First comes the Strider bike, then comes....?
February 18, 2014 7:25 PM   Subscribe

Darling Boy is nigh on his 4th birthday and we are looking to get him a bike. He has had since Christmas a Strider balance bike which he loves and has done very well on. We are looking for the next level of bike with pedals (and without training wheels) but are somewhat overwhelmed with our choices. What is a good quality next level pedal bike that will see him through until he is older?
posted by tafetta, darling! to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Congrats to and your son. Best wishes for lots of bike fun. When our son was ready to move on from a balance bike we got a schwinn off craigslist. We paid something like $25. We test drove a few and here are couple of observations which are hopefully helpful:
1. Unless you're kid is particularly tall, you probably will want a bike with 12 inch wheels. Our experience was that it is better to get a bike on the smaller side so that he can easily put his feet down when he needs to.

2. I think craigslist is a good option, since, in our experience, you will likely end up upgrading to a larger bike fairly quickly. Our son got comfortable pretty quickly and after 6 months or so (and a growth spurt), was ready for a bike with 16 inch wheels. We got that one from a neighbor, who had bought it off craigslist years earlier.

Good luck!
posted by stewieandthedude at 8:04 PM on February 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Check out isla bikes. They are fantastic. We started our daughter on a Benni 20 small. It was suggested that we not put the petals on until she was comfortable. This was great advice. She used it as a skoot or strider bike for a few weeks and then we put the petals on. She took right off and now cycles to school every morning. The bikes are really well made and will last years. The resale value is also really high.
posted by Morgangr at 12:38 AM on February 19, 2014

My daughter started off on a Strider as well at 18 months or so.
She got generic 12 toys r us special with pedals (without training wheels) when she was about 2 1/2 or 3. (Would have been sooner, but she couldn't reach the pedals. heh). This was good because it was heavy and very sturdy, so dealt well with the inevitable crashes and misuse.

She's now 4 1/2 and has been riding a Trek 16 since Christmas.
(Also would have been sooner, but height was an issue again. She's a little short for her ability).

We chose the Trek partly because she liked the colors, but also because it is not just a big bike on small wheels.
All of the components are sized for kids. The seat is smaller, the pedals are smaller, grips, etc.
It is also far lighter than a generic department store bike.

I would take your boy to a good bike shop, see how tall he is a pedal bike, and go from there.

Also, depending on your time frame, I'd let him use the Strider for at least 6 months.
In my experience around the neighborhood, the kids that spent longer on balance bikes end up as much better riders than the kids that start with pedals/move to pedals too quickly. They lean more naturally, have a better sense of steering, and seem to take to pedaling far more intuitively.
posted by madajb at 3:12 AM on February 19, 2014

Kudos on the Strider/no-training-wheels approach. It's the right approach!
posted by entropone at 7:16 AM on February 19, 2014

Do they have "Puky" brand bikes where you are? It's the go-to first bike brand here: they are tough enough that I, full grown man, was able to ride my kids' (albeit all scrunched up).
If they have them (maybe rebranded), the build quality is terrific.
posted by From Bklyn at 10:03 AM on February 19, 2014

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