Children face significant hurdles in learning to ride a bike. Sure, there are sizing issues; most bikes for kids each have about a magic six-month window in which their fit—and as a result, handling—are great. The rest of the time the kid is on the bike is sub-optimal. Beyond sizing, there are big problems with weight. While there’s no crime in a bike weighing 25 lbs., there’s something cruel about putting someone who weighs 50 lbs. on a machine that weighs half of what they do. Let’s not forget rolling resistance either.
Remember what a revelation it was when you first road a 29er mountain bike after all those years on 26-inch mountain bikes? Well the jump from 12-inch wheels to 16-inch wheels is even more dramatic and amazing.
The attention to detail on these bikes is extraordinary.
Earlier this year I reviewed two different kids’ bikes from Islabikes. Compared to the pot-metal crap coming out of the big box stores, the Beinn and the Rothan are extravagances, but I would argue that those Huffys and Pacifics are largely a disservice to young riders. The point, I think we can agree, is that when we buy a kid a bike, we want them to like cycling and stick with it for years to come. Buying a quality bike seems to be an integral part of that equation.
But what if you have a kid who really takes to cycling, maybe even wants to race. What do you do?
The weld quality is first-rate.
Well Islabikes has just introduced a new line of bikes called Pro. These bikes are lighter, better spec’d and feature a number of parts designed just for smaller riders. They cost what many adult bikes go for. However, before anyone has a meltdown in the comments about what these bikes cost, I’m just going to go ahead and say save it. If all you have to say about these bikes is that they are too expensive, I think there’s a forum on Craigslist for that. These bikes exist for parents who want to give their kids the best cycling experience they can. We support that.
Hydraulic disc brakes and Gripshift gives kid the control adults enjoy.
There are four bikes in the new Pro line: the 16-inch wheel Cnoc Pro, the 20-inch wheel Beinn Pro and the Creig Pro, which is available in either 24- or 26-inch wheels. The Luath Pro is a cyclocross bike that comes with 24- or 26-inch or 700C wheels. They go for $1199, $1499, $2299 and $2399, respectively. Again, if all you’re going to do in the comments is criticize the expense of these bikes, please consider a better use of your energy.
They sourced good tires and rims, and while the bikes are shipped with tubes, the wheels can be run tubeless.
Islabikes went to great lengths to source size-appropriate components like bars, stems, seatposts and saddles.
I got to check out the Beinn Pro and the Creig Pro. Better yet, I got to put a friend’s child on the Creig Pro and get her take on the bike. Unfortunately, Mini-Shred was at school during my meeting and didn’t get a chance to ride the Beinn Pro, which maybe was a good thing because the kid has a taste for quality and I’m sure he would have wanted to keep it.
Wide-ranging cassettes help the kids ride real-world terrain.
My proof: When my friend’s daughter Jasmine started riding the Creig Pro around, she was amazed by its low weight, easy shifting and the presence of front suspension that actually moved.
No coaster brakes here.
While she couldn’t articulate what she liked about the handling, it was evident that she enjoyed the bike’s design as she began to swoop and carve through turns. She even tried to pop a wheelie, er, manual, or three. When a bike is right the body knows.
If you value independent media, please lend your support to RKP.
To learn more about our new subscription program, please read this.