Bicycling (South Africa)
EXPERT TIPS FOR BUYING A KIDS’ BIKE
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.