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  1. #1
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    Trek 820 - Best family/entry-level bike? (how about the Trek Jet 16 for kids?)

    I'm 34 years old and haven't ridden a bicycle since I was a kid but I'd like to get something I can ride with my family mostly around the development we live in but I can see myself also taking the bike to local parks or trails in the future.

    My son is almost 4.5 years old and has only used tricycles. Somebody gave us a 12" bicycle but it's incredibly too small.

    Our local bike shop is selling brand new (2016?) Trek 820's for $315 a piece. We are looking at one for me and one for my wife.

    They also have a Trek Jet 16 for my son and he rode it around in the store much better than any other bike we have tried.

    Does anybody have any advice for me before I purchase these bikes? Should I get something else?

    Lastly, I am undecided between the 16" frame and the 18" frame. I'm only 5'9" and my inseam is 30". The 16" frame felt much, much better.

  2. #2
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    I can't comment on the adult bikes, but my recommendations for 16" bikes would be:

    Used Specialized Hot Rock 16". For families that don't ride extensively, this is absolutely the best cost for value ratio. The bikes are relatively light (coming in several pounds lighter than a Trek Jet) and have relatively good geometry. My daughter started with a 16" Trek Mystic (the girls' equivalent of the Jet) and struggled to go more than a block with it. We switched to a Hot Rock 16" and within a week, she was riding 4 miles at a stretch.

    My kids ride at least 50 miles every month, so for us it made sense to invest in a high-quality, more expensive bike. These would be my choices for a new bike.

    (1) Islabike CNOC (At 13.2 lbs, this close to being the lightest 16" bike on the market; the only other bike that's lighter is the often out of stock and much more expensive Early Rider Belter 16). Downsides are cost and the fact that it has a coaster brake
    (2) Cleary Bikes Hedgehog. This is the bike my son has and it's great. Relatively lightweight, no coaster brake. Downside would be cost; it also has a pretty aggressive (bent over/less upright) riding position, which can be good or bad, depending on your perspective.
    (3) Woom Bikes 3. This is a relatively new bike, which looks great, but is very expensive for a bike your child will only use for a year or two.

  3. #3
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    Thanks!

    Unfortunately my area doesn't have too many bike shops. Can you buy the Hot Rock online? It also seems to cost more... ($250 vs $160 for Jet 16?)

  4. #4
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    Mikesbikes.com has the HotRock online. It is currently on sale with free shipping for $215: Specialized Boy's Hotrock 16 Coaster - mikesbikes.com

  5. #5
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    Hmmm, that's not too bad. How much lighter is the Hot Rock 16 versus the Trek Jet 16?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
    My son is almost 4.5 years old and has only used tricycles. Somebody gave us a 12" bicycle but it's incredibly too small.
    It's been my experience that kids grow out of bikes fast until they get up to 20" (BMX-sized) bikes, which can last a while. With that in mind, I've tended to get bikes that were just a little on the big side for my kids. I also tend to buy them used since good kids' bikes can often be found cheap, even in good condition. And as long as they're not abused, you can resell them for roughly the same price you paid. (Depreciation is obviously much steeper on a new bike.)

    Quote Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
    Our local bike shop is selling brand new (2016?) Trek 820's for $315 a piece. We are looking at one for me and one for my wife.

    Lastly, I am undecided between the 16" frame and the 18" frame. I'm only 5'9" and my inseam is 30". The 16" frame felt much, much better.
    Those ought to be great for cruising the neighborhood.

    As for size, you and I are almost the same size. I'm just shy of 5'10" and have a 30" pants inseam*. My mountain bike's an 18" frame. I have a bike with a 16" frame as well, but it's too cramped. Frame sizing is more about the reach between the saddle and handlebar than it is about the height of the bike and unless you've got t-rex arms, I think the 18" bike will probably be the better fit. But without seeing you on the bike, I'm just guessing. Find someone you trust at a good bike shop and let them confirm in person.

    * "Inseam", as you might see it in bike-sizing context, is not the same as the clothing measurement. Cycling inseam is measured from your crotch to the floor, not to the end of your pant leg.

  7. #7
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    Thanks for the all of the information! I found another local bike shop (much better than the first) that sells Raleigh and Specialized (and Giant plus a few others).

    They offered to order me the Hot Rock for $209 (the same price as mikesbikes.com) above. They don't have it in-stock to try it though.

    They also have a few adult bikes I was looking at... More specifically the Raleigh Talus 3.0 for $299 (close-out) model and the Raleigh Venture for $330. They also had a Specialized Expedition but for $440 it's above my price range.

    How do the Raleigh Venture and Raleigh Talus 3.0 compare to the Trek 820? Are there better and/or worth buying?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
    They also have a few adult bikes I was looking at... More specifically the Raleigh Talus 3.0 for $299 (close-out) model and the Raleigh Venture for $330. They also had a Specialized Expedition but for $440 it's above my price range.

    How do the Raleigh Venture and Raleigh Talus 3.0 compare to the Trek 820? Are there better and/or worth buying?
    If the Raleighs are aluminum framed, probably a better buy than the steel framed Trek, also may come with better drivetrain and shifters.

    When people come to our Trek shop and ask about kids bikes, I let them know that we offer trade-in, and excellent service, but that the service is largely moot on a coaster brake single speed kid bike. And while I would suggest you buy the adult bikes from a bikeshop, a dept. store kids' bikes usuallly hold together until your kid outgrows them. So I never try to dissuade anyone from considering a usually much cheaper dept. store kids bike. Unless it has rim brakes and shifting; also stay away from suspension bikes at dept stores. Quality is quality and a kids bike from a bike shop is definitely better, but how much per dollar is up in the air.
    I know next to nothing. I am frequently wrong.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by sofakng View Post
    Hmmm, that's not too bad. How much lighter is the Hot Rock 16 versus the Trek Jet 16?
    I don't know about the current versions, but when my daughter had hers a couple of years ago, the 16" Specialized was a little under 20 lbs and the 16" Trek Mystic was about 23 lbs. That doesn't seem like much of a difference in the context of an adult bike, but at the time my daughter weighed about 35 pounds, so it was a substantially proportion of her body weight. The Jet/Mystic also has very high riser bars, which raise the center of gravity of the bike; combined with a pretty cramped cockpit area, that made it harder to handle.

  10. #10
    Senior Member delcrossv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mconlonx View Post
    If the Raleighs are aluminum framed, probably a better buy than the steel framed Trek, also may come with better drivetrain and shifters.

    When people come to our Trek shop and ask about kids bikes, I let them know that we offer trade-in, and excellent service, but that the service is largely moot on a coaster brake single speed kid bike. And while I would suggest you buy the adult bikes from a bikeshop, a dept. store kids' bikes usuallly hold together until your kid outgrows them. So I never try to dissuade anyone from considering a usually much cheaper dept. store kids bike. Unless it has rim brakes and shifting; also stay away from suspension bikes at dept stores. Quality is quality and a kids bike from a bike shop is definitely better, but how much per dollar is up in the air.
    The downside of buying a BSO from a dept store is that a kid won't enjoy riding it, won't want to go any distance and just might give up riding. A new hotrock for 2 beans? Go for it- consider it an investment where you'll probably get most of the expense back.
    Lightning P-38 / M5 M-Racer/Ryan Vanguard

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
    The downside of buying a BSO from a dept store is that a kid won't enjoy riding it, won't want to go any distance and just might give up riding. A new hotrock for 2 beans? Go for it- consider it an investment where you'll probably get most of the expense back.
    I generally agree with this sentiment, but my experience is that in the kids' bike realm, buying a bike from a major bike manufacturer vs. a department store doesn't necessarily afford the same benefit as an adult bike purchase. After my daughter was comfortable on her Strider, I started her off with a Novara 12" bike that weighed almost 20 lbs, then when she outgrew that without being able to ride the bike more than a block, moved up to the weighty 16" Trek Mystic with terrible geometry. She had the balance and the skills, but couldn't handle the bikes and got frustrated. It was like night and day when we got the Hotrock. With my son, we went from the Strider to a 12" Hot Rock and he was riding a full year earlier than my daughter (I'm sure part of that was older sibling example, but I think the bike made a major difference).

    At least in my area, people recognize the superiority of the Hot Rocks and are willing to pay a premium for them on the resale market. So I say yes to Hotrocks, no to other bike shop bikes.

  12. #12
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    I just picked up a Cleary Hedgehog for my daughter yesterday its a nice bike. Wife says I'm crazy to get her an expensive bike $350CAD. But she is going from her dept 16" bike with coaster brake to one with a handbrake so she will have to learn how to stop with the hand brakes now. Main reason for me wanting to get her a new bike was for the handbrake and besides it can be a hand me down to lil bro when he's old enough to ride it

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