5 Best Kids' Bikes (2024): Balance, Pedal, Coaster

Most people think I bike with my kids because I like exercise or because I want to combat climate change. Neither is true (or, the entire answer, at any rate). No, it’s just that sitting in pickup or dropoff lines in a car makes me want to yeet myself straight into the path of an oncoming 18-wheeler. Now that my kids are 7 and 9, and old enough to bike with me, it’s also much more fun to watch them hop curbs and swing their legs and shout, “We live in a jungle!” than it is, again, to wait for traffic lights to change.

The WIRED Gear team has many children, and we enlisted many of them to test these kids’ bikes on rides to school, on the trails, or around the park. These are our top picks for every age and size. Don’t see a bike for your kid here? Let us know, as we will continue to test and update these picks. And if you’re looking for a bike for yourself, check out our Best Electric Bikes, Best Cheap Ebikes, and Best Electric Cargo Bikes for Families guides.

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How to Buy a Kids’ Bike

Bikes are expensive. It’s tempting to future-proof your purchase by buying a bike a size or two bigger, for your child to grow into. Do not fall into this trap! Not only is it uncomfortable, it’s unsafe—how would you expect to control a bike that was two sizes too big for you?

To find the correct size, you’ll either have to measure your kid’s height or their minimum inseam length. Children’s bikes are measured by wheel size, so a 12-inch bike refers to a bike with 12-inch wheels, and so forth. When you get the bike, see if your child can stand over the frame with flat feet comfortably on the ground. Make sure your child can get on and off easily and that their hands can reach the brakes and shifters if the bike has them.

Other factors you might want to consider:

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