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As a kids' bike subscription service, our mission is to ensure that your little adventurers have the best biking experience possible.   

One exciting moment in a child's cycling journey is transitioning from their first pedal bike to a bike with gears. However, as parents, it can be challenging to determine when the right time is for this next step.    

Regardless if it's a bicycle for a 6-year-old or a 9-year-old, this blog post will assist you in identifying when they are ready to start riding a bike with gears.   

Age & Size   

When considering whether your child is ready for a kids' bike with gears, age and size are crucial factors.     

As children grow at different rates, it's essential to take their physical development into account.   

Typically, children between the ages of 6 and 9 years old are more likely to be ready for bikes with gears. Use our bike finder to find the best bikes for 6 year olds through to bikes for 9 year olds. 

However, this can vary depending on their height, inside leg length, and overall coordination. Children who are at least five years old and have experience riding a pedal bike can try it. 

For more information on sizing, you can take a look at our kids' bike size guide. At Bike Club we stock bikes for kids of all ages. Whether you need a lightweight bike for a toddler or a bike for a 10 year old, we can help you. 

three children on bikes in forest - bike club

Balancing Skills  

Before transitioning to a children's bike with gears, your child should have mastered balance on their current pedal bike.   

Balancing skills are fundamental in cycling, and without them, using gears can become a bridge too far. If your child can confidently ride and maintains stability even on uneven surfaces, then they are adept at balancing.   

A stable foundation will not only boost their confidence but also make the gear-shifting experience smoother. As they grow in skill and confidence, gears will open up a world of cycling possibilities.  

Coordinating Pedaling and Steering   

The successful use of gears requires coordination between pedalling and steering. When your child can pedal smoothly and maintain their course, they’re probably ready to add gears to the mix.  

Gears can enhance their biking experience. However for them to be effective, your child must be comfortable with using both their legs and hands in sync.   

The ability to shift gears at the right moment, matching the terrain and their riding pace, will improve their efficiency. It's a valuable skill that comes with practice. Once mastered, it opens up a whole new world of advanced cycling, including road biking and mountain biking 

Interest and Enthusiasm  

Children are naturally curious and passionate about the things they enjoy. A love of cycling is an indicator that your child is ready for the transition.  

Encouraging their interest and motivation can make the gear transition a positive and fulfilling experience for them.  

Offer words of encouragement, and celebrate their progress as they adapt to the new challenge. Sometimes your child may not be keen to ride their bike in general. If so you can see our blog on what to do if your child does not want to ride. 

Physical Strength  

Transitioning to a bike with gears requires a certain level of physical strength. Gearing up involves more resistance, especially when climbing hills or accelerating quickly. Most kids from the age of six will have no issue with gears.    

If they can pedal comfortably for extended periods, they can likely take on a bike with gears.  

Prior Riding Experience  

A strong foundation of riding experience will ease the transition to a bike with gears. If your child can confidently ride their first pedal bike, progressing to a geared bike can be an exciting challenge.   

Experience helps build muscle memory and improves their understanding of bike control. This makes it easier for them to focus on learning how to shift gears effectively.   

child riding on orange forme bike - bike club

Demonstrates Safe Riding Habits  

Safety should always be a top priority when it comes to cycling. Before moving to a bike with gears, ensure that your child demonstrates safe riding habits.   

If you plan on cycling on the road with them, make sure they have a basic understanding of traffic rules. For more information on road safety, check out our kid's bike safety guide. 

Listen to Your Child  

Above all, listening to your child and considering their thoughts is vital in determining their readiness for a bike with gears.  

Some children will be raring to go. On the other hand, some may be happy with a first pedal bike for a little while longer.   

Observe Test Rides  

When you get your child a bike with gears, keep an eye on them and see how they do. Pay close attention to how comfortable they are with the new features.  

Encourage them to shift gears while riding and see how they handle the changes in resistance. Watch for signs of confidence and control, as well as any struggles they may encounter. It may take time for them to get fully accustomed to gears, so lots of practice is key!  

Gradual Transition  

Transitioning to a bike with gears is best done gradually. When they start on their new geared bike, they don’t need to use all the gears immediately. You can go to a quiet park or road and let them practice in the low gears first of all.     

After some practice, they may be confident enough to go up and down all their gears with ease. Allow them to learn at their own pace.   

purple forme bike - bike club

Questions Parents Ask Us About When Their Child is Ready For a Bike With Gears

At what age can my child start riding a bike with gears?  

Most children are ready to start riding a bike with gears around the ages of 6 to 9 years old. However, the right age can vary based on their individual development and coordination. Observing their balancing skills, pedalling and steering coordination, and physical strength can help determine their readiness.  

Should my child have prior experience with biking before using gears?   

Yes, prior biking experience is beneficial before transitioning to a bike with gears, but not completely necessary. Proficiency in balancing, steering, and pedalling on a first-pedal bike helps build the necessary foundation for using gears effectively. Prior experience ensures a smoother transition to more advanced cycling skills. However, for older children who are just starting, it is possible to learn to ride a bike with gears.   

What are the benefits of riding a bike with gears for my child?   

Riding a bike with gears offers several benefits for your child. Gears allow them to adjust the bike's resistance, making it easier to climb hills or ride against the wind. It enhances their speed and efficiency, enabling longer rides with less fatigue.   

How can I help my child become more confident in using gears?   

To help your child become more confident in using gears, it helps to have prior experience on a single-speed bike. Then encourage regular practice with gears in a safe and open space, allowing them to practice shifting gears while riding comfortably. Offer positive reinforcement and praise for their progress to boost their confidence. Practice sessions with parents or siblings can also provide guidance and support in mastering gear-shifting skills. 

bike club referral image - bike club