The SCOR Kids’ Bike Guide
We believe that you should be able to play the mountains whatever your age. So, when it came to creating the SCOR kids’ bike range, we packed the same attention to detail and fun-first attitude into a much smaller package.
Making sure your little trail buddy has the best possible experience on two wheels is hugely important. We’ve put together some tips and pointers on how to make sure young riders set off on the right track towards a lifetime of fun-filled two wheeled adventures.
The SCOR Guide to Kids’ Bike Sizing
Making sure your little ripper is on the right size bike is the first step in making sure every ride is a rad ride. This will give them the comfort, control, and confidence to leave you in the dust, which will happen faster than you think…
Our kids' bikes are sized by their wheels rather than the frame – the 0020 has 20” wheels and the 0024 has 24” wheels.
So, what size bike does my kid need?
Right, let’s crack out the measuring tape. As a rough guide our bikes have been designed to fit the following ages:
5-8 years, or from 110cm in height – 0020 with 20" wheels
6-11 years, or from 120cm in height – 0024 with 24" wheels
Kids grow at different rates though, so an inside leg measurement is a much more useful guide for working out the correct size bike. This is pretty straightforward to do:
1. Ask them to stand straight against a wall with just socks on their feet.
2. Using a book to replicate a saddle, place the spine of the book upright between their legs and slide it up until it meets their crotch. Hold the book there.
3. Ask them to step away from the wall. Measure from the top of the book straight down to the floor. Ta-da, this is the inside leg measurement.
Here’s our bike recommendations based on that inside leg measurement.
50-72cm – 0020 with 20” wheels
59-80cm – 0024 with 24” wheels
Cool, do you have a geometry table I can nerd out over?
We sure do, fellow bike geek. If you want to crunch some more numbers take a look at the geometry charts for the bikes here:
Hmm, they are between sizes, what should I do?
Ideally you want the biggest bike they feel comfortable on without them being overstretched or awkward when manoeuvring. Not only will a bigger bike be more stable but it will also mean they can get maximum use out of the bike before they grow out of it.
So, should I just get them the biggest bike then?
It’s tempting but we’d say this is the one of the worst things you can do when buying a kids’ bike. It won’t be comfortable; it will be hard for them to ride and shatter their confidence before it’s had a chance to develop. Getting them on the right size bike is the best way to ensure they enjoy riding and stick with it.
If it helps, a quality kids’ bike like ours tends to hold its value really well so consider it an investment.
Hopefully that gives you enough information to help you decide what size bike is right for your shredder in training and you can get New Bike Day rolling. If you want more details on the SCOR kid’s bike range, then click here.
The SCOR Guide to Kids’ Bike Set-up
New Bike Day has arrived and everyone’s excited to get out and ride. But before you hit the trails it’s worth spending a bit of time making some simple tweaks to make sure comfort and control are dialled in. As it happens, we have some tips on how to do just that, so, grab a juice box and the toolbox and let’s get tweaking.
How do I work out the correct saddle height?
Simply put, the correct saddle height is the one they are comfortable with. This is going to be a mix of their inseam measurement (Check Section «The SCOR Guide to Kids’ Bike Sizing») and how confident they are on a bike.
If they are new to riding, then set the saddle to their inseam measurement so that when they’re sitting on the bike their feet will be flat on the ground. This means that if they need to, they can scoot around while getting used to their new bike, but once they are up and pedalling, they can also get their feet down quickly. Foot-out flat-out ain’t just for grown-ups.
If they are a bit more experienced on a bike, set the saddle to roughly 5cm higher than their inseam measurement. This should mean they are on their tiptoes when sat on the saddle, so they can still get a foot down if things don’t go quite to plan but they’ll also have a more efficient pedalling position.
Keep an eye on them at the start of every ride to make sure the saddle is where it needs to be and they are looking comfortable on the bike. As they grow in height and confidence, you’ll be able to gradually raise the saddle height. Soon they’ll be hassling you for a dropper post. Speaking of which…
A top tip: If you’re about to drop into a downhill trail, try lowering their seat a little – no one wants a saddle up their bum when they are trying to send it.
What about handlebar position?
As ever, comfort is the name of the game but, in general, kids prefer a more upright riding position. This is good; it puts them in a commanding stance, keeps their heads up and eyes looking down the trail ready for whatever comes next. You can adjust the bar height by moving the headset spacers above or below the stem to get them in a position they are happy with.
It’s not just moving the bars up and down that can help get that perfect fit. Rolling the bars forward or back can also help fine tune their reach to the bars. Don’t go too crazy but a degree or two is fine, just remember to move the brake lever and gear shifter accordingly.
Our bikes come with pretty wide bars so you can trim them down to the perfect size. Do this incrementally and measure twice, cut once – it’s easy to take bits off and a lot harder to put them back on again!
How do I teach them to use the gears?
Gears can be difficult to get the hang of, whatever your age. Learning which gear is ‘easy’ and which is ‘hard’ is the first step – our bikes have gear indicators to help with this. At first they’ll want to keep stopping to look and see which gear they are in and then changing gear to suit. Encourage them to change gears while moving, it’ll stop horrible crunching noises and they’ll learn to feel the difference changing gears makes. Try riding short circuits round a park with a small hill in it so they get used to working out which lever to push and when.
And what about the brakes?
First up, make sure they can operate the brakes properly. We spec short brake levers on our kids bikes to make stopping easy for smaller hands. The levers also have a reach adjustment screw, so if they are struggling to get their fingers to the levers you can turn the screw to bring the levers closer to the bars.
Learning how and when to apply the brakes will take time and practice. Let them know which lever operates which brake and explain the need to apply the rear brake before the front brake. Don’t worry, once they find out how much fun skids are they’ll remember which lever does what!
Okay, what about tire pressures?
Our bikes come rolling on high-volume tires that provide tons of traction and comfort. Plus, chunky tires look cool. As with any bike, tire pressure will depend on the rider and terrain. Start with 15-18PSI in the tires and go from there. If they’re mostly lapping pump tracks you can run a slightly higher pressure, if they’re schralping muddy trails keep pressure at the lower end of the scale for grip. Braap.
Right, you should be all set for that first ride now, but it’s probably worthwhile throwing a few tools in your backpack for on-trail tweaks. Happy trails!
The SCOR Guide to Kids’ Riding Gear
Everyone loves New Bike Day. But, in all the excitement, don’t forget to make sure your kids' riding gear is up to scratch, too. Having clothing and protection that fits and is comfortable is as important as having a bike that fits them – it’ll also save on tears and tantrums, from both of you.
Let’s start from the top. A helmet is vital but it can only do its job properly if it fits. While you’re measuring them up for their new bike take the opportunity to check their helmet fits and is in good condition with no deep scratches, impact marks or discoloration. If you’re even a little bit unsure, replace it. Oh, and hand-me-downs are a definite no-no.
Being closer to the ground kids are more likely to get grit in their eyes. They also have a habit of riding into stuff. Eyewear, then, is a pretty good idea. Shades are cool for that Enduro look, but if you’re riding in the woods glasses with clear lenses are a better idea.
Tops & bottoms
When it comes to kids riding kit there are plenty of options out there from full on race replica jerseys to more casual looking tops. For longer rides something made from technical materials will help with keeping them warm or cool but for short rides or pump track sessions a t-shirt is fine.
One thing to bear in mind is that kids get cold much quicker than adults. Having a jacket and a warm layer to hand, like a jumper or gilet, will help keep rides fun for longer.
Whatever they wear, make sure they are comfortable and happy with what they are wearing. If they feel they look rad they’ll be more likely to get rad.
Full finger gloves are a great idea. They take the sting out of crashing and keep fingers warm. Don’t be tempted by short, roadie-style gloves though, they don’t offer enough protection when hands meet dirt.
Shoes should be grippy to help feet stay on pedals. Skate style trainers are a good bet and, if you want them to look the part, Five Ten make some pretty cool kids kicks.
We’d strongly encourage you to invest in a set of knee and elbow pads for your shredder in training. Elbows and knees are often the first things to hit the ground in a crash, so protecting pointy bits is a good way of making sure a small off doesn’t become a big deal.
As with a helmet, fit and comfort are the most important factors here so it’s worth going to a bike shop to try before you buy. Make sure pads stay in place while riding and don’t cause discomfort.
Pads can feel a little restrictive at first but encourage them to pull them on every ride and very soon pads will equal confidence, giving them the courage to ride harder. If they really don’t like wearing pads, then don’t make an issue of it – it’s far better that they feel happy when riding.
Wardrobe refreshed? Cool, you’re all ready to roll out in style.
The SCOR Guide to Riding with Your Kids
If we could offer only one bit of advice it would be this: Riding bikes should always be fun.
Don’t get stressed if they aren’t into riding straight away or are struggling with their new bike. It happens. Give them time to work it all out and if they aren’t having fun don’t force it. Leave the bikes for another day and go do something else fun instead. Just let them know you and the bike are there for when they feel ready to try again.
How do we tackle the first ride on their new bike?
First rides can be exciting and daunting at the same time. It might be tempting to just head to the trail and see what your little ripper can do on their new bike but it’s worth keeping things a bit closer to home before heading out on a larger adventure. This gives you the opportunity to make all the small tweaks and changes listed in our kids’ bike set-up article.
Let them know that if the bike doesn’t feel right, you can change things to make it more comfortable. Chances are they won’t tell you though, kids are highly adaptable and just get on with things. Keep an eye on them as they ride and adjust things like saddle height and position if they are looking cramped.
How do I make sure they enjoy riding?
Try and minimize the barriers to having fun. Choose routes that you know are going to be enjoyable, whether that’s because they are twisty, mostly downhill or because they have a playground as the destination. Make sure you’re prepared with the usual tools and spares and make sure you pack a smaller innertube than usual! Keep snacks and drinks to hand and a spare layer or two can help save the day if you get caught out by the weather. But mostly, just enjoy riding with each other.
They seem to be struggling, what can I do?
Sometimes it takes a while to get into the groove of a new bike but with plenty of attention and gentle encouragement before you know it, you’ll be sharing some of the best trails of your life. Every rider, whatever their age or ability, knows that confidence is the key to a good ride and that comes with time and experience. Getting used to a new bike that may be bigger than they are used to will take a while, but kids are crazy good at learning, one day it’ll click, and they’ll be away. Start gradually, take it easy and make sure you dish out plenty of high-fives, encouragement and chocolate – before you know it, you’ll be struggling to keep up!
I’d like to take them on a longer ride, is that possible?
Sure! As confidence, strength and enthusiasm builds you’ll both be eager to go on longer rides together. Longer rides are well within most kid’s capabilities but will need a bit of working up to and a bit of preparation.
Deciding on a route that will be fun for both of you is the key here. You can go a surprisingly long way if you’re careful and plan appropriately, but make sure there are plenty of stop off points, lunch breaks and fun bits to keep them mentally stimulated. Messing about on bikes is all about fun, so if they aren’t feeling it, it’s best to cut the ride short and go in search of swings, fizzy drinks and smiles.
A good backup plan for when little legs run out of juice is to have an elasticated bungee cord to give them a tow. There are a few dedicated designs out there (Like this one: https://towwhee.com/products/towwhee-red) but a few old innertubes knotted together will do the job, too.
Okay, what about on the ride, what do I need to bring along?
Every rider knows how important snacks are to a successful ride. When kids are involved, snacks aren’t just important, they are vital. Keep their favorite snacks, sweets, and plenty of liquid to hand. Make sure they eat and drink even if they don’t seem like they need it. By the time they complain they are hungry or thirsty it’ll be too late, and you’ll be fighting to keep them going. If in doubt, snacks out.
Pack clothing for the worst weather conditions you might experience but also be prepared to carry anything they take off during the ride. What with your own riding gear and the need to carry enough food and water to keep everyone fuelled, warm and happy, a large riding pack is a good idea.
Want more info on kids' clothing? Step into the SCOR changing room, right this way: «The SCOR Guide to Kids’ Riding Gear»
It’s not just about them though. Make sure you wear a helmet and pads, even if you normally wouldn’t. It’ll help normalize wearing them and they are much more likely to copy your example. Hey, why not use it as an opportunity to refresh your own wardrobe? Treat yourself!
What should I do if they have a crash?
Hopefully something you’ll never have to use, but it’s worth having a small medi-pack with plasters, bandages and antiseptic wipes in it for minor crashes. Being able to clean and dress a graze on the side of the trail stops you from having to cut the ride short. We also advise the liberal dispensing of Haribo to stop any crying.
What kind of pace should we ride at?
This is a really tricky one to gauge but making sure you get the pace right for the length of ride will make sure everyone gets round happily. Try not to set off too fast when you’re both full of excitement and energy, but don’t let uphills drag on too long either or they’ll lose interest. Constant encouragement is essential to keeping motivation high so keep a fresh high-five and fist-bump ready for the top and bottom of every trail.
They sometimes get a bit bored on rides, anything I can do?
Riding is always better with friends, so why not invite along one of their riding buddies of a similar, or slightly higher, ability? In between goofing about and making each other laugh they’ll probably ride harder than usual to outdo each other. Expect energy levels to be at an all time high – you’ll probably end up being tempted to harness this (literally) with that elasticated bungee cord you packed so they can tow you around.
How do I make sure they are stoked for the next ride?
Finishing on a fun bit of trail is always good, it leaves them happy and wanting more. Sometimes that’s not possible but finishing with ice cream might be. Either way, ice cream is always a good idea.
What about their bike?
Service their bike and have it ready to go. This means you can have a spur of the moment after-school adventure, or if they just want to grab it to have a play on you know it’s safe to ride and good-to-go.
If they show an interest, give them some simple maintenance lessons. Fixing a puncture might be a bit beyond them but teaching them how to wash their bike and how to get a derailed chain back on teaches them about looking after their bike and what to do when things go wrong. You can then get them to wash your bike while you supervise with a beer. Winner.
Here’s a basic pre- and post-ride checklist.
Post/pre ride checklist:
• Quick release levers and bolts tight?
• Bars and saddle straight?
• Tires and pressures okay?
• Brakes work?
• Gears run smoothly?
What should I keep an eye on?
Kids' bikes get dropped. A lot. Usually by accident, sometimes on purpose. Keep an eye on the end of the grips. If they are starting to degrade, replace them – the open end of a handlebar can do real damage. Those same drops can mean gear hangers get bent easily, if their gears aren’t running smoothly check the hanger is straight first. A good habit to get them into is lying their bike down on the non-drive-side. Their derailleur will thank you.
Kids can destroy tires, especially once they discover skidding. Keep an eye on tire wear and pressures. A puncture can ruin a ride so it’s best to make sure they don’t happen in the first place.
Enjoy the ride! Keep on riding, keep on playing and make the most of your time on two wheels together. And if, after many fun rides and good times, they start to look a little cramped on their bike, think about moving them onto something bigger and starting the process again. At least now you know what to do.
And remember – keep it fun, keep it playful and keep it rubber side down. Happy trails!