Buying a bicycle for a child doesn’t have to be complicated. There are a few considerations like size, durability, and condition. But, I’m happy to say that I have compiled a pretty good list of resources to help you.
Using applications like Tradyo to source used bikes is a great idea. Most children outgrow a bike in a single season of riding, so the ones listed on the ‘net are generally in great shape. Kids can ride rough though, so there are some things to check before you hand over your dollars.
The rule of thumb for sizing a child’s bike is that the frame should be .65 times the length of the child’s inseam. If you don’t want to carry a tape measure around, you can always use this handy Bike Size Calculator that I found. Remember that handlebars and seats are almost always adjustable.
Check the condition of any bike before you make a purchase. Kids can be rough so we expect to see some dings and chipped paint. But there are other safety considerations that may not be apparent if you aren’t specifically checking:
- Brakes and Brake Pads should not be too worn down. If the lever reaches all the way to the handlebar when pressed, it could be a sign that the pads are worn or the brake cable may have stretched.
- Check that the chain isn’t rusty. This can be a sure sign that the bike was not well-maintained. Dirty chains can be cleaned using a chain cleaner or a simple degreaser that you can buy at the hardware store.
- Tire condition, just like on a vehicle, is important. Tires should not have visible cracks and there should be enough tread left to allow safe maneuverability without skidding.
- Jiggle the front and back wheels to make sure they are tight. There should be no missing spokes.
- Stand facing the bike and ensure that the forks on the front are not bent.
Finally, if the bike has passed all of these checks, then the next step is a test drive.
Here is a link to a great Canadian site with tips for sprucing up your great used bike find: www.howtofixbikes.ca