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Kids Bikes: Specs vs Aesthetics

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Kids Bikes: Specs vs Aesthetics

Old 05-03-15, 09:36 AM
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OdIENACk
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Kids Bikes: Specs vs Aesthetics

I'm going to make a concerted effort to get my three kids riding bikes this summer. I made the mistake of getting them department store bikes with training wheels a couple years ago. While initially excited about them, they don't really enjoy riding and so they haven't learned to balance yet. (I have removed the peddles and gearing off one to the bikes, so we'll see how it works as a balance bike.)

So, I've been taking them to the LBSs to try-out various bikes. All three are basically the same size. I think we're narrowed down to either the Trek Jet / Mystic 20 or the Hotrock 20. I've read the Hotrock is a bit lighter, but all three of my kids like the prefer the Trek bikes for aesthetic reasons.

Unlike the wal-mart bikes, the Trek seems like a good bike, just maybe not as good as the hot rock. So know I'm in a quandary: Should I get the bikes that they will be more excited to ride, or the bike that might be a bit easier to ride? Anyone been in a similar situation that could give me an opinion?
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Old 05-04-15, 01:07 PM
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I have had both the Mystic and HotRock in 16" wheel size. They are both fine for performance. Solidly made. Kids bikes are typically WAY overbuilt for their weight. Neither should break when riding.
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Old 05-04-15, 02:17 PM
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If you want your kids to be riders. Specs beats looks- every time. 90% of kids bikes today are way too heavy and way too slow.
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Old 05-06-15, 09:42 AM
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Working in a shop and with three of my own. Kids could care less about specs and I compare it to walking down the cereal aisle. I'm not say all kids but most will choose the flashiest and whatever comes with the coolest toy or their favorite cartoon on the front. Same with a bike.

"Woah Mom/Dad this bike has Lightning McQueen and cool useless plastic pieces all over it."
Or..
"Hey check out this Trek as it has a nice warranty and we'll get great service and a free tuneup if we buy it."

If your kid says the second one then that's pretty hardcore. Lol. But seriously I don't hate on department store bikes. Mostly just how their put together at the store. We would get a lot of people who would bring in their bikes from Walmart after they just bought it and wonder why this and that doesn't work. We would end up having to do a tune up on it and basically go back through it just the same as most bikes straight out of the box from any shop...true wheels, adjust axles/bottom bracket/headset/brakes...yada yada. Once their correctly put together they worked fine.

Kids bikes from bike shops are almost all made in China and have low end parts and normally all steel...cranks, bars...etc. it's just the fact if something goes wrong then you got the service. Walmart...you've got a receipt to bring it back and get another and hope it's put together a little better. My kids both have Trek kids bikes. A 12" Mystic and MT60. Both are total tanks nearly weigh as much as they do. They also race bmx so they have their separate race bikes that weigh half of what their normal bike shop bikes weigh. Now I'm going off track.

Kids are hard on bikes...really hard hence the reason almost everything is all steel besides the frames and rims sometimes are aluminum. Be it wally world bikes or something double the price at whatever dealership. I've never looked down on someone bring in a Next bike to some carbon wonder bike customer. Their money is no greener then the others and if your out riding then that's cool with me.

Same with my kids. If you like this Tom and Jerry bike over this Trek bike I really don't care because in the end it's whatever is going to get you to ride. My son's first bike was a Thomas the train bike because he loved Thomas. But that got him out and alway wanting to rude and love that little bike. Mind you I can fix whatever on a bike. So the hub needed adjustment to keep from dragging and the bearing were completely dry of any grease. But when building up god knows how many kids bikes at the shop. Most of them come in looking the same out of the box with barely and grease and everything needing adjusting. Compared to just pulling it out of the box and airing up the tires and tossing it onto the floor.

Forcing a child to ride is the worse thing to do and make them not want to ride very quickly. So please don't pull a "this bike cost so much so you better ride over that piece of junk at walmart." It's just to get them out riding and enjoying it. Just think of it as the same bike but one is being built by Joe blow who builds up bbq's and swings etc to John Blow who works on nothing but bikes and you paying more for the same bike but a master of one to a jack of all trades built it.
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Old 05-06-15, 08:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Henry III
Working in a shop and with three of my own. Kids could care less about specs and I compare it to walking down the cereal aisle. I'm not say all kids but most will choose the flashiest and whatever comes with the coolest toy or their favorite cartoon on the front. Same with a bike....
Huh- All my kids cared about once they were about 5 or so was "Which one goes fastest". As you said, YMMV.

(I have 7, the littlest one is still on a balance bike)
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Old 05-07-15, 04:41 PM
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Well said, Henry III.

My 6 year old has a $10 Trek MT60 I got off Craigslist. It's. A. Tank. He's growing, so last weekend we went to a local dealer to check out a 24" bike. Came away with a Hotrock. Solidly built, about the same weight as the MT60. He liked it because it was red. I didn't care as long as he was going to ride it. If I had taken him to Wally World he would have picked out some Star Wars bike or a Ninjago or Mario bike, and I would have cared about the quality, but he would be happy and would ride it so I wouldn't have cared as much in the end. I didn't give him that opportunity, though, because I took him to a dealer that had quality bikes. I dealt with this bike issue like I have dealt with getting the kids ready for bed. I no longer ask "would you please get ready for bed?" or somesuch. I ask "It's time to get ready for bed--would you like to brush your teeth or wash your face first?"
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