A review of the Cleary Hedgehog- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    A review of the Cleary Hedgehog

    Got two Cleary hedgehogs for my daughters for Christmas. I've held off on reviewing them because there was a sudden dump of snow and the bikes lived in stasis at the foot of each kid's bed.
    Since then we hit the indoor bike park and then it thawed. Still no trail time, but I think I have seen enough now to make some judgments.
    First the good: Awesome customer service, well built, pretty light, parts are standards sized in case you want to upgrade with aftermarket parts, easy to pull brakes, nice wide platforms, pretty.
    Now the bad: these bikes are really long. This is good, but it throws sizing off. My girls are too big for 12" wheled Walmart bikes, but I suspect they would be more comfortable on 12" wheels of these bikes dimensions. My girls are stretched out over the front triangle to reach the bars. They still are comfortable enough to ride down curbs and hog the pump track at the bike park, but they are less confident.
    The other problem is more of a physics issue. If seated in the saddle, toes barely touching the ground then their knees are far too bent, never getting near 95% extension when actually pedalling. Raise it to fix extension and they can't reach the ground by a long ways. Shorter cranks and a lower bb would fix it, but then they couldn't power the bikes well enough and pedal bites would abound.

    Despite the issues the bikes are far better than the most common options, and when my girls stand up on the pedals they have good form and the bikes are more manageable than other options.

    I would love to see one beside a commencal and a spawn. I also think my girls will grow out of some of these issues.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by taletotell View Post
    The other problem is more of a physics issue. If seated in the saddle, toes barely touching the ground then their knees are far too bent, never getting near 95% extension when actually pedalling. Raise it to fix extension and they can't reach the ground by a long ways. Shorter cranks and a lower bb would fix it, but then they couldn't power the bikes well enough and pedal bites would abound.

    I would love to see one beside a commencal and a spawn. I also think my girls will grow out of some of these issues.
    I've been waiting to see a review of a CLeary in the wild. They look like really interesting bikes. Can't wait to see some pictures!

    I can tell you that the Ground/Knee Extension issue is the same on my daughter's Gremlin(Furi) and Banshee. Honestly, the only way to "fix" it is really to get out of the seat when coming to a stop (even for us adults!), which may be even easier with a long top-tube. Heck, Electra went for a semi-recumbant position to solve the problem on adult bikes, and my wife rented one and STILL couldn't get her feet on the ground when she had good pedaling position.

    Looking forward to some more info as you get a chance to share.

  3. #3
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    I don't really think it's possible to design a bike that accomodates proper extension while also allowing you to put feet on the ground sitting in the saddle.

    Would a shorter stem or maybe bars with some sweep help your first problem?

  4. #4
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    The stem is already almost as short as you an go. Back sweep might help. I have a bar I was thinking of trying for backsweep. As for leg extension, to toes on the ground and still get 95% extension your pedals can only be 5% of your leg length above the ground at the bottom of their rotation, which on a kids bike I away too little clearance, so yes, you are right about that.

  5. #5
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    The stock bar is standard sized where it meets the stem, but is smaller at the grips, meaning the stock brake levers won't fit an aftermarket bar.

  6. #6
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    The paint is pretty delicate. It's hard to show with pictures, but around the rear axle bolts the paint beads up from being ripped up where I tightened it during installation.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by taletotell View Post
    The stock bar is standard sized where it meets the stem, but is smaller at the grips, meaning the stock brake levers won't fit an aftermarket bar.
    Here are some pics. The bar is a bit too wide even though i cut it down. I will cut it again after her test ride later.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails A review of the Cleary Hedgehog-img_20150119_072235.jpg  

    A review of the Cleary Hedgehog-img_20150119_092408.jpg  

    A review of the Cleary Hedgehog-img_20150119_092418.jpg  


  8. #8
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    Reach on the Cleary Hedgehog

    Turn the setback seat post around so the post "sets" forward and turn the seat around, and you will have shortened the reach by about 2 inches. Happy Pedaling.

  9. #9
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    Thanks. I'll give that a shot.

  10. #10
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    Tell 'em to start standing up.

  11. #11
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    I took my daughter's saddle away for a day. Now she love standing. She finally feels safer with he weight on the pedals. The other is not as into it. I'm just glad she rides.

  12. #12
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    Thanks for the review. We've been thinking of getting one of these for my son. How old are you daughters?
    Rascal Rides - Kids. Bikes. Family.

  13. #13
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    5 years old, 42 inches tall and around 35lbs.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by taletotell View Post
    The stock bar is standard sized where it meets the stem, but is smaller at the grips, meaning the stock brake levers won't fit an aftermarket bar.
    So did you find a specific bar that worked? What was it? My son has a hedgehog and I have all the same issues you brought up (he's about your girls' size). I'd like to get him that riser bar.

    And did the seatpost flip help? I actually put a zero-setback post on the bike from day 1 which helps a little.

    Oh and a final question, when you removed the seat, did you take out the post or just take the seat off the post?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by hokeypokey View Post
    So did you find a specific bar that worked? What was it? My son has a hedgehog and I have all the same issues you brought up (he's about your girls' size). I'd like to get him that riser bar.
    That's not the stock brake lever, so I'm guessing he bought a 1" bar and replaced the brake lever with one that would fit the new bar.

    Marin makes a women's bar that has 19 mm ends (Women's Fit Geometry Handlebar Kit | Marin Bikes). It's a pretty good deal for a bar and grips, but the clamp diameter is 31.8 mm so it won't work with the stock stem. A friend of mine put this bar on his kid's Hedgehog, but the only stems he could find that had a 31.8 mm bar clamp and a 1" steer tube clamp were too long and fairly expensive. He had to get a 1-1/8" stem and shim it. Cleary told my friend that they will have a riser bar and wider flat bars available in a few weeks, so if they were being honest about the schedule that will be an option soon.

    The Hedgehog is a great bike, but they oversell the "standardized parts that can be swapped easily" aspect. Besides the bars, the chainring is non-replaceable and the rear hub will not accept a cog smaller than the stock 16t cog. The rims are also only 20-hole, rather than the 28-hole and 36-hole rims and hubs that are actually available from aftermarket BMX suppliers. I'm sure a 20-spoke wheel is lighter, but this means that you cannot change the gearing without buying a whole new wheel, and as you can read in my recent thread (http://forums.mtbr.com/families-ridi...og-962012.html) an off-the shelf 16" wheel with a M30 threaded hub does not appear to exist. Most places will build a custom wheel for free if you buy all the parts from them, but I only found one BMX store that even stocks a 16" rim (danscomp.com). To make it even worse, all of their hubs are fairly expensive so between the rim, hub and spokes I'd be into it over $200. That's almost as much as the whole bike cost.

    You will need to change the gearing at some point since 25x16 is pretty low, so this is a major issue. It seems like they could have easily gone with cranks with 64 BCD spider like Spawn does, and a 28h M30 hub and avoided this issue.

    Like the bars, Cleary does seem to be aware of these issues and working on them. I was concerned about the stock gearing before I bought the bike in December, but at the time they mistakenly told me the hub would take a cog as small as 11t so I bought the bike anyway (I probably would have gone with a Spawn Banshee otherwise. At the time I knew nothing about threaded freewheels so I wasn't suspicious of the claim). I've been in contact with them recently and I've been told they are switching to a new wheel that will ship with a 14t cog and will supposedly accept smaller cogs (probably down to 11t, but they haven't confirmed this yet). The new wheels are supposed to be in before the end of the month [/fingerscrossed].

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    That's not the stock brake lever, so I'm guessing he bought a 1" bar and replaced the brake lever with one that would fit the new bar.
    Thanks RMCDan! That's all great info. I have a bunch of 1" bars around I could cut down so that's a bummer about the levers not fitting (and something I would have discovered after much swearing).

    I'll ask Cleary about getting a riser bar...

  17. #17
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    We got the Hedgehog about two months ago. The boy's former bike was a Specialized Hotrock 12.

    The Cleary is a very long 16" kid's bike, so if this is your "next" bike, weight until the kid has outgrown his former bike. The setting now is with the seat shifted as forward as possible, and as low as possible.

    A review of the Cleary Hedgehog-att_1436685547397_20150511_181202_resize_20150712_100323.jpg

    The bike is fairly light, with light wheels and good components. The brakes are very powerful, and their ergonomics fit even little kids. The weight is OK, considering lighter kids bikes are more expensive (like Spawn Banshee or Early Rider Belter 16)

    The bike is way faster than the Hotrock 12, probably due to bigger wheels and the rear freewheel (the coaster brake on the Hotrock, like any coaster brake, creates a lot of drag). The boy's uphill performance improved immediately, also thanks to the riding position (which was a little too extreme for other purposes. How we improved it, in the link below)

    The tires are a good compromise between paved and unpaved surfaces. Off-road, I decreased air pressure and the grip was fine.

    The bike looks good; people on the street, even non-cyclists, recognize the bike is different than the common-toy-store-bike, and ask questions.

    The frame and fork are made of steel. In order to keep the paint intact, I put on 3M "Helicopter Tape" on the more-likely-to-get-hit areas.

    The bike came out of the box with a too-long seatpost. It didn't enable us to take the seat all the way down, to accommodate the boy's height. I understand it's a result of a US law. We had to go to the local bike shop to chop the seatpost.

    The front wheel comes with a 5mm hex skewer. I switched it to a QR skewer, which helps me put the bike in the car, or on a fork-clamp roof rack. Most kids bike won't accept a QR.

    I changed the "no sweep" bar to a low-rise bar. Details here: http://forums.mtbr.com/families-ridi...on-980627.html

    The boys uphill performance degraded somewhat after this change, but other aspects of his ride improved. Apparently Cleary has a wider, low rise bar that fits the original stem. I think it's a better choice than the original bar.


    Overall, the Hedgehog is a very good kids bike.

    Some photos (the color in these photos does not match the reality well - the bike is striking orange)

    A review of the Cleary Hedgehog-att_1436685547487_20150511_181357_resize_20150712_100322.jpgA review of the Cleary Hedgehog-att_1436685547506_20150511_181219_resize_20150712_100323.jpgA review of the Cleary Hedgehog-att_1436685547526_20150511_181403_resize_20150712_100321.jpgA review of the Cleary Hedgehog-att_1436685547603_20150511_181416_resize_20150712_100320.jpg

  18. #18
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    Cleary does offer riser bars and 440mm wide flat bars to fit our 25.4mm stem clamp and 19mm brake levers. If you don't find them on our website, you can email [email protected] to purchase them.

  19. #19
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    I had the same size issues (went from a Hot Rock 12" to a Hedgehog 16" and it's a big jump). One other thing to consider is get a zero setback seatpost - that can move them up slightly more although I imagine there are pedaling trade-offs (and maybe you then would cut the zero-setback and keep the original for when they grow).

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