Best Kids Bikes
Balance bikes, BMX bikes, motorised bikes for kids, children’s road bikes - the list of kids bikes is endless, so knowing which two-wheeler to buy for your child can understandably be daunting. That’s why knowing what to look for when you shop can help your child feel safe and secure while they ride.
With a low-to-ground design, easily adjustable height, and durable frame, the Little Nation Balance Bike is the perfect introduction to two-wheelers for your little one.
Effectively teaches kids to balance
The Cruzee Balance Bike is lightweight, barely needs maintenance, and has puncture-resistant foam wheels, making it a great way for kids to learn and improve balance.
Latest review: I was unsure if my 2.4yr old son would like a balance bike, so we rented one from our toy library (they had recently purchased a Micro G-Bike + Light Balance). Initially I thought I'd buy a wooden
Your child’s height will change over the years, but one thing will stay the same: their ability to ride the Byk E-540x3i. It’s durable, fitted with a host of safety features, and accommodates fast-growing kids.
Latest review: Bought this for my 5yr old daughter, and she loves it: and so does her 7yrvold brother. High quality, simple and relatively light for a kids bike. Decent tyres allow low pressures and good grip on
Latest review: Well this bike was a great surprise for my two tdaughters on christmas morning i got an extra bonus with the bikes that i got they both came with streamers for the handle bars and they also came with
Latest review: We just bought our 3rd biomechanix bike for our children. Our boy has grown out of his 35cm so we just bought a 50cm. His 35cm only weighs 7kg. All the other bikes in the market are too heavy. Our
Latest review: I bought this bike for my son, and found that it was quite large, and heavy even though his feet were flat on the ground. We did love the look of the bike, and he was really excited by it but would
Latest review: Beautiful trike, quick delivery. Adaptable as the child gets bigger. Straps and safety rail for smaller babies. Bought it for my one year old and he loves. A few issues, it comes in a lot of parts to
What size bike should I get for my child?
Kids of the same age can have hugely varying heights and weights, so you shouldn’t strictly stick to a size guide, but here’s a general guide to bike sizing for kids:
- 2-4 years: 12”/30cm wheels
- 2-6 years: 16”/40cm wheels
- 6-8 years: 20”/50cm wheels
- 8-11 years: 24”/60cm wheels
Your child should be able to:
- sit on the saddle and have the balls of both feet rest on the ground.
- straddle the top bar with a sizeable clearance and both feet flat on the ground.
- reach the handlebars (and handbrakes, if the bike has them) with arms slightly bent while sitting on the saddle.
Whether you’re buying a bike second-hand, from a specialty bike store, or from a department store, ensure your child can do a test ride of the bike to see if they like the feel of it.
Choosing a bike type
Balance is one of the most important skills when it comes to riding a bike, which is why a balance bike can be an invaluable resource for babies and toddlers. Balance bikes are designed for children until around the age of 5 who are just starting out their biking journey.
These baby bikes don’t have pedals or a chain - they’re made to get your kid used to balancing and steering before tackling pedalling.
Training wheels and tricycles
Training wheels are another great option for kids learning to balance that also lets them pedal. They attach to a regular bike, so you don’t have to buy two separate bicycles for a kid learning to ride.
You can also find tricycles for kids that also let your child pedal while providing a stable base for them to easily ride on without falling.
Kids road bikes
If your child has graduated from balance bikes and training wheels and is ready for the next big thing, then they might want a regular road bike. You can also find electric bikes for kids, to help them zoom from A to B, whether that’s from home to school, or just around the block.
There are plenty of kids bikes that are made to look like off-road or stunt bikes, such as kids BMX bikes, kids mountain bikes, or kids quad bikes, but don’t actually have the safety specs suited to that style of riding. If your child wants to try out BMX riding or mountain biking, then ensure you’re buying a bike that’s fit-for-purpose.
What to look for when buying a kids bike
Bicycles for kids are usually made from steel or aluminium. Steel bikes are highly durable, cheaper, and can withstand plenty of crashes and punishing knocks. They are however a lot heavier than aluminium and can rust if left out or ridden in the rain.
Aluminium bikes are lighter, considerably durable, and essentially rust-proof, however are at a higher price point than steel.
Balance bikes and tricycles for smaller kids are often made from solid foam, rubber, or plastic, making them puncture-resistant. As the size of a bike increases, the more likely it is that its tyres are pneumatic, meaning that they’re inflated with air.
Pneumatic tyres offer a comfortable, cushioned ride, good grip, and can come in different tread patterns which can make them suitable for different types of terrain.
A more textured tread can provide better grip for rougher terrain and off-road biking. Slicker tyres are generally better-suited to smooth surfaces, such as pavements and roads.
To comply with Australian safety standards, a kids bike with a wheelbase between 640 and 765mm must have at least 2 braking systems, one of which must be a back pedal brake.
There are two main types of brakes on a kids bike:
- Coaster: A coaster brake is activated when the rider pedals backwards. These are usually the only brake found on smaller bikes as young children don’t always have the hand or arm strength to use a handbrake.
- Hand: A handbrake is operated by a lever by the handlebar. They’re more commonly found in bikes for older kids.
Chain guards on kids bikes will usually cover the chain wheel and the upper part of the chain to protect the rider from rubbing their leg against it or snagging their clothes or shoelaces on it.
A chain guard can be easily removed, but might help parents rest easy while their child is still building up their riding experience.
Kids bikes generally only have a single gear so that cycling isn’t overcomplicated, however as your child becomes more skilled at cycling, they may have what it takes to ride a bike with more speeds.
Having a single-speed gear usually means easy pedalling for kids. Kids bikes with multiple gears will usually have 7 or 8 different gears to play around with, but some can have up to 21 or 24 gears.
Pedals and handlebars
Bike pedals should have rough surfaces that are easy to grip and won’t let your child’s feet slip off - bonus points if this forces your kids to wear shoes when taking the bike out for a spin.
The handlebars should be covered so that no raw metal is exposed - the hand grips should be easy to hold and secure.
Your child must wear a helmet that abides by Australian standards while riding a bike. Your child will need to try it on to find a suitable size and style, so you should avoid buying one online unless you’ve tried on the same model and size in store first.
A helmet should:
- fit snugly on your child’s head, meaning that it shouldn’t be able to move in any direction.
- be comfortable to wear, and not too heavy.
- sit 1-1.5cm above your child’s eyebrows.
- be a bright colour that makes it more easily visible.
- be easy to put on and undo, with easily adjustable straps.
Your child’s bike also needs:
- a bell or horn, so your little one can alert pedestrians or other cyclists to their presence.
- front, rear, pedal, and spoke-mounted reflectors to aid with visibility.
Young kids shouldn’t be riding at night, unless they’re in a well-lit, supervised space, such as a backyard. Older kids need a bike light when riding at night, and should ride on the footpath and accompanied by an adult rider.
A kids bike with 12 or 16” wheels will usually cost you somewhere between $150 and $250, while a decent 20 or 24” bike can cost anywhere upwards of $200, with most better models setting you back over $300.
Kids usually outgrow their bikes pretty quickly, so it’s worth considering giving away or selling your child’s bike once they’re too large to ride it. Either way, keep it in good condition and keep all the extra parts you have for it.
You should also check the warranty of a bike - most will have a lifetime warranty on the frame, with shorter warranties on parts and servicing, however every bike is different. A better warranty usually means a longer-lasting bike.
Learning to ride a bike and getting more skilled at cycling is an exciting time for many kids.
Choosing the right childrens bike that can withstand a crash or two, is safe to ride, and is fun to rise can help your child build confidence on a two-wheeler, and can set them up for a lifetime of safe, skilled biking.