first off let me say i do not know much about biking. i am going to get my 5 year old daughter her first "real" bike. she has had a small 12" bike in the past. i want to get her probably a 16" bike. i am near portland, OR so i know there is a lot of bike places here. i have looked at all the big stores (fred meyer, target, toys r us, etc) it just seems the bikes they sell have very poor quality control standards by their reviews. it seems i should stay clear of things like 5 spoke plastic wheels and check that the wheels align, early rusting signs, and that the frame is straight. i have found a mongoose bike at fred meyer that seems ok for $100, and i thought i remeber mongoose being a nice brand when i was young. i hope to spend not much more than that. would it be in my intrest to go to acutaul cycle shops or is it not necessary or cost effective since the bike only probably last 3 years at most for her age group. any brands to look for that have good bang for the buck or things to look forward too, shops to go to, etc. any help would be great.
I would'nt be too afraid of a "Wal-mart" bike for your daughter. I bought my 3.5 year old (she's tall!)the disney princess bike from wal-mart and she is 5 now and it still rides like new. I did buy one in the box and put it together myself though, or you could buy it off the rack and do some minor adjustments with wheels and handlebars at home. Unless your daughter is into freestyle and doing back flips on it I think you can be happy with a cheaper bike. Once my girl gets a onto a 20" I think I will get her a higher end bike though.