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  1. #1
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    What Size Bike for my soon to be 5 Year Olds?

    My twins are about to turn 5 this summer and are ready for their next size up bike. They have been on their Striders since they were 2.5 and now at 4, they ride 12" pedal bikes. These are getting too small as I can't raise up their seats any more and their knees are close to the bars. The boys ride the pump tracks around here on their Striders but don't seem to be ready/able to stand up on their pedals while coasting and rolling the features. Gotta work on this.

    For their birthday in August, I want to get them their next bike and I need to be sure I get the right size. I want them to have a bike they can ride right away but not one they will outgrow too fast. 14", 16", 20" are all possibilities I assume with 24" being too big I think. Off road tires a must with a chain guard on there.

    What say you in this matter? Got any brand recommendations?

  2. #2
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    awesome, thanks.

  3. #3
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    Trek Superfly 20. Great little bikes. You will need to change the cranks to a smaller size or preferable get the shop to switch them out for Trek grow cranks which have two pedal holes - one at 120mm and one longer. My son got his when he was 4 and rides it really confidently. If your twins are small for their age it might be a bit big but is certainly a lot smaller than the 20" offerings from Specialised, Giant and several other companies we looked at. (in fact the stand over height and minimum seat height on the Trek were less than a lot of other companies 16" bikes)

  4. #4
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    I'd actually go 16" as I think kids should not really be on 20" bikes until they are over 4' tall. They look so awkward. I believe wheel size is pushed too fast by most parents. A wise person once said to buy a bike that is the right size for your kid and let them grow out of it rather than buying bikes thinking they will grow into them. Extra confidence just makes kids succeed. If I had to do it over I would have bought a Spawn 16" for my son as I think it has the best geo and parts for kids 42-48"

  5. #5
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    Check the size charts on Islabike and Spawn web pages. The size recommendations are spot-on, and give you a guide based on their inseam and height rather than age. I've pushed the height requirement by ~0.5", but I wouldn't push it more than that---just buy the smaller bike and let them grow out of it. That advice is spot-on. Better to have a confident kid on a too-small bike than a tippy/scared/insecure kid on a too-big bike.

    For 14" and 16" bikes, the Islabike UK versions or Spawn Furi and Banshee both have freewheel and hand brakes, good geometry, and are light weight.

  6. #6
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    Yes, buy the bike which fits your child BUT don't assume all bikes are the same size due to the wheel size. The trek superfly 20 is an example, its stand over, minimum seat height and rider area are all smaller than a lot of 16" bikes plus you get the stability bonuses that large wheels bring, no coaster brake and gears for when they need them.

    Another example is the offerings by ByK bikes. There size up from a 12" bike actually has 18" wheels but has a lower seat height than any 16" bike we could find (and lower than many 12" bikes as well). Our son was confidently riding his ByK 350 on his third birthday.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by phatfreeheeler View Post
    I'd actually go 16" as I think kids should not really be on 20" bikes until they are over 4' tall. They look so awkward. I believe wheel size is pushed too fast by most parents. A wise person once said to buy a bike that is the right size for your kid and let them grow out of it rather than buying bikes thinking they will grow into them. Extra confidence just makes kids succeed. If I had to do it over I would have bought a Spawn 16" for my son as I think it has the best geo and parts for kids 42-48"
    Yeah, I found my son really benefited from spending a lot of time on smaller wheels. Even though he's 10 now and ~58", he still does his best work on a BMX with 18" wheels; he rode a 16" for a long time too. Of course it matters what sort of riding they like to do - we found that at the same point in time, depending on the riding we were doing, the 'right' bike could have 16, 20 or 24" wheels. But having room to move around the bike, and most importantly to learn to ride standing rather than sitting, is a huge help in learning bike handling skills.
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  8. #8
    CJH
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    Quote Originally Posted by fireswamp View Post
    Check the size charts on Islabike and Spawn web pages.
    I agree with this but will comment that if your kids fall into one category for inseam and another for height it doesn't necessarily make the decision any easier. So I would check this carefully and post the measurements back here.

    As far as going with smaller vs bigger, I generally agree with this except for the 16" to 20" jump. 20" bikes generally come with gears and hand brakes which I think kids at this age are more than ready to use.

    My soon to be six year falls into the 16" wheel size based on inseam but his height suggests a 20" bike. He climbs very well on his brother's Superfly 20 so it would be very hard to buy him a 16" single speed with a coaster brake. Fortunately he already has his brother's hand me down Hotrock 16 so he's okay for now.

    As far as recommendations, if you go with the 16" wheel I do think it's worth paying the upcharge for hand brakes and a free wheel. Spawn, Commencal and Cleary are the often discussed options around here.

    If you go with the 20" wheel, I do like the Superfly 20 due to not having a suspension fork and being a pretty solid build out of the box. It's not a very large 20" bike either.

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