Kid's Bike Guide

Words by Mark

on 07/11/2018 14:04:00

What is a Kids bike?

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.

Help with Sizing

If you're looking for help with choosing the right size of bike for your child, visit our kids' bike size guide

Are there different types of Kids Bike?

Kids' First Bike - Balance Bikes and 12-Inch Pedal Bikes (Age 2-3 Years)

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.

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14-Inch to 18-Inch Bikes (Age 4-6 Years)

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.

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20-Inch Bikes (7-9 Years)

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.

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24-Inch Bikes (10-12 Years)

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.

Shop all 24-inch bikes >

What type of Kids bike should I buy?

The main thing to consider when buying a kids bike is size, as the type of riding children want to explore only really comes into the equation when they are above the age of 10. Bear in mind that larger bikes will be more cumbersome and may feel 'scary' for young children, so don't be tempted to buy a bike that will be grown into. Younger children will find a smaller, lighter bike much more enjoyable and easier to learn on if they are still finding their balance.

What should I look for when buying a Kids bike?

As mentioned, 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.

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.

Find your nearest Rutland Cycling store

Pop into any of our stores to speak to our experts and browse our great ranges of kids bikes!