Buying a children’s bike online can be so much easier than visiting a physical shop – less distractions,
info at your fingertips, huge choice, delivered to you quickly (no struggling to get one in or attached
to your vehicle) and, most importantly, it gives you the option of getting the best price available.
Even though there are several pros to doing this, you need to know a few things before you nail
down which kids’ bike you’re going to buy. Here are 3 tips that can help make the task simpler:
Sizing of the Bike
When you’re buying clothing online, you need to have the right measurements for a correct fit.
The same is true for when you are buying any bike online. The best way of finding the right
size bike for your child is to look at models in their age range and then match their height
to the right bike. Kids’ bikes are basically scaled down versions of adult bikes and are typically
measured through wheel sizes.
This handy chart should show you the appropriate bike for your child, based on age, height and
wheel size. In order to precisely match the correct bike for your child, it’s essential you
measure their height accurately. Ask him/her to stand against a wall and mark the wall
with a pencil so it’s level with the top of the head. Then measure from the ground up to the mark. It’s also useful to measure their inside leg. This is taken from the ground up to the crotch area. The chart below indicates which size of children’s bike to choose once you have these measurements:
Additional note: If your child’s height is on the cusp of a size range, the reach is often the deciding
factor in which size to pick. To find out if your child has a short or long reach you will need
to measure his/her “ape index”. This is a measurement of arm span minus height.
If you have a positive ape index, i.e. their reach is longer than their height, then go for the
larger size but if you have a negative ape index choose a smaller size.
Types of Children’s Bike
All the ages specified below are an average and the child’s height and leg length should be used for more accuracy.
2 to 4 year olds (12 and 14″ wheels)
This size of kids’ bike offers 2 choices:
Balance bikes. These are bikes in their simplest form—no pedals, crank or chain, just wheels and a frame. As the child walks or scoots along on the balance bike, their feet act as their brakes. These bikes are typically lighter and easier to handle than tricycles or bikes with training wheels, so kids can travel surprisingly fast on them. Balance bikes help teach the youngest kids how to coordinate steering and balance. The better they get at it, the easier their transition to pedalling will be.
Bikes with pedals. These are available for this age group too and they have training wheels that can be removed.
5 to 8 year olds (16″ wheels)
This size of bike is often a child’s first pedal bike. These bikes typically have rear coaster brakes (you pedal backwards to stop) and they usually have only one speed. Most come with training wheels that can be removed as soon as the child masters a sense of balance.
6 to 10 year olds (20″ wheels)
Bike features start to widen when you’re looking at bikes with 20-inch wheels. Single-speed, simple to ride bikes but harder to bike uphill, or geared. Gears on a bike help to cycle more efficiently and will make tackling inclines easier. Choose bikes with gears if you want your child to learn how to use them early or if you plan to ride in hilly areas.
You can choose 2 styles in the 20″ wheel range:
Mountain bikes which usually have wider, knobbier tires and may also feature front shocks, which are designed to soften the impact of rough ground by compressing and rebounding while they also help with overall stability. They’re perfect for kids who want to hit the trails or ride over rugged terrain.
The second choice is the Hybrid-style bike. These are great for all-around riding, have narrower tyres and are lighter weight than bikes with front shocks like a Mountain bike may have.
8 to 12 year olds (24″ wheels)
When looking for 24” bikes, you’ll find options and features very similar to adult bikes. Consider not only the way the bike fits but also how the child plans to use it. Do they want to ride off road or around the city? Generally, more sophisticated components are available on children’s bikes in this range and, again, there are 2 types to decide upon:
Mountain bikes: Pick a Mountain bike if the child plans to ride off road. Many more features are available in kids’ Mountain bikes of this size, including front suspension, more gears and elements such as hydraulic disc brakes.
Hybrid-style: These bikes are for riding around the neighbourhood or town. They have narrower tyres and no front shock absorbers. The biggest reason to select a hybrid is that they’re lighter and easier to handle.
While there are many tempting accessories for children’s bikes, the most important one is a well fitting, securely fastened helmet but he/she will probably prefer a horn!
When a child is first learning to ride, you’ll want the seat low enough so they can touch the ground with both feet to stop and catch themselves if they tip sideways or fall. As they get more confident, they can be more on their tiptoes so they can pedal more efficiently and it’s easier on their knees.
By keeping the above tips in mind, you can be confident in buying a children’s bike online.