Need help on choosing bike size and bike rack



bikerbiker

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May 12, 2014
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We bought a 26" bike at walmart for my son who is 57" but will be growing a lot more. The guy at the bike shop we visited said 24" would only be good for 6 months for him. However, the seat at its lowest position is too high for my son to get up on by himself. He also has difficulty dismounting. But he rides it fine as far as distance of handlebars and length to pedals. This is a mountain bike by the way. Should we return it for a 24" or let him grow into the one we bought?

We also need a bike rack. We currently have 3 bikes but may get a 4th. I have seen racks on top of cars, as well as those that strap to the back. The 4 bike racks I'm seeing on Craigslist all seem to require hitches. We need the rack to fit either our suv or our small car. We have no hitches. One option is to get a 3 bike rack that straps to the back of the suv and bungee cord the 4th bike on the built in roof racks on top of the car. Another is to toss the 4th bike in the back of the suv, but we will lose space for bags and miscellaneous.

I need some advice on both of these issues asap.

Much appreciated!
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Originally Posted by bikerbiker
We bought a 26" bike at walmart for my son who is 57" but will be growing a lot more. The guy at the bike shop we visited said 24" would only be good for 6 months for him. However, the seat at its lowest position is too high for my son to get up on by himself. He also has difficulty dismounting. But he rides it fine as far as distance of handlebars and length to pedals. This is a mountain bike by the way. Should we return it for a 24" or let him grow into the one we bought?
You bought a bike with 26" wheels at Wal-mart, At 4'9", your son might be tall enough for the smallest adult mountain bikes at the bike shop. The problem with 24" wheel bikes is that kids grow out of them so danged fast. Is your son going to ride through the winter? If not, the kids' bike will get him through the fall, and then you'll probably end up getting him an adult bike next spring.

There are two criteria for fitting kids' bikes--first, can his feet reach the pedals and the ground without getting hurt or tipping over; the second is, making sure the handlebar close enough for him to maneuver the bike safely. Can he turn the handlebar 45 degrees without twisting his upper body?

My most recommend course would be to return the Wal-mart bike in any case, It's junk, or will be soon. Next, find a shop that has a kids' bike trade-up program and find a safety-checked used kids bike by a good bike-shop brand. Failing that, find a good used kids's bike in the classifieds or craigslist. Failing that, find a shop that has a trade-up program and get him a new bike that they will take in trade when he outgrows it.

As for car racks, there are three kinds--hitch mount, roof mount, and deck mount. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Deck mount is often the least expensive and easiest to install and remove. The major brands--Thule, Yakima, Saris, and a couple others, have all been making some pretty slick racks in this category, as well as roof and hitch mount. Talk to a couple bike shops and outdoor outfitters like REI, Jax, and even Cabella's to get the big picture of all your alternatives.
 

bikerbiker

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May 12, 2014
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Is Deck mount a type or a brand?

Thanks for your feedback. My son seems to have no problem maneuvering the bike, just getting on and off. And I figure once he gets more confidence in his riding ability he will be able to work aorund the tall height of the seat. I am concerned, like you write, about him outgrowing a 24" fast. As for buying from a bike shop, that's out. Their used bikes are as expensive as a new one from wal-mart. Cycling enthusiasts keep saying these department store bikes are junk, but the ones we bought got great reviews by many people. I also very much doubt most people buy from bike shops. It's just too expensive. The Schwinn 10-speed that I owned and rode for 20 years (though not continuously I'll admit) worked just fine for me. I bought it from a department store. It's hard to make a huge investment when you don't know how much bike riding you'll do as a family before the kids need new bikes again. Factor in the cost of helmets and this rack I need to get now, plus my wife's going to need a bike to come out with us, and you're talking huge bucks.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Deck mount is a type. It has feet that rest on the rear deck, trunk lid, or hatch of a sedan, wagon, or SUV. Straps of one manner or another hold it down.
Originally Posted by bikerbiker
As for buying from a bike shop, that's out. Their used bikes are as expensive as a new one from wal-mart.
Well, yeah. I'm not going to argue. But most of these good reviews are written before they've had the bike in their possession very long, by people who have never ridden a really decent bicycle. And they can be serviced. A reasonably cared for five year old Trek 820 has more miles left in it than a brand new Hyper Havoc.

If you're still interested, two shop brands that offer good reasonably priced kids' bikes are Fuji and Raleigh.

Deck mount is a type of rack. It has feet that rest on the rear deck, trunk lid, or hatch of sedan, wagon, van or SUV, and straps of one manner or another to hold it down.
 

bikerbiker

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May 12, 2014
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Thanks for the feedback. Something else I've realized is that if a kid's bike is going to get dropped and treated roughly, it seems better to do that on a bike you didn't have to pay a lot for. And if that bike is good quality but used, the child isn't going to be as excited as they would be with a shiny new bike.
 

bikerbiker

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May 12, 2014
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My son can turn the handlebars fine and his legs reach the pedals correctly. However, his feet don't touch the ground. The bike definitely looks too big for him as he rides it but control is no problem. He just needs assistance getting on and I am teaching him how to get off the bike when he stops so that he doesn't fall or drop the bike. He leans to one side and holds the bike as he comes down on one leg. I figure if he can master this, we can keep the 26" bike. Good idea? If we bought a 24", how long would it take him to outgrow it? He's only 8. he's very tall for his age.
 

oldbobcat

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Aug 31, 2003
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Originally Posted by bikerbiker
My son can turn the handlebars fine and his legs reach the pedals correctly. However, his feet don't touch the ground. The bike definitely looks too big for him as he rides it but control is no problem. He just needs assistance getting on and I am teaching him how to get off the bike when he stops so that he doesn't fall or drop the bike. He leans to one side and holds the bike as he comes down on one leg. I figure if he can master this, we can keep the 26" bike. Good idea? If we bought a 24", how long would it take him to outgrow it? He's only 8. he's very tall for his age.
His learning to ride will be faster if the bike fits or is a little too small for him.

On the other hand, I've seen photos of kids in third-world countries riding bikes that were too big by sticking one leg through the frame and not using the saddle. Where there's a will there's a way.

Relating my own experience, I got cruiser with 24" wheels for my seventh birthday, and rode the snot out of it until it was stolen in the spring of my fourth grade. I was always kind of tall for my age until I stopped growing around 17.

It sounds like you want me to validate your decision. I can only relate experiences.