Updated October 2, 2019
One of the best ways to disconnect from tech and enjoy time with your kids is to get them out riding. If buying a bike that will be used both on paved and unpaved surfaces, certain features should be kept in mind.
Some items to consider when shopping for a youth bike include:
Many inexpensive bikes are made of steel. While durable, these bikes can be heavy and discouraging to young riders trying to keep up. When possible, go with aluminum. If you do choose steel, research the total weight of the bike as some are lighter than others.
The ability to shift into higher and lower gears can be quite beneficial on longer rides. If you plan on taking the family for longer (think miles) rides a reliable and well guarded setup is recommended. If simply riding short distances than gearing may be a bit overkill as additional maintenance comes with gearing.
The toughest part about buying anything for your kids is sizing, especially when they are growing like a weed. Choose the size that fits and if you think they may move to the next size after a year several bike shops offer quality used options.
General sizing chart for youth:
|Age||Height||Wheel diameter (bike size)|
|4-6 years||43″ or less||14 inches|
|5-8 years||43″ to 45″||16 inches|
|6-9 years||45″ to 47″||18 inches|
|7-10 years||48″ – 54″||20 inches|
Unpaved surfaces can quickly turn a budget sub $100 bike into a giant waste of money as many of the components are sub par and in some cases, a danger to your child as they rattle loose. Below are some of our current favorites in the segment.
A whole series of bikes exist with safety in mind. The company started after the founders grandfather broke several vertebrae in his back after a nasty over the handlebar accident. This led them to creating technology to eliminate such accidents and later, an entire line of bikes. The Ethos features 6 speeds, sturdy, yet lightweight steel construction, safe surestop brake system, and top rated customer service. Pricing for this bike starts at $259 on Amazon.
The XTC is a great trail bike with aluminum construction, gearing, and a trusted brand name standing behind it. A favorite feature of this bike is the rear derailleur cover. This sturdy guard will protect components should the rider take a fall or set it on the ground in a less than careful manner. These bikes can be found at several local bike shops nation wide as well as on the Giant website. Pricing for the bike is $255.