We bet you still remember your very first bike, and the falls and laughs and cries that came along with this prized possession. In the past, parents couldn’t necessarily afford such an expensive item, and sport just wasn’t considered to be so important to us. As a matter of fact, seeing entire families happily ride around the city wasn’t common at all.

Luckily, times have changed, and bikes are now associated with health and well-being. There is ample evidence which shows that any physical activity is good for both physical and emotional well-being. Every parent wants their child to understand the benefit of sports, as well as the important life skills and ethics they teach from an early age. A great way to do this is with a bike.

Key Facts

  • These bikes are specifically designed for our children to enjoy themselves while exercising. They stimulate self-improvement, test their reflexes and contribute to developing their sense of balance.
  • You must be aware of a certain number of key features – in particular in terms of safety – before buying a bike for your child.
  • The U.S. has strict rules regarding the use of helmets on two-wheeled vehicles. Both adults and children are required to wear regulated protection.

Ranking: The best kid bikes on the U.S. Market

Let’s have a look at the very best children’s bikes available on the U.S. market. Don’t forget that this product isn’t for you, so you want your child to choose the color and style; on the other hand, you’ll always be in charge of the more technical aspects. You should also keep in mind that every age is different, and the characteristics should be appropriate for your kid. Let’s get going!

No. 1: Dynacraft – Magna Major Damage BMX Street/Dirt Bike

Dynacraft’s Magna Major Damage BMX Street/Dirk Bike is a hybrid all-terrain kids bikes that comes in yellow and black patterning, and is recommended for ages 4-8. The training wheels are removable and adjustable so they can be taken off when it comes time to learn to ride without them. The bike is 32.5 x 43.75 x 24.03 inches and weighs 24.03 pounds. It comes with a lifetime warranty on both the fork and the frame.

This bike is easy to put together in around 20-30 minutes, and while designed with boys’ sensibilities in mind, there is no reason this great starter bike can’t be given to a girl as well. The tires are a combination of rubber and plastic, so you should be careful of the terrain you take this on. Overall, however, a nice starter bike for kids just learning the joys of riding.

No. 2: Royal Baby – Freestyle Kids Bike

Royal Baby’s Freestyle Kids Bike is a great sporty bike for both boys and girls, and comes with a water bottle to fit the kids’ size holder under the seat. A great feature of this bike is that the seat is easy to adjust, so you can quickly modify the height based on your child’s growth. This is a highly customizable kids bike, which lets you choose the size of the wheel and kickstand you desire.

It comes in a wide range of colors combinations, so don’t forget to customize that option when purchasing. The bike also features both a front and rear brake (compared to some bikes which only feature one). The bike instructions are easy-to-follow, and you get a sturdy, durable product that makes a great first training bicycle for a young kid.

No. 3: Mongoose – Legion Freestyle BMX Bike

Mongoose’s Legion Freestyle BMX Bike is made by a well-respected BMX manufacturer that has been making quality products for years. With their kids freestyle BMX, your boy or girl gets a great introduction to the world of BMX riding. The wheels are fully cutomizable and come in 16, 18, and 20-inch options, and the bike itself comes in a wide variety of colors.

The bike’s aluminum U-brakes allow for optimal speed control, and the high tension steel handle bar and forked, linked by a 40mm stem, allow for precision steering and handling. This is a sturdy, durable kids BMX bike made from quality products and made to be a scaled-down version of the real thing. At the end of the day, a good starter BMX bike for a child that is simple to put together and rides well.

No. 4: JOYSTAR – Unisex Kids Bike

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JOYSTAR’s Unisex Kids Bike for both boys and girls is a great customizable starter bike that comes with detachable training wheels. You get the option of 12, 14, and 16-inch wheels, and it comes in seven different color variations kids will love. One of the especially nice things about this bike, from a parent’s perspective, is that the body comes 85 per cent already assembled, and includes the necessary assembly tools.

The bike’s chainguard helps to prevent injuries and getting your child’s legs covered in grease. The bike’s robust steel frame comes with a lifetime warranty, and the only component you need to provide yourself is the pump. The seat also features a “parent helper” handle, so that you can control where and how fast your child goes. A great starter bike that can be ridden by children from 2 to 9 years-old.

No. 5: Retrospect – Cub Kids Balance Bike

Retrospect’s Cub Kids Balance bike is a great start no-pedal bike that uses balance instead of training wheels to support your little one. No-pedal bikes have become quite popular in recent years because they help to improve balance while children are learning to ride without training wheels, and it is a great lower body workout. Retrospect’s Cub Kid Balance Bikes come in a wide range of colors, and is great for building confidence in new riders.

This is a great bike for children from 20 months-old to 5 years-of-age. This bike requires minimal assembly, so your child can be up and on his or her new bike in minutes. Both the handle bars and the seat are adjustable, so you can make sure it is the right fit at different stages of development. This product is a great option for parents who want to give their kid the ability to ease into getting rid of their training wheels.

Shopping Guide: Everything you should know about kid bikes

Learning to ride a bike is a challenge for children as much as it is for parents. The age range greatly affects the different types and characteristics available out there, but your child’s safety is and must always be your number one concern. In the following section, we’ve detailed some of the most frequently asked questions to help you choose the best possible model.

From bikes without pedals to tiny BMXs, you can find exactly what your kid needs.
(Source: Georgerudy: 40580420/ 123f.com)

Why do children need specific bicycles?

There are many reasons for this, one of which is that riding is meant to be a fun activity. Children who exercise more, and are therefore more tired at the end of the day, are also more likely to set their phones and consoles aside. This activity also allows them to develop the values of sport, and it stimulates their ability to self-improve and their team spirit. Psychomotor skills and reflexes greatly benefit from cycling too.

How are kid bikes classified?

We generally sort these products by the size of their wheels, expressed in inches (“). As you child grows, the size of the tires needs to be adapted too. For example, 12” bikes are most suitable for children aged 18 months to 4 years. Other factors that influence this include the height (in feet and inches) of the bike.

The below table will provide you with some of the measurements associated with your child’s height (in feet and inches) and the kind of bike they need. The length from the child’s crotch to the floor is also an interesting aspect to know. Note that thieves values are indicative only, as every kid has his own growth rate.

Age of the child Height of the child in inches Length from crotch to floor Size of the bike’s wheels in inches
2 to 4 Less than 35.4 inches 11.8 inches 12”
3 to 5 From 35.4 to 41.3 inches 11.8 inches 14”
4 to 6 From 41.3 to 47.2 inches 14.2 16”
5 to 7 From 41.3 to 47.2 inches 16.1 inches 18”
6 to 9 From 47.2 to 53.1 inches 20.1 inches 20”
7 to 11 From 53.1 to 61 inches 24 inches 24”
11 and over 61 inches and up 26 inches and up 26”

What are traditional teaching methods for bike riding?

The best options available are training wheels and tricycles. However, according to experts, they both present one problem: they don’t help develop balance. This is a big factor to consider, as the secret to bike riding is precisely balance, a concept that you can only learn with bikes that have no pedals. The table below will help you better understand the differences between these methods.

Development of the sense of balance Development of psychomotor abilities Development of the sense of orientation
Training wheels +
Tricycles +
Bikes without pedals + + +

How and from what age can my child ride a bike with no pedals?

You will typically find bikes that are specifically tailored to different heights, so that kids can push them with their feet. These are models that are recommended for children from the age of two and up. This lets younger kids start building a sense of balance. These models also allow your children to learn at their own pace, and develop a sense of independence.

Your kid will spend countless hours having fun with his or her bike.
(Source: Grigorjeva: 38787088/ 123rf.com)

What are the advantages of bikes without pedals?

These are also called two-wheeled, or pedaless bikes, and their popularity has continued to rise since being introduced to the market some time ago. As previously mentioned, many experts consider this to be the optimal bike for children who are transitioning to bikes without training wheels. The below list will provide you with some information on their range of benefits:

  • They improve the sense of balance, naturally and progressively.
  • They stimulate coordination. This is due to the fact that children must brake, turn or avoid falling on their own, therefore coordinating the work of their different limbs.
  • They improve the sense of orientation, and more particularly spatial orientation.
  • They develop the psychomotor system. This is specifically true for gross motor skills. This helps children learn to jump or dance, among other activities.
  • Adaptation to the use of the helmet. In addition to promoting safety, this is a mandatory element in the U.S. for children and adults alike.
U.S. Children’s Helmet RulesU.S. Government

“Helmet laws in the United States mandate that all youth under the age of 18 wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.”

What safety measures do I need to pay attention to?

Safety is paramount when it comes to young children riding bikes, and the biggest concern is generally the lack of attention of our little ones. This is why you need to take some measures of precaution to avoid unforeseen accidents. Here are some key safety tips and measures:

  • Adult presence. A child should learn to ride a bicycle under the close observation of a parent or guardian. Accidents tend to happen when we least expect them.
  • Safety distance. Talk to your child so that he understands the importance of being aware of his surroundings, strongly insisting on safety distances.
  • Sense of danger. Your child needs to realize that riding a bike in the city presents certain risks. In that regard, an educated discussion goes a long way, but don’t show him accidents.
  • Padlock. Nowadays, unexpected thefts are much more common; use a padlock to prevent this from happening.

Shopping Criteria

There are number of different features that you want to be aware of when buying your child his first bike. Aspects such as your kid’s size, materials or accessories present on the bike are essential. This is why we designed the following section, where you’ll be able to learn all the information you need to know before making your final decision:

  • Height
  • Materials
  • Seat
  • Handlebars
  • Chain guard
  • Low frame
  • Brakes
  • Bell
  • Lights and reflectors
  • Back flag

Height

As we mentioned earlier, the height of your child is actually a fundamental factor in choosing the right model. This includes the total height as well as the length of the legs. You’ll have found the perfect bike height when your child can place his feet flat on the ground when the seat is lowered to the maximum. 12-inch bikes are generally used by children up until they reach 41 inches in height.

Materials

Comfort is the word when it comes to the materials used for the seat or the handlebars, but it’s not the only relevant factor. In the United States, there are a number of safety norms with which kid bikes must comply; different quality and safety standards were developed to show that products are considered safe for use by children. Make sure that the bicycle you buy fits within these norms before making the purchase.

You’ll find children’s bikes in all colors and sizes.
(Source: Apostoli: 13521292/ 123rf.com)

Seat

Here is another aspect we have previously touched upon: a child must be able to place his or her feet firmly on the ground while on a bike. This is one of the main ways you can determine whether a bike is suitable for a given child’s size. Having a bike with an adjustable seat is very helpful, because it lets you adjust the dimensions as your kid grows, meaning he or she has a bike for many years, and you save money.

Handlebars

The handlebars must be set at the right height so that your child avoids serious injuries in case of an accident. We strongly recommend that you also opt for handlebars featuring padded fabrics. These details may seem futile, but they are actually key in making your child more comfortable and safe while he’s riding around.

Chain guard

Plastic chain guards are particularly useful if your child learns from a very young age. They make the bike lighter, and you won’t face any problem with dirty clothes. In that regard, protectors are another interesting feature; they prevent clothes from getting tangled in and causing a fall. Nowadays, most kid bikes come standard with these chain protectors.

Low frame

Low frames are the go-to for children’s bicycles, as they let our little ones pedal effortlessly. Their pedaling abilities will develop faster, and getting on and off is also made easier for them. We know this might seems obvious, but it is actually the best way to avoid injuries. Your child can hop off his bike in a hurry if anything happens.

Brakes

They are naturally one of the most important safety features on any bike. Children’s models tend to include one brake on either side of the handlebars, one being for the front wheel and the other for the rear wheel. Certain brakes are harder to pull than other, so check that your child has enough strength for the specific model you want to buy. Here are the two main types of brakes:

Pedal brakes Hand brakes
Pedal brakes work by pedaling backwards. They are recommended for children up to eight years of age. Hand brakes are located on the handlebars. They are used from the age of eight onwards, when the child has acquired enough skill and strength to use them.

Bell

All modern kid bikes should naturally feature a bell for the child to warn of his presence. These helpful safety items must be easily accessible to the child, who shouldn’t have to let go of the handlebar to use them. Depending on the place your child will ride, this may be an essential element. Again, make sure that your kid can use it without difficulty.

Gunnar RempelCyclist

“Biking is the best antidepressant drug and it only has good side effects.”

Lights and reflectors

As you’ll know from driving cars, being visible on the road is the number one safety measure. It’s no different with bikes, so your child must be seen at all times, and more particularly on dark days or when he rides at night. For that matter, every U.S. State has its own rules regarding the compulsory use of safety lights when cycling.

You’ll want to opt for a model featuring both front and rear lights. Nowadays, most kid bikes also include reflectors on the pedals and/or wheels. Consult your local state’s laws and make sure the bicycle you buy complies with them; your child’s safety depends on it.

Back flag

Children’s bikes are always easy to notice for other road users, so you might want to consider this additional safety feature. This long pole is placed on the rear wheel, and may integrate lights so that your child is even more visible. Back flags are particularly useful at night.

Summary

Your child won’t forget his very first bike. This prized treasure will allow him to have fun with other kids, while also learning the values of sport. And you’ll definitely want your little ones to tag along on your excursions and countryside explorations if you’re a cycling enthusiast.

Make sure you pay attention to the different characteristics and safety features we discussed throughout our article when buying your kid’s bike. In the United States, helmets are compulsory and the bicycle itself must comply with your local state’s regulations. And don’t forget one thing while you’re analyzing those details: the bike is for your child, not you!

If you liked our guide, feel free to leave a comment or share it on social media so that we can help other people make the right decision for the fun and safety of their children.

(Source of featured image: Dubanevich: 85106803/ 123rf.com)

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