ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

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MattyK
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ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Mon Oct 20, 2014 1:36 pm

Hi, I've just bought one of these for my daughter (6th birthday this week), so figured I'd share our experiences with it.
(I suppose I should wait until she rides it, but oh well, here goes)

Manufacturer's page: http://www.bykbikes.com/kids-bike-range ... -bike.html

About us and why I chose this bike: We don't live in a flat neighbourhood, so I saw some gears as a necessity. But my daughter hasn't ridden a normal bike yet (was pretty good on a balance bike but has outgrown it), so derailleurs seem excessively complex and fragile while she's learning to coordinate everything else. She has said she wants training wheels but I am hoping to avoid that stage. However she's never been the most bold or sporting type, so I might end up resorting to stabilisers - again another reason for choosing this model as it's harder to add them to a bike with a derailleur.

I went for the blue/"boys" version, the colour is nicer and we have a 3 year old boy to hand down to also. My daughter's preferred "explosion-in-the-Barbie-aisle-and-tassles-and-dolly-seat" styling scheme just wasn't going to cut it. We should be able to pitch it as a Frozen/Queen Elsa bike though... (the theme of her birthday party.) Failing that, I got a pink chain and pink cable set to (reversibly) princess it up a bit if necessary.

Here it is as delivered:
Image

So far everything seems pretty impressive on it. Build quality is good, the paint has a metallic pearl through the white.
It's reasonably light at the front end, though the back end is noticeably weighed down by the hub gear and coaster brake. For what it is though I think the weight is OK.

The ByK website is scant on technical specs, so here are some missing details for anyone interested:
Tyres: 20 x 1-3/8 (37-451) size - bigger than the standard 20" (406) size, but pretty easy to find replacements on the internet. There is almost no tread, just a micro diamond knobby pattern. Promises to roll very well on the pavement.
Front hub: Quando
Stem: quill type, should give lots of adjustment.
Cranks: 127mm - nice and short. So many kids bikes seem to get this wrong.
Gearing: 36T chainring, 22T sprocket. Very short, but that means that 3rd gear should be good for flat terrain, and then two gears below that for getting up hills. Well thought out.

The new version has some upgrades from previous years - quick release seat clamp, machined braking surface on the rims, smoother, rubber pedals.

Gearing:
The SRAM i3 hub gear works nicely, at least on the stand. Everything is well protected from damage, unlike the Shimano Nexus-3 that has the shifter bellcrank sticking out the end of the hub.

I played with the setup of the hub gear and shifter for a while. There are some good instructions here:
http://www.fyxation.com/blogs/fyxation- ... gear-setup

The grip shift is fine for me but I think a 6 year old might find it a bit stiff to operate, particularly clicking up into 3rd. Backing off the cable tension might help a little, I'll see how that goes with the shifting engagement though.
I wasn't impressed by the angle of the cable stop bracket coming out of the hub (see pic above) - the instructions say it should be parallel to the chainstay.
I tried to adjust it to this position but there just isn't enough clearance between the 22T sprocket and the chainstay to avoid the shifter cable system rubbing on something.

Cables - I'm a sticker for neat cable routing. As supplied they were as usual longer than necessary. Also I don't like the shift cable routed on the same side of the head tube. So some cutting and adjusting later, it looked like this:
Image

Image

Offcuts:
Image

I also threw on a dual-pivot front brake caliper in place of the cheap looking single pivot, because, well, because. I had it, and it looks nicer. I don't think it'll necessarily be better though.
Image

Testing out the brakes (scooting myself across the lounge room) - the rear brakes (both coaster and linear-pull) are very powerful. The front brake is less so. They have fitted the same brake levers on both handles, but the rear brake is a linear-pull and the front is a caliper, so intrinsically it's going to have less leverage and less power. I don't see this as a really bad thing though, as I don't think a beginner will really have the skill to control a powerful front brake as much as dealing with a powerful rear brake. But it doesn't inspire confidence in learning to use the front brake effectively.

That's enough for now. Will keep this thread updated as we go.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Thu Oct 23, 2014 12:34 pm

Well, a pretty muted reception this morning. Initial excitement then "I don't like it" :lol: pretty much what I was expecting to hear...

Got her to sit over it before going to school. She is 115cm tall, well above the min height, but only just getting tippy toes on the ground with the seat post at its lowest position. I think the next step will be to shorten the seat post by about 30-40 mm. It can still clamp in this much lower, but at the moment it is bottomed out on the bottom bracket. That should give some more standover confidence until she is up and riding.

Pink parts also on standby if she wants to razzle it up.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby ValleyForge » Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:43 pm

Nice review - my 7yr old will get an E-450 for Christmas, probably with the RD. Is the shifter SRAM? My guys have RevoShifters and have no worries with them.

And if you let the mods know the original post can go in reviews.
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Fri Oct 24, 2014 9:58 am

Hi VF, thanks. The 8 speed has a thumb trigger shifter, not a revo.

I figured this is as much a story as a review, so it makes more sense to go here.

Got approval from miss 6yo to add some pink to the bike, so last night:
Image

Image

Also chopped 30mm out of the seat post (steel, 22.2mm diameter for those interested). Lowered position shown in the pics above.
Image
Could have taken even more out of it, but a test fit had her standing over it OK this morning in bare feet with balls of the feet reaching the floor, so looks like that was just enough.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby Roub » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:54 am

Thanks for the review. i am going to look at a MTB450 for my 7yr old afterwork tonight for his birthday. He has had 3yrs on a Byk e350 and its been great. But like me he is leaning toward MTB
Image

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby ValleyForge » Fri Oct 24, 2014 11:26 am

MattyK wrote:Hi VF, thanks. The 8 speed has a thumb trigger shifter, not a revo.

I figured this is as much a story as a review, so it makes more sense to go here.

Swapping out the SRAM trigger will be an early job if I get the 8 speed E-450 for my daughter.
BTW Hope the pinkness helps!
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:56 pm

It got a good reaction this morning :)
Now I just have to convince her that she doesn't need training wheels. Can my back handle that decision?

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Sun Oct 26, 2014 9:10 pm

First riding lesson today - went past the local hockey field and asked permission from the committee - granted. A few sessions of holding and pushing, lowering the saddle and removing the pedals and balance-biking, and more pushing, interspersed with tears and tantrums. Pretty much as I expected from our drama-queen. This could take a while, mostly due to her stubbornness, she doesn't like to not be good at something.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:14 pm

Second lesson today.

Prior to the riding I tried to devise a way to rig the bike to the back of the Croozer trailer so we could get it to a larger area without a car (because it's annoying to load up the bike rack for a 3 minute drive...) I came up with this, made from an old hub and QR and a bunch of cable ties.
Image

It worked - sort of. Luckily only on a test ride up the street. Trouble is, it lifts the front wheel so high that the steering geometry gets all stuffed up. Works fine in a straight line, but if you turn sharply the trailing bike rolls itself over and it jams.

So we stuck to our own street footpath. I slammed the seat post and removed the pedals and we practiced some more balancing.
Image

All went well, almost getting to coasting, it will just take a while to get used to the larger frame and taller saddle height than the old balance bike (that my son is on) (yes he is a boy... the blonde curls seem to fool everyone)
Image

Still going to be a long journey to riding, but another successful day.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby ValleyForge » Mon Nov 03, 2014 5:23 pm

I used a Trail-gator for my guys. Works really well, but my daughter nearly didn't forgive me for scratching the paint on her headset.
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Mon Feb 02, 2015 8:25 pm

Lesson progress is getting frustrating. My girl is easily at the stage of being able to coast down the street with no pedals on. She agreed some time ago that when she started school this year she would let us put the pedals on. So come the weekend we did just that. And it was a total failure. Even being held for balance she managed to go a total of about 20 metres, stopping every metre, before running home crying and demanding the pedals be taken off again.

She's clearly capable but just completely unwilling to give it a go. :evil: Not sure where to go next. Will hopefully get some of her school friends over (who can ride) to go with her for some social support / peer pressure.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby Mububban » Wed Apr 29, 2015 3:42 pm

You could be describing my 6yo in a lot of ways, mainly the drama queen aspect and appalling obsession with pink :D

I saw a couple of Byk's at the park on the weekend, I thought they looked pretty snazzy.

My concern would be the smoothish tyres, and how well they'd cope with sand and gravel etc that kids might encounter. When she grows out of her current bike and needs a new one, I think I'll shell out for something like this. Thanks to our neighbours with kids a tiny bit older than ours, we haven't had to a buy a bike yet :)
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Wed Apr 29, 2015 4:45 pm

:)

The carkpark at the local sports ground was paved recently, so we now have a good local flat place (very gentle slope) to practice. Went there a few weeks ago, managed to convince her to put the pedals on and had a few laps while I held her upright - her insisting I hold firmly, but really she was doing most of the work. So I'm happy to report some progress. We just haven't been for a little while thanks to other commitments.

Also my son (3.5) is rocking his balance bike nicely 8)

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby Mububban » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:34 am

MattyK, I'm in the same boat as you - older daughter, younger son. Ideally I'd like a boy's e450 for her, so I can hand it down to him when he grows out of the e350.

My question is, do you know if there is any difference in the frame geometry/saddle specifically for the female anatomy, comparing the girls frame to the boys frame? I believe that the female pelvis is aligned differently to ours so whereas we sit on our sit bones, they are rotated more forwards and sit more on their girly parts (I had a workmate who did triathlons tell me that after a while her bits just went numb!).

I doubt her current hand-me-down K-Mart clunker was designed with anatomical considerations, so wondering if I'm overthinking things....but I do want her to be comfy and continue enjoying riding.
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:44 pm

I don't believe there's any geometry difference, but you could email Warren at ByK to be sure. It's just the colours and the top tube as far as I can tell.

Pelvises aren't really hugely different between males and females; statistically women's are slightly wider but there is a huge overlap. The main difference is the squashy bits at the front... My daughter got a bit sore on one session we did, but that was I think largely due to using the bike as a balance bike, ie no weight supported by the pedals.

So yes, just get the boy's bike. They are still pretty low as you can see, easy to stand over, if not quite step through. Short skirts work fine though.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby Mububban » Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:00 pm

Cheers, I think my tightarse and practical tendencies will end up buying the blue boy's bike as you did, for future hand-me-down use. Don't think I can be arsed pinkifying it though, so let's hope she likes the darker blue. If not, too bad! :D
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Thu Jun 04, 2015 4:40 pm

The cables were pretty cheap off ebay from the UK (tried a Chinese seller first but they didn't have that colour in stock). Chain from an Australian online shop. Did the install myself (have done it a few times so not difficult, though getting the shifter mechanism aligned was a bit of a pig.

You can always add some tassels or stickers or something else if it's not girly enough.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby Mububban » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:14 am

I contacted ByK via the book of faces, and they linked to their FAQ - short answer, no difference:

"5. Girls/Boys Specific Design
Girl/Boy Childrens Bike Design - does it matter? From a specific riding point of view, the difference in the girls or boys shape design absolutely has no impact on functionality. In fact, a lower step through (which is the girls design) is an advantage for most young riders as it is easier to get on and off. Strength-wise, there is also no real difference in the design either.
So it is more to do with the social aspect - there is an expectation in the market to have 2 different designs. We try to have as many gender neutral colours as we can in our range so there is enough choice for every boy or girl."


How does she find the gears when they shift? Can she tackle some previously challenging inclines with greater ease now? Does it clunk when it shifts or is it pretty smooth?
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Fri Jun 05, 2015 11:06 am

Well... the weather has sucked lately, and I've been on holiday with my wife (grandma looking after looking after kids). So she actually hasn't been on the bike for a month or so. But to date she's still not riding independently (balancing and pedalling together). Kind of depressing really, I reckon our three year old will be riding before she does (will probably get a bike for his 4th b'day and I reckon he'll be riding it straight away). So the gears are kind of moot. This is her first bike, so no previous experiences to compare it to.

On the occasions I've ridden it :), the shifting is very clean and smooth. The twist grip still requires a bit of effort for a six year old though, when she plays with it.

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby Mububban » Fri Jun 05, 2015 12:27 pm

Ah yeah, I forgot about that, the 2 speed is a self shifter but the 3 speed in a grip shifter isn't it? I hope my daughter's tiny twig-like wrists can cope.

If they get the bikes for Christmas they'll be a couple of months into being 5 and 7. Hopefully the e350 for my son lasts until he's 7, by which time my daughter will probably be due an upgrade to maybe an 8 speed.

The LBS where I'm going to get them from actually mentioned that he gets parents asking him if their store carries second hand ByK bikes, which doesn't happen with any other brand, even the big names like Trek or Giant. Bodes well for future resale on Gumtree etc.
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby MattyK » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:01 am

An E350 would very likely be too small for a 7 year old. Look at a growth chart and you can fairly accurately predict where he will be at that age, assuming he sticks to the same percentile. Depends if he is above or below average height, but my daughter at age 6 and 50th %ile fitted on the 450 OK. My son is 3.5 (tall end of the spectrum) and fits on an E350...

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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby Mububban » Sat Jun 06, 2015 10:57 am

Both kids are fairly skinny and bang on average for height at the moment. I'm 6 foot 2 and my wife is 5 foot nothing so we're not sure which way they're going to go! Probably somewhere in the middle.

I'm hoping to not have to double up and have 2 x e450 at the same time if I can avoid it, but if needed then so be it. I'm hoping to get $100-$150 for the ByKs when I sell them.

Hurry up Christmas, now I've made the decision I want to go buy them hahaha, but the kids have to wait and so do I.....
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby queequeg » Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:38 pm

It's a tough call with the sizing as there is a bit of overlap.

I was able to pick up an e-350 off the forums here not that long ago for my 6 year old, who has just moved off the Balance Bike.

Here he is a couple of weeks after insisting that he needed training wheels as pedals were too hard.

https://vimeo.com/129963675

Probably looking at E-450 with gears for him next, but since he started watching me race he actually wants a road bike, so I may go that way instead.
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Re: ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby Mububban » Mon Jun 08, 2015 4:48 pm

queequeg wrote:It's a tough call with the sizing as there is a bit of overlap.

I was able to pick up an e-350 off the forums here not that long ago for my 6 year old, who has just moved off the Balance Bike.

Here he is a couple of weeks after insisting that he needed training wheels as pedals were too hard.

https://vimeo.com/129963675

Probably looking at E-450 with gears for him next, but since he started watching me race he actually wants a road bike, so I may go that way instead.


Kids love to go fast don't they? :)

Queequeg, would you mind measuring how tall your 6 year old is? Also, how much length does the seat tube have in it? The e350 seemed to fit him okay, how much longer do you think it'll last him?
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ByK E-450 x 3i - review etc

Postby queequeg » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:53 pm

Mububban wrote:
queequeg wrote:It's a tough call with the sizing as there is a bit of overlap.

I was able to pick up an e-350 off the forums here not that long ago for my 6 year old, who has just moved off the Balance Bike.

Here he is a couple of weeks after insisting that he needed training wheels as pedals were too hard.

https://vimeo.com/129963675

Probably looking at E-450 with gears for him next, but since he started watching me race he actually wants a road bike, so I may go that way instead.


Kids love to go fast don't they? :)

Queequeg, would you mind measuring how tall your 6 year old is? Also, how much length does the seat tube have in it? The e350 seemed to fit him okay, how much longer do you think it'll last him?


I'll see if I can get him to stand still for a few seconds to measure him, and I'll see how much seat post is left in the bike. I reckon he'll get a year out of it, though he is already asking for gears. I only paid $80 for the bike, and he has a younger brother it can go to.
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