Summer means there’s more time for your children to be children, including more time to do fun things like ride bicycles. So it’s no surprise that many folks find themselves having to purchase a kid’s bike during summer months. You want to make sure you buy the right bike for your child. Obviously you need to get the right fit, but it goes even beyond that. Here are some things you should consider when shopping for your child’s bike.
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RoyalBaby 12″ BMX Freestyle BikeRoyalBaby Space 12″ Aluminum Kids BikeSchwinn Girl’s Jasmine Bicycle, 16″, PurpleHot Wheels 16″ Boy’s Bike, Black/Red/OrangeHuffy Star Wars Rey Bike, 18″Kent 20″ Rock Candy Girls BikeX-Games 20″ Boys FS20 Freestyle BicycleMongoose 24″ Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension BicycleTony Hawk 24″ Boy’s 720 Bike, Matte Black
Choose the right size. Childrens bikes are measured by the size of their wheels. If you have a child under the age of 3 or 4, a good place to start could be with a kids tricycle. Once you’ve moved past the tricycle stage, you will find the most common kids bike sizes to be 12, 16, 18, 20, and 24 inches.
To get the proper fit you’ll need to have your child with you. Have him sit on the seat with his hands on the handle bars. If he can place the balls of his feet on the ground then it’s the right size. Go a little further and have him straddle the center bar. If he can have his feet flat on the ground with a 1-inch clearance between the bar and his crotch, then it’s a good fit.
Do not buy an oversized bike for your child to grow into. As tempting as that is to make the bike last a growing child longer, it will make it more difficult to learn how to ride a bike and it becomes a safety issue. A child is not going to be able to handle a bike that is too large.
Style and Design
There are different types and styles of bicycles. Popular types include bmx bikes, cruiser bikes, comfort bikes, folding bikes, road bikes, and mountain bikes, amongst others. Consider if the popularity of a style or color is important. Also consider longevity, if your child will outgrow the bike quickly consider if it will be passed down to another. Yet another factor is the handlebars. The size, shape and positioning of certain handlebars could actually decrease the amount of space there is for the rider as well as impact maneuverability. A third factor in design is the step through space. Girls bikes traditionally have a lower step through space. Boys bikes have a bar in the center. If the color doesn’t really matter, be sure to consider which might be easier for your child.
Keep the weight of the bike in mind when you’re buying it. Look for the lightest bike you can find. Keep in mind that things like training wheels, accessories and a few other things don’t add to the weight of the actual bike itself, so compare actual bike only weight instead of the weight of an entire package. The two bikes shown just above are both yellow 16 inch bikes. One is aluminum and one is steel. While they may appear to be similar, the aluminum bike is 6 pounds lighter than the steel bike and that’s with it having hand brakes and a water bottle accessory.
An average adult should not be able to bend the frame by hand. You also want to check the frame alignment. To do this, stand either in front of the bike or behind the bike and make sure both wheels are on the same plane. Make sure the seat and handlebar bolts are tight and can’t be twisted.
One of the most important features on a bike is the ability to stop, so you will want to look for a bike with good brakes. Make sure that you choose the appropriate brakes for your child. There are two types of bike brakes, hand and coaster. Hand brakes are better suited for older children with a stronger grip and larger hands. Therefore you will find most smaller bikes for little children have coaster brakes (on the back wheel, engaged by pedaling backwards). You might find some bikes with both hand and coaster brakes. These are good to have for helping your child get used to the hand brakes.
Even though bikes are required to be created so the front wheel won’t fall off even if the nuts on the axle come loose, you still want to test the wheels. To do this, hold the tire and try to wiggle the wheel side to side. You should not feel any movement. Then give the tire a spin. It should spin freely without any stopping or knocking.
If the bike has a chain then it should also have a chain guard to keep loose shoe laces or other things from getting caught in the chain.
Some bikes come with training wheels, someof which are fixed and some easily removed. Other bikes can easily be fitted with training wheels you purchase separately. Many people worry that a child will become dependent on training wheels. There are ways around this by gradually taking training wheels off. Another option is a kids tricycle, which has three permanent wheels and no training wheels. Balance bikes are also becoming popular. A balance bike is a bike with no pedals or chains. You push with your feet and coast around on them, thereby learning the art of balancing before ever having to pedal. So that might be an option to consider when teaching your child to ride a bike.
Most bikes come completely unassembled. You can choose to assemble it yourself or pay the store to put it together for you. Either way you will want to go around and check to make sure all of the bolts are tight and everything is in alignment before sending your child out on his maiden voyage.
Now that you know the most important things to consider when purchasing a child’s bike you’re ready to shop!