Buying a Kids Bike in Bedfordshire
There are a number of options for buying a bike in Bedfordshire, either for you or for your child. You may want to visit a large retailer such as Halfords, Cycle King or Decathlon. You may want to take a chance at Argos or Sports Direct. You may feel confident online.
But we think the best place to buy a new bike is from a local bike shop. Not only would you be supporting small local businesses, but:
You will get a bike that is properly set up (when doing Dr Bikes, we have found poorly set up bikes that are sometimes dangerous)
You can buy a quality lightweight bike (it's important that your child can lift and handle their bike easily, not struggling to manoeuvre it)
Components on the bike will be designed for children (it's hard for children if they have to struggle to reach adult sized brake levers, have to pedal oversized cranks, with large gears, while sitting on a saddle designed for a grown-ups bum).
You will get a proper fitting (where reach and saddle height can be corrected)
They will let you do a test ride
The bike will last so brothers and sisters can use it, and then can be sold on with good resale value
A couple of rules of thumb to start.
Lift up the bike. If you think it's heavy your child will find it especially heavy. Even better, get your child to lift it up.
Disc brakes and suspension forks on bikes under £300 will be mainly cosmetic and not be much use. Cheap suspension forks either do not work or are too bouncy. Cheap disc brakes will be hard to adjust and will rub, making it harder to pedal. There is nothing wrong with standard forks and rim brakes, even when heading off-road.
BMX bikes are great for tricks. They're fine for short journeys too school too. On good BMX bikes, gearing is low. Expect to pay £300 plus. Beware of bends in brake cabling, where moisture can accumulate affecting braking. Gyro brakes need regular maintenance. Avoid plastic wheels. These will be fun. This will not.
You can check out some advice on buying a bike here:
CycleSprog is a great website for information related to choosing a kids bike. Check out their latest recommendations on kids bikes here.
Here's our guide to local bike shops:
If trails are your thing, these are your people. Orange is a premier British MTB brand, with some good kids bikes. Or you can splash the cash on a Specialized and your youngster will be leaving you behind on Black runs
Felt do some decent kids bikes and are a well-respected US brand. Classic British brand Dawes have a solid but unspectacular range of kids bikes, but their Squish sub-brand have great lightweight bikes comparable to Frog.
Under new management, they are getting better and better for kids bikes. Frog have a fantastic range of kids bikes, from basic to premium. Orbea do good Spanish designed kids bikes. Probike are solid, cheap and cheerful.
Dysons have a decent range of Kids BMX bikes. Specialized do mid to high range MTBs for kids. Raleigh are OK if you want a traditional British marque: their Zero range is worth considering.
A massive range: choose from Trek (utility, racing, MTB), Frog (utility, racing, MTB), Giant and Cuda. Plus they have Whyte, who do superb MTBs for teenagers (if your kid is hassling you for a Carrera, get one of these instread!).
Ridgeback have produced a rubbust range of kids bikes for many years. You can also get Probike and Squish bikes from Pedals.
Supply Squish and Dawes bikes, as well as Forme, who offer high-end MTB and cyclocross bikes for kids.
Kids bikes from Trek and Frog. Enjoy a hot chocolate and cake in the cafe while choosing your bike.
Specialized and Giant do consistently decent kids bikes. Liv bikes are designed specially for girls.
If a local bike shop is still too expensive, we have a couple of other options you might want to consider below (particularly if you need a knockabout station bike):
My Bike Shop in Midland Road, Luton (no website) offers a range of second hand bikes.
Platinum Cycles has a showroom in Flitwick (call to arrange a visit) that occasionally has refurbished kids bikes.
Bike Rescue in Leighton Buzzard (no website) can be contacted via Buzz Cycles.
Of course your kids will then want to ride their bikes. Henlow Youth work with beginners up to competitive racers. They train and practice at the RAF base in a safe, off-road environment. Join their Facebook group here.
Local Muddy Monsters racing is a good fun introduction. Find out where here.
If they get really serious, you might want to visit Kids Racing a specialist racing bike shop in Olney.
Other clubs include:
British Cycling sportives page to search for local events (some of which are open to under-16s)