Just Like Buying a Bike: How To Choose Kids’ Bike

Sister and little brother learning to ride bicycle park having fun together

Key Points

  • Riding bikes is great for kids’ development.

  • Always consider general guidelines when fitting your kid for a bike.

  • There are many features and items to consider when you choose a kids' bike.

  • There are a lot of mistakes people commit during the buying process.

  • Lots of companies sell kids' bikes, and it's important to choose the right one for your child.

It's the most memorable moment of many people's childhood – right up there with their first kiss, first crush, or first pimple. There's just something magical about learning how to ride a bike. Maybe it's the sense of accomplishment. Perhaps it's the exhilarating freedom. There's no doubt that somewhere within you sits fond memories of biking with your friends. You may not feel it now, but younger you probably loved to ride bikes. 

If there's a kiddo in your life, a bike is the coolest gift they imagine receiving. And the data is in: Children need to spend time outside. What better way to get the kids out the front door than to buy them a bike? Biking is a pathway to get your kids into the great outdoors, thus ensuring their development. Equally vital is knowing how to choose a kids' bike

This article helps demonstrate the importance of teaching your kid to ride a bike and offers suggestions for picking the best one for your unique kiddo’s distinctive needs. 

Teach Your Kid To Ride a Bike; It's Good For Them

Teaching your child to ride a bike promotes several benefits for their physical, mental/emotional, and social development.

Boy and mother choose new bicycle helmets in store

Physical Development

Riding a bike is a form of exercise that helps your child's physical development. It is a low-impact activity with benefits to cardiovascular health, muscle strength, and coordination. As they learn to balance and control the bike, they are developing their motor skills, posture, and endurance. 

Tragically, many children have sedentary lifestyles – especially in the 2020s. Be brave enough to buck this trend. Technology is excellent, but it doesn't beat the exhilaration of physical activity. Teaching your kids to ride bikes builds the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

Mental/Emotional Development

Learning to ride a bike also has a positive impact on your child's mental and emotional development. It builds their confidence and self-esteem as they master a new skill.

As they become more confident on their bike, they are more likely to take on new challenges and explore their surroundings. This leads to increased independence as they travel further and explore new areas. 

Teaching your child to ride a bike also impacts their cognitive development. Biking requires focus and attention, which helps to strengthen the brain and improve memory and concentration. 

Learning to cope with difficult emotions is vital in childhood development. Physical activity provides one of the best avenues to do this. Instilling a love of biking and being outside sets your child up for a well-regulated inner life. 

Social Development

Bike riding is a gateway for children to socialize and make new friends. It's a fun activity to do with others, whether it's a leisurely ride or a competitive race. Joining a local bike club or group allows your children to make new friends with similar interests. 

Furthermore, a family that bikes together spends time together. Planning bike rides and exploring your local area creates opportunities for children to spend quality time with parents and siblings. 

Overall, teaching your child to ride a bike benefits their physical, mental, and social development. It is a fun and healthy activity they enjoy for years to come, and it gives families a chance to spend time together and explore their community.

With the benefits of teaching little ones to ride bikes established, it's time to find the perfect kids' bike.

Figure Out How Your Kid Uses Their Bike

You need to know what kind of bike your kid needs. The bike they need if they're 18 months old and barely walking is much different than if they're eight.

It's essential to consider how your child wants to use the bike, as there are different bikes built for various purposes. Electric, mountain, and road bikes each have their own design and functions. Take some time to talk with your kiddo and figure out what type of biking excites their little minds.

Another, more painful, point to not forget: Your kid is growing up fast. A bike they used at six might be obsolete at seven.

A young boy rids a kids bike along a path

How To Choose The Right Size Kids' Bike

Choosing the right size bike for your child is vital for their safety and comfort while riding. Here are some general guidelines for selecting the proper size bike for your child: 

Wheel Size

The bike's wheel size corresponds to the child's age and height:

  • For children between the ages of two to four, get a 12” wheel bike. 

  • For children between four to six, pick a 14” wheel bike.

  • For children between six and eight, buy a 16” wheel bike. 

As children get older, they need bigger bikes with larger wheel sizes. 

Standover Height

The standover height is the distance from the ground to the bike's top tube when the bike stands upright. Ensure that your child can stand over the top tube with both feet flat on the ground so that they can dismount safely.


The inseam is the distance from the ground to the child's groin when standing with their feet flat. Adjust the bike seat, so the child's inseam is about one to two inches from the top tube. This allows for proper leg extension while pedaling. 

Age and Height

While this is not a hard and fast rule, manufacturers often provide a size chart based on the child's age and height. This gives a good indication of which size bike is most appropriate for your child. 

It's important to note that every child is different and that these guidelines are just starting points. The best way to ensure that your child has a suitably sized bike is to take them to a bike shop where they can test ride a few different sizes.

While many people fitted bikes according to wheel size in the past, some experts believe this method is outdated.

Measuring by inseam is the gold standard for many. The inseam is measured from the top of the groin to where your child's feet touch the ground when wearing shoes. 

It's really up to you. Try both methods, and see what leads to the best size bike for your child.

And as always, go to the experts! People have spent their whole lives mastering the craft of bikes. You wouldn't remove your own appendix, would you? Of course not. Ask an expert!

The Best Bike for an 8 Versus a 12-Year-Old Boy

Use the above guidelines and imagine a perfectly sized bike for an eight-year-old boy.

Test the wheel size and inseam methods, and compare the results. If they both tell you to get the same-sized bike, then that's great. If not, have your child try both recommended bike sizes to see which one fits.

The same thing applies to 12-year-olds. However, their sizes are probably much larger. 

Once you've got the size nailed, figure out what features you want with the bike. Being the best biker in the neighborhood is great, but nothing beats being the safest.

Types of Features To Consider

When buying a bike for your child, consider several key features to ensure that the bike is safe, durable, and usable as your child grows up. Look for a bike built to last, with sturdy construction and high-quality components to weather the wear and tear of regular use. Additionally, ensure the bike has safety features such as a sturdy frame, reliable brakes, and reflectors for visibility. This helps keep your child safe while riding.

Another important feature to consider is adjustability. An adjustable seat and handlebars allow the bike to grow with your child, so you won't have to buy a new bike every year. The weight of the bike matters as well. Make sure it is light enough for your child to handle easily but heavy enough to withstand rough play or potential crashes. 

Many companies sell bikes, so do a deep dive into each of them to find the right one for you. Look for a bike that offers the best value for your money, keeping in mind that the bike needs to be replaced as the child grows.

Buying the most expensive bike doesn't necessarily make it the best; this is especially important for kids' bikes. Don't buy your kids the Bugatti version of a bike when they'll be too big to ride it in six months.

Know the safety features of the bike you want for your kid, get their insight on what they want, size them up for a good fit, and stick within your budget. 

A line of kids bicycle along a gravel trail in the mountains

Common Mistakes When Buying a Kids' Bike

Many pitfalls await you in the bike-buying business. Consider the following and avoid the major mistakes:

Don't Buy a Bike That's too Big

Many parents buy a bigger bike for their kids, thinking they'll grow into it. An oversized bike is dangerous and too complex for your kid to handle. It's like buying pants two sizes too big to prepare for winter weight. It is best to avoid it.

Consider Your Child's Riding Ability

You have to choose a bike that matches your kid's skill level. Parents tend to think their kid is the Michael Jordan of everything. But that's rarely the case. Buying them a bike above their skill level is overwhelming. Buying them a bike made for children half their age is a recipe for boredom. Know how good your kid is at biking.

Never Skimp on Safety Features

Safety is the top priority when buying a kids' bike. Look for a sturdy frame, reliable brakes, and reflectors for visibility. Helmets are always a solid investment, too!

Ask Your Kid What They Want

They may be small and growing, but they still have an opinion! Consider your kid’s favorite colors, characters, and activities. Get a bike to match their personality – one they will be stoked to show off around the neighborhood.

Get Help

Certified bike technicians are a great resource. Go to a store that specializes in bikes and ask for their advice. They know everything about sizing the bike, safety features, and everything else related to biking.

Keep the Price in Mind

It's nonsensical to buy an expensive bike your kid will quickly outgrow. Remember that bikes, like anything for kids, must fit your growing child. Consider how much you want to spend on a bike and look for one that offers the best value for your money. 

Remember the Weight of the Bike

Children have less physical strength than adults, so choose a lightweight bike that’s easy for them to handle. If they crash and burn, make sure they have a bike they are capable of lifting.

Don't Just Send Them Off

The scariest thing about a kid and a bike is the limitless ways for them to get hurt. Set some rules. Tell them where to go and where not to go. Make sure they know to walk their bike across the street and look both ways. When they're first learning, let them ride down the driveway and back. As they get older, maybe let them go around the block. 

Young boy learns how to do bicycle maintenance with family

Things Your Kid Needs When Riding a Bike

When it comes to children and bikes, safety is the top priority.

Buy your child a properly fitted helmet. A helmet is essential safety equipment for children riding bikes. Make sure the helmet fits properly and is adjusted correctly. 

Reflective gear is also important. Children need reflective gear on their bikes, such as a vest or stickers, to increase visibility during low-light conditions. To make them even more noticeable, have them wear brightly colored clothes to increase visibility to drivers and other cyclists. Also, a front and rear light on the bike helps children be seen at night or when visibility is low. A bell or horn alerts others of your child's presence on the road. 

Hopefully, your child is outside a lot once they get their bike. Keep them hydrated. A water bottle is a good idea for longer rides. Many bikes have a frame with a storage area for water bottles.

All sorts of things pop a bike tire. Glass shards, nails, and rocks sneak up and really damper any biking outing. Make sure the bike has good quality tires resistant to punctures. 

When they're first learning, your kids must have brakes and a knowledge of how to use them. Ensure that the brakes are working correctly and that the child knows how to use them. To add even more safety for young children who are just learning to ride, training wheels provide added stability and help them learn to balance on their own. 

Finally, guide your child through every step of the biking process. Parental guidance is necessary to teach children how to ride safely. Explain to them the road rules, including how to signal turns and ride in a straight line.

With all this knowledge, the next and most crucial step is to figure out what bike to get your kid.

Two young boys ride their bicycles to school

The Various Bike Brands Available 

There are SO many bike brands on the market, each with its own unique features and designs. 

Here are a few to consider:

WOOM Bikes

WOOM is known for its lightweight and easy-to-handle bikes, focusing on safety and ergonomics. There is a wide range of sizes and styles, from balance to pedal bikes. Their bikes weigh 40 percent less than most kids' bikes, and 90 percent of the components have been specifically developed for children.


They are well-known for their balance bikes, designed to teach children as young as 18 months how to balance and ride. They also offer pedal bikes for older children. Balance bikes are an excellent way to ease children into the art of biking. If your child is a beginner, look no further than Strider.


High-quality construction and attention to detail are staples of their products. They offer a wide range of kids' bikes. Their website provides a quiz to determine what kind of bike your kid needs. Plus, there's an option to buy one of their bikes and pay for it in installments. There are many flexible payment plans.


Bikes from this company are durable, high-quality, and designed to withstand the rigor of kids' use. They have several types of sizes and styles. Purchasing from Trek includes professional assembly by a certified bike technician and a 30-day return policy.

ByK Bikes

Their bikes are lightweight and easy to handle with a strong focus on safety and ergonomics. They offer various sizes, styles, and models. 

A cool thing about ByK Bikes is that they sell spare parts for you to install on your kids' bikes. Add a compass on the handlebars or put on a bell shaped like a baseball. There are lots of options! There are also parts such as inner tubes for tires.

Guardian Bikes

Guardian Bikes have options for kids of all ages and abilities. They have a range of bikes for children as young as 18 months, all the way up to teenagers. Their bikes are designed with safety as the top priority and feature many unique safety features. The patented SureStop braking system, which allows kids to stop faster and with less hand strength, is one of the standout things of Guardian Bikes. This system separates the braking controls for the front and rear wheels so that kids stop more quickly and safely. The bikes also come with a limited lifetime warranty on the frame and fork, giving parents financial peace of mind. 

In addition to safety, Guardian Bikes are known for their high-quality construction and durability. They use lightweight aluminum frames and high-end components, ensuring the bikes are sturdy and easy to handle. It's one of the few companies which keeps kids' ergonomics in mind, with a comfortable riding position and easy-to-use controls.

Many parents and kids who have purchased Guardian Bikes have given positive feedback. They report that their kids love riding them and that they feel secure and stable on the bikes. Additionally, parents have praised their durability and ease of maintenance. 

Overall, Guardian Bikes are an excellent choice for parents looking for a safe and durable bike for their kids. The company's focus on safety, high-quality construction, and longevity make them a leader in the kids' bike market.

Man pushes boy on kids bicycle

Ready To Ride?

Riding a bike is not just a fun activity for kids; it's also a great way to promote physical activity and outdoor exploration. With the right bike, children learn to ride safely and confidently, gaining independence and self-confidence as they explore the world around them. 

Buying a kids' bike is a big decision you need to take seriously. Safety must always be the top priority, but also consider the child's interests, skill level, size, and your budget. Many great brands are available, each with unique features and designs. It's always best to take the child to a bike shop and get them properly fitted by a professional. A bike that fits well and is comfortable for the child holds a lifetime of happy, healthy, and safe biking. It's not just a mode of transportation but a ticket to freedom and adventure, a way for your kid to forge their own path. 

Rain or shine, sleek or snow, your child needs to spend time outside. Get them shoes for any weather, brush up on your biking abilities, pack a backpack, hop on your bike, and head off with your kid and the rest of the family. Biking is not just great exercise but a chance to create unforgettable memories that last a lifetime.

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