Grandparents gave my daughters a 12" Disney princess bike from Walmart a few years ago. It was heavy and she couldn't ride it unless I was pushing her back. She's much older now and would fit a 16"-18" and I'd rather pick something that is light enough for her to actually ride on, doesn't have to be fast or fancy, but the options out there are all still too heavy in the box store, slightly better in the bike shops (i.e. Fuji's Rookie 16, Bronco BMX1). Trek / Gary Fisher and Specialist seems better, and online only places like Priority seems really good on paper but no way to try.
We'll push the 2.5 yr old baby sister around in the 21" princess bike, like we pushed her big sister for now.
What do your girls ride when they were 5-6 years old?
"You keep asking questions PandaBear and you'll end up a vegetarian like my wife" - Camu Mahubah
Growing up in the 50's and 60's meant heavy bikes but that was all there was and we had no issues riding them. The biggest problems were parts breaking that were made out of pot metal which was the big thing then.
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My sister and I had Schwinn Stingrays. I can still remember. I was 5 or 6 and she was 8 or 9. We learned to ride those things within an hour. I remember I'd ride in circles to keep my balance,then eventually riding a straight line. Mine was red with ape hangers and a sissybar seat haha. I had a Raw Power on it too!!
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I mentioned to the man at the bike store that I had Schwinn Stingray as a kid and he asked me if I still had it. About $300 these days.
Seriously, a lot of these department store bikes are way worse than an old Schwinn. You don't have to buy some carbon fiber wonder, but some of them are almost unrideable. A little like beginner guitars that are described as "guitar-shaped-objects" by the instructors.
The 16" wheel bikes aren't too bad as they seem to be geared so my youngest(just turned 5) can climb any grade you would find on a road but he's pretty strong and heavy for his age. I got my oldest a 20" wheel bmx when he turned 6 but its geared to go 30mph so he couldn't climb a hill or even ride on grass for a while. A few months later I got a used 20" wheel norco mountain bike for him and its much better with the lower gears available and V-brakes. I almost bought the $400 20" wheel gary fisher kids mtb for him, but it still gets left outside sometimes and they enjoy mud bogging and riding in water so I'd rather not have to be after them not to abuse it. My 5 year old will probably get a used 20" mtb for Xmas this year, something by an actual bike company but nothing too fancy. I see the odd department store 16" wheel mountain bike too, so that might be an option to get some gearing options that work for a 35lb kid on a 30lb bike.
Cheap bikes tend to be heavy. The weight of the materials is generally lighter as the price goes up, as more advanced materials and/or construction techniques are used.
Whether or not it's made in China doesn't say everything. I remember when Huffy and Murray bikes were made in the US. They were made of cheap steel that was rolled into tubes with a crimp instead of drawn tubing. They were extremely cheap, and there were better considerably quality frames made in Taiwan. Some of the better quality consumer grade bike frames are made in China these days. As long as there's competent quality control, I don't have an issue with where it's made.
Our driveway and street are quite steep and I didn't think it made any sense for my 50lb daughter to be trying to ride a 50lb single speed WM bike. Even her tiniest bikes came from a bike shop and it was well worth the extra money for us.
Before she started to ride, I used to tow her around in a Burley. I had 21 speeds on my trail bike, the Burley was quite light, and both of them had sound bearings and rolled quite easily, and pulling her on our hills was still quite the chore for me. I was riding every work day at that time and was the best hill climber in my group, yet towing a little girl up a slope was still a good workout...Dave9 sounds like the kind of guy who last rode when he was 9, or never even learned to ride. Plus he needs a MAJOR attitude adjustment...
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