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  1. #1
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    Cheap first pedal bike $39

    My 2.5 years old daughter (13" inseam") is using the Cleary StarFish balance bike at the moment. She has mastered the balance bike techniques. Fall is approaching and soon we have winter here in Canada. My plan is to get her a Spawn Furi in the spring of next year. I don't want to spend a lot of money now and have the bike put away for the winter because she is my first (and probably the only) child, I have no idea how tall she will be next spring. Don't want to buy the Furi now and have to upgrade to a 16" Banshee bike months later. I understand the advantage of a lighter weight bike, no coaster brake, etc. But today I was at a sporting store and see a 12" bike on clearance for $40. Thinking of getting it for her to start out this fall. I know it's clunky and heavy but it's smaller than the Furi which fits her better right now. She can reach the ground. I am eager to have the daughter able to ride a pedal bike without training wheel as soon as possible instead of waiting for next spring which is 6 months away. She is ready now.

    Should I buy this cheap bike or save the money? At this price, it's almost like getting a used bike for temporary use.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Cheap first pedal bike -screen-shot-2015-08-29-9.05.50-am.jpg  


  2. #2
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    For $40, I'd put her on it. I'd also keep the training wheels for a few outings and give her a chance to get the hang of pedaling and braking with them installed before removing them. Contrary to popular opinion, this will not affect her long term riding skills in any sort of negative way.
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  3. #3
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    Agreed. Go for it.

    I had my oldest two girls (7 & 5 now) on a 12" with training wheels first to learn to pedal and steer then put on balance bikes for a few months and they were on a regular bike by 4.5 and 4th birthday. I have a 2 year old who will be getting on next spring.

    The training wheels really will help them focus on pedal, steering, and brakes. It won't take much before she wants those training wheels off.

  4. #4
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    Check the frame alignment if you plan on removing the training wheels. I bought my daughter a cheap bike like that and the alignment was way off. The front wheel was probably a good 1/4-1/2" offset from the rear and the wheels both leaned in opposing directions from one another. This was on 3 different bikes (Wal-mart). I eventually gave up and purchased a used one off Craigslist because there is no way I am buying new and supporting that crap. You can kind of align the wheels if you manipulate them in the dropouts (have to remove the safety clips). Good luck.
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  5. #5
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    Just bend them into position.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Just bend them into position.
    Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the training wheels, I'm talking about the bike frames being out of alignment. Is there a way to bend the frame straight?
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  7. #7
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    My bad - I thought you were talking about the training wheels.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by gladstone1 View Post
    My 2.5 years old daughter (13" inseam") is using the Cleary StarFish balance bike at the moment. She has mastered the balance bike techniques
    Very good. Continue with the Cleary. A good balance bike is light and fast. It is way more fun than the crappy iron toy on the photo.

    Moving her to the crappy bike is not an "upgrade". The bike in the photo is almost completely useless. Besides the heavy weight, it has a ridiculously short wheelbase, and stupid-high bottom bracket.

    Proper kids bikes have a long wheelbase and a low BB. They handle WAY better than the toys, and are suitable for a bigger variety of heights. A Spawn Furi will probably fit her until she's 5.

    I would let her enjoy the balance bike until she's tall enough for a good kid bike, Like the Furi or the Cleary Gecko.

    A cheaper option for small kids is the Specialized Hotrock 12. It's a little bit smaller than the Furi. Some disadvantages compared to the upper-scale Furi:

    - Heavier
    - Have smaller 12" wheel (a noticeable difference in rolling resistance compared to 14" wheels)
    - Have a coaster brake, which creates some drag even when not operated (The Furi and the Gecko have good V brake)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by oren_hershco View Post
    Very good. Continue with the Cleary. A good balance bike is light and fast. It is way more fun than the crappy iron toy on the photo.

    Moving her to the crappy bike is not an "upgrade". The bike in the photo is almost completely useless. Besides the heavy weight, it has a ridiculously short wheelbase, and stupid-high bottom bracket.

    Proper kids bikes have a long wheelbase and a low BB. They handle WAY better than the toys, and are suitable for a bigger variety of heights. A Spawn Furi will probably fit her until she's 5.

    I would let her enjoy the balance bike until she's tall enough for a good kid bike, Like the Furi or the Cleary Gecko.

    A cheaper option for small kids is the Specialized Hotrock 12. It's a little bit smaller than the Furi. Some disadvantages compared to the upper-scale Furi:

    - Heavier
    - Have smaller 12" wheel (a noticeable difference in rolling resistance compared to 14" wheels)
    - Have a coaster brake, which creates some drag even when not operated (The Furi and the Gecko have good V brake)
    Lots of good advice here. I personally think the department store bike will be a step backwards. The horrible geometry on those bikes are designed more for riding with training wheels. Your daughter is also short, seems to me she'll get plenty of use out of a 14" bike. My oldest son, who will turn 4 in two weeks, is also short with a 15 1/2" inseam. He has two bikes - a 14" Commencal Ramones (pedal / no coaster)and a 10" Strider (kick) and he rides both regularly. It's going to be awhile before I think he's ready for a 16"

  10. #10
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    For $40, that big-box bike is fine to start out with, and anything that pedals is a step up from a scooter/strider. No need to spends hundreds right off the bat for a 2 year old IMO. My kid started on a $5 12" POS just riding around the driveway when he was that age and it totally served the purpose.
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