Kids bike designs

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by Alison, Mar 10, 2003.

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  1. Alison

    Alison Guest

    > > What's better for kids: safe bikes or stunt bikes, regardless of how they are ridden?
    >
    > What is a safe bike?

    Presumably one that is well designed and built as opposed to the flimsily built, badly assembled
    department store trash the fall apart under the slightest force and when they break they can't be
    repaired because of oddball parts or shoddy construction techniques.

    >
    > If a kid is 5-7 years old, the kid is going to have to ride a bike with 20" inch wheels, anything
    > bigger would require a frame that is too big for the kid.
    >
    > > Obviously, one can do all kinds of fun riding on regular bikes. You don't need a BMX bike to
    > > bunnyhop or do jumps or ride trails (oops, that's not what a BMX bike is designed for).
    > >
    > > And, sure, it's neat for anyone to try all kinds of bikes, unicycles and the like. But what are
    > > the best bikes for the various HUGE kid's age groups?
    >
    > A BMX what else?

    In the UK BMXs are quite popular bikes but tend to be mainly ridden by boys. Girls seem to prefer
    mountain bikes either with a girls frame or with a Y frame. BMX type bikes for girls with a dropped
    top tube in both

    16 inch and 20 inch wheel size ever so common in US are virtually unseen

    in the UK and those which do exist are mainly low quality department store types. Even 16 inch boys
    / standard BMXs are not all that common although they were in the 1980s. Most kids in the 4 to 7 age
    group ride mountain bikes as they are the most widely available types. The type of bikes you see
    kids in the 8 to 16 age group varies with they live in, with those from urban areas tending to own
    BMXs and in rural and hilly areas mountain bikes predominate.

    Another difference between UK and US bikes is that just about all kids bikes in the UK are fitted
    with hand brakes and virtually none are fitted with coaster brakes. Bikes with 10 and 12 inch wheels
    usually just have a front brake whereas bikes with 16 and 20 inch wheels always have two brakes.

    Anyone suggesting a best all round bike for kids is like someone suggesting a best all round car for
    adults. You could develop a car that

    is a load lugger for three kids and their stuff, an agile sports car and

    an economical runabout around town all at the same time but it would be truly awful and fail to
    fulfil all three criteria to the point where nobody would want to buy. The same also applies to kids
    bikes. They are best designed for a particular purpose in mind and used for that.

    What intrigues me is why gender specific kids bikes still exist, or more

    so is there any reason to produce bikes with dropped top tubes for girls

    ? Almost all girls nowadays wear trousers when riding bikes so there is no reason for them not to
    ride a bike with a standard frame. Does anyone

    know if girls actually want bikes with dropped top tubes or is it parents insisting they have them
    rather than getting bike with a standard or boys frame ?

    I was verbally informed a few years ago that girls frame (mountain) bikes tend to devalue more than
    boys frame bikes and are more difficult to sell used.

    >
    > > And, sure, kids will always push the margins of stunting, but do we want to encourage that
    > > aspect in bike design? Do most kids need that or use 1/10th of the intended potential of such
    > > designs?
    > >
    > > What's the best tech for the biggest bike market: neglect? exploitation? copycatting? toys?
    > >
    > > C'mon, can't you put 1/100th of your bike tech interest into the biggest, most significant bike
    > > market?
    >
    > If there was money to be made in the kid's bike market by producing innovative kid's bikes, I
    > would think that bicycle manufactures would be producing such bikes.

    Quite a lot of innovation does go into kids bikes and styles vary from year to year. However much of
    this innovation is more cosmetic rather than technical and probably detracts from the riding
    quality. Over the past 15 or so years I have seen kids bikes based on cartoons like Action

    Man and Pokemon and numerous others fitted with accessories like plastic

    mag wheels; plastic spoilers covering the frame; sound and flashing light boxes; plastic disc wheel
    covers; chainless drive systems and now the latest must have is suspension.

    When it comes to innovation then cost is a prohibitive factor with kids bikes. Quite often the same
    piece of technology will cost exactly the same whether it is used on a high end mountain bike or a
    kids bike with 16 inch wheels. A conflict of interest often occurs when buying kids bikes. The kid
    tends to want the flashiest or the most high tech looking

    bike but the parents want the cheapest one because it will be outgrown in a few years time.

    >
    > There are MTBs and BMXs with 20" wheels, what else could you design for kids?
    >
    Apart from recumbents or pedal powered car like machines then really it is a decision between a BMX
    or a mountain bike.

    > There is no way you could have a kids bike with narrow road rims, most kids would destroy them.

    How many kids do you see riding road bikes with drop handlebars nowadays

    ? Virtually none and besides, such bikes are generally unsuitable for kids unless they are distance
    riding enthusiasts who have the initiative and the will to treat their bike with respect and service
    it regularly.
    >
    > > Is anyone really trying to say that stunting is the fun part of cycling?
    >
    > I will say this, and so would a lot of people I used to know.
    >
    > > Stunting offers a quick path to boredom in cycling because it offers the least usefulness.
    >
    > Have you ever ridden a BMX? Where are you getting this information to make these claims?
    >
    > > Kids do such stunt-riding today largely because it's part of their exploited pattern of
    > > consumption, not because they're learning about bikes or becoming cyclists or learning about
    > > sustainable culture.
    >
    > Wrong again. Kids do stunt riding because they like to push themselves, they like the rush that
    > comes from a perfectly executed stunt.

    It is a fine recreational activity. I suppose its better for them than watching the telly or playing
    video games. You wouldn't believe how many

    fat and overweight couch potato kids we have nowadays slobbing around on

    the sofa all weekend. If they did stunt riding regularly then they would

    burn off much of that blubber.

    > BMXers, do not consider themselves cyclists, they consider themselves BMXers.
    >
    > > What do kids who ride BMX bikes do when they turn 16? -- Stop riding!
    >
    > I rode a BMX starting at about age 8, then raced BMX from 14-17, then just rode street (BMX) for
    > another 2 years, then started racing MTB, then Cross, then Road.
    >
    > > What kind of bike probably has the worst results at turning kids into cyclists? --BMX bikes!

    OTOH is there any reason for kids to have to become regular road and distance cyclists ? What is
    wrong with them just using BMXs and mountain

    bikes for local transport in towns and suburbs.
    >
    > A kid is more likely to become a cyclist if he rides a BMX opposed to not riding any bike at all.
    > I know lots of people that raced BMX that switched to MTB when they got older. There is nothing
    > wrong with the BMX bike.
    >
    > The problem I have kids bikes is that most people think there is only one size to BMX bikes. Most
    > people shopping for their kid's bike do not realize that getting the proper size frame is still
    > important. A BMX is highly adjustable, but getting a BMX with the proper top tube length for your
    > height will make the bike much easier to handle.

    Frame style and the angle between the top tube and the seat stays matter

    as well. Freestyle BMXs have smaller frames than standard BMXs so are less suitable for larger kids
    and adults to use for general and town riding than standard BMXs. Also some BMXs - that are almost
    impossible to find in the UK - have a top tube that slants down heavily towards the

    rear of the bike and the angle between it and the seat stays are (almost) 180 degrees. This
    configuration allows a lower seat height than normal so that a 6 or even 5 year old can ride one.
    Usually the frame is shorter and the handlebar width narrower than normal to accomodate the
    dimensions of a smaller rider.

    >
    > > What do BMX-riding kids do when they want to explore the next town over? -- Find someone to
    > > drive them there in a car!
    >
    > While I can not say I ever rode my BMX further than 20km one way, I definitely rode it all over
    > town, a lot more than most adults do that have road or MTB bikes. BMXs are not designed to be
    > ridden over long distances. Most kids will not ride father than 5km no matter what kind of bike
    > they have, for that matter, most kids these days want to be driven everywhere. So, having the
    > perfect kid's bike is not going to help anything.

    In the UK kids regularly cycle in towns and suburbs and IMO British towns have better facilities for
    cyclists than American towns do, but are very rarely ever seen cycling on the main roads linking
    towns together because of the dangers of traffic. Some towns are linked to others by pathways or
    dedicated cycle paths, sometimes towpaths running alongside canals or built over disused railways
    but kids are rarely seen

    on them unaccompanied by adults. Fear of abduction, child molesters or violent thugs hangs in the
    air nowadays to the point where kids play outside far less than in the past.
     
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  2. A Muzi

    A Muzi Guest

    "Alison" <[email protected]> wrote in message news:[email protected]...
    > What intrigues me is why gender specific kids bikes still exist, or more
    >
    > so is there any reason to produce bikes with dropped top tubes for girls
    >
    > ? Almost all girls nowadays wear trousers when riding bikes so there is no reason for them not to
    > ride a bike with a standard frame. Does anyone
    >
    > know if girls actually want bikes with dropped top tubes or is it parents insisting they have them
    > rather than getting bike with a standard or boys frame ?

    top tube. We would have called them girls' bikes in my youth. At least here parents (and
    grandparents) seem to want to overbuy the bike in terms of the child's age and ability. Drop-tube
    frames allow a five year old to stand over an eight-year-old's bike and they seem to like that. Or
    at least they buy them after being told that it isn't such a good idea.
    --
    Andrew Muzi http://www.yellowjersey.org Open every day since 1 April 1971
     
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