Bicycles are a fantastic gift for children. They’re fun, safe, and encourage the child to be active and enjoy the outdoors. The most important thing to consider when buying a bike for a child is wheel size. This relates to the height of the child more than the child’s age, however, for simplicity this guide will refer to the suitability of the bike relative to approximate age groups. Given how quickly young children grow, it is important to speak to an experienced consultant in order to get the longest useful life out of the bike. Additionally, for safety reasons it is important that your child is riding the correct sized bike that they can safely and easily steer, brake and touch the ground when required. Apart from size, the other important consideration is the frame. A lightweight frame that places the child in a stable, comfortable riding position will be easier and more enjoyable to ride (meaning it will get ridden much more!).
12” Wheel Size: Suitable for kids 2 – 4 years old. These bikes come with training wheels, and may feature a push steerer so the child can be directed when required.
16” Wheel Size: Suitable for kids aged 3 – 6. Generally come with training wheels and no gears. Some children may not have developed a lot of the strength required for riding, so the bike’s weight will be an important consideration. For older children you may want to consider a 16” BMX for a stronger, heavier duty bike.
20” Wheel Size: Suitable for kids aged 6 -10. This is also the standard size for a BMX wheel, and given the lack of gears the kid’s bike and BMX share a lot of similarities. The main difference is a kid’s bike will be lighter and easier to ride, and a BMX will be heavier and more durable. A kid’s bike may be a better option if the child is still learning to ride, while a BMX will be more suitable if the child is already confident (or will be taking it off jumps; or has a tendency to break things…)
20 - 24” Geared: As the child becomes a more competent rider, you may start to consider a geared bike. Geared bikes are a great option for kids that will be covering longer riding distances, or live in a hilly area. 20” bikes are suitable for ages 6-10; 24” - ages 8 - 13. For children that are quite tall, or around 13 - 16 years the next progression will be to an adult MTB in extra small size. The MTB style is more suitable than road or hybrid due to smaller wheels, which give a lower ground clearance, as well as improved balance and stability. Cruisers are a great option for girls. The riding position is laid back and relaxed, but in reality, they’re popular because of their awesome colours and retro styling.
Given their size, durability, and simplicity they are a great option for older children and adolescents. No gears to look after and fewer parts to damage if the child has a tendency to be rough. As you progress through the BMX range, bikes go from being suitable for street riding only; to becoming stronger and more rugged, suitable for racing and more technical tricks in the skate park.
Made purely for on-road use - they are fast, lightweight and efficient. Great for general fitness training, as a social activity (they’ve been called ‘the new golf’), or more serious events and racing. Entry level bikes feature alloy frames and simple gearing (or groupsets). Moving through the range, bikes become more performance focused, with materials and components becoming more lightweight, durable and easy to use. Carbon frames achieve a big advance in performance, as the material is extremely strong, light, and stiff. It provides greater comfort (through vibration dampening), as well power transfer (and therefore efficiency) compared to an alloy frame.
Mountain bikes feature strong frames and components, off road tyres and a large range of gears. They are primarily for off road use, but also extremely versatile, and suitable for a variety of recreational and commuter purposes. Entry level MTBs are more suited to bike paths, parks, and some light use on unsealed surfaces. Progressing through the range, bikes become more suited to longer rides, and rougher terrain, with a focus on durability and performance. MTBs can be either hard tail (front suspension only); or dual suspension (suspension in front and rear). Within each of these categories, there are also a number of wheel sizes (26”, 27.5” and 29”) that each provides their own advantages. Carbon frames achieve a big advance in performance, as the material is extremely strong, light, and stiff, achieving maximum power transfer from rider to bike.
Not a road bike, or a mountain bike, something in between. This versatile category can be split into two different styles – hybrid comfort/sport, and flat bar road. Hybrid comfort/sport bikes feature a relaxed, upright seating position, with some models offering suspension forks. These are both most commonly used for fitness and general commuting. Flat bar road bikes are similar to the traditional drop bar road bike, with flat handle bars providing a more upright seating position, and improved handling at low speeds. They also feature wider tires, making them more suitable for going off curbs and gutters.
Fixies & Cruiser Bikes
Fixies are modelled on old school track bikes, and just have a single gear. This gives them an attractive, minimal appearance, as well as making them little to no maintenance.
The 70s inspired Cruiser is a laid back and relaxed bike with a comfortable upright seating position. They feature wide, comfy tyres, and raised handlebars making them a cruisy option for getting around the neighbourhood. Available in single, 3, or 7 speeds if your legs or suburb require some extra gears.