Youth and Kids Bikes

Size Matters!

Kids generally love biking but if there bike is too big or too small it can lead to not only an unenjoyable experience but also a greater chance of accidents. We have created this guide to help you size your childs bike but for the best fit come in and see us in person at McBike for a top notch bike fitting.

How are kids bikes sized?

Generally kids bikes are measured by their wheel size: 12 inch, 14 inch, 16 inch, 20 inch, 24 inch. After 24 inch you move in to adult sizes which have several wheel sizes but are measured in frame size of either xxs-xl or frame size in inches. We won't discuss adult sizes in this entry but some older kids will find they fit a 26" wheel sized adult bike in XXS or XS. As the tire size gets larger the frame also gets larger but there is variation between the different manufacturers.

How to size a bike video

 

Run or Balance Bikes

This is another category to consider as a first bike rather than a pedal bike. A balance bike has no pedals and allows kids to sit on the seat while running with their feet. This keeps them more in contact with the ground as they learn balance. As they progress they begin to take longer strides and then coasting with their feet up. Although the most common wheel size in these bikes is 12 inch they generally have a lower standover height (more on that later) than a 12 inch pedal bike. The big advantage to a pedal bike is you can start a child on a bike as soon as they are a confident walker. When your child is ready for a pedal bike they jump right into it without training wheels as they have already learned balance from the run bike.

Pedal Bikes

There is nothing that compares to the freedom and exhilaration of your first pedal bike. Proper size is key to an enjoyable ride and lifelong benefits that come from biking. Proper size also makes for the safest biking experience. You may have seen common charts in department stores that list either a childs height and/or their age and then the corresponding wheel size of bike. The issue with this sizing system is multi-factored. First the variability in kids size for their age. Just look at the kids in your childs class at school and you will notice a wide variety of heights even though they are the same age. If you use height as your determining factor there is another issue. If you take several children of the same height they will all have different inseam lengths. Your inseam is measured from the ground to your crotch. This is the key measurement in how a bike fits a child. A child needs to be able to safely put their feet flat on the ground while straddling the top tube of the bike. In an ideal fit if your child straddles the top tube of the bike (not the saddle) they should have an inch to inch and a half clearance between their crotch and the top tube. This distance from the ground to the top tube is refered to as "standover height".  Which brings in the next factor which is the difference in geometry of different bike brands. A 20 inch bike from Norco may have a higer or lower standover height then a 20 inch from Giant or Kona. There are some other factors which come in to play such as reach, intended use, and rider experience but those are more easily covered in person. Below we include a chart of "average" fit recommendations as well as some of our most popular models of kids bikes. The chart below will give you a general idea of what size bike your kid should be in but it can vary between models and manufacturers.

bike sizing chart

Can't I just bring my kid in for a fit?

Absolutely. Providing an in person custom bike fit is what we recommend. We have provided this information mostly for your general knowledge but also because some people want to surprise their child with a bike for a birthday or christmas. During these difficult times surrounding Covid-19 concerns we also recognize that many people may not wish to bring their child in to the store. In fact we are limiting the number of people in the store at any one time and are maintaining a 6ft distance from customers. Measuring your child's inseam before coming in to the store we can get a pretty good fit without the child present. We are also able to take credit card payment over the phone, bring the bike outside to meet you, and we wipe down our bikes with a bleach solution anytime someone comes in contact with them. We are doing what we can to insure your family's safety while still providing the things you need to stay physically and mentally fit.

Our Most Popular Models

Balance Bikes

We carry the Giant/Liv Pre $199

Giant Liv Pre Bikes

 

and the Norco Runner 12 $199

norco runner 12 bikes

 

12 inch Bikes

For 12 inch kids bikes we carry the Norco Coaster 12 $249 which features a back pedal coaster brake and comes in 2 colors.

norco coaster 12 bikes

 

14 inch Kids Bikes

For 14 inch bikes we carry the Norco Coaster 14 $299. The Coaster 14 features a back pedal coaster brake and a rear hand brake.

Norco Coaster 14 Bikes

We also carry the Norco Roller 14 $319. The Roller does not have a back pedal brake but rather a freewheel single speed gear. A freewheel is the same as on an adult bike and allows the cranks to spin backwards. This bike is better for an aggressive young rider who is taking on more challenging trails. The bike has front and rear hand v-brakes.

Norco Roller 14 Bikes

 

16 inch Kids Bikes

For 16 inch bikes we carry the Norco Coaster 16 $319. The Coaster 14 features a back pedal coaster brake and a rear hand brake.

Norco Coaster 16 Bikes

We also carry the Norco Roller 16 $349. The Roller does not have a back pedal brake but rather a freewheel single speed gear. A freewheel is the same as on an adult bike and allows the cranks to spin backwards. This bike is better for an aggressive young rider who is taking on more challenging trails. The bike has front and rear hand v-brakes.

 

Norco Roller 16 Bikes

 

From Giant we carry the Animator 16 $269. The Animator is a BMX styled kids bike with an upright handlebar and back pedal coaster brake.

 

Giant Animator 16 Bike

 

 

20 inch Kids Bikes

For 20 inch bikes we carry the Norco Roller 20 $369. The Roller keeps things simple with a single speed gear but has front and rear hand v-brakes instead of a back pedal coaster brake.

Norco Roller 20 Bike

 

 

If your child is ready to move in to gears we carry the Norco Storm 2.1 $549. The Storm 2.1 features mechanical disc brakes for solid stopping power, a front spring actuated shock, and a 6 speed Shimano rear derailleur with Shimano Revo twist shifter.

Norco Storm 2.1 Bike

 

If your child is a budding trail ripper we carry the Kona Honzo 20 $749. The Honzo features true trail geometry and many of the features of high end adult bikes. Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, 7 speed Shimano rear derailleur, and Kenda K-Rad tires. The Honzo also features a Grind front suspension with lockout lever and air adjustable preload. The air adjustability allows you to tune the shock to the riders weight and type of trail riding.

Kona Honzo 20 Bike

 

 

24 inch Kids Bikes

24 inch is where we carry the widest variety of kids bikes. Whether your kid is ripping up The Bluff or just biking around the neighbourhood we have you covered. From Norco we carry the Storm 4.2 $539. The Storm 4.2 keeps the cost down by using v-brakes as opposed to disc brakes but still features the same frame as its big brother the 4.1. The Storm 4.2 also has a quality Shimano Altus rear derailleur with twist Shimano Revo shifers.

Norco Storm 4.2 Bikes

 

For an upgraded experience we carry the Norco Storm 4.1 $589. The Storm 4.1 features mechanical disc brakes and a 7 speed Shimano Altus rear derailleur with Shimano Rapid Fire shifters. Many parents have commented that the Rapid Fire shifters are easier for their child to operate than the twist shifters. Both the 4.1 and 4.2 feature a Suntour XCT Jr coil front suspension fork.

Norco Storm 4.1 Bikes

 

For the hardcore ripper in the family we carry the Norco Fluid 4.3 HT $799. The Fluid HT offers massive grip and shock absorption from its plus sized 24x2.6 tires combined with a Suntour XCM front shock. The drivetrain is a Shimano Altus 1x8 setup with Rapid Fire shift levers.

Norco Fluid 4.3 HT Bike

 

From Giant/Liv we carry the Enchant 24 $419. The Enchant 24 is out lowest price 24 inch kids bike. It features a lightweight aluminum frame, Shimano Tourney rear derailleur with Shimano Revo twist shifters, and a spring coil front shock.

Liv Enchant 24 Bike

 

Also from Giant/Liv we carry the XTC Jr Disc $499. The XTC big upgrade over the enchant is its powerful mechanical disc brakes for better stopping power. It also offers 3 front chainrings for a wider range of gear selection and a Shimano Altus rear derailleur.

Giant XTC Jr 24 Disc Bike

 

For an upgraded experience from Giant/Liv we offer the XTC SL 24 $759. The XTC SL features an air adjustable front suspension fork so you can tune suspension to the riders weight and aggression level and a lockout lever for climbing. The SL version has hydraulic brakes and also gets upgraded to a Shimano Acera rear derailleur and Rapid Fire shifters.

Giant XTC Jr SL 24 Bike

 

For the agressive ripper who wants cushioning without added weight we offer the Giant XTC Jr 24+ $689. The 24+ features massive 2.8 wide plus size tires. Running plus size tires at lower pressures offers an enormous amount of grip as well as cushion. The cushion from the tires mean Giant has swapped out a heavier suspension fork for a lightweight alloy rigid fork. The package is rounded out with high quality Shimano hydraulic brakes, Shimano Altus rear derailleur with Shimano Altus rapid fire shifters.

Giant XTC 24+ Bike

 

From Kona we offer the Hula 24 $549. The Hula's big feature is it's huge 2.6 width oversized tire. The tires can be run at lower tire pressures and offer significant shock absorption and grip. The tires offer enough cusion that Kona has used a solid front fork saving weight over a heavier suspension fork. The bike has a Shimano Tourney rear derailleur and Tektro v-brakes.

Kona Hula 24

 

For the kid who wants to step it up in a 24 inch from Kona we offer the Honzo 24 $899. The Honzo is a full featured trail ready kids bike. It features a Grind air adustable coil shock which can be tuned to the riders weight and aggression level. Powerful Tetro hydraulic disc brakes and 1x7 Shimano Altus rear derailleur with Rapid Fire Shifters. Round it off with Schwalbe Tabletop tires and you're ready to shred.

Kona Honzo 24

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