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  1. #1
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Decent Bike for 8 yr old boy - for family rides

    I think we're done with department store bikes that don't last. Both my wife and I have gotten into triathlons and since doing so, we just like to ride more. We're blessed to live in an area that's bike friendly. The nearest trail is a few blocks away and connects to a fairly extensive network of trails with destinations that both we and the kids enjoy.

    We'd like to get another bike for our son so that we could go longer distances, maybe 6 to 8 miles one way to a beach or outdoor concert and then ride back an hour or two later. He does 4 miles OK now on his cheap bike but it's hard enough work for him that he only wants do it occasionally. The new bke would be mostly for next season, so he'd be another year older (8).

    What are good quality brands that make kids bikes? Trek? Is he too young for gears? The trend for kids seems to be BMX style bikes which is fine as long as it won't be too heavy to go a little distance.

    Fall seems like a good time to get a bike at a good price. Used is OK too. His younger sister will be riding a tag-along for our more lengthy journeys, although that probably has no bearing on what to get our son.

    Thanks for any input !

  2. #2
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    No right or wrong answer with gears. He is probably not too young for gears. My oldest got their gear bike at 7.5. I'm happy with the choice. It makes varied terrain easier.

    Previous thread on this subject

  3. #3
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel
    What are good quality brands that make kids bikes?
    Go to any decent bike shop and you'll have your question answered.
    My bikes: 2001 Litespeed Tuscany---2015 Cannondale Supersix EVO carbon 105

    Life is like a 10-speed bicycle. Most of us have gears we never use. ~ Charles Schultz

  4. #4
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    Trek and Specialized both make kids' bikes that I've seen at the LBS. As for gears, I'm sure an 8-year old would have no problem using them. The thing is that kids tend to trash their bikes (at least I did when I was 8). There's a lot less to break (or adjust) with a single speed.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  5. #5
    Senior Member tjspiel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    Trek and Specialized both make kids' bikes that I've seen at the LBS. As for gears, I'm sure an 8-year old would have no problem using them. The thing is that kids tend to trash their bikes (at least I did when I was 8). There's a lot less to break (or adjust) with a single speed.
    That's a definite worry. He also seems to be on the line between a 20" and 24" bike. The 24" Treks I see are 21 speed and I'd prefer that his first geared bike not have a front derailleur.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    While I like LBS bikes if you can afford it, there are some decent budget buys at some of the big stores. Pacific Cycle (makes Schwinn, Mongoose, GT, etc.), are available at Dicks and other sporting goods stores, and even Target. In this class of bikes, much of the basic components are the same as what Trek & Giant offers. Look for Shimano, SRAM, Sun. I would avoid Falcon (sometimes marked FIS), but that is just an opinion.

    My daughters first gear bike at age 7 was a Pacific, and it was virtually parts interchangeable with a shop bike. I bought it used at a yard sale, and have since passed it on to a friend as my second daughter is several years behind. The big issue is assembly and maintenance. If you are not skilled, go to your LBS.

    Given the terrain where we live, getting into gears as early as possible was important for us. She took to them quickly and was a much more enthusiastic rider as a result. One suggestion, however. Lots of supervision early on when your child makes the transition from coaster brake to hand brake. My daughter panicked and had a crash a week or two into it when she backpedaled rather than hand-braked. It is a hard habit for some kids to break.

  7. #7
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    I bought a banana seat bike for my kid (he loves it) but promised the site I would put in a good word for them because of the extra care they went to so that the bike arrived on my sons birthday. It is an awesome banana seat bicycle but decide for yourself at: http://justbicycles.com/bike_category.php?item=10

  8. #8
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    Nice retro design. It is 1968 all over again!

    It is not something that I would go off and buy, but variety is the spice of life! Enjoy, and Happy BD to your son.

  9. #9
    Just ignore the wind... SMN21601's Avatar
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    I just ordered this: http://www.performancebike.com/shop/....cfm?sku=23882 for my 7 year old son who wants gears and the ability to ride on and off the pavement. If you have it shipped to the store, assembly and shipping are free. With the 15% e-coupon it was just under $170 total including tax.
    "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'" -Ronald Reagan

  10. #10
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    I realize that a decent kids bike is not cheap, but don't give up on the idea if buying a new one from your LBS is not in your budget. If you have some basic knowledge of how to adjust and maintain a bike, keep a watchful eye out for used. I scored big on Saturday at a community yard sale. $10 for a girls Trek Mountain Lion 60 (20" tires, 6 speed). Dirty and some adjustment issues, but in otherwise nice shape.

    I invested two hours for a good cleaning, lub and adjustment, and it is ready to roll. The funny part is that I really won't need this bike for my youngest for probably 2-3 years. Last year I gave away a similar bike to a friends kid because I felt that sitting on a bike for 4 years was wasteful when someone could be out riding.

  11. #11
    cycle-dog spot DinoShepherd's Avatar
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    I haven't seen any kids bikes with gears that weren't pretty cheap in every sense of the world.

    Check out the Redline Proline for about $250 well under 20 pounds. We also have a tandem which is great fun and evens everything up.

  12. #12
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    Decent Kids Bike

    Quote Originally Posted by tjspiel View Post

    We'd like to get another bike for our son so that we could go longer distances, maybe 6 to 8 miles one way to a beach or outdoor concert and then ride back an hour or two later. He does 4 miles OK now on his cheap bike but it's hard enough work for him that he only wants do it occasionally. The new bke would be mostly for next season, so he'd be another year older (8).

    What are good quality brands that make kids bikes? Trek? Is he too young for gears? The trend for kids seems to be BMX style bikes which is fine as long as it won't be too heavy to go a little distance.

    Fall seems like a good time to get a bike at a good price. Used is OK too. His younger sister will be riding a tag-along for our more lengthy journeys, although that probably has no bearing on what to get our son.

    Thanks for any input !
    Both Centurion and Gitano made really nice 24" wheel 10 speed bikes back in the 80's. I just picked up a Centurion 24" for my Granddaughter in a thrift store for $20.00. Haunt Craigslist and eBay, they are still around. As for gears, I build a 10 speed on a 20" frame for my daughter when she was 5, at that time in the 70's such a thing did not exist. She had no problem learning to shift, I would ride along side and coach her at first and soon she was fine on her own. We had to keep our speed down because of her and our son on his 24" Gitano, but having good bikes made it possible for them to ride with us. Go for it!!!

  13. #13
    Member mupedalpusher's Avatar
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    Ditto on the LBS. They should have just what you need. Our daughter has a 24 inch Schwinn without shocks and it's a great bike. Our son rode a Trek Mtn Lion at that age and it was good too. I've had several kids come through my bike classes with cheap bikes that are horrible! Go for the good bike, you'll never regret it.

  14. #14
    Are you with me Flash's Avatar
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    Hi, my daughter is riding the Trek MT 220. I find it to be an excellent bike for kids in this target age group (she is 9). It is extremely adjustable, from the stem to the crank positions, has seven gears via the twist/grip method, suspension fork, nice geometry.

    I have no idea what it weighs, but it is heavy. She loves the bike and it's a nice introduction to off-road for her. She is learning when to shift, she is getting a feel for the fork, etc.
    Bought it for $270. My son will get it when she grows out of it, bonus.

    Don't remember if you mentioned it at the top, but your son, at 8, may be in that tweener stage -- between a 20" and 24" bike. If the 24" fits, go for it.

    pic (not mine):



    info from trek website:

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...es_9_12/mt220/

    good luck
    ---------------------------------
    must...teach...lesson.

  15. #15
    GATC
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    My son is still riding his 'Giant'. It's kinda cool, could mount a standard kickstand after pulling the training wheels. I just last night mounted a superflash blinkie and planet bike led headlight to the bar too. The kickstand of course I had to cut down since he's got 16" wheels. By the time he's 8 or whenever, can move him up to 20" bike, hopefully the kickstand and certainly the lights should slide right over.

  16. #16
    Are you with me Flash's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HardyWeinberg View Post
    My son is still riding his 'Giant'. It's kinda cool, could mount a standard kickstand after pulling the training wheels. I just last night mounted a superflash blinkie and planet bike led headlight to the bar too. The kickstand of course I had to cut down since he's got 16" wheels. By the time he's 8 or whenever, can move him up to 20" bike, hopefully the kickstand and certainly the lights should slide right over.
    nice upgrades. amazing how happy they are when they get lights and other stuff. you may be looking at a 24" when he's 8, just my guess, based on what I've been through recently. My 5.75-yr old son went from the 12" direct to 20". 16" would have worked but 20" was comfortable and room to grow. It amazed me how the 12" would still work with the seat jacked up.

    btw, nice username.

    "This snp is HWE-out, regenotype!!

    cheers
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  17. #17
    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flash View Post
    nice upgrades. amazing how happy they are when they get lights and other stuff. you may be looking at a 24" when he's 8, just my guess, based on what I've been through recently. My 5.75-yr old son went from the 12" direct to 20". 16" would have worked but 20" was comfortable and room to grow. It amazed me how the 12" would still work with the seat jacked up.
    He started w/ the 16" bike at age... 3 I'm thinking, turned 6 in July. This was his first summer on just 2 wheels. It had just occurred to me that his next step might be 24" rather than 20" since he's pretty fond of his current ride. Wait and see I guess. Have to sell the Giant to his little sister, but after a lifetime (well not quite 3 yrs but it seems like a long time to her) of blue hand-me-down helmets and superhero pajamas, she's starting to agitate for a pink Hello Kitty bike.

    "This snp is HWE-out, regenotype!!
    Time to screen a new locus!

  18. #18
    Packfodding 3 caloso's Avatar
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    It's amazing how excited my son was to have me ziptie an old blinkie on the back of his bike.
    Cyclists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lube but your chains!

  19. #19
    Senior Member Fibber's Avatar
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    I did bike transitions in steps, because I never liked the idea of a bike that was larger than they could easily handle.

    Daughter #1 went 16" -> 18" -> 20" -> 24" -> 26" tire size bikes. Daughter #2 is starting off on a 12" as I got her riding without training wheels at 4.5 yrs old. You can find 18" bikes (Kent, IIRC) at Toys-R-Us. We went with gears at the 20" size, although I am thinking of building up a wheel using a 3 spd hub for the 18" bike. It already has hand brakes as I used it as a training exercise previously for the transition to a gear bike (no coaster brake).

  20. #20
    GATC
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    Quote Originally Posted by caloso View Post
    It's amazing how excited my son was to have me ziptie an old blinkie on the back of his bike.
    He made me get him up before 6 this morning to go for a ride in the dark, but when he was standing on the porch peering out into the mist, he decided to try his dark ride tonight after sunset.

  21. #21
    Fred
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fibber View Post
    I realize that a decent kids bike is not cheap, but don't give up on the idea if buying a new one from your LBS is not in your budget. If you have some basic knowledge of how to adjust and maintain a bike, keep a watchful eye out for used. I scored big on Saturday at a community yard sale. $10 for a girls Trek Mountain Lion 60 (20" tires, 6 speed). Dirty and some adjustment issues, but in otherwise nice shape.

    I invested two hours for a good cleaning, lub and adjustment, and it is ready to roll. The funny part is that I really won't need this bike for my youngest for probably 2-3 years. Last year I gave away a similar bike to a friends kid because I felt that sitting on a bike for 4 years was wasteful when someone could be out riding.
    I do the same thing. Every time I find a good bike, I buy it. Last find was a Raleigh C-30 hybrid - $15 at Goodwill because the tires were flat (although bran new!) and the shifter was broken. Bought a shifter on eBay for $10 and fixed it, then sold it for $30 to a neighbor so he can ride with his daughter. Then we gave away 12" boys and 16" and 20" girls bikes. I'm trying to flood the market.

    Right now I'd like to get a 24" wheel bike for my daughter. All the used bikes seem to be 21 speed mountain bikes, where what I'd like is a 7 or 12 speed hybrid or road bike. I may have to bite the bullet at a bike shop!

  22. #22
    Drunk on wheels
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    I wouldn't suggest a BMX bike for just riding they're built heavily by design so they can take serious abuse, they really aren't comfortable to ride

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