Christmas time and new bikes go hand in hand. 

I always remember Christmas day as we moved between houses, visiting family, my dad calling out “new bike!” as we drove past parents, cautiously watching their youngsters testing out their shiny, new set of wheels. 

Buying a kids bike online is always slightly daunting, worrying about things like getting the size right, or where you’re going to store the bike until the big day.

To add to our usual concerns, 2020 brings with it a national lockdown in England until early December and local lockdowns elsewhere, meaning that if you want to buy a bike for Christmas you either need to wait until the shops reopen or you need to buy a bike online.

But don’t worry, we’re here to help. We’ve asked around Decathlon’s cycling experts to find out exactly what you need to know before buying a bike online.

What type of bike should you buy?

Especially if you don’t cycle yourself, it can actually be quite daunting trying to work out what type of bike to buy. These days there are plenty of styles of bike to choose from and each has its own benefits depending on what type of rider the bike is for.

Thankfully for kids, things are a little easier. 

Just starting out - the balance bike

Balance bikes are bikes without pedals. They help to teach children from age two and upwards how to maintain balance on a two-wheel bike as they propel themselves along with their legs. It is said that starting with a balance bike can actually make it easier for children to learn to ride a two-wheeler without having to go through using stabilisers. 

When you use stabilisers, there tends to become a reliance on them without the need for balance, which can often make it more difficult to remove the stabilisers. A balance bike is designed to give kids that ‘balance confidence’ earlier.

Taking the next step - kids bikes

From balance bikes and tricycles, the next step is their very own bike. While the style of bike isn’t important for young riders, as they get older their style of riding will change and as such more options will come available to them. 

Mountain bikes are perfect for off-road riding, Road bikes are built for speed and distance. Slimline tyres and lightweight frames mean that road bikes are perfect for those long weekend rides. Hybrid bikes are a combination of a mountain bike and road bike; it’ll handle going from pavement to trail with ease. The perfect all-rounder.

How to measure bike size for kids

Whether shopping for kids or adults, getting the correct size bike is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new bike. Adult bikes are measured in frame size, whereas kids bikes are measured on the diameter of the wheels.

Kids bike size guide

While every child picks up cycling at a different speeds, children also grow at different rates, the information below is an overall guide to give you an idea for the size of kids bike that your child may require.

Bikes for kids aged 2 - 4 years or child height: 3ft - 3ft 5”

12” wheels

These models will often be compatible with stabilisers and come with either coaster brakes or one brake lever.

Bikes for kids aged 4 - 7 years or child height: 3ft 5" - 3ft 9"

14” - 16” wheels

All these bikes have rubber tyres with inner tubes and provide a smoother ride than smaller bikes, ideal for when they’re starting to become a little more independent on their bike.

Bikes for kids aged 7 - 10 years or child height: 3ft 9" - 4ft 5"

20” wheels

Progressing a little further, these bikes will sometimes feature gears and may even feature suspension. By this point they’re likely confident on a bike and ready to hold their own on longer bike rides with mum and dad.

Bikes for kids aged 10 - 13 years or child height: 4ft 5" - 5ft

24” wheels

At this point kids are growing quickly, and bikes in this range are generally packed with the same features as an adult bike, but will simply have a smaller frame.

Bikes for kids aged 13 years and over or child height of 5ft +

Small adult frame bikes

As they hit their teens, most kids are ready for small adult bikes, which means the sizing changes from wheel size to frame size. 13" or 14" frames generally suit best.

Are bikes delivered fully assembled?

To avoid damage and scratching to the bikes, they aren’t built before delivery. Balance bikes and smaller kids bikes take very little assembly, but small adults bikes may require a little more attention. There are two options for the build of your bike:

  1. Order for Click & Collect and we’ll build it for you. Click and collect orders are handled at our stores, which means that our team of in-store cycle experts will build your bike for you ahead of collection.
  2. Build your bike at home. Our bikes arrive with step by step instructions that will help you build your bike at home. In the majority of cases you will only need to attach the handlebars and the pedals to a child’s bike.

For larger bikes, our follow along video will help you build your bike:

If you’re still having trouble, we also offer a bookable video call service where we can walk you through the steps you need to take to put your bike together.

Peace of mind when ordering

Here at Decathlon we offer a 365 day return period and our online returns service is free, that means you won’t be out of pocket if you want to return your item, and you’ve got plenty of time to buy in advance of dates such as Christmas.

Decathlon bike warranty

We’re confident in the quality of our products and we want your bike to be right. That’s why we offer a lifetime guarantee on our metal-framed bikes, rigid forks, handlebars and stems. Our carbon bike frames also come with a five-year warranty. That means if anything goes wrong with the bike during that time, bring it back to us and we’ll see what we can do to help.