- 12 inches: kids aged 3-4, 14-17” inseam
- 14 inches: kids aged 4-6, 16-20” inseam (this size is not commonly available)
- 16 inches: kids aged 5-8, 18-22” inseam
- 18 inches: kids aged 6-9, 20-24” inseam (again, not commonly available)
- 20 inches: kids aged 7-10, 22-25” inseam
- 24 inches: kids aged 9-12, 24-28” inseam
By the time a child is 13, he or she will probably be ready for an adult-sized bicycle.
To see if the bike fits your child, have her straddle the bike. She should be able to stand, with her feet flat on the ground, in front of the seat. She should only have to tilt the bike a little bit in order to get onto the seat, and she should be able to reach the pedals comfortably, without scrunching her legs or stretching them all the way in order to complete a full rotation. Resist the temptation to buy a bike that is a little big; she will not only feel less secure and comfortable, but won’t be able to stop herself easily in a fall, raising the chances of an injury.
The smaller the bike (and the smaller the child), the more likely that she’ll need training wheels. Most bikes under 16 inches come with training wheels, and 16-inch bikes might or might not come with them factory-installed. Your son or daughter might be ready to learn to ride without training wheels as early as 4 years of age, or he or she might be closer to 6 or 8 years old. Don’t make a big fuss about it; kids learn when they’re ready. If you need to put training wheels on a 16-inch bike, then do it without making your child feel bad, as this probably won’t encourage her to want to learn.
Over the next week or so, we’ll be talking about where to shop for a bike, and also bike safety for kids, to make sure that you have all of the info you need in order to make a good decision when it comes to buying a new bicycle for your child!