How to Pick a Bike for a Child

How to Pick a Bike for a Child
Kids grow fast, and picking a bike that will last them more than a year or two can be a challenge. Bicycles can be difficult to purchase for a child because they can't be bought too big (or else they won't be able to get on and off), and they can't be so small that their knees hit the handlebars and they struggle to pedal. Bicycles are a popular birthday and Christmas gifts for children, but if you want to do the best job possible purchasing a bike, bring your child along to try them out.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Decide whether your child will need a bicycle that comes with training wheels. Not all models do, so going with training wheels will limits your options a bit.
Step 2
Measure your child's inseam. Some bikes are labeled according to age, but inseam is a much more accurate determinant of what type of bike you should choose. Use a sizing chart to determine what size tires your child's bike should have.
Step 3
Decide whether the bike should be a road bike or mountain bike. Road bikes are lighter and easier to move, but mountain bike tires are wider, have better grip and are suited for all kinds of terrain. Because you never know where your child will choose to ride his bike, it's recommended that you choose the more durable mountain bike.
Step 4
Have your child straddle the crossbar of the bike in question. There should be about an inch of clearance between the crossbar and the top of the inseam. Then have her sit on the seat and see if she can touch the balls of her feet to the ground while sitting; if it is close, this is OK because you can adjust the seat height on your own.
Step 5
Determine whether you want any extras, such as a bike chain guard or crossbar padding to prevent injury.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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