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Sunday, October 26, 2008

I have a child that needs a road bike. - What bikes are available?

There a couple of options for child sized versions of "adult" road bikes.



Blue website...




Pinarello website...



Felt Racing website...


Have you seen any other child sized versions of adult bikes? Editors Note - I do not have a child. This is supposed to be information for people asking that question. I appreciate the comments received and recommendations for children's bikes.

1 comments:

Kevin Turinsky said...

I went through the same circumstance when my daughter turned six. I looked at all the kids' bikes I could find then, including the Trek 24"er, the Redline 24"er cross bike, Argon18, etc. The best I found was Kona's Jake 24. At least it spec'd out good on paper. However, they don't make it anymore. The Kona was best because you could put smooth tires on it to make it faster on roads, but since it was a cross bike, kids could ride it off road - trails, gravel, etc. And, you could put fenders on it.

Something strange about all of these big-producer, 24"-wheeled kid's bikes is that they all weigh a TON! I'm serious. It's totally disproportional to what you'd expect. I was shocked at their relative weight vs. their size and the size of the rider. I can only speculate that there are some federal 'safety' standards the manufacturers must satisfy that make them weigh so much. I don't get it.

The Kona may not have weighed as much as the Trek and the Redline; I can't remember. I was never actually able to see a Kona first hand, like the others. Like I said, I'm only speculating.

Oh, and the big chainrings they put on the kids-sized road bikes are typically way too big for children!! Also, watch the brake lever reach. Kids have small hands, so they need a smaller lever that is closer to the bar. Cane Creek or Tektro makes a lever for smaller hands.

Anyway, I ended up rebuilding an old Fuji Junior I bought off of eBay for $20. It's by far the best route to go since these kids grow so fast. It took some wrenching and polishing, but it turned out fabulous! It's beautiful, and classic! It really turns heads. I even put pink Cinelli cork ribbon on the Nitto Jr. bars. Lots of new bits added from Harris Bike shop, of Sheldon Brown fame.

A great option to consider is to skip the road bike thing for a couple of years until he/she is big enough for the fantastic 26"-wheeled REI Novara Pulse at $500. Now, THAT's a kid's bike!! It's a cyclo cross bike that you can make into a road bike, and you can put fenders on it. Until then, put him/her on a 24"-wheeled mountain bike or build up an old Fuji Junior.

My advice: don't be tempted by one of those racy-looking kid's bikes. They're too high tech, over complicated, too heavy, and too expensive.

Oh, and I nearly forgot...consider a really good road tandem! Kids love riding on tandems. It's a wonderful way to experience riding together; great opportunities for talking.

I can send you photos of the Fuji if you want to see how it turned out.

Good luck.

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