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Kids Bike Sizes – Choose The Right One

Jeff Balton

Kids Bike Sizes

Ordering bikes for kids online is becoming more and more popular nowadays. It is because there are no shop-keeping or warehouse costs, which makes the prices even lower!

And since everything is moved online, you don’t have to try your bike first. Other people have done it for you.

You should try your bike first! FALSE

I’ll show you three FOUR methods you can use to find the right bike size for your child.

NB! Ordering a bike online for a kid is much easier than for grown-ups.

Feeling more confident?

Good.

So if you don’t know what size bike you need, here are the answers!

 

  • Method 1: Age & Tire Size

Level: Simple (Not so accurate)

Choosing the right kids’ bike size based on the age and the tire size is the simplest method around. Basically, the idea is this: Smaller kids ride bikes with smaller wheels and bigger kids ride bikes with bigger wheels.

Voila! It’s that simple.

Actually, it’s even simpler with the help of our chart:

Age
2-43-54-65-87-98-1110-14
Wheel Size12″14″16″18″20″24″26″

As a result: Now you can choose the right bike by selecting the right tire size.

This method works in the majority of cases as kids generally grow at the same pace. However, as always in life, there are exceptions to this rule.

If you are afraid that your child is taller or shorter than the average for their age, then you can use the…

 

  • Method 2: Standover (Inseam) Height Method

Level: Better

How to measure kids leg inseamThis is another very simple method of choosing the right size bike for your kid, though it takes a bit more effort.

What you need to do first is measure your kid’s leg inseam. It takes only 30 seconds and all you need is a tape measure.

  1. With shoes on, have your child stand with feet slightly apart.
  2. Measure the height from the ground up to the crotch.

 

That’s the leg inseam.

Keep in mind that you might need to convert the result into inches if you measured it in centimeters (cm). To do that, just divide your result by 3.94 (for example, 40cm equals 15.75 inches).

Moreover, different bikes require different saddle heights and the best method to find the right saddle height is using the leg inseam measure.

As a result: Now you can find the standover height for your child. Scroll below to find the right saddle height.

Why is the standover height that important? With the right standover height, your kid will be able to get off the bike whenever necessary and feel stable and in full control. There’s nothing worse for confidence than a bike that feels too big and doesn’t let you touch the ground with your feet.

 

  • Method 3: Kids Size Chart

Level: Good!

How to size a bike for a kid with more certainty? Consider several methods all at once.

If you want to make sure to choose the right kids’ bike size, you should take into consideration 1) Age, 2) Height, 3) Inseam, and 4) Tire Size.

We tried to gather all of this data into one kids’ bike size chart that you can see below. It should work for most kids, except for some exceptions.

Age
Height (Inch)Height (cm)Leg Inseam (Inch)Leg Inseam (cm)Tire Size
22’9″ – 3’1″85-90cm12″ – 14″85 – 90cm10″
3-43’1″ – 3’3″90-100cm14″-17″35-42cm12″
4-53’3″ – 3’7″100-110cm16″-20″40-50cm14″
5-63’7″ – 3-8″110-115cm18″-22″45-50cm16″
6-83’8″ – 4’0″115-120cm20″-24″50-60cm18″
7-94’0″ – 4’5″120-135cm22″-25″55-63cm20″
9-114’5″ – 4’9″135-145cm24″-28″60-72cm24″
11-145’+145cm +28″+72cm+26″

As a result: You can double-check the results. If you’re satisfied, you can choose the right bike based on these results.

If you find that some numbers don’t match and you’re getting different results based on different criteria, keep in mind that all kids are different. As they get older, the discrepancies between individuals become even larger. 

If you’re still getting different results and you can’t make a choice, check out the last method:

 

  • Method 4: From A to Z

Level: Best

Sometimes, choosing the right kids’ bike size based only on one method can be confusing. You can get results that don’t add up and just make things worse than before (though that’s rare).

If you want to double-check your results or just make sure you are getting the most accurate results possible, then follow the steps below:

  1. Measure the inseam (second method).
  2. Choose the right bike size based on age and wheels (first method).
  3. Choose the right type: Balance / Training Wheels / Pedal Bike.

 

NB! We don’t suggest going for a kids’ bike with training wheels.

Balance bikes provide a much better and more natural learning platform. Training wheels give a false sense of security and don’t really allow kids to learn how to balance on two wheels on their own.

Kids learn most quickly and most easily when moving from a balance bike straight to a pedal bike.

 

  • Right Saddle Height (vs Standover Height)

Right Kids Saddle height

Choosing the right saddle height is extremely important for all riders, especially for kids. If you place the saddle too low or too high, your child is likely to feel a lack of control and lack of confidence.

The right saddle height differs from one situation to another, depending on the type of bike used. Here’s a rough guide you can follow:

  • Balance bikes – The seat should be 1″ to 1.5″ below the child’s inseam.
  • Training wheels – 0 – 3″ above the child’s inseam.
  • 1st pedal bike – The saddle height should be the same as the child’s inseam.
  • Next pedal bike – 2″ to 4″ above their inseam.

 

This is important to keep in mind to improve the stability and comfort of your kid on the bike. It’s important for them to be able to touch the ground with their feet without getting hurt.

Otherwise, they might feel unstable or lack confidence.

NB! Always wear a helmet! See our top bike helmets for kids

To wrap it up

SuggesteAt first, choosing the right size bike for kids might seem daunting and complicated. But it isn’t. In most cases, it should be easy to find the right size by using only the first method.

However, to make sure you are getting the most accurate results, we recommend going through all four methods presented in this kids’ bike size guide. That way, you will 100% end up with the right size.

Therefore, when it comes to buying kids bicycles, trying the bike out before purchasing is not necessary. Just follow the steps above and you will be good to go!

This Article Has 6 Comments

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  • Gina says:

    Hi. My son has outgrown his first bike. He is 4’4″ with a 22″ inseam. He turns 9 in a few weeks. We want to order a bike, but with COVID, we can’t go in and try out. We think maybe 20″, but he is also close tonthe criteria for 24″.

    What do you suggest?

    • Jeff Balton says:

      Hi Gina,
      It’s always case to case and children don’t really have the ‘perfect’ fit. You can still make adjustments in terms of saddle height. A 22″ can be a comfortable fit for him. Check out our:
      Kids Bike Sizes

  • jacqueline says:

    I have a 10yr old son 4’9” and a 14 yr old daughter. They haven’t learn how to ride a bike. what’s the best type to learn? Also, my daughter tried my bike and states seat is uncomfortable what type of seat is recomendable? She’s 5’2” weight 175lbs.

  • Natasha says:

    Hi, I have a question, our daughter is almost 11yo, she is petite. Her height is 4’2.5” and her inseam 24”. She is in between 20” and 24” sizes. What would you recommend? Thank you

    • Jeff Balton says:

      She is at an age when she will probably start growing rapidly, so I’d go for a 24″ kids bike. No point in getting a 20″ bike that’s perhaps going to be too small for her in a few months or a year.