It can be a daunting prospect, but once you’ve got the knack you’ll be able to choose kids’ bikes like a pro. Download our comprehensive guide or get some pointers below.
Make sure the bike you’re looking at is light in weight. Adults don’t tend to appreciate how heavy, and therefore un-enjoyable, cheap bicycles are for children. A 20-inch bicycle (for a 7 year old, roughly) from the supermarket will weigh upwards of 12kg, while a 20-inch Frog bicycle weighs 8.9kg. It may not sound like much, but those few kilos make a huge difference for little arms and legs.
As a general rule, avoid bikes with suspension until your child is old enough to ride a quality mountain bike like the Whyte 403. Suspension on a cheaper bike will be extremely low quality and exist for show more than anything, as well as driving up the weight and sacrificing on the quality of other parts to keep costs down.
Also as a general rule, avoid wheels which are knobbly like you’d expect of mountain bike tyres. Unless they’re going on mountain trails, semi-slick tyres will be more than enough to handle everything your child wants to cycle on. The benefits of semi-slick tyres are that there’s far less rolling resistance and a little less weight.
Give the brakes a squeeze using just your pinky fingers instead of your whole hand. If it’s hard for you to squeeze it like that, it will be worse for your child. A good set of brake levers will be easy for a child to squeeze with their little hands.
Cycling UK suggests avoiding ‘gimmicks’ on bicycles, such as being overbuilt to look like a motorcycle or with pictures of children’s TV characters. We’ve never met a kids’ bike we liked that had either of those things, so we have to agree.
Your child should be able to get a foot onto the ground easily while sitting on the saddle, and they should be able to straddle the crossbar with both feet on the ground. We’ve published a rough kids’ bike sizing guide here, and Frog have also published a great guide to their bikes here – but the best way to ensure the perfect fit is to give us a call or visit one of our shops. You should expect a well-sized bicycle to last your child 2 to 3 years, and if you’ve bought a quality bike then you can sell it on or pass it to a younger brother/sister. Resist the temptation to buy a bike for your child to “grow into”.
A reputable dealer:
Assembling bikes is a complex business, and you should be able to feel like your child is in safe hands. All our bikes are put together by highly skilled and certified mechanics, so there’s no room for error. Plus, we do servicing and repairs on kids bikes (and grown-up ones too) if they do get into any fights in the park.
We make a point of stocking the best kids bikes you can get for your money. These include bikes from the trusted British company Frog, international bike experts Specialized, and more. Unlike, say, a plain cotton t-shirt that costs £80 purely because it’s designed by Vivienne Westwood, you really do get what you pay for with kids’ bicycles.
Download our all-singing, all-dancing guide to choosing the right kids bike*
*It may not actually sing and dance but you will be when you realise how many great tips it has!