7 Keys and Recommendations for Choosing a Child's Bike

When buying a child's bike you should look for the one that best suits your little one's needs, according to their age and height.
7 Keys and Recommendations for Choosing a Child's Bike

Last update: 22 August, 2022

Riding a bike is one of the favorite activities among children, so this item is one of the best gifts you can give your little one. In addition, cycling will bring multiple benefits to their overall health. If you’re thinking of surprising your little one with a bicycle, here are some tips and recommendations for you to choose the right child’s bike.

Tips for choosing a child’s bike

Riding a bicycle is much more than just practicing sports. It allows children to explore and enjoy nature, the city, or the park. In addition, cycling helps them to release energy and thus, rest better at night.

Moreover, cycling strengthens family bonds when done in a group. Therefore, when buying a bike for your child, you should look for one that best suits their needs, according to their age and height. Here’s a list of key things to keep in mind.

1. Choose the right size

It’s extremely important to choose the right sized bicycle. A frame that doesn’t adapt to the child’s height will prevent them from riding it safely. These vehicles are manufactured according to the size of their wheels and you should purchase the appropriate wheel diameter. These are some recommendations according to the child’s age:

  • For the youngest children: It’s best to buy a bicycle without pedals.
  • Between 2 and 4 years old: Ideally, you should look for a 12″ to 12.5″ wheel size, with which they’ll gain confidence and begin to develop balance.
  • For 3 to 5 years: A wheel size of 14″ is recommended.
  • From 4 to 6 years: A wheel diameter of 16″ is recommended.
  • From 5 to 7 years: A 18″ diameter is best.
  • From 6 to 9 years old: A 20″ wheel is best.
  • For 7 to 11 years old: You can go for the larger 24″ bikes.
A toddler using a bike without pedals.
You should make sure that the bicycle has the right size and that its characteristics are adapted to your child’s needs. If the child is 2 years old or younger, you can opt for one without pedals.

2. Know the characteristics of the bicycle

There are many different models when it comes to choosing a child’s bike–with pedal brakes, rim brakes, gears, different handlebars, and different frame geometries. The first thing to keep in mind is who the bicycle’s for. Depending on the age and characteristics of the child, you can opt for a bike that’s easy to master or a more robust and sophisticated one.

3. Choose those that come with or without training wheels

At first, it’s good if the bike has training wheels, so that the child gains confidence. The wheels will allow your child to propel themself forward without fear, and you’ll feel more at ease, at least until your child develops balance and is ready to pedal without them.

4. Consider the weight of the bike

The lighter the bike, the easier it’ll be to handle. Also, moving it from one place to another will be lighter, in case you want to take it in your car and take it to the park or to your child’s friend’s house.

5. Make sure it has good brakes

The handles and brake levers should be sized to fit your child’s hands. They should be small, thin, and comfortable. Also, make sure it has good mechanical disc brakes so that your child can stop.

6. Make sure that the handlebars aren’t too narrow

The steering wheel of the bicycle should have a width that’s in line with the child’s shoulders so that their arms aren’t too close together if the child is very small, or too far apart if the child is older.

Children riding bikes, wearing helmets.
It’s important that children have helmets, gloves, knee pads, and all the necessary elements to provide them with greater safety.

7. Buy safety equipment

If the use of helmets is important for adults, it’s even more important for children. Choose one that fits well on their head and doesn’t move, which will prevent injuries in case of falls or collisions with objects. It’s very likely that your child will fall regularly, and even more so if they’re just starting to ride a bicycle. Complete their protection with knee pads, elbow pads, goggles, and gloves so that they’re as well protected as possible.

Recommendations when choosing a bicycle for children

Now that you know the specifications that a bicycle for children should have, here are some recommendations to take into account when making this gift to your child:

  • Do not buy the bike without first taking it for a test ride.
  • Have your child sit on it, and if they try several models, even better.
  • Don’t buy a bike just because you like it. Let the child choose the color and style they like the most.
  • It’s best to learn to ride a bike from an early age, but without pressure. You’ll have to be patient and keep in mind that some children need more time than others to get the hang of it.
  • Look for a suitable place for the child to learn to ride the bike. They’ll ride better on asphalt, but falls can be more dangerous there. On the other hand, grass will be a little harder for them, but they won’t hurt themself when falling.
  • Adjust the seat and pedals. The seat should be at a height that allows the child to rest their feet on the ground without sitting down.
  • As the child grows, the bike will be too small for them. The wheel size should be changed approximately every two years. Typically, a child has three to four bikes during childhood.

Sports and fun when riding a bike

Learning to ride a bike is one of the first achievements in a child’s life. It’s a practice that will provide hours of fun and adrenaline as they practice physical activity and develop their self-esteem. Having races with friends in a park or cycling as a family will be rewarding. It’s also a great way to pass the time during your summer vacation or free time.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Carmichael C, Burke E. Bicicleta, salud y ejercicio. 3° Edición. España: Editorial Paidotribo; 2004. Disponible en: https://books.google.es/books?hl=es&lr=&id=v4wfwZJzE30C&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=elegir+una+bicicleta+para+ni%C3%B1os&ots=rMsFPOIFpC&sig=7U385znEs5HGouxjdVEXXYWRXCM#v=onepage&q&f=false
  • Roldán I. Buscador de rutas para movilidad en bicicleta en el área de Xátiva (Valencia). España: Universidad Politécnica de Valencia: 2021. Disponible en: http://hdl.handle.net/10251/173867
  • Rojas P. La bicicleta y su desarrollo práctico en educación primaria. 1° Edición. España: Wanceulen Editorial Deportiva; 2016. Disponible en: https://books.google.es/books?hl=es&lr=&id=DeGfDAAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA6&dq=c%C3%B3mo+escoger+una+bicicleta+para+ni%C3%B1os&ots=w9jDd9VPDA&sig=w9uf__ZZNZ2sXoK0KA-ejQzAzIk#v=onepage&q&f=false

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.