Kids love to ride their bicycles and are very proud when they graduate from their trainer wheels. They grow up very fast and seem to need a new bike every summer. Here are some tips on picking the correct size bike for your child while leaving room to grow.
The size of the bicycle are picked based on the size of the wheel,
NOT the height of the seat or frame size.
This table shows some approximate sizing based on age, wheel size measured on the outside of the wheel, child’s height and the child’s inseam.
These measurements are approximations as the height, arm length or leg length varies. Here are some other things to look for asides from the wheel size.
Measuring the child’s inseam
The child’s inseam is the measurement of the distance between of the crotch of the pants to the ankle. A good way to take this measurement is to get the child to stand in front of a wall. Place a book in between their legs and make sure it touches the wall. Mark this distance on the wall then take the measurement.
Do the straddle test
Let your child straddle the bike between their legs. There should 1-3 inches clearance for a boys bike and 1 inches for girls
Height of seat
- Adjust the seat so that the child’s feet touch the ground
- Raise the seat to the standard riding position as confidence increases
- If the seat post is higher than the lowest insertion mark then the bike is too small
Let your child sit on the seat of the bicycle with one pedal on the bottom most position. There should be a slight bend in your child’s knee.
Handlebar angle & height
The smaller the handle bar the more confident the child will be on the bike.
Other things to look out for
- Brakes – the hands should reach them and the child should be able to pull them easily
- Sitting upright – younger children should be more upright as their organs are proportionately much larger than older kids therefore more comfortable to not be hunched over. It’s also easier to ride a bike sitting up
I know it’s tempting to buy a larger bike so that they can grow into it, however it will be much harder for them to ride thus discouraging them from riding. It’s also less safe for riding.
Here are some videos giving further information
How to Size a bike for your child by – Huffy Bicycles
Fitting Your Kids bike by – DynacraftWheels
Kids Bike Sizes: How To Choose The Right Children’s Bicycle – by Global Cycling Network