Advice on buying a Children's bike this Christmas

Advice on buying a Children's bike this Christmas

A bike is the perfect present, even though right now, a good one is really hard to find in stock. How much you need to spend to get a decent children's bike will depend on what you can afford. Cycling UK's Victoria Hazael helps you to choose the best children's bike for your budget.

Children's bikes are not all equal, some brands are too heavy, don't fit children properly and are just built to a price point that will sell and will not be enjoyable for a child to ride. Right now, it is difficult - but not impossible - to get a good quality children's bike, especially this Christmas when the demand for children's bikes is really high and even the BBC is asking if Santa will have enough bikes for Christmas day. If you want to get a bike for Christmas or a birthday in January, you will need to get ordering now - but don't panic buy. 

Reasons not to panic buy

Before you start, measure your child's height and inside leg to make sure you get a bike that will fit. Don't be tempted to buy a bike that your child will grown in to. A bike that is too big will be difficult to ride, and may cause injury or put your child off cycling. There's lots of tips in How to choose the right size bike for a child

Don't panic buy a bike, just because it is in stock, buy the right size and style bicycle for your child and they will enjoy it until they grow out of it. 

Don't succumb to the pressure of a salesperson in a bike shop, or to buy a bike with your child's favourite character on it (instead buy the right bike and some stickers). 

Buying something in the wrong size is just a waste of money, it's better wait and get something that is right. 

How to save money buying a children's bike 

The cheapest bike is a free bike, so ask family, friends with older children, or parents at school to see if they have a bike they don't need or that their children have outgrown. There are so many children's bikes hiding in sheds and garages that aren't being ridden, so chances are you may get a freebie, or be able to borrow a bike that way. If you aren't great at bike mechanics, you can get help and advice from our Big Bike Revival partners, or get your local bike shop to check if an old bike is roadworthy and give it a service (this should cost under £50).

Another great place to try to get a cheaper bike, is a bike recycling centre or bike kitchen.

If cash flow is an issue, you can look at renting a children's bike and paying a monthly subscription through The Bike Club. Be aware though, that if you have more than one child or will be renting the bike for a long period of time, it will be more cost effective to buy the bike and then sell it secondhand when your child grows out of it. Having said that, the beauty of renting is you can just swap the bike whenever you need to, and it's great if you want to try out a more expensive brand or different style before you part with hundreds of pounds.

If you are struggling to save up for a bike, ask friends and grandparents to contribute to a bike fund (wrap up a bell and bike gloves so there is a parcel to open on Christmas day) and go bike shopping in January when the prices may well be lower in the sales and there should be plenty more bikes in stock. 

Don't forget Cycling UK members do get discounts at places like Halfords, Freewheel and independent bike shops, too, so make sure you have your member card tucked in your wallet ready to show. 

Mid-range options

There's plenty of mid-range children's bike brands out there that don't have the finesse in design, the best q-factor or the easier to use gears of the top child specific brands. These bikes will still be great for a child who likes cycling to school, the park, and/or along a tow path. Mainstream brands like HoyWiggins, Vitus, Cube, DawesPinnacle, and Ridgeback, have a range of well thought-out children's bikes, for example.

If you really still want the best, you can look for top brands and buy them secondhand - you probably won't get the colour you want though. Also do your sums, there's no point in saving £100 on ebay if you have to spend that money on a courier to collect the bike (always try and see the bike in person if you can - which is harder at the moment) or on petrol money and time to collect it yourself.  


Is it worth it to buy an expensive children's bike?

If your child takes part in long-distance rides, races or just rides their bike a lot (more than four times a week) it is worth investing a bit more. The bike brand for kids that has consistently come top in all our tests in Cycle magazine is Islabikes, they are great if you can afford them brand new (prices go up to £1000 for children aged 11+), and they have lots of parts that are specifically designed for children. Frog bikes are also a good bet and are very slightly cheaper. Both brands are children's bike brands.

We have just reviewed mountain bikes for teenagers in the December issue of Cycle magazine and were impressed by the Canyon and Whyte bikes. 

If money really is no object, there are some other brands with really eye-watering prices like Specialized's carbon balance bike, that will set you back £1000. Will other toddlers be impressed - who knows?


4-year-old testing a Cnoc 16 and Frog 48
4-year-old testing a Cnoc 16 and Frog 48

Family     Christmas
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