Choosing a bike for your child isn't always easy. Sometimes it can even feel like an obstacle course (let's be honest!). So to make your job easier, here is some key information to help guide your decision making. Among other criteria, the bike should be right for your child's height, as well as meet their expectations.
CHOOSING A BIKE SIZE FOR YOUR CHILD
First of all, bike sizes are expressed in inches (using the " symbol). The number of inches is determined by the diameter of the bike's wheel rim. (One inch equals 2.54 cm.) When choosing your child's first bike, you should take their height and age (at the time of purchase) into account.
A 14-inch bike fits a child ages 3 to 5 years old who is 90 cm to 105 cm tall
. A child ages 4 to 6 and measuring 105 to 120 cm tall will feel comfortable on a 16-inch bike.
For ages 6 to 9 and measuring 120 to 135 cm, pick a 20-inch bike.
Finally, for a child ages 10 and up (1.35 to 1.50 m tall), choose a 24-inch bike.
For the very young ones, starting at age 2, a balance bike is perfect for learning to balance themselves on a bike.
In any case, before you finalise your purchase, make sure, first and foremost, that your child is comfortable on their future bike. Here are some points to check:
• they should be able to touch the ground with both feet;
• they should be able to easily grasp the brake levers;
• the frame should be suited to your child's height, meaning that it should be short enough to allow them to easily get onto the bike seat.
THE HAZARDS OF THE WRONG SIZE BIKE
A bike that is the wrong size for your child can cause discomfort, fatigue, and even pain. Bikes are specifically designed for each age group and height range, so it's important to pick the one that fits your child's height.
Don't be tempted to buy a bike that is too big for your child thinking that you'll then be able to keep it for longer. You should also avoid starting your youngest on his big brother's old bike if it's not the right size for him.
Besides potentially discouraging him during his learning phase, it can also introduce a safety risk. Your child must be able to quickly and easily squeeze the brakes as well as be able to touch the ground with both feet in the event of a sudden stop. A bike that is too big, or a saddle that is too high, will also result in pain behind the knees.
Inversely, if the bike is too small, your child will get tired much more quickly on rides and won't enjoy riding much. As for a seat that's too low, it will result in pain in the knees.
WHEN SHOULD YOUR CHILD CHANGE BIKES?
Pay attention and regularly check whether your child has outgrown their bike.
• Remember to adjust the seat height as your child grows. Don't set it so high that they can't touch the ground with both feet, which would then force them to sway their hips to pedal; nor set it too low, to ensure that their knees don't touch the handlebar.
We also recommend that you adjust the seat height in 5 mm increments in order to find the ideal height.
• Also adjust the height and incline of the handlebar so your child maintains a comfortable posture as they ride.
• If your child's bike has adjustable brake levers, make sure to adjust them as your child grows.
B'Twin bikes are easy to use, and the seat and handlebar can be adjusted quickly without tools.
Finally, once your child's bike is too small for your child, it should be replaced by a bigger one.
SOME REMINDERS ABOUT YOUR CHILD'S SAFETY, AT ANY AGE
While the right size bike allows your child to ride comfortably on family outings or with friends, it's also critical that they observe certain safety rules, starting with wearing a helmet.
In France, wearing a helmet is mandatory for children under age 12 while riding a bike (or sitting in a baby carrier), and highly recommended for all riders. It protects young ones as they learn to balance on a bike, but it also protects the bigger ones especially when they get into the joys of mountain biking or other more extreme two-wheel sports.
When buying a bike for your child, also buy a helmet that's the right size for them and matches the type of cycling they do.