You want your kids to spend more time outdoors in the sunshine, being active and breathing in lungfuls of fresh air. But the only way your kids will agree, is if it’s fun. Bicycles give kids a sense of freedom and a small taste of independence. But mostly, riding bicycles really is fun. Buy the wrong bike though and the fun will falter. Here’s a basic guide for getting your kid the right bike.
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First bicycle (age 2-5)
It’s not traditionally a kid’s bike because it doesn’t have pedals, but in the past decade, balance bikes have become the best way for kids to learn to ride because it simplifies the process. There are two main elements to riding a bicycle – balance and propulsion.
On a balance bike, which has no pedals, kids get to focus purely on learning how to balance. With no pedals, they move the bike forward with their feet on the ground, a little bit like walking or running, which they’re already used to.
Second bicycle (age 3-6)
Once a child is hurtling around with confidence on a kids balance bike, it’s time to move them up a level to a children’s bicycle with pedals.
Ideally, you want to look at a kids bike that is both durable and controllable. This bicycle is the one that will have your kid – or kids – developing a solid foundation of skills that will ensure they become confident riders from very young. It’s important therefore that the bike can handle all the usual mountain biking trail obstacles.
This is usually a 16- or 20-inch bike. Almost all 16-inch bikes come with balance wheels. But if your kid learned to ride with confidence on balance bike, then he/she won’t need a bike with balance wheels, so you can remove them or, if he/she is the appropriate size, go straight to the 20-inch size, where the bikes are a more accurate mini-version of a regular bike.
You may recall your parents saying they bought you a bike that was a bit big so that you could grow into it. Well that’s a very 20th Century perspective. The world has changed and bicycles for kids are now made in a wide range of wheel sizes – 12-inch, 16-inch, 20-inch, 24-inch and 26-inch wheel sizes.
This range of kids bicycle wheel sizes ensures you can buy the right size bike for your child at various stages of his/her growth. If he/she is on the right size bike, he/she will have better control and comfort and will WANT to ride more often. It’s best to take your child into an established bicycle store with experienced staff that can help you establish which wheel size is best for your little one.
ZINI GEN Z
The Zini Gen Z is a 20-inch mountain bike that’s been designed to deliver hours and hours of fun on a bike that’s easy to control and with good quality components. Here are the highlights:
Frame material: 6061 aluminium – lightweight and durable
Frame geometry: Kids Tuned Geometry – good stand-over height and very manoeuvrable
Fork: Zini suspension – soaks up trail bumps for a smoother ride
Wheelset: Alloy with Quick Release – strong, durable and easy to remove and replace to repair punctures or replace tyres
Drivetrain: Shimano 1×7 derailleur, 14-28 cassette with LTWOO trigger shifter – simple to use, wide range of gear to make climbing easier
Brakes: Mechanical disc brakes with adjustable lever – superior braking performance for little hands (the yellow model comes with V-brakes at a lower price point).
For more on Zini Bikes, head over here.
Note: the above age references are guidelines only. As with most sporting activities, children develop at different stages when it comes to riding bicycles and it depends how early they start out and how often they ride.
Paid partnership with Zini Bikes