A Guide to
Choosing the right bike for your child will often depend on age and ability, and Evans Cycles is here to help you when it comes to buying the best children’s bike for your little rider.
(also known as runner, or balance bikes, strider bikes come without pedals or cranks. Some strider bikes have a short rubber strap that connects the fork to the frame and keeps the handlebars facing forward. This is really useful as it means that steering is also taken out of the equation until your little cyclist is ready and the strap can be removed.
The benefit is that balance bikes enable your young rider to learn to scoot along using their feet while getting to grips with the basics of balancing, free from other complications. Take a look at the HOY Napier for a good example of a strider bike.
Kids Bikes Aged 2-11
The first golden rule is to buy the best children’s bike you can afford. A cheap bike is always a false economy. If you end up with a bike that’s weighty and cumbersome, or soon ceases to function properly, it’ll eventually end up rusting in the shed!
A good quality bike will last for many years, be light and manoeuvrable and made using decent parts that need don’t need constant attention. You want to get your child a bike they won’t want to stop riding!
The second golden rule is to ensure that you buy a bike that fits your child properly. It also needs to be suitable for their abilities so try to avoid getting something that they will grow into. The danger of buying something too big for them is that until they get big enough, your child will be attempting to ride a bike that will be difficult or dangerous for them to use.
Unlike adult bikes, which are sized by frame, children's bike sizes are determined by wheel size diameter. We can estimate a suggested wheel size for a child based on age, but it's best to have them test ride a bike as obviously height will vary. In general, the main difference you find in a larger wheel size is in the longer distance between the saddle and the handlebar, coupled with a longer wheelbase. If the bike is too long, when the child turns the handlebar, you will see they are force to stretch too far, reducing control.
Here are suggested age ranges for the different sized children's bikes we sell:
12 inch wheel diameter : 2 - 4 years
14 inch wheel diameter : 3 - 5 years
16 inch wheel diameter : 5 - 7 years
18 inch wheel diameter : 6 - 8 years
20 inch wheel diameter : 7 - 9 years
24 inch wheel diameter : 9 - 11 years
26 inch wheel diameter : 11+ years
Kids Bikes Aged 12-15
The best bet for most pre-teens is to go for a good quality bike with 24inch wheels. They should also be ready to ride with a decent range of gears. A bike like the HOY Bonaly with a single front chainring and a wide-ranging cassette at the rear is a good option because it has basic gears without being confusing.
Bikes for Teenagers
Riders aged 12 or 13 are usually big enough to ride a small-framed adult mountain bike with full size wheels, or a road bike with 650c wheels
As with all bicycles, try to spend as much money as you can. Expect to pay at around £300 for a decent basic bike.