Bicycling (South Africa)

EXPERT TIPS FOR BUYING A KIDS’ BIKE

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I have two young boys, and a garage full of tiny bikes. Not every kid needs a suspension fork and disc brakes; but here are the four things I believe are most important. – L.M.

1. Avoid training wheels.

They’re unstable, and won’t teach balance. Start young kids on a balance bike; for older ones, drop the saddle on an appropriat­ely sized bike until their feet can touch the ground, and then remove the pedals for a similar learning experience.

2. A long wheelbase.

Stretching the wheels further apart makes the bike more stable, and compensate­s for kids’ herky-jerky steering.

3. Rim brakes.

Coaster brakes (the alternativ­e) are heavy, and make it harder to teach forward pedalling. I even like rim brakes on balance bikes, because they deliver more braking control than your kid’s tiny feet.

4. Wide, grippy tyres.

Just like on a big bike, air-filled tyres offer more control and better bump absorption – exactly what developing riders need.

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