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Old 13.08.2012, 11:04
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Child first bike - advice pls

Hi All!

I am about to buy my daughter (almost 4 y.o.) her first bike.

My questions are:
-She is 110 cm so seems like she could do with 16'' and 18'' both. Is it better to go for a smaller frame to start with or can I go with bigger so that it lasts longer?
-Are there any particular brands you have experienced which are better? Or any place which sells good second hand models? I have seen the Puky but I was hoping to spend less than 300 CHF for a child's first bike...
-Is weight of the bike really important at this age/with this usage?
-Anything else you think is important?

Cheers,
K
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Old 13.08.2012, 11:11
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

Most important that she can have feet on the ground while in the seat, size wise.

Has she ridden a bike before?, i.e. does she have the balance? I've always started mine around age 2 on the pedal-less bike for balance, and once they've mastered that, they proceed to the real bike. Bike with training wheels are just asking for trouble in my opinion.
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Old 13.08.2012, 11:28
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

Our local bike shop advised against stabilisers. I took a sharp intake of breath and had memories of learning with stabilisers myself but I went with the advice and it worked really well. A couple of days of a sore back, arguments and storming off (my son, not me) then we had a break-through.

Took two days of not solid practise, maybe three hours in total and he was up and running (or riding, even).

EDIT: Just noticed you wrote your child isn't yet 4. Maybe that's a bit young for no stabilisers - my son was just coming up to 5.

Last edited by Sandgrounder; 13.08.2012 at 11:30. Reason: Read the OP properly...
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Old 13.08.2012, 11:29
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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Most important that she can have feet on the ground while in the seat, size wise.

Has she ridden a bike before?, i.e. does she have the balance? I've always started mine around age 2 on the pedal-less bike for balance, and once they've mastered that, they proceed to the real bike. Bike with training wheels are just asking for trouble in my opinion.
Yes sorry should have given more infos.

She has had a balance bike since she was 2 but used it very little until about 3 months ago when she really got into it. Now she can go quite fast and balance on it. I definitley do not want to use training wheels.

Your comment about feet on the ground makes me lean towards the 16 inches as she is quite tall but with a long body (not so long legs)

Thanks for help
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Old 13.08.2012, 11:54
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

If she can ride on the balance bike, then not much to worry about.

I would definitely go for a bigger frame. She will outgrow smaller frame in a matter of 1-2 months, and you will need to buy another one. Also, what I have noticed that riding bigger-frame bike is easier for kids, as pedals are a bit longer; this makes it easier to push pedals and keep the balance in the same time.

Smaller bike is not necessarily easier for her.
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Old 13.08.2012, 13:22
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

Can I rave about Islabikes please? Bikes designed for kids with kid-friendly components eg. brakes their hands can actually use, kid-sized pedals. Don't take my word for it, just search the internet for children's bike reviews.

www.islabikes.co.uk

They do deliver to Switzerland and even with import duty, their prices are better than many bikes bought here. They also say that they will buy your old Islabike when your child outgrows it and you buy a new Islabike, although I don't know anyone who has done this.

Our son had no problems going from a balance bike to Islabike when he was 4 years old (on his 4th birthday). I would definitely agree, stabilisers are not necessary.

This is the one he has -

http://www.islabikes.co.uk/bike_pages/cnoc16.html

Our neighbours bought an all-singing, all-dancing, expensive bike for their son and he could not ride it. He tried on my son's Islabike and instantly cycled away. Literally, although stopping took a bit longer to master!

We are just about to buy a bigger Islabike for my son's birthday in September, so if you want to buy a Cnoc 16, give me a pm!
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Old 21.08.2013, 08:30
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

I am reviving this thread for a follow up question.

We ended up buying 16 at bikester.ch for 130 CHF and were happy with it as my daughter learned fast and felt secure on it (plus it was pink and white----definitely a plus with a little girl)

But true, by next summer, so about 18 months, she will have outgrown it.

I am now looking around for the next bike and I am unsure about importance of a) weight of bike and b) need of gears and how many?.

Weight seems to fluctuate from 8 kg (Islabikes) to about 13kg or even 15kg for others. Since my own bike weighs 15kg so am wondering whether this is too much for a child to carry around and at the same time, the Islabike are quite out of our price range

So what do you think? Worth the stretch for the lighter one or does not really matter too much?

And gears: do they need them already? How many? 3 or 6?

Thanks for advice!

K

Last edited by kri; 21.08.2013 at 08:32. Reason: Added info
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Old 21.08.2013, 08:38
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

Our daughter is very slim and just did not have the strength to lift a steel framed bike, we ended up spending a little extra and getting her an aluminium framed bike from the bike store. It has a fairly small frame but larger wheels (20"), and the seat, handle bar and even pedals can be extended, she is going into her second year with it and will likely be able to ride it two more. Worth the investment! And then when she is done with it, we should be able to sell it for a decent price.

Our daughter was almost 9 (but the size of an 8 yr old) when we bought this bike, and we did buy her a bike with gears, as it was hard for her to keep up with the rest of us otherwise, I think her bike has 6 gears.
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Old 21.08.2013, 09:28
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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Our daughter is very slim and just did not have the strength to lift a steel framed bike, we ended up spending a little extra and getting her an aluminium framed bike from the bike store. It has a fairly small frame but larger wheels (20"), and the seat, handle bar and even pedals can be extended, she is going into her second year with it and will likely be able to ride it two more. Worth the investment! And then when she is done with it, we should be able to sell it for a decent price.

Our daughter was almost 9 (but the size of an 8 yr old) when we bought this bike, and we did buy her a bike with gears, as it was hard for her to keep up with the rest of us otherwise, I think her bike has 6 gears.
Excuse me, what is the brand and model you bought pls? I like the idea of adjustable and be used for a few years.!
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Old 21.08.2013, 09:49
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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I am reviving this thread for a follow up question.

We ended up buying 16 at bikester.ch for 130 CHF and were happy with it as my daughter learned fast and felt secure on it (plus it was pink and white----definitely a plus with a little girl)

But true, by next summer, so about 18 months, she will have outgrown it.

I am now looking around for the next bike and I am unsure about importance of a) weight of bike and b) need of gears and how many?.

Weight seems to fluctuate from 8 kg (Islabikes) to about 13kg or even 15kg for others. Since my own bike weighs 15kg so am wondering whether this is too much for a child to carry around and at the same time, the Islabike are quite out of our price range

So what do you think? Worth the stretch for the lighter one or does not really matter too much?

And gears: do they need them already? How many? 3 or 6?

Thanks for advice!

K
Are you cycling on the flat or hills?

If it's the flat then weight of bike and lack of gears shouldn't be a problem and are just something else to go wrong.

Weight becomes a burden going up hill and also then gears are needed.

Is your daughter around six? She may have a problem operating the gears at that age, especially on the cheaper bikes where the mechanism can be a bit stiff.


We bought a secondhand child's bike at the Helvetiaplatz velobörse last week. There's another one in September.
The best childrens' bikes go early. We were out by 8.30am even though it didn't officially start until 09:00.

Islabikes are really nice though!
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Old 21.08.2013, 09:58
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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Excuse me, what is the brand and model you bought pls? I like the idea of adjustable and be used for a few years.!
http://www.trekbikes.com/ch/de/collections/kids/models/

I think my daughter's is the MT60.
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Old 21.08.2013, 10:11
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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Are you cycling on the flat or hills?

If it's the flat then weight of bike and lack of gears shouldn't be a problem and are just something else to go wrong.

Weight becomes a burden going up hill and also then gears are needed.

Is your daughter around six? She may have a problem operating the gears at that age, especially on the cheaper bikes where the mechanism can be a bit stiff.


We bought a secondhand child's bike at the Helvetiaplatz velobörse last week. There's another one in September.
The best childrens' bikes go early. We were out by 8.30am even though it didn't officially start until 09:00.

Islabikes are really nice though!


We live in Zürich so there is always a bit of uphill and more and more as we will start venturing out of our apartement block, which is why I was thinking of the gears.

She will be 5 and a half when she starts using this bike but I guess this model should now last a while, i.e. 3-4 yrs.

I know the Velobörse but was not lucky there last time, may have to have another look though and see

Yeah, Islabikes seem to be the best... I see a lot around my neighborhood...

K
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Old 21.08.2013, 10:51
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

Get something cheap or second hand. Prices are vastly inflated here and the quality, IMO, does not match the price, nor is it required for a bike that your child will only need for 1-2 years max and will not be using all the time either.

I think there is a bike sale, where people sell their second hand bikes, coming up on 28th Sep in Zurich:
http://www.provelozuerich.ch/compone...-helvetiaplatz

Get there at the starting time to get the best deals.

Edit: Doh, just seen Tom's post...
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Old 21.08.2013, 11:10
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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Get something cheap or second hand. Prices are vastly inflated here and the quality, IMO, does not match the price, nor is it required for a bike that your child will only need for 1-2 years max and will not be using all the time either.

I think there is a bike sale, where people sell their second hand bikes, coming up on 28th Sep in Zurich:
http://www.provelozuerich.ch/compone...-helvetiaplatz

Get there at the starting time to get the best deals.

Edit: Doh, just seen Tom's post...

I am fine with getting second hand, no issue at all. But I still have not been able to get an understanding if weight really matters or not

Hubby POV: "We did it so can they..."

Thoughts?

K
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Old 21.08.2013, 11:51
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

I think that although weight may not be an issue when they are riding around, when they are mounting the bike, trying to take off etc I think it can be. We just bought my daughter a bike for her 5th birthday last week and it's so heavy for her. She's small (101cms and 13.5kgs) but we couldn't find anything lighter than about 10kgs. So for her, it's really heavy. Being in Chur, the choices were limited, most places had same/similar bikes, none lightweight, that I could find.

I wish I had read this thread before we bought it, those Islabikes look great. I'm sure she'll get the hang of it eventually but I think it's going to take a while.
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Old 21.08.2013, 11:55
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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I am fine with getting second hand, no issue at all. But I still have not been able to get an understanding if weight really matters or not
Yes, weight matters if you are cycling hills. Not much at all on the flat (didn't I already say that?)


A few years ago, someone gave us a bike for our eldest but kind as they were, I rejected it as it was a kid's pseudo full suspension mountain bike which meant it weighed a ton.

It's all relative - the lighter the bike, the more it costs and the price rises steeply to shave off those last few grams.

So, don't get a heavy bike, but also don't think that you need to buy the most expensive, lightweight bike there is as I don't think your daughter is going to be entering races, is she?

If you're buying relatively cheaply then the things that will add weight (unnecessarily for your particular needs) are suspension (front or rear) and perhaps front gearing i.e. with more than one chain ring which your child will struggle to be able to use.

Alloy wheel rims and an alloy frame will make it lighter but will push the cost up.
I think you will probably be able to find something suitable between an Islabike and a heavy monster.

I've no idea what the bike I bought my son last week actually weighs but it wasn't a case of me groaning under the strain when I lifted it compared with other childrens' bikes that I have lifted up.
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Old 21.08.2013, 12:04
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

Thanks Tom, got it

No races for now just I know this bike will (should) last a while so I want to make sure I do it right

Cheers,
K
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Old 21.08.2013, 12:09
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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I think that although weight may not be an issue when they are riding around, when they are mounting the bike, trying to take off etc I think it can be. We just bought my daughter a bike for her 5th birthday last week and it's so heavy for her. She's small (101cms and 13.5kgs) but we couldn't find anything lighter than about 10kgs. So for her, it's really heavy. Being in Chur, the choices were limited, most places had same/similar bikes, none lightweight, that I could find.

I wish I had read this thread before we bought it, those Islabikes look great. I'm sure she'll get the hang of it eventually but I think it's going to take a while.
Just to reassure you, starting and stopping is the hardest bit to master and I have seen my daughter struggle equally on lighter bikes from her friends it tool her a while and even now, almost 1 year down, if she has not biked for a while, she finds it challenging so no worries, your daughter will manage with the bike you got!!!
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Old 21.08.2013, 12:16
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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Just to reassure you, starting and stopping is the hardest bit to master and I have seen my daughter struggle equally on lighter bikes from her friends it tool her a while and even now, almost 1 year down, if she has not biked for a while, she finds it challenging so no worries, your daughter will manage with the bike you got!!!
I spent an afternoon with my son teaching him how to get on and start off safety.

It's not intuitive - and there is definitely a correct way of doing it.

He didn't want to listen but I made it quite clear that he wouldn't be riding the bike until he listened.

To Amashie: One tip is to have the saddle slightly lower than optimum for the first few (short) rides as it's easier for them if they stop in the wrong fashion.

To Kri: Another point about the weight - if you do buy an 8Kg bike then don't add mudguards, a stand, a rack, permanent lights etc as you would have paid all that money for an 8Kg bike but you're daughter would still have a 15Kg bike.
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Old 21.08.2013, 12:22
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Re: Child first bike - advice pls

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Just to reassure you, starting and stopping is the hardest bit to master and I have seen my daughter struggle equally on lighter bikes from her friends it tool her a while and even now, almost 1 year down, if she has not biked for a while, she finds it challenging so no worries, your daughter will manage with the bike you got!!!
Thankyou! I think she'll struggle for a while, especially as she didn't have a balance bike first, but she's speed demon on the micro scooter so should be good with some persistence!

Good luck with your search!

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I spent an afternoon with my son teaching him how to get on and start off safety.

It's not intuitive - and there is definitely a correct way of doing it.

He didn't want to listen but I made it quite clear that he wouldn't be riding the bike until he listened.

To Amashie: One tip is to have the saddle slightly lower than optimum for the first few (short) rides as it's easier for them if they stop in the wrong fashion.

My daughter is quite stubborn (what 5 year old isn't!), so I'm sure she'll want to do it her way. But the tip about the seat is great, I'll definitely give it a try
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