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Gear Girl: Best Bikes For Kids

Summer is here! Get the kids outside and moving with some of our favorite bikes for kids. Whether your child is just learning or an experienced rider, we've gathered up some of the best sets of wheels to get your kid on the go.

Favorite Balance Bikes

favorite balance bikes for kids

If your child has never been on a balance bike before, consider starting them on a balance bike - a starter bike that has no pedals. Kids who start on balance bikes tend to move more easily to a regular bike with none of the training wheel transition. Some of our favorites are the Micro Kickboard G+ Micro Balance Bike (top) which weighs only 6 lbs. and has an adjustable handlebar and seat height and the Kazam Balance Bike (middle) which is the only balance bike with a built-in footrest so kids don't have hover their feet while they are balancing. (Kazam also makes a version with a hand-brake for older first time learners). If you prefer the aesthetic of wooden toys, we love the balance bikes by Prince Lionheart (bottom left) and Smart Gear (bottom right). Lots of cute designs to find the perfect fit for your child.

Favorite Non-Geared Pedal Bikes

best bikes for kids

Once your child is ready, you can move onto a pedaled bike. These come in various sizes based on the size of the wheel - 10", 12", 14", and so on. These bikes usually do not have any gears and often have what is called a coaster brake (instead of a hand brake) where you push backwards on the pedal to stop. Many of the smaller sizes will come with training wheels if you didn't start with a balance bike or if your child needs some additional stability. (Training wheels can also be purchased separately.) Some of our favorites are Huffy bikes which have a great selection of Disney character-decorated bikes and the Schwinn 12" Grit which has both removable training wheels and a removable push handle as well as a bell and water bottle. We also like the RoyalBaby Kids bike available in 12", 14" or 18" tires and comes with a coaster and hand brake, a bell, water bottle and training wheels. And of course we love the classic red Radio Flyer bike that comes with removable training wheels, a bell and streamers.

If you can see yourself passing the bike down to younger siblings, consider investing in a slightly more expensive bike like the Jet or Mystic from Trek Bikes or the Jasmine or Mesa from Schwinn. These bikes all have higher quality materials, come assembled, and will definitely last through multiple children.

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Geared Bikes

best bikes for kids

The next level is to upgrade to a geared bike gears. These bikes have hand shifters which can switch between 3, 7, 21 or more gears. Your child should be comfortable with a hand brake at this point and ready to conquer trickier terrain where the gears will come in handy. Bikes also start to specialized a bit more so you'll need to decide if your child is into a road bike, mountain bike, BMX bike, a beach cruiser or a hybrid. We love the Diamondback Octane 24" mountain bike which includes a lightweight aluminum frame, 21 gears speeds, and shocks for handling bumps and boulders. If you're looking for a quality road bike, consider the Giordano Libero Road Bike that has lightweight frame, 21 speeds and is available in both a girl's and boy's model. If the open road doesn't offer enough adventure, try the 20" X-Games Freestyle BMX bike that has a sturdy steel frame and front and rear pegs for an X-Up, Icepick or double peg grinds. (For the record, I have never done any of these.) Kid more of a cruiser? The Huffy Summerland Cruiser for girls comes ready to ride with fenders, whitewall tires and a wire basket. Or get the best of all worlds with a hybrid bike like the Insight or Clarity from Diamondback that uses a lightweight alloy frame and 7 speed shifter to handle roads or trails.

And of course, with any bike purchase, make sure you have a protective helmet to go along with it.

Happy riding!

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