Kids bikes buyer's guide

Your first bike is a chance to experience the fun and freedom of cycling, so getting the right size and style is essential. In this kids bikes buyer's guide, we provide common-sense information to help you choose a children’s bike that's stylish, safe and the correct size.

A bike is a great way to get your child away from the TV or games console and out exploring the world. They’ll even stay fit and healthy while they're at it!

By the end of this article, you'll know everything you need to buy the best bike for your child.

What size kids bike do I need?

When buying a new bike here are some of the essential components you’ll need to know about.

Buying a bike that's the right size is essential. A bike that fits properly will be comfortable, give confidence and make everyday cycling safer. We recommend that every rider visits a Halfords store where one of our in-store experts can help find the correct-sized bike.

If you're not able to visit a store, or the bike's going to be a surprise, then you'll need your child's height to narrow down your choices. When they've stopped moving, and you've got an accurate measurement check out our guide to finding the right size bike for your kids.

Kids Bike Size Chart & Frame Size

88 - 97 First Bike 9" - 10" Bikes + Balance Shop now
98 - 104 3 - 5 10" - 12" Bikes Shop now
105 - 111 4 - 6 12" - 14" Bikes Shop now
112 - 116 5 - 7 14" - 16" Bikes Shop now
117 - 126 6 - 9 16" - 20" Bikes Shop now
127 - 135 8 - 11 20" - 24" Bikes Shop now
136 - 144 9 - 12 24" - 26" Bikes Shop now
145 - 154 9 - 12+ 26" Bikes Shop now
127 - 154 8 - 12+ BMX Bikes Shop now

For children 11 + please consider our range of adult bikes. Below is an indication of the sizes you should look for. (For accurate sizing please view the size guide on individual bikes. 

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Frame Size Age (Years) Height (Inch) Height (cm)
14 Inch 11 - 14 4' 10" - 5' 6" 148 - 168
14 Inch /17 Inch 12 - 15 5' 0" - 5' 8" 154 - 174
17 Inch 13 - 16 5' 3" - 5' 10" 160 - 178

A step by step guide to buying the best kids bike

So, if you've narrowed down the size and decided on a style, it's time to choose the best bike for your child. Here's how:

  • Focus on feel: Ensure your child feels comfortable in the saddle, their feet can reach the handlebars, and their feet can touch the pedals. It's OK if they're stretching a little as they're growing quickly (and it's easy to make minor adjustments), but if they're straining, go for a smaller size.
  • Grab the brakes: Being able to safely stop a bike is critical, so ensure your child can reach and operate both brakes.
  • Climb on/off: Check your child can easily climb on and off the bike and handle the weight. Bigger bikes weigh more, so sticking with a smaller size may be safer.
  • Frame material: Steel frames are hardwearing, but they are heavier. Aluminium or alloy frames are lighter. Check your child can lift or carry a bike before buying.
  • GearsDoes the bike come with gears, and if so, are they enough? Check your child can safely operate the gears (and understand how they work!)
  • Do they like the look of it: You want your child to love the look of a bike, so ask them what they think about it. We stock bikes in different colours, finishes, and styles, so they're sure to find something they like to look at and love to ride.

At Halfords, our staff are highly trained and can help your child find a frame and a bike that fits. If you're struggling to select a bike, ask for their help. They'll be able to guide you to find a bike that fits correctly and looks cool too.

  • Choose the smaller wheel size to build confidence in less experienced riders
  • Choose the bigger wheel size if you want the bike to last longer and grow with your child
My child is between age ranges. Should I go for the bigger bike or the smaller one?

When using the size chart, you may find that your child is between bike sizes. It means that both bikes should fit your child with some minor adjustments to the saddle height.

So, should you choose the smaller wheel size or the larger one? Here's a simple guide:

  • Choose the bigger wheel size if you want the bike to last longer. You can adjust the saddle height as your child grows.
  • Choose a smaller wheel size for a bike that's easier to handle. Perfect for less experienced riders who want to build confidence.
What happens if my child's bike size isn't right after we've got it home and given it a test ride?

Just bring it back to the store! In most cases, the bike will probably need a couple of easy adjustments to the seat or handlebars to make things comfortable. Our in-store bike experts can sort this out for you quickly.

And don't worry, it's completely free.

Why should I buy my child a bike?

A bike is a gateway to the great outdoors, providing endless hours of fun and freedom. From tiny toddlers on balance bikes to big kids on mountain bikes, anyone and everyone can experience the benefits of riding a bike.

Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage and an opportunity to experience independence. Whether it's a potter around the park, a family cycle ride, or a quicker commute to school, a bike makes every journey better.

Plus, with the rising cost of living, a bike ride or outdoor adventure is a great way to save money on a day out, while still having fun and getting active.

Balance bike – An ideal first bike

Balance bikes are the best way for toddlers to tackle two wheels. There are no gears or pedals to worry about; you simply jump on and ride. Kids use their legs to push themselves along and stop.

You can tell a child is ready for a balance bike when they're tall enough to climb on and keep two feet on the floor. They'll need to be able to reach the handlebars, the strength to steer, and the confidence to give it a go!

Balance bikes are all about teaching them how to manage on two wheels. They're simple, slow and stable, making them an ideal place to start. In time, your child will develop the skills and gain the confidence they need to take their feet off the floor and balance.

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Kids bikes – Your child's first pedal-powered bike

Stabilisers provide additional support for young riders, stopping the cycle from toppling over (and them from taking a tumble). Bikes with stabilisers help young riders build confidence and improve riding skills.

Your child may have grown out of their balance bike or prefer the safety of stabilisers while they get used to riding a pedal bike. When they've got the hang of riding, you can take the stabilisers off and give them complete control.

Stabiliser bikes are suitable for children 3-7 years of age.

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Junior Bikes – Your child's gateway to Freedom

Junior bikes are suitable for cyclists who can ride with care and confidence. You'll find a range of models, from trail-ready mountain bikes for adventurous boys and girls to BMX bikes for those ready to tackle some tricks. Junior bikes are essentially smaller versions of their adult counterparts, with similar gears and brakes but smaller wheels and frames.

Junior bikes are suitable for children 6 years and older. 

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Junior bike types

When your child is ready to ride a junior bike, you have a range of options to choose from, including hybrid bikes, mountain bikes and BMX bikes. Here's what they are, what makes them different and why your child might want one:

Hybrid bikes:
When your child is ready to ride a junior bike, you have a range of options to choose from, including hybrid bikes, mountain bikes and BMX bikes. Here's what they are, what makes them different and why your child might want one:

Mountain bikes:
Mountain bikes are built for off-road adventure. They come with thick knobbly tyres to grip the mud and rocks and rigid frames to deal with the lumps, bumps, dips, and damage. Most mountain bikes will come with suspension at the front (known as a hardtail) or at the front and back (a full suspension mountain bike). Mountain bikes will have a range of gears to enable any rider to tackle the toughest of trails. 

Built for style, not speed, BMX bikes have smaller frames, sturdy wheels and low-slung saddles that make it easy to flick around and do tricks. Suitable for trips to the skate park or the school gates, a BMX is as cool today as it was in the 80s. 

Safer cycling for kids

At Halfords, we want everyone to enjoy safer cycling. As well as a bike, every rider of any age should wear protective equipment, including a helmet. We stock a wide range of cycling accessories for riders of all ages, including helmets and more, in a selection of fun and fashionable designs.

Here's a run-down of the cycling safety essentials we think every rider needs:


Helmets can prevent serious head injuries, and they'll go a long way to avoiding nasty cuts and bruises too. Your child's helmet should fit securely and not move when it's in place. Invest in an adjustable helmet, and it'll last for several years.

At Halfords, kids' cycling helmets don't have to be boring. We've got a huge range of child's cycling helmets, including sporty designs, cool skate styles, pretty patterns and even their favourite Disney characters.

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Protective pads and gloves

Knees and elbows can often take the impact when falling, so protect them with pads. A set of cycling gloves can also protect your child's hands, as well as offering extra grip while they're riding.

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Learning to ride accessories

It’s a challenge to ride a bike, but our accessories can help make it easier. Our suspension stabilisers provide extra comfort that helps young riders grasp biking basics. Little ones will love the support and stability they get from the Halfords balance bike handle. If you want an affordable solution, our must-have learner accessory packs have everything a young rider needs at an incredibly low price. Each pack contains a helmet, arm and knee pads, a lock, lights and stabilisers. It's everything any rider needs, and all available online or to collect in-store.

Lights and reflectors

Anything that can improve visibility is vital, so add a set of lights to your bike. You'll find reflectors fitted as standard on all kids' bikes, but it's cheap to add a set of lights that can ensure they're safe and seen day or night. If they're planning on riding in the dark, lights are a legal requirement.

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Hi-vis clothing and accessories

Hi-vis clothing can ensure your child is safe and seen on the road and off it. A reflective wristband and hi-vis jacket include fluorescent strips and surfaces that reflect light. They're cheap, lightweight and effective, even on the darkest of nights.

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Bells are effective in letting people know you are coming and gives them plenty of time to know your there. 

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Bike building service

Buy a bike at Halfords, and we'll build it for you. Our bike-building service won't just save you time; we'll ensure your bike is safe to ride. Every nut, bolt and moving part is tightened, checked and verified to ensure it's in tip-top condition for your tiny one.

Bike building is free for any bike over £250. If it’s under £250, it’ll cost just £10.

Just select the 'bike build' option at the online checkout or ask a Halfords team member at the till.

Kids bike maintenance and repair

At Halfords, we offer a free bike health check for all our bikes and our new 'Classic' Cyclecare which is perfect for small kids' bikes for just £15 for the year if purchased individually but if you decide to purchase Cyclecare alongside your new kids bike you can save £5 bringing it to a total of £10 for the year. You can sign up in store or online. This annual plan includes a bike check with tyre inflation, two puncture repairs, unlimited bike accessory fittings and unlimited 10% off bike accessories leading to a total of up to £39 worth of benefits over the year. 

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