Bike Recommendation for 6 Year Old - New or Second

Hi All,

I am looking for a bike for my 6 yr old daughter. She has a bike (I think the smallest one with side wheels and with brakes in the padel) from warehouse. It is small for her and she hasn't used it much. Also, those brake padel bikes are not good for normal riding anyways. She has still not learned to ride without the side wheels yet.

I took her to those free learn to ride sessions and she is almost there with getting herself balancing and riding without side wheels so now is the time for me to get her an upgrade.

As I am not sure how much she will really use it, don't want to go overboard and spend too much. Budget maybe $200-$300 is good? or should it be higher or lower than that?

Where and which bikes are recommended ? I was looking at Torpedo and 99bikes. Any other place I could look at (Auckland)?
For 2nd hand bikes are there any places other than FB & trademe?

Thanks & Happy holidays everyone.


  • +1

    I'd be inclined to start with the cheapest bike her size that you can find. TWH has kids bikes regularly well under $100, but they may be harder to find at this time of year. If she uses it all the time you can upgrade her to a better bike later, if not then your investment in her riding a bike is minimal. Not all kids will enjoy riding a bike, my oldest daughter never really got into it.

    • Thanks. Yes, I am not sure if she will enjoy riding as much so don't have to get something which will be hardly used.

  • +2

    Oh and I've tried second hand bikes for my kids a few times. It's really hit and miss. Go for a cheap new one.

    • That's good to know. I am inclined for new as well.

    • I agree and was about to comment the same.

      There are a bunch of people out there who take junk, clean it up and sell it. All kinds of problems that reduce enjoyment.

      One thing I learnt was how much it costs to maintain a bike. Very annoying.

    • +1

      Depends on how good your eye for detail is. I buy bikes solely off TradeMe now and have never had a miss.

      @ace310 picked up a 20" specialised hotrock 4-5yrs old, barely used by a family with an older girl (I expect at the same juncture you are once upon a time) circa $100 for my 6y.o. boy who's a competent rider a few months ago. He'll outgrow it in another two years and I'll look for a 24" mountain bike passingthis one down to his younger brother.

      Would rather keep the cost low and move through the sizes every couple of years to keep the excitement of riding going, as far as they're concerned the bikes I get are new. I'd absolutely recommend sizing her probably and knowing good bikes sold in high volume (trek precaliber etc) to watch out for on TradeMe.

  • +4

    Big question is what size bike. Depends on the size of the child. To give some ideal, my child (just turned 5), is riding a 14" bike (seat near max height), while one of her much larger, 4 year old kindy friends is riding a 20" bike (at minimum seat height).

    For learning to ride (without trainer wheels), it is ideal if the seat can go low enough that the child can put their feet flat on the ground. Once they get the hang of riding, you set it up for a small tippy toe, and when they are really good, they will be able to unmount the seat, and straddle the cross bar, meaning the seat can be set for ergonomic peddling, ignoring where the ground is. So for a learner

    For a 16 year old learner, it will likely be a 16" or 20".

    16" suits an inseam of 405mm - 560mm (105 - 120cm tall)
    20" suits an inseam of 480mm - 635mm. (115 - 130cm tall)
    As above for a beginner, you don't want to be at the very bottom of the range (so one can stand flat-footed, and the bike is relatively light), and check the actual minimum seat height as they vary for each bike.

    The back peddle breaks (coaster breaks) you talk of, have a bad reputation for learners. They date back to a time before powerful V & disk brakes, and child specific break levers. Sadly the combination of NZ law, and Australian bike safety standard's mean it is illegal to sell a new bike with a certain wheelbase (captures kids 16" bike's) without coaster brakes in NZ. (the standard states that the small children do not have the strength to operate, something which is completely false with modern child specific comments. As proven by my child's bike with dual hand breaks - small preschoolers have no issue locking them up). Amusingly the standard doesn't cover typical kids 14" bikes, so brands like Commencal sell 14 & 20 inch bikes with dual handbrakes in NZ, but have the crappy coaster breaks on their 16" model.

    This sucks big time, as best practice overseas is to have kids learn with dual-hand breaks. Avoiding the issues of coaster breaks, and avoiding the need to re-learn when they hit 20"+ bikes when hand breaks become widespread.

    Means if you want a 16" kids bike with dual hand breaks in NZ, you need to either import it yourself from a market which allows that configuration, convert one, or buy a used one from somebody who has already done those things. 16" bikes are typically single speed to to lack of ground clearance from a derailleur, and the heigh cost / weight of internal hub geras.

    If you child fits a 20", this is a non issue, and gears become common (typically 1x7).

    In general for kids bike shopping the most important things are:

    • Size of bike

    • Weight of bike. Ideally you want under 30% of the child's weight (really hard to get), but defiantly below half their weight. (imagine how hard work biking would be for you if your bike weighted 40kg odd…) - If you are shopping at bike shops, take a luggage scale with you and compare weights as many of the bike shop brands don't publish the numbers.

    • Q value - having the peddles closer to the center-line of the bike will make it more stable and easier to peddle

    • Breaking configuration (ideally no coaster breaks)

    • Somewhat upright geometry - low handle bars mean an aggressive stance, good for hard cornering etc, but bad for learning.

    • Configuration if you want to do dirt trails / gravel / off road, you want something that looks more like a mountain bike with fatter knobbly tires. If not, lighter street tires are probably better.

    On cheap ($100 warehouse) bike's, my advice is not to go there. We did and regret it. $100 character bike. 12" coaster break bike was over 8kg (no trainer wheel configuration), roughly 50% of my child's weight, despite being on the small size for her. front break basically didn't work. Substantial drag in drive-train, peddles very wise apart.

    Spent many weeks (and hours) trying to get my child biking in the cheap bike. No luck, I felt the bike was holding her back, and brought an expensive used one (Previous owner had spent big $$ modifying an already expensive bike to make it better for small kids). Afternoon it arrived, my child was happily using it with no peddles on the decks, and doing long glides with feet off the ground (something that we never achieved despite trying on the cheap bike). Within a week she was basically biking on here own, but wanted me to hold her for comfort, and a week after that she was biking completely alone. Well worth the money, and I regret not spending it 12+ months earlier. That bike looks great, so we should be able to sell it for similar money to what we paid for it anyway.

    In terms of 16" bike's

    One of the most common better ones in NZ is the Specialized RipRock 16. US version (no front brake) weighs 9.2kg. Probably a good starting point to compare things against in NZ bike shops.

    Of course what you really want is a Premium bike, sadly few are available from NZ, and most cost a heap to import.

    Woom, Eairly rider, Priority, Spawn, Frog are all brands the make great kids bikes, sadly, it is going to cost you north of $1000 to land a new one in NZ. I looked into it in length. As an example, Woom's 16" bike is 5.9kg, and is regarded as massively easier to learn on than the like of the Rep Rock. If you see one of these come up used in NZ, at an OK price, snap it up…

    Only bike brand selling premium kids bikes I know of in NZ is Commencal (out of Christchurch). Their 16" bike is 8kg + peddles. (and there is a used one on TradeMe if you are in Christchurch). Frankly the knobbly fat tires, and disk brakes are un-needed for a beginner rider in this size (and add unwanted weight, but still this is a very nicer bike.

    I went with the 14" Commencal for my child simply even though I didn't want the disk bakes & fat tires, because I wanted something with nice components, and dual hand breaks and the pickings were slim in NZ. (note the 16" gets coaster rear brakes). I do love how it looks.

    The other main option I was considering was importing a Belsize 16" via amazon USA. These are currently on the best (equal) special they have been for 6 months. USD345 (NZD543 if you use amazon currency conversion, a bit less if you pay in USA and use wise) for the bike shipped to NZ, incl GST. This bike is 5.7kg, and has duel hand breaks, and would be much nicer for a child than what is available in NZ. Reviewed well, other than the handle bar's being fairly low, putting the rider in an aggressive position (the brand has changed to a bar with a 20mm raise to improve this somewhat). In appearance very similar to the eairly rider belter 16.

    They also make a "Pro" version with slightly taller gearing.

    On teaching your child, look up some video's. Sadly your child (like mine) having spent time on trainer wheels means they will need quite a lot of effort to unlearn this, and learn to balance. Peddles off, and use as a balance bike first, then when they are comfortable with that, put the peddle's on and run along with your hand under there arms untill they get balanced. Then you can let go, but be ready to grab them (just lift then clear of the bike, and let the bike fall), if they are going to crash, so they don't get put off in the early stages.


    • Awesome info mate. Didn't really knew about so much things. I think I have the 14" one currently with coaster brakes(got it from TWH). I will do more research and get a cheap but decent quality 20" I think. Will take my daughter in-store to have some try outs to see the height.

      • +1

        Ours was a themed 12.5"

        If she fits a 20" bike (over 120cm tall), that does make life easier, as duel handbrakes and gears become common.

        As an example:…

        Component will be low end or unbranded, and it has a bunch of havier steel components (handlebar, stem, seatpost).

        Would want to check the weight (they don't cite any), perhaps if your child is fairly big / strong it will be less of an issue for them.

        I would take weight savings over the low end suspension that bikes in this price range offer.

      • A used 20" bike with hub gears has come up on trademe in Auckland:…

        Spec's here:…

        Hub gear's are very reliable / durable, and allow shifting while stopped, which is very useful for learners. they also eliminate many issues of derailleur gears, such as the shift device hanging very low on 20" bikes.

        Downsides are higher cost, higher weight, and in this case it has integrated coaster brakes.

        Could be well worth a look. Generally a much higher end setup than the torpedo 8 bike. (alloy seatpost, stem etc, Shimano shifters, nexus hub etc).

    • 100% agree Scott - and suspect we're the other half of the 14"/20" pairing of kindy friends! Small world.

      Key factors, as you've said are:
      - no training wheels
      - lowest weight possible
      - biggest wheels a kid can safely fit
      - no coaster brakes
      - decent quality components (to which I'd add - once you're looking at gears, aim for trigger shifters rather than twist shifters)

      In terms of specific recommendations - the 20" I think is referred to by Scott is a Giant ARX20. If you can find one - it's been a great bike for three kids. We also breathed deeply and imported a 16" Spawn Yoji - again, fantastic bike and well worth the cost if it will serve a few kids.

      24" and above everything gets easier as the physics of cranks/gears etc work better at that scale.

      • Wow, small world.

  • +1

    Good place to try too is: There are heaps of second hand bikes both adults and children available at Tipping Point (which is in the Waitakere Refuse and Recycling Transfer Station) at 50 The Concourse, Henderson. They get them, check and refurbish them.

    • +1

      Awesome. Thanks, I will check them out.

  • +1

    Get a high quality second hand light weight bike.
    I have a spawn 14" yoji for my 3 year old, but he hasn't been able to ride it yet as he loves his balance bike too much.
    If I was to do it again I probably should picked up a woom or frog or something lighter.

  • Go to bike hub

    They have used bikes for all ages that have been reassembled by trained mechanics

    You wont get the newest bikes but theyre reliable

    • Thanks.

  • Agree with some others. I wouldn't get the cheapest new bike, I'd get a second hand better bike or a better new one on special. The Warehouse ones felt quite heavy. We got a 14" Torpedo Spin for our 3.5 year old on Trademe, a mid range bike, the front brakes were important. Our boy took a while to get the coaster brakes mastered, we live up a small hill, he just used it like a balance bike for a few weeks while he got used to it all, then enjoyed skidding. A year later and he's used it heaps, I think using a balance bike a lot and being on a Do Little seat on my bike helped him understand the balance required, we skipped training wheels.
    They might enjoy riding more if they have a nice bike to ride, not a heavy clunky one. Good luck, family biking is awesome.

    • +1

      Definitely, I am not gonna buy the cheapest anyways as I have younger one as well so might as well get a decent bike which can last both kids hoping it will last. Somehow I don't want a bike just with front brakes as I feel it to be very risky. And any bikes with coaster brakes don't have rear brakes so I am avoiding those bikes, else I found couple of decent bikes at Torpedo yesterday.

      20" one was just a tad bit bigger for my daughter so the search continues. I have to go to other second hand places mentioned above to have a look.

      Also, will make a visit to evo cycles & 99bikes just to see if I get any options.

  • I have gotten lucky with 3 second hand ones, wayyyyy cheaper and near new off fb. Always go for aluminum frame.

  • Go second hand. Scott, specialised : I'd avoid suspension front forks they're heavy. 👍

Login or Join to leave a comment