Choosing Bikes for Kids
Do you remember your first ride without training wheels? We do. And, Criterium’s small tribe of next generation riders keeps us honest about what bikes really work for kids:
1) Children need to be able to work the brakes. Sometimes that means a coaster brake bike for the easy reflex in an emergency. If they are using hand brakes, there is a maturity question, as well as the size of the levers for small hands. Finally, the brakes must be mechanically correct. This is why bike shop bikes are never sold unassembled.
2) Children will benefit from the lightest possible bicycle. The bike is a high percentage of their total body weight, so every pound that you save helps them enjoy the bike more.
3) Simpler is often better. The ’strider’ bike has no pedals to confuse the 3-year-old, so they learn to balance without training wheels. The BMX bike has no gears, so they learn to shift their weight to climb. The Hotrock 20 does not have a front derailleur, so they master the rear shifter. At each step, the child has enough attention left over to watch where she is going!
4) Children need bikes that can be fixed. A flimsy frame, or too many bolt-on plastic parts will lead to disappointment. Good bike-shop quality parts can be tuned, trued, or replaced so that the bike continues to work for many children.
5) ‘Growing Room’ on a bicycle is about the same as growing room for shoes. Too big, and there is a risk of injury and a lifetime aversion to cycling. We choose bikes with great resale value so that you can afford to buy two or three different sizes as your child grows up.
Our parent and grandparent staff members will enjoy helping you choose a great bicycle for children from 2 to 42.