Sensible Mountain Bikes For Kids


We all realize young children grow up and get bigger. Getting a bike of the right size is so important for their safety and their ability to bike around confidently.

It’s necessary to make sure a bike comfortably fits your kid’s body proportions and riding style. But not only that, for children it’s also critical that the model you’ve chosen for them should be cool-looking. You can get a road or mountain bike which is sized correctly and is easy to operate as well as nice to ride, but don’t expect them to relent afterwards if they didn’t like how it looked in the store.

Also, don’t select a model which the kid feels weird sitting on because it’s a bit tiny and tight on the seat. And neither should you give him or her one which is hard to operate and cumbersome to mount and ride as those characteristics won’t let them rely on the bike enough to really enjoy it.

Kids Size Differently


Grown-up cyclists know how to choose bike models and sizes correctly by referring to criteria like the frame’s dimensions and seating angles. Basically, a potential adult buyer ensures he can stand over the top tube with each foot firmly flat on the ground. This time-test method doesn’t work too well when it comes to sizing frames for a young child. It’s a good thing we have other rules for determining the right type and size of frame for children of various heights and ages.

As veteran bikers, we tend to relate the interior dimensions of a frame’s parts to sizing techniques which match potential models to our body proportions and riding styles. But in choosing for children, it’s really more effective to refer to wheel diameters for this purpose. In this category, it’s these measurements which can best help to establish what should be the most appropriate dimensions and features for a particular child.

When choosing a grown up bike, we use the size of the frame as our reference point. But when it comes to the kids’ bikes we actually use the diameter of the wheel as the reference point. That’s because it’s the wheel sizes which determine the proportions for the rest of the bike.

  • The usual wheel diameters found on children’s bikes vary from a foot to 16-, 20- and 24-inch sizes.
  • Anything at 26-inch or beyond that will be in regular mountain bike territory.
  • Much younger kids start off with 12-inch balance and coaster bikes.
  • Older children reaching their teen years will be ready to mount and ride mountain bikes in the 24-inch category.
  • Focus your attention on 24-inch mountain bike if your kids are 10 years or older.

To determine which bike model and size type is appropriate to a child’s needs, most parents look to the size charts offered on online sites and displayed in most shops. These can vary in their selection ranges and standards, particularly in the jump to full-size size ranges, but are mostly uniform in presentation in terms of children’s sizing.

Correct Fitting


That said, although a chart is useful it’s just the start of a selection process which should see your child kid actually test-riding bikes until he finds one he likes.

Safety must always be your first consideration, and you should not look at bikes which are slightly oversized in hopes that they may somehow grow into them.

  • In all cases, you must ensure that your kid can stand over the middle of the frame, with each foot flat on the ground and with an inch or so of clearance over any high tube.
  • A child must not need to tip the frame to either side just to firmly plant a foot. See if they can hop off fast in the event of a sudden situation. The child should be leaning only slightly when he is seated and starts pedalling.
  • Once on the saddle, a child should be able to assume an upright stance with his knees slightly bent and one of his feet in the lowest pedal position, and his legs should not be scraping the handlebars when he cranks fiercely.
  • The child’s arms should be able to fully sweep the bars around with having to stretch too much. Smaller kids use the handlebars’ turning motion more than their body lean and balance when they are steering.

Good Choices


In the 24-inch wheel size category, the majority of bikes marketed for children’s use are mountain bike models featuring wider tires with knobbier treads, and level or raised handlebars. Many models in this range will allow more choices in road- or trail-optimized tires and other components. Options in this category include slick-tired bikes which also feature racing bike-style drop handlebars. You should choose based not only on what your kid needs to ride safely and well, but also on how he wants to ride the bike.

It’s usually best to choose a mountain bike type of frame for most kids, at least until they’ve grown and experienced enough to figure out their own full-sized cycling needs. You could get your kid a comfort or cruiser model if he or she only cares to roll on pavement and won’t be going off the roads.

Be aware that children’s bikes normally take more effort to pedal relative to those used by grown-ups due to their narrower wheelbases, so always go for lighter weight whenever possible. But no matter what you decide, teach your kids to try different models with proper sizing and safety considerations in mind until they find a nicely-sized bike they like.

About the author


Hey there, I'm Lisa, founder and editor in chief here at Recreation Space. We found fitness through recreational activities. And we want to share it with you. We believe in empowering people with knowledge to make smarter, healthier choices in their lives.

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