to 55cm. At this point, they can move up to the Frog 55).

Rutland Cycling is the world's largest Frog Bikes dealer, and we stock many other kids' bikes, too. If you're buying a kids' bike online, then the information above will help you order the right size child's bike. For ultimate peace of mind, we offer a 90-day returns policy (for unused products), and a 30-day test ride*, so if the bike isn't right for your child after having ridden it, you can exchange it for another model. If live nearby, you can visit any of our stores, where our helpful staff are fully trained in the art of children measuring. *Not available on sale items, or items purchased on Finance.

Measure their inside leg and compare it with our size guide on this page. Most bikes, aside from Frog Bikes will size their bikes based on wheel size, so we've put together a chart to help you convert.

A 20 Inch bike would be ample. Depending on their height, they may be ready for a bigger bike, but make sure they can comfortably keep their feet on the floor when not riding.

14-Inch to 18-Inch Bikes Are Ideal.

A 20-inch Wheel-size bike. This is based on an inside leg measurement of 52-58cm.

Stabilisers can help to alleviate some of the fear when a child is learning to ride a bike and often parents remove just one stabiliser as part of the process of learning to balance on their own. Gradually moving upto removing both. Arguably the better alternative is to help your child gain their balance on a balance bike before moving upto a pedal bike. These tend to help them gain confidence in the bike's dynamics.


David Hicks / Nik Hudson