What's the best size for a boy just getting into biking? It depends on what kind of riding he wants to do. If your son wants to go off-roading and explore all kinds of terrain, then a 24-inch will be perfect. But if your son is more interested in racing and going faster on pavement or gravel trails, then a 20-inch will give him a better advantage.
In this article, we'll give you a detailed mountain bike buying guide so you can take on the roads with your son or daughter. Yes! Girls can (and should) ride too.
Start Them Young with a 20-inch Mountain Bike
Your kids will never forget their first bicycle. Their first ride, the first fall, the first taste of freedom. Surely, your kids will love the outdoors. But before you get to your family bonding time, it is important to get the correct bike for your children. Introducing them to adult bikes immediately can turn the biking experience into something they will dread.
20-inch bikes are excellent for children between 5 to 12 years old. These bikes have adjustable seats, and you can still attach training wheels if they need more support for balancing. The height of the bike is very crucial. Always make sure that their feet lay flat on the ground when they sit so you know they will have full control of their rides.
Eventually, when your kids outgrow and take more intense trails, you can upgrade the parts depending on how fast their skills develop.
Choosing The Perfect Bike
You will never run out of options for bikes in the market. Aside from choosing a design that your kids will love, make sure that it's safe to ride on, comfortable, and will last long. You are investing money in it, so get the bike that will give the most bang for your buck.
Let's talk about the different bike components and the things you need to consider before purchasing your kids' first bike.
Wheel sizes can differ depending on the type of biking activity you do. But when it comes to kids' bikes, choosing the correct wheel size is more on the comfort of riding. The wheel adds height to the bike. If the bike is too short, it will be difficult for older kids to pedal. If the bike is too high, it will be hard to control the bicycle.
A kid's bike has wheel sizes of 12, 14,16, 20, and 24. If you have younger kids who bike for playtime in the parks, depending on their height, they can try sizes 12, 14, or 16. If you have older kids and you want them to go with you on long rides around the town, a 20-inch wheel can give them more speed and a smoother ride. But if your child likes to take on rocky roads and mountain trails, 24-inch wheels have better traction for better control.
A 24-inch boy’s mountain bike is the last stepping stone before your kids can finally ride an adult bike. Make sure that their skill level is appropriate before transitioning them to bigger bikes as this helps avoid accidents.
There are different materials used for body frames. The most popular these days are lightweight and extremely heavy-duty carbon. You can opt to buy your child a carbon bike, but bikes with carbon frames are expensive. If you have a tight budget, other metals will suffice.
A steel frame is not too common, but many people don't know that steel is one of the best choices for a bike frame. When it comes to durability, it can compare to carbon. It can last up to ten years, even with low maintenance. But steel is significantly heavier than other metals for bike frames. Small kids will have a hard time or get easily tired when their bikes are too heavy.
Another excellent choice is aluminum. It is lightweight and has anti-rust properties. Aluminum is not as durable as carbon fiber bikes, but it can withstand minor impacts and will last longer if you take care of it properly.
Mountain bikes have different speed gears, so you can go faster on even surfaces and steep slopes. The different speed gears are 1,3,18,21, 24, and 27. A kid's bike usually starts with one gear or a fixed gear. It means that your kids can shift or change their speed when they ride a bike. It's perfectly fine to start them with fixed gears to make learning less complicated.
For example, you buy a girl’s 24-inch mountain bike. Most kid's bikes have 18-speed gears. It means that your child will be able to change their speed depending on how fast they want to go, and it will be easier for them to ride on uphills.
The only thing to remember about speed gears is that the more gears you have on your bike, the faster you can go and the easier it is to pedal on uphill rides. So higher gears are recommended for professional cyclists, but if your kids are still learning, you should always supervise them on their rides.
There are two brake options for a kid's bike. The first kind of brake is called the coaster. This brake is commonly found on bikes for smaller kids. To activate this brake, all they have to do is pedal backward. So this brake is great for small children who haven't yet developed a strong grip.
Coaster brakes are only for small bikes because of their activation. In addition, coaster brakes may not work when your kids start riding at faster speeds.
The second brake is called the hand brake. This brake is activated by a lever attached to the handles of your bike. Most bikes have hand brakes. Just make sure the bike's brake can be easily gripped by your kids, and make sure that they have the strength to activate the brakes' full stopping power.
Choose a bike with an adjustable seat so that when your child gets taller, you will have more room to operate with. In addition, you can choose a bike seat that uses bolts for it to be secured in place while your child is riding.
Other Bike Accessories
There are additional bike accessories that can benefit your kid's cycling activities. You may want to consider buying them for extra comfort and protection.
Handle grips: There is no specific measure for the handlebars of a bike. However, you can insert a grip so your kids can have a better hold and control of their steering. Some handlebars may be too slippery, and grips prevent the hands from slipping.
Bike stands: Getting a kickstand is optional, but it can come in handy. It helps keep your bike upright when you are not using it. It is also better for the bikes instead of leaning them against the wall. It protects them from dents and possible scuff marks.
Pedals: You can have the pedals of the bikes changed. Some bikes don't come with pedals so you can choose your preferred material. Pedals can be made of hard plastic or metal, and some have locks so you can keep your feet strapped in even when you are riding fast. Plastic pedals are cheaper but can be slippery when wet. Metal pedals are more expensive, but they also last longer.
Protective gear: Complete your child's biking gear with safety equipment. Biking is more fun when everyone is safe and well protected. Gear you may want to include are helmets, elbow, and knee pads. Of course, you should also train your child to wear proper biking attire. Never bike with flip-flops and clothes that can easily get caught in the spokes.
Taillights: Beginner bikers shouldn’t bike in the dark, but it's always good to be ready. Taillights let vehicles see bicycles in the dark. This accessory is a good addition to your child's bike riding for extra safety.
Biking is a great way to involve your kids in physical activity and an excellent bonding with the family. Whether you’re looking for a quality boy's 20-inch mountain bike or a girl's 20-inch mountain bike, invest in one that is durable, comfortable, and safe. Make the moments you share with your children always happy and unforgettable.
If you want to take on trails with your children, you can check out the Roadmaster Granite Peak men's mountain bike series. An affordable bike with superior performance.