Sooner or later, children are too big for their beloved running bike. The switch to their first own bike is then imminent and presents parents with some important questions. But not only then, but also when switching to a larger bike at a later date, safety, ergonomics and other important factors must be right. The big overview helps with the decision.
Table of contents
The Frame Size: A Close Look Helps
A decisive factor when buying a children’s bike is the right frame size. As soon as a bike is too small, it becomes more difficult to control, the legs cramp up when riding and the back has to be bent a lot. Even adjusting the saddle and handlebars is of little help. If the bike is too big, however, problems also arise. Children may not be able to reach the handbrake, have difficulty steering the bike and cannot stabilize themselves properly with their feet. Only a bike that fits the body size is therefore a good bike, because it is easy to ride and can be stopped quickly in case of doubt.
So when parents look at children’s bikes in comparison, they should always also pay attention to the specified frame size in inches and choose a model that corresponds to the current size of their child. The table shows when which frame size is indicated:
Once the correct frame size has been determined, it is worth taking a short test ride on the selected bike. Date and Co. are then correctly adjusted, if driving beginners can place the complete sole of the foot on the ground. Children who are already riding more confidently should at least touch the ground with the tips of their feet. This provides stability when stopping and starting. While the child is pedaling, slightly bent legs and arms are the key.
Ergonomics: Sit Upright Or Lean Forward?
There are also numerous different frame shapes in the area of children’s bicycles. The bike looks sporty if it is cut like a mountain bike with low handlebars. While this shape is likely to appeal to many children, it is not the best choice in terms of safety. As soon as children have to lean significantly forward while riding, their arms are put under additional strain. This can cause fatigue, back pain and also difficulty steering. In addition, many children find it more difficult to keep an eye on their surroundings and give hand signals when riding such a bike.
A safe children’s bike is therefore better with a frame that allows the child to sit as upright as possible. It is important that the child can easily reach the handlebars and sit relaxed. The center of gravity is then in the middle of the body and does not shift forward. Giving hand signals, looking over the shoulder and even looking around are easier. In this way, children move more safely through traffic and do not suffer from aching arms and wrists on longer bike rides.Also interesting:
- The best children’s bicycles
- The 10 best bicycle helmets for children
- The 10 best children’s bikes with 12 inches
Important No matter how safe the child feels with his bike: a well-fitting and accident-free helmet is and remains mandatory. Parents should always check that all fasteners work well and that the helmet fits snugly. Tips on this are provided by ich-trag-helm.de.
Weight: A Bike Should Not Become A Burden
When buying a child’s bike, not only its size but also its weight plays a role. Parents can find both heavy models and lighter variants on the market, whereby bikes with a lower weight are always recommended. This has several reasons, because lighter bikes:
- are easier to control,
- make progress more effortless,
- are less likely to tip over when starting,
- can be brought to a stop more quickly
- and do not cause problems when carried up and down stairs.
The reason children have a harder time with weighty wheels is the relationship between body weight and wheel weight. Let’s say a child weighs just under thirty kilograms and the choice has to be made between two 20-inch wheels. One weighs ten kilograms and the other 15. With the second wheel, the weight already takes up half of the child’s body weight, while with the first it is only a third. Even small differences in weight have a greater effect, since children are lighter than adults.
Equipment: Road safety matters
Most children’s bicycles today are offered with roadworthy equipment. Parents should nevertheless make sure that the selected model lacks nothing. Later, when the child’s bike is tested at school, it will also be checked for road safety, but those who take care of this in advance will act more responsibly. According to the Road Traffic Licensing Regulations, a roadworthy bicycle includes:
- a bell
- two independent brakes,
- tight-fitting pedals with yellow spotlights on both sides,
- a white headlight at the front,
- a red colored rear light,
- two spoke reflectors on each wheel,
- one white reflector at the front
- and a red reflector behind the luggage rack.
In the case of spotlights and lights, it is also important that they comply with the specifications of the Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt (German Federal Motor Transport Authority). This can be recognized by the test mark affixed to them.
In addition to this mandatory equipment, the ADFC also recommends a high-quality lock, a sturdy luggage rack, mudguards, a chain guard and a parking light system. As a rule, no other equipment is necessary. If your child can already ride well, however, a secure basket on the carrier or, alternatively, a good saddle bag could be useful. All other equipment such as flags, baskets for dolls or ribbons should not be used if possible, as they could increase the risk of accidents in case of doubt.