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How to Choose the Best Kids Bike

How to Choose the Best Kids Bike

Can you remember your first bike? The excitement you felt when you were finally able to ride on your own? These are significant memories, ones that influenced your confidence and coordination, not to mention your transportation options as you got older. That’s why choosing a child’s first bike is a significant step for any parent. It can impact your kid for life. 

Feel the pressure yet? Don’t worry, this guide is here to help ensure no detail is missed in the planning process. Read along as we uncover key factors to consider to ensure the first kids bike you choose for your child will put them on the road to success.

Understanding Your Child’s Needs.
The truth of the matter is that not all kids are ready to ride a bike, regardless of their age. Assessing their emotional and physical readiness will help you determine whether or not now is the time to buy them a bike. Motor skills such as steadiness are essential for holding up a bike frame, while physical coordination and balance are needed to pick feet up off the ground and pedal.

Is Your Child Ready?

Understanding whether or not your child is ready to ride means assessing their coordination and balance. The most common age at which children start riding a bike is between 3 to 7 years old. At 3 years old, they can begin to develop basic skills such as balance, steering, braking and lastly pedaling. Doing these in order makes the process of learning to ride a bike much more fun! 

With that said, the age at which your child is ready to ride a bike could be younger or older. Each child develops motor skills at different rates, and they may be ready to hop on a bike well before the age of 3. However, not all kids are interested in riding a bike at the age of 3, and having actual interest in riding is one of the keys to success.

Find a Bike That Fits

If your kid is ready to learn, it’s time to find a bike that fits them. It’s important that your child’s feet can be flat on the ground when they sit on their new bike, so be sure to consider the following while browsing bike models and sizes.

  • Bike wheel size: This is the standard classification method for kids’ bikes.
  • Bike height: When learning the child should be seated with feet on the ground. This will give maximum confidence. Once successfully riding, the seat can be raised to more adult-like heights (knee slightly bent at bottom of pedal stroke). 
  • Child’s inseam: Measure your child’s inner leg to find out their inseam length to determine if they will sit comfortably.

While wheel size is often how manufacturers classify bike sizes, this way of choosing a bike doesn’t guarantee finding the right size bike for a child. Because the same wheel size can be used for different-sized frames, knowing your child’s measurements and the manufacturer’s size chart will ensure you find the right-sized bike for them right now.

Types of First Bikes For Kids

When shopping for your child’s first bike, you’ll be presented with two options: balance bikes and pedal bikes. Each has its own set of advantages.

Balance Bikes

Balance bikes, run bikes, push bikes, or strider bikes, have handlebars, two wheels, and a seat. There aren’t any pedals or chains, but the higher-end ones do have a brake. To get going, your child will have to walk the bike while sitting on the seat, eventually graduating to longer strides and balancing while the bike coasts.

To slow down on a balance bike, your child brakes or puts their feet down on the ground. Balance bikes are typically:

  • Lower to the ground
  • Simple to operate
  • Lightweight and easy to handle

They teach kids how to turn naturally and encourage maintaining balance. The ideal age range for balance bikes is 18 months to 4 years old. With a balance bike, most kids can skip training wheels. (Training wheels are not recommended anymore for learning to ride. They teach improper balance and often delay learning to ride unassisted)

Pedal Bikes

Children’s pedal bikes are similar to balance bikes, but they also have a drivetrain and brakes. Unlike balance bikes, pedal bikes move with the push of the pedal, which drives the rear wheel. 

To stop the bike, your child will be encouraged to use the hand brakes. Beginner pedal bikes typically:

  • Have a very low seat
  • Have a freewheel, which allows for easier starting 
  • Are hassle-free as kids won’t often notice issues 

Whether you choose one or the other may depend on the age of your child, their confidence level, their height, and their coordination. Features to Consider

Once you’ve picked out the type of bike that’s right for your child, it’s time to think about its features. Different brands offer different features such as:

  • Safety features: These include brakes that are easy to use, non-slip pedals, and easy-grip handlebars.
  • Adjustability: Can the seat be raised? Do the handlebars adjust? Children grow quickly and buying an adjustable bike may be convenient.
  • Weight: If a bike is too heavy for a child to lift, they may have a tough time picking it up and balancing.
  • Durability: Children’s bikes come in a range of qualities, and some are more durable than others allowing for hand-me-downs. Ask a pro about the materials and construction of the bike you’re interested in to ensure it will last.
  • Resale value: Higher-end bikes will hold their value better.

Safety First

Found the right bike for your kid? Don’t forget about safety gear and accessories. From helmets to lights, it’s your responsibility to outfit your child for safety. Be sure to pick up the following for your kid before they head out for their first ride:

  • Helmet
  • Knee pads
  • Elbow pads
  • Gloves
  • Bell
  • Horn
  • Reflective stickers
  • Lights

Get Rolling with Kids Bikes Canada! 

Each part of the decision-making process when choosing your child’s first bike is just as important as the next. From considering your child’s readiness and type of bike to bike features and safety gear, as the parent, it’s up to you to decide what’s best. 

We hope this guide has shed some light on the process of choosing your child’s first bike, but if you have any more questions about safety gear, bike types, or bike features, don’t hesitate to ask! 

Visit Kids Bikes Canada today to browse the latest products that help kids have fun on two wheels.