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Children's bicycles are sized by wheel size in inches: 12", 16", 20", 24" and 26". The size of the frame and other parts will increase according to the size of the wheels, but the right size for your young cyclist can only be determined by trying the bike out in practice and assessing all aspects, the main ones being the child's skills, proportion and safety.
Bikes with larger wheels will have a more comfortable ride but slightly less manoeuvrability, so for children with less experience and skills, it is recommended to choose a more compact model with smaller wheels.
The support wheels are suitable for 12" and 16" children's bicycles and, if used correctly, will help your child to learn to balance quickly. The support wheels should be initially fixed at a level that prevents them from touching the ground when riding and only provide support when starting or finishing the ride. Gradually increase the level of attachment until the child can balance on his/her own.
Remember that adults have a body/bicycle weight ratio of about 5:1 and a child 2:1 - so the child will expend proportionately more energy starting, braking and moving the bike around. The weight of a child's bicycle is much more important than the weight of an adult's bicycle.
The smallest bikes with 12" and 16" wheel sizes usually have a foot brake built into the rear hub, so switching to hand brakes on 20" bikes is a challenging stage in the life of a small cyclist. Initially use only the rear wheel handbrake and practise low speed braking a few times so that the handbrake becomes instinctive. Make sure the handbrake handles are set at a distance and angle that allows children to easily reach and press the brake lever!
Experienced and skilled riders who have good bike handling will benefit from disc brakes, which make riding safer and keep the brakes working even if the wheel rim is deformed and conventional V-brake brakes no longer work.
For children with little driving experience, the seat should be adjusted to a low position so that the toes of the child's feet can firmly reach the ground - this will help to start and stop driving more safely. If your child cannot do this, it is likely that the bike model you have chosen is too big or that they do not yet have sufficient cycling skills. As the child's skills grow, the seat should be gradually raised to an optimal level.
For beginners, a bicycle with only one gear will be useful, but as skills and physical ability increase, this will no longer be sufficient. If you plan to go out regularly with your child, choose a 1x7 or 1x8 gear system, which will be simple and intuitive enough, while at the same time making it much easier for your child.
Critically assess the need for shock absorbers and large tread tyres, but definitely opt for a light aluminium frame for better handling and ease of moving the bike around the house, as well as reducing the pain of falls. Be sure to try several models of bicycle and make sure the child feels comfortable and in control of the bicycle, not the bicycle in control
Teach your child to wear a helmet as compulsory as wearing a seat belt in the car! For fun and easy tracking, attach flashing white and red daytime running bike lights to the front and back of the bike.
If your child has good skills, between two otherwise equivalent bike models, you can choose the bike with the biggest frame size and wheels - this will extend the life of the bike a little. However, please note that a child's bike is usually only good for 2, or very rarely 3 seasons. TREK and Superior are quality and durable children's bikes and will last for generations of children. We will be happy to buy it back from you for up to 50% of its original value.