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Childrens bikes

Discussion in 'Bicycle Mechanics and Repairs' started by cisamcgu, 4 Apr 2008.

  1. cisamcgu

    cisamcgu Veteran

    Location:
    Merseyside-ish
    My daughter has outgrown her bike, and needs a new one (24") - are there any brands to look out for/avoid like the plague, or is everything much of a muchness at this level ?

    Thanks
    Andrew

    (p.s. Does anyone do hub gearing rather than derailleur in a childrens bicycle range ?)
     
  2. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    Much of a muchness.... Don't get full suspension, front suspension at most at these prices £100-£150. I recently got my son a Coyote Maniac 20" wheels for £90 from our local bike shop - 6061 alloy frame, alloy wheels - pretty good spec for the cash - he loves it.

    Take her to try them out, but try and go to a bike shop (or bike warehouse) rather than Halfords - they will be more helpful/knowledgeable.
     
  3. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Honky

    Location:
    North Somerset
    I disagree. It definitely isn't much of a muchness. The worst kids bikes are the cheap ones built from adult-bike tubing and with little consideration given to them. They'll have all kinds of weight adding junk like crappy suspension. Avoid them like the plague.

    Decent name kids bikes are better, but could be far better. The problem is that the newbies in the bike industry get given the kids bikes as their first job. Kids bikes are down the list with the big manufacturers so they don't get the attention they deserve.

    And the other problem is that parents don't want to spend money on them. You generally get what you pay for.

    One exception IMO for cheaper bikes is Decathlon. They're pretty well thought out, meet the needs (eg smaller kids bikes have back-pedal brakes which are much easier for kids to brake powerfully with), and are good VFM.

    I've said it a hundred times and I'll keep saying it though -the best kids bikes IMO are Islabikes. www.islabikes.co.uk . They're designed from scratch with the child's needs paramount. They're made from smaller diameter tubing so are lighter. The same with the diameter of the handlebars and grips. you get proper brakes, with short-reach levers. You get good, aluminium frames. You get non of the tacky nonsense that the cheaper bikes rely on to sell. Isla Rowntree travels over to the factory to monitor the manufacturer every time they do a run. her aftersales is also good. She drove over to our house (over 20 miles) to fix a problem with the fork on one of ours.

    My son learnt to balance and pedal on a Decathlon bike. We thought it was great. Then we bought him an Islabike for his birthday last year. You could see the difference in his cycling the first time he got on it, and since then his riding has come on in leaps and bounds. And son number 2 was balancing on his Rothan at 2 and a half. Every time we go out with him on it it's guaranteed that at least one parent will ask where we got it from.

    So you might have realised that I'm a fan of them. Because I can see how much it's encouraged our boys to cycle. And I'd really recommend that you have a look at them. They're more expensive than your Halfords or Argos bikes, but I think they're well worth it.

    There are other good names, like Puky, but I don't know much about them.

    This is the 24" model-

    beinn24_11_06_web_2.jpg
     
  4. BentMikey

    BentMikey Rider of Seolferwulf

    Location:
    South London
  5. fossyant

    fossyant Ride It Like You Stole It!

    Location:
    South Manchester
    Isla bikes were on my list as well, but ended up finding a light bike with good components from my local LBS for my son.

    You do need to look at them, and check you are getting some good parts/well built - don't get swayed by 'fancy' things like suspension...

    If you want to stretch the budget a little then Isla bikes are the best to go for...
     
  6. cisamcgu

    cisamcgu Veteran

    Location:
    Merseyside-ish
    Thanks for those considered replies. I must admit I had never heard of Islabikes, but they do seem very well thought out. My daughter had seen this in a bike shop
    http://www.cyclexpress.co.uk/./Products/MTX_250_FS_Girls.aspx
    and on the web, this
    http://www.decathlon.co.uk/EN/ltd-cruiser-girl-25267820/
    but the Islabike is only £50 more, and if it encourages her to ride more, then it is money well spent.

    I will continue to peruse the web, and visit a few more local shops.

    Again, many thanks


    Andrew
     
  7. ChrisKH

    ChrisKH Shorts Adjustment Expert

    Location:
    Essex
    Another vote for Islabikes.
     
  8. wafflycat

    wafflycat New Member

    Location:
    middle of Norfolk
    Islabike
     
  9. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Honky

    Location:
    North Somerset
    Just so that it doesn't appear that we're all on commission from Ms Rowntree, these do look like an alternative worth investigating. Dotbike http://www.dotbike.com/ProductsB111.aspx?A=11&TRACK=DBS do them, so it might be worth having a chat with them. Though from looking at them they do seem more utility-based than playing in the park. It depends what she'll be using it for.
     
  10. cisamcgu

    cisamcgu Veteran

    Location:
    Merseyside-ish
    We, Mrs cisamcgu, little cisamcgu and I, hope to do the following in July or August :
    http://www.byways-breaks.co.uk/Holiday_Shropshire_lakes_hidden.htm
    I know it seems rather gentle, but we would prefer the ease of a managed tour as well as the short distance to travel every day : more time for ice-cream :smile:


    Andrew
     
  11. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Honky

    Location:
    North Somerset
    That looks like fun!
     
  12. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Well now.

    We had a broken part on an Islabike. Nothing that stopped it working, just annoying.

    To punish us for complaining, they replaced (and fitted) the part free under warranty, checked the bike, refitted some other bits foc, all with warmth and charm; bigged up the young rider...
     
  13. Dave5N

    Dave5N Über Member

    Then again, Only Islabikes specifically produce decent well thought-out bikes for younger riders.

    Get your kids a bike from elsewhere to help him or her stand out from the crowd. They won't win any races, but they'll be different...

    Slower and less comfortable, but different...
     
  14. summerdays

    summerdays Cycling in the sun Staff Member

    Location:
    Bristol
    I've never bought a Islabike - but whenever I look at the sizing - it usually makes me think I could almost go up a size in bikes for my children. For example I ended up buying my 10 year old a 24" bike last year, but according to their site a 24" is from 7+. My youngest who is waiting to grow into our (whispers very quietly) Halfords 20" (rubish) bike is 7 and still can't touch the ground on it, yet according to Islabikes a 7 y.o. could fit a 24". (Well he couldn't as his inside leg is only 54 cm - but probably about the same time as he could fit the Halfords 20"). Could anyone comment whether the bike sizing is different?

    On my experience of bikes - (didn't know what I was doing when I bought our children their bikes), Halfords are heavy and badly designed. Stay well away from supermarket and Toyshop bikes. At least if you go to a bike shop to a known brand you are starting to go in the right direction - although they all seem to think we want suspension for our kids, and whilst I've never seen one I think an Islabike might be one of the best ones.

    One of the kids in my sons class has a Belgium parent, and he just got a new bike last week - complete with rack and light - I haven't tried lifting it yet but it did look more like a bike and less like a toy than half the bikes in the bike racks at school.
     
  15. Mister Paul

    Mister Paul Honky

    Location:
    North Somerset
    I agree that sizing is more of an issue with kids bikes. When we bought our boy (then 5) his Islabike, we went for the size below that which he would have fitted if we'd followed the sizing chart. And 12 months later he's still got a load of growing room in it. It's worth trying them out first.