Archives for posts with tag: Childrens Bicycle Buyer’s Guide

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.

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Part 2 of our Kids Bicycle Buyer’s Guide

(If you missed Part One check it out from yesterday.)

Weight: A few pounds give or take may not seem like a lot of weight difference in an adult bicycle but it can be a world of difference for your child’s bicycle. A three pound difference on a bicycle with a 30 lbs. rider is 10% of the rider’s body weight. Where with an adult 150 lbs. rider that would be a 15lbs difference. Adults wouldn’t enjoy riding a bike that was an extra 15 lbs. heavier proportionally why would our children?

Extra weight can come from not only the frame but the materials used in the components. Steel vs. aluminum. Example: A three piece crank using alloy crank arms will not only be lighter than a one piece crank set but it uses a higher quality bottom bracket that will make pedaling easier and smoother for the rider.

Sizing

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.

Kids bicycles come in 12 inch wheels, 14 inch wheels (generally not a bike shop size) 16 inch wheels, 18 inch wheels (generally not a bike shop size accept in a BMX style) 20 inch wheel and 24 inch wheel.

2017_Trek_Kids_Dialed_Girls_HR-resizePosition: A more upright position is certainly the preferred position for the 12 inch and 16 inch size. When you get to the 20 inch it tends to be a crossover size as far as position. Some manufacturers stay with a more upright position where others tend to go towards a more adult like position. The belief is that the adult like position is a little easier to ride. Offering more comfortable riding longer distances and easier when transitioning to a larger size. Neither is right or wrong but something to consider. A less confident rider will likely benefit from being a little more upright.

Frame: Not all frames are created equally. How do the welds look on the frame? Especially at the drop outs. Are the drop  outs stamped or welded to the frame?  Does the manufacture stand behind its product with a warranty? Most major manufacturers offer a lifetime warranty on their frames. If you were to need the warranty how is that handled? Do you work direct with the manufacture or does the retailer take care of it on your behalf?

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Kids Bicycle Buyer's Guide Ad

Everyone remembers their first bicycle ride and the feeling they had.

Selecting a bicycle for your child should be a fun and memorable experience.  Hopefully this Kid’s Bicycle Buyers Guide demystifies this process. Please reach out to us with any questions you may have.

Your child will enjoy riding their bike more if they feel they are in control of the bike and not the bike in control of them. When you purchase the next bike for your child please consider;

  • proper fit
  • proper assembly
  • and quality.

By considering the above items during your purchase you will be well on your way to finding a bike you and your child will love!

If your child requires training wheels be sure to check compatibility prior to purchase.

There is a lot that goes into making a kids bike what it is yet if you focus on three things and check one thing

The Big Three

  • Fit
  • Proper Assembly
  • Weight

Check This: Training Wheel Compatibility

The Importance of Fit on a Child’s Bicycle:

Getting the right fit for your child is so important for their safety but also their comfort. The first thing to look at is can they safely stand over the bike. There should be at least an inch between them and the top of the bike to allow the rider to safely dismount the bike.

Reach: The reach of the bicycle needs to be proportional to the rider for both children and adults. Proper reach will allow the rider to have proper control over the bicycle.

How is the reach to the handlebars? Can the rider safely turn the handlebars while maintaining a safe grip on the handlebars? Or do they have to let go of the bars a little to turn the handlebars? If they do this means the reach is too great. Sometimes you can adjust the position of the handlebars and sometimes you need to pick out a different bike.

Right Size Components: The next part of fit is making sure that the components are properly sized. As humans grow their body proportions and bone structure changes. When looking at a brand of children’s bicycles you should see a progression of changes to features of the bicycle to make it proportional for the intended rider size. Are the brake levers easy to get their hands around? Many brands don’t very the size of important components that will make it easier for your child to ride and control their bicycle. Properly sized components will make your child more comfortable while riding.

Is the saddle the right size? Are the grips the right size? Are the pedals the right size? Wrong size components can be a safety issue as well as a comfort issue. Grips that are two big won’t allow the child to properly and safely grip the bars. A saddle to large may not be comfortable for their bone structure.

A properly fit bicycle will increase the riding enjoyment for your child and be safer.

Proper Assembly

Assembly: Proper assembly of a bicycle is critical to its safe operation. Making sure parts installed and adjusted properly are essential to the bikes safe operation. Bicycles arrive to stores in boxes and require assembly to install the parts, adjust the brakes and gears making sure everything is tightened to specifications and the systems are working properly.

A bicycle store has trained mechanics that assemble their bicycles. Many other stores use the same people who assemble the grills and furniture to assemble the bicycle. We’ve seen front forks on backwards, stems on backwards, brakes not hitting the rims to name a few.  A bicycle is not like other pieces of sporting equipment that arrive to from the manufacture ready to be used. They require proper assembly with the final and most important step setting it up for the rider.

Training Wheel Compatibility

Precaliber12Girls_21909_A_Alt9-resize-weebTraining Wheels: If the bicycle you are selecting does not come with training wheels and your child needs training wheels you want to make sure the rear wheel axle is long enough to accept training wheels. Training wheels vary in quality and thus durability. Some attach with just a single arm down to the wheel while others have a strut that attaches to the chainstay to offer a stronger more solid system. Most training wheels are bolted on but some have been designed with a hand removal able nut making for easy removal when the time comes.

Here we have covered three of the most important items to look at when selecting a bike. There is much more to consider. Please come back tomorrow for the next installment of the Kids Bicycle Buyer’s Guide.