Mountain biking is a super way of getting fit and being active – plus you can have loads of fun doing it. It’s also a great chance for a day out for the family and a wonderful opportunity to spend some time with your kids. So why not get them into a bit of cycling right now, while they’re young. And if they are into a bit of adventure and outdoors, then mountain biking is the ideal thing.
You don’t have to be hugely experienced to ride a mountain bike. They are much like any other bike, although some specialist mountain bike may have fancier gears and extra suspension. Plus you won’t really have to go flying down a mountain side as the name suggests. Not at all. Mountain bikes can be just as much fun to ride along dedicated country paths, tracks or cycle lanes, across quiet green countryside, or along river or canal banks.
Buying a Mountain Bike
Specialist mountain bikes can be very expensive. They come with quite complicated gears and suspension, as well as pronounced tire tread and as you would expect, are truly for off-road use, and not particularly versatile. That’s why most of the mountain bikes you will see for kids are more likely to be a “hybrid” bike – for use on and off road. Bike manufacturers know that kids will be using their bikes for different purposes, and it’s unlikely that a child will be lucky enough to have several bikes dedicated to different types of riding – say a road bike, mountain bike and BMX bike. After all, they grow out of them quickly.
So if you’re looking to buy a mountain bike, look for something that is more versatile, and can be ridden on roads too. Raleigh, Ridgeback, Mongoose, Carrera, Specialized and Kona all make such bikes, and you can see a great choice of mountain bikes for boys above.
Get the Right Size
Getting the right size is essential for any child’s bike, but especially a mountain bike that could well be ridden off road.
12″ Wheel Bikes – Suitable for boys aged 2 to 4 with a height of between 2′ 10″ and 3′ 4″ (85cm 100cm)
14″ Wheel Bikes – Suitable for boys aged 3 to 5 with a height of between 3′ 1″ and 3′ 7″ (95cm 110cm)
16″ Wheel Bikes – Suitable for boys aged 5 to 7 with a height of between 3′ 7″ and 4′ 0″ (110cm 120cm)
20″ Wheel Bikes – Suitable for boys aged 7 to 9 with a height of between 4′ 0″ and 4′ 5″ (120cm 135cm)
24″ Wheel Bikes – Suitable for boys aged 9 to 11 plus with a height of between 4′ 5″ and 4′ 9″ (135cm 145cm)
Mountain bikes with 26″ wheels are considered adult sized. In which case you may have to consider the frame size.
Safety and Mountain Biking
Remember to start slow to let the inexperienced mountain biker get some confidence and learn to understand his bike. Mountain biking can also be quite exhausting, so go easy at first, especially if the child is new to such physical exercise. But as with all youngsters, make sure they don’t get over confident and too ambitious too quickly. A young boy may be completely at ease doing stunts on his BMX in his drive way, but mountain biking tracks can be very different. Make sure you get properly equipped with a helmet, and perhaps some gloves, and maybe even cyclists sunglasses.
But don’t forget. Mountain biking can be some of the best fun to be had by a young boy or girl with energy to burn. It will get them outdoors, get them active and give them a wonderful challenge. So go ahead and invest in a mountain bike. It could well be a great little investment in a healthy future.