Are you looking for a bike for your kid and don’t know where to start? Read on as Reid is giving you several useful kids bike guides…
1. Bikes can be difficult for a child to manoeuvre
Kids bikes should be light enough for the parent to lift and handle easily. Generally, an aluminium frame is lighter than a steel one. If you struggle to lift the bike, then think how hard it is for your child to control, let alone pedal.
It’s not just the frame material, but the frame-design that is important, too. A low step-through frame allows a child to get on and off the bike without difficulty. This is particularly important for smaller children who are on balance bikes and first pedal bikes, or for older children who are less confident cyclists. We don’t want any falling over the top tube!
Our Balance Bikes are designed to be lightweight and have a low step-over height for young children.
2. Choosing the right bike
As your child becomes a more confident rider, the type of cycling they’re doing and terrain they’re riding on will dictate the style of bike they need. From the 20″ wheel and upwards, this choice becomes very important. Don’t buy them a mountain bike if they’re doing most of their cycling on the road. The suspension just isn’t needed. With the suspension, kids will have to cycle harder. Likewise, don’t buy a road bike with racing tyres if they’re going to be riding off-road or down the local skate park.
If they’re active and love doing a mix of different cycling and you’re only in the market for one bike, we’ve got some Reid kids bike suggestions. Viper, Scout or Ranger are ideal.
3. What gearing to go for?
Our smaller kids bikes don’t have gears, as they confuse young riders and just add weight. Reid’s advice would be to avoid gears until they reach at least the 20″ wheel size. Also, only consider them if they’re really necessary, or you’d like them to learn for their first ‘Adult’ bike.
Once your child is comfortable taking on hillier terrain, then gears become important. Start simple with around 3 gears. Providing 18, 21 or more gears will confuse your child and put them off geared bikes for life.
Scaled down to suit smaller hands, our range of kids bikes can be easily operated by your little one. There are various types of shifter available, all with different gearing options. So, make sure you buy what is best suited to the type of riding they will be doing. Otherwise, you’ll be the one carrying their bike up the hill!
4. Stay safe and stop on time
Like gearing and shifters, brake levers also come in different sizes. Reid kids bike ranges come fitted with scaled-down levers that are ideal for small hands to reach and operate. Meaning there will be no problems with stopping when they reach a wall or the lights.
Coaster brakes are found on our smaller kids bikes. It’s easy to slow down or stop by pedalling backwards, rather than having to use a handlebar brake. Some kids (and parents) love coaster brakes, while others hate them. Therefore, make sure to try them both out and see which suits you and your child best.
5. Chainguards protect your little one
A chainguard will protect little hands and legs from the bike chain. Not only reducing the chance of injury but making sure that their clothes stay intact and without stains!
Our Explorer model has a chainguard to protect your child from injury and their clothes from oil stains.
6. Stabilisers aren’t always necessary!
Fewer and fewer kids are actually using stabilisers these days, as they start on a balance bike and move straight to pedal bikes. However, if your child prefers to pedal earlier but wants the stability that comes with training wheels, these can come as standard on all our bikes up to 16″ wheels.
7. Accidents can happen
Most parents prefer that their children wear a helmet when riding a bike (although in the UK there is no legal obligation). Having said that, all our helmets exceed the relevant safety standards, making sure it offers the protection required to keep your child safe.
For rougher riding such as mountain biking, BMX and jump parks, it’s especially important that your child wears a helmet as crashes are inevitable. Some kids also wear elbow and knee protection that help minimise cuts, grazes and knocks.
8. Light up!
Remember, if your child is cycling at night, then they need to be visible to vehicles and pedestrians. Bike lights don’t need to cost a fortune, neither does a hi-visibility vest. So, stay cautious!
9. Lock it or lose it
If you’ve spent your hard-earned money for a bike for your child, you don’t want it getting stolen. Thus, purchase a bike lock on the day of purchase of their bike and teach your child how to use it! The weight and thickness of the lock you need will depend on how much you spent on the bike and crime rates where you’re riding (and locking) it. We recommend a ‘D Lock’ as the gold standard.
10. A good quality kids bike should last for years
If you’ve bought a good quality kids bike (like a Reid kids bike), then keep it clean and maintained. Later, it should be grown out of and be in a good enough condition to be passed on or sold second-hand to recoup some of your costs. Teaching your child how to look after their bike will reap you these rewards. As standard, all Reid Bikes come with a lifetime warranty on frame and rigid fork, as we’re confident enough to stand behind our quality.