What Size Bike for A 5 Year Old? (Kids Bike Size Review)

Your kid is now five years old and seems to have all the kid stuff already except a crucial one, a bike. But just before you decide on which one to get, you wonder, what size bike for a 5 year old?

Two things are essential when picking a kid-size bike: their height and inseam length. For instance, a 5-year-old who is 4’0″- 4’5″ tall with an inseam of 22″- 25″ would need a wheel size of 20 inches. 

Perplexed? Not to worry. I will discuss this at length in this article. I will also create charts of the kid’s age, height, and inseam length as they correspond with the wheel size. We will have a detailed guide on how to measure your child’s height and inseam length.

What Size Bike for A 5 Year Old UK

What Size Bike for A 5 Year Old?

Even with training wheels, finding your kid the right-size bike is essential. This protects them against injury and provides both safety and comfort.

If the bike is too small, your kid’s kneecaps will keep knocking on the handlebars. It will inconvenience them during emergency stoppages if it’s too big, resulting in serious injuries. Hence the question, what size bike for a 5-year-old kid? 

As I mentioned in the introduction, a 5-year-old kid can ride a bike of wheel size 16″ – 20″. This will be determined by both the height and inseam length of your young one. 

Leg inseam is the distance between the ankle and crotch, but we will get to that. First, let us draw up a height chart corresponding to the wheel size.

Bike Size by Height

The chart below compares a child’s age and height with the suitable bike wheel size. Since kids’ heights differ, I’ve covered a range of heights of kids between 2 and 11+ years.

Child’s Age Child’s Height Wheel Size 
2 – 3 years 2’10” – 3’4″ (85 – 100 cm)12″
3 – 4 years 3’1″ – 3’7″ (95 – 110 cm)14″
4 – 5 years 3’7″ – 4’0″ (110 – 120 cm)16″
5 – 8 years 4’0″ – 4’5″ (120 – 135 cm)20”+
8 – 11 years 4’5” – 4’9”(135 – 145 cm)24” +
11 years +4’9” + (145+cm)24”+

As stated in the chart, a 5-year-old of height 3’7″ – 4’0″ can ride comfortably on a 16″ bike, while a 5-year-old of height 4’0″ – 4’5″ can ride a 20″ bike.

Bike Size by Inseam Length

A kid’s height is insufficient to determine the most suitable bike size. Different kids have different inseam lengths. Why is knowing your kid’s inseam so important?

You want your youngster to stand comfortably on the bike. Below is a chart indicating bike size corresponding to the child’s age and inseam length.

Child’s AgeChild’s Inseam Wheel Size
2 – 3 years 14 – 17″ (35 – 42 cm)12″
3 – 4 years 16 – 20”(40 – 50 cm)14″
4 – 5 years 18 – 22”(45 – 55 cm)16″
5 – 8 years 22 – 25”(55 – 63 cm)20″
8 – 11 years 24 – 28”(60 – 72 cm)24″
11 years +26” + (70 cm+)24” +

So, what size bike for a 5-year-old boy or girl?

As indicated in both charts, a 5-year-old of height 4’0″ can ride a 16-inch bike, and that of height 4’0″ – 4’5″ can ride a 20-inch bike.

As for inseam length, a 5-year-old of 18″ – 22″ can ride a 16-inch bike, while a 5-year-old with an inseam of 22″ – 25″ can ride a 20-inch bike.

But how do you measure your child’s inseam length and height? Here’s a step-by-step instruction guide on how to do it.

Make sure to have the following at hand:

  • Textbook
  • Marking pen/pencil
  • A string or tape measure
  • A place to record your findings
what size bike for a 5-year-old boy

How to Measure Your Child’s Height?

  • Ensure your kid is in comfortable sneaker shoes they will be cycling in.
  • Have them stand with their back straight against the wall, with feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Place a textbook horizontally on their head, and ensure it touches the wall.
  • Make a marking where the bottom of the textbook makes contact with the wall.
  • Ask your kid to step away as soon as the marking is done.
  • Using a tape measure, measure the height from the marking to the ground. That is your child’s height.
  • You can repeat this three times and get the average of all three heights.
  • Use the average height against the first table, bike size by height.

How to Measure Your Child’s Inseam Length?

Have your child stand against a wall, with the back straight and legs about shoulder-width apart.

Place the book between your child’s legs and gently slide it to the groin. Be careful not to hurt your kid. Place it in a position, as it were, where your kid is sitting on a saddle, and make sure it touches the wall.

Mark, this time on the upper side of the book at the point of contact on the wall.

Ask your child to step away from the wall, and using a tape measure or string, measure the elevation from the floor to the marked point.

That is your child’s inseam length, and you can use it to find the right bike size for your young one under the chart, bike size by inseam length.

By now, maybe your child has mastered some biking skills by the time he gets to the age of 5. So, what of training wheels?

As a parent, you are better positioned to decide if your kid needs training wheels. Five years is the average age for kids to stop using training wheels. However, each child is different.

If your young one is yet to develop skills such as coordination, balance, and agility and is having a hard time starting or stopping the bike, then it’s probably best to get training wheels until such a time comes when they are mentally ready.

Not to worry, training wheels can be removed once your child becomes skillful enough.

Bike Types for 5 Year Old

Five-year-olds can ride any of these two bikes:

  • Pedal bikes
  • Balance bikes

a) Pedal Bikes for A 5 Year Old

Pedal bikes are the most common kid bikes. They come with pedals to help your kid propel the bike forward. Pedal bikes come with training wheels to boost kids’ confidence and stability. This means your young one can ride without much supervision, as the training wheels help your child maneuver the bike without falling.

However, given that most kids learn to balance on a bike at five years, these training wheels can be removed when the time is right.

A fine example of a pedal bike is the Schwinn Koen & Elm Toddler bike (Check on Amazon). This bike includes a rear coaster brake, whereby your kid reverses the pedals to stop, a front caliper, and a hand brake. Your child can transition to a hand-brake-only bike when they’re ready.

The adjustable saddle, seat post, and slack seat-tube angle mean your kid can grow with it while preparing for a bigger bike.

What Size Bike for A 4-5-Year-Old

b) Balance Bikes for A 5 Year Old

Your 5-year-old might seem too old for a balance bike, but is he? A balance bike is intended for learning to ride independently on two wheels. They are pedal-less, controlled by your kid’s legs as they run.

 Depending on your child’s running speed and experience, you may decide whether to get a handbrake since they can quickly stop with their feet. 

A balance bike well suited for your 5-year-old is the KRIDDO Toddler Balance Bike (Check on Amazon). It comes in a 12-inch wheel size with a carbon steel frame and front suspension. 

Despite having a small wheel size for a 5-year-old, the handlebar and seat height can be adjusted to suit your kid’s height. These bikes come in various colors, making them suitable for both boys and girls.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. What Size Bike for A 5 Year Old UK?

A 5-year-old of height 4’0″ and an 18″ – 22″ inseam can ride a 16-inch bike. On the other hand, a 5-year-old of height 4’0″ – 4’5″ and inseam of 22″ – 25″ can ride a 20-inch bike. 

2. What Size Bike for A 4-5-Year-Old?

A 4 – 5-year-old of height 3’7″ – 4’0″ can ride a 16-inch bike. Alternatively, using inseam measurements, a 4 – 5-year-old with an inseam length of 18″ to 22″ can ride a 16-inch bike.

3. What Size Bike for A 5 – 6 Year Old?

A 5 – 6-year-old with a height of 4’0″ – 4’5″ can ride a 20-inch bike. Alternatively, a 5 – 6-year-old with an inseam length of 22 – 25″ can ride a 20-inch bike.

4. What Size Dirt Bike for A 5 Year Old?

A 50cc dirt bike is small, usually made for kids, and can reach a speed of 15mph, which makes it safe for a 5-year-old.

5. What Size Bike Helmet for A 5-Year-Old?

The average circumference of 5-year-olds ranges from 48 – 52cm, and they can wear a small-size helmet. Just measure your kid’s head circumference before purchasing to ensure the helmet fits snugly.

6. How Big of a Bike Does A 5-Year-Old Need?

Your kid needs to be able to stand on the bike. Depending on the height and inseam length, a 5-year-old needs a 16 – 20-inch bike.

7. What Age Is A 16 Inch Bike for?

A 16-inch bike is better suited for 4 – 5 years with a height of 3’7″ – 4’0″ (110 – 120 cm). If your child has an inseam of 18″ – 22″ (45 – 55 cm), then a 16-inch bike is a good fit for them.

8. What Age Is A 14-Inch Bike for?

Kids of 3 – 4 years with a height of 3’1″ – 3’7″ (95 – 110 cm) can ride a 14-inch bike. Consequently, a 3-4-year-old with an inseam length of 16″ – 20″ (40 – 50 cm) can comfortably ride a 14-inch wheel-size bike.

In summary, what size bike for a 5 year old?

A 5-year-old kid can ride a 16-inch bike if he has a height of 3’7″ – 4’0″ (110 – 120 cm). But if your child is 4’0″ – 4’5″ (120 – 135 cm) tall, get them a 20-inch bike.

You can also use inseam length while picking a bike. If your 5-year-old has an inseam length of 18 – 22″ (45 – 55 cm), they’ll comfortably ride a 16-inch bike. However, if they have an inseam length of 22 – 25″ (55 – 63 cm), then a 20-inch bike is a better fit.

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