Since we started taking Izzy and Dan (aged 9 and 11 at the time) to some cycling events,
including sessions run by
City of Norwich Triathlon club
and Great Yarmouth Cycling club
I get to indulge in looking at lots of quality kids' bikes suitable for road,
grass track or Cyclo-X racing.
Eleven year old Daniel now has a Trek 1.1 with 700 cc wheels. His previous steed was
an Islabike Luath with 26" wheels, which is a popular choice for children his age/size. Nine year
old Isabel raced and won grass and road events on a BMX GT bike, which is
good due to its light weight - but the cranks were too long at 160mm.
24" Wheel bikes: Finding a bike for Isabel
Isabel also outgrew (for daily use) her Beinn 20 bike, which six-year-old Tristan needed to move
up to anyway (having outgrown his Islabike Cnoc 16). I was minded to think that
the best new bike for Isabel would be some
kind of hybrid (like my own Marin Muirwoods). She doesn't do enough bumpy-path rides to justify
suspension on her bike. All the 26" wheel bikes we looked
at were a bit too much of a stretch for her, which meant getting her a
24" wheel hybrid model. This should generally be suitable for age
8-10. Initial screening yielded the following:
nb: I'm not even sure if some of these models are still available to
buy new, or where. Question marks where I couldn't find the data. If I
wanted something with suspension, btw, I'd look at the Cairn 24 or one of the Giant XTC models.
- CUBEKID 240, £319, 12.7kg
- DAWES TRACKER, £219, 12.3kg
- GIANT MTX 250, price?, weight?
- GIANT XTC JR TEAM 24, £275, 13.02 kg
- ISLABIKE BEINN 24, £249, 10.3 kg
- MARIN BAYVIEW TRAIL, £325-£345, weight?
- RIDGEBACK MX24, £220, weight?
- SCOTT SCALE JUNIOR 24, £329, 15 kg
- SPECIALISED HOTROCK, £240, 11.1 kg
I felt guilty about buying yet another Islabike, I would
actively like to support competition and seriously consider a different
brand, but on those numbers it doesn't make much sense. The Specialised
Hotrock is the only model that comes close to being as light a bike as
Isabel needs, as any child who only weighs 25-35 kg deserves. In the end Isabel chose an Islabike Luath 24 (see more below)
over the Beinn 24. We've now had the Luath 24 for nearly 10 months and Izzy has done a fair few 10+ mile rides on it; she is quite
happy with her choice.
Racing bikes for kids
As an incentive to get more miles in, we agreed that after Dan rode 500 road miles on the Luath 26
(in the space of a year) we would upgrade his road bike.
I have been impressed by small frame Treks and Giants, the Luath
700, and the Dawes Espoir 3000 (which seems light but may not
actually be lighter than the Luath). Small frame Decathalon bikes look good too, if you can get
hold of one; they are no longer sold in Britain, but are available in
European Decathalon outlets, a friend tells me. The Revolution
Flyer (formerly sold by Edinburgh Cycle Coop
) looks good on paper, too (but I haven't inspected one personally).
Some specific info on kids' racing bicycles that I've collected. Links by no means the best places
to purchase each bike, by the way, shop around!
Dawes Espoir 24
, £285-£385, ? kg. Frame size = 14", Min inside leg = 58 cm.
Moda Minor 24 Junior '10
, £315-£480, 19 lb (8.6 kg)
Islabikes Luath 24
, £350, 9.3kg
Barracuda RS-24 Junior Road bike
, £220-£250, ?kg. 14" frame
Islabikes Luath 26
, £350, 9.8kg.
650 cc Wheels:
Moda Mezzo 350 Junior Race/ Triathlon Bike
, £450-£700, 8.8kg
Fuji Ace 650 Junior Road Bike
, £680, 10.5kg
, £400, 9.73 kg
Islabikes Luath 700 (small)
, £450, 9.8kg. Luath 700 Large frame is very similar
Raleigh RX Elite
, £800, 10.4kg. This is also reviewed on youthcyclesport.co.uk
More comparisons of small 700 cc bikes
Some tips about height and gears
... a 12.5 yo boy should be just about 5' (152cm) tall on average. An average height 11 yr old boy is about 144cm. Most adult frames are meant for people over 5' tall. So until about 12.5 yrs old, most kids will need a proper child's bike or an XS frame size (13"-14"). I measured Dan's height about 6 weeks after he got his Trek 1.1
, and he came in at 152 cm, just about tall enough. We temporarily swapped the stem from his Luath 26 onto the Trek 1.1, to make the reach just a bit more comfy. The Trek also has too big gears for BC rules (competitive events, to protect children's tender knees), so we need to (temporarily?) put a smaller chain ring on the outside of the Trek, or a self-limiter on it, if he wants to race on this bike. More about Gearing decisions for youth riders and BC Racing rules here
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