16 Jul Best tips about choosing a bicycle for children
Bicycles are a great gift for kids as they combine fun and encourage physical activity. Here at ThinkBike, especially on Saturday mornings, children are excited by the environment and adults are bitten by the nostalgia bug. It brings back memories of their childhood from when they discovered the world through their first bikes.
Despite all the charm that is behind the purchase of the first bike, there are some things you need to be aware of: For every age, there is a proper model and size. Check our guidelines to start or continue your children’s love of cycling.
Size: This is the most important thing! When buying a bicycle for a child’s specific age, it’s common to think that it will become too small very quickly due to the child’s growth and end up being a waste of money. However, it is not pleasant or safe to see a child riding on a big bike. At first contact, it is essential that children always have a bike at the right size. Buying a larger bicycle because the child will grow is dangerous: it can be unsafe during an accident and even cause them to lose the desire to ride. They must have easy access to controls and brakes.
Physical Fit: A bike is the right size when your child can…
• Sit on the saddle and rest the balls of both feet on the ground.
• Straddle the top bar with a comfortable clearance and with both feet flat on the ground.
• Reach the handlebars with a slight bend in the arms when sitting on the seat. If there are handbrakes, your child should be able to grasp them and apply enough pressure to stop the bike.
As your child grows, you can raise the seat post and handlebar stem. Another great tip is to set the handlebars back and with the seat put to the lowest level – this reduces the reach a little more and allows you more growing room.
Weight: Cycling is fun, but learning to balance and move a heavy model (some children’s bikes weigh up to 70% of the child’s weight) can generate fear and dis-interest. Give preference to models manufactured with aluminium to ensure you and your child get the very most out of the bike.
Quality vs. Price: Some manufacturers usually put cheaper materials (such as plastic) in many parts of the bicycle. This can make some models more fragile compared to others. Some parents believe that it is not necessary to make an investment in quality when it comes to bikes for children, but we must consider that a bike produced with better materials can be passed from sibling to sibling or resold when the child gets older.
Buying from a bike store vs a department store: You can do your research online and read every bit of info on various websites, but your local bike store experts can give specific advice for your child. This is something you will never get in a department store. Buying from a department store can sometimes mean the bike is not fully assembled but at a bike shop, it will be built by an expert who will ensure it is safe and set up specifically for the intended rider.
Once you buy from a local store, you then have somewhere to go back for support, advice, maintenance and safety checks – from readjusting gears, fixing damage, dealing with a puncture, and so on. Build a friendship with your local store and they will look after you.
Model: The use of cartoon characters is a commercial technique used to get children interested in the product. In this case, the interest may come first by the character rather than the bicycle. It’s time for the “superparents” to get into action because convincing the child to take another model can be a difficult task. Especially if they need to choose between a version made with best materials without a theme or known characters. Imagine that this bike will compete with Spiderman, Barbie and other characters. What to do in this situation?
Again, think of the quality of the bike.
Follow our tips and when in doubt, our staff will be waiting for you at ThinkBike with the best tips about choosing a bicycle for children.