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Old 08-18-14, 07:18 AM   #1
rachorno
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Bike recommendations for almost 4 year old - learned on Strider

Hi everyone -
I'm new to this board so forgive me if this has been asked before.

My son turns 4 in December and we are looking to buy him his first pedal bike this fall. I think he is a tad on the shorter side for his age... about a 16" inseam at the moment. He learned to balance on a Strider which he has been riding for about a year or so.

I am comparing between the Specialized Hotrock 12" or the Islabike CNOC 14" ... definitely want something light and easy to maneuver (for him to use without training wheels).

Does anyone know the height range each will accommodate? I have found a rather great deal on the 12" Hotrock (used), but if he is almost growing out of that model, maybe I would splurge for the Islabike which would last him longer.... However, I don't want him to be discouraged by a bike that is too big.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 08-18-14, 11:38 AM   #2
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If you found a good deal on a used 12" bike, then I'd do that. Yes, it might not last him as long, but it should last him 'til he's ready to go to a 16" wheel (and, yes, you don't want to get too large a bike).
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Old 08-18-14, 11:57 AM   #3
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My son is 41" with a 17.5" inseam and he still has plenty of room to grow on the 12" Hot Rock. It's been a good starter bike for him. He's able to maneuver it pretty well, definitely better than the other brick-weight 12" bikes. For the last two months, he's been riding it home 4 miles from daycare two nights a week. After having it for nine months, we are moving up to the 16" Cleary Bikes Hedgehog for his fourth birthday. I'm hopeful that he will be okay with the bigger bike.

I got the Hot Rock used for $50, so I don't feel bad about moving him up to the next size bike so quickly. Our reasons for moving him up even though he still has room to grow: (1) ditching the coaster brake in favor of hand brakes; (2) allowing him to go faster with less effort (when we ride the 4 miles home, he's cranking pretty hard the whole way); (3) better geometry--while it's fairly maneuverable, the upright position of the Hot Rock gives him a relatively high center of gravity, which is slightly unstable. I personally would hold off on investing in a more expensive bike until the 16" size, though it's possible your son could jump from the CNOC 14 to a Beinn 20 Small (which is a great bike--we have one for our daughter that will be passed down to our son).
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Old 08-18-14, 12:00 PM   #4
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My sons used the Treks Jet. They grew with them just by raising the seat. And they lasted too. They rode them all through grade school.
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Old 08-18-14, 12:18 PM   #5
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My son is just about 4 and average size. His wheels are 12.5 inches. I am unsure of actual frame size or how kids bikes are measured. With his seat adjusted just a bit low for pedaling he can just reach the ground tip-toed.

Heck, keep looking. I found a excellent deal on this bike. FREE! The family was giving it away on the side of the road. Passed my safety criteria and underwent maintenance. It works great. Then sell it once he outgrows it to subsidize the new one.

He learned how to ride it in one morning! Just put him on it and coach him through, within a week he was fully self-sustaining.
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Old 08-18-14, 12:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rachorno View Post
Hi everyone -
I'm new to this board so forgive me if this has been asked before.

My son turns 4 in December and we are looking to buy him his first pedal bike this fall. I think he is a tad on the shorter side for his age... about a 16" inseam at the moment. He learned to balance on a Strider which he has been riding for about a year or so.

I am comparing between the Specialized Hotrock 12" or the Islabike CNOC 14" ... definitely want something light and easy to maneuver (for him to use without training wheels).

Does anyone know the height range each will accommodate? I have found a rather great deal on the 12" Hotrock (used), but if he is almost growing out of that model, maybe I would splurge for the Islabike which would last him longer.... However, I don't want him to be discouraged by a bike that is too big.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
If you go down the Islabikes route and want to know the size, go to http://www.islabikes.com/us/bike_pag...rt-USA_web.pdf - I don't know what their resale value in the US is (only very recently set up over there, but in the UK they can fetch 80+% on Ebay after a year or more's use. We use them at our club without any real problems, even when they're loaned out for races.
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Old 08-18-14, 01:15 PM   #7
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I didn't get our kids "good" bikes until they hit the 20" wheel size. All our kids learned (and are learning) on department-store bikes with 12" wheels.

IMO, with the really small sizes (less than 20" wheels), you're paying too much and getting too little for kids that are growing too fast. At around 20" and 24", you can start finding the bike shop stuff on CL and it's going to be decent.
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Old 08-18-14, 01:16 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by atbman View Post
If you go down the Islabikes route and want to know the size, go to http://www.islabikes.com/us/bike_pag...rt-USA_web.pdf - I don't know what their resale value in the US is (only very recently set up over there, but in the UK they can fetch 80+% on Ebay after a year or more's use. We use them at our club without any real problems, even when they're loaned out for races.
That's a helpful chart. Now if only I could find the same info for the Hotrock !
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Old 08-18-14, 01:21 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Phantoj View Post
I didn't get our kids "good" bikes until they hit the 20" wheel size. All our kids learned (and are learning) on department-store bikes with 12" wheels.

IMO, with the really small sizes (less than 20" wheels), you're paying too much and getting too little for kids that are growing too fast. At around 20" and 24", you can start finding the bike shop stuff on CL and it's going to be decent.
This is the advice I have followed and plan to follow.
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Old 08-18-14, 03:08 PM   #10
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Based on my experience, I have to disagree about the cheap department store bikes or even expensive "brick" bikes. We tried to start my daughter off on a Novara Stinger 12" pedal bike (bought used for $30) that weighed 20 lbs. Since she was accustomed to a 7 lb Strider, she had no interest in trying to propel 3 times that weight and we couldn't sell her on the superiority of a pedal bike. At 4, she could pedal around the park, but quickly got tired of riding. She outgrew that bike (I think she was around 44") and we tried a 16" Trek Mystic (the girl's equivalent of the Jet), which was both heavier and less maneuverable--the geometry of that bike is awful. She fell a few times with that bike and we had a very hard time getting her interested again. It wasn't until we picked up a 16" Hot Rock at a thrift store that she really took off with riding at almost 5. She went from riding around the block to riding miles at a time. With my son, we went straight to the 12" Hot Rock and he was riding at 3.5 and as I said above, will ride 4 miles twice a week. We have a friend who bought her relatively small son a 16" Islabike when he turned 5. He rode 26 miles last weekend on the 16"--I can't imagine trying to do that as a 5 year old on a 23 lb bike. Yes, the bike may only last a year and half, but in that year and a half they are fostering a lifelong love of cycling and having great experiences.
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Old 08-24-14, 02:13 PM   #11
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Be sure to check with some of the biggies like Trek and Giant. I know both of those dealers in my area offer a trade in program in kids bikes. For Giant is is 50% of the original purchase price toward a new bike of larger size (up to 24" wheels) when you trade in within 2 years (the used bike must be in decent condition, it is tuned up by the shop and then donated to charity). The Trek dealer offers something similar, but might be a 3 year window? Also check if they're offering any other incentives that may make it more worth your while to purchase new vs. used. For instance my local Giant dealer is also offering a free bell, kickstand and helmet with an MSRP of up to $40 on all new kids bike purchases.
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