Kids’ Bikes Buyer’s Guide

With so many brands, models and varieties out there, choosing a kid’s bike that meets your child’s needs and has the wow factor can be tough. This buyer’s guide is designed to help you make that decision, covering all the key considerations from design and size to price and features.

Why should I buy my child a bike?

Bikes are one of the best gifts that money can buy. Giving kids a whole new level of independence, bikes are a great way to get them away from the TV or games console and out exploring the world. They’ll even stay fit and healthy while they're at it! Cycling is also a great way for families to bond, whether it's on a Sunday afternoon bike ride or a car-free commute to school.

What size kids' bike do I need?

Getting the right size bike is important for both the comfort and safety of your child. Some kids grow faster than others and some just want to be comfortable as they ride, with recommended high saddles or low handlebars the opposite of what they prefer.

The best way to get the right size bike for your child is to get them to ride it. Just pop into your local Halfords store and ask for some help from one of our bike experts – we'll happily set your kid up with a short test ride to make sure they're happy.

If the bike’s going to be a present that you want to keep secret, then you'll need to measure your child’s height and match it up to the correct wheel size (unlike with adult bikes, where the frame dictates the size, the sizing for kids’ bikes is done by wheel diameter).

The easiest way to get the right wheel size if you're buying online is to check out our guide to finding the right size bike for your kids. It has all the information you'll need, plus you can simply match up your child's height to the right bike wheel size. (Just bear in mind that every child is different and so this is only intended as a guide.)

We’ve included our size chart below for your convenience.

Kids' Bike Size Chart & Frame Size

Wheel Size Age (Years) Height (Inch) Height (cm)  
Balance First Bike 2' 11" - 3' 5" 88 - 105 Shop now
12 inch 3 - 5 3' 3" - 3' 8" 98 - 112 Shop now
14 inch 4 - 6 3' 5" - 3' 10" 105 - 117 Shop now
16 inch / 18 inch 5 - 7 3' 8" - 4' 2" 112 - 127 Shop now
20 inch 6 - 9 3' 10" - 4' 6" 117 - 136 Shop now
24 inch 8 - 11 4' 2" - 4' 9" 127 - 145 Shop now
26 inch 9 - 12 4' 6" - 5' 0" 138 - 154 Shop now
For children who are 11+, please consider our range of adult bikes. Below gives an indication of the sizes you should look for (for accurate sizing, please view the size guid on individual bikes)
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Frame Size Age (Years) Height (Inch) Height (cm)
14" 11 - 14 4' 10" - 5' 6" 148 - 168
14"/17" 12 - 15 5' 0" - 5' 8" 154 - 174
17" 13 - 16 5' 3" - 5' 10" 160 - 178
Check out our Finding the Right Size Bike for your Kids Guide

Kids’ bike types: which one should I choose?

Balance bike (First bike)

First-time riders may struggle to ride a 'traditional' bike with pedals and gears, so a balance bike may be a better option. With nothing getting in the way, kids can push themselves along using their feet and practice taking their feet off the ground when they're going fast enough, teaching them all about balance and maintaining speed.

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Kids’ stabiliser bikes

Kids’ stabiliser bikes are a more traditional option when teaching kids how to ride a bike. Your child can merrily pedal away without the risk of losing balance and taking a tumble. As your child grows in confidence, the stabilisers can be removed, and they can practice balancing all by themselves.

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Junior bikes

Junior bikes are designed for younger cyclists who have mastered the art of balance, spanning between the ages of 6 – 12 years old. We have a range of junior mountain bikes to get them set off on their cycling adventures. If you are unsure of the right size bike for your child, take a look at our kids bike size guide.

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Other bike types include:

- Hybrid bikes: All-rounder bikes, with powerful V-brakes that provide smooth and reliable braking. Hybrid bikes are great for casual riding, they offer elements of both road and mountain bikes, making them ideal for road and off-road adventures. Junior hybrid bikes can have just one gear, going all the way up to 18.

- Mountain bikes: Mountain bikes are better designed for off- road trails and rougher terrain. They are made of high quality materials including robust steel and lightweight materials, with chunky tyres that help to absorb the bumps of rough terrain. Available with 6-21 gears and front suspension for a comfier ride.

- BMX: Designed with smaller frames, sturdy wheels and low-slung saddles. Ideal for adventurous kids who want to spend the day doing tricks at the skate park.

The best kids’ stabiliser bikes

At Halfords, we have an array of fantastic kids’ stabiliser bikes. Here are some of our favourites:

Apollo Twinkles Unicorn Kids Bike 14"

The Apollo Twinkles Unicorn Kids Bike complete with a plush unicorn head is the perfect kids bike for going on magical adventures! Ideal for children agreed between 4 – 6, your little unicorn lovers will have great fun building their confidence on this vibrant ride. There are plenty of Twinkles accessories to pair with the bike including the Twinkles kids helmet and matching knee pads.

Apollo Fade 16" Kids Bike

The Apollo Fade Kids Bike makes learning to ride fun with its cool multicolour design and spray-painted graphics. The full chainguard ensures that their clothes will not get caught in the chain, allowing them to happily whizz away!

Motobike MX16 16" Bike

The Motobike MX16 is the ultimate choice for your little adventurers with its Motocross inspired design. Kids will love whizzing around and learning on this fun ride, complete with pneumatic tyres which provide both comfort and speed. Available in both 12” and 16”, kids between the ages of 3-7 can enjoy the ride!

Apollo Police Patrol 14"

The Apollo Police Patrol is a much-loved option within our kids’ bike range. Complete with a police box and cones, your little police officer is fully equipped to go out on patrol. Kids can finish the police look with the Police Patrol Bike Pads and Bike Mitts

Apollo Claws 14" Kids Bike

The Apollo Claws Kids Bike has everything your little one needs to confidently whizz away. With its colourful orange frame and graphics of Claws the dinosaur, this bike will certainly provide your child with an exciting ride!

Peppa Pig 12" Bike

The Peppa Pig Kids Bike is the perfect choice for any Peppa Pig fan with a cute Peppa Pig design and removeable handlebar basket. With an adjustable seat and handlebar, your little one can enjoy lots of fun with Peppa Pig! Complete the look with the Peppa Pig Bike Bell and Peppa Pig Kids Bike Helmet.

Apollo MonsterZ 14" Kids Bike

If your child loves to get creative, then the Apollo Monster Z is a great choice! The bike can be personalised using the removable magnets so little ones can change up the design whenever they choose. The bike also comes with an insulated lunch bag – perfect for taking to school or on a picnic!

Apollo Sparkle 12" Kids Bike

For little ones who love to dazzle, the Apollo Sparkle is just the ticket! The bike comes with a parent handle so your child can be pushed along if ever they get tired. For your wild ones, the bike is also available in the cute Jungle Pals designs.

Apollo Mermaid 14" Kids Bike

If your little ones are a fan of mermaids, the Apollo Mermaid bike will leave them mesmerised. With a shimmery, aqua design, your child will feel like a real-life mermaid as they build their cycling confidence. There is also a dolly seat so your child’s favourite toy can accompany them on their adventures.

Disney Princess 14" Bike

The Disney Princess Bike is a must for any Disney lover, with a design featuring some of the most popular Disney princesses including Jasmine and Ariel. Little ones can also carry around their favourite toy in the princess themed doll carrier. To complete the Disney princess look, there’s also the Disney Princess Kids Helmet.

The best junior bikes

For growing kids who are confident on two wheels, here are our favourite picks for the best junior bikes:

Carrera Hustle Jr 26”Mountain Bike

The limited-edition Carrera Hustle Jr is an ideal option for your child to enjoy on and off-road adventures. With front suspension and disc brakes for efficient braking, your child will have a dynamic yet comfortable cycling experience.

Apollo Cipher Junior Mountain Bike

For an effortless cycling experience, look no further than the Apollo Cipher Junior Bike. With 18 speed Shimano gearing and front suspension forks, your child can conquer steep hills whilst enjoying a smooth ride.

Apollo Vivid 24"Mountain Bike

For kids who are keen to get out and about, the Apollo Vivid 24” is a perfect choice. With a vibrant design, Shimano 18 speed gearing and front suspension, this bike has all you need to set off on your cycling adventures.

Apollo Kinx Junior Hybrid Bike 24"

The Apollo Kinx Junior Hybrid Bike combines the benefits of both a road and a mountain bike. The V brakes provide greater stopping control while the SRAM twist shifters allow kids to shift gears quickly. The Apollo Vortice is also a great alternative for those looking for a junior hybrid bike option.

Carrera Saruna 20" Hybrid Bike

The brand-new Carrera Saruna will serve you well, whether your leisurely riding down cycle paths or engaging in an off-road adventure. It’s lightweight alloy frame makes for an easy ride while the 7 speed Shimano Revoshift gears allow for swift gear shifting.

Carrera Blast 24" Mountain Bike

The Carrera Blast Junior Mountain Bike is a fantastic choice for kids who are ready to advance into their cycling journey. Clarks disc brakes offer superior braking whilst the 21 speed Shimano Revoshift gears provide smooth stopping control.

Carrera Vengeance JR 26" Mountain Bike

The Carrera Vengeance Jr is modelled after the adult version which is our best-selling mountain bike. Packed with amazing features from the 24 speed Shimano gearing to the mechanical tektro disc brakes, this bike gives you great control whilst providing a thrilling ride.

Apollo Gridlock 24” Mountain Bike

The Apollo Gridlock is perfect for kids who love the outdoors. The Shimano 18 speed gearing allows them to efficiently climb hills and quickly shift gears, the front suspension makes bumpy terrain a breeze.

Apollo Independence 26" Mountain Bike

The bright and colourful Apollo Independence is great for those who love to stand out from the crowd. The front disc brakes make it easier to ride through wet and muddy conditions and is a great middle option between kids and adult bikes.

Safe cycling for kids

Cycling is generally a safe activity, but there are a few hazards to be aware of. Investing in a few safety accessories as soon as you decide which bike to buy will mean your kids are protected from day one.

Helmet

Without a doubt, a helmet is the most important piece of safety equipment that you can buy. Helmets can prevent serious head injuries, and they'll go a long way to preventing nasty cuts and bruises too. Make sure your helmet fits your child's head correctly and isn't too large or small – and consider buying an adjustable helmet so it can be adjusted as they grow.

Check out our Kids’ Bike Helmet Buyer’s Guide for more information about how to find and fit the perfect helmet.

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Protective pads and gloves

Knee and elbow pads are particularly helpful when your little one is learning to ride, as they’ll protect against any bumps and scrapes.

Gloves provide cushioning against the handlebars, help to reduce vibrations for a more comfortable ride and also provide added protection for little fingers.

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Lights and reflectors

Bike lights are a legal requirement if your child will be riding after dark, but they're also great for making sure everyone on the road or pavement can see exactly where they are. Reflectors are installed on all Halfords bikes as standard, but there's no harm at all in attaching as many as possible to give other road users the best chance of seeing your child.

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Hi vis clothing and accessories

Help your kids to stay safe and seen in all light conditions by investing in some hi vis clothing and accessories. A reflective wrist band or hi vis kid’s vest will provide plenty of reflective surfaces and fluorescent material to make them visible on even the darkest of nights.

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Bell

As well as teaching kids how to be polite with a gentle ring of their bell, bells can also be a way to avoid any embarrassing collisions if a learner is stru ggling to keep their bike under control! They could even end up being the thing that allows drivers or other cyclists to stop in time.

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Kids' bike maintenance

weService | weRepair

Kids’ bikes are designed to withstand rough handling and frequent riding, but they may eventually start to show signs of wear and tear.

At Halfords, we offer a free bike health check for all our bikes and Kids’ Bike CycleCare for 1 Year for just £10.00. This annual plan includes unlimited inner tube replacement on all punctures, brake and gear adjustments, fitting on all parts, plus an initial safety check and a more thorough service each year.

Kids’ Bike CycleCare is available on any new Halfords kids’ or junior bike up to and including our 24” wheel bikes. Just ask a Halfords bike expert in-store or book the service online.

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weFit

If you don't fancy having to spend a day in the shed putting your new bike together (or more importantly, you're worried about not putting it together properly!) then let Halfords build it for you. Just select the ‘bike build’ option at the online checkout or ask a Halfords team member at the till.


Choosing the best kids’ bike

So, how do you know whether you’ve found the best kids’ bike for your little one? Well, start with how the bike feels. If they’re comfortable and moving around on it easily, you’re onto a winner. If, however, they feel that the bike doesn’t fit at all, you might want to look to it swapped out for a better fitting bike.

There’s a huge middle ground between those two extremes that can be covered by simple adjustments to the bike. Check out our guide on finding the right size for more information.

Ultimately, you’ll know you’ve chosen the right bike if your kid falls in love with it. For most kids, a bike is symbol of independence; it’s the first large item they own, and it can give them a sense of freedom and joy. Not to mention that cycling is a fun skill to learn and master!

You should now be up to speed on the best bikes for kids! Just remember, if you're still struggling to pick the right kids’ bike or you have questions about sizing or bike features, then just ask – we've got bike experts in every Halfords store who'll be happy to help.