Recreational & Family - What does my 7 year old need?
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08-05-06, 08:59 AM
I realize this is similar to a recent post... but rather than hijack that one...
I've got to get a new bike for my almost-7-year-old. His is too small for him and will now be handed down to his younger brother. (Incidentally, we've always bought kids bikes from our LBS and been happy, for what it's worth). So far, both boys have just had "traditional" kids bikes with coaster brakes. My almost 7 year old is still pretty much a beginner, having only gotten rid of the training wheels around May.
Do I stick with the basics? Or do I get something that will let him grow into it - maybe some shifting, or hand brakes - that sort of thing? He is very cautious and isn't likely to want to ride off jumps or do anything BMX style. We'd be riding around home or on paved multi-use trails.
Thoughts, opinions? Thanks!
For my kids we went through about 10 second-hand bikes simply because you have to trade up every year or two. I bought the occasional new bike too, and always tried to make sure that the younger kids didn't always get the more beat-up hand me downs. One of my LBS has a buy back policy and always has second hand kids' bikes for sale. A local school sometimes had a sports equipment trading day, although I actually never used that
A seven year old can certainly handle gears and hand brakes, even a new rider.
1. don't get him a bike with any suspension. Rigid forks teach good bike handling and he won't be tempted to go any faster than his skill level allows. In any case, it is unlikely that he will be heavy enough to make the suspension move, unless he hits a kerb or other obstacle at some speed.
2. Single chainwheel, 5 or 6 gears should be sufficient.
3. Shop around, a lot
4. Allow for some growing room, but not a great deal. Bikes that are too big reduce the fun he can have.
5. See if you can hook up with some other parents - you'll pick ideas up from each other, maybe set up joint family rides and your kid will have others to test himself against and perhaps see what others can do and emulate them
08-05-06, 01:07 PM
Tough call on the gears and hand brakes. Even some of the better models have difficult shifting as I am finding out from my 7 year old, a medium rider. If there are some big downhills on the grass those can be don but no jumps yet. My kid is about 46" and 45lbs, riding a 20" with the nice adjustable stem to make the compartment fit better.
Since you have kids behind him, then an lbs bike is not such a bad deal. If you are not sure, then get the used single speed coaster bike. Hopefully you will be able to find a decent one, and see how he does. Move him up to gears when you have a pretty good idea he is ready. By ready, I mean that they are going on longer rides and you see them spinning out their gear, their friends are riding geared bikes and they are being left behind, they want to ride some hill but do not have a low enough gear to do it. If you get the single speed you likely won't need to get him a geared bike until next year with the riding season coming to a close in a few months (assuming you are in a truer 4 season climate).
Good Luck. It will all work out in the end.
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