Childrens Bicycles FAQs

How do I know what size bike to buy my child?

Children's bikes are measured by their wheel diameter: 12, 16, 20, and 24 inch. You can pretty much go by your child's age to determine what size bike they need. (See Chart Below) The other way to figure out which size to get is to simply have them stand over the bike. They should clear the top bar by at least an inch. Similarly, you can measure your child from crotch to floor with their shoes on, then compare that number with the "stand-over" height found in the specifications or "geometry" chart for the bike. Ideally, your number will be an inch larger than the stand-over height so that your child will have an inch clearance over the top bar.

Unless they are very tall (or not very tall) for their age, in general

  • a 2 to 3 yr. old children will ride a 12" bike
  • 4 to 5 yr. old 16"
  • 6 to 7 yr. old 20"
  • 8 to 9 yr. old 24"

How long before my child outgrows his/her bike?

Kids out grow their bikes anywhere from one to two and a half years, depending on how fast they grow and at what point they get into a particular size bike.

Can I buy a larger bike to allow for some growing room?

We don't recommend it. You want to be careful not to compromise your child's safety (nor their confidence) by putting them on a bike too big for them. Big bikes are hard to manage for little people. Plus, it's easier to learn how to ride on a smaller bike than it is on a larger one.

Will my child be able to work the gears?

Yes. We find that children have little problem with them. The shifter is part of the grip so that the gears are changed by a simple twist of the grip. That's a neat design because the rider doesn't have to take their hands of the bars to shift.

What is the benefit of gears?

The main benefit of the gears is that they make the bike easier to pedal up hills, easier to ride longer distances, and easier to keep up with Mom or Dad.

Will my child be able to use hand brakes?

Yes. We've found that children take to them quite naturally. Stopping with your hands seems to be intuitive.

Are foot brakes (aka coaster brakes) better?

Not really. Hand brakes stop better since there's a brake for each wheel. Plus with hand brakes, you don't have to have your feet on the pedals, or in just the right position, to stop.

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Have a question about the world of bicycles? Whether it regards product information, technical issues, or riding the streets of Atlanta all you have to do is ask bicycle expert Mike Goodman, Intown Bicycles owner with over 30 years of experience in the industry.