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Old 06-26-09, 02:00 PM   #1
texasgreg
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childrens bikes - really worth it???

I am new to biking. Just got started a few weeks ago. What actually got me started is my 4 year old son. He LOVES riding his little bike, and I couldn't turn my back on that kind of family time. I have a 2nd hand cheapo Schwinn from Academy that was given to me, so I said "why not" and we have been riding together 5 nights a week now. The Schwinn REALLY SUCKS!!! It does NOT fit me at all (I am only 5'-5"), and makes my back hurt really bad after an hour of riding. So I am now about to buy a new 16" Trek 4300 that I have been saving for!!! Well, my boy turns five next week, and as a bribe to take the training wheels off, I wanted to buy him a new bike. Do you guys think that at this age, a $200.00 Trek (MT16 or Jet16) is worth it??? I know that he would be so excited to get a bike that is like Daddy's, but that would also blow out my whole birthday budget for him. I just wanted to get some feedback from a cycling community as to what the general mindset is when it comes to kids bikes.
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Old 06-26-09, 02:18 PM   #2
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I am new to biking. Just got started a few weeks ago. What actually got me started is my 4 year old son. He LOVES riding his little bike, and I couldn't turn my back on that kind of family time. I have a 2nd hand cheapo Schwinn from Academy that was given to me, so I said "why not" and we have been riding together 5 nights a week now. The Schwinn REALLY SUCKS!!! It does NOT fit me at all (I am only 5'-5"), and makes my back hurt really bad after an hour of riding. So I am now about to buy a new 16" Trek 4300 that I have been saving for!!! Well, my boy turns five next week, and as a bribe to take the training wheels off, I wanted to buy him a new bike. Do you guys think that at this age, a $200.00 Trek (MT16 or Jet16) is worth it??? I know that he would be so excited to get a bike that is like Daddy's, but that would also blow out my whole birthday budget for him. I just wanted to get some feedback from a cycling community as to what the general mindset is when it comes to kids bikes.

I bought my grandchildren bikes from Performance but then I paid a friend (who works on my bikes) to go over them and make sure they were safe. I would not have needed to do this if I had bought from my LBS so I didn't save anything.
TIP; Take the training wheels off, drop the seat as low as it will go and let him push the bike with his feet. In a short time (usually less than an hour) he'll get the balance thing down and you can put the pedals back on (he'll ask for them) and watch him ride away. It's amazing how well it works.
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Old 06-26-09, 02:29 PM   #3
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The shop I worked at didn't deal in used bike except for children's bikes. They offered a trade in program for people who bought new kids bikes so they could trade up when their kid out grows the 16in bike. They sold the trade ins for relatively good prices, and we went over them and put new tires on them before they went out.
So two things to think about looking for. Either or a trade in program or a traded in bike.
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Old 06-26-09, 02:31 PM   #4
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I wouldn't by an expensive bike, my Daughter just turned 8 and I already bought her two bikes they grow way to fast to get your moneys worth from that bike, just wait until he grows up some more.
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Old 06-26-09, 05:23 PM   #5
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If he will ride it all the time, the bike should keep up with him for several years until he out-grows it. It will also be a quality bike and thus you won't have to worry about having issues with it. You can also sell on craigslist for a decent price when he is through with it.

If you can afford the better bike and your son will like it, then why not?
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Old 06-27-09, 02:33 AM   #6
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Just like anything else a loving parent would provide for a child - the best you can afford - within your means and in-context to the overall scheme of family life.

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Old 06-27-09, 05:20 AM   #7
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Id say if you can afford to buy him the trek then do so , its a quality bike and holds its resale value. Both of my kids had smaller treks and i sold them has i upgraded to newer bikes for them . I dont think i got less than 50 bucks off of what i paid for any of them.

example : just sold my daughters trek mystic , the bike was 2 years old paid 200 for it new sold it for 150.00 .....take in mind though you also have to maintain them to keep thier value.
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Old 07-05-09, 06:39 PM   #8
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Some of my friends have bought the cheap K-mart or Walmart bikes for their kids and have had nothing but trouble. They are assembled with little care for quality, and when the shifter breaks, and it will you can't replace it. If you buy a mt. looking bike with front looking suspension fork, try pushing down on the handle bars, in my experience there is zero travel. All you've got is a heavy front fork with no suspension. Save the land fills of the world and get a decent bike, then when your kid grows out of it, sell it or have another kid.
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Old 07-05-09, 07:04 PM   #9
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What I did for my daughters was to let them use the cheap and heavy bikes that were given to them by aunts/uncles or were hand-me-down bikes from cousins. Then when my girls turned 6 I got them 20" wheeled bikes. They were a little small for them but because I got them bikes with low step-through frames they were okay.

I personally don't think you should spend the money on 16"-wheeled bike. Your son will outgrow it way too quickly. Let him ride the bike he's got until he's 6 then get him a 20"-wheel bike.

//

I also used the scooter method with both my girls. I dropped the seat to the lowest and took off the pedals. I told my girls to walk around everywhere within the bike. Within a week or two they were riding 2 wheels. With my youngest I did it when she had just turned 4.
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Old 07-05-09, 07:44 PM   #10
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I bought my daughter a $30 department store bike to test the waters. She loved it despite the way out of true wheels and the bearings that didn't let the wheel spin even a half turn on its own. Once I was sure she liked it, I bought her a Specialized Hotrock from our LBS since they have a 40% trade up program. She outgrew it in a little less than a year, but the trade in, coupled with the shop's annual spring tent sale made the upgrade a pretty good bargain. This one'll last her through 2 summers, I think.

I think it's worth it... she loves her Hotrock and is able to ride pretty fast and stable while I have the piece of mind that it's not going to fall out from under her as she charges around the park.
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Old 07-05-09, 09:01 PM   #11
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I would check out a garage sale/craigslist/kajijii etc.

Wait to spend more money on a bike until he's older & will actually notice the difference. He's going to keep growing & you're going to have to keep replacing bikes - likely once a year.

He's going to LOVE riding with you no matter what bike he has. If you want to make it more special - take him shopping & let him pick out a horn/bell & some other accessories for it.
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Old 07-06-09, 12:56 PM   #12
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Well, I was about to buy him the Trek MT16 last week, only to be informed that the 2009 models are no longer in production, and could not get one a 2010 until late fall. I was able to find one in Houston, but wanted to test fit him first. So I took him up to the bike store and put him on another 16" tire bike they had in stock, and me & the sales guy both agreed that the 16" was a perfect fit, but he would probably outgrow it by easter. So I went down to Academy and got him a $59.00 Huffy instead (which he still absolutely loved), and will get him a nicer bike in the spring when he can fit on a 20" tire. I still bought the helmet and riding lights from my local store because the guys were so nice to my son, and very helpful in this decision.
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Old 07-06-09, 01:02 PM   #13
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I would check out a garage sale/craigslist/kajijii etc.

Wait to spend more money on a bike until he's older & will actually notice the difference. He's going to keep growing & you're going to have to keep replacing bikes - likely once a year.

He's going to LOVE riding with you no matter what bike he has. If you want to make it more special - take him shopping & let him pick out a horn/bell & some other accessories for it.
+1 to this! He'll be excited about the "new" bike even if its a garage sale one.
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Old 07-06-09, 02:39 PM   #14
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Ppl ask me this all the time, and they never like my answer, but i feel absolutely sure that i'm right. So, i'll stick to my guns: If you have a kid who rides, buy him a bmx bike. Here's why:

-bmx bikes are *supposed* to be durable, and if you get a good one, it will be. So, it'll last.
-bmx bikes come in a few different "sizes", which is usally just minor differences in toptube length. They're supposed to be small, so s/he won't outgrow it for quite some time.
-bmx bikes aren't kiss-of-death corny, like virtually all other kids' bikes are. he'll be willing to be seen riding it even as he hits the awkward/self-conscious phases.

Now, being that he's 4, he's not ready for a 20incher yet, and that's cool. Still, if he's not yet outgrown his current ride, I'd wait before replacing the bike. They do make 16"wheel bmxs, but few of my above points apply to them.

Most of the parental concerns i hear re: bmx bikes (no variable gears! I don't want him to end up like one of those losers!) are just that: parental concerns. These aren't kid concerns. However, if you buy the kid a Jet or an MT, he'll be very concerned about being seen on that dorkpeice in a very short period of time. Now, i'm not saying that he's wrong or he's right. If i were a little kid, i'd want that aluminum carver that takes either 24" or 26" wheels. But, truth be told, there's few bikes better suited to the tastes, riding styles, and needs of the common little kid than a bmx. And i don't even ride bmx as of now...

hth
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Old 07-07-09, 04:07 PM   #15
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I agree on the BMX bike. It's all I wanted when i was young and I still have mine from college (I rode it to classes)
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Old 07-07-09, 05:02 PM   #16
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Just bought my (just turned 8) son the green 20" hotrock single speed yesterday. This is the bike he wanted. I called the shop and he said he had one still in a box. I didn't say we would buy but we went to the shop it was already put together. The first thing my son said wheeling it out the shop was how light and easy to push it was. Plus the hotrock low seat design was perfect for him. He didn't like the gary fisher one we looked at. That green hotrock is the coolist bike on the block.
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Old 07-08-09, 11:15 AM   #17
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i just bought my son a gt stomper mountian bike for $250.00 right now its to big but he will grow into it. i figure he will get 3 or 4 years out of it. my first bike was a banana seat bike that i rode for 10 years.
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Old 07-08-09, 05:43 PM   #18
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Just bought my (just turned 8) son the green 20" hotrock single speed yesterday. This is the bike he wanted. I called the shop and he said he had one still in a box. I didn't say we would buy but we went to the shop it was already put together. The first thing my son said wheeling it out the shop was how light and easy to push it was. Plus the hotrock low seat design was perfect for him. He didn't like the gary fisher one we looked at. That green hotrock is the coolist bike on the block.

It's a good thing you don't live on my block, then, because my daughter's purple and white Hotrock (16") is BY FAR the coolest bike on the block!
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Old 07-08-09, 10:33 PM   #19
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tell him to get a job and buy his own bike!



.... wait he's 4? make the modifications as suggested above. (remove training wheels, pedals etc.)
it's just not worth it at that age, unless there's a couple more kids on the way that will grow into it.
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Old 07-08-09, 11:27 PM   #20
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your kids are not worth it
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Old 07-17-09, 11:42 AM   #21
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I bought my two kids (8 & 10) both Trek 3700's with 13" frames. They now have bike with 26" wheels and parts that can interchange with my bikes and they love them. They also race them in the juniors class. A quality bike is well worth the money.
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Old 07-17-09, 02:37 PM   #22
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I bought my - then 5 year old, now 6 - a Gary Fisher Gamma Ray. We got it at my LBS as they will take it as a trade-in when he out grows it.

I wanted to buy him a Trek (since that's all I own) but he said "I really like the blue one, Dad."

Who can argue with logic like that??

He just learned to ride without training wheels a couple of weeks ago - if you go to www.youtube.com and type HarlieJ in the search feature, you'll find the video.

A nice bike is the best thing you can buy your kid. Do you ride a junk bike? In all likelihood, probably not. Why not extend it your kid? It builds quality time - I guarantee it. My son had a junk bike and he wanted nothing to do with it. Now he has a nice bike and he takes care of it - and wants to ride with me constantly.

Cough up the change. Buy them a quality bike. You won't regret it.
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Old 07-17-09, 03:11 PM   #23
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(until he learns to do 360' foot plants off the top tube of your Uber-Roadie...then you'll think it wasn't such a great idear!)
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