Have your kids experienced the buzz of cycling?
We all love to ride our bikes, and experience the buzz of being on two wheels. If you have kids, why not share your love of cycling, and get them involved too!
Kids love bikes; it's as simple as that. A bicycle and a child's imagination, lead to adventure, fun and boundless energy. The bicycle has always been the preferred mode of transportation for kids; it fuels their imagination and allows them to roam, discover and appreciate their environment.
Bikes are also an important social tool for kids; no childhood memory could be complete without fondly recalling how you rode around with your friends and experienced the local landscape on your bike.
We have created this guide to help you choose the best kids bike for your child. We'll explain how kids' bikes are sized; we'll also talk about safety, and how kids' bikes are designed to offer the safest platform possible for learning.
What size bike do you need for your child?
Unlike adult bikes, where frame size is determined by seat tube length, kids' bikes are instead sized on wheel diameter.
The below guide, which features on our kids bikes pages, should let you know what size wheels you are looking for.
Suitable for 2-4 years of age: Balance bikes (12 inch wheels)
Learn more about balance bikes and 12 inch kids' bikes
Wiggle has a range of 12 inch wheel kids' bikes; these bikes, which includes Balance Bikes (bikes without pedals), provide a great platform for your child to learn on.
A balance bike is propelled and stopped by your child's feet, rather than a drivetrain (with pedals and chain). Riding a balance bike will teach your child the core fundamentals of balance, coordination and steering control.
Balance bikes can also help your child skip the stabiliser stage of learning to ride a bike; riding with stabiliser wheels doesn't require your child to actively balance.
The Verenti Woody Runner is a great example of a Balance Bike
Suitable for 3-5 years of age: 14 inch wheel bikes
Learn more about 14 inch wheel kids' bikes
This age category sees your child transitioning from a balance 'play' bike, to a bike with 14 inch wheels, pedals, brakes and a single speed drivetrain.
One of the key design factors for this age range, is ensuring that the bike is both durable and lightweight; it needs to withstand the exuberance of 3-5 year olds!
These bikes all come with flat pedals, to ensure that your child is well supported.
The Vitus Fourteen Kids Bike is a great example.
Suitable for 4-6 years of age: 16 inch wheel bikes
Learn more about 16 inch wheel kids' bikes
As the child grows, so does the bike! We have a great range of kids' bikes with 16 inch wheels - the next step in the evolution!
Much like 14 inch wheeled bikes, one of the key design factors for these bikes is that they are both durable and lightweight; 4-6 year olds can push out some power!
16 inch wheel bikes usually have aluminium or steel frames, v-brakes, and a single speed drivetrain. Some higher-end models may feature disc brakes, to provide additional stopping power.
These bikes are designed with a low standover heights; this means that in the event of a crash or a dismount, there is less chance of your child being tangled up in the bike.
Chain retention devices are often fitted to 16 inch wheeled kids' mountain bikes, so to minimise the chance of dropping the chain off the chainring, when your child inevitably explores off-road!
The Verenti Sixteen Kids Bike is a great example.
Suitable for 5-8 years of age: 20 inch wheel bikes
Learn more about 20 inch wheel kids' bikes
20 inch wheel kids' bikes signify a coming of age for your child; they are now taking their first tentative steps into the world of serious bikes!
These bikes feature geared drivetrains, stronger frames and stiffer wheels, often fitted with knobby tyres. It's time to explore!
In effect, most of the bikes in this category are 'junior mountain bikes' - 20 inch wheel mountain bikes are ideal for all terrain adventures; they are robust, lightweight, and have a wide range of gears, to ensure your child is riding comfortably and safely at all times.
Braking on these bikes comes from V-brakes or disc brakes; with the latter providing more stopping power, but being more costly. Flat pedals are fitted to all these kids' bikes, and the ones on 20 inch child bikes have a larger profile, to accommodate larger feet!
The Vitus Twenty Kids Bike is a great value example.
Suitable for 7-11 years of age: 24 inch wheel bikes
Learn more about 24 inch wheel kids' bikes
24 inch wheel kids' bikes offer all the benefits of full-sized bikes in terms of frame design, transmission and braking. The only difference between them and adult sized bikes, is that the frame geometry has been optimized around a 24 inch wheel.
Within the 24 inch wheel category, we also see the addition of kids' road bikes. These bikes have drop handlebars, like an adult road bike; but they have shorter cranks and a lower reach on the brake hoods, to make them more comfortable and controllable for shorter limbs.
24 inch wheel mountain bikes will often feature front suspension; to facilitate greater exploration! They will have more gears, too; so that your child can handle steeper inclines and descents.
The Vitus Twentyfour Kids Bike is a superb value 24 inch mountain bike
The Raleigh Performance 24 Junior Road (2017) is a fast and fun 24 inch wheel road bike