If you’ve shopped for a kid’s bike before you or if you are currently looking for a good one for your child, you may have noticed that they are a bit too heavy for the kids who are supposed to be riding them.
Most bikes within your child’s weight range weight at least half their weight. That’s really heavy when you consider that most adult bikes weigh around 20% of their rider’s weight.
It doesn’t make sense because kids are the ones who need lightweight bikes for both safety and comfort.
It’s not as if it’s impossible to make kids’ bikes lighter. Several brands including Frog and Islabike make lightweight models.
So why are children’s bikes so heavy? There are several reasons why most brands fall on the heavier side.
1. They are cheap
Not many parents are willing to pay a lot of money for their child’s bike that they will probably ride for just a couple of years.
So manufacturers try to keep costs as low as possible by using cheap and lower parts compared to adult bikes.
Cheaper parts will usually be heavier.
This is also the case with cheap adult bikes. They are often heavier than the more expensive ones.
As long as you are spending less than £150 on your kid’s bike, it will be heavy. If you want something light, be prepared to spend at least £250.
2. They are not designed for performance
Even makers of cheap adult bikes care a bit about performance. So they try to keep the weight below a certain limit.
But since most kids ride around the yard and in the park, performance isn’t exactly a priority, hence the lack of concern over weight.
For older kids who have started serious riding off road, a normal bike will be cumbersome to ride especially when going uphill or riding on rough trails where control is essential.
If you want a lightweight performance junior bike, don’t be surprised if you have to spend more money than you would on a basic adult bike.
The best once can cost well over £400.
3. They have to be durable (without being expensive)
Solid steel is one of the best and cheapest materials for durability. Since kids’ bikes see a lot of rough handling, manufacturers use steel frames to ensure they last long.
Compared to frame materials like aluminium and titanium (don’t even mention carbon fibre – it’s a universe away from steel), steel is heavy. That’s why most kids’ bikes are heavy.
If you want, you could find a lightweight bike that uses a lighter material but it’s going to cost you more.
- Read also: The best bike for 9 year old (review)
4. Should you spend more on a lightweight kid’s bike?
The price difference between a normal kid’s bike and a lightweight one can be in the hundreds of pounds.
When can you justify spending double or triple the price of a normal bike?
Of course, if you don’t mind spending more money you can get a lightweight bike without any special reason other than wanting your kid to have an easier time cycling.
But there are situations where a lighter bike is really worth the extra cost.
- If you are buying a bike for an older child (6+ years) who rides a lot. If they have a particularly strong passion for cycling, a more expensive bike is worth it. It will help them develop their style and performance. You never know, they might just be preparing for the Tour de France.
- If your child rides around hilly areas most of the time whether it’s on trails or around the home. A lightweight MTB will be handy when cycling or pushing the bike uphill.
- If your child is involved in competitive cycling events. The weight of their bike will greatly affect performance.
Otherwise, don’t feel the pressure to buy an expensive bike. As long as the bike is not too heavy, your kid will be fine.
Just make sure you buy the right bike size for their age. It’s also a good idea to avoid the cheapest bikes as they tend to be the heaviest.
Nowadays you can get a light kid’s bike for a decent price.