What's most important when you buy a bike for a child?

Please specify the child's age.

9  Answers

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Proper size. The quality of child's bikes are pretty equal unless you are willing to spend A LOT of money on them. Doing so is probably unwise because 1. children are hard on things and 2. they grow so fast.

Fit is much more important, get one that is just on the verge of being too big (on their tippy toes when sitting on the saddle and feet touching the ground.

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To buy a helmet too!

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a helmet

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Personally, the most important thing is my daughter's preference. There are a variety of kid's bikes in Japan, as well as other bikes. We don't need to put too much concern about the quality of bikes since most of the bikes in Japan are ranked high quality.
We also think about how long the bike will be ridden. First, if the bike is for a three years old child, we will choose a 12 inches wheel. But then if the bike is for a six years old kid, we usually choose 20 ~ 24 inches wheel. If we choose a bike with a wheel that is over 20 inches, our children will be able to ride the bike for approximately four or five years. That's a reasonable period. Anyway, such wheel sizes are also important, I think. Thank you for reading.
Link to related blog posts :
http://mamabicycle.blogspot.com/2011/04/about-kids-bike-for-my-elder-daughter.html
http://mamabicycle.blogspot.com/2011/09/after-open-day-my-daughter-and-i.html

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A bike is a bike, but a child is an individual with his own personality.

That makes it so difficult to buy the right bike.

I have heard people say, children up to the age of 10 need a simple bicycle with good brakes and no gears. Fashion, stylish looks, colours and gadgets should not enter your consideratiions when choosing a bike for kids. I think that is all wrong.

My 8 year old daughter goes for fashion and colours before anything else. And as far as gears were concerned, she wanted to be in front of the rest of the kids in the street, if possible with more the 21 gears., I think a parent must exercise his moderation capacity in such a situation. Knowing that a child can easily overestimate her talents when it comes to sportive riding with a complicated gear set and a stylish mountain bike frame, a parent ought to find out what she really needs. Yes, good brakes with easy grips, definitely, for her safety. And if she is not the kind of person who likes gear shifting and experimenting for the sake of technical interest, she should get a 5 gear hub system with pedal brakes, and no mountain bike frame. Next, colours can be chosen entirely to her preferences.

My 6 year old boy differs greatly. He loves gear shifting, he explores technical details and he has already much more riding experience than my daughter. Although he is younger, his riding is safer. During a family ride he goes down a steep hill without any complaints. He is more adventurous than his sister. Consequently, I bought a bike with a mountain bike frame, good brakes and a gear set with 12 gears.

For both children bikes I applied the principal of buying quality products, which was made easy because I could easily identify a few well known brands that are still being produced in the country and not abroad. Finally, I want to add another safety issue: lights. Here in Germany bicycles that are to be ridden on public streets must have generator driven head and rear lights and must be equipped with two brakes that work separately.- It goes without saying that kids should never be allowed to ride a bike without wearing a safety helmet. So buying a bike implies also buying a helmet.

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I bought the bikes for my twin boys when they were 3. They are now 7.
Bike from a good brand name, even it is made in china, the quality control will be better.
The bike has to fit for the child's size. Don't buy a bike too big for the child.
Get it from a good local bike shop. You will need its service in the future.
Sometimes the hand brakes may be too far from the handle which is only fit for child with long fingers. Coaster brake can be an alternative option.
I won't get a folding bike for kids. As most of them are for adult. It is too stretching for kid to reach the handle bar.

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Hi- Our suggestion for buying a bike for a child would be to consider that they grow pretty quickly. Don't buy a bike that is too big, to try to save money for later, or as everybody's mentioned, a new, cheap department store bike that won't hold up. Consider (instead of buying a new bike at all!) seeking out an older used bike, especially from a community bike cooperative or a yard sale. Quality is often better and weight is less. Don't forget a helmet for your kid, whatever you think about helmets for yourself.

If you don't know how to maintain a bike always take it to your friendly local bike shop to tune it completely and fit the seat correctly for your child. Friends often also are outgrowing bikes that are not getting handed down to siblings- ask around and see who is moving up to a new bike.

Our three kids have never had a new bike and love the ones that they ride. Our 10 year old finds that the older upright style bikes we get at yard sales (26 in wheeled Raleigh Colt or LTD3 or 24 inch wheeled Schwinn Varsity) are easier to ride than the newer low bar bmx/mountain style bikes with knobby inefficient tires, at least for where he rides here in the city. There are few good bikes that a 10 year old can ride until high school, even if that's what you really want. You could look at folding bikes like Dahons or similar I guess if your child likes them.

New style kids bikes are often too long for the height, so kids are too stretched out toward the handlebars. They can't make turns or react to braking well then. Arms should always easily reach the handlebars with a relaxed and comfortable posture. Kids should always be able to step down on a bike with their feet flat on the ground, usually sliding off the seat to do so. Cross bars should clear a child's inseam by two or three inches standing over the bar.

Oddly, even on a bike that's too big, kids usually sit too low. If their knees aren't almost straight at the bottom of the pedal stroke, think about raising the seat or moving up a size. It makes pedaling much easier.

For a new rider, start with a balance bike or make your own out of a very lightweight kid’s bike by taking off the cranks. Don’t buy a real bike at this stage. They are all too heavy and most are identical, regardless of price. Forget training wheels - they just delay learning to ride.

Once your kid can pedal, something with a coaster brake is good. We like older style, more upright postures more than the current knobby wheel style. You start with a 12 1/2 in wheel. When the kid seems as big as the bike you have waited too long - move up to 16 in wheels, and add a hand brake.

Next step is 20 inch wheels and at this point you should have two hand brakes to encourage learning to ride, maybe with a coaster too, and maybe more than one gear. Our kids have several gears, lights, reflectors, a rack, two hand brakes and smoothish tires at this stage, none of which costs a lot. Remember that BMX bikes are an option here, but they don’t have many gears and the tires are impractical.

At 24 in and 26 in sizes your kid will tell you what he or she wants, not the other way around. Keep them in their helmet. Good luck.

Chicargobike

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Kids need light bikes! Don't buy a 'throw away' bike from a big box store that weighs more than your kid. Invest in a great bike, your kid will love riding it, you'll be able to fix it if anything breaks and you'll be able to pass it down to younger kids or sell it and recover at least half of your initial expense.

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To answer a question with a question . . . what's the most important piece of safety equipment when riding a bicycle? Hint: It's NOT a helmet.

The most important piece of safety equipment when riding a bicycle is a safe bike. What does that mean?

First, the bicycle should be well made. Unfortunately, many discount store bikes don't meet this criteria.

Second, the bike should be in good working order. Check brake pads, tire air pressure, chain condition. Look for parts that are missing, damaged, or loose.

Finally, regardless of age, a safe bike should fit the child properly.

A local bike shop will carry quality products and can help you find the right fit for your child. If cost is a factor, you can look for a used bike, but here it would be a good idea to enlist a bike shop to give it a once over to make sure it's road worthy. You can also look for bicycle safety events (sometimes called "Bike Rodeos") in your community -- many of these will offer bicycle safety checks for free. These events will also teach your child how to make the most of their bike with tips for riding safely and confidently.

If you're buying a bike for an older child (ages 10 and up, depending on height), talk to the bicycle store about a model with a smaller frame but larger wheels and adjustable seat posts and handlebars. You can maximize your investment in a good bike by getting something that will fit them through the high school years.

Happy riding!

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