Buying your child’s first bike can be a daunting process.
When my kids were little we got a couple of hand me down bikes from my in laws. The only problem is that they didn’t know how to ride them and I didn’t have the patience to teach them. A couple of times falling down and I would give up. So those bikes just sat in my garage collecting cobwebs.
Then my oldest wanted to learn, so we needed to get him a new bike. I had no idea what to look for aside from the obvious that it had to have two wheels, a handle bar, and brakes. How big did it need to be? What color? What accessories? Do they make banana seats anymore? It’s all too much.
Here are some things to keep in mind when buying your child’s first bike:
- Size. You don’t want to buy a bike that’s too small and you don’t want to buy a bike that’s too big. Others will say to look for wheels that are scaled down, but I noticed that my son performed better on a bike that had larger wheels. I would rather buy a bike that was slightly larger than too small. Let’s face it, bikes aren’t cheap and I don’t want to buy one EVERY year. These aren’t sneakers.
- Braking. Now that you have the size of the bike picked out, you need to make sure that they can operate the braking system. Are the levers easy to pull? Or do you want coaster (foot operated) brakes? I found that my son could operate the levers easier than he could the coaster ones. It’s hard to tell a kid to pedal one direction then go the complete opposite to stop.
- Where to buy. You could certainly buy your child’s first bike at a bike shop as they will most likely have bikes with more accessories and better quality construction. But we are talking about a kids bike that will most likely be used only two years. Skip the bike shop and go to a big box retailer. Wait until your kid is fully grown before you spend hundreds of dollars on a new bike.
- Accessories. Do you need things like a horn, a light, a bell? Personally I say no, as I find those things to be a distraction from what kids should be doing on a bike which is trying to stay upright. All of those other things can take their mind off the task at hand.
- Color. Ultimately this will be the most important part of the bike buying process. You could buy a bike with all the bells and whistles, but if your kid thinks it’s ugly they won’t want to ride it. Make it something they think is cool so they can act proud as they ride around the neighborhood.
So now that you have your child’s first bike, you just need to teach them to ride it.