Flat Tire Co. Bike Shop
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How to Choose a Kids Bike

When you’re ready to get your kid into biking or do an upgrade Flat Tire has everything from balance bikes for the littlest riders to teen-sized versions of adult bikes, there are many options available.

Kids’ Bike Sizing

Children’s bikes are measured by their wheel size, not frame size. The best indication of which size is right for your child is how comfortable he or she feels on the bike. 

The most common wheel sizes are 12", 16", 20" and 24". Make sure that your child can stand over the top tube of the bike with both feet planted on the ground. He should feel comfortable and in control of the bike at all times. 

It is not recommended that you buy a bike that is too large for a child and then have her "grow into it." Doing so can set the child back in terms of riding skills and confidence. A properly sized bike will be easier for kids to handle, less dangerous and a lot more fun. And don’t forget the helmet!

Balance Bikes

Balance bikes are bikes in their simplest form—no pedals or chain, just wheels and a frame. As children walk or coast along on their balance bikes, their feet act as their brakes. A balance bike helps teach 2- to 5-year-olds how to coordinate steering and balance. The better they get, the easier their transition to pedaling will be.

Trailer Bikes

A trailer bike allows your child to pedal and feel independent, though he or she is still relying on you for balance and control. This single-wheel bike attaches either to your seat post or on a rear rack so it can pivot for turning. A trailer bike is generally good for 4- to 7-year-olds. It also allows you to cycle farther than your child’s stamina might otherwise allow.

Kids’ BMX Bikes

Originally designed for racing over jumps and around banked turns in the dirt, BMX bikes are now popular for everything from around-town riding to doing tricks at the local skate park. BMX bikes come with knobby tires and lightweight frames. They typically have 20" wheels, although some BMX bikes for beginning riders are equipped with 16" wheels. We offer both freestyle and race BMX bikes in store.

Kids’ Mountain Bikes

To accommodate the shorter legs of children, kids’ mountain bikes typically have 20”- 24" wheels, compared to the larger 26", 27.5" and 29" wheels found on adult bikes. Most are less-expensive versions of adult bikes…some just as expensive as adult bikes. Starter versions have simpler components, may have a rigid or suspension fork. Choosing a bike that only has one sproket on the front will eliminate confusion with shifting and get your little shredder ready for their first big person mountain bike (which will most likely be a 1 by). Suspension forks absorb bumps in the trail, which helps reduce hand and arm fatigue when riding. Generally speaking, kids’ mountain bikes suit children ages 10 to 13, but this depends more on the size of the child than the age.

Ashley ReeferFlat Tire