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Old 09-06-11, 06:45 PM   #1
Jyyanks
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How much would you spend on a bike for a 6 year old boy?

My son is 6 years old and 48 inches tall. He still does not know how to ride a bike without training wheels but we are planning on teaching him this fall. Based on his height, the bike shop recommended a bike with 20 inch wheels but the bikes at the shop were all about $240 (raleigh, trek etc).

I know they are quality bikes but that seems to be a lot of money for a bike he will outgrow and which may get wrecked as we try to teach him. Then again, maybe a bike with 20 inch wheels will last him at least 3 years. Can anyone provide any guidance? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old 09-06-11, 10:44 PM   #2
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I would get a Wal-Mart BMX for him personally. I got my first quality bike when I was 12. A HARO Revo.
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Old 09-07-11, 02:34 PM   #3
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I thought hard about this and then thought back on my own first bike. I wasn't very skilled and that bike sure needed to be bomb-proof. Fortunately back then most bikes were one speeds with a Bendix brake so they were pretty sturdy. You might be wise to hold off buying the quality bike and get him a properly-sized second hand bike to wreck as he learns to ride. You will not have to be mad if he does. BTW, wisdom doesn't necessarily come to all kids very quickly. I lent an expensive road bike to a 15 year old and within 1/4 mile watched him go up on the sidewalk and then ride it off the curb. Needless to say, I never lent it to him again.
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Old 09-07-11, 07:01 PM   #4
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I thought hard about this and then thought back on my own first bike. I wasn't very skilled and that bike sure needed to be bomb-proof. Fortunately back then most bikes were one speeds with a Bendix brake so they were pretty sturdy. You might be wise to hold off buying the quality bike and get him a properly-sized second hand bike to wreck as he learns to ride. You will not have to be mad if he does. BTW, wisdom doesn't necessarily come to all kids very quickly. I lent an expensive road bike to a 15 year old and within 1/4 mile watched him go up on the sidewalk and then ride it off the curb. Needless to say, I never lent it to him again.

I never thought about a used bike. My LBS may sell used bikes as well so maybe I will check with them first. If he learns how to ride a bike this fall, maybe I will get him a new bike for the holidays.
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Old 09-07-11, 07:02 PM   #5
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I would get a Wal-Mart BMX for him personally. I got my first quality bike when I was 12. A HARO Revo.
Thank you for the response. Come to think of it, I didn't get my first quality bike until this year and I'm in my late 30's!
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Old 09-07-11, 10:34 PM   #6
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I spent about for my daughters first good bike at 6. It was a specialized 24" hotrock with an 11 inch frame. She was able to ride it for three yrs at which point it was passed down to her brother who has ridden it (hard) for more than 3yrs. I have had to do no maintenance other than flat repairs in the 7 plus years we have had it. My philosophy has been that I like quality and my children should have no less.
The other thing to keep in mind is (at least in my area) the resale value of a quality kids bike is 50+ percent of the bikes original cost.
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Old 09-07-11, 10:44 PM   #7
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I would second the idea of a used bike. I have three kids and have bought the department store/cheap bikes as first bikes and they all seemed to fall apart and be garbage within two years (if they lasted that long). The last bike I bought for my youngest daughter, who is 5, was a used bike (Norco) and we will likely be able to sell it when she grows out of it and recover some of our money. In buying this bike we also only payed about 1/2 of what it would have retailed for and it was two years old or less, in good condition. The great thing about quality kids bikes is that kids usually outgrow them before they need to be replaced, so there are lots of great used bikes that can be had for reasonable prices.
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Old 09-08-11, 05:32 AM   #8
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Look into BMX bikes. Younger kids and gearing are often not a good mix. BMX bikes are simple, durable to the point of being almost indestructible, and good ones are likely to be lighter in weight than the geared bikes that Trek and similar companies sell for kids. Plus, if you're neighborhood is anything like my own, all the cool kids are riding around on BMX bikes anyway.

Avoid Walmart if you can afford better. Don't be afraid to spend $300 or so. Find a bike shop that specializes in BMX bikes. Shop there.
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Old 09-08-11, 06:42 AM   #9
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A good quality kids bike is hard to trash, even by a six year old. At 44" in height, my five year old is on his fourth bike (now at 20" wheels). All of his previous bikes are in fine shape for his younger brother to use when he's big enough. Knowing they'll be used twice helps justify the cost.

I've been considering a 20" Louis Garneau road bike for around $600. However, just today I discovered Fuji sells a 20" road bike here in Taiwan that is very affordable at $200. The same bike is nearly $400 in the US. I probably wouldn't consider a road bike in most situations but we have about 80 miles of dedicated riverfront cycling paths very near our house. No cars and no streets to cross. I think my son would get a kick out of riding hard and very fast on those paths.

Your son should get at least two years out of a 20" bike. Doesn't Craigslist usually has quite a few listed?
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Old 09-08-11, 12:34 PM   #10
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Does your family ride? If so, make sure he starts and stays on a good bike. If not, he will probably follow your example and the bike will sit.
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Old 09-08-11, 12:41 PM   #11
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If you know bike mechanics at all, I say get a nice cheapy off CL and make sure it's tuned up then let him outgrow it, then repeat.
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Old 09-08-11, 12:41 PM   #12
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We live in a hilly town and like to take family rides. So my 6 year-old got a 20" Raleigh Rowdy with gears. It has made him much happier to ride with us, and he loves it. Do I wish I could have gotten away with spending less $$ on a bike for him? Yes. But there was nothing at a big box store that even comes close to the quality and functionality we got with this bike.
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Old 09-08-11, 02:28 PM   #13
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Get a cheap bike to thrash around...if your child is still on training wheels, remove it now along with the pedals and effectively make it like a push bike.

The trick is to have him push the bike around with his feet firmly in touch with the ground and not worry about pedaling. He will learn to balance the bike much more quickly than running behind him while pedalling. Trust me on this one!
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Old 09-09-11, 05:47 PM   #14
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Thanks for all your replies. I found a used bike on craigslist for $20. I'll teach him with this bike and if he really loves it, I'll buy him a high quality bmx style bike for the holidays. Thanks for the sage advice.
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