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  1. #1
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    Bike for a 5 year old girl, 16" or 20"?

    My daughter 5th birthday is next weekend and i bought her a 20" Giant bike called a Taffy (haven't given it to her yet). She is a little tall for her age but I was thinking I should have gotten the 16" Pudd'n instead. My question is; should i get her the 16" or stick with the 20"? I would like to get the biggest bike that fits her for obvious reasons, I don't want to get another bike next year. Here are the bikes...

    http://www.giant-bicycle.com/us/030....05&model=11113

    http://www.giant-bicycle.com/us/030....05&model=11115

    I would appreciate any input anybody has.

    Thanks,

    bito

  2. #2
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    I have a five-and-a-half-year-old daughter, and I thought a 20-inch bike would work for her for this X-mas. However, about a month ago, my wife spotted a used 16-inch bike at a LBS, and we got that. It has worked out very well. The size is perfect for her (my daughter, that is.), and she loves to ride it. I now think that she not going to be ready for a 20-inch bike until she is close to seven-years-old.

  3. #3
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    Only real choice is to try it for size. Of course, that will spoil the surprise, if that's what you're intending.

    Don't know the model you're describing, but if it is single speed and she has problems getting off the mark, consider getting a slightly large rear sprocket fitted until she is strong enough. Standard issue gear is almost always a bit high.

    As for her growing out of it, that's par (or pa) for the course, I'm afraid. In any case, you never know, even if you get one which is on the big side. My cousin grew 13" in one year - good job he played the flute rather than rode a bike.

    One of the young girls in my club grew thro' 24", 26" and into adult size 700c's in the space of two years, from age 8 to 10 - so get the size which suits her (with some adjustment, of course). The better it fits, the more she'll enjoy it and the more likely she is to continue enjoying it. Kids also find it more difficult to improve their skills if the bike is too big and by the time they've grown into it they may well have lost interest.

    I speak with the (small) authority of coaching kids for the last 10 years and producing regional and national schools champions in a variety of disciplines - tho' that's more down to their innate talent than my coaching, I suspect.

  4. #4
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    You are not going to know until after a test ride. Most kids are a bit nervous about riding a different bike. I've discovered it is helpful to start them out with the seat lower than ideal so they can easily get at least one (if not both) feet on the ground. Each week, I raise the seat a half inch, until the seat is at the "ideal" height. That is the height where their knee is just slightly bent when the pedal is at 6 o'clock.

    So, on "Day One", a kid's bike that fits well needs to provide a range of seat positions, from the low position that permits putting one foot flat on the ground, to the "ideal" position that allows the leg to be almost straight when the pedal is at 6 o'clock.

    Oddly, many kid's bikes do not permit that range of seat positions. Some allow the low position, but not the higher position. Some allow the high position, but not the low postion.

    Electra has begun selling kid sized "Townie" bikes to address this problem. The Townie design makes it easy to get both feet down flat on the pavement with the seat in the position that provides full leg extension while pedaling. It is amazing that kid's bikes have been sold for about 120 years, and Electra was the first company to fully address the needs of the five year old cyclist.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    I would suspect that by age 5.5, your daughter might be getting a little big for a 16" bike. My elder daughter was, at least. She started on a 16" at around 4 years old. I too brought home a 20" for her when she was about 5.5, but it was too large. Not just the tire size, but the whole frame was simply too massive, the wheelbase too long. She looked very unsteady, and dumped it in short order trying to negotiate a turn. She might have gotten used to it, but it made me too uncomfortable to watch.

    I ended up looking for an 18" bike, and found one at Toys-R-Us. It took a whole afternoon of disassembly and reassembly to get it right (a major problem with discounter bikes), but in the end it was the best solution. She moved onto the 20" gear bike when she was around 7.5 years old, and onto a 24" Giant bike this past summer (9.5 years old). I am sure in two more years she will be looking at mom's 26", which is sitting collecting dust....

    Yes, it is more expensive to move in such small increments, but it is a matter of safety first in my mind. Daughter #2 is a little smaller, and I am toying with picking up a little bitty 12" model for next summer, as she just turned 3. She will probably move thru this same progression, so each bike will be well used when we are done. Then I pass them on to someone else.

    Steve
    Last edited by Fibber; 12-15-05 at 12:36 PM.

  6. #6
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    My daughter is 4 (5 in April) and we were going to get her a new bike as well. The bike shop recomended the 20" for her, not the 16. I agree that the 16 seems like it won't last very long at all. We got her a trail a bike (it attaches to the back of my bike) and she now loves that so much that she wants to do that much more than her current 12" bike. Thus we are going to hold off untill next year for the new bike and she will just go out with me more often. (which I love) She also wants a scooter since a couple of her friends in the neighborhood have them and since they only cost about $25 - $30 we are going to get her that. You might want to consider the trail a bike as a stop gap between the two sizes, it is lots of fun and you can go at a pace that you want. We will often go on 20 mile rides, so you can get a good ride in.

    Sorry for the diversion from the actual question, but it is just another idea.
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  7. #7
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    I would recommend the 20" if you were coming in to buy from me. The 16 will be too quickly outgrown, but we also have a return/exchange policy that allows for you to make the mistake, try her on it and then if it's too big get the right size without ruining the suprise. Ask the shop about their exchange policy.

  8. #8
    Senior Citizen DiRt DeViL's Avatar
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    I would recommend the 20" no gears bike.
    "Life is not like a box of chocolates ...
    it's more like a jar of jalapenos.
    Whatever you do today,
    may burn your ass tomorrow."


  9. #9
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    Thanks for all the input everyone. I took my daughter to the bike shop the other day under the guise of buying something for my bike (oh the sacrafices we make for our children). I had her sit on the 20" and she seemed to fit it pretty well, I was mostly concerned with the top tube length. I didn't want her to have reach for the handle bars. The seat height isnt as much of a problem because of the frame style. I think she is going to love it and i can't wait to take her to the park to teach her how to ride (as soon as the snow melts). Thanks again for everyones input.

  10. #10
    Senior Citizen DiRt DeViL's Avatar
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    Good, Trek and Fisher bikes have stems and cranks that allow some growth. Get one of those and she'll have a bike for a while.
    "Life is not like a box of chocolates ...
    it's more like a jar of jalapenos.
    Whatever you do today,
    may burn your ass tomorrow."


  11. #11
    Ameture Racing Cyclist racingpain's Avatar
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    whatever you choose I would recommend flat proofing the tires as the white tires are prone to leaking air...I have seen numerous cases where the bikes are infront of the house with flats and going no where. Flat protection is a must with the white tires.
    "Finally, the last thing I'll say for the people who don't believe in cycling -- the cynics, the skeptics -- I'm sorry for you, I'm sorry you can't dream big and I'm sorry you don't believe in miracles. But this is one hell of a race, this is a great sporting event and you should stand around and believe." - Lance Armstrong

  12. #12
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I think this depends on the child somewhat. My son was a confident rider. We could buy him a bike that was a little on the large size so that he could ride it for a few years before he outgrew it. He could handle a frame that was a little large for him. My daughter, on the other hand, was frightened and nervous. She was given a bike that was too big and too heavy. She hated riding that thing, and tended to freeze up with fear and crash. Then I bought her a bike that was probably already on the small side for her. She felt so much more confident! She loved riding it, and rode it enthusiastically until it was just too small. Then we gave it to my son and bought her a bike that was just a bit large, so she'd be able to ride if for a few years. This time it was no problem.

  13. #13
    It is what it is Sage23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigBlueToe
    I think this depends on the child somewhat. My son was a confident rider. We could buy him a bike that was a little on the large size so that he could ride it for a few years before he outgrew it. He could handle a frame that was a little large for him. My daughter, on the other hand, was frightened and nervous. She was given a bike that was too big and too heavy. She hated riding that thing, and tended to freeze up with fear and crash. Then I bought her a bike that was probably already on the small side for her. She felt so much more confident! She loved riding it, and rode it enthusiastically until it was just too small. Then we gave it to my son and bought her a bike that was just a bit large, so she'd be able to ride if for a few years. This time it was no problem.
    +1

    My son freaks out on a larger bike. We bought him a 16" this spring as the 12" was really small. It was fine on the training wheels, but he would not ride it without the training wheels. He rode the 12" without training wheels most of the summer. With the warm weather we had in December, I finally got him riding the 16" without training wheels. As a pont of reference, he just turned 5.

  14. #14
    Senior Member DynamicD74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by racingpain View Post
    whatever you choose I would recommend flat proofing the tires as the white tires are prone to leaking air...I have seen numerous cases where the bikes are infront of the house with flats and going no where. Flat protection is a must with the white tires.
    Santa is actually bringing my 5 year old daughter a Giant Taffy for Christmas, and our bike shop has agreed to swap out the white tires for black ones. Maybe, if you want them to, your LBS will do the same.
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  15. #15
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    Unless your 5-year-old is unusually tall, I think 16-inch wheels are the better choice. My 7-year-old daughter, who is of average height, moved up to 20-inch wheels just after her seventh birthday. And she could have ridden the 16-inch wheels a bit longer; it's just that we came into a 20-inch bike this year, and she started riding it when she felt comfortable. The 20-inch wheels were too much for her, even at 6 3/4.

  16. #16
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    Just in the interest of data generation, my 6 yr old can easily get another year out of his 16" bike, and maybe will go longer.

  17. #17
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    The 20" Taffy might be ok. Plenty of range to lower the seat and it looks like you can lower and turn down the handlebars for easier reach. Only by letting your daughter sit on the bike will you know for sure if it can be adjusted for her size and riding comfort.

    Your links don't work for me. Is the Taffy model you bought the single speed with coaster and rear hand v-brake or the Taffy FS 5-speed model with F/R v-brakes?

  18. #18
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    This thread was started almost 2 years ago. OP's and kids of other posters are now 7 years old. No surprise the links are dead.

  19. #19
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    Maybe we'll find out if the now 7 yr olds grew into their 20" bikes.

  20. #20
    Senior Member DynamicD74's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albino_Litigato View Post
    Unless your 5-year-old is unusually tall, I think 16-inch wheels are the better choice. My 7-year-old daughter, who is of average height, moved up to 20-inch wheels just after her seventh birthday. And she could have ridden the 16-inch wheels a bit longer; it's just that we came into a 20-inch bike this year, and she started riding it when she felt comfortable. The 20-inch wheels were too much for her, even at 6 3/4.
    She's five years old, and she's in the 95% for height. Her knees hit the handlebars of the 16 inch bike when she rides, and she looks like a very cute circus clown on a tiny bike.

    Even though an older thread, hopefully, it will help someone who is now having the same dilemma.
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  21. #21
    Senior Member DynamicD74's Avatar
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    Here's the bike I'm talking about....
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