The Diversity of Kids' Bikes: Which is Which?

eric-awwy By Eric Awwy, 04 Jan 2020

When choosing a bike for your son or daughter, it is always advisable to get the best bike. Of course, the budget does come into play, but a parent would do anything to see their child stay active. There is a myriad of bikes in the market, and you should know the types of kid’s bikes.

The bikes include balance bikes, BMX, mountain bikes, hybrid bikes, cruiser bikes, cyclocross bikes, and pedal bikes. In this article, we have combines a run-down of the bikes that can fit children. Regardless of age, your child can fall in love with one of these.

The wide selection of bikes can turn cycling fun into a hobby and even a career for your child. Often, parents hear terms like gain ratios, q-factor, geometry, and chainstays and freak out. This article deviates from all that jargon and goes straight to the point. Choosing a good bike that fits the taste, weight, and height of your child can be amazing after understanding the available options.

You’ve handled much stress, let us ready you up by looking at the kinds of bikes you can shop through the years. Always ensure you follow the bike sizing guide to get a suitable bike for your child’s age.

Kids’ BMX Bikes

Kid's BMX Bikes

When you hear BMX bikes, you think of blockbuster movies like ET.

Most kids love the thrill that a BMX bike throws at them. Initially, the BMX bikes were designed for racing over jumps and in dirt tracks and banked turns. Nevertheless, they are now a common and loved bike for town and city riding. Children love the BMX bikes for their capability to allow them to do stunts and tricks in the skate parks.

Mostly, the BMX has a set of knobby tires and lightweight frames to allow it to move at any angle. Most BMX bikes are 20” wheels, which are best for kids who are confident with riding. BMX bike beginners can start with 16” wheel bikes. These bikes are single speed.

There are different types of kids BMX bikes including dirt BMX, Freestyle BMX, or the famous race BMX. We have explored more on Kids' BMX bikes in our article that introduces the best strategies to use when choosing the best BMX bike for your kids

Kid Mountain Bikes

Kid's Mountain Bike

Kid mountain bikes are a sensation for their versatility, durability, and performance. Most of the suitable kid’s mountain bikes have 24” wheels to accommodate the shorter legs of children. They feature a suspension fork and knobby-treaded tires for stability and cushioning. The suspension for helps in minimizing both arm and hand fatigue.

It is recommendable to introduce kids to mountain biking when they are 10-13 years of age. However, the size of the child in question should be considered. Small and slightly young children should start with mountain bikes with 20” wheels.

Kids’ Cruiser Bikes

Kids' Cruiser Bikes

When it comes to different types of kids’ bikes, children are spoilt for choice. The cruiser bike comes out as a bike exclusively built for fun for the kids. Mostly, these are kind of bikes with some fancy and flashy graphics and color combinations.

Kid cruiser bikes have wide tires for traction, cushion, and stability. Like the BMX, they are also single-speed bikes with coaster brakes. They are also known for their comfortable seats and durable frames. Kids prefer using cruiser bikes for short rides within the neighborhood. This bike is game for pre-adult riding. Their simplicity is always a thrill to kids. Besides, they can customize the bikes by using different add-ons.

Drop Handle Bar Bikes for Kids

Drop Bar Bikes for Kids

Yes, this is the type common with bike races like Tour de France.  These bikes feature a drop handlebar and are commonly referred to as road bikes.

Drop handlebar bikes for kids are good enough for children who are confident with riding. Given the challenge of leaning in front when dropping, changing gears, and breaking, it helps develop your kid's control, independence, and creativity.

Technically, this is a reserve for the children who are proficient in cycling. If your child is not at that level yet, a hybrid or a mountain bike might work.

When riding on the road, change the tires to thinner ones. However, when riding in hardy terrains, ensure you buy your child gravel tires. They come in different sizes, but the most common ones range between 20” and 24” wheels.

Using the drop handlebars might take time. If you are training your child to ride such bikes, always focus on one skill at a time.

The good thing with road bikes is that, like balance bikes, they build cycling confidence fast. If you consider your kid a budding bike racer, a drop-bar road bike is a good fit.

Flat Bar Road Bikes for Kids

Flatbar Road Bikes Kids

Apart from the drop handlebar road bikes, there is a variation of the flat bar road bikes. These bikes allow the kids to ride when upright.

They are mostly used with school-going kids or when they are cruising the neighborhood. However, these bikes are suitable for those confident with riding.

Cyclocross bikes for Kids

Cyclecross bike for Kids

Every season can be a riding season depending on your schedule as a parent. During winter and autumn, a cycle cross bike is preferable for your kids. Cyclocross is actually a sporting activity done in winter and autumn. It entails riding bikes over trails, grass, woods, hills, and pavements.  In some of the difficult parts, the riders always carry their bikes. For older kids, Cyclocross involves the use of obstacles.

Cyclocross bikes appear as road bikes with drop-bars. The purpose of each and a few designs featured differentiates the two bikes. Cyclocross is a fun activity for kids. If there are such sports around your area, get your child a cyclocross bike.

Balance Bikes for Children

Balance Bike for Kids

It would be sacrilegious if we do not feature balance bikes for kids in this article. Balance bikes come with a great set of advantages to the kids. For this reason, they are a preference by other parents to tricycles and training wheels/stabilizers.

Balance bikes help build confidence, control, and balance skills in kids. These bikes are good for kids between 2-3 years before transitioning them into regular pedal bikes. Since it allows kids to control and brake using their feet, it is an excellent choice for kids who have fear to begin training on how to ride a bike.

Within no time, a kid using a balance bike will confidently take on the pedal bikes with great determination. Like other types of kids’ bikes, it is essential to consider the size.

Trailer Bikes

Cycling is fun with kids. Trailer bikes allow you to cycle with your child. The child will cycle behind you as they build their skills and confidence. As the kid's cycle in trailer bikes, they depend on you for control and balance. This is a good option for family cycling or cycling with kids in bike parks.

Trailer bikes are always single-wheeled and are attached to the seat post of an adult bike.

Ideally, trailer bikes are good for 4-7 year-olds. We have reviewed some of the best bike trailers in the market with purchasing. 

Training Wheel Bikes

Some parents prefer using kid’s bikes with training wheels when orienting their children to cycling. Mostly, it is believed that such bikes help build the pedaling, control, and balancing skills in toddlers and kids.

As they have stabilizers or training wheels, such bikes are believed to build the confidence of children in cycling. Therefore, if a child is excited about cycling but at the same time timid, these bikes can come through.

Like the BMX and cruiser bikes, these bikes come in single speed and coaster brakes. However, some models come with a rear brake controlled from the handlebars.

Check out our stance on size 12-inch bikes, it can also help you get some perspectives of what to get your child. 

Our Final Words

In summary, there are many different types of bikes for kids, you have to choose wisely. And as you choose engage the user, for doing so generates instant love and affection for the bike.

Some parents always ask the bike sizes for big kids. Well, mostly manufactures produce kids bike in the range of 12”, 16”, 20”, and 24” wheels. However, there are also sizes 14” and 18” kids’ bikes for a smooth transition. Always measure your child’s bike size effectively and use the bike chart to get the right bike fit.

Mostly, for adults, the confidence is already there, and all they need is an excellent bike to hit the road going.  Consider the type of seat, brakes, and gears when shopping for big kid bikes.

Cycling is a thrilling adventure. It also pays off in terms of environmental conservation and healthy living. Putting today’s generation on two wheels simply means a healthier generation tomorrow. Who knows, maybe we are raising the next big names in triathlon, mountain biking, road races, or cyclo-cross sports. Bikes are suitable for both cognitive and physical development in kids.

Always remember to ensure that the child has safety gear, even before thinking of the suitable type of kids bikes at your disposal. When choosing a bike for the kids, it is always best that you involve them in the decision. They have a different taste and preference for you. That way, they become independent and grow their love for cycling.

Even though eventually, the kids’ bikes outlive their purpose, the transition is an irreversible milestone. Besides, there are millions of ideas on how to recycle or re-use an old child’s bike. They do not deserve to end up in trash cans and dumpsters. Some people out there might be in need, and bikes are art too, aren’t they?

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