A guide to buying the right size bike for your child


How to choose the right size bike for your child

Has your child outgrown his or her old bike? We share our tips for finding the right size bike for your child, whether it’s their first bike or you just need advice on the best fit for a more experienced young cyclist.

“Mummy, my shoes hurt!”

If you’re a parent of young children, there is pretty much one certainty you can rely on – they always seem to keep growing.  As parents ourselves, we know how frustrating it can be to find something which you feel you only bought a couple of months ago, suddenly doesn’t fit anymore.

One of the most recurrent conversations we have with our customers about buying a new bike is around how long the bike will last before their child outgrows it.  We all want value for money when it comes to buying a bike for our children.

“She’ll grow into it…”

Trying to future proof a kids’ bike purchase by buying a slightly bigger size can end up as a false economy.  If the rider doesn’t feel in control, then their confidence will suffer and all sorts of pastimes other than bike riding will become more attractive. An analogy we often use is, you wouldn’t put your kids in shoes that are too big for them “to grow into “.  We strongly advise not to do so with your children’s bikes.

Kids have more fun on a lightweight bike

We firmly believe the right size bike for a child is the bike which fits ­now.  Our approach to kids’ bikes is to continually sustain and grow their confidence as cyclists.  Part of that approach is only to sell lightweight bikes which children can easily ride and manoeuvre.  If the rider can fully control the bike, their confidence will grow and so will their enjoyment of riding a bike.

getting the right size bike for your child

Choosing a child’s bike buy age

Age can be a useful guide to help customers navigate what is on offer in the market, but it is pretty much irrelevant when it comes to bike fitting.  We have fitted 5 year olds on bikes which are nominally for 8 year olds and 7 year olds on bikes which are marketed as suitable for 4 year olds.

Grow the confidence of young bike riders

With younger children or more inexperienced riders, their inside leg length is the most important consideration.  The more their feet are flat on the floor, the more control they will have in getting on and off the bike and stopping and starting confidently and safely.  This might mean their pedal stroke (if they are on a pedal bike) may be a little high initially, but saddle height adjustment will take care of that later on.

The more confident your young cyclist, the less the ‘flat feet’ rule matters.  Rider confidence is something we discuss a lot with buyers in our shop as well as customers on the phone.  We can make observations and suggestions, but you know your kids better than we do!  We can advise, but the decision is yours.  We would only urge you not to sacrifice confidence (and, potentially, safety) in favour of longevity and perceived value for money.

little girl on a lightweight bike

Find out more…

If you need help choosing a bike for your child you can ring Simon, the founder of The Little Bike Company, who will be able to answer all your questions and suggest the perfect kids bike.

You can find all our contact details here including the address of our showroom based in Hertfordshire.

If you are looking at a first pedal bike and want some tips on how to get kids riding within an hour, without using stabilisers, read out top tips and watch our video ‘teaching your child to ride a bike’ – watched by nearly half a million parents to date!

Back to the top

Turnaround on shipping or preparing bikes for collection is currently up to 7 working days.