A kid’s bike is very important, it gives them their first taste of independence and can lead to a lifelong passion. But, if you buy your child the wrong bike, they may struggle to enjoy it for various reasons whether it is uncomfortable, to heavy or maybe they feel un-secure on it.
This article is to help point you in the right direction when choosing a kid’s bike to help find the perfect bike to inspire your little riders to want to ride more – Riding is great for mental health, exercise and getting outdoors so it’s a win win all round.
You never know, are you inspiring a future PRO?
When you buy a bike for a child, there is a good chance that they will instantly love it. But buying them the RIGHT bike will keep them riding it after the initial excitement has gone. The last thing you want is for your investment to rust away in the shed.
A quality bike will last a long time and will be working long enough to hand down to younger brothers and sisters, or to resell when the time is right. Kids bikes are in high demand, especially the quality brands so will maintain their value over time when looked after.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A KID’S BIKES?
There are many kid's bike brands to choose from that build some great road and mountain bikes for kids. In this post, we will go through some excellent kids bike brands, but before we do, there are a few things to know to make sure your kids are safe and have as much fun as possible.
If your kid's bike doesn't fit them, it will make it difficult to ride and discourage your little rider. You may be tempted to buy a larger bike that your child will grow in to. This is understandable, but unfortunately, this is a bad idea as bikes that are too big can be scary, uncomfortable, and dangerous.
This can quickly put them off riding, and this is the last thing we want! The perfect sized bike will allow your child to put at least one foot down easily while sitting on the saddle. It should also be possible for them to put two feet flat on the ground when standing over the top tube.
Your child's riding position should be pretty upright, and the handlebars should be above the seat. This will be more comfortable for them and much safer
A kid's bike that is too heavy for them will tire your little rider out quickly and may put them off riding. A bike with an aluminium frame or a steel frame with thin tubes is a good choice.
QUALITY BRAKES ARE A MUST FOR SAFETY
Good brakes that are easy to modulate are essential. Kid's hands get tired quickly, making it difficult for them to stop in an emergency. Hydraulic brakes are the best type and don't need adjusting like cable operated brakes do.
Kids take a while to learn how to modulate their brakes properly as they start off using them like on and off switches. This can be quite a shock for them the first time they use powerful hydraulic brakes. A good way to test kids' bike brakes as an adult is to pull the lever with your little finger; this is roughly equivalent to a child's grip strength.
QUALITY OVER ‘BELLS & WHISTLES’
When riding a low quality bike with suspension as an adult, you will soon realise that you often get what you pay for. They are usually heavy, not adjustable, and often just a gimmicky selling point, as they don't work as well as the higher end brands. This is the same case for mountain bikes for kids.
Therefore, if you are on a budget or your child doesn't ride rough terrain, you may be better off buying them a rigid bike. This way, you will get more for your money, and they will have an excellent bike to develop their skills.
When it comes to gears, you may be thinking that derailleurs break easily and changing gear is just something else for them to think about. But, kids don't have a great deal of leg strength; therefore, extra gears will help them a lot.
LOOK & FEEL
If the bike looks great, your child will be inspired and want to ride it more. However, you should avoid bikes with lots of gimmicks. The best kids bike brands mirror the looks of the adult frames and styling, so pay close attention to their entire bike range.
GET A GRIP
Tyre choice on kid's bikes is more important than many parents think. Knobbly tyres will make the bike look great and will give your little rider lots of grip. However, you need to be realistic about where you are riding and ask, "are knobbly tyres necessary?". Chunky tyres have higher rolling resistance, making pedalling much harder work, but semi-slick tyres will be much easier. If your Little Rider loves to SEND IT across dirt, trails and jumps then yes, maybe the knobblier the better. Just keep your eye on those tyre pressures.
Best Kids Bike Brands for Little Riders...
At Little Rider Co, we are passionate about giving kids the best start in their riding career. Therefore, we work with and promote some of the best kid's bike brands around.
Here are some of our favourites that we think you should check out when looking for your Little Riders next bike.
Prevelo is one of the best-selling kids' bike manufacturers in the US. Jacob Rheuban launched the company in California, with the mission of building quality kid's bikes.
When you look into the Prevelo Alpha and Zulu ranges, you can see that they are made from quality materials. Their frames are custom-built from 6061 Aluminium tubing, so they are durable and lightweight. In fact, Prevelo bikes are made from the same high-quality materials used in adult bikes. The design and engineering effort that Prevelo put into their bikes make them fun and safe to ride. This comes from their low bottom bracket height, for excellent handling characteristics, and their confidence-inspiring geometry.
VPACE uses big bike thinking to produce real mountain bikes for kids with their MAX range. The ethos behind this range is to put kids on bikes with 24" wheels, where other brands would use 20" wheels. This gives little riders the equivalent of an adult riding a 29er over a 27.5" wheeled bike.
The advantage of this is that kid's get a smoother ride, as the wheels roll over obstacles, bumps and holes much easier. They also have a much faster straight-line speed and lower rolling resistance.
VPACE use the same principal on their full-suspension kid's mountain bikes that they have fitted with high-end components. They also build a fantastic kid's gravel bike and a dirt jump bike. VPACE mountain bikes are for kid's that love riding and are committed to the sport.
Early Rider is known for building some of the best balance bikes, but they also produce some very well-spec’d mountain bikes for kids. Ranging from their fantastic balance bikes running all the way up to full-suspension mountain bikes with adjustable geometry.
Early Rider's goal is to get kids to be mobile as possible at an early age with as much skill as possible. This is so kids and parents can enjoy their time on the trails together. Check out the new Speedster, which is a very unique looking balance bike for kids, with big fat wheels and a geometry designed to advance children's coordination between 10 and 24 months old.
Spawn Cycles is a Canadian family-owned business with a passion for creating high-quality bikes for kids. This came about after the owners were disappointed in what was available to their son and daughter at the time.
Their range of bikes has evolved into offering some excellent cross country, dirt jump and downhill bikes specifically for kids. This means that as your kids grow older and develop new skills, they can ride a quality bike at all levels and in their chosen discipline.
Strider makes some of the best balance bikes for kids and is the brand for pedal-less bikes.
Their mission is to build lightweight, efficient, all-terrain bikes for kids that develop their balance, coordination, and confidence. They achieve this goal with a range of balance bikes for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. On their balance bikes aimed at kids aged from three to seven years old, you can choose an optional Easy-Ride Pedal Conversion Kit. This transforms your kid's 14" balance bike into a pedal bike, so they can get to grips with it before graduating to their first proper bike. Strider also has a great range of accessories, including helmets and pads. They even provide skis that let your kid ride on snow.
Frog bikes are designed to instill confidence in kids so they can have as much fun as possible while being safe. Their range of bikes consists of balance bikes to start them off, first pedal bikes and excellent road and mountain bikes. This means that there are Frog bikes for all ages, skill levels and disciplines.
These well-thought-out bikes are unisex and built to a high standard. The durability of Frog bikes means they last for years, making them an excellent investment. Their quality is good enough for them to be passed down to younger children and have a great resale value.
Frog bikes are continuously improving their products with research-based design. This gives them powerful pedalling characteristics, easy to learn on and safe.
Marcus Ihlenfeld and Christian Bezdeka founded Woom in 2013 in a garage in Vienna. They have since developed the brand into an international company.
These two cycling enthusiasts wanted to create bikes with the ergonomic and specific needs of kid's anatomy. Using quality components and materials, Woom bikes are 40% lighter than most conventional children's bikes in the market, which is a considerable advantage, as kids can ride for longer. They provide their customers with a fantastic offer when their child outgrows their Woom bike. You can trade it in and receive a 40% discount on the next size up.
There are three ranges of Woom bikes, ORIGINAL, OFF, and UP. The Original range consists of balance and pedal bikes for kids to hone their basic skills on. For mountain biking, kids from the age of fourteen can have serious fun on the Woom OFF range, while the UP is a child-specific electric mountain bike.
Cuda is another fantastic kids bike specialist. They offer a range of balance bikes, pedal bikes and BMX bikes. All Cuda bikes have lightweight Aluminium frames. Their components are specially designed for kids, making them easy to use while sparking their enthusiasm for riding bikes.
Their balance bikes all have a rear brake and a foot platform. This makes them excellent for building up the basic skills before moving on to pedal bikes.
Their pedal bikes, such as their Trace model, are lightweight and combine affordability with rideability. Cuda has concentrated on providing their bikes with excellent contact points to make riding them comfortable and easy to ride. Their low bottom bracket and short cranks improve pedalling efficiency, while the brakes have short and easy to pull levers.
THE BEST BIKE BRANDS FOR LITTLE RIDERS…
These are a selection of some of best bike brands for kids, thanks to their quality materials, well thought out geometry figures and child-specific components. By browsing through what these brands have to offer, you will notice that there is something for kids of all ages, whether they are developing those essential balancing skills, progressing on to their first non-kids bikes or gaining confidence on those bigger trails and jumps.
Want help finding a bike for your Little Rider?