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Kids bike w̷o̷e̷s̷ joy

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
5,740
548
Update: Got the kid a half-decent bike. It works well. He loves it. https://ridemonkey.bikemag.com/threads/kids-bike-woes.284663/post-4360209

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My son loves his strider, but it's getting too small. Want to try to get him on a bigger bike before the end of the summer. Tired of waiting for me to pick out a decent bike for the kiddo, a bike was picked for him (ahem). It's slightly better than a department store bike and about twice the price. It's a 16" wheeled, front/rear rimmed brake + coaster. Getting it prepped for him to ride, I noticed the little problems were actually hiding some major problems. The worst of which being the hubs are either total crap or so badly adjusted to make me fear they are crap. I haven't taken them apart yet to see how salvageable they are. Front hubs drags and catches at multiple spots like the bearings are dry and the cups are pitted. The rear coaster brake wheel is almost locked solid. When pulled off the bike and spun it and it won't spin a full revolution.

Other issues that I can either overlook or fix are:
- Both rim brakes were rubbing.
- Hand brakes default position is further out than any 4-6yr olds fingers can realistically reach.
- The chain tension was so tight the wheel could barely spin.
- Chain is bone dry.
- Pedal bearings are super draggy.
- It weighs a metric ton. Hoped removing the training wheels would save a bit, but nope.

Is this the state of kids bikes these days?!

On the plus side,
- the tires are nice
- the bb and headset spin smoothly and are tight.

Have spent part of the morning looking over my collection of parts to see what I can swap out. Didn't find much. I would happily swap these hubs out and put the bike back together and get him on his way.

Really just want to just take this thing back, but the kiddo love the damn thing and is looking forward to riding it.

Any thoughts/suggestions/recommendations?
Thanks

IMG_4884.jpg


- dump
 
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slimshady

¡Mira, una ardilla!
I feel your pain. My kid is on his 4th bike (3rd with pedals and a strider before them) and I can confirm most kids bikes with a reasonable price are crappy and heavy. All from reputable brands (Specialized, Scott and Trek).

FWIW I almost immediately replace stem/handlebar/tires/pedals/seatpost/saddle when possible after buying a new one. That helps making them lighter, but most of them frames seem to be built to be used by 38-year old guys, so unless you resort to the angle grinder/dremmel, there's only so much weight you could shave off them by swapping parts.

On the brake levers department. I always go to BMX ones, since they are shorter and easier to bring closer to the grips.

As for the hubs, the cones seem to be overtightened, or maybe the external bolts weren't secured properly and they self-tightened as the wheels spun. It's pretty common to see that happening. Just pop them off, grease them properly and tighten the cones to spec.
 
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dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
5,740
548
Thanks for the suggestions. Wondering how much I want to do this than return and find something else. If the something else out there is also crap, may defeat the purpose.
 

slimshady

¡Mira, una ardilla!
That's why after my son's first Strider and his first pedal bike (Specialized Hotrock 12) I decided to go used. The brand new ones are too expensive for the level of craftsmanship/components they pack. That way I can put some of the new bike's budget into replacing components.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
28,976
2,833
Thanks for the suggestions. Wondering how much I want to do this than return and find something else. If the something else out there is also crap, may defeat the purpose.
This is why I have Early Riders. They seem a step up for sure.
 

Jeremy R

<b>x</b>
Nov 15, 2001
9,550
691
behind you with a snap pop
It is not worth paying a lot for a kids bike because they grow out of them so fast.
One thing I recommend is going as simple as possible. My daughter got the most use out of
a Trek Superfly 20. It came with a rigid fork, weighed 19 pounds and retailed for $399. The
suspension forks that come on kids bikes are boat anchors in that price range and are not worth it.
 

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
5,740
548
Thanks for the suggestions. These are some nice options. Based on the above bikes, it's looking like at least $400 USD to get something decent... which seems awfully expensive for what it is.

Who wants to buy a lightly used Evil Sovereign? Will trade for one 16" kiddie bike.
 

toodles

Turbo Monkey
Aug 24, 2004
2,933
1,273
Australia
The Commencal kids range is actually pretty decent and good prices. A few of my mates went that option for their groms.
 

Da Peach

Outwitted by a rodent
Jul 2, 2002
12,900
2,515
North Van
It is not worth paying a lot for a kids bike because they grow out of them so fast.
One thing I recommend is going as simple as possible. My daughter got the most use out of
a Trek Superfly 20. It came with a rigid fork, weighed 19 pounds and retailed for $39og9. The rrr
suspension forks that come on kids bikes are boat anchors in that price range and are not worth it.
I got Ben a Superfly 20 off Craigslist for $275. A HUGE improvement from the garbage Giant with the susp. fork I’d bought on a whim (also off craigslist).

So light
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,749
1,430
01776
Man there are plenty of options out there for good kids bikes...the problem is the good/affordable balance, it seems.

I scooped up a Stampede bikes 14" sprinter https://www.twowheelingtots.com/stampede-sprinter-14/ for her to upgrade to from her strider. She never really loved the strider, but she figured it out. She transitioned well to the stampede with the pedals off, and then a month later she was riding just about everything. I'm now looking for a 20" for the next several years, as the 14 is just too small for her.

Options are Cleary bikes, Woom, Spawn Cycles, Early rider, Commencal, and then a few from the big brands- Spec Hotrock, Trek makes a few, and Cannondale and GT have some. The Raliegh Lily might be in our future...a good cheap ride then we can leap to 24 if she gets more comfortable offroad.

Here's a page that outlines everything: https://www.twowheelingtots.com/ultimate-20-inch-bike-comparison/

Sadly Stampede went OOB or my next bike would likely be theirs as well. The sprinter is light, has good brakes with levers perfect for her hands (even at 4), no coaster brake (fuck that shit) and high quality but not spendy wheels, cranks and bars. It's pretty slick seeing a 31.8mm stem and 3 piece cranks on a $200 bike for a 4 year old. I had shit bikes up until I was 13, and hated all of them.
 

Happymtb.fr

Monkey
Feb 9, 2016
936
298
SWE
I don't for where you live but here in Sweden the resale value of quality kids bike is quite high.

Other than Early Rider, Islabikes and Frogs make nice and light bikes.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,749
1,430
01776
Anybody near fartford?
 

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
5,740
548
Thanks for those links. The kid is 4.

Stampde looked cool.

Have tired of my evils considerably recently.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,749
1,430
01776
The best thing about the stampede was its low weight and the fact that I needed to change NOTHING after putting it together. A lot of bikes look like they're going to need new bars, or additional brakes, or getting rid of plus tires on a 20" bike...

This one might be next:
https://www.prioritybicycles.com/products/start20?variant=12136959148108 Cheaper than the competitors, and a nice three speed hub so she doesn't have to worry about shifting if she doesn't want to...
 

SylentK

Turbo Monkey
Feb 25, 2004
1,262
221
coloRADo
Woom bikes

Extremely happy with them.

Even have trade in program when you buy the next size up.

Total quality.

My kid started off with a freewheel (which is optional. So no pedal brake) and learned to use hand brakes (made specifically for kids) and she's rocking it.
 

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
5,740
548
I unfortunately wasn't able to find anything of quality used locally, so I took the strong hints and basically doubled the price I'd spent previously. Luckily there was a good option nearby. It seems that's the baseline for a decent bike. That gets you a freewheel, kid-size brake levers, not a tank, wheels that spin and one that's properly adjusted right out of the shop.

He's spent the last 2 years on a strider. He was a pro on that thing. Had all the mechanics down. Did half a block fumbling with a coaster brake pedal bike before this one.

As we left the bike store this afternoon, he jumped on the bike. In the block from the bike store to the car he was riding by himself. We hopped in the car to take him to his favorite park with a pit-stop for pizza. While we waited for pizza, he wanted to ride. I only showed him where his brake was and how to position his pedal to get started. Here he is, having spent a total of 3 minutes on a pedal bike. The joy is palpable. The future is looking up!


Thanks again for the suggestions and moral support!
 
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Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,749
1,430
01776
is that a 16 or 20in?

I'm hoping to check out a spec Hotrock in an effort to save some cash.
 

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
5,740
548
It’s been a long time since I’ve purchased a new bike. I remember even my first bike (1994 trek 830... $410) had smooth bearings out of the shop. They only got rough when contaminated. Is that no longer the case/expectation? These are better than the previous, but I have 20yr old hubs that roll smoother than this! Feel dry, rough.
 

dump

Turbo Monkey
Oct 12, 2001
5,740
548
Going to open up the hub, grease and adjust, but if that fails, going to re-lace it.
 

kazlx

Patches O'Houlihan
Aug 7, 2006
6,924
1,808
Tustin, CA
Mine is a 16”. The chartreuse spawn looks like a 20”.
The green one is a 20". He just moved up from the 16" Spawn that he had. My boy is now 6. He had the first Spawn at 4 after riding the Strider for about two years. He figured out the pedals very quickly as well. I think the balance bikes are so awesome for getting them started.
 
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Gary

"S" is for "neo-luddite"
Aug 27, 2002
3,070
1,149
UK
An E-bike is the natural progression from a strider
Sam Hill seems to agree


 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,749
1,430
01776
Figure I should post here after my most recent adventure:

Scored a hotrock off of craigslist:


Did some work to make it giftable:


The bike was still a tank, as the frame was steel and not aluminum like I had assumed. I looked at ways of lightening it up, but all were expensive and more than I wanted to spend on a kids bike.

I happened across a "curb alert" post for another, 2007 hotrock, this time with an alloy frame and suspension fork.


Bike needed a similar amount of work to get it tuned up, included a bent derailleur hanger, but a little elbow grease and some new parts got me here:




Birthday is in a week and hopefully she'll love it. The bike is very light, should be plenty light for her and the fork is shockingly effective- coil springs with elastomer inside. Good enough for 1996, good enough for a six year old. I replaced the BB with a sealed unit and threw some carbon bars, an ebay stem, and an older seatpost I had lying around on the thing. It's way lighter than the cromo bike and it has a suspension fork, so I'm pretty happy.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
28,976
2,833
But it doesn’t say Yeti on it. Stoney-kid would not approve.
 

lobsterCT

Monkey
Jun 23, 2015
182
230
We ended up getting this 16" bike for our son. We chose this one to get around the "must have front suspension" rule to use the lift at Killington and Thunder.

I was expecting the fork to be a POS, but it is surprisingly good. The lowers and brake arch are 1 piece carbon fiber, so it isn't crazy heavy.

All the parts are reasonably good and light weight except the hubs and bottom bracket. They suck and are boat anchors as well.

If the kids didn't grow so fast, I would swap out the BB for an old Ultimate Titanium square taper one I have in the parts bin and lace in new hubs. He will out grow the bike in a year or so, so I don't think it is worth the trouble.

Tried to insert a MOV file as well, but my internet skills are small and it wouldn't take the file type.

The red carrabeener is for his tow rope that we use when he runs out of steam on family rides.

kidbike1.jpg

kids bike 3.JPG
 

bagtagley

Monkey
Jun 18, 2002
218
3
VA
My kids have ridden Cleary bikes. 16, 20, and 24. They cost a lot but they're relatively light and well built. Resale is really good if taken care of, so they end up costing a lot less than the initial outlay would suggest.
 

Sandwich

Pig my fish!
Staff member
May 23, 2002
16,749
1,430
01776
That's my concern with paying out a lot for a kids bike. My daughter will probably get 2 years out of this before she needs a 24. She isn't a huge biker, so it's not like this is going to see the lift at thunder. I'm happy if she's comfortable going around the block safely and gets excited about riding her bike. We're within riding distance to a couple of parks and even some nature trails. Being able to ride as a family rather than drive would be super cool.
 

Toshi

Harbinger of Doom
Oct 23, 2001
28,976
2,833
Having moAr kids makes the economics of getting nice kids bikes much better. Just sayin'