THE DEFINITIVE GUIDE TO CHOOSING THE RIGHT SIZE FOR YOUR KID'S BIKE
Remember the first time you rode your bike outdoors? An awesome experience, right? Well, the years have not made cycling go out of vogue. If anything, kids today love riding even more than before, so giving your child a bicycle as a gift would still be a treat. Apart from the fun of riding, it will likely get them into the practice of healthy exercise.
You should make sure that when you are checking out kids’ bikes for sale, you get one your kid would like. At Bike Chaser, you can go through a large range options to be sure that the one you buy will be the exact one your son or daughter wants. That way, they will be even more likely to take to cycling naturally.
The tricky thing is that kids grow very fast, so you want to make sure you get the size right. Thankfully, there are a lot of options available today. It might be tricky for you to navigate around the minefield of options, but it is something you can do safely, and end up with a happy child.
What you need is the right size
When adults want to buy a bike, they get the right size by measuring their own size and comparing it with the size of the frame. With kids’ products, the reference point is the wheel diameter. This is because manufacturers use the wheel’s diameter to determine the build of the whole bike. The common sizes are 12 inches, 14 inches, 16 inches, 18 inches and 24 inches. A 26 inch wheel is the size for an adult mountain bike.
A 12 incher is for the smallest riders who are between 2 to 3 years old. A boys’ 16 inch bicycle is ideal for ages 4 to 5 years, while a 14 year old would be able to ride a 24 incher comfortably.
All this is hard to commit to memory, which is why you should use a sizing chart as a guide.
Ensure the right fit for your child
Safety is paramount, so don’t buy a product that is too large in hopes that your child will grow into them. Your child should be able to straddle the middle of the top tube and saddle with his or her feet flat on the floor, and at least two inches of clear space.
They should be able to steer the handlebars to full arc without being overstretched. This is because inexperienced riders will depend more on the handlebars to negotiate bends, unlike older riders who tend to also use balance when negotiating bends.
Start them young
If you want your child to really enjoy the thrills of cycling, you should get them riding early on. Most parents would have had a tricycle as their first ride, but these days balance bikes are popular for ages 2 to 5. These are special toddler options that do not have pedals and depend on your child’s feet to propel them. They go a long way to help develop inertia and balance and are also relatively safe for riding indoors.
The next stage in your kid’s biking journey is basic small wheelers. They are ideal for ages 3 to 6 years, and are usually 12 to 16 inches. They usually come with some classic features like front suspensions and simple gear sets. You have to decide if you really want those features though, since they make everything significantly heavier.
Small wheelers have pedals and are where the proper cycling journey begins. An occasional fall would be normal at this stage, but be sure to spend enough time practicing with them to minimize accidents.
The next size tier is 20 inches. They are ideal for ages 6 to 9 years and are often the first bike with a proper gear system. Learning how to handle gears will be a very important step in growing into using adult bicycles.
The final stage is 24 inch wheelers. These are for ages 9 to 14 years old. At this stage, the products come with most of the bells and whistles of adult versions: They could have up to 26 gears and a triple chain. These are not necessary for every child, so you may choose to limit the gear number system to single or low digits.
Road or Mountain Bike?
When trying to decide the best products for kids, there are quite some options. Most sizes up to 24 inches are mountain bike (MTB) designs. From 24 inches, the options increase and you can get a road bike for your kid.
You should stick to a MTB design until you progress to adult sizes. However, at the end of the day it all really depends on what your child wants, so you should make sure you give them a chance to decide what they prefer.
Consider a BMX
If you don’t want any of the previous options, another great option is a BMX. They are more durable and can withstand virtually anything your youngster could put them through. They also have quite a good resale price compared to other types.