Tips for Buying Girl Bikes for 4-Year-Old Children

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Bikes are typically a staple item in many people’s childhoods. Now that you’re an adult, you might be thinking of passing the fun of cycling to your children. After all, cycling is a hobby that can prove to be a useful skill at any age. Plus, it’s one of the most affordable ways to bond as a family.

This makes cycling worth teaching to your child as early as possible because aside from its practicality, it also puts a lot of fun in play and exercise. Not only do you get a chance to expend all those childlike energies, but it’s also an exciting way to teach your child how to build solid friendships with their peers.

Cycling is a gift that you’d want your children to experience for themselves. Hence, you want to make sure that you’ll be investing in a bike that will allow them to create childhood memories that they’ll always be fond of.

Bike Sizes for Kids

Kids’ bike sizes are based on the wheel size. Below is a rough guide when you’re buying a kids’ bike for the first time:

Wheel Size Age Range Child’s Height Inseam
12 in. 2-3 3’0”-3’3” 15-18 in.
14 in. 2-4 3’1”-3’8” 15-20 in.
16 in. 4-6 3’5”-4’0” 16-22 in.
20 in. 5-8 3’9”-4’6” 19-25 in.
24 in. 8-11 4’1”-4’11” 23-28 in.
26 in. 10+ 4’8”+ 25+ in.

 

The inseam is the distance between the crotch and the ground. This is usually the best criteria when looking for the appropriate bike for a child.

Although the chart above is a good guide in terms of age, some kids will be smaller or taller for their age. Thus, it’s better to buy a bike based on their height and inseam instead.

It’s also important that they’re able to reach and grip the handlebars properly. The elbows should be slightly bent when they hold it. They should also be able to squeeze the hand brakes without any issues.

Appropriate Bikes for 4-Year-Olds

Depending on where your child’s bike skills are at, sites like https://www.twowheelingtots.com/best-girls-16-inch-bikes/ has different recommendations that are apt for a 4-year-old. Understandably, the number of choices can be overwhelming, as you probably didn’t expect that children’s bikes come in many varieties.

If you’re not sure where to start, listed below are two bike types for children who are just starting to learn how to ride a bike:

  • Bikes with Training Wheels

Training wheels are smaller wheels that are attached to a bike’s rear-wheel to keep the bike stable. It’s meant to help children develop their balance until they’re confident enough to try riding without the training wheels.

The problem with training wheels is that it prevents the bike from leaning, which in turn prevents counter-steering. This may cause the child to handle the bars wrongly—something that they will have to unlearn later on. To avoid such errors, the training wheels must be adjusted accordingly as the child’s handling skills improve.

  • Balance Bikes

A balance bike is also known by other terms, such as no-pedal bike, run bike, or dandy horse. Unlike the usual bike that you know of, a balance bike doesn’t have any pedals, chain, drivetrain, gears, derailleurs, or freewheel. Its seat is low enough such that the rider can plant both feet on the ground when seated.

The idea is to allow the rider to walk with the bike until they become comfortable enough to kick and scoot. The ultimate goal is to be able to lift the feet off the floor and keep the balance while the bike is cruising.

Buying a Bigger Bike: Why Not?

You may think that it isn’t worth it to buy a child’s bike that’s based on their current size. After all, children tend to grow up so fast and it wouldn’t be long until the bike becomes a bad fit for them. However, if you want to make the learning process of riding a bike a lot easier, you mustn’t be tempted to cut costs and get a bike that they’ll grow into.

It’s all a matter of safety. If the child’s feet can’t touch the ground as they stand over the top tube, or if they’re having a hard time reaching the breaks and handlebars, then it’s unsafe for them to try to ride this bike.

A bike that’s too big will be hard to steer and control, and you know how quickly that can lead to accidents. A bike that’s too small, on the other hand, will not afford them the full range of movement. Not only will it be uncomfortable for them, but riding it will be unstable. A properly-fitting bike will allow them to figure out how they’re supposed to ride it.

Cycling is one of the most enjoyable activities you can introduce to a child, and an ill-fitting bike can quickly turn it into something dreadful and traumatic. If you want cycling to be a fun pastime for your family, consider buying a bike that your child will be able to handle correctly.

The Weight of the Bike

Adults’ bikes weigh approximately 20% of their weight. For kids’ bikes, it’s recommended to get one that’s below 40% of their weight. If you’ve already done some research, go for the lightest option that’s within your budget.

It’s worth noting that weight shouldn’t just be based on simple numbers alone. Some cheap bikes may weigh the same as high-end bikes, but that’s only because they lack certain accessories and components.

Don’t Forget the Helmets

Once you’ve decided on the kind of bike that you want to give to your 4-year-old, make sure that you don’t forget to buy a helmet. Like the bike, the helmet should be the right fit and weight. This ensures that the helmet fits securely while they ride and that it isn’t heavy enough that it restrains their movement.

Learning to ride a bike may involve a lot of falls before getting it right. Additionally, even if your child already knows how to handle the bike, they may get carried away with their new skills and get into accidents.

Wearing a helmet is a necessary precaution as this protects your child’s head from the worst kinds of impacts. If you’re going to buy a bike for your kid, buying a helmet shouldn’t be an afterthought. You may also choose to add kneepads and elbow pads if they’re just starting to learn how to ride.

Kids’ Bike Budget: How Much Should You Spend?

Now that you know the right way to choose a bike for a child, in the end, your actual purchase would still depend on your budget.

Naturally, the bikes that are on the higher end of the price range will be better in terms of feel and performance. However, cheaper bikes can be enough for your child’s needs as long as its structure is safe, overall.

If your child really wants a bike, any bike would certainly be better than having no bike at all. Just go for the safest option that you can afford at the moment. If you really think that a branded one is suitable for your child, you may be able to find a shop that sells second-hand units. But always remember that you don’t have to get the most expensive bike just to make your child happy.

Sometimes, less-than-ideal models can be just as fun to have. However, because it isn’t as specialized, it may take a little longer for your child to learn how it works. In such cases, a little patience is all it takes for them to get the wheels rolling properly.

Girls’ Bikes VS. Boys’ Bikes: Is There Really a Difference?

Structurally speaking, there isn’t really much difference between girls’ bikes and boys’ bikes. It isn’t like adults’ bikes where certain kinds of adjustments to the design and geometry can make all the difference.

For kids’ bikes, the distinction between girls’ bikes and boys’ bikes is merely based on the designs, colors, and accessories. Usually, girls’ bikes have bright and pastel colors, while boys’ bikes have dark color combinations. Also, most girls’ bikes have baskets attached.

Bikes are only labeled as “for girls” or “for boys” because of their aesthetics, and not the actual structure of the bike itself. Nothing about the bikes are specially catered to the kids’ anatomies to merit the gendered label. Hence, girls can safely ride a “boys’ bike” and vice versa. That is, only if they want to! 

Buying a Bike as a Gift

Some parents think that giving bikes as a surprise gift is sweet, and while the thought of it definitely is, you’re better off taking your child to the shop so she can test the bike to see how it fits. This ensures that you won’t be getting a model that your child finds uncomfortable to ride on.

As a parent, you may also be quick to think that you already know what your child would like. However, your child has a mind of her own and she may find options that she likes a lot better than what you picked. It would also be better if she gets fitted in the shop by a bike expert.

To get the best results out of this gift-giving venture, it’s important that you carefully plan out this upcoming purchase. Search for bike shops ahead of time and ask them about the best models for a 4-year-old.

Of course, if you really want to make this a special surprise, here’s the recommended way to do it. Instead of surprising your child with a bike when she gets home, why don’t you give a helmet as an initial gift instead? Then, tell her that you’ll be taking her to the bike shop to get her new bike!

Get a Bike That Your Child Actually Likes!

As an adult, you tend to purchase stuff based on the best reviews. As a parent who only wants the best for their child, you may be tempted to buy your child’s bike in this manner, but don’t do it. 

Yes, technically speaking, you’ll be choosing a unit with the “best specs”, so how can it be not the “best choice”? However, you must remember that “specs” don’t matter yet to a 4-year-old. It isn’t a language that they understand. What they do understand is when a bike “looks cute” or “cool”.

A child will only get curious about cycling if a bike looks interesting enough for her. If you fail to capture her interest right from the start, you’ll have a hard time getting her into it.

Besides, both of you are going to end up disappointed if you insist on your choice and not your child’s. If the kid clearly dislikes your choice, you shouldn’t hold on to hope that they would change their mind later, because there’s a huge chance that they won’t.

To ensure that you’ll get all of your money’s worth, get the bike that your child likes. Don’t push your parental preferences unto her hoping that she eventually realizes how great your choice was. That’s not how it works. Buy the bike that will get used up and dirty, not the one that will gather dust in the basement.

Conclusion: Get Your Child into Cycling with a Skills-Appropriate Bike

When you’re thinking of buying a bike for your little girl, it’s not as simple as getting the brightest model in the shop. There are a number of factors that you must consider to ensure that it would fit not only her tastes but also her skills and size.

At four years old, children are at a stage when they’re growing at a relatively quick rate. Hence, you might be tempted to buy a bike that’s too big for your child’s current size.

However, if you wish to instill the joy of cycling to your child, you’re better off getting a bike that matches well with her body’s measurements. This will allow her to learn how to operate the bike the right way. While she might outgrow the bike faster than you would like, at least you’ll have a better chance of getting her to enjoy it while it fits.

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