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Old 08-06-14, 04:27 AM   #1
geekmom
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Recommendations for a 20" kid's bike

My daughter is ready for 20" bike, not riding without training wheels yet. I'm looking for somethign lightweight, single speed, hand brake and coaster brake to get her started.

Any recommendations? I'd like to go with bike shop quality as it will be passed down to two more kids.
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Old 08-06-14, 07:55 AM   #2
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Islabikes. But if she's big enough for a 20" wheeled bike, she really shouldn't be using training wheels. For now keep the present bike and take those darn things off. When she can balance, then start looking for a bigger bike.
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Old 08-06-14, 08:12 AM   #3
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My boys both rode Treks. ANd don't worry about training wheels. Don't push her. She will get there. My oldest rode his until training wheels were falling apart. When I took them off, there was no transition period. The youngest wanted his off once he saw his older brother riding without. But he wasn't ready. It took about a week and he managed it but he never felt as comfortable as his older brother. Not sure if it had anything to do with the training wheels. But kids get to where they need to be on their own.
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Old 08-06-14, 11:58 AM   #4
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We absolutely love our Islabike Beinn 20 Small. The geometry, quality and features are head and shoulders above anything else currently in the market. My daughter has also ridden Specialized, Giant, and Trek bikes and there's absolutely no comparison in terms of her comfort level with the bike and her speed. For reference, she's 5 years old and recently completed a kid's triathlon and did the 4 mile bike portion on her Islabike at an average speed of 14 mph.

If you're planning to buy new anyway and it's going to be passed down, I would spend the money on an Islabike. We were a little concerned at the outset about how she would adapt to the gears and the handbrakes. Initially, she spend most of her time on gear 3 or 4 and wouldn't change, but after 6 months she was pretty adept with the gears. The handbrakes were no problem either--after a day, she was a pro at stopping.

If you really don't want the hassle of gears, I'd look at the new Cleary bikes Owl, which will start shipping in late August: Owl - Cleary Blue - 20" Singlespeed Bike | Cleary Bikes
At 17lbs, it weighs in a full 7 lbs lighter than any of the non-racing 20" bikes other than Islabikes. The one caveat is that it doesn't have a coaster brake.

However, I'm very much anti-coaster brake. I think they're much more of a hindrance than a help. There's nothing like standing up to pedal, accidentally putting your weight a little too far back, and coming to a screeching halt. They also stop kids from getting into "power pedal position" to accelerate from a stop. I dislike them so much that we're springing for a Cleary bikes Hedgehog for my son's 4th birthday, because it's the only bike in the U.S. that doesn't have a coaster brake on the 16".

If you're buying used, my recommendation would be a Specialized Hot Rock, because they're marginally lighter than other brands.
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Old 08-06-14, 03:08 PM   #5
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We absolutely love our Islabike Beinn 20 Small. The geometry, quality and features are head and shoulders above anything else currently in the market. My daughter has also ridden Specialized, Giant, and Trek bikes and there's absolutely no comparison in terms of her comfort level with the bike and her speed. For reference, she's 5 years old and recently completed a kid's triathlon and did the 4 mile bike portion on her Islabike at an average speed of 14 mph.

If you're planning to buy new anyway and it's going to be passed down, I would spend the money on an Islabike. We were a little concerned at the outset about how she would adapt to the gears and the handbrakes. Initially, she spend most of her time on gear 3 or 4 and wouldn't change, but after 6 months she was pretty adept with the gears. The handbrakes were no problem either--after a day, she was a pro at stopping.

If you really don't want the hassle of gears, I'd look at the new Cleary bikes Owl, which will start shipping in late August: Owl - Cleary Blue - 20" Singlespeed Bike | Cleary Bikes
At 17lbs, it weighs in a full 7 lbs lighter than any of the non-racing 20" bikes other than Islabikes. The one caveat is that it doesn't have a coaster brake.

However, I'm very much anti-coaster brake. I think they're much more of a hindrance than a help. There's nothing like standing up to pedal, accidentally putting your weight a little too far back, and coming to a screeching halt. They also stop kids from getting into "power pedal position" to accelerate from a stop. I dislike them so much that we're springing for a Cleary bikes Hedgehog for my son's 4th birthday, because it's the only bike in the U.S. that doesn't have a coaster brake on the 16".

If you're buying used, my recommendation would be a Specialized Hot Rock, because they're marginally lighter than other brands.
I'm liking this! Good alternative to Redline for the non-racer.
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Old 08-06-14, 03:11 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by linnefaulk View Post
My boys both rode Treks. ANd don't worry about training wheels. Don't push her. She will get there. My oldest rode his until training wheels were falling apart. When I took them off, there was no transition period. The youngest wanted his off once he saw his older brother riding without. But he wasn't ready. It took about a week and he managed it but he never felt as comfortable as his older brother. Not sure if it had anything to do with the training wheels. But kids get to where they need to be on their own.
Never used them with any of mine, and they're all avid riders. Hmmm.
IMO training wheels just teach bad habits.
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Old 08-06-14, 03:29 PM   #7
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1. Take training wheels (offence against the trades descritpion act [UK reference]) - they train nowt'
2. take pedals off
3. lower saddle so she can rech ground easily
4. get her to "walk" the bike along (plenty of videos on youtube (see balance bikes))
5. find a grassy slope leading to flat ground so that she can get a bit of speed up
6. when she can propel herself fast enough to keep her feet off the ground for a few yards, get her to count out loud (with you) how many seconds (roughly) she can balance without putting herfeet down
7. when she's up to 20, put pedals on, teach her the "pedal up/power pedal/pedal ready position, help her get going with gentle push on her back - not the bike - and your troubles will then begin
8. get her an Islabike - resale value is fantastic
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Old 08-07-14, 02:53 AM   #8
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Thanks for your advice, everyone. Yes, I realize she is "too big for training wheels" ... her current 16" bike is too damn heavy. My fault.

The 3 year old has a specialized hotwalk and is doing great with it. I'm looking for a 16" hotrock to upgrade her to (and also to let the 5 year old use!) so I may also look for a 20" hotrock on craigslist as well.

Off to look at the recommendations from above!
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Old 08-24-14, 02:23 PM   #9
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We just recently got my 7 year old a Giant XTC Jr 20. It's a 7 speed and he can't quite gather the hand strength to go down in gears so we leave it in 4th for the most part. Cost is about $230 MSRP, but our Giant dealer also offers a 2 year window to trade in once he's ready for a 24" or full size bike. The bike being traded must be in decent condition, but the shop will tune it up and donate it to charity after he's done with it. The trade-in makes great economic sense for us since it's not that much more expensive than a department store bike for a lot higher quality rig. Plus he won't stop growing so I'm sure by the end of next summer he's gonna need a new bike anyway.
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Old 08-25-14, 08:00 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by geekmom View Post
My daughter is ready for 20" bike, not riding without training wheels yet. I'm looking for somethign lightweight, single speed, hand brake and coaster brake to get her started.

Any recommendations? I'd like to go with bike shop quality as it will be passed down to two more kids.
As an alternative; Search on Amazon <www.amazon.com> for diamondback bicycles 20-inch That will get a long page of nice 20" wheeled bikes for girls (and boys) that are well priced. I have had good luck with the Diamondbacks for needs in the price range. All so far have been good bikes with no issues. And Amazon's quick delivery and rock solid support is nice also.

Hope that helps.
/K
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Old 08-25-14, 03:08 PM   #11
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Trek has Nice Kids Bikes .. they will hold a good resale value too..
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Old 09-16-14, 03:04 PM   #12
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My 6 year old daughter absolutely loves her Islabikes Beinn 20"Small. It is super lightweight and rides great. We just rode 18 miles total in the last 3 days with her, she can average 9mph for 6+ miles on flats, no problem. I highly recommend Islabikes to anyone serious about riding with their little ones. My 9 year old son has been riding a 24"Trek for the last year and a half.

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