As a parent, you’re faced with decisions everyday which have an affect on your kids. While choosing the right style and size of bike for your child is not the most important decision you’ll make, it will affect their confidence on a bike and desire to get out riding. At FORTH Bikes, we’re parents too, watching our own kids learn and ride bikes. While we don’t have it all figured out, we’ve learned a few tips and tricks along the way. We’re here to help!
Sizing a bike for your child is tricky. Kids grow fast! Getting them on a properly sized bike will help grow confidence and set them up for years of success riding bikes. Happy kids will result in happy parents! We’ve put together a “rough” size chart to help you get started. We’re not guaranteeing this will be 100% accurate, but based on our experience, this at least provides a place to start:
Ultimately, it’s up to you as the parent to choose. Some kids are more confident than others. Some kids have longer legs than others, Some kids have longer arms than others. You get the idea. Every child is unique. You know your own kiddos best, so we’ll try equip you with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions regarding bike size. The chart above may not be accurate for every situation either. The type of riding you do will also have an affect on the size needed. If you’re crushing blues at the local lift-access bike part, your little rider might be ready for a size up compared to our recommendation above. If your child has had a less-than-positive experience on a bike, and remains a bit tentative on two wheels, perhaps keeping them on a smaller size a bit longer could be the key to building confidence.
Type of Bike
Sidewalk Bikes vs. Trail Bikes – What’s the Difference?
The type of riding your kiddo will be participating in might have some influence over the type of bike they might benefit most from. As it is with sizing, our recommendations for the type of bike to buy are generalizations, and there will be exceptions.
Typically, sidewalk bikes have a component spec. matched to the type of riding they are used for. Gearing is usually matched to cruising on relatively flat surfaces. Front forks are often rigid, as there isn’t much need for suspension on smooth, hard-packed surfaces. The tires on sidewalk bikes usually aren’t too knobby, helping to reduce rolling resistance.
Note: PARK Series bikes are not limited to sidewalks and hard-packed paths only. They were designed primarily for urban use, but are definitely capable of hitting the trails and getting off-road.
When your little rider is ready to step it up a notch, some knobbier tires, wider bars, and disc brakes might add to the riding experience. Knobby tires help grip the path, especially on turns and riding over rocks/roots. Wider bars add stability to the riding position, helping the front of the bike feel less “twitchy”. Disc brakes offer more stopping power with less required pull-force. The addition of a front air fork on the 20 X1 and 24 X1 add some squish and increase the comfort for your rider on uneven terrain. FORTH’s X1 Series Trail Bikes are a great place to start if you’re looking to get more single-track seat time with your little rider.
Building on the X1 Series bikes, the X2 Series Trail Bikes take things to the next level, with the addition of hydraulic disc brakes and a few other carefully spec’d components. The 20 X2 and 24 X2 feature wide ratio microSHIFT drivetrains to help with the ups and downs of trail riding.