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Size matters for kids

Size matters for kids

For a kid’s bike, size is everything.

As every parent knows, safety and comfort are top priorities when buying a new bike. Of course, for your child, these kind of grown-up concerns are way down the list. Somewhere below the colour, whether it’s got a basket and how loud the bell is!

So, no matter who’s in charge when it comes to choosing your next kid’s bike, remember the golden rule: size matters. The best bike in the world is the one that fits best – the rest is just about how much you want to spend.

If you want to encourage your child to love cycling, it’s important to pick the right size of bike. Too large can be uncomfortable, heavy to manoeuvre and difficult to ride. And a ‘bike they’ll grow into’ can risk putting them off the whole experience.

Choosing based on child’s height

The not-very-scientific way to choose is based on height and wheel size – use this standard size guide to start with. However, every bike is different and at Bikes Direct we would ALWAYS recommend that you try a number of sizes and styles before you buy.

Height                             Age                                                             Wheel size

98 – 112cm                     3 – 5 yrs                                                      12″

105 – 117cm                   4 – 6 yrs                                                      14″

112 – 125cm                   5 – 7 yrs                                                      16″

117 – 129cm                   6 – 8 yrs                                                      18″

125 – 136cm                   7 – 9 yrs                                                      20″

130 – 141cm                   8 – 11yrs                                                    24″

As you can see, children’s bikes vary in size way more than adults. Because of this, kids’ bikes tend to correlate to the size of the wheels, from 12” to 24” (26” is adult mountain bike size). In reality, you can easily skip a step, but jumping two or more will be a big leap for your little one.

Sit on it

There’s no substitute for sitting in the saddle. You’re looking for a bike where your child can put their toes on the floor when they’re sat squarely on the saddle. Plus, enough room for them to stand over the top tube comfortably.

Look from the side too – check that the child isn’t hunched or cramped, which indicates that the bike frame isn’t long enough for them. The result will be knees bumping into handlebars!

If you do decide on the next size up, there are a few features and ways to make a bigger bike more suitable for its littler rider:

  • Learner ‘balance’ bikes without pedals – they’re so easy to use, suitable for toddlers as soon as they can touch the ground with their toes whilst sitting on the saddle.
  • Short-reach brakes – easier for little fingers to accomplish the most important thing about riding a bike… stopping a bike.
  • Where a frame fits, but toes don’t touch the ground, we can make it easier for riders by cutting down the seat post an inch or two.
  • Safety features and accessories like chain guards, mudguards, bells, lights and, of course, helmets will all help to increase confidence and improve safety.

Hopefully, that will help you kit out the budding cyclists in your family, and encourage them to ride as much as possible. We’re always happy to offer advice, so call into the shop soon.

A last word about FREEWHEELS

We’ve introduced FREEWHEELS as an incentive for you to buy the right-sized bike for your child, and to provide an opportunity to do something good.

The idea is simple. Buy a kid’s bike, outgrow it and return it within 3 years. You’ll get up to 20% off another bike. Then we’ll take your old bike, service it and donate it to a local children’s charity or good cause in the local community. Find out more about how you can take advantage of our FREEWHEELS offer while giving something back.

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