Parents would surely know the struggle of buying their kids bikes. Not just any ride on toy, but the RIGHT kind of bike. If you are confused as to what that means, then here’s a hint: it means the right kids bike sizes. Finding the right frame size that is compatible with your child’s physical growth is highly important.
Why Does Size Matter?
For starters, if the frame of the bike is too small or too big for your child then there are high chances of getting injured. This might ruin your child’s first biking experience. In the worst cases, your child may develop a fear of bikes and may not ride them ever again. To avoid such potential mishaps, it’s important to start right from the beginning.
Keep in mind that adult bikes are differently sized than kids’ bikes. Be it wheels or the frame, the components used to assemble these bikes are as different as night and day. Even if we consider certain wheel sizes, the seatposts and standover height vary to a great extent.
Even if a bike is specifically manufactured for a specific age group–let’s say 6-year olds–there’s no guarantee that all the kids belonging to this age group would be able to ride the bike.
Some of them might be huge for a 6-year old, while some may be small. That being said, you can certainly figure the right size without experiencing the tiresome cycle of trial and error.
If your kids have decided to wheel off, here are a few tips that would surely come in handy:-
Things To Keep In Mind While Selecting Kids Bike Sizes
1. Finding The Right Size
Unlike adult bikes, bike sizes for kids are measured by the size of the wheel. Since wheels decide the proportion of the bike, it’s important to see which bike would suit the height of the child perfectly. The wheel sizes for kids’ bikes usually go as 12″, 14″, 16″, 18″, 20″, and 24″.
Bike wheels start from one size balance, small bikes, starting at 12 metres. The wheels go up to 24 metres in diameter. Beyond that, you enter the world of adult bike models. Both height and age are essential factors that shall be taken into consideration while making the purchase.
There’s no way a 3-year-old whose height is 32 inches should ride the same bike as a 3-year-old whose height is 38 inches does. Measuring the inseams is the best way to find out the correctly sized bike. Good bike manufacturers will specifically mention the inseam length for each of their bikes.
A properly sized bike would be easy and safe to handle, where the pedals are not too far to reach by foot or where the bike is not so small that riding it seems impossible.
2. Take A Test Drive
While height charts do come in handy, taking a test ride would certainly cut the chase of finding the rightly sized bike. Not only does the child get a first-hand experience, but you also receive instant feedback. To know what size bike for kids is the best, here are a few things to keep in mind :-
- See if your child is able to sit on the bike comfortably. Make sure the balls of the feet are touching the ground. Your child should be able to sit in an upright position with the legs slightly bent at the bottom of the pedal stroke.
If you observe just the opposite, then the seat is too high. The bike wouldn’t come to a halt easily if the seat is too high for the child.
- Another way to check whether the bike is the right size is to see whether your child is able to level the pedals. There are two ways to know this.
Firstly, observe if your child’s knees are bumping into the handlebars while peddling. If that’s the case, then the bike is too small. If your child is experiencing difficulty in peddling and seems to hyperextending the legs, then it’s a sign that the bike is too large.
- The stand over height is another crucial factor. It is the distance between the top tube of the bike and the ground. See if your child is able to straddle up the bike’s middle bar while standing up with the feet flatly placed on the ground.
Make sure that your child’s crotch isn’t resting on the top tube while straddling the bike. Usually if the bike is rightly sized, there would be 1 to 2 inches of visible clearance.
If the bike has to be tilted in any way for the child to get onto it and fit under the legs then the bike is too large for the kid. Find a bike that perfectly fits between your child’s legs.
- Here’s another way to judge whether the bike is correctly sized. Observe whether your kid is able to reach and grip the handlebars comfortably. While riding the bike, your child should be able steer the handlebars by slightly bending the arms.
The arms shouldn’t be overstretching. Steering and pressings the brakes should come easily. If you see your child struggling then it’s another sign that the bike you may be choosing is too big.
3. Choose A Lightweight Bike
Most kids bike sizes that are being manufactured these days are ridiculously heavy. These bikes can weigh up to 50% of the child’s actual weight. It is hard to maneuver a bike that weighs a lot. Riding it for too long will only exhaust you.
An aluminium or titanium frame is the lightest. It’s not as though you have to cross out steel from your checklist entirely. You can still opt for a metal frame, given that the other components of the bike are lightweight.
4. Do Not Go For “A Bike They Will Grow Into”
Parents often buy kids bike sizes that are too big thinking that they will eventually grow into it. The truth is, children face a hard time maneuvering a bike that is too big or too heavy for them. They may get frustrated or injured. Do not put your child in a vulnerable position that could have serious consequences later on.
A Few Additional Tips
- A helmet is standard biking-equipment. Make sure that the helmet fits the kid’s head perfectly before purchasing. It shouldn’t be too tight. Buy a bell or reflector. Other safety equipment includes wrist guards, knee pads and elbow pads. Encourage your child to wear these safety equipment.
- Bring your child while you go bicycle shopping. This way you will be able to measure the size of the bike perfectly. Your child will also get excited.
Riding a bike is a significant milestone in a child’s life. Before you strap on their helmets, you need to find them a perfectly sized bike. Therefore, it’s important to understand what size bike to purchase. Read the tips mentioned above and give your children the bike of their dreams.