Part 3 – Our Final of the Kids Bicycle Buyer’s Guide

What size bicycle should my child ride?

Getting the right fit for your child is so important for their safety but also their comfort.

  • Can they safely stand over the bike? At least an inch between rider and the bike.
  • How is the reach to the handlebars? Can the rider safely turn the handlebars while maintaining a safe grip on them?
  • Can they operate the braking and shifting?

12 inch bicycle – 35-40”

16 inch bicycle – 39-46”

20 inch bicycle – 45-52”

24 inch bicycle – 51 -63”

When talking about sizes in children’s bicycles we talk about wheel size. This is different from adult bicycles were we talk about the frame size.

What type of bike should my child ride?

  • What type of riding does your family do and how often?
  • What are the other children in the neighborhood riding and where?
    • BMX style, versus a more traditional bicycle.
    • Dirt versus pavement.
    • If your child will be riding mainly with them then that style of bicycle might be the best choice.

If your family rides longer distance then comfort and type of bike will be important.

Longer distances:  Family rides more than just around your neighborhood. You seek out places to ride as a family like bike trails etc.

Longer Rides:

Riders on 12in and 16in bikes have fewer options. For longer family rides there are options that are likely better than your child riding their own bicycle.(trailers, trail a bikes) Once your child reaches a 20in bicycle you’ll have the option to get a bike with gears and if your child rides longer distances you’ll want them. When you hit the 24in size you’ll have even more options. You can get some super high quality bicycles for your child. Essentially bikes with higher end components built and designed for younger riders.

How long will my child fit their bicycle?

We use three years as a guideline before they outgrow it. Of course that can vary based on rate of growth.  That doesn’t mean the end of the bikes life has come. A good quality bicycle will last for years and can be passed along. Or take advantage of our Youth Trade In program to upgrade your child’s bicycle to the next size. A well maintained and clean bike will run smoother, last longer and be more valuable when it is outgrown. Teaching your child how to maintain their bicycle is a great skill for them to learn while protecting the investment.

Does your child require training wheels?

Make sure the rear axle is long enough to accept training wheels.

What accessories do I need?

  • Helmet – goes without saying a helmet, a law in Maryland. Bright colors increase visibility
  • Bell – a great tool, especially when riding on a trail.
  • Lights – Be seen to be safe, front and rear daytime lights increase visibility for cyclists of all ages.
  • Lock – Don’t lose your bike. We would like to think that your child could drop their bike wherever and head off and play, unfortunately that is not the case these days.
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