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Kids Bikes Guide

From ages 2 and up, children are strong enough to move about on a balance bike or learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle with stabilisers.

As kids grow older and bikes get larger, extra features such as gears, suspension and more powerful braking systems will start to appear to meet demand.  Finally, as we reach the upper age limit of this category, bikes will look more like adults bikes, albeit in smaller frame sizes.

 

 

"As soon as children can walk, they’ll enjoy moving about on a balance bike."

In the last few years, balance bikes have become the most popular option for a child’s first bike.  Balance bikes have no cranks or pedals.  A balance bike is propelled and stopped by your child’s feet, rather than a drivetrain (pedals and chain).

Unlike the traditional method of starting on a pedal bike with stabilisers, balance bikes teach children to use their body weight to control the bike.  Riding a balance bike will teach your child the core fundamentals of balance, coordination and steering control.

Experts believe children who started on a balance bike, often find the transition to independent cycling much smoother.

 

 

 

Bikes for 2-4 years featuring a pink Raleigh Molli 12 bike.

"This is the start of the journey into the world of chain-driven bikes with pedals and brakes."

From ages 2 and up, children are strong enough to learn to ride a two-wheel bicycle.  However, it’s essential they have both the confidence and motivation, so some children may be a lot older before they are ready to begin.

Parents, friends and schools can play a big part in creating an interest and readiness to learn to ride a bike for the first time.  At around this age, 12" wheel bikes are the ideal size, and theyre available in a range of styles.

 

 

Bikes for 3-5 years featuring a Frog 40 electric blue 14" wheel lightweight hybrid bike.

"All bikes in this size category will be single speed, so kids can focus on learning the necessary skills of balance, steering, pedalling and braking."

From ages 3 and up, most children will be ready to ride a larger 14" wheel bike, most of which are available with removable stabilisers if your child has yet to learn to balance without them.

One of the key design factors for this age range is ensuring that the bike is both light, yet durable.  Lightweight aluminium framed bikes are favoured because they’re easier to manoeuvre than steel equivalents.

 

Bikes for 4-6 years featuring a Ridgeback Dimension 16 lilac 16" wheel lightweight hybrid bike.

"Most bikes in this category still use a single-speed drivetrain as gears are not yet deemed necessary at this size level."

From ages 4 and up, most children will be ready to ride a 16" wheel bike, some of which are available with removable stabilisers if your child has yet to learn to balance without them.

If your 16" wheel bike is supplied with stabilisers, and your child is confident riding without them, it’s advisable to remove them as soon as possible.

Many 16" wheel bikes will have aluminium frames, V type brakes to provide additional stopping power, and multi-use tyre treads for different terrain types.  Although it’s possible to get 16" wheel bikes nowadays with gears, they’re still rare on this size of bike.

 

Bikes for 5-8 years featuring a Squish 18 red 18" wheel lightweight hybrid bike.

"From ages 5 and up, most children will be ready to ride an 18" wheel bike."

Removable stabilisers are rarely found once we reach this size but can be added if your child has yet to learn to balance without them.  However, it’s best to avoid geared bikes if using stabilisers.

Children may start to explore the world a little more.  Often, bikes in this category will have gears to help them negotiate any obstacles the terrain throws up at them.

You’ll also start to see suspension making an appearance, further enabling children to tackle even more demanding conditions.

 

Bikes for 6-9 years featuring a Forme Kinder MX20 orange 20" wheel 8-speed lightweight hybrid bike.

"Most of the bikes in this category will be junior mountain bikes and are ideal for all-terrain adventures."

From ages 6 and up, 20" wheel kids’ bikes signify a coming of age for your child because they’re now taking their first tentative steps into the world of serious bikes!

They’re robust, often lightweight, and have a wide range of gears, to ensure your child is riding comfortably and safely at all times.  Many will have a low standover height, which means there is less chance of your child being tangled up in the bike in the event of a crash or a dismount.

Braking comes from V brakes or disc brakes, with the latter providing more stopping power.  You’ll see more bikes with suspension, which are more suitable for rough terrain.  Within this category, you’ll also start to see junior road bikes.

 

Bikes for 8-11 years featuring a Frog MTB 62 metallic grey and neon blue 24" wheel 9-speed lightweight front suspension mountain bike.

"Kids’ bikes with 24" wheels offer all the benefits of full-sized bikes in terms of frame design, transmission and braking."

The only difference between these and adult-sized bikes is that the frame geometry has been optimized around a 24" wheel.

From ages 8 and up, 24" wheel junior bikes have most of the same features as an adult bike but will feature shorter cranks and a reduced reach for the handlebars to make them more comfortable and controllable for shorter limbs.

24" wheel mountain bikes will often feature suspension, to facilitate greater exploration! They’ll have more gears too so that your child can handle steeper inclines and descents.  

 

Bikes for 10+ years featuring a Forme Kinder MX26 neon pink 26" wheel 8-speed lightweight hybrid bike.

"Kids’ bikes with 26" wheels offer all the benefits of full-sized bikes in terms of frame design, transmission and braking."

The only difference between these and adult-sized bikes is that the frame geometry has been optimized around a 26" wheel for smaller riders. Suitable for ages 10 and up, 26" wheel junior bikes in this category will typically have a 13" frame.

Bikes featuring suspension will have longer travel forks, enabling the rider to deal with the most demanding terrain conditions.

Bikes featuring disc brakes will have both mechanical and hydraulic options, empowering the rider to deal with steeper descents and perform reduced stopping distances, especially under wet or muddy conditions. 

 

Bikes for 11+ years featuring a Squish 26 MTB lime green 26" wheel 8-speed lightweight front suspension mountain bike.

"Kids’ bikes with 26" and 27.5" (650B) wheels offer all the benefits of full-sized bikes in terms of frame design, transmission and braking."

The only difference between these and adult-sized bikes is that the frame geometry has been optimized around a 26" or 27.5" (650B) wheel for smaller riders. Suitable for ages 11 and up, bikes in this category will typically have a 13" or 14" frame.

Bikes featuring suspension will have longer travel forks, enabling the rider to deal with the most demanding terrain conditions.

Bikes featuring disc brakes will have both mechanical and hydraulic options, empowering the rider to deal with steeper descents and perform reduced stopping distances, especially under wet or muddy conditions.

 

Bikes for 12+ years featuring a Frog 73 neon red 26" wheel 8-speed lightweight hybrid bike.

"Kids’ bikes with 26" and 27.5" (650B) wheels offer all the benefits of full-sized bikes in terms of frame design, transmission and braking."

The only difference between these and adult-sized bikes is that the frame geometry has been optimized around a 26" or 27.5" (650B) wheel for smaller riders. Suitable for ages 12 and up, bikes in this category will typically have a 14" or 15" frame.

Bikes featuring suspension will have longer travel forks, enabling the rider to deal with the most demanding terrain conditions.

Bikes featuring disc brakes will have both mechanical and hydraulic options, empowering the rider to deal with steeper descents and perform reduced stopping distances, especially under wet or muddy conditions.

 

Bikes for 13+ years featuring a Frog MTB 72 metallic grey and neon green 26" wheel 9-speed lightweight front suspension mountain bike.

"Kids’ bikes with 26" and 27.5" (650B) wheels offer all the benefits of full-sized bikes in terms of frame design, transmission and braking."

The only difference between these and adult-sized bikes is that the frame geometry has been optimized around a 26" or 27.5" (650B) wheel for smaller riders. Suitable for ages 13 and up, bikes in this category will typically have a 15" or 16" frame.

Bikes featuring suspension will have longer travel forks, enabling the rider to deal with the most demanding terrain conditions.

Bikes featuring disc brakes will have both mechanical and hydraulic options, empowering the rider to deal with steeper descents and perform reduced stopping distances, especially under wet or muddy conditions.