Bike suggestions for very capable 6yo?

Bicycles for Toddlers to Teens

Bike suggestions for very capable 6yo?

Postby Sim » Mon Jul 07, 2014 11:38 am

My son turns 6 in October and is very much ready for a new bike - I'm looking for some suggestions please.

A bit of background: he started riding a Strider running bike at the age of 2, and by the age of 3 he was so fast on it that I had to buy my own bike to keep up with him (so I can thank my son for getting me back into riding after nearly 15 years out of the saddle!).

We bought him a ByK E350 for his 4th birthday, (removed the training wheels before we gave it to him!), took him down to the local park and helped him master his new pedal bike in under half an hour without ever using training wheels.

He is now a very capable and confident rider, has great bike handling skills and thanks to a naturally athletic physique (did I mention he is adopted? so I can't claim credit for that one!), is very fast on his little 18" E350. We have done a few family rides of over 12km and he has no trouble keeping up on relatively flat terrain. He is confident enough to ride along-side kids much older than he is when we go out with friends or on family holidays.

I find it a little frustrating that all of the bike sizing and recommendation guides seem to be quite conservative in their recommendations, based purely on age and height with a presumption that a 6yo is still learning (indeed I know a lot of his peers have not yet mastered riding) ... but with no real consideration of actual skill.

For a 6yo, the natural progression seems to be to a 20" bike, but given he has already clearly outgrown his 18" bike and won't actually turn 6 until October this year, I am worried that he will simply out-grow a 20" too soon. However, I'm not sure he is tall enough for a 24" yet?

Obviously, we need to head out to some LBSs and see what he can actually fit on - but I'm looking for some guidance as to what brands are worth considering to help narrow down the search.

When I questioned him on what type of bike he would like, he indicated a preference for more of a "road" style bike (ie, he wants a fast bike in preference to an offroad bike), and it must have gears.

I don't want to bother with internal gearing since that usually means coaster brakes - he has already mastered hand brakes. A single chain-ring gearing system will probably be sufficient I'd imagine - perhaps 7 or 8 gears, although I'm not sure if he has the hand strength to use a trigger shift system yet - will need to test that one.

I've been looking at the ByK E450x7 (7 speed) and the ByK E540 x16 Disc, I'm worried that the E450 won't last him long enough and that the E540 is too big with the 2x8 gearing too complicated as well.

Any thoughts on the 20" vs 24" side of things? Any other suggested brands to look at?
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by BNA » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:04 pm

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Re: Bike suggestions for very capable 6yo?

Postby mikedufty » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:04 pm

I got my kids 24" Fluid Shred mountain bikes from Anaconda at around that age. They seem to regularly have 50% off discounts for them, which puts the price around $300.
Probably too big for them at first, but they have a small frame and reasonably short cranks, and the kids grow fast. I thought these were good because they had 3x8 drive train, which is compatible with better components should I want to upgrade, and trigger shifters. Just seemed much more like a proper adult bike than most of the 24" bikes around.

My kids didn't have any trouble with the trigger shifters. If you think 3 x 8 is too complicated you could adjust the front shifter to not work, but I don't think it is really that complicated. I wanted them to have the ultra low gears available for off road use. These have disk brakes which are nice to use, but possibly hazardous to fingers.

I got two of these, the older one is 3 years old now with about 1500km and no issues with it, starting to look a bit small now though.

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Re: Bike suggestions for very capable 6yo?

Postby lobstermash » Mon Jul 07, 2014 12:12 pm

We got a 20" for our fast-growing 6 (now 7) year old. There's a fair bit of room for adjustment on the bike and he's grown with it so far. However, I think it's fairly rare to get more than 2-3 years out of a 20" bike, so the 2nd hand market is pretty handy for them at about 30-50% of the original RRP.
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Re: Bike suggestions for very capable 6yo?

Postby bychosis » Mon Jul 07, 2014 3:09 pm

My 6yo (on the large side for his age) is on a 24" and has been for a while. Last year he was going OK on the 24" but when I went for some MTB riding wih him put him back on his 20" as he could manage it a bit better, mainly the stopping/pushing side of things. I picked up a barely used 24" Avanti BT24 for $75 when they are in the bike shops at the $350 mark, my 9yo has had his 24" since age 7 (also 2nd hand). Both boys are reasonably proficient riders although their spatial awareness is not very well developed yet! The 20" bikes they had were really only good for about 18months, I suspect the 24" will do them for a couple of years to come.

Both sons now have a 24" 3x(6or7) speed, but I get them to stick in the middle ring on the front as the gear range is sufficient for most situations and means one less thing for them to concentrate on when they should be watcing where they are going. If there was a cheap easy way to go back to a single front ring I would, but at the moment it's not worth it. Both bikes have grip shift, which works OK for them, havent tried them with triggers. The bars, seatpost and other equipment on the bikes are certainly nothing special, but I'll save getting better parts for when they step up to 26" size and hopefully I can pick up a good small 26" from someone who has upgraded.

If he is an accomplished and confident rider then I would go for the bigger size if at all possible.
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Re: Bike suggestions for very capable 6yo?

Postby jacks1071 » Tue Jul 29, 2014 1:50 pm

If you're looking for a road bike, you might be interested in the 24" Pro-Lite TheOne (That I sell). They are a serious little bike, intended for either racing or kids that want to go fast.

http://www.pro-liteoz.com/store/product ... bikes.html

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Our Website is: http://www.pro-liteoz.com Find us on Facebook by searching for "Pro-Lite Australia"
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Re: Bike suggestions for very capable 6yo?

Postby OldBloke » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:03 pm

bychosis, you may be able to adjust the high and low stop screws on the front derailleur so that it can't be moved off the middle ring.

As far as spatial awareness goes, keep in mind that kids don't develop good peripheral vision till about 10yo.

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Re: Bike suggestions for very capable 6yo?

Postby bychosis » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:19 pm

OldBloke wrote:bychosis, you may be able to adjust the high and low stop screws on the front derailleur so that it can't be moved off the middle ring.

As far as spatial awareness goes, keep in mind that kids don't develop good peripheral vision till about 10yo.

OB


Yep, aware I can lock out the front shifter using that method, I was thinking more of dropping a few grams in the process. As it is I only occasionally find them in the wrong gear on the front, and it's usually just dropped into the granny ring.
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