LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

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MattyK
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby MattyK » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:55 am

My kids have bikes with coaster brakes as well as hand brakes.
Neither are high proficiency riders.
I don't think they have ever used the coaster brakes except by accident.
Plus they prevent kids from resetting the pedal position every time they want to take off, which is all the time because kids like to stop all the time, especially right in front of you.

Anecdote: When ah was a boy, mah bike only had a coaster brake, none of these fancy hand leevers. It was fine until one day the hub seized halfway down a steep hill, the pedals locked into fixed gear mode, smashed my shins and I had to crash into a cactus to slow down. So yeah, screw coaster brakes.

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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby bychosis » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:18 pm

MattyK wrote:Anecdote: When ah was a boy, mah bike only had a coaster brake, none of these fancy hand leevers. It was fine until one day the hub seized halfway down a steep hill, the pedals locked into fixed gear mode, smashed my shins and I had to crash into a cactus to slow down. So yeah, screw coaster brakes.

Or when a mate’s young blokes chain came off and he ended up coasting through the edge of the camp fire.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby ValleyForge » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:55 pm

+ several for ByK bikes.

My 3 guys migrated without a hitch from coaster brakes - they got gears which is what they wanted. I made a fuss over learning to shift, but deliberately didn't make a fuss over the brakes. There was no issue.

They now all have hydraulics and comment how much better they are at braking!
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby ValleyForge » Mon Sep 03, 2018 12:57 pm

bychosis wrote:
MattyK wrote:Anecdote: When ah was a boy, mah bike only had a coaster brake, none of these fancy hand leevers. It was fine until one day the hub seized halfway down a steep hill, the pedals locked into fixed gear mode, smashed my shins and I had to crash into a cactus to slow down. So yeah, screw coaster brakes.

Or when a mate’s young blokes chain came off and he ended up coasting through the edge of the camp fire.


One of the regular jobs I did as a teenage back-yard mechanic was pulling the brake shoes out of coaster-brake wheels for kids.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby tcdev » Mon Sep 03, 2018 11:34 pm

Appreciate all the responses, certainly food for thought!

My daughter is reasonably quick, I think, to pick new things up. We've always encouraged her to try new things and she's quite sporty. So I don't have any reservations about hand brakes myself and would prefer she make the transition sooner rather than later, and certainly gives us more options in terms of bikes to choose from.

I'll look at all options suggested, thanks again!
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby Mububban » Tue Sep 04, 2018 12:03 am

tcdev wrote:Another question if I may.

My wife is (now) adamant she wants the 20" upgrade to have back-pedal brakes. The reason is because she herself is not a very confident rider and is paranoid that our daughter will take off down a hill and not be able to stop using hand brakes.

My argument it is that very few 20" bikes have back-pedal brakes, so it can't be much of an issue for kids. I'd also argue that it won't take her long to get used to them, and we wouldn't be riding down steep hills until she had mastered them anyway. But she's got it in her head that she's going to crash and injure herself.

Opinions either way?


Another vote for ByK e450 with 3 speed internal gears. It has the rear pedal brake, but also hand brakes for learning. My almost 8 year old son inherited it from his big sister, and it'll fit him for another year at least. If you can find one on Gumtree rather than brand new you'll do well. Realistically, most kids bikes do bugger all mileage. I think my kids racked up 100km one year which is not amazing but probably more than the average modern kid.

The easiest gear enabled my son to get up a fairly steep hill at Rottnest Island, and the 3 gears make distinctly different ratchet sounds so you can tell what gear they're in and give advice when they're new to changing gears.

Other brands offer similar models, 20 inch with 3 speed internal gears. Giant, Trek and Apollo (Neo) I believe.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby tcdev » Tue Sep 04, 2018 1:04 pm

Mububban wrote:Realistically, most kids bikes do bugger all mileage. I think my kids racked up 100km one year which is not amazing but probably more than the average modern kid.

Never really looked at it from that angle. My daughter did 130km last calendar year, but only 50km this year so far. Being only 6, her riding is restricted to family rides. And Mr 3 is at that point where he's getting too big (and restless) for the toddler seat on the back of my bike, and being fairly proficient on the balance bike, is starting to use a pedal bike. But that will probably mean even less distance for all of us as a family for a while yet. You make a good point on the mileage!

Mububban wrote:The easiest gear enabled my son to get up a fairly steep hill at Rottnest Island, and the 3 gears make distinctly different ratchet sounds so you can tell what gear they're in and give advice when they're new to changing gears.

We did Rottnest around this time last year, though my daughter's (hire) bike didn't have gears. She had to walk a few hills but did very well to manage around 14km of riding that day - very proud of her! Mr 2 (at the time) slept half the way 'round in the bike trailer on the back of my bike.

Thanks for your input!
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby im_no_pro » Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:11 pm

I'll throw in another vote of support for the BYK range. Our oldest is about to get her 350 upgraded later in the year. Picked it up off GT for $100, was the perfect learn to ride option post balance bike.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby Duck! » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:22 pm

tcdev wrote:Latecomer, but can anyone offer any feedback on the Giant Liv Enchant 20?

Looking to upgrade for our 6yr old daughter from a Liv 16" and since all 4 of us have Giant bikes, thought we'd stick with the brand. Looking specifically at the outgoing 2018 model. I know the suspension forks are heavier, and a lack of back-pedal brakes will be a learning curve, but aside from those issues, would be interested to hear other pros and/or cons of the Enchant specifically, even pre-2018 models!?!

tcdev wrote:Another question if I may.

My wife is (now) adamant she wants the 20" upgrade to have back-pedal brakes. The reason is because she herself is not a very confident rider and is paranoid that our daughter will take off down a hill and not be able to stop using hand brakes.

My argument it is that very few 20" bikes have back-pedal brakes, so it can't be much of an issue for kids. I'd also argue that it won't take her long to get used to them, and we wouldn't be riding down steep hills until she had mastered them anyway. But she's got it in her head that she's going to crash and injure herself.

Opinions either way?

As per my earlier reply to the original poster in this thread, the Liv Enchant is also available in a "Street" model, which has a rigid rather than suspension fork (suspension forks are of minimal effect at that level anyway), and 3-speed internal gears with foot brake instead of the "regular" Enchant's 7-sp. derailleur gears and two-wheel hand brakes.

The frames have only undergone minor tweaks over the last few years; Giant tend to produce their frames for at least two years with only the paint colour changing each year, and when they do change frames, the evolution is pretty subtle.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby bychosis » Wed Sep 05, 2018 10:49 pm

I don’t have personal experience with BYK bikes, but understand that they are designed for kids. I think it is a bit of a stretch, and some good marketing, to assume that the big brand bikes don’t design bikes for kids as well. Sure, Kmart and huffy grab whatever is cheapest and the cheap stuff doesn’t work real good for little muscles. Trek, giant, specialised etc have teams of designers dedicated to being better than the opposition and economies of scale to manufacture kid specific parts.

You get what you pay for, brands name stuff is pretty good, and mostly suitable for kids and we all know that Kmart stuff is rubbish and making it work is hard for adults, let alone kids.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby MattyK » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:09 am

bychosis wrote:I don’t have personal experience with BYK bikes, but understand that they are designed for kids. I think it is a bit of a stretch, and some good marketing, to assume that the big brand bikes don’t design bikes for kids as well. Sure, Kmart and huffy grab whatever is cheapest and the cheap stuff doesn’t work real good for little muscles. Trek, giant, specialised etc have teams of designers dedicated to being better than the opposition and economies of scale to manufacture kid specific parts.

When ByK entered the game, I think their statements were pretty true. Only in more recent years it seems that the big brands have gotten on the same bandwagon of lighter, better rolling, more suitable geometry, etc. (though by suitable geometry, a small wheeled upright bike is probably pretty good for someone pedalling gently and slowly)

Anyway, the bikes are all aimed at parents anyway. The old cliche was that kids are going to outgrow it, so why spend good money on something that will only last a year or two? Make it cheap, make the sale. Now parents are more savvy and want the "best" for little Billy, so are willing to pay a premium for features that they see as desirable. Because lighter and faster is always better, right?

Me as a kid, I didn't care, had a 20" "BMX" with only a coaster brake and one gear, and thrashed it hard for many years until the saddle wouldn't go any higher. No idea what it weighed, though it was overgeared to get up steep hills. I just learned to harden up and felt pretty awesome when I grew a bit more and had the strength to conquer the local hill without stopping. It also did epic skids on the gravel driveway. Rear tyre worn to the belts at least twice :mrgreen:

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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby Mububban » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:04 pm

MattyK wrote:[Anyway, the bikes are all aimed at parents anyway.


A line I've always remembered from a review of ByK bikes is "these are the bikes that cyclists buy their kids." :D So true. We like nice light bikes, so we want the same for our kids. Especially when they're skinny buggers like mine with very little muscle!
My daughters turns 10 this weekend :shock: and although only a tiny bit shorter than most, she weighs about 10kg less than most of her classmates. My son who's almost 8 weighs the same as her, he looks to have a more lean sporty physique, whereas my girl is very slim like myself.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby queequeg » Thu Sep 06, 2018 2:37 pm

Mububban wrote:
MattyK wrote:[Anyway, the bikes are all aimed at parents anyway.


A line I've always remembered from a review of ByK bikes is "these are the bikes that cyclists buy their kids." :D So true. We like nice light bikes, so we want the same for our kids. Especially when they're skinny buggers like mine with very little muscle!
My daughters turns 10 this weekend :shock: and although only a tiny bit shorter than most, she weighs about 10kg less than most of her classmates. My son who's almost 8 weighs the same as her, he looks to have a more lean sporty physique, whereas my girl is very slim like myself.


I know when I was first looking at the bikes, I found that in general, kids bikes were made of heavy steel or alloy, to the point where the bike weighed almost as much as the child riding it, and in many cases it weighed more than a full adult sized bike.

Sure, the ByK bikes are pricey, but they sell quickly on places like Gumtree. I got my son's E-350 (his first bike after the balance bike) for $80. That has now been handed down to my youner son, and we upgraded my eldest to the E-4503i, also purchased off Gumtree, and despite being the 3rd owner of it, the bike had maybe been ridden 3 times. The original tyres on it still had the little rubber spikey bits on them, and I honestly couldn't tell the bike was used.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby Duck! » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:20 pm

MattyK wrote:Me as a kid, I didn't care, had a 20" "BMX" with only a coaster brake and one gear. [snip] It also did epic skids on the gravel driveway. Rear tyre worn to the belts at least twice :mrgreen:

Only twice? You weren't trying hard enough! :P
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby MattyK » Thu Sep 06, 2018 10:23 pm

Not two patches, I mean I wore out a whole rear tyre bare the whole way around, got a new one and did the same to that as well.

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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby Duck! » Fri Sep 07, 2018 1:00 am

I got what you meant, but still only twice? :-P
I had a thought, but it got run over as it crossed my mind.

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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby bychosis » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:37 am

Duck! wrote:I got what you meant, but still only twice? :-P

Ha ha, coaster brakes were good for shredding tyres, way better than the hand brake alternative on a cheap bike. I remember a quite long walk home barefoot after busting a massive skid and bursting a tyre.
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Re: LIGHT kids 20" bike help deciding needed

Postby tcdev » Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:32 am

Thanks for all the feedback guys. I did seriously consider the ByKs but in the end we decided on the 2018 Giant Liv Enchant 20. My wife did a 180 on the hand brakes and also decided she liked the idea of 7 gears over 3, plus the paint job, so after a bit of hunting around to find an LBS that both stocked it (old model), and didn't have apathetic-bordering-on-rude customer service we picked one up.

A little disappointingly it'll sit, covered and hidden at the far end of the garden shed, until Xmas morning now. Right now we're getting Mr 3 going on his (Giant) 12" pedal bike after a few years on the balance bike. So far no training wheels which is a different route to his sister, but we'll see what happens in the next few weeks.
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