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Old 02-28-06, 06:50 PM
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Location: Denver, Colorado
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Bikes: Trek 930 mutt (beater) Gary Fisher '98 Paragon

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Originally Posted by Sprocket Man
I'm currently looking for a new bike for my 6 year old daughter. We've looked at a bunch of different models at various shops, and one thing I've found that they all have in common - they're all really heavy! When I pick up these bikes, they definitely feel heavier than my road bike (which is about 18 lbs.).

I have a couple of questions about bikes for kids just learning to ride 2 wheelers.

1. Where would I find a good selection of lightweight kids bikes? (online stores would be fine)
2. Is it even recommended for a kid to have a lightweight bike? Perhaps its better for a kid to learn to ride on a bike that has a little more 'bulk'?

Maybe my road cycling weight obsession is unnecessarily affecting my buying decision for my daughter. I have no idea!
This topic, under another heading ("Cheap vs expensive kids bikes" or something like that) was discussed last year, and weight was one of the prime issues. So I'll reprise what I wrote then-

"Something I hadn't considered about the weight issue is that the five pounds you save is a much greater portion of your child's overall weight while on the bike. Think of it this way: 40# child + 25# bike+ 65 #'s, take 5# off you've saved 7.7% of their riding weight. Apply that 7.7% to an adult's weight: 180# adult (me) + 30# bike= 210# * 1.07.7= 226#, or 16+ extra pounds riding weight (and yes, I know the algebra doesn't quite work). As well, I'm stronger in the legs (proportionately) than my son, so the extra weight is easier for me to carry. That said, I sure wouldn't want to carry the extra 16 pounds on a longer ride, and it really is noticeable when comparing bikes (my commuter feels like a brick compared to my 24# trail bike).

All that said, we will wait until he gets a little older, and onto two wheels full time (he's four and a half right now) before we spend the big money and get him a really good bike. That part of the equation, and how your child fits it, is up to you, of course . "

Many, many kids bikes are built from the cheapest possible materials, and those at sizes common for adult bikes (tube size of kids is similar to adults, for example). It's amazing how fast cheap and common materials will turn a bike into a rock. Better bikes (Kids Treks, Fishers, Speciallized, and so forth) watch weight more closely, though they do suffer from the scale thing. Given the weight of kids bikes, it might seem a wonder that we learn to ride at all, except that it's so damn much fun.

My advise? Check out used kids bikes by better manufacturers. Never buy new until they're dedicated to riding on their own. There are lots of great used kids bikes out there for the looking (Craigslist, Ebay, LBS, yardsales). Understand that they'll outgrow the bike fast (which, as the father of a six year old I'm sure you already understand) and purchase accordingly. And don't rush them in to something they're not ready for.

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