Weight, Gearing, Fit for Family/Purpose.
Weight – Your child isn’t as strong as an adult – or even a teen – give them a hand and allow them to ride something light. Recently in a school program we came across a bike that was 22.5kg, now considering the 11yo owner was approx 40kg, this bike was more than half his body weight – think of yourself having to ride such a bike. It will be hard and the child will struggle and COMPLAIN – go lighter weight for your sanity!!
A VERY loose rule of thumb that I’ve worked out for the weight of child’s bike is
size of wheels in inches / 2 = weight of bike
ie – 16″ bike (fits 4.5-7yr): 16/2 = 8, try get a bike around 8kg
20″ bike (fits a 7-9yr old): 20/2=10, try get a bike around 10kg
24″ bike (fits 8-12yr old): 24/2=12, try getting a bike for around 12kg
In younger ages this will mean avoiding characters that are from movies and fancy looking bikes (I’m talking Disney/fenders/wide handle bars and BMX trick pegs here!) they just add weight and make it harder to ride.
Are they ready for Gears – Under 7yo riders can get away with riding a single gear bike and if you live/ride only on the flat its all they will need! (remember how much fun you still had on your ol’ single speed bike as a kid?)
If your child is around 7-9yr and/or not a strong rider (yet) consider getting an ‘internal gear‘ bike – this looks like a normal single gear bike but it has 3 levels that are easy to change and are almost childproof!
Slightly older or stronger child: Having a 6 or 7 gear bike (that is just gears on the right hand/back cogs) allows children to get use to having a range to use, without complicating the issue by having left hand (front chain rings) gears to mix up.
Fit for Family & Purpose
- Have you got younger kids who will grown into the bike? (spending more now means it will prob last longer)
- Do you ride on flat bitumen tracks (single or very simple gears needed) or
- go more off road and riding along hilly areas (7gears or up to 18 may be required)
- Does it need to be put in the car to get to a playground? (Does you need to have the front wheel come off? How heavy is it to lift?)
Holding its value: Getting a good quality bike that fits your child NOW and treat it kindly it will hold its value for resale in 18mths – kids grow ,don’t despair there will be a family who is seeking a quality 2nd hand bike and you can prob get the next size bike from a family who’s grown out of that one!
“You never really own a child’s bike – you just house it until they grow out of it”
Lee-Anne – Ride-a-Bike