kids bicycle

Today we are going to talk about buying a kids bicycle. Under the term kids bicycle we understand two types of bikes: tricycles and bicycles.

In this post we are going to talk about bicycles, and more specifically – 5 things you should consider when buying a kids bicycle.

My first bike was given to me as a present by my parents when I was about 7 years old. I still to this day vividly remember all the positive emotions I felt at that moment.

Back then there was no such assortment of bikes to choose from, like we have today. There were no recommendations on how to make up your decision. More than that, there was no such thing as a bike sizing! Which I consider to be the most important aspect when purchasing a bicycle for your children. So for the first year that I had my bike I had to wait until I got a bit taller, cause I couldn’t reach pedals and handlebars. What a bummer that was, a brand new shiny toy just sitting in the corner, waiting for me to grow taller.

Nowadays we don’t have problems like this anymore, and there’s a great amount of information and bike assortment to choose from, so this whole process becomes science in itself, which we’ll try to figure out in this post.

  • First and most important thing is bicycle size, it’s wheels diameter to be more specific. It has to correspond proportionally to hight of your child. Notice that not  the age but the hight is important, because kids grow at their own pace, so the same bike size can fit a 3-year old as well as a 5-year-old.

Now lets look at size ratio:

12 inch wheels: this bike will fit a child with hight 84 to 98 centimeters( 2.7 – 3.2ft.)

14 inch wheels: from 95 to 108cm (3.1 – 3.5ft.)

16 inch wheels: from 104 to 120cm (3.4 – 3.9ft.)

18 inch wheels: from 110 to 130cm (3.6 – 4.2ft.)

20 inch wheels: from 116 to 135cm (3.8 – 4.4ft.)

A little helpful advise for the parents. If you are buying a bike in the spring-summer season then use the sizes from above. If you are buying a bike in autumn-winter season ( the child will ride it in a couple of months, half year maybe) then keep in mind that kids grow up very fast so you have to add 3-5cm (0.1 – 0.2ft) to their hight)

  • After we figured out the wheel size, let’s take a look at the frame. Frames come in couple of types. It can be a sport frame, a classic frame or a woman’s frame. For little princesses it’s better to buy a “ladies” frame. It will be much more comfortable for them to get on and of the bike. For boys, on the other hand, they are much more physically active so the choice of the frame is up to parents or child(whichever frame style he likes better). Since we are already talking about the frames, this leads us to point number 3 – frame material.

  • In majority of cases frames are made from either steel or aluminum. The material from which it’s made does not affect the durability it only affects weight of the bike. Aluminum bikes are around 20% lighter than steel ones, but at the same time they are 20-50% more expensive. Sometimes you can even find carbon or magnesium frames, but they are a lot more expensive. Parents keep in mind that you will be carrying the bike all the time.

  • Next on our list are bike components. Chain guard: there are two types of chain guard – open and full. Preferably it has to be full. Pay attention to breaks, not all bikes come with front handbrake. There are models which come only with rear drum brake (pedal brake). Other important components are training wheels. If your child is not yet quite comfortable at balancing and turning, they might be really helpful.

I recommend that you do not forget that you are purchasing a bike for a child, so how the bike looks is very important for him or her. Things like bike bells, rubber grips, cargo racks, baskets, bottle holders and bottles, fenders, these are all things that are important as well.

  • Last but not least. You have to take care about your child health. ALWAYS wear a helmet. A childs healthy back depends on the right position on a bike. Not under any circumstances the child has to lean in order to reach handlebars. Same goes for pedals, child does not have to try to reach them. Use the seat hight and handlebars angle adjustments. That way you can ensure your child right position on the bike. Straight back, while on the bike, is what you are aiming for.

Final tip for you, is that there are no bad looking bikes, but not every single good looking bicycle is qualitative. So if you are shopping at a store ask away. At least ask a dealer how to spot a high quality model from low quality one, so you won’t make an unpleasant purchase.


If you have any questions or suggestions, leave a comment below


This Post Has 14 Comments

  1. Great information – When my kids were young we never had such a good helpful information available – This will be handy when my Grandchildren get bigger – Thank You.

  2. Thanks for your pieces of advice. Got them memorized! Buying the first bike to your kid is a special moment that lasts with both the parent and the kid forever! I still remember the blue mini mountain bike with training wheels. The first accident from that same day was something which sticks in memory as well. That car was not okay! haha! Love cycling, love to read about it also. Thank you, Ivan

    1. I’m glad that was helpful. First bike i had was a soviet-made. I think it was build from tank parts, cause it weighed twice as much as i did 🙂 Still it was a lot of fun.

  3. Great article! I did not think there could be so many different aspects of a bike to consider when purchasing one! But it all makes perfect sense. It’s specifications from height, weight, wheel size and appearance are all important when considering buying a bike. I wish we had this kind of assistance in finding a bike years ago! I do remember going to the black top of my elementary school as a child when school was out and learning to ride my bike with my dad. Very fond memories! I think this is great advice to find the best bike for someones child and to be able to make those awesome memories even better! I would like to point out to recommend always wearing a helmet in your safety section :). Otherwise, great job and thanks again!

    1. Thanks for the tip about helmets. I don’t know how i overlooked it.

  4. I never thought about the seasons and how they relate to the size of the bikes and kids height. Thanks for sharing this information. My niece is presently thinking about getting bikes for her kids. I’ll share this with her. No doubt she will find this post helpful. In terms of the quality, does the brand matter?

    1. To be honest the brand name does not matter that much.

  5. So much information on how to size the bike appropriately for the child. People wonder why a bike feels small for someone or too large just because they dont know about this info. Most people do not know that bike sizing exists just as you said, and this will help those that want to get a gift for someone and get the right size. Great article!

    1. I totally agree. Size of the bike is very important and often overlooked.

  6. Hi Roman, thanks for sharing your very useful tips and aspects to consider when purchasing one kids bicycle.

    I will keep them and i think they will be very helpful to me when choosing one right bicycle for my son, though he is now only 1 year old..

    1. I’m glad this was useful.

  7. I’ve always believed that for kids, especially in today’s day and age of digital technology, that we need to get them active from a very early standpoint. Nothing is better for exercise for kids than biking, or at least to start them off and introducing them to the fitness lifestyle. Your tips will be fantastic for parents whose kids are just getting their very first bike and again, a great introduction to living a healthy and fit lifestyle.

    1. Kids these days spend a lot more time indoors. Bikes are great for getting them to be more active.

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