a bike for my son, 5


Active Member
Now my big man has finally come off his stableizers I'm going to start looking at getting him a new one for Christmas. Now by no means am I a lightweight freak when it comes to bike stuff. But would it be worth spending that little bit more on a lighter weight bike instead of the usual heavy duty steel frame kids bikes that are all over the market. Bike will only be used on flat bike paths. Would a lighter one b beneficial to a child and be worth spending that bit extra ?

Ian Cooper

Expat Yorkshireman
If you have the money to spend on a lightweight kids bike, I say go for it. I made the mistake of getting a standard heavy kids bike for my daughter when she was that age and I estimate it put her cycling ability back a year, because the bike was just too heavy for her.

You have to see it from the kid's point of view. Many of these cheap kids bikes are enormously heavy for a kid - some weigh as much as the kids do. When you buy a 30lb bike for a 40lb kid, that's like buying yourself a bike that weighs 150lb. Can you imagine the difficulty in just picking that monster up, let alone controlling it.

Ian Cooper

Expat Yorkshireman
Are Islabikes all that light? I was looking for a bike for my daughter last month and I found that one of the Raleigh bikes for her age was 5lbs lighter than the lightest Islabike I could find.
Like Ian said, Islabikes aren't the only folks making good lightweight bikes for small humans these days. It's worth shopping around (with a fishing scale in yer back pocket).
Mine are older now, but all are seasoned and keen cyclists.

I bought fairly standard 16", 20" and 24" MTB look-alike bikes from my LBS. The smaller ones were quite heavy, although the 24" were light.

Much is said about the weight issue for bikes for very young children and I find it a matter of almost no consequence.

Geometry is key. Quality and rigidity are important. Fit is an issue. A few kilos here and there are neither here nor there. Because children don't weigh 70+ Kg, their bikes will always weigh more proportionally. It has ever been so.

How does a slightly heavier bike set a child's cycling back by a year, as Ian Cooper claims above? A moment's thought begins to suggest it's bunkum.

A child of five, six or seven will not usually be going up monster climbs. If they are, it will not be done competitively.

My middle child rode a heavy, 5-speed, 20" bike to his grandparents' house 70 miles away, aged 8. It was his idea and he loved it. He dealt well with big hills going round Brecon. They put a banner out for him at the farm when he rode in. He's 16 now and still rides whenever he can (does those 70 miles in under 4.5 hours at a canter now). Neither he nor any of my children has ever mentioned bike weight being an issue. I didn't notice it being one. None of my cycling friends has mentioned bike weight being an issue for children.

All my children are now teens and ride good, Italian lightweight road bikes, but before they were 10 they rode what I gave them and that was a heavy bike.

Really.... Just buy a nice bike that fits nicely and make sure it's well maintained, the headset is smooth and tight enough, the tyres pumped and the bearings quiet. If two present themselves as being good, buy the lighter one. Beyond that, do not worry too uch about weight.

Do not make weight the main decider.

People can get a little precious about some technical issues, but there are bigger deals when learning to ride than a few kilos.


It's perfectly true that kids can thoroughly enjoy riding a bike which weighs almost more than they do, has rubbish components and is too big/small for them. However, there will come a point where their skills/fitness deserves the best you can afford and at that point size, weight and quality will loom large on the horizon.

It's then that the plastic will start to take a hit. Apart from Islabikes, which are more carefully thought out than most of the competing models, there are other decent makes and only the bank of mum/dad/grandparents can decide - maybe over the fervent desires of the offspring concerned :whistle:.

By the way, which Raleigh model weighs 5lbs less than the Islabike equivalent? I'd love to know, for future reference.
I have to say I seem to agree with most of what Boris is saying :eek: I don't believe the weight of a kids bike is that high up the list of considerations. A bike that fits well, works well, is well maintained, tough/strong and suitable for the use it is being put to (no point buying a road bike if they prefer riding up and down the steps in the park or a full sus MTB lookalikee if the want to ride any distance to school/mates houses etc ((in fact, just don't EVER buy a full sus MTB lookalikee!!)) or undertake longer rides with you).

I know many caring parents not 'in the know' will just head to Halfords and buy the raleigh option but as a bike nut enthusiast I styuck with mainstream manufacturers for my kids bikes although admit they were MTB biased.
1st bike at the age of 3-4 was the Ridgeback MX14 (14" wheels)
2nd, at the age of 5-6 was the GT Stomper 20, a hardtail 7 geared MTB with 20" wheels
3rd at age 8-9 came another Ridgeback, the MX24, another hardtail MTB with 21 gears and 24" wheels
Next should be an almost full size 26" wheeler or 700c roadbike depending which way they are going.

At age 5 I suggest something with 20" wheels and gears (just rear for now). Plenty of offerings from manufacturers like Scott, Specialized, Ridgeback etc


Hard of hearing..I said Herd of Herring..oh FFS..
County Durham
Islabikes, Islabikes,Islabikes, Islabikes......have I mentioned Islabikes? As Mr P. has already mentioned, you'll get most of your money back when you sell it on.
All the children's bikes we bought were in saleable condition when finished with, but selling on is not really the issue.

Our Hamax seat, tag-along and various 16", 20" and larger bicycles all went either to friends with younger children or to local charities. A couple are still out on 'loan' with friends who will return them in a year or so for us to send them off elsewhere. We are not rolling in lolly, but I have to giggle when someone gives resale price as a justification (even a partial one) for buying a child's bike.

After owning a child's bike for several years and repacing countless tyres, brake blocks, crash-damaged parts and driveline parts, the issuie of getting back a little money on resale seems insignificant.

I've seen a few Islabikes around the place and they seem fine (very nice, even), but I do not get the euphoria that surrounds them.

Too late for me now (until grandchildren arrive) but I wasn't sucked into the Isla-euphoria then and I doubt I will be then either...

There is a veritable trove of interesting and good-quality children's bikes at many of the better LBSs.
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