Kid's Bike Buying Guide
Whether it’s your kids first bike, or they’ve outgrown their old set of wheels; buying a kids bike can be difficult if you don’t know how to pick the right one.
Kids bikes are sized according to their wheel size, not their frame size like adult bikes. Size is the most important consideration when choosing bicycles for kids. The right size bike will help keep your child safe, comfortable and get the most enjoyment from their bike.
Another important consideration is the frame weight. A lightweight frame that places the child in a stable, comfortable riding position will be easier to pedal and more enjoyable to ride, meaning it will get ridden much more! Bikes made with alloy frames are typically more expensive than bikes with steel frames. The benefits of alloy are that it is lighter and easier for the child to ride, as well as being less prone to rust.
An alternative for older kids are BMX bikes. BMX frames are generally more heavy duty, but this does make them slightly heavier so they’re better suited to more experienced riders.
All kids bikes at 99 Bikes are professionally assembled by a trained bike mechanic according to a rigorous safety checklist. This ensures both a safer and less frustrating experience than assembling the bike yourself.
Kid’s Bike Sizing
The height of the child more important than the child’s age, however, for simplicity this guide refers to the suitability of the bike relative to approximate age groups.
|Under 2||Up to 95 cm||12 inch balance bike|
|Ages 2 - 4||78 cm - 94 cm||12 inch kid’s bike|
|Ages 3 - 6||84 cm - 112 cm||16 inch kid’s bike|
|Ages 6 - 9||108 cm - 129 cm||20 inch kid’s bike or BMX bike|
|Ages 8 - 11||125 cm - 148 cm||24 inch kid’s bike|
|Ages 10+||145 cm - 160 cm||26 inch kids bike or extra small adults bike|
Toddlers - Balance Bikes
Balance bike all come in a 12 inch wheels size and are suitable for kids up to 2 years old. Balance bikes are two wheeled bike without pedals that allow children to sit and coast, helping them develop the balance and skills required to ride a bicycle.
- The perfect introduction to bikes
- Balance bikes come with a 12 inch wheel
- Suitable for kids up to 2 years old
- No pedals, so they help develop important balance and skills required for riding
Ages 2-4 years or 78-94cm - 12” kids bike
12 inch bikes are generally suitable for kids 2 – 4 years old. These bikes come with training wheels, and may feature a push steerer so the child can be assisted or directed when needed.
- 12 inch kids bikes are best suited to young children ages 2-4 years old
- These bikes come with training wheels
- May feature a push steerer so the child can be assisted or directed where needed
Ages 3-6 years or 84-112cm - 16” kids bike
16 inch bikes are generally suitable for kids aged 3 – 6 years old. Typically bikes this size will have training wheels and no gears. Around this age 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.
- 16 inch kids bikes are suited to those aged between 3 and 6 years old
- These bikes will typically come with training wheels and no gears
- Bike weight is an important consideration as some kids will not have developed a lot of strength required for riding
- For older children you may want to consider a 16” BMX for those kids wanting a stronger or more heavy duty bike
Ages 6-10 years or 108-129cm - 20” kids bike
20 inch bikes are generally suitable for kids aged 6 -10 years. 20 inch is also the standard size for a BMX wheel, and given they both have no gears the 20 inch kid’s bike and BMX share a lot of similarities.
The main difference between the two is that a kid’s bike will be lighter and easier to ride, and a BMX will be heavier and more durable. Kid’s bikes are designed in a mountain bike style, whereas BMX are designed more for street and skate park riding. 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 if they have a tendency to be rough with things.
Some 20 inch bikes also come with gears, which can be beneficial if the child is a bit more experienced and coordinated, as well as suspension for better comfort and handling.
- 20 inch kids bikes are best suited for kids aged between 6 to 10 years old
- This size is also the standard size for BMX
- Kids 20 inch bikes are designed as a mountain bike style, so they’re easier to ride and lighter
- Kids bikes are the best option if they are newer to riding
- BMX bikes are more durable and designed for street or skate park riding
- BMX are great for the more confident rider or if they tend to be rough with things!
- Some 20” kids bikes come with gears so are a great options if your child is more experienced and wants to build on their riding skills
Ages 8-11 years or 120-148cm - 24” kids bikes
24 inch geared bikes can suit children aged 8 - 13 years old. 24 inch bikes are designed in a mountain bike style, features like gears and suspension forks. 24 inch is the second largest of what we would call kids bikes. For taller kids, the next progression would be onto an 26 inch kids bike or an extra small adults mountain bike.
- 24 inch bikes are best for those kids aged between 8 and 11 years old
- Geared 24” bikes suit the more experienced kids
- These bikes are designed in a mountain bike style, and are quite rugged
- 24 inch kids bikes often come with more advanced features like better tyres, gears and suspensions forks
- These bikes still feature a low standover height so children can easily reach the ground while riding
Ages 9-13 years or 145-160cm - 26” inch kids bikes
26 inch mountain bikes are suited for kids that are 9-13 years old. 26 inch bikes typically feature gears and suspension forks. 26 inch bikes are the largest of kids bikes with the next progression in bikes being an extra small adult bike.
- Taller kids above 148cm now have an option to go for a 26” kids bikes as opposed to a small adult’s frame
- These 26 inch kids bikes offer great value for older kids
- The junior frame stye features an easy reach brake lever and other child-friendly features, making them a preferred choice over an extra small adult’s frame for children
Scooters - a great alternative
Scooters are a great alternative for those kids that want to quickly pick up riding around on two wheels, with plenty of tricks to master. Scooters are the go to for kids aged 2-13 with different styles to suit all ages!
- Scooters are available in a wide variety of styles, to suit any kid from 2 years old through to more advanced freestyle scooters for older teens and adults
- Scooters are a great way to get your kids out and about on 2 wheels
- If your kid is focused on mastering tricks, they’re going to love some of our freestyle scooters available