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Stick with one-speed or buy geared bike for 7-year-old?

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Stick with one-speed or buy geared bike for 7-year-old?

Old 07-24-11, 08:24 PM
  #26  
ritepath
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We just bought our 9yo daughter a 7sp bike (5 days ago), she's getting better at the gears but it's taken several rides...she'll shift the wrong direction even with me giving her directions from behind. She's also having to get used to having a lever for the rear brake...LOL

She does seem to like it a lot better than a single speed she'll now ride it in the yard where before she only rode in the driveway or out on the states hardpan.

We all ride 4-6 miles most every evening so I expect her to have it down within the next few days.
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Old 08-27-11, 10:33 AM
  #27  
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My 7 yo daughter just learned to ride 2 wheels, so we wanted her to get use to riding on a single speed before adding features. And all of the geared bikes available to us were larger bikes that looked more intimidating. But if your is already proficient at riding, I'd go for the gears.
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Old 08-28-11, 10:01 AM
  #28  
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One thing that I did to ease the transition from the 16" coaster brake bike to the 20" geared bike was to put hand brakes on the 16" bike for a few months. By the time the kids outgrow 16" bikes, their hands are plenty strong enough for hand brakes.

If you switch to a geared bike and they are not used to hand brakes, they have two skills to learn at once. Putting the hand brakes on the 16" bike lets them learn one skill independently, with the added benefit of being safer. Whenever kids wobble, their first instinct is to take their feet off of the pedals. Feet off pedals = no brakes.

Both of my kids made the transition to geared bikes at 5 years old with no problems; it just takes some planning to help make things easier.
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Old 08-30-11, 01:30 AM
  #29  
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My 6 year old grandson got a 6-speed derailleur equipped bike a few months ago because, after test riding a half dozen or so bikes, that was the one he liked best. It is a little too big for him but contrary to what I expected, he can manage it very well.
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Old 09-06-11, 10:55 PM
  #30  
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Kids are far smarter than we expect them to be, I believe. If kids can manage an iPhone at 7 years old they can easily grasp the concept of gears on a bike. A little time well spent will have the majority there in no time.
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Old 09-07-11, 05:48 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by GrantH View Post
Kids are far smarter than we expect them to be, I believe. If kids can manage an iPhone at 7 years old they can easily grasp the concept of gears on a bike. A little time well spent will have the majority there in no time.
I agree they can get the concept but disagree that 7, 8 even 9 year olds apply it very well. I've spent a bit of time with each of mine on them. They do have the knowledge but they don't often use it, even the rule of shifting only while pedaling. I have had to make a number of cable adjustments due to this. I still occasionally call for them to up or downshift. I know they get it, but they don't always practice it. I don't see many kids on 20" geared bikes though, mainly mine. I do see plenty of kids on 24" or 26" geared bikes though, often doing 40-60 rpm. It doesn't look too bad until you see them do that struggling up a hill.
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Old 09-08-11, 05:42 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by NormDeplume View Post
In your personal experience with kids, do they use the gears they have, or do they tend to find one gear and stick with it most of the time?
My experience is that most kids don't use gears effectively and often are confused about what exactly goes on when they operate the shifters. Front gearing especially seems "opaque" to younger ones. Kids tend to throw down their bikes every which way--I see a lot of bent hangers. Parents don't invest in maintenance. Eventually the cabling gets all crudded up and/or broken, and the poor kids end up riding in just one gear anyway.

However! You're going on family rides and are actively involved in biking with your kids. That's a completely different situation from the norm that I see.
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Old 09-08-11, 01:06 PM
  #33  
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I just realized this thread is still going and I hadn't checked it in a while. He's been on the bike for about 7 weeks now, and has gotten pretty good at shifting down for hills, but he still has a ways to go yet before shifting becomes totally intuitive for him. He remains in love with the bike and I'm really glad we splurged on a better quality bike this go round, rather than buying another cheapie to get him through till he's big enough for a 24". We tried to get him on a 24" but it was just a touch big for him and I wanted him to be really comfortable this year, since he only got rid of the training wheels in May. He was a bit of a late bloomer, but sure is making up for lost time!
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Old 09-08-11, 06:06 PM
  #34  
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Originally Posted by NormDeplume View Post
I just realized this thread is still going and I hadn't checked it in a while. He's been on the bike for about 7 weeks now, and has gotten pretty good at shifting down for hills, but he still has a ways to go yet before shifting becomes totally intuitive for him. He remains in love with the bike and I'm really glad we splurged on a better quality bike this go round, rather than buying another cheapie to get him through till he's big enough for a 24". We tried to get him on a 24" but it was just a touch big for him and I wanted him to be really comfortable this year, since he only got rid of the training wheels in May. He was a bit of a late bloomer, but sure is making up for lost time!
I'd recommend bypassing the 24" for a smaller 26" if you can. It is a pretty big frame size jump from 20" to 26" but if you can swing it you could make your life easier. We currently have two 24" but tire and tube selection is not very abundant. It is hard to find locally and even sometimes online. My oldest ones just did not sprout enough to go straight to 26's.

Also, it is harder to find good used 24's. I found one local but had to work out mailing for the other. At the same time, demand is lower so you can get them when they come up if you are willing to wait. Although I imagine smaller 26's might be harder to find used to. I have not looked for them yet.
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Old 09-08-11, 08:22 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by masiman View Post
I'd recommend bypassing the 24" for a smaller 26" if you can. It is a pretty big frame size jump from 20" to 26" but if you can swing it you could make your life easier.
We actually did just that with our daughter. She was only 9 but is a long-legged girl and our terrific LBS suggested she try an XS women's frame (Raleigh makes a 12"), and she loves it. If we can make it work for the boy, we definitely do it for him, too. As much as I'd love to find used bikes, this is one of the few products I don't mind buying higher-end and new. Shoes, spices and bikes are my three main splurge categories.
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Old 08-21-12, 09:51 AM
  #36  
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You can try and find a used Redline 20" aluminum framed bike that weights 20lbs and has 2x7 gears, but they're going for a lot of $ on ebay.
The exact same bike is Torker Interurban 20 and still sold, $389 NEW. You can find the redline on craigslist for $200+ but it may be across the country. I just saw a redline on ebay going for $400+ which is more than it cost NEW.
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