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papa sboak
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My daughter is almost 8 years old at 4'1", about 70#, 55 inseam. I would like to ride with her more often, but she has no chance of keeping up with me on her 16" wheels. I've put her on the Felt 24, Trek KDR 1000, & Specialized Allez Junior. None of which are small enough for her. I'd really like her to have gears, but there aren't that many. I'm debating whether to: (in order of what I'm leaning toward) cost isn't that big an issue

1. Recondition my friend's old 20" BRIGHT pink Huffy Street Rocker (13 years old, very little rust) (for sentimental reasons & my daughter likes the bike) cost: free w/ 1.5-2 hours of elbow grease (good shape bike) inner tubes hold air fine. Single speed, but rides fine.

2. A bike from Columbia (very modern looking & gray) that has 20" wheel, 7 speeds, 6061 Al frame, $209 from REI. (I rarely return things to REI unless it REALLY doesn't work). By far, the best looking (quality) 20" geared bike I've found. Nicely built, parts are comparable to other 20" in in the same price range.

3. A KHS from a LBS, about $130-$140, pretty heavy and not the color my daughter wants (high priority for her)

I believe she'll have more fun on a 20" bmx with gears over a road w/ 650s.

I want to ride the Acura (LA marathon) route with her, but 20 mi. without gears seems kinda cruel. Although the route should be relatively flat. Have about a month to get her from 12 miles (longest ride, no issues, 16" wheels, single speed) to 20. Want to get her to 25 a week before the ride. Thank you for your input. Opinions wanted. Feel free to offer other options & reasoning if possible.
 

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20,473 Posts
How about 24" wheels. Chucksbikes.com has a small road bike.

Description Piedrahita 24" Wheel Complete bike
Ext Desc This bike is sold in kit form. It includes everything you will need to build the bike up with. Pedals are not included. The cranks, STI levers are Shimano Sora. The cassette, front and rear der are 1997 Shimano 105 8 speed. The brakes are Tektro, alloy bars stem and post.
Price Was $575.00 Now $499.00

Another option might be Dahon folding bikes. www.dahon.com Check out their 20" wheeled bikes. I can speak from experience that the geared models are plenty fast. The Boardwalk 7 is a nice model. The only issue with Dahon's might be the bar reach and drop. At 4'1, she might be too short..
 

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Just Riding Along
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1,024 Posts
Similar issues for me

My daughter will be 7 1/2 this Spring and, as a family, we agreed to postpone her new bike from Christmas. My issue was geared with handbrakes vs. single speed with coaster brake.

My neighbor, with 10 y.o.daughter, advised the transition to hand brakes should be relatively easy, as long as her fingers are long enough.

My closest LBS offers Trek & Cannondale. Your options widen mine.

I think the geared bike will be good for her. This year, my aspirations are for a fun hour at the county park with bike trails and the family. I don't think my daughter will be interested in 20 miles for quite a while.....

Hope I've been helpful.
 

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Squirrel Hunter
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3,806 Posts
From Experience

seany916 said:
My daughter is almost 8 years old at 4'1", about 70#, 55 inseam. I would like to ride with her more often, but she has no chance of keeping up with me on her 16" wheels....
I see you have two issues here. 1) A bike for her to ride and 2) you want to ride with her.

1) As far as a bike for her you need to look out your front door and see what all the other kids are riding and then go buy something similar. Falling in love with riding is to a certain extent all about letting her be a kid. To be a happy kid you have to be somewhat of a conformist. If all the other kids are on BMX bikes then get a BMX bike. If they are all on fake mountain bikes from R Toys Suck then get a mountain bike with gears. If you are handy with a wrench you can go used and save some money as there are plenty of shiny, unused bikes sitting around most neighborhoods. New tires, grips and a saddle can really dress up a used bike. If kids are riding a BMX bike you can really put her in a position to smoke them with a good quality BMX bike.

2) You want to ride with her then get a tandem (not a tag along alley cat). With a tandem you get to enjoy riding with the feel of a real bike and the ability to be in complete control. You can go long and fast like you have in the past and still ride with your regular gang when you want. The plus for your kid is they get to ride a real bike, go longer than they ever could on their own and enjoy the thrill of speed. The tandem also becomes a social experience because instead of going on a ride with dad she is going to the Saturday morning club ride with her riding buddies that she stole from you. With a tandem she also learns how to become a cyclist instead of a rider.

My son started at 7 on the back of the tandem and now at 17 he is racing Cat 3 and occassionally sneaking into a Pro 1,2 race. He can now beat me in a sprint. He is wicked fast on the track because of the spin he developed on the back of the tandem. He drives well because of all his experience riding on the road and in traffic. You get to spend hours of quality time less than three feet away from your kid which not many parents get to do. Another plus is the domestique breeding program - just this weekend I was able to sit on my son's wheel for 10 miles riding into the wind with the snow flying while he did all the work.
 

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more experience

two boys, now 16 and 17. Their all time favorite kids bike was a silver bmx we got at a tag sale for $3.00. We spent all afternoon cleaning tar off it before I rebuilt the bottom bracket and put it on the road. It was a pretty nice bike, but the big issue was that they found it and it was shiny.

My older boy did 25 miles on it just after his 7th birthday. Their ability to endure depended less on the bike or the physical demands than on when they got bored. Each time a rider expressed amazement that he would try 25 miles on a one speed bike, he was good for another mile. He thought he was cooked after the last little hill and remembering the look on his face when he saw the down hill to the finish still chokes me up. He wore the white t-shirt from that ride til it was black, brown and full of holes.

It's her bike. Let her enjoy it and enjoy it with her on her terms. Kids enjoy playing without adult expectations and values.
 

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Specialized Hotrock

I have 7 & 8 year old boys. They are 4' and 4'1" tall. The 8yo has a Specialized Hotrock w/20" tires and 6 speed cassette w/gripshift. The toptube is pretty steeply sloped and standover is quite good for him. Very nice aluminum frame so not a boat anchor and a decent RST coil fork w/about 50mm travel. He rides singletrack on it w/me all the time and I've been really impressed. His is red w/black flames, but it comes in attractive girl colors too. ( hot pink and a kind of silvery blue). He loves it. http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?spid=12315

My 7yo has a Kona Makena(20" wheel). Aluminum frame and pretty much identical drivetrain spec as the Specialized. A little less fork(30mm) and a quill stem instead of threadless which is nice for a growing kid. Good standover. It sees a lot of dirt too and has been very durable. It also has a semi-slick which is a nice comp for pavement. He loves it.His is a blue 2005. The 06 is red.
http://www.konaworld.com/shopping_c...roduct_detail.aspx?productid=342&parentid=253

Both boys picked out their own bikes which I think is the most important thing. I also think it's extremely important to put them on a bike that fits rather than stretch them onto a bike they can "grow into" . Otherwise they're too concerned with developing coping skills rather than good riding skills and you end up with a frustrated kid who doesn't enjoy riding. These were their third bike each. Started in 10 inch wheels, then 16 inch Walmart bikes. They each willingly saved $100 in Bday and chore money and I paid the balance when they reached their goal. (they both retail around $270) While they were saving, we got on the internet and looked at every kid bike and they chose what they wanted.The anticipation was huge, and they take almost comical pride in their rides.

You could also look at the Marin bike (similar spec) but it's a very boyish matte grey/black. Also Ibex makes a 20" kid bike that looks like a good value. It even has a front derailleur (which probably adds more complexity than an 8yo needs IMO)

The point is, get on the internet with your daughter and window shop a little and she'll end up a happy camper.

Sorry for the long post, but hope it helps!
 

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papa sboak
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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you everybody

I will especially take into account that it's HER bike and that she has to enjoy just being a kid. The dayglo 13 year old Huffy gets the nod then. The Specialized Hotrock is a close second based on color, but given that she's already ridden the "Street Rocker" and loves it, I guess it doesn't hurt that I don't have to pay anything for it. Thanks guys.
 
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