Does anyone have an opinion on whether these premium kids bikes are worth the extra money?
Looking to get a 20 inch wheel bike for my son. Originally was keen on the Pinnacle Ash from Evans. Seemed good balance between weight/quality and price at £240. But now I am looking at the Vitus 20 on Wiggle which is considerably cheaper (£160) and I cannot really see any difference between that and the Pinnacle in regards weight and components.
Then I read some reviews that say the extra weight saving of a Hoy or Islabike is worth the extra money. It seems the only difference is that they have alu forks rather than steel and save about a kilo in weight. But both are north of £300.
All of the above will be a vast improvement on the 14 inch wheeled tank he struggles on now and i'm sure it's only about the colour (if I was to ask him)
Anyone have any direct experience on whether the extra money is a bit of a waste on a 6 year old?
Will your son use the bike much?
If so, then yes, Islabikes/ Hoy bikes / Frog bikes are worth the additional money
If only for occasional use then its not really worth it.
Worth remembering that the resale value of a kids bike is minimal, the resale value of an islabike etc. is however about 75% of the asking price from new (if looked after reasonably well)
There are also second hand facebook pages dedicated to buying / selling these "high end" kids bikes
If a kid cant cycle his bike up a hill / use the brakes / use the gears then they wont enjoy it, cycling will be a chore - the high end bikes are made of materials / components for kids
(we have moved from islabikes to frog bikes for my pair, just as good but cheaper)
He will definitely use it. I actually have just come back from an Evans around the corner from work and looked at the Hoy side by side with the Pinnacle and I could not tell the difference. The Hoy was fractionally lighter ....just..... Otherwise I really couldn't see where the extra £70 was going if i'm honest.
I have just bought a first bike for our godson for his Christmas and we went for a second hand Isla bike. It looks like a phenomenal little machine!! The resale value of them is so high that if you buy second hand then it appears that they don't lose value (well, not at the tiny size we were buying anyway! Don't know about the bigger ones).
I don't know how the Hoy compares to Isla, but the geometry and components of the Isla are really well spec'ed for kids. I guess as you get into the bigger sizes, maybe the differences are less noticeable?
The fraction that you feel the bike is lighter will feel a lot more significant for a child. 1kg is a bigger percentage of his bodyweight than yours and his muscles will notice the extra 1kg more than yours will.
Islabike is a complete no no because of his sisters name
Well you have to get her one then!! lol
The frog ones are usually pretty comparable too.
I had a look just now at the specs of the Hoy, which also looks similar at that size. However, I don't know how the Hoys hold their value, but the frogs and Islas both hold value for resale.
My duaghter is currently on a HOY that is her friends hand me down. Her cycling went from struggling on a heavy kids bike to flying round everywhere on the HOY.
It made a massive difference, within a week we went from walking with her whilst she rode (badly) to going on family bike rides. (She was 4)
Superior are very light too. A hard tail 24" comes in at around 10kg, not sure on a 20. As a guide they say your kids bike shouldn't be more 40% of your child's body weight. Only one importer of superior in the UK, so it's hard to try before you buy.
I definitely agree that the lighter bikes make a huge difference. My eldest daughter has an Evans Pinnacle Ash which is 9.1kg which we bought last year in a sale reduced to £160. It's excellent and she loves it.
My son would happily ride one of these although annoyingly they are currently at full price (£240). The Wiggle equivalent (Vitus 20) I can get for £150 and that gets good reviews.
Spending an extra £180 to save a few hundred grams is superbike territory isn't it? ;-)
Bike weight makes more of a difference for kids than adults, as the relative weight matters, so shaving off a couple of kg is great.
Unfortunately, buying expensive childrens' bikes just makes them grow more quickly. My advice would be to buy used, good quality, and as large as you can get away with. If your son is six now you have ten years to bridge until you can buy him a bike he will not grow out of*, so that will probably be three generations of bikes.
* or you have bad luck like we did. We bought a nice gravel bike for our son when he was 15 years old and had stopped growing for a while. Obviously this immediately triggered another growth spurt that saw the bike become too small over one summer. Fortunately, the older sisters were happy to inherit the bike....
I got a cracking bike for myself recently that was being sold off for similar reasons. I love it when people's teenagers grow out of stuff! :-D
I've not read the other replies.
Had an Isla bike that was great fro my daughter between 6-9. Sold it for a good second hand price very easily.
Now has a frog bike (aged 11). I think the frog is better, if only because the gears and brakes seem easier for her to use. Will get her the next size up in the frog ???? when too big for the current model.
3 years use, loads of fun, lots of time together= worth every penny
I bought new bikes for a 4 and 6 yo this year. Was going to go Vitus for both, but he 20 was sold out.
I got a 20" Wiggins Chartres bike from Halfords for the boy. It's excellent, same shifters, derailleur, brakes and tyres as the premium brands. And it was just after the Jiffy bag/TUI thing peaked, so there was extra quids off the Wiggin's stuff.
For the 16" got the Vitus bike instead of the equivalent Wiggins one, because on paper the frame size was better for someone smaller. Not sure it was though. Anyway, no complaints, it's a good bike, similar geometry to Isla/Frog, a little heavier, but with no gears hard to really say much more.
I doubt resale value will hold up as much, but if buying more or less the same bike for half the price of an Isla bike, how much does it have to?
Edit: Wiggins Chartres was £180. Now a lot more £248, rrp £310.
Cuda are worth looking at as well. We moved our daughter from a frog 38 onto a Cuda CP20 and she was riding the blue at Tarland Trails within hours (aged 5). They have a nice range and they're pretty light. We picked up ours cheap at Easter as it was last years colours.
I'm not sure it's just the weight, the HOY seem to have quite a slack head angle compared to the "normal" kids bike she had and it seems to make a difference.
Extra weight is simply more exercise.
For something he's going to grow out of in a few years I don't see the point, but I'm a tight arse anyhow.
Just been through a very similar process myself, going from an Isla cnoc 16" to a 20" with gears.
I spent so long following 20" isla bikes on ebay that were going for silly amounts given their condition that I gave up and bought the Vitus.
First impressions are great. No difference whatsoever from other brands like frog, hoy, pinnacle etc. Ever so slightly heavier than isla but hardly noticeable. And to be honest I'd trade it for the gear shifters over grip shifters which all islas come with.
The lad loves it. It helps that I've got a vitus in exactly the same colour so he's convinced he's on an adult bike
And managed a 10% discount somehow and came in at under £160. Absolute bargain for a great bit of kit.
All of the above mentioned bikes will be great for your kids to ride. Light and fully functional.
We're on our 3rd and 4th 2nd hand Islabikes. The Cnoc 14 was sold for £5 more than we paid for it after a year of use by 1 child. The cnoc 16 was for sold for what we paid after 3 years and 2 children. I'm sure it's just a name thing, but I don't think we'd have managed that with another brand. For this reason I'm pretty sure we'll buy more 2nd hand Islas and sell them once they're outgrown.
I'd not recommend buying a bike to 'grow into in' as the odds are it will be harder/less enjoyable to ride and so ma be counter productive. Light bikes with proper kit are easier to ride, the same is true for a bike that's the right size.
> I'd not recommend buying a bike to 'grow into in' as the odds are it will be harder/less enjoyable to ride and so ma be counter productive. Light bikes with proper kit are easier to ride, the same is true for a bike that's the right size.
Yes, but buying a largeish frame and then dropping the seat a bit and swapping the stem against a shorter one for a while can make the difference between the bike lasting one summer or three years... Frames with a dropping top tube are good in that respect.
Of course, you can overdo the "growing into" thing, which may put your child off cycling entirely.
Lots of bikes are competing in the Isla bike territory, hoy, boardman, wiggins cuda are competing, we’ve had 2 frog bikes 20” & 26” and they were great.
My youngest got a Saracen 24” with a decent front shock, the reason we went down this road is he was very keen on his mtb and had already dabbled on the red runs, Saracen after much research was the best bike, cheaper than the canyon and Isla bike MTB equivalents and reasonably modern in its geometry and very good air fork.
weight is very key my son is not a heavyweight so it makes a huge difference
My son, 7, has a Cube 200. This is a really great bike. We bought it for £95 second-hand and it was like a new bike. It is pretty light, has great proportions and geometry. also effective brakes and the gearing is great. He rode the entire Blue trail at the Forest of Dean on it the other day and made it up all the climbs with only a couple of rests and no pushing. Best of all, we will get nearly £90 back for it. Go second hand.
Like others here, we're on our 3rd second-hand Islabike for the 8 year-old, who passes them down to the, now, 5-year-old.
Having previously tried more budget bikes, the difference is phenomenal. I've even seen them lend their bikes to other kids who couldn't ride, and watched their parents' jaws drop as they just pedal off. "I, ...I, ...he's never done that before!" They gawp... ..then carry their kids' heavy bikes back to their car. As I used to. Even when they _could_ ride a crappier bike, they'd not like it, and often just refuse. Those days are gone.
No experience of the other brands mentioned, but prepared to believe they're comparable to islas. Makes your life easier when the little ones love cycling, no more whinging, and they hold their resale value too.
If you don't want that initial spend on a bike, just don't get them a bike, I'd say.
As others have said buy second hand Isla bikes, look after them, then sell them on for the price you paid. Nearly a decade of bikes for three children cost me about £10. They get so much more use and enjoyment out of light, easy to ride bikes.
I've been a fairly keen mountain biker for a while, and can easily tell the difference in quality between cheap bikes and Frogs (I've bought 2 Frogs so far). It'll be in things like neatness of the welds and paint, how well the clamps and screws tighten down to reduce play between components, brake and shifter levers being sized for small hands, and how well they brake and shift.
With a Frog (and presumably an Isla, never seen one though), if it was blown up into an adult sized bike, I'd ride one as a daily/utility bike quite happily. A department store bike, I would regard as rolling landfill. A kid will not know any better, and be happy with either. If he rides a lot though, it'll be holding him back and potentially not be quite as safe (braking distances).
My kid was riding a pedal bike on his 4th birthday. By the time he turned 5 he could ride down modest flights of stairs. I don't think he'd have been able to do either on a less well designed and built bike.
This isn't meant to be oneupmanship, but my son was riding a pedal bike aged 4 and now at 5 is doing the ramps at the skate park. He's got a really shit bike. Weighs a ton.
The next one will be lighter, as he loves it and I have to tow him up the big hills at the moment. But kids don't need expensive bikes to learn how to do it, or enjoy it.
Kids don't need anything expensive. Except Lego.
I should probably add that I'm based in Hong Kong, riding a pedal bike is extremely unusual for someone before primary school, to the extent that his kindergarten teachers were slightly shocked when they found out. All the usual factors that would encourage kids to ride out here are absent- no nature, no bike parks, etc, etc so riding ability over here is probably shifted out by a good handful of years.
I wouldn't have been comfortable teaching him stairs on a cheap kids bike. The upright riding position doesn't lend itself to properly bracing against the handlebars, especially when the wheels are only 16". I say this partially because I've been stupid enough to stair ride on a Brompton.
The downside of starting on a good bike though is that going back to a boat anchor bike is hard. He's tried department store bikes when we've gone overseas, and the added weight, badly designed brake levers and all that really throw off his riding.
Thanks for all the replies. So I have concluded that the smart money buys ISLAbikes as the depreciation is minimal making the cost of carry small and the quality is top notch. As I mentioned earlier, He would HATE a bike with his sisters name on it, so it simply will not fly unfortunately so I will ignore these.
This leaves the other premium brands of Hoy, Wiggins and Frog that are widely available, all about the £300 mark. I suspect (but don't know) that these are comparable in build and weight to islabikes, although I have read that some children prefer the thumb gear shifters of these bikes compared to the grip shifter of Islabikes.
Pinnacle and Vitus bikes are considerably cheaper (£80 and £160 less respectively - Vitus is on sale) are slightly heavier (approx 1kg mainly due to steel forks) but otherwise offer very similar components and finish is pretty high quality. I also have been impressed with my daughters Pinnacle Ash 20 so have positive experience of that brand.
He's a solid rider, likes to go fast and is a bit of a risk taker ( he has a powerful electric quad bike for the paddock which he goes bonkers on) and has been good on his very heavy 14 inch steel hand me down bike, so all the above will offer a big improvement.
aaarrggh, still undecided if the extra dosh is worth it...lol. Maybe I should just let him decide based on colour after all.
...or let him decide based on the money, ie if he goes for the cheaper (but still good) option, you split the saving with him ie he might get new helmet, jkt, more Lego?
Islabikes - can you cover the ligo? With his name? Just a thought!
Bike a bit big - please dont! I used to teach kids to cycle snd the amount that turned up on fancy new MTBs but couldnt get feet on ground!! More than once have had parents of these buy a cheap secondhand bike to get them thru the course then switch back to eobbling on the big MTB (or worse, going very fast on it but cant stop at junctions etc).
One more thought. Is yr kid in an environment where it might get nicked? If so, dont worry about resale value!!
I sort of agree that you can have fun on any sort of bike but as I said in an earlier post, my 7 year old pedalled up all the climbs on the blue trail at the FoD which he couldn't have done on a rubbish bike. This means we can go out as a family and do really interesting stuff.
We've had four Islabikes which our youngest lad (11yrs) is now on the last of. Through having great bikes we have become a mountain biking family - riding lots in the Lakes (where we live) Scottish and Welsh trail centres and Morzine. I wouldn't specifically advocate Islabikes (although when we sell the last one we will have regained 85 - 90% of the money we have spent on them) but the amount of quality time we have had as a family, and memories we will have as parents, would not have happened if we hadn't gone with the best we could afford.
My advice would be to buy the best you can afford once - if it leads to you getting out lots, the cost, whatever you spend, will soon become worth it, and if you don't get out much chalk it up to experience, sell it for most of what you paid for it and blame a load of tosses on ukc
Couple of points. The Frog bikes are not as good as the Islabikes. If you look at the detail, or go on STW then the differences become clear.
Also, don't believe the hype about resale value of Islabikes. I've got two Islabikes Bheinn 20s (one small one large) that I've been trying to shift for 2 years without any success.
Don't regret buying them as we've done some excellent cycles in the Alps, Wales, Germany, Scotland, but it is a bit tedious that I've only ever managed to sell one of the 5 Islabikes we bought.
Perhaps I should try ebay
You must have been really unlucky selling on your Islabikes!.
We've sold on 6 without any hassle (only one was bought new) and had minimal loss from what we paid (maintenance/repair during use accepted). So no hype from me!
Try selling here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/826309394088435/
Cheers Chris. Will try to get on the wife's phone and check that out. Got silly amounts of bikes cluttering the place up.
If 2nd hand Islabikes are out, I'd go for 2nd hand Frog. I'm not claiming they're in anyway superior (or inferior) to Hoy, Pinnacle, Cube etc, but the name and reputation means they hold their value far far better - as a quick search on eBay Sold listing in your area will show you.
Or, if you like to own new and shiny consider the bike rental schemes which work out reasonably as you can swap as your lad grows.
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