The Most Common Mistakes to Avoid When Setting Up a Child’s Bike

By Adam Marsal

Is your kid ready to start cycling now? Not only does the right size of the bike matter but also a precise adjustment that suits the kid’s size and needs. A fitted bike enables the young rider to learn cycling quickly and with far less effort. Let professional biker Richard Gasperotti tell you about the most frequent mistakes parents do when it comes to kid bike adjustment.

1. Choosing the wrong size

There is never too late to remind you that choosing the wrong size is the most common mistake. We understand that parents are willing to save money by buying a slightly larger bike that might last a few more years. Such a decision has a few negative implications, though. A large bike is hard to pedal and control and might discourage kids from cycling. If you’re unsure about the correct size, read our article on buying your kid’s first bike here.

2. Underestimating the height of the seat

Adjusting the saddle height is the step that parents often underestimate. People tend to set the saddle lower to prevent the kid from fear of crashing. That is wrong, though. Low seat adjustment results in uncomfortable pedalling and impaired bike balance. How to find the right level then? Let the kids sit down on the saddle and tilt the bike sideways by approximately 15 degrees. At this point, the child should be able to put the foot on the ground and stand firmly.

A child on a bike
Fit your child’s bike correctly so they find joy in riding! © Profimedia

3. Adjusting the steering

Perfectly adjusted steering is the key to correct bike control. Sometimes, kids cannot grasp the grips that are too thick. There’s nothing easier than replacing them with slightly thinner ones.

4. Bad tyre pressure

Since children weigh less than adults, they also need less pressure on the tyres. A less inflated tyre also has a better grip and gives the child better balance. While an adult tyre is recommended to be inflated to up to 2.5 bar, a child’s tyre will be fine at 0.7 to 1.1 bar.

5. Adjusting the brake levers

If the child is already using a bike fitted with brake levers, it is necessary to adjust its operation to suit the length of the child’s fingers. The child must comfortably reach the end of the levers with the index finger where the braking power is the most efficient. The lever travel must be adjusted so that there is sufficient clearance between the levers and the fingers holding the handlebars. When pushed, the levers should never press onto the fingers holding the handlebars. The correct angle of the levers is that they are in line with the forearm of the hand while riding.

6. Choosing the wrong shoes 

The pedals are two of the five contact points responsible for controlling the bike. Shoes with flat and non-slip soles will provide a child with proper contact with the pedals. Good shoes will contribute to better coordination and mastering the correct position of the feet on the pedal. Don’t forget that the tips of the feet should always point forward while pedalling.

7. Cycling trouser liner

What is pleasant for us will also be comfortable for the children. Soft seating and a comfortable ride are ensured by a cycling trouser liner, which is now also available in children’s sizes.