Learning to ride a bike can be a huge part of any child’s life. It can set them on the way to a love of bikes and cycling that will last a lifetime. It can help them grow in confidence and enable them to get out enjoy the outdoors on two wheels from a very young age, developing all kinds of skills in the process. Learning to ride a bike can be hard though and it takes time and patience from both child and parents but it’s much easier if the bike is the right size!
Not only does size matter, but even from a young age kids can be pretty set in their ways in what they want their bike to look like, so picking one that they adore will not only keep them happy but encourage them to ride them more! To help you find which size is right for your child we’ve put together a quick sizing guide to help you get the right one, as well as highlighting some of our best-selling kids’ bikes for you to choose from.
Suitable for children aged 2 – 4 years (82 – 100cm / 2’ 8” – 3’ 3”)
While it’s easy to throw kids in at the deep end on a pedal bike with stabilisers, balance bikes are a much better proposition for aspiring young riders. Balance bikes allow them to scoot along to their hearts content, helping them get used to balancing and controlling the bike without having to worry about pedalling. Balance bikes like the Kiddimoto Super Junior and Cube Cubie 120 Walk are both great examples of quality kids’ bikes, with handles under the saddle if the little ones need a little assistance and stylish finishes that really look the part.
12-14” wheel bikes
Suitable for children aged 3 – 6 years (98 – 122cm / 3’ 3” – 4’ 0”)
Once they’ve mastered the balance bike, it’s time to move onto pedal powered bikes. As kids learn at different speeds, they may be slightly older or younger when they make the leap and as such you can get pedal-powered bikes with the same 12” wheels as balance bikes, like the Cube Cubie 120 or bigger 14” wheels for slightly older kids, like the Ridgeback MX14. With single-speed drivetrains complete with protective covers, removable stabilisers and brakes, these bikes are a perfect way to get started on pedal-powered bikes.
16-20” wheel bikes
Suitable for children aged 5 – 9 years (106 – 130cm / 3’ 6” – 4’ 3”)
Kids grow quickly and before you know it they’ll be looking for a bigger bike and maybe even getting to grips with gears. Who knows, they might even be racing at this age! From 5 to 9 years of age kids will grow and progress on their bikes quickly, so the wheel sizes are staggered quite closely in case they fall in between two sizes. With 16” kids’ bikes like the Scott Roxter 16 and 20” bikes such as the Cube Acid 200 sandwiching the middling 18” bikes like Raleigh’s Zero 18 you can be sure to find the perfect fit.
24” wheel bikes
Suitable for children aged 8 – 11 years (130 – 141cm / 4’ 3” – 4’ 8”)
This is where kids’ bikes can start to get serious. With more and more kids racing from a younger age these days, you’ll see some pretty flashy 24-inch wheeled bikes that take inspiration from adults’ bikes as well as more traditional options. Bikes such as the Raleigh Zero 24 are perfect for young riders who want to ride their bikes everywhere, with a wide range of gears and semi-slick tyres. If your youngster wants to push a bit harder, a bike like the Scott Scale 24 Disc will give them chunky tyres and disc brakes to help cope with rougher terrain.
26” wheel bikes
Suitable for children aged 10+ (140 – 158cm / 4’ 7” – 5’ 2”)
26” wheels used to be the preserve of adults, but now with bigger wheels available 26” wheels make for great kids bikes! Models such as the 26” Scott Roxter offer frames that are small enough for kids to ride, but provide the same stability boosting performance that adults can enjoy from bigger 29” wheels. These are a great choice for older or smaller kids who aren’t quite ready to make the step up to an adults’ bike just yet and are perfect for a wide-range of riding. They look awesome too!
Getting the right size is important!
Hopefully this guide has given you a better idea of what size bike to buy your kids. Occasionally you’ll find they may fall between two sizes, just like an adult may fall between sizes of bikes, too. If this is the case we usually recommend going for the slightly bigger bike, as this gives them room to grow and extends the usable life of the bike; kids grow fast after all and the longer you can keep them on a bike the better! To help make life even easier, take a look at our detailed size guide below, as this will be a huge help in determining what size will be suitable.
If you’re still unsure, don’t forget our expert sales team are always on hand to offer advice by calling 01978 660 003. With years of experience behind them they can advise you on the right way to go and help ensure you get the perfect bike for your young riders!