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Children's bikes

This section provides information on buying bicycles for children.

What size?

An image of a child on a bike.

Ensuring a bike is the correct fit is important for a child's safety and comfort. Taking the child with you when shopping for a bike is better than surprising the child with the bike as a gift. Oversized bikes are dangerous so make sure you don't buy a bike for the child to 'grow into'.

A bike is the correct size when:

  • The child can place the balls of both feet on the ground and reach the handlebars comfortably while sitting on the seat.
  • The child can place feet flat on the ground and have about 25 to 50 mm clearance between the crotch and the bar (or where the bar would be) while straddling the centre bar.

(The methods for sizing bikes for adults are different. Information for adults can be found in the choosing a bike section.)

Helmets

It is a good idea to buy a helmet at the same time as you buy the bike as everyone must wear a helmet under Queensland law. There is additional information in the helmets section.

Training wheels

Training wheels can be fitted for younger children. The wheels should touch the ground only when the bike leans slightly. This allows for enough traction for the rear wheel to drive the bike and for the brake to work properly.

Children’s balance bikes

Balance bicycles are designed with removable pedals or cranks to allow young children to learn about the momentum and balance of a bicycle. They provide an alternative to training wheels and typically have a wheel size of 300 mm (12 inches) or smaller. The skills learned with a balance bicycle often allow children to graduate directly to a pedal bicycle without training wheels.

Three to five years

The smallest bicycles for children have a wheel size of 300 mm (12 inches) and are suitable for children between about three and five years old. Most come with trainer wheels and a back-pedal brake as children's hands are often too small to use hand brakes.

Children under five should not mix with motor traffic. Backyards, parks or on bikepaths under adult supervision are the best places for children this age to ride.

Five to seven years

Most children aged five to seven years need bikes with 400 mm (16 inch) wheels. These bikes are usually single speed with back-pedal brakes. Some bikes might have hand brakes as well. Most can be fitted with trainer wheels.

Children in this age group lack traffic skills but it is a suitable time for parents or guardians to start developing the children's skills in an off-road environment. It can be a suitable time to take children on bike paths.

Seven to 10 years

Most children aged seven to 10 years are the right size for bikes with 500 mm (20 inch) wheels. Bikes this size offer a wider selection of features, including hand brakes and gears, than smaller bikes. Remember the child's abilities and experience should determine which features are to be considered when buying a bike. Less experienced children might need back-pedal brakes and more experienced children might prefer smaller mountain bikes with 500 mm (20 inch) wheels which will include gears for easier pedalling.

Children over 10 years

Most of these young people can fit bikes with 600 mm (24 inch) wheels or small frames and 650 mm (26 inch) wheels. The choices available in these bike sizes are similar to the choices available in adult bikes.

Last updated
09 May 2017