12" wheel - 3 to 5 yrs
Normally with chain guards and detachable stabilisers. Good to look for raised handlebars with a separate stem so you can adjust the height and reach to fit you child. The raised handlebars help promote a good riding position with your child looking forward. All the bikes we have selected have easy pull brake levers designed for little hands, non-slip pedals with rubber grips and freewheels to allow coasting.
14" wheel - 4 to 6 yrs
The bigger version of the 12" wheel bikes but now often the first bike as some children are now taller when they first start to ride.
16" wheel - 5 to 8 yrs
Some models still come with detachable stabilisers. A more robust and capable bike as your child becomes a more confident rider. It is important to look for a light bike that has a low sloping frame for easy mount and dismount.
18" wheel - 6 to 9 yrs
A relatively new sector of the market providing a nice stepping stone as your child moves up the wheel sizes. Often a good choice to help your child's confidence grow, especially if you select a single speed with rigid forks as it will be simple and light to use so your child can concentrate on enjoying riding.
20" wheel - 7 to 10 yrs
You now get the options of gears, suspension forks and full suspension. We do not recommend a full suspension bike at this age as they are heavy and, therefore, hard to handle. A rigid or front suspension fork bike are far more agile and the sloping frame design enables a easy mount and dismount. To help children come to terms with gears we suggest buying a bike with a low number of gears (no more than 7 spd) with twist shifters as they are simple to use and easy to navigate. A good tip with junior geared bikes is to look for a bike with a rear gear protector as this will help prevent the gears getting knocked out of alignment when the child puts the bike down. We only sell bikes fitted with Shimano gears as these are the leading brand, the best and the most reliable.
In this sector you also have the choice of BMX. These come with many different specification levels but they are a great option at this age as they are very versatile and robust, with little to go wrong.
24" wheel - 9 to 12 yrs
Getting a little more serious now and the level of componentry becomes more important as it is going to be well used and needs to be capable of going on long rides and over slightly rougher terrain. Best to still look for a lightweight option, probably an aluminium frame, so the bike is light and easy to handle. We would suggest not buying a bike with too many gears. We only sell bikes fitted with Shimano gears as this are the leading brand, the best and most reliable.
26" wheel - 11 yrs +
You now have the option to get a full sized bike with a small frame. The geometry will be adjusted to ensure the riding position is right but it opens up your options to more gears, type of gear shifting and type of bike. Many of the good quality 26" mountain bikes will be fitted with Shimano EZ Fire shifters, trigger type shifters, and these allow for quick and easy shifting. The Shimano EZ Fire shifters should seriously be considered as they are a real benefit. Check to ensure the tyres are semi slick and not too knobbly for road use as knobbly tyres can loose traction and slip on the roads in the wet. 26" mountain bikes come with many different levels of specification and you must select the level right for you and the riding you will be doing - Recreational or performance. Most good quality bikes will have under lacquer decals which provides the bike with added protection against scratching.
It is also worthwhile considering an Urban style bike as they are lightweight and sleek designed bikes with slightly larger wheels with narrower tyres than mountain bikes making them easy rolling. They have a more relaxed upright riding position to remove pressure from the lower back with comfort components fitted. A good option for someone cycling about town, to school or for a weekend ride.