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Cheapo
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Looking at getting my 5 year old daughter her first bike. We have a Strider that she used a little bit, but that'll be for the 3 year old, and I want to get a "real" bike for my 5-year old. Now that we live in an an area where she can ride and not get ran over!

Some of the bikes I see popping up a lot to check out are:
Specialized Hotrock 16 ($240 MSRP)
Giant Pudd'n ($210 MSRP)
Fuju Kit 16 ($229 MSRP)
Trek Mystic 16 ($209 MSRP)

I've read the specs of some of these, but honestly they just make me go cross-eyed. Other than comfort and "what feels best", are there any major differences either good or bad between these bikes that would sway me towards or away from them?

I checked Craigslist and found these. I'm always leary about how things were treated though.

Girls Bike 16 inch
I think that may be a Lil' Pudd'n frame with larger tires? Frame style looks different than the regular Pudd'n. However, the triangle opening in front of the CL bike is larger than the one on the Lil Pudd'n...who knows.
Lil' PUDD'N (2011) - Bikes | Giant bikes UK & Ireland official website | UK / Ireland

girls trek mystic pink. solid bike but needs little tlc
 

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Hi Dave, got a opus scout for my son, he can lift it, push it easily. And stand up and ride up hills, key was its light weight I think weight is the key issue for these kids starting out for girls I would recommend the opus glitter... Good luck
 

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I second the observation that weight matters. I would also add that you want to ensure that her hands are big enough for the brake levers on whatever bike you get. I'm sure that all of those are fairly good bikes... but I'll throw two more into the ring: Spawn Cycles Banshee, and Islabikes. Spawn is a canadian company, but they'll ship to the US... Islabikes has a US storefront in Portland, and will ship all over the country.

Upside for Islabikes: LIGHT, well-made, geared for small riders.
Upside for Spawn: A little lighter, geared for small riders, and has a freewheel instead of a coaster brake.

I got the Spawn Gremlin/Furi 14" for my 3 year old, and she absolutely loved it... only to be overcome by her blue Banshee 16". It's a great bike, made with decent components, and they are really careful with total bike weight. The banshee comes in at about 16lbs if I recall, which is EXTREMELY light for a 16" bike. There's an MTBR thread for the Banshee over here: http://forums.mtbr.com/families-riding-kids/review-spawn-cycles-banshee-16-wheeled-bike-800614.html

I've heard nothing but stellar things about the Islabike though, and they are cheaper than Spawn.
 

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ilmfat
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i have a spawn banshee, a savage 1.0, and a heavily modded hotrock 20.

spawn cycles all the way.

http://forums.mtbr.com/families-riding-kids/spawn-savage-vs-islabike-bienn-20-a-895661.html

tho i havent got my hands on an isla, yet.

my 5 year old (20% for height) is technically too small for the savage. even with the mini seat mod she's on her tip toes with the seat slammed all the way down.

(thats the one thing the hotrock 20 has going for it. the top of the seat tube was about 2" lower than the spawn savage. granted, that was a 2003 i found for $10 at a garage sale. not sure on the new ones.)

i had her on the hotrock when she was 4 1/2.

she's tried out lil sis's banshee the other day, and it felt way small for her, but ive always pushed her for bigger bikes.

if she had started on a banshee, she'd prolly feel totally fine on it, and her feet would be able to properly touch the ground, which would help on the trail.



one difference is caliper (u brakes) vs v-brakes.

my neighbors kid is a big 7 year old with a strong grip and he cant pull his (admittedly cheap) u brakes enough to matter.

my 3 yr old can lock up her v-brakes easily (maybe too easy). but its easier to soften the bite of Vs than find a way to make caliper brakes work.

the resale on the spawn will be close to 80-90%, as opposed to 40-50% of even spesh, giant, trek, etc.

the big bike brands' (especially 16") bikes are marginally better than walmart bikes.

if not spawn (savage) or banshee, then islabikes.

if not islabikes, then Mesa 16" Girls - Kids - Bikes | Schwinn Bicycles

the schwinn might not be much better than others offerings, but the v-brakes WILL make a HUGE difference, especially on the trail.
 

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Cheapo
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
OK now typing 1-handed holding my newborn...this'll be a short one.

I've been to two local shops so far.

One shop had:
Schwinn Lil Stardust
GT Laguna (older model)

Next shop had:
Specialized Hotrock 16 ($240)
Giant Pudd'n will be here in ~ 1 week ($210)

Tried sitting her on a Hotrock 20 but it was just a little too big.


Do Islabikes only come in red? LOL Nothing local, only delivery. $270 + $40 = $310


Ack, got to go. Finish later.
 

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ilmfat
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I'd ask about the schwinn Mesa, then.

Both my girls LOVE having "real" brakes.
 

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Cheapo
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sorry, didn't get a chance to finish replying yet...I'll get to the rest! :)

Just measured her, 43" tall, 18" inseam.

Isla CNOC-16
Inseam 16.5"-20.5"
Min Height 41"

Isla BEINN-20 Small
Inseam 18.5-23"
Min Height 44"

Just under the 20" bike size-wise but will be there "soon". I figure ride a 16" until she's out of that size range OR wants to step up, move the 16" to her sister.

I have read enough to be convinced to stick with an aluminum frame and try and keep things on the lighter side. My neighborhood is pretty hilly.
 

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Cheapo
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'd ask about the schwinn Mesa, then.

Both my girls LOVE having "real" brakes.
I remember as kid moving from my coaster-braked Royce Union to a freewheeling Schwinn Predator (still have it), and how much I LOVED being able to pedal backwards and have the real brakes.

Is it too much at once to learn?

I have a 5-year old girl, 3.5 year old girl, and newborn boy. If I do neutral color, it'll pass from girl to girl to boy. If I do a girl color, it'll pass girl-girl-(sell or repaint).

I've seen where some people have taken 'standard' colors and added girl-colored accents like brake cables, grips, seats etc.

I'm wondering how long the 5-year old will ride a 16" before moving up to a 20", and at what point the current 3.5 year old will be able to ride the 16".
 

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ilmfat
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Depends on kid size and, more importantly, how willing you are to push your kids.

My neighbors kid (the big 7yr old) is still on 16" wheels. He's too big for it(he almost fits a small 26" I have), but he still rides it fine.

I'd say get your oldest comfortable with the riding on a 16" til June/July, then get her a 20" and start the middle kid on the 16". Once my kid realized she could ride the hot rock (even tho it was "too big"), there was no stopping her.

Confidence is key. Even lil sis loves her banshee. took a while, tho. Having them transition to a larger (even slightly too big) bike AFTER they already know how to ride is MUCH easier than teaching a kid to ride on a bike that's too big.

much, much easier. getting lil sis to learn on the banshee was like pulling MY OWN teeth.

As far as "too much to learn", my (then 4 yr old) oldest went from a balance bike to a 12" Kmart bike (which was too small the day i brought it home). she had the training wheels on for a week. after watching her turn the tiny cranks for 3 months, i finally put her on a 20" dual V brake. prolly shoulda put her on a 16", but it took her 2 rides to realize she could ride MUCH faster on the 20".

The good thing about starting your 5 year old on a 16" is if you take the pedals off, it'll be like a dual V push bike. Then when she gets the braking down (prolly take a week), put pedals on. if i had gone this route, the transition woulda been alot easier.

The thing about the isla bike is the tall seat tube. It's at least an inch taller than the schwinn and 2-3 inches taller than the banshee. The spawn is so low, some jack wagon complained that it was as low as the 14" spawn they had upgraded from. I guess he didn't think about a longer seatpost.

My 3 year old is technically too small for the banshee, but shorter cranks and she loves it now. If the furi had been available, Ida gone that route.

Decisions, decisions.

But if you went with the spawn banshee, you WILL NOT REGRET IT.

I think a red with blue accents (or vice versa) would look fairly dope. And stickers can be a cheap way to change the look.

dont you dare tell anyone i admitted this, but i regret putting so much money into bling, since the girls just wanted "lots of stickers". but, hey, my normally "bling hating" wifey loves the way they turned out, so i guess all's well.

IMG_1083.JPG
 

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Cheapo
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
OK those bikes are just badass right there. Love the bling-factor, and LOL @ "We just want stickers"! I looked at cost of some of that stuff -- you must have spent a lot of money!

I've been doing a good bit of reading and really like what I'm seeing with the Spawn bikes. Just so much money! On the flipside, it will get a lot of years of use between the two girls. I suggested to my wife maybe getting a blue bike and adding pink accents like someone else here had done, and then converting it back when the boy is old enough but eh, my wife's a girl, thinks she should have a pink bike.

Watching my daughter in the store on the Hotrock reminded me of one thing I hate about coaster brakes -- sometimes you are stopped in a dead zone and can't get the pedals going again. Makes sense too that if the kids take their feet off to balance, there goes the brakes.

Pink is out of stock though. $395 + $50 shipping to PA. Checked Craigslist, nothing in a 250 mile radius.
 

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ilmfat
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I've never seen coupons, but I could see them running promotions in western canadia land.

I spent basically my entire 2014 rec budget on them.

I rationali-

Er

I mean JUSTIFIED the bling as it'll transfer to their larger bikes. Tho my oldest already told me she wants to save hers for her kids. (I didn't have the heart to tell her if the family pattern holds, she's gonna have boys. Lol.)

I've never seen a used spawn for sale. And usually someone calls "dibs" fairly quickly. Even tho I own a savage and a banshee, I'd pay close to 85% retail for a used one (and just feed the fam w food stores for a month). i AM thinking of getting her an isla 20, just for the lower seat tube. im hoping that will help with her confidence on the trail.

If you can find a used hotrock20 or some such for cheap, that's not a bad route. Sourcing a rigid 20" fork w Vs is tough and good 20" sus is PRICEY, tho.

if it were me, id get a isla gnoc 16 (unless you REALLY want to get your 3 year old pedaling this year, then the spawn is it) to start her riding on her own, and maybe a cheap(ish) 20". then upgrade slowly, or next year get a spawn or isla 20".

this isnt a bad deal:

20" Trek Mystic *Magenta* Girls Bike

maybe better?:

For Sale: Raleigh Rowdy Youth Trail Bike

this is a low seat tube! new crank would go a long way. find a 20" V fork, and maybe new wheels eventually lookin at around $200 for crank conversion and threadless rigid:

Bike Girls 20" Schwinn Starlet

ugly as sin, but CHEAP:

schwinn bike 20 in

looks decent, but will need the same parts as the cheaper ones. wheels are prolly a lil better tho:

Trek jet 20" blue bike

slim pickins for kids bikes.

i was lookin for some dude in sacramento and he had ALL KINDS of selection. i told him i was jelly of his craigslist. lol.
 

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I'm wondering how long the 5-year old will ride a 16" before moving up to a 20", and at what point the current 3.5 year old will be able to ride the 16".
This kinda depends on the particular kid, bike, and type of riding they're doing, and a lot on you and what kind of riding you try to steer them towards. There's no single answer to the wheel size question, even for the same kid.

For example, my kid preferred a 16" BMX park bike from 4 all the way until he was almost 8, but was at the same time racing BMX on a 20" mini starting when he was 5, and began riding a 24" MTB on trails when he was 6. Now he's 9 and rides an 18" in the skateparks, but will be probably going to 26" for a trail bike this summer (unless we're riding DH or more aggressive type trails, then he'll be on his 24").

I tended to like to keep him on the smaller wheels longer, specially for the first handful of years. Seems to be a lot more conducive to picking up good handling skills than rushing to put him on a bike that he wasn't able to move around well on. I'll also buck the trend as far as bike weight. While I wouldn't purposefully go out looking for the heaviest bike you can find, I didn't really find weight has ever been any sort of limiting factor.

These are all from around the same time period, when he was 6. 16"-20"-24" Horses for courses and all that.





 

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Cheapo
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I've never seen coupons, but I could see them running promotions in western canadia land.
Well that stinks!

I spent basically my entire 2014 rec budget on them.
Budget, that's a good idea. We just moved a couple months ago to a nice neighborhood. Old house was on a main road, never had much in the way of outside toys. Feels like I'm playing catch-up.

Oh man, if I knew you were going to look locally, I should have updated my profile. I'm actually near York, PA now. I used to live in MD.

This is the only Hotrock that's local, but I don't love it for $250.
Specialized Hotrock 20" frame - Boys


if it were me, id get a isla gnoc 16 (unless you REALLY want to get your 3 year old pedaling this year, then the spawn is it) to start her riding on her own, and maybe a cheap(ish) 20". then upgrade slowly, or next year get a spawn or isla 20".
Well, they are extremely competitive. They have some little Disney scooters right now they push themselves around on and it's ALWAYS a competition. Whenever either one gets ahead of the other, they start whining and moaning about the other being ahead. So with that said, if the 5 year old is riding, the 3.5 year old is going to want to too. (4 in October).

I am thinking the 5 year old would be good on the 16" for the summer, and move up to a 20" next year, at which point the younger one would take the 16" bike. I guess the question then is what to get the 3.5 year old right now.

slim pickins for kids bikes.
It sure is!
 

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Well, they are extremely competitive. They have some little Disney scooters right now they push themselves around on and it's ALWAYS a competition. Whenever either one gets ahead of the other, they start whining and moaning about the other being ahead. So with that said, if the 5 year old is riding, the 3.5 year old is going to want to too. (4 in October).

I am thinking the 5 year old would be good on the 16" for the summer, and move up to a 20" next year, at which point the younger one would take the 16" bike. I guess the question then is what to get the 3.5 year old right now.
Ever think about looking into BMX racing? Doesn't require a ton of skill to get started, and there are always lots of girls racing in the younger age brackets at our local track. Great family sport, and there is no better way to turn a kid into a really good rider. Many tracks have open practices sessions or allow you to just go ride there whenever you want. You should be able to easily score a used mini and/or micro-mini BMX bike under $300. I found my kid's to be a great trail bike starting out too, with a little gearing change.
 

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Cheapo
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Live vicariously through my kids? Absolutely! Haha. My wife's cousin has their kids in BMX racing, they seem to really enjoy it.
 

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My teeny 3 year old (4 in November) rides a 16" bike. His tall-for-his-age 7 year old brother also rides a 16" BMX. And a 24" mountainbike.

Start the 5 year old on the 16, and your 3 year old may follow sooner than you think!
 

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ilmfat
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Def not a good deal.

The gnoc16 is a heck of a lot of bike for the price. Nothing really comes close in a 16" dual V.

Honestly, slaphead and I have been trading posts the last few days, and I'd listen to him, should our views differ. I'm more knowledgable than average in the fam forums, but he makes me look like a toddler.

Budum tss.
 

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ilmfat
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are you sure you dont wanna move back to MD?

york is really slim on kids bikes.

this schwinn aint too bad for $30:

Five Bikes
 

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My teeny 3 year old (4 in November) rides a 16" bike. His tall-for-his-age 7 year old brother also rides a 16" BMX. And a 24" mountainbike.

Start the 5 year old on the 16, and your 3 year old may follow sooner than you think!
meant to say my three year old is about 36.5" tall, and the seat of his bike is 17.5" from the ground. He has the 89mm Spawn cranks.
 
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