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There’s no doubt that kids love bikes. Some of the best childhood memories are formed when a child receives their first bike. The sense of freedom it offers, the fun that can be had with friends it offers provides – there is a reason why bikes are such a popular requested gift item!
But when it comes to the actual act of shopping for a kid’s bike, it can be challenging. When it comes to purchasing a bike, often your child has never ridden one before. It’s going to be a new experience, so you’ll need a bike that allows you to manage their expectations while building on their confidence. Toddler bikes need to be sturdy but also fun to encourage them to ride it!
Here are some of the key points you should consider when shopping for a kids bike.
Height and Age
The first thing to determine is the correct sizing of your prospective kids’ bike. Many will use height as an indicator in finding the correct size, but this can actually be misleading. Age is also an important metric, so combine it with height to give you a better degree of accuracy regarding sizing.
Ask your retailer to find the middle ground between your child’s height and age, before comparing different sizes of kid’s bikes.
Probably even more important than height and age is the perceived ability your child will have when learning how to ride a bike. Many parents look to buy a bike that their child can grow into, as it’s more financially sensible. However, if the bikes that too big and not a great fit with a kid hampers the skill and ability learning to ride.
This can have a dramatic impact on their confidence and make the whole experience a failed endeavour. If your child has had limited familiarity with the skills needed for bike riding (balance, steering etc), consider a bike size that will fit them right now, as opposed to in the future.
A Comfortable Fit
While it’s always tempting to buy a bike as a surprise present, to ensure you purchase the correct size, having your child physically try different sizes produces the best results.
The important things to keep in mind for a comfortable fit:
- Rest the balls of both feet on the ground, while sitting on the seat
- Reach the handlebars with slightly bent arms, while sitting firmly on the seat
- Grasp the handbrakes from a sitting position with enough pressure to stop the bike
Remember, as children grow, the bike’s seat post and handlebar stems can be raised – this can help prolong the need to purchase a bigger bike straight away.
The weight of the bike is sometimes forgotten about when considering different kid’s bikes, but it’s very important. Ask your child how easy it is to propel the bike from a stationary position. If they struggle, it may be due to the weight of the bike.
Heavy step through bikes are also harder to learn on – think about how many times the bike might have to be lifted off the ground… a heavy bike is not something you want in these instances.
Design and Aesthetics
While not directly related to the comfort of the rider, the design and aesthetics of the bike will go a long way in convincing your child to learn how to ride a bike.
Kid’s bikes are often segregated by gender, and you’ll usually see particular colours and styles for boys, different from those for girls.
But you know your child more than anyone else! Choose a colour and style you think they will love, regardless of who they are supposed to be marketed to. Opting for accessories like bells, streamers or ribbons can also help in getting children interested in bike riding.
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