Buying Your Kid’s First (or Second) Bike

By Siegfried Mortkowitz

You’ve just realized that your child is getting too big for the balance bikes he or she’s been riding all summer and that it’s time to look for a real two-wheeler. (Yes, they do grow up very fast.) You want your child to have a terrific experience on their first bike so that cycling becomes as important a part of their life as it is for you. But what bike is best? If it’s your first child, you might want to keep a few important rules in mind.

Given the cost of bikes today, you might be tempted to buy a two-wheeler that your child can grow into. Don’t. A bicycle that is too big and too heavy for a child can ruin the cycling experience for life. Also, it’s not safe. Remember: kids are expensive and you love yours. In any case, a good bike will hold its resale value, and you can recoup some of the money you laid out when you sell it.

A kid on a bike
Kids have high cadence, light bodies and energy to burn – no wonder they fall in love with cycling. © Profimedia

Look for bikes with gear and brake levers that are made expressly for children. In addition, avoid multiple gears because double chainrings add weight and complications. Also, avoid suspension until the child reaches their pre-teen years; it adds weight.

Keep in mind that every child is different, especially in terms of height and development.

Children’s Bikes for Kids Aged 3 to 5

The Woom 2 Starter kid’s bike is a pedal bike that starts with a 14-inch (35.5 cm) wheel size and goes up to 16 inches before gears are used. This makes it an excellent kids’ bike for mastering the basics of riding before tackling the complication of shifting. Get it from the manufacturer for €319.00.

Ages 5 to 10

Islabike Kids bike

The Islabike Beinn multi-purpose bike range addresses a large age group, kids from five to ten years old, and offers wheel sizes from 20 to 26 inches (51 to 66 cm). You will love the Beinn’s multi-purpose experience, which will enable your child to tackle both smooth tarmac and off-road trails because of the bike’s balance and tyres.

There is a single front chainring and a good spread of gears at the back, and the aluminium frameset and kid-sized components keep the overall weight low. As a result, shifting complications are minimized and maintenance (you’ll be happy to hear) is low. The bikes are available for €583 to €700.

Ages 10+

Triban 100 Kids Bike

Triban adult bikes are beloved for their quality and low prices, and the Triban 100 Junior Road Bike is no different. The Decathlon house brand’s bike is designed for children aged 9 to 12 (135 cm to 150 cm tall) wanting to get started with road cycling. It comes with a 7-speed 40t/4×28 Shimano drivetrain and double Tektro brake leavers, for stopping and speed modulation from the handlebars.

The Triban 100 has large, 27.5-inch (70 cm) wheels and comes with an aluminium frame and the Triban lifetime guarantee on the frame, handlebars, stem and fork. The good news is that it costs only €310. The bad news is that, while it is available on Decathlon’s French website, it is currently out of stock on the UK site.

Keep in mind that COVID-19 has disrupted supply chains around the world, so you may find some models unavailable, especially those that combine quality and affordability, like the Triban.