The Best Children's Bikes
From teaching your child to ride their first bike to glorious summer cycle rides, bikes can bring so much enjoyment to your family and help make memories.
So, when it comes to choosing a bike for your child, it's important to give it some thought. Buying the right bike will help support your child during the learning process and makes longer family bike rides much more comfortable. Before you start shopping for the perfect bike for your child, there are a few things you should consider first.
1. Buy a bike that's the right size
You must match the bike to your child's age and height. However, bike brands will vary when it comes to height and age recommendations. To gain a better understanding of what size bike you're likely to need, read our helpful guide.
2. Go for sturdy, not heavy
A child's bike needs to be sturdy to withstand the bumps and knocks it's going to encounter. However, it's important not to confuse sturdiness and heaviness. The heavier the bike, the more difficult it will be for your child to manoeuvre- which could put them off cycling completely.
3. Think carefully about the gears
Unless your child is going to be tackling hilly terrain, gears are unnecessary. It's recommended that you avoid bikes with gears until you're looking to buy one with 20-inch wheels. Even then, you should think carefully about how many gears there are and how easy it will be for your child to operate them.
4. Think about your budget
It's ok if you don't have a huge budget. A word of warning though, it's usually better to avoid the cheapest kids bikes (around £20-£40) as they don't last very long. Often they prove to be less robust and children outgrow them much more quickly as they don't adjust very well. A decent children's bike (one that'll last the distance) is usually around the £150 mark for one with 12-inch wheels. The bigger the bike, the bigger the price tag.
Our Top Picks
What: Strider-12 Sport Balance Bike
Age: 6 months- 5 years
Is your little one not quite old enough for a proper set of wheels? Get them started early with a Strider-12 Sport Balance Bike. Designed for children as young as 18 months old up to 5 years old, its lightweight frame encourages little ones to improve their balance on two wheels (so they're ready for the real thing!) With an adjustable seat and handlebars along with puncture-resistant tyres, it's certainly built to last. For teeny tiny future enthusiasts (6-18 months), you can even purchase The Rocking Base!
What: LittleBig Balance Bike with Pedals Bundle
Age: 2-7 years
Not keen on stabilisers? Cut that stage of riding a bike out completely and buy a LittleBig Balance Bike. Suitable for those aged between 2 and 7, it converts in three simple steps from a 12-inch bike to a 16-inch pedal bike. Once your child is confident balancing on two wheels, you can attach the pedals. As well as a lightweight frame, it looks pretty cool and is available in red, blue, green or pink.
What: Black Mountain Pinto
Age: 2.5-5 years
Ok, so the Black Mountain Pinto is a more expensive option; but that is because it is designed to replace a balance bike and a first pedal bike. It really does grow with your child and adapts to how they prefer to learn- whether that be on a balance bike or with stabilisers. Starting as a lightweight balance bike, it comes with a PowerPack, which includes everything you need to turn it into a pedal bike. It also comes with a frame that can upgrade from a 12-inch to a 14-inch bike.
What: Pedal Frog 40
Age: 3-5 years
Perfect for 3-5-year-old, the 14-inch wheel Pedal Frog 40 is a good option for a beginner. The quality bearings in the hubs, cranks and headset make for a smooth ride and the easily adjustable seat and handlebars means that this bike grows with your child. The Pedal Frog 40 can be used with stabilisers, which can then be removed when your little one is ready to go it alone. The lightweight aluminium frame means that it is easy for your child to manoeuvre- and easy for parents to carry home when little legs become tired.
What: Ridgeback MX16
Age: 4-6 years
The Ridgeback MX16 comes with a 16-inch wheel, making it roughly the right size for children between the ages of 4-6. While it is a lightweight bike with an aluminium frame, it is still tough enough for off-road adventures. The off-road tyres provide stability and traction, but the overall design keeps smaller riders at the forefront. The Ridgeback MX16 includes removable stabilisers for those that need the extra support before they find their balance.
What: Squish 18 Junior Hybrid
Age: 5-8 years
Some kids aren't ready to jump from a 16-inch wheeled single speed bike to a 20-inch bike complete with gears, and that's ok. The Squish 18 Junior Hybrid is the perfect compromise for children who need a confidence boost or are not yet tall enough. The 18-inch frame doesn't feel as scary as a 20-inch one and as a single-speed bike, there are still no gears to get to grips with.
What: Specialized Hotrock 20
Age: 5-8 years
Has your child found their cycling legs? Then it is time they had a bike built for adventure. With 7 robust gears, the Specialized Hotrock 20 is perfect for taking on beginner trails and longer routes. This 20-inch frame is lightweight and durable, perfect for taking on those inevitable young-rider knocks and scrapes. The model also comes with a coil-sprung SR Suntour fork with 50mm of travel, making those bumps in the road feel a little bit smoother.
What: Wild 24
If you are looking for something with a more reasonable price point that still provides quality, then Wild 24 may be a good option. Launched in 2018, this newer brand promises a lightweight aluminium frame, so unlike other cheaper brands, there is no extra weight in the frame to ruin the ride. The Wild 24 model comes with 8 thumb-triggered gears and good quality tyres that have a good grip. Built for adventure, it is available in blue and orange, or teal and silver.
What: Islabikes Beinn 27
Designed with versatility in mind, the Beinn 27 by Islabikes can tackle anything from the school run to off-road exploring. The light-action grip shifters enable the young rider to find the right gear for the gradient without taking their hands off the handlebars. Built for both safety and comfort, you can be confident that Islabikes' child-specific approach when it comes to designing frames with the right geometry and fit makes for an effortless and enjoyable ride.So there you have it; our top picks for the best children's bikes. If you're planning cycling routes a little further away from home, take a look at our range of bike racks- perfect for family adventures!