Kids Bike Size Guide (and Sizing Chart)
First things first, the thrill of getting your first bike is a special childhood memory, right? 💭 💯
Our aim is to ensure that Bike Club members are delighted when it comes to choosing a bike for their child, from the colour they prefer to a lighter frame.
Most importantly, they get to choose the perfect size for them, which is why we have come up with this handy bike size guide including a sizing chart.
The selection of the right size bike for kids of varying ages is important and this blog will cover the range of bike choices for these youngsters.
Why Choosing the Right Size Bike is Important
Choosing the correct-sized bike for your child is crucial and should not be underestimated, as it affects their cycling experience, sense of confidence, and safety.
A lot of parents tend to buy a bike slightly too big for their child to 'grow into'. While we understand the financial reasoning behind this decision, as children grow in a flash, it often has many negative consequences.
This is where Bike Club comes in! Our Exchange service provides a cost-effective solution to this problem.
Your little one will find it impossible to balance on a bike that's too big for them. Not only will they struggle to touch the ground, but their arms will be stretched out when reaching for the handlebars.
This may make your child feel nervous when starting to learn to ride a bike and make it challenging for them to control and uncomfortable to pedal.
Worse still, a bad initial experience can put them off cycling completely and that's something that we absolutely don't want (and neither do you!).
The same applies if the bike is too small for your child. It will be uncomfortable and discourage your little one to take up what should be a super fun life skill.
Cycling is a brilliant way to have fun, stay healthy and create happy family memories - but this is only possible through having the right-sized bike!
Kids Bike Size Measuring Chart
Struggling to work out what exactly is the 'correct-sized' bike for your child? Here is a kids bike size measuring chart for you:
(For the most accurate results, we recommend using the Inside Leg measurement. You can also read our blog about age vs inside leg measurement).
As the bike size chart above suggests, there are different wheel sizes for different ages, as well as different inside legs and heights.
Something that also needs to be a consideration here is the minimum seatpost height. For example, with a balance bike, ensure that it's not higher than your child's inseam length. This will allow your child to put their feet firmly on the ground while ensuring they can learn to scoot and balance at the same time.
How to Measure The Right Bike Size For a Kid?
Kid's bikes are measured by wheel diameter (in inches), and range from balance bikes that are approximately 10" to 26". This part is an incredibly important step in the entire process of determining the right bike size for your child.
Measure your child by using the following method:
Types of Kid's Bikes
Balance bikes are perfect for toddlers and young children as they begin their cycling journey. Instead of using stabilisers, these are a much better choice for teaching kids the basics of balance and coordination, both of which are key for a smooth transition to pedals.
We recommend the Strider 12 Sport. It is one of the best-selling balance bikes globally, due to its lightweight and easily adjustable features. We recommend this bike for children aged 1 - 5 years old.
The Strider Rocking Base can be attached to the existing Strider Balance Bike, enabling younger children (under 12 months old) to strengthen their core muscles and increase their sense of spatial awareness.
Another balance bike that we would recommend would be the always popular Frog Tadpole Mini. Suitable for children who are 2-3 years old, it's the perfect lightweight bike to get children started on two wheels.
Unlike other kids' bike brands, Frog bike sizes are measured on leg length rather than age since this is the most reliable way to find the right size bike for each kid.
First pedal bikes are usually 14" and 16" inch bike wheel sizes. These are great for 3 - 5-year-olds looking to get their first taste of two-wheeled adventures.
Our recommendation would be any bike from the Forme Cubley range, as they are incredibly lightweight and designed specifically with children in mind.
Off-Road / Hybrid
Once your child has progressed beyond the standard bike sizes for younger children, the next step usually involves upgrading to something a little more rugged such as a hybrid or off-road bike.
Ranging from bikes that have wheels that include 24 inches and 26 inches, these are usually a child's first introduction to bicycles that have gears.
For these bikes, we recommend the Forme Kinder range. They have all the benefits packed into the Cubleys, but for slightly bigger children.
Questions We Get Asked Frequently About How to Measure a Child for a Bike
What to do if your child is in between bike sizes?
It's fair to say that it's pretty easy to choose a bike for your child when they are at the bottom end of the recommended height/inseam for a bike. However, what about when they are at the upper end? What should you do?
Don't worry! As the experts in all things kid bikes, we have seen it all so we think we're well placed to help solve this problem for you. If your child is pretty close to the next size bike, then it's time to move up to the next one.
Other things to consider are whether they are capable of handling a bigger, heavier bike yet? Are they going to be confident enough standing on their toes or will they be a little scared (which makes complete sense!).
If your child has physically outgrown their existing bike, then it's definitely time to upgrade to something that suits their needs as they develop. But always keep in mind their level of ability and confidence before you make that decision.
Are kids bikes measured by frame or wheel size?
Kids bikes are always measured by wheel size, as well as taking their age and inside leg measurement into account to ensure your child is receiving a bike that is meant for them.
How do I know if my kids bike is too small?
To determine if your child's bike is too small, there are a few things you can check. First, have your child sit on the bike and make sure their feet can touch the ground. If they can't touch the ground, the bike is likely too big.
Additionally, check the standover height - the distance between the ground and the top tube of the bike frame.
Your child should be able to straddle the bike with both feet on the ground and have at least an inch or two of clearance between their body and the top tube. If there isn't enough clearance, the bike is too small.
Finally, make sure your child can reach the pedals comfortably with their knees slightly bent when the pedals are at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If they can't reach the pedals comfortably, the bike is likely too small.
When should I upsize my kids bike?
It's time to upgrade your child's bike when they have outgrown their current bike and are no longer able to comfortably reach the pedals or handlebars, or when they are experiencing discomfort while riding.
Another indicator that it's time to upgrade is if your child's knees are coming up too high or if their legs are fully extended while pedalling, which can cause discomfort and may affect their riding ability.
You should also consider upgrading if your child has experienced a significant growth spurt or if they are getting close to the maximum recommended height for their current bike size.
This is where our bike exchange comes in handy as you can exchange your child's bike as they grow.
What size bike is suitable or a 7-year-old?
When it comes to choosing the right bike size for a 7-year-old, there are several factors to consider. The most important factor is the child's height, as this will determine the appropriate bike size. Generally, a 7-year-old child would need a bike with a wheel size of 20 inches.
However, this is not a hard and fast rule and other factors such as the child's inseam length, weight, and skill level should also be taken into account.
Why Size Shouldn't Be Your Only Consideration
The size of the bike for your child is the basis for this bike size guide. However, it shouldn't be your only consideration when choosing a bike for your child regardless of their age.
Once you have determined what size your child needs, we'd recommend thinking about other aspects such as weight, brakes, tyres, whether or not you're going to need stabilisers, handlebars and much more.
This will then ensure that you are picking the most appropriate bike for your child and they are getting something that suits them in every way for their bike adventures.
Need More Help Choosing the Right Size?
We hope our bike size guide has been useful. For more information, our helpful Member Support Team are always on hand - ask away on Live Chat (hit the pink chat icon in the bottom right of your screen), or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more details on the types of bikes we have, you can find out more about them through this blog.