Advice on Bikes for Juniors
If you are thinking of buying a bike for your child to use at the club please consult one of our junior coaches first for advice. A new bike with a low price tag may look good but will usually be heavy and made from cheap components not designed for children.
They won’t enjoy riding it and you will soon start getting mechanical problems. A great place to start your research on Kids bikes is https://www.cyclesprog.co.uk/ which has lots of advice, useful articles and a bike search. The best children’s bikes don’t come cheap but they last and can be easily sold on. Two of the best brands are Islabikes and Frog Bikes and years of research has gone into designing these bikes with children in mind. To make it more affordable you might consider joining The Bike Club at https://bikeclub.com/. You pay monthly and whenever your child grows out of a bike you upgrade to a bigger one. They use reliable brands only.
When to get a road bike with drop handlebars?
We don’t recommend buying a road bike with drop handlebars until your child is at least 9 years old and depending on their height maybe 10 years old. To be safe on a road bike children need to have already become a confident bike rider and have developed good bike handling skills. They will learn better on a hybrid bike which they will find easier to control. On a bike with drop handlebars children with small hands find it difficult to reach the brake levers and to change gear.
Bikes to avoid.
There are some cheap (and very heavy) small children’s road bikes on the market which appear to solve this problem by having gear levers mounted near the centre of the handlebars. To change gear they have to ride one handed while they pull or push the lever and while doing this they are not very stable. The usual result is they don’t bother changing gear and never really learn to use their gears effectively. Because these bikes are really heavy you see the child grinding the pedals in a hard gear going slower than they could have done on a hybrid or MTB. Not much fun there!
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