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  1. #1
    Senior Member adrien's Avatar
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    First bike for my daughter

    She's 3.5, quite tall, and loves her tricycle, but I want to get her onto soemthing that's not direct-drive and have her learn to ride a 2-wheeler.

    LBS has Ross kids bikes, which seem decent.

    Anything to watch for? I figured I'd just bring her down there and let them measure her.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Sci-Fi's Avatar
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    May sound odd but let her make that decision and she may like a different brand. paint scheme, or style of bike or want to keep riding her tricycle. No reason to rush either. In any case it might be fun for her (and you) to go window shopping at your local LBS or a place that has a wider variety of bikes. Your daughter will let you know when she's ready for a 2-wheeler, even if it has training wheels.

    Haven't seen any Ross bikes out this way (west coast) and only know that Ross went bankrupt back in 1989 and Rand bought the name.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    Gerry Fisher Nirvana, LeMond Buenos Aires
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    Normally I'd say go to a local bike shop and get a proper bike, but in my experience the needs of a little rider are very simple. They need a bike with training wheels and a back pedal brake. There are few parts and they are simple. My daugher was perfectly pleased with a $35 pink bike from ToysRUs. These bikes are not going to see much wear and tear. The kids are still light and are driving at low speeds.

    Once you graduate to the next size up, then a better built bike that is properly setup becomes much more important. Once the child gets to a bike size that has hand brakes front and rear I would be very hesitant to buy a department store bike. I've seen how these are "professionally" put together. The only professional part about it is that the person assembling the bike is being paid something around minimum wage and is almost guaranteed to not have had any training on how a bike should be setup. It is amazing how badly the brakes are frequently setup when I see bikes at Wallmart, Target, or ToysRUs. You'd then have to pay an additional $50 to $75 to have a LBS setup and adjust the bike. Then you might as well give the business to the LBS in the first place.

    Be careful of hand me down bikes. If you need to buy tires for an older small kids bike, you can easily spend $10 per tire. Add some $3 inner tubes and you just spent as much on the old bike as you could have spent on a new bike. Once you get to high quality larger kids bikes this is a different story. My sister noticed her neighbor throwing out a Trek bike. The bike looked very nice but there were some things that needed fixing. She took it to her LBS and found that a new version of that Trek bike cost around $275. The old Trek needed $100 in parts to be 100% perfect again. My sister's son now has a nice Trek bike that is perfect for him and it cost just $100.

    Happy riding,
    André

  4. #4
    Ubiquitous Fella That Guy's Avatar
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    My wife and I went to the LBS down the street and got my daughter a little Specialized bike. We looked a couple different shops, including the big box stores, but settled on the local shop. In the end the LBS bike was only a few dollars more for a much better bike. And my daughter liked it because it was purple and had puppy dog paw prints on the saddle and a picture of a puppy on the frame. These are the features that were important to her. She's five and about three feet tall (kinda petite, I know).

    Be sure you also get a helmet, fit it correctly, wear it correctly, and that your daughter gets in the habit of wearing it. My daughter started wearing hers when she got her trike. She doesn't even think of getting on her bike now without her helmet.

  5. #5
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    We picked up a Trek Mystic 12 for my daughters 3rd B-day and she loves it. I let her pick it herself...she had a blast checking out the pictures on the web before we hit the LBS. The flowers and basket sealed the deal

    We justified the $115 for a kids bike with the fact we can pass this on to my younger daughter. If we went with a toy store bike we'd spend almost as much for two poor quality bikes. We can also put the Trek on Craigslist when they're done & sell it for $30 unlike a low end bike.

    Mark
    2005 Trek Fuel EX 7
    2007 Surly Long Haul Trucker
    199x Gary Fisher Hoo Koo e Koo

  6. #6
    Ubiquitous Fella That Guy's Avatar
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    Good on ya! I can imagine that happy little face looking at all the pictures. I'm a sucker for baskets, too.

    Chris

  7. #7
    Member cristy's Avatar
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    awesome! I went in a Trek store today to check out the gobug and took dd4 with me--she immediatly ran up to a purple Gary Fisher and started telling me how cool she'd look on it...she had everyone in the store cracking up!

    Glad you found a bike and I hope your girls get lots of use out of them!
    Cristy

  8. #8
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    My thinking sides with Andre on this. At 20" wheel size (gear bikes) I head for LBS equipment. At the 12", 16" & 18" size (single speed with coaster brake), I am more concerned with proper fit and "appealing colors". Walmart and Target have plenty of choice at under $45. 18" sizes are hard to find (try Toys R Us), but I liked the idea of graduating sizes slowly while they are developing skills.

    I also added a hand brake to the 18" bike so that the new braking method could be taught prior to moving up. But I have to admit that this did not stop my first one from needing a row of stitches on her chin after an accident on week #2 on her 20" gear bike. She panicked and pedaled backwards, and crashed into another rider. So even with all your best efforts to anticipate the problems of learning new skills, injuries can happen.

  9. #9
    Old. Bald. Slow. openclassmx's Avatar
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    My little girl is 3 and 2 months. She's pretty tall at over 3 feet. I've borrowed a trailer (InStep) from a coworker to see if she likes it, which I can already tell she will. She's already put her JelliBell on the bar where she can reach it. I'm just concerned as to how fast she'll be ready to ride on her own and give up the buggy. We're going out for my maiden "tow" Sunday.
    "This flag is blue with a yellow stripe. If you see this flag, it means there's a race goin' on. And you ain't in it."
    -Marty Martin, Georgia MX promoter. R.I.P.

  10. #10
    Junior Member
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    Here's another point worth considering: for the sizes less than 20 inches, consider Craigs list or thrift stores. Many people use Craigs list to get rid of the bikes they bought at Walmart. They say they want $25, but I bet if you offered $10, or even just to take if off their hands, they would do it. Also, a bike-store-quality bike on Craigs list should run for 40 to 50% of what you'd pay for it in the store. Thus, you might find a good Trek that retails for $150 for less than $75. Because kids use these smaller sizes for less than two years, a used bike of this size rarely has that much wear on it. Conversely, if there is a lot of wear on the bike, you know it's a good bike.

  11. #11
    Senior Member DynamicD74's Avatar
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    When my daughter was that age, about a year and a half ago, and in the 95% for height, we purchased a Specialized Hotrock, and she loves it. It is well built, with great components for a coaster brake bike. It is heavy, as most kids' bikes are, but it also feels well balanced and safe.
    Stealth Bike Pilot

  12. #12
    Fred
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    We have three kids closely spaced so we decided no new bikes and "you get what you get and don't complain."

    Girls bikes seem much more available than boys for some reason. We've never paid more than $25 for a used one, and that was a 7 speed Specialized in perfect shape (and pink). We've been given bikes and given away as many. We did keep around one "extra" with the pedals off for learning on 2 wheels.

    We found the Razr 3 wheel and 2 wheel scooters to be a great starting point and helps with balance. $30 or so and fold up so you can always have them with you. Buy some skateboard bearings to replace the bushings in the three wheel model.

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