What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

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What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby Twowheelsonmywagon » Sun Mar 07, 2010 5:34 pm

This question has probably been asked before - my apologies if so, I can't find an answer through searching!

My daughter is nearly 5, and the 12" wheel bike she has been riding is way to small, but she didn't quite make it off stabilisers before the start of the winter last year.

We're now looking for the next size up for her - seems like the 16" standard next size up is a bit small though, but the 20" versions are a big jump up, being a bit too big, and involving suspension forks and derailleur gears! I want a practical, no-frills bike of decent components (i.e. weight), so she takes to cycling and keeps at it for life! :D

I know Isla Bikes are supposed to be great, but the price is high too. Does anyone have any useful tips for bridging the gap between 16 and 20", without spending a fortune?

My younger daughter is 2 and a half, so any bike we buy will at least have another user before long!!!

Visited Holburn Cycles in Aberdeen to discuss today and it seems like a great place, and their advice got me part way there - but any further pearls of wisdom?!
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby Big T » Sun Mar 07, 2010 6:18 pm

I'd say don't be tempted to buy her one that's too big, in the hope that it might last longer. A badly fitting bike could put her off for life. My son was riding 20" wheels at 5, but he was always a big lad for his age. I'd also go for something with at least 10 or 12 gears. 5 or 6 can be a bit limiting, especially if you they ride anywhere hilly.
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby 531colin » Sun Mar 07, 2010 8:21 pm

Is she off stabilisers now?
If she is still on stabilisers, the first thing to do is get her up on 2 wheels, a 20" wheel bike with stabilisers is like a truck, will put her off.
To get her on 2 wheels, take the stabilisers and cranks off her outgrown bike, and get her to ride it as a "balance bike", ie. push along with the feet.
When she can ride, take her to a proper bike shop so she can try out bikes.

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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby hubgearfreak » Sun Mar 07, 2010 10:06 pm

Big T wrote:I'd also go for something with at least 10 or 12 gears. 5 or 6 can be a bit limiting, especially if you they ride anywhere hilly.


is this a parody of a marketing exec? :shock:
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby mw3230 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:47 am

The easiest way of answering the question has to be to take her to a bike shop and try bikes for size. Trying to fit your daughter for a bike based on the views of people who've never met her is a bit iffy - like buying her shoes cos we thought she needed size 4! Good luck
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby fatboy » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:56 am

531colin wrote:Is she off stabilisers now?
If she is still on stabilisers, the first thing to do is get her up on 2 wheels, a 20" wheel bike with stabilisers is like a truck, will put her off.
To get her on 2 wheels, take the stabilisers and cranks off her outgrown bike, and get her to ride it as a "balance bike", ie. push along with the feet.
When she can ride, take her to a proper bike shop so she can try out bikes.


I never even bothered to take the cranks off for my twin boys, I just took off the pedals. Yes they did occasionally scuff their legs (make sure she's wearing trousers) but you won't have two cranks but a mono crank which to get off will require removal of the bottom bracket etc. It took my lads a little over a weekend to get the hang of scooting and balancing and the pedals went back on. I had to give them a shove to get going for a few more weeks.

At her age she will be likely between a 16" and a 20". However I agree that without seeing her this may be wrong.

In response to the comment about the number of gears I think that simple is best and I don't reckon a child can work a triple so best to avoid. Anyhow for a 20" wheel 6 is the norm.
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby james01 » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:48 am

Go for the larger wheel size if possible. The natural stability plus easier rolling make riding that much more enjoyable. Incidentally one of our best investments was a Trailgator towing attachment. We could set off on long family rides knowing that I could tow my daughter when she became tired, or when we had to negotiate heavy traffic.
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby PBA » Mon Mar 08, 2010 12:49 pm

mw3230 wrote:The easiest way of answering the question has to be to take her to a bike shop and try bikes for size. Trying to fit your daughter for a bike based on the views of people who've never met her is a bit iffy - like buying her shoes cos we thought she needed size 4! Good luck


+1

My daughter went straight from 12 to 20 inch wheels. She became fully adept at scooting along without pedals quite quickly but was reluctant to actually pedal...

As encouragement I took her to a bike shop where she looked at all the lovely pink bikes - All 16". When she had progressed well enough to be rewarded with a new bike, it became clear that 20" was a better fit. She is / was not tall for her age so I'm guessing that 20" may be right for your daughter, but a decent bike shop will know.
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby Twowheelsonmywagon » Mon Mar 08, 2010 7:32 pm

Thanks for everyone's thoughts. Just to clarify, I was just looking for guidance as to the best place to find a suitable kids bike of either 16 or 20" size, without gears/ suspension fork/ other unnecessary complications for someone who's not yet balancing unaided... ...and no, I wouldn't buy kids shoes mail-order either... :wink:

Grateful for the ideas re. removing the pedals and or cranks, and also the recommendation of the Trailgator towing attachment - I'll definitely investigate that further.

Looks like we might have found a donor of a 16" bike, in exchange for some roller-blades. I love Freecycle! :P
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby gaz » Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:59 pm

Mini-me went from 16" wheel Giant Animator (single freewheel, kid sized bits, working V brakes but heavy) to an Islabike Beinn 24 (8 gears, kid sized bits, lightweight).

In retrospect it would have made sense to get him on to an Islabike sooner. He would have enjoyed it more and we'd probably have saved money in the long-term. Islabikes hold their value remarkably well on the second-hand market and I expect we'd have lost less money on an Isla than we did on the Giant.
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby Twowheelsonmywagon » Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:48 pm

Mini-me!!! HA HAA!!! :D

Thanks for this. I do quite fancy the Isla Bikes option!
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Re: What size of bike for a 5 year old girl?

Postby hamster » Tue Mar 09, 2010 3:56 pm

As a dedicated buyer of Islabikes :wink: I have to say that they do perform well, my kids are way ahead of their classmates in cycling (probably because they have more fun riding a light bike) and they are worth every penny.
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