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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
O.K. I have a question about kid's bikes. My DDs, age 6 (almost 7), are riding Walmart Princess bikes right now (heavy, one speed, etc...). They are 16" bikes. We want to get them new bikes with shifters so they can go faster without their little legs spinning around so fast! They really cannot go over 12 mph because their legs just won't go that fast. We are thinking about getting them new bikes for their birthday in May to ride in their first kids triathlon.<br><br>
So, we went to our LBS today to see if they can even ride a 20" bike because that's the size the shifters start on. Sure enough, the guy said they were the perfect size for a 20" bike. Yea!<br><br>
Here's my question, though. He suggested the Fuji Sandblaster. It is a decent bike that retails for $240. He said they'd give us a deal since we'd be buying 2, though. Here are the specs:<br><a href="http://fujibikes.com/2008/sg.asp?id=525" target="_blank">http://fujibikes.com/2008/sg.asp?id=525</a><br>
I also found the K2 Stormy online, and it seems to be similar, but REI has it for $199, and we have a 20% off coupon, which puts them at $160 each. Here are the specs:<br><a href="http://shopping.msn.com/specs/shp/?itemId=852153141" target="_blank">http://shopping.msn.com/specs/shp/?itemId=852153141</a><br><br>
I don't know much about kids bike specs, so I can't really see any difference.<br><br>
I really would rather give my LBS my business, but I know they can't come down that much. Is the Fuji really a better bike? Why is it so much more expensive (I can't find a MSRP on the K2, but I'm guessing it is a little less than the Fuji). I know the kids Giant and Trek are more expensive as well. Our LBS does carry K2. Should I just ask them about it? I mentioned it, but he really just told us about the Fuji. I know he isn't just trying to get more money out of us because we've dealt with them before. I don't mind spend more if it is really a better bike, but I just can't see that it is much better. Am I wrong?<br><br>
Thanks for any insight you can give me.
 

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I was speaking with my lbs about this also, My understanding is there is an oddball 18" size that you see at discount stores, then mainline mgfr's do the 20 inch. My son is kind of between, so we are going to wait until we can get into a 20" size also.<br><br>
I can't comment much on the quality, they all seem like such heavy junk. The discount store bikes are often incorrectly assembled and come without grease in the bearings, so you see lots of kids riding around with trashed bottom brackets and such.<br><br>
My son is very keen on having a basket so we can stop at garage sales. Good luck, post here if you learn anything, I'm kind of ignorant about kids bikes I guess.
 

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I don't know that kids are going to notice the quality too much. As long as it is assembled correctly, the brakes work, and it looks cool, the kids are going to be happy. I'd lean towards buying from a LBS, simply because you can bring it to them with any problems and because it is more likely to assembled properly. Anything you buy online you will have to partially assemble yourself. That can be a good or bad thing, depending on how handy you are with a wrench.<br><br>
My practical experience for kids under 10 is that gears help with bragging rights, but that few kids know how to use them. I occasionally chaperone a bunch of neighborhood kids on bike rides to school and the great majority of them never shift or shift at the wrong time, even though they have 3x6 + gears on their bike. Of course few of them ride with their parents either.<br><br>
Victor
 

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Personal experience... My 13 year-old just last summer started to feel his bike was important. He used it to get back and forth to soccer practices and actually started to pay attention to where he left it and how it was treated. Before then, it was pretty likely that I'd find his bike (and his younger brother's) in a heap in the shed or out on the sidewalk and they had just as much fun "crashing" their bikes as they did riding them. The kids could care less about quality. As such, all their bikes have been <$100 models from Walmart or equivalent. Now that DD13 is thinkin' about it, I might sport a little more for the <i>next</i> one but... Your kids are 6.
 

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I tend to agree with LRR. We got our son abike from Toys R Us. Full suspension, 18 speeds - $50 on sale. This bike has taken a tremendous amount of abuse and I've had to make a few minor repairs, but it still keeps working. He did manage to break the grip shifter for the rear gears. I sent an email to the mfg to see if I could buy the part to fix it and they sent it to me for free.<br><br>
I doubt a kid will notice the difference in quality between a bike from your LBS and a discount store bike. You may be less stressed when your kid trashes a cheapo bike than a more expensive bike as well.<br><br>
My son rides his bike to/from school every day when the weather is nice. He's gone as far as about 30 miles with us on some of our rides and did a kids tri using this bike last summer. He's only 10 now and when he gets a few years older we'll probably get him a bike with better quality. He will have more understanding of the need to take better care of his possessions by then - hopefully.<br><br>
As an alternative to the discount stores, it's sometimes possible to find decent bikes at a thrift store like Goodwill, or even at some pawn shops.<br><br>
IMO it just isn't a wise investment to spend lots of money on a kids bike - unless of course, money is not a big concern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Let me clarify a little.<br><br>
That was helpful. NOT! LOL We have had to do some adjusting on DDs current bikes, but they are actually in good condition (for cheapo Walmart bikes). One of them rode her bike with a chain that was too tight for about a year. We never could figure out why she couldn't get started on her own. Duh! We keep the chains clean and everything lubed up.<br>
Oh, yeah, the discount stores carry 12", 14", and 16". I've never seen an 18". It usually jumps to 20".<br><br>
No, the kids won't notice the quality. That's why I'm asking if there is a big difference. So, I guess what y'all are saying is to buy the cheaper K2. As far as where to buy from, the LBS will take care of us no matter what. DH and I bought bikes on craigslist, and they take care of us for anything we need. They are very honest and don't over charge for things. If we get bikes from REI, we would not be ordering online. We have a store here. REI isn't a "discount" store. They deal with bikes. I guess I could see what the LBS will sell us the K2 for.<br><br>
I know the gears may or may not be utilized correctly, but our DDs are pretty smart, and I think we can teach them how to use at least a couple gears. We'd just like to ride with them more than 10mph! <img alt="smile.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/smile.gif"> These bikes just have 7 gears, so it isn't all that many to deal with.<br><br>
Our DDs pretty much only ride their bikes with us right now. They take really good care of them (they even know which way to lay them down). I think boys are rougher on their bikes (I see boy's bikes lying around the neighborhood, but never girls), but our DDs are not rough on theirs. They are going to get into doing some kids triathlons, and we do live in a hilly area, so the gears would be nice for them. We always store their bikes in the garage. They have a place to put them, and they go there.<br><br>
So, from what I can tell, I should buy the cheapest bike? Can you even get bikes with gears at a "discount" store? I kind of don't think so. So, we can get the K2 at REI for $160. What do you think?
 

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DS13 rides a few years earlier's model of <a href="http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=8399252" target="_blank">this bike</a>. It's served him fine in a few triathlons now. If you browse there, you'll see there are a variety of girls' models as well. (And I would agree that boys seem to be rougher on their bikes than girls.)
 

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This is prefaced by the fact that I know nothing about kids! Normally, I would think, they're kids, they'll outgrow the bikes, they won't treat them well, so get the cheapest thing you can find, BUT your kids are a little different, they're pretty serious about doing well in their first tri and they bike a lot (especially for 6 year olds!) Especially living in such a hilly area, they'll get at least some (possibly a lot of good) good from having gears. and with 20" bikes they should be able to ride them for awhile, right?<br><br>
Personally, I think the lbs is your better bet, they are still young and I'm guessing their bikes will need lots of adjustments and tune ups, which I assume you'll get for free at the lbs. I say ask the lbs about the K2 see what they say, depending on the quality difference it may or may not be worth going with the Fujis.<br><br>
Just my 2 cents. Are they helping shop for the bikes? if so I bet they're having a ball!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So you got a bike with shifter at TRU? I just looked and the only 20" girls bike I could find was $140. There were a couple that didn't have a photo or description, though. They may have had shifters. They were $80. This is probably a better route.<br><br>
The more expensive ones are aluminum frames, BUT they still weigh 26 lbs. That's about the same as their steel Walmart bike. So, I don't feel like we should spend more for that.<br><br>
I'll have to do some looking. I know you can sometimes find good ones at Goodwill and such, but we need TWO!! A little bit harder.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah, but that's a 24". I'm finding a lot more 24" bikes with gears than 20". I'm definitely going to keep looking, though! They are just now big enough for a 20", and it must have a low standover height at that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Here are some:<br><br><a href="http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_12605_00607583000P?vName=Fitness%20&%20Sports&cName=Bicycling&sName=Bicycles&psid=SHOPZILLA01&sid=IDx20070921x00003c" target="_blank">http://www.sears.com/shc/s/p_10153_1...0070921x00003c</a><br><a href="http://www.babyage.com/products/201085p_schwinn_pacific_20_inch_girls_chromium_bike.htm?cp=br51029&utm_source=br&utm_medium=Default&utm_campaign=51029" target="_blank">http://www.babyage.com/products/2010...campaign=51029</a><br><a href="http://www.bizchair.com/201115p-epi.html" target="_blank">http://www.bizchair.com/201115p-epi.html</a>
 

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Here is the bike I got at Toys R Us:<br><br><a href="http://cdn.overstock.com/images/products/L10463563.jpg" target="_blank">http://cdn.overstock.com/images/products/L10463563.jpg</a><br><br>
Actually the pic is the 26 inch version and I got the 20 inch bike. I've seen similar bikes at Target. I put on a cheapo bike computer from Walmart. My son has gone upwards of 25 on a short downhill and can easily maintain around 15 or so on most terrain. I got this bike for him when he was 8 and he's almost 11 now. It's held up very well considering the abuse. Your girls sound like they would take better care and you would likely never have any problems.<br><br>
Outside of him breaking one of the grip shifters as mentioned in my post above, everything else has been minor. I've replaced a tire and brake pads due to the habit of boys riding fast, then slamming on the brakes to see how long of a skid mark thay can make. I also replaced the grips due the bike being dropped on the ground so many times the ends came off and the metal bar was poking through.<br><br>
I got the bike on sale for $50. I think it normally sells for about $100.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks! I'm definitely checking some out. Sears has one as well as Academy. I'll also check TRU. I would like for them to be able get on it to check fit.<br><br>
Oh, are the handle bars adjustable on the cheaper bikes? The guy at the bike shop said he'd move the bars closer for them. Can you do that with the cheaper ones too? I just can't tell in the pictures.
 

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The bike my son has is more of a mountain bike style. The handlebars are almost straight and flat. Not much room to adjust them. The seat does slide back and forth on rails like a normal bike seat - up and down as well. My son is on the small side and we've had no trouble making adjustments as he grows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
O.K. I'll just have to look at the bike when we go look. My girls are short for their age (they take after their parents at 5'3" and 5'6"<img alt="wink.gif" src="http://files.kickrunners.com/smilies/wink.gif">. They will be 7 in May, and they are about 45" tall. The height isn't an issue, as we have their seats on their 16" bikes as high as they will go. The reach might be an issue, though. All the kids bikes are pretty much more of a mountain bike style with straight handlebars, but I think the ones at the LBS will tilt.
 

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I also know next to nothing about kid's bikes but do know that one of my LBS has a policy where they will give you 50% credit on the purchase price of kid's bikes when they outgrow or upgrade. Do any of the LBS near you offer such a deal? I was impressed when I heard the manager talking to a family about that. You might want to ask around about that.... especially with having to get 2. (I can relate to some of that twin thing... my older sisters are twins and my DH's younger sisters are twins!.... I always got 2 of all my hand-me-downs!)<br><br>
Anyhow, good luck bike shopping for the kiddos!
 
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