Affordable, durable bike for a 10 year old?
November 18, 2012 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Suggestions for a reasonably priced and durable bike for a ten year old? Thanks in advance, hivemind.

I need to have it by 12/6, so it will also need to be something that's readily available in D.C., or can be ordered and delivered quickly.
posted by ryanshepard to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
We need alot more info to give a good answer. How big is this ten year old and where are they going to be riding? What does the kid want?
If they're already around 5' they will be able to fit on some adult bikes which will be higher quality but more expensive, but durable enough that they will be able to keep the same bike until high school, adjusting as they grow.
Does the kid want a mountain bike for trails? A fast road bike? A hybrid which might be the best compromise in an urban place like DC?

Don't forget the accessories - lock, helmet, front and rear lights.
posted by slow graffiti at 11:50 AM on November 18, 2012

Durability in a bike can mean a lot of things. You can find Huffys from Sears which are in great shape 10 years later because they were stored properly, cleaned once a year, or were used infrequently. Likewise, you can completely destroy even the nicest Gary Fischer, Specialized, or what have you by leaving it outside, not cleaning it, not drying it, not greasing it, and otherwise mistreating a bike. Generally it is the breaks, gears and wheels that rust - not the frame.

Likewise I've seen adults that ride mountain bike hard and crack their frame on technical courses, they realistically needed not only a more durable bike, but a full set of armor to protect them from their fall. That's the kind of ride a 10 year old isn't doing.

So, generally speaking, for a 10 year old, name your budget, then spend 2/3 of your budget - which may mean going to a bike shop, or may mean finding a bike at Toys R Us. Also a bike should be fit to the kid - my Gary Fischer rides very differently than my Specialized. I purchased the Gary Fischer with help from a Sales Rep at my bike shop that knew how I ride. The specialized I bought earlier, and there are some days that I wish I hadn't...
posted by Nanukthedog at 12:34 PM on November 18, 2012

What's your budget? Craigslist has a lot of lightly used kids bikes that are priced to sell by parents cleaning out their garages. It doesn't sound like you have the time or know-how to go that route though, so my next recommendation is to just go to whatever store has bikes that fit your budget and try them out. REI usually strikes a good balance between quality and price (for bikes, not so much for other gear) and my family (three kids who biked everywhere) has had nothing but good experiences at the REI in Baileys Crossroads. That said, a 10 year old is going to outgrow any bike pretty fast and you'd probably be fine just getting something super basic from Target.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 12:43 PM on November 18, 2012

How big is this ten year old and where are they going to be riding? What does the kid want?

This is for an annual charity gift drive that my work does - all I know is the kids age (10) and sex (male).
posted by ryanshepard at 12:45 PM on November 18, 2012

Also, I'd like to buy something new - $150-200 is my budget, if that's realistic for something that isn't crap.
posted by ryanshepard at 12:46 PM on November 18, 2012

This is for an annual charity gift drive that my work does - all I know is the kids age (10) and sex (male).

Bike fit matters a lot. If you don't know anything about how big this kid is you could wind up buying him either a bike that's already too small, or a bike that's too big right now and gets lost or given to another kid in the family before he gets a chance to ride it. Did you specifically agree to buy a bike? Could you substitute a skateboard or scooter? If you are definitely getting a bike, you should go with a bmx style bike because those are less sensitive to fit.
Include a helmet in your budget for whatever you buy.
posted by martinX's bellbottoms at 2:09 PM on November 18, 2012

Bike fit matters a lot.

I'm in the same boat. Female, 7 years old, wants a bike. No height given. However, on the card it also gave her clothing sizes, in case I wanted to give her clothes too (very common here to give clothes sizes and the 3 gifts the child wants the most). My plan is to walk an outfit over to the bikes and lay them across the bikes to see if it is roughly right. I'm not sure how good a plan it is, but just in case the idea helps you....

If you don't have any clothing sizes, you could go with the average, then using that to determine a wheel size. From that chart, if you're going with averages, you're looking for a bike with a 20-inch wheel. An adjustable seat helps, and I'd guess that most/all bikes have these.

I'm sorry I don't have a specific brand I can recommend. I'm just reading all the reviews for the top-rated bikes at different sporting/toy stores to weed out the crappy ones.
posted by Houstonian at 2:32 PM on November 18, 2012

Houstonian, that's not going to work very well. A lot of bike fit has to do with leg/torso/arm length. You can't really get that from off the rack clothing.

It both cases it might be best to find a store near you that has kid's sizes and get a gift certificate to it. In an ideal world, either kid would wake up on Xmas day with a shiny new bike, but it's not really that easy. Plus, kids grow. At best they could get a year or two out of their new bike. It really does sound like a bmx is the best bet.
posted by loriginedumonde at 3:12 PM on November 18, 2012

You should get a bike with 24" tires. My kid is now just a bit past 5' tall and her 24" bike is just now getting too small. But, if you want a high quality bike, you might have to spend another $100 or so. I suspect something cheaper should be fine though for most kids who are just using it to ride around the block.
posted by vespabelle at 5:55 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

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