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Top Five Tips to Consider When Choosing a Kids Bike

Bike riding is a fun, physical and screen-free activity your entire family can enjoy. Simply hop on and explore the neighborhood or local parks and trails together. When it comes to your kids, it might be tempting to buy the first bike you see with the design they enjoy the most. To help avoid buyers remorse, here are a few tips that can help you make the right purchase.

Boy wearing his helmet while holding his bike.

1. Understand Bike Sizing

Kids' bikes come in several sizes. The sizing of kids' bikes is based on the wheel or tire size, while adult bikes are measured using frame size.

Here's a general list that helps explains bike sizing for children.

  • 12" wheels - 14-20" inseam, ages 1-4
  • 16" wheels - 19-23" inseam, ages 3-6
  • 20" wheels - 22-25" inseam, ages 5-8
  • 24" wheels - 24-28" inseam, ages 8-12

To decide which size bikes your children, need, keep these details in mind.

  • Measure their inseams.
  • Your child's feet should be flat on the ground while standing over the bike
  • Sit upright on the seat and pedal. At the bottom of the pedal stroke, your child's legs should be slightly bent, and they should feel comfortable in the saddle.
  • Reach the handlebars. Ensure your child can operate the hand brake and steer without extending their arms fully.

2. Consider the Bike's Weight

A child's bike can weigh up to half of their body weight. A heavy bike is difficult for kids to maneuver and exhausting to ride. That's why a lightweight, aerodynamic bike is a good investment.

Consider purchasing an aluminum or titanium frame. If your child really likes a sturdy steel-frame bike, add lightweight wheels, pedals and other components.

3. Check the Brakes

An important safety feature, a bike's brakes should be easy to use and support the type of riding your child enjoys.

Kids' bikes usually include either coaster or hand brakes. Coaster brakes prevent pedaling backward and are either on or off, which can make downhill or bumpy terrain difficult to navigate. Hand brakes may be hard to use and could affect the bike's balance.

Because bicycles over 20" only have hand brakes, consider introducing this type of brake when your child is young. A lever designed for small hands is one you can squeeze with your pinky finger.

4. Take a Test Ride

While it's fun to surprise your children with bikes, let your kids take a few test rides first. They should strap on a helmet first, then use the brakes, evaluate the handlebar grip, adjust the seat height, and determine the bike's maneuverability. Try out different models, types and sizes as you choose bikes that are comfortable and easy to maneuver.

5. Know Where to Make a Bike Purchase

As you decide where to purchase bikes, verify the bike's safety and make sure it's the right size for your child. Ask about warranty details, too.

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