When you consider that kids’ tastes and sizes are constantly changing, you can see why it’s hard to invest money into outdoors sports equipment like a mountain bike. Add in the fact that every parent wants to buy equipment that is going to keep their children safe and choosing a mountain bike for a child becomes a daunting task.
It’s not impossible though, and if you do a little extra research you can not only keep the kids in your life safe, but also excited to head outside and hit the trail on their bike. To help you get started, the ASO Mammoth team has put together a quick list of tips so you can make the best decision for your kids before they hit the trail. Check it out below!
Know What You’re Looking For
The first thing you need to be aware of is what kind of riding your kid is doing. For example, you may want to ask yourself if they’re learning and slowly progressing or if they are comfortable in their riding and able to ride over technical terrain.
Once you know where and how your child will be riding you can look for the right bike for them. For example, disc brakes are better at stopping on technical, downhill terrain, but they can also be harder to operate if you’re unfamiliar with them. If you have an advanced young rider, then disc brakes may be the right choice, but don’t make that decision until you’re sure what kind of rider they are.
It’s easy to think that you can buy a bike that is a little too big for a kid so they will grow into it, but you should not follow through with this logic.
Although a child may be able to comfortably ride a larger bike once they’ve grown, until they do, they’re going to struggle controlling it. In fact, if they have a bad experience with a large bike that they cannot completely control then they may lose interest in mountain biking and never ride the bike once they’re big enough. The simple way to measure a bike for a kid is to make sure that they can stand comfortably, with both feet firmly on the ground, while standing over bike’s top tube. The more accurate way is to measure your child’s inseam and use manufacture’s recommendations to find the correct bike.
Keep it Light
When shopping for a kid’s bike you should always focus on keeping the bike light.
Light bikes are not only easier to control, but they take less energy to pedal and push which can make a huge difference when your kid has been riding all day long. One place this can show up is in the suspension of the bike. The most basic option are rigid fork bikes that have no suspension forks. Next, there are front suspension bikes, also known as hardtails, and full-suspension bikes that have the front and back wheels supported by suspension. While more suspension can make a bike handle bumpy terrain better, it also adds weight. If you’re kid doesn’t need full suspension, then keep it light and simple.
Go Into a Bike Shop
Even if you’re only going to ask questions, it’s important that you visit a bike shop at least once so you can speak to a mountain biking expert before you make your purchase. Not only do the staff at bike shops know more about mountain biking than your average big box store employee, but the product is reliably better in shops too.