What age can my child ride a 20" bike?

Boy on a 20" bike

It can be hard to know what size bike to get for your child, especially when they grow at such different rates... one seven-year-old can be very different to the next.

I’m sure you’ve heard that buying a child a bike so they can grow into it is the best thing to do, but we’re hoping this advice isn’t passed around anymore. It’s really important to buy a bike that fits and we know how fast kids grow and how expensive buying multiple bikes can be. So when can they ride one, and when should you buy a 20” bike?

Boy riding a 20"m bike

What is a 20” bike?

The ‘20 inch’ refers to the size of the wheels. Traditionally it is a common size and follows on from 14” and 16”, and then comes before 24”, 26” and beyond. It is also the wheel size of choice for the vast majority of BMX bikes.

Girl in orange helmet with bike

When do we go up to 20”?

It is hard to put an age on when your child should move up to a 20” but an approximate gauge would be between 7 and 10 years old. Height is really the major factor in this, your child could fit on a 20” at five-years-old or they could be around eight or nine. Our sizing calculator will give you the most accurate fit, but if you want to discuss in a bit more detail, just drop us a line! We usually say that around 118cm plus is where you want to be for getting your child on to a 20”, but anywhere around 120-135cm is the right height. A 20” bike will generally have gears too, so make sure to talk your child through them and allow them to get used to using them. Sometimes we will use inside leg measurements when it comes to fitting on a kids’ bike. For a 20” wheel you’d be looking at 22-25” (58-63cm) inseam.

Getting the fit right

Testing a bike out is important, you want to make sure your child is comfortable, confident and able to reach both the floor with their feet (even if it’s on tiptoes if they’re very confident) and the handlebars without overreaching. You want their arms to have a little bend in them and for them to be able to reach the brake levers and gear shifters (whether that is Gripshift ‘twist’ or Rapidfire ‘triggers’). You can adjust this if needed. We’ve talked about age and sizing a lot in previous posts, but again age isn’t the defining factor in getting the right bike for your child. Sitting your child on a few bikes is invaluable as you’ll be able to see what fits them right. Why not pop in and see us here at Black Mountain HQ in Monmouthshire?

What should I buy?

Make it light. This is the most important factor when choosing a kids bike, because if it’s heavy it will be no fun to ride. Every 1kg on a child’s bike is the equivalent of 10kg on an adult’s bike… and that is not nice. A happy kid means a happy parent! And don’t buy a bike for your child to ‘grow into’. It’s tempting but if the bike is too big it will reduce your child’s confidence, controlling the bike will be difficult and it will also look a bit kooky. And that’s why we design our bikes to grow with your child. Because our frames can be adjusted they will fit your child for longer. Which helps them learn to ride safely and confidently.

What 20” bike should you buy? Our HUTTO of course... .