There is no doubt that you are spoiled for choice as far as buying a bike for your kids goes. There are so many models and so many manufacturers that you can get really bogged down about what bike to get your kid.
1. The price tag
One of the major considerations is economics and you really don’t want to buy something too expensive that your child could outgrow in just a year or so; especially if there is no younger sibling to hand the bike down to. Most people don’t realize it but kids’ bikes cost almost the same as adults’ small bikes. If there is one trick that can help you to get a bike that is slightly cheaper then get one that is heavier. Heavy bikes are made of steel which makes them less expensive than the bikes manufactured with alloys.
2. Size wise
Never fault on buying a bike for your kids that is the right size. Children’s bikes are sized 12 inches to 24 inches on the basis of their wheels. So how do you know the size is right for your kid? See if your child can straddle the bike easily with feet placed on the ground as that will ensure that dismounting is not an issue. They should be able to reach for the handlebar easily and should not sit hunched up so that their knees hit the handlebars. When riding the bike their bodies should lean out comfortably so that they can easily steer the bicycle.
3. Strong frame
Children are in the habit of using their bikes roughly so the frame needs to be strong enough to take in all kinds of bumps and flings. Check the seat to ensure that it is bolted tight to the frame and greased well. Make sure the frame is aligned by viewing the bike from a slight distance. Similarly the handle must be well secured to the frame and does not jam with water spills on it.
4. Simple Design
Get a bike that has a simple design because the more complicated the design the more dangerous it becomes for your kids to manoeuver the bicycle. A complicated gear system can cause accidents as children may not demonstrate very swift reflexes in an emergency. Make sure the handlebars have only major functions and that the bar is not dotted with all kinds of paraphernalia like spikes.
5. Brakes are important
Brakes are of two kinds, coaster brakes and hand brakes. Coaster brakes are placed on the back wheels and they work with backward pedaling. Bikes for smaller kids have coaster brakes as their hands are still too small to work strongly on the handbrake. The best bikes are those that have both coaster brakes as well as handbrakes so the child knows how to use both. If you like you can test to see how well the child can work the brake with just a couple of fingers.
6. Safe wheels
For your kids you need to ensure that you buy a bike that has a safety mechanism fixed on the front wheel which will keep the wheel in place even if the axle comes off because of loose nuts. Before buying the bike test the wheels to ensure that it spins freely when you spin the wheel manually. The wheel rim, spokes and the hub should be made of metal to keep the wheel steady. If your child is small make sure that the wheels are not too large as being heavy it could be difficult to steer.
7. Easy reach
Children don’t really like to lean too forward but like to ride bikes in a slightly more upright position than adults. Make sure that the child is able to comfortably reach the bar. Perhaps you could buy a bike for your kid that is a little higher and those that are closer to the seated child. Bigger wheels could extend the reach of the bar so make sure that the wheels are also of the correct size for a comfortable reach.
8. Chain guards for safety
Shoe laces and long pant ends sometimes get entangled in the chains and for this reason it is important that there are chain guards on kids’ bikes to prevent accidents.
9. Crank size
The cranks need to be placed on children’s bikes at about one tenth the overall height. However, most manufacturers seem to provide longer cranks and these could cause the bike to ground. So before you give thumbs up check well.
10. Buy from the right store
There are some stores where the salespeople might know the details about a kid’s bike and may not be qualified to answer questions. Also they might not have received formal training for assembling bikes. Select a store where salespeople can clarify your doubts.
If you want your kids to enjoy their bicycles like you did then make sure you buy a bike they can control and which makes it possible for their feet to touch ground when needed. Also get them a color they like!