Kid’s bikes get a raw deal. Chucked around, dropped, bumped up kerbs and left out in the rain. Luckily they tend to grow out of them quite quickly so probably don’t wear out – unless you fail to look after them. Here are five quick tips to keep them running smoothly, and safely:
1. Tyre Pressures
Running around on low pressures makes it harder to move around and can risk damage to the rim and more punctures – but your kids probably won’t notice. Have a look on the tyre sidewall for the minimum pressures and keep them topped up above this. A track pump is an excellent investment and can be had for around £10.
2. Lube the Chain
Unlike a lot of adult’s bikes where it can become necessary to replace chains and cassettes through wear after several thousand miles; this isn’t likely to happen on your kid’s bike. You still need to make sure it’s regularly lubed though. Topping up with a proper bike lube is fine and a thorough clean twice a year wouldn’t go amiss.
3. Cables and Gears
If your kid’s bike doesn’t have gears then move onto tip #4, otherwise read on…
First of all check the cable condition. Trim frayed ends or better still, add cable caps.
Next up run through the gears to make sure they are all shifting smoothly. Our article here tells you how to make the basic adjustments with only a screwdriver! If you have followed all the advice and still can’t get them to work check the derailleur hanger – it may be bent. Chucking the bike around regularly casues misalignment and replacements can be had for a few quid and fitted in minutes.
Perhaps the most important safety device on the bike and one you always want to work. Adjustment is simple on many models and fine-tuning can be done via the barrel adjuster. Sometimes though you will need to pull some extra cable through if there has been stretching. Levers should be easily reached with small hands and should start to bite well before you hit the bars!
5. Tyre Tread
Once they get confident, kids love pulling skids (assuming their brakes are adjusted properly – see #4). This means the rear tyres can get worn out quite quickly and you should keep an eye out for wear. If it’s not so bad then you can swap the tyres around (front and back) but if there’s a really bald-patch you might be raiding their piggy-bank for a replacement.