Tips on choosing the right sized bike for kids

Posted by tan xiao yan on

The neighborhood joy is one of the best memories for boys and girls in their childhood. Cycling plays a pivotal part in child’s physical and mental growth. Therefore, the choice of a decent and suitable bicycle is important for parents and kids. A very basic thing required when shopping for bikes is the understanding of size and measurements. It’s important to get the right size bike if the fit is good the bike will be faster, more comfortable and easier to handle. Here are some tips for choosing the right sized bike for kids.

Measure the kid’s height and inseam.
Take a measurement of their inside leg and subtract the radius of the wheel you intend to use.

That will give you the base height of the frame so you know how far to the ground they are between their foot fully on the ground to the base of the frame as a length of the inside leg “utilized” to do so.

The rest of the leg length up to the crotch minus the minimum height of the saddle gives the maximum frame requirement. If you have a long seat pillar, that can be used to indirectly alter the size of the frame, and along with the handlebar adjustment, the maximum size that the bike can be used by the child as a ratio of their height.choosing the right kid bike

Once they have reached an inside leg measurement where the foot cannot be placed at the maximum to the top of the toes and the front of the sole of the shoe/foot, then it is time to change either frame size or if the frame can take it a larger wheel.

Find a proper handlebar and wheel.
Technically the legal minimum wheel size for a UK road is 16″, but the Police no longer seem to enforce the (UK) Highway Code for cyclists. Hence the problem with teenagers who use these stunt bikes with low ratio and small wheels but still use them on the roads, jumping on and off pavements and being both a danger and nuisance.

By its very nature, the frame size restricts the size of the wheel, so once that size has been reached, then it is time for a new bike altogether as the child will need a large frame. This can be delayed by using a longer seat pillar, which together with the large wheel gives a bit more growth, particularly if the handlebars rise as well. However, the handlebars cannot be replaced with an extension once the maximum height is obtained, as you want the child sitting level with the bars and the seat. Otherwise, they will look down and not ahead as keeping their head up to compensate will tire them, and likely to cause an accident.

Get the child to try riding the bike once you have made these adjustments, and they can still manage the machine, keep their balance, not hunch and able to keep at least the ball of the feet on the ground. Once they have a stage where they are clearly too large for the bike, then it is time to look at changing the frame size; i.e. a new bike.choosing the right kid bike

The seat pillar and change of wheel size will be cheaper in the short-term, but as they get older a change in frame size will be needed. Also remember that the ratio of the wheel to the front drive gear cog, and the smaller the gear block on the drive/rear wheel, the fast the bike will go, as a result of ratio changes.

Make the pedals and seat suitable.
The bike’s pedals should be easily reachable to him and the seat adjusted to its waist height. When the kid sitting in the saddle, with one foot on the floor and one foot on the pedal, at the bottom of the stroke, their knee is slightly bent so as to have optimal pedaling power and make sure that the child can dismount and hop on it alone without help, to make sure he doesn’t crash. Besides, make sure they can easily pull the levers on.

If you look at a very small child’s first bike, not only are the wheels and frame small, the front and rear cogs, are nearly the same ratio, so the speed is kept to a minimum and therefore you can catch them up more quickly.

Pay for a used bicycle.
You might be loath to spend much for a 4-year old’s bike, if they like biking then the bike won’t last very long - my advice, get a decent used bike from a friend or off Craigslist.choosing the right kid bike

Once they are 6-7 you can start thinking about a Trek as they have a ton of adjustments (crank length, stem length, and angle). My son is nearly 8 and he is already on his 3rd bike - balance bike through 2, Schwinn (used)/no stabilizers through 5, Trek (MT220) now and he will be on a full mountain (probably a Trek MT240) next year. The other approach is to go for a BMX bike, they tend to last slightly longer.

Remember not to choose a size based on their age and every part of the bike should be in proportion.