What size bike should i get?

Susan Fernandez November 11 2021

What bike is the best choice for your kid?

This is a question we must all ask ourselves at one time or another. There are numerous different types of bikes and each has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Some bikes can be better than others for specific reasons, so your task will be to choose the best option based on your needs.

When choosing a bike for a child, you want to get the biggest bike that they can handle. The easiest way to figure this out is by standing over the top tube. If your child cannot straddle the bicycle without any part of their legs touching (or nearly touching) either side of it, then it's too small.

Getting your kid the right kind of bike is very important in order to keep them safe while riding around! You don't want them to be uncomfortable and if they are unable to reach the pedals comfortably or stretch enough to properly grab onto the brakes when required, you will be putting both yourself and your loved ones in danger every time you go for a ride.

You need to make sure that your kids will love it too, so be sure to get them involved in the process. If they are having fun helping you pick out their bike then they are more likely to enjoy riding it!


The most important thing is safety. A bike should have separate brakes for the front and back wheels so that your child can stop quickly with either wheel if necessary. It is also nice to have a horn, since sometimes children may not be able to yell clearly when letting you know of an upcoming obstacle.

Additionally, make sure that the tires are good quality and thick enough to handle some bumps along the way - but still thin enough for easy pedaling at all speeds.

A bicycle helmet should always be worn when riding a bike! Even though you will nearly always see adults wearing helmets as well as children, you will want to be sure that your child knows how to put it on and take it off without any assistance.

You can look at many things when you are going to buy a bike for your child. Age, weight, and even previous experiences with a bike can be important factors. Many parents look at the size of a bike, which is the most deceiving thing to look at.

Bikes sizes

They are usually measured in centimeters (cm) or inches (in.). For example, a size small bike might be labeled 51 cm or 20 in. You may also see bikes with the traditional XS/S/M/L sizing scheme. If you are unsure, check your current bicycle for its size specifications; this will give you an idea of what to look for when buying a new bike.

Bikes come in many different sizes, so it's important that you choose one that feels comfortable for you. The wrong size can lead to pain and injury due to improper fit and poor riding position, while the right size can make any ride more fun and enjoyable.

What if you choose the wrong bike size for a child?

Simply take your child to a bike store and have them fitted for a bicycle. Most stores will also allow you to put adult-sized pedals on a children's bike, which can make it safer and more comfortable for the child. Make sure to take off the training wheels before going this route.

Can you choose bike size by your kid`s age?

No, you should choose the bike size based on your child's height. Age doesn`t have anything to do with it.

Children usually start riding bikes at the age of two. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, children should be able to walk in a straight line by then. They also recommend that once kids are in preschool they should have at least one hour per day of physical activity. This is when they can really start enjoying bicycling!

How tall should my child be before getting their first bike?

The American Society for Testing and Materials says children should be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall before riding an adult-size bicycle on public roads. If they aren't tall enough, it may hinder their balance and increase their risk of injury.

How can you choose the bike size by your kid`s height?

You should measure your child's height and compare it with the bike size chart provided by most manufacturers. Make sure to account for shoes, as kids feet grow quickly.

Bike Size Chart:

50 cm – 4'1" – 5'3"

54 cm – 4'4" – 5'7"

57 cm – 4'7" – 5'10"

60 cm – 4'10" – 6'2"

63 cm – 5’0"-6’4"

66 cm -5‘3"-6’6"

70 cm -5‘8"-6’11""

Here`s a general rule of thumb: The seat height, or how high the saddle sits off the ground at rest, should be between 3 and 8 inches lower than your child's inseam measurement. If you are unsure what that is, have your child stand against a wall with their back flat and their heels against it.

Take this distance from the floor to determine their inseam measurement. Another option is to measure from the center of the bottom bracket (where the pedal attaches) to about 1 inch above your child's head when they are sitting upright on a normal chair with straight legs extended toward the floor.

How to choose a good bike for a child?

Bikes have a variety of different speeds depending on the size of the front sprockets and rear cogs. The smaller they are, the slower the bike will go. When your child is first starting out you should try to find a balance between a bicycle that goes too fast and one that doesn't go fast enough. This can be adjusted later as your child gains experience if necessary.

Children's bicycles typically come in 12-inch, 14-inch, or 16-inch sizes with 12-inch being for average-sized 4-year-olds while 16-inch bikes are best suited for tall 10-year-olds.

Some things to look for when buying a child's bike:

  • Sealed bearings (pedals, bottom bracket, and hubs)  to prevent water and dirt from causing friction.
  • Front and rear braking. This is essential for slowing down and stopping quickly. Make sure your child can reach the brakes easily without compromising their ability to pedal comfortably.
  • A handlebar height that allows both feet flat on the ground (if possible). If you can't find one with this feature, consider an after-market bar with an extension or shorter crank arms so they can achieve the same position as adults with raised bars. As kids gain the confidence they will begin riding more aggressively, adjusting their position accordingly until reaching full adult capacity again.

The ultimate way to make your child`s first bike the perfect fit is to teach them how to adjust it. Have them look at the owner's manual or bridge the gap by showing them on their new bike, having them practice on an old one before taking off for good.  

Try a bike before buying it

Always take your child to a bike store and let them try different sizes. Although it sounds like a waste of time, the pros will know what will work for you and your child better than anyone else.

You can also ask the salesperson to attach pedals to the bike's right side; this way your kid can try riding it before buying. It'll also help if they're afraid of falling over while you ride along with them for support and safety reasons.

Accessories to your child`s bike

Some ways you can make your child`s riding experience safer and more comfortable:

  1. A bike helmet is a great idea for safety. If your child doesn't like the way it looks, try to find one with bright colors or stickers they'll like. Be sure to purchase a helmet that reads "CPSC," indicating approval by the U.S Consumer Product Safety Commission.
    A new helmet should fit snugly but not be overly tight on the head. It needs to stay on when dropped from about four feet off the ground, then passed down to another kid of similar size who tries it on as well. Also, check that there are no cracks in the chin straps and if possible buy from somewhere where you can return it easily if you find any issues with it.
  2. Gloves and padded knee/shin guards protect hands and feet in the event of a fall. Some people think these accessories make riding uncomfortable; however, they can make a world of difference when it comes to less severe injuries like scrapes and bruises.
  3. Saddlebags are great places to store food or toys. You might want to consider buying waterproof saddlebags if you're concerned about keeping your child's belongings safe from rain and other elements. Always check the weight limit of what can be carried, as excess weight will alter the bike`s performance and handling characteristics.
  4. A headlight provides visibility at night, which is of course very important when riding on streets with cars. Be sure to choose one of high quality so it doesn't overheat or stop working after just a few uses. It should be positioned so your child can see where they're going while it sits flat on the ground without having to tilt its head or neck.

How to teach your child to ride a bike

Start with getting them used to the seat height, letting them start by sitting on the seat and then eventually standing up while holding onto the seat. If they have trouble balancing, have them hold onto your shoulders. Keep practicing until they feel comfortable. You can get more out of your bike riding experience by watching a couple of videos on the topic.

Once they have mastered their balancing, you can start teaching them how to ride without holding onto the seat. This is where the fun begins but also where more injuries happen so be sure to take it easy and always supervise if necessary. The following tips will help:

Make sure there are no cars or other obstacles in their way before letting them attempt any movement with their feet on the ground. 

Start with just a few seconds of pedaling while holding onto the seat, once they feel comfortable enough try again without holding onto anything for a little longer time or distance each time. For example, start with something like 2 seconds and then work your way up to 5 or 10. 

Try to stretch the time they can do without holding on and see how quickly they can pedal around a curve. This is where you'll need to go slow and steady until they get the hang of it. You can also try practicing stopping if this helps them feel more comfortable starting out.

Once your child knows how to stop, you should teach them how to skid their tires so they can avoid crashing if necessary (this happens most often when turning). Don't forget that at some point during these exercises, bring in some distance between yourself and your kid as an additional safety precaution.

Children tend to learn faster when we let them practice on their once and we can help them learn faster and be safer by letting them do it on their own.

Spend time together riding bikes with your kids

The more you ride with your child the better. Try to stick around when they are riding if possible, any accident or injury can happen at any time and it's better to be there in their corner than wishing for a second chance after the fact. 

It is important to support your child with every single ride and every attempt, helping them get to their goal independently. It can be a rewarding experience for both of you and it will help your child gain confidence in various ways other than simply being able to ride a bike freely.


Just keep practicing, trying different things until they feel comfortable enough to complete a circuit around the block! They will get there sooner or later, but all you need is patience and safety first. Remember that kids are still too young to bicycle for very long periods of time so make sure there's always water, sunscreen, and snacks available before taking off. And most importantly have fun!