Author Topic: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?  (Read 7232 times)

Thegoblinchief

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20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« on: June 25, 2014, 08:12:35 AM »
My older two goblins are both ready to move up in size, possibly both of them to 20" (for sure my oldest needs to). Are multi-speed bikes really worth it for kids? There are some decent hills around us but they're infrequent enough that they could walk the bikes up and stick with fixies.

Multi-speed 20" bikes are pretty slim on CL. I know it's a bad time of year to look, but people aren't even responding to my inquiries on their ads, that's how fast the few I've found disappear. Really don't want to plunk down $300 for a new "bike shop" bike, but I will if I have to, since I can recoup cost later and it still saves $$ versus needing the car more.

Thoughts?

skunkfunk

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2014, 08:45:07 AM »
Do they use them for transportation or just to putter about and play in the neighborhood? If they have to keep up with you on trips, I vote for the multi-speed.

Russ

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2014, 08:57:16 AM »
depends on use case. A friend's kid shreds with us every weekend, def has gears. I didn't, cause all I did was putter around the neighborhood. Obviously most kids get along fine without them.

I'd say if you want to drag your kid along on some of your recreational rides, gears would be cool. for grocery-getting or riding to school, probably not necessary.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2014, 10:37:43 AM »
It's more than just puttering around. As in, I'd like them to be able to do 5-10 mile roundtrips regularly. We have a second car and won't likely get rid of it, but I love letting it just sit around for 6 out of 7 days.

I also need to finally get my oldest (8) off her training wheels. That is not going to be fun...

Jack

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2014, 10:38:17 AM »
In my area, kids' bikes are not a rare enough commodity that whether they're multi-speed or not makes much of a difference in the price (I think).

Have you looked for a co-op (like this, but in Milwaukee)?

Otherwise, for a kid who's going to outgrow it anyway, I think you could accept a department-store bike as long as you assembled it yourself.

keepitsimple

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 11:24:52 AM »
That's too bad that your area has them in short supply.  We are bike shopping on CL for my two boys now and there are several options.  Definitely going for gears so we can do trails.  Have you looked into bike repair shops?  They may have stock on used bikes or know someone who does.

TrMama

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2014, 11:43:13 AM »
I opted for a multi-speed bike for my 7yo. We also do errand trips (though not as frequently as you) and live in a hilly area. It would've been more worth it if she'd actually use the gears. She's a super cautious kids and will pretty much only ride in the the easiest gear. However, she's all set up now for whenever she gets brave.

Expect there to be a significant learning curve to actually using the gears. I pretty much tell her when to shift every time by yelling from behind.

In your case, I'd make a significant effort to find multi-speed bikes.

Thegoblinchief

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #7 on: June 25, 2014, 07:59:02 PM »
Anyone have thoughts on this? It seems decently designed, and costs only ~$20 more than the few used Giant/Trek/Specialized I've seen before they were pounced on, and about $150 less than them new.

http://www.amazon.com/Diamondback-Bicycles-Junior-Mountain-20-Inch/dp/B00FB6RZVK/ref=sr_1_5?s=cycling&ie=UTF8&qid=1403747346&sr=1-5

Thegoblinchief

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2014, 10:51:32 AM »
REI has a similar model of that Diamondback. Looks pretty nice in person. My only worry is the single-piece crank but everything else seems well thought out.

Undecided

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2014, 11:44:11 AM »
My older two goblins are both ready to move up in size, possibly both of them to 20" (for sure my oldest needs to). Are multi-speed bikes really worth it for kids? There are some decent hills around us but they're infrequent enough that they could walk the bikes up and stick with fixies.

Multi-speed 20" bikes are pretty slim on CL. I know it's a bad time of year to look, but people aren't even responding to my inquiries on their ads, that's how fast the few I've found disappear. Really don't want to plunk down $300 for a new "bike shop" bike, but I will if I have to, since I can recoup cost later and it still saves $$ versus needing the car more.

Thoughts?


Where I live, there are plenty of kids who are doing pretty decent mountain biking at 7 or 8, and having some gearing options is definitely worth it then. For riding around town, I'd say it's not a big deal. Also, singlespeed doesn't equal fixie.

Dyk

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2014, 06:38:13 AM »
First, I am new here, and I love it.  I need the Mustachian community to help me along this journey.  My comments will always be what I would expect someone to reply to me with.

Disclaimers:
1.  If you are retired, don't read my comments.
2.  This is an MMM forum, not a Nashbar or other bike forum.
3.  Thegoblinchief, I see you have kids and bikes, and in the short time I have been here, I can see you love you kids (which ROCKS!), and you love bikes (which is potentially dangerous).

So, with all that in mind.

Gauntlet
(That's supposed to be a 'Gauntlet' laid down, I hope it works!)

The challenge:  You have $35 to buy your kids a 20" bike. (And I would lean toward multi-speed)

Use Craig's List, garage sales, friends networks, whatever it takes!!! 
I live in a smaller community (Craigslist does not have a list for my city).  I have still found 2 @ 20" multi-speed bikes for $30 each, and now a 24" for $30 (I passed up a 2nd one . . . . not sure if that was wise or unwise)
- They will ride it for about 2 years of 'light' riding.  (They only weigh  50-60 lbs!)  Then they will move up to the next size.  And I understand if you bought the right color all 3 could use it.
- You have mentioned elsewhere that your cost savings from riding a bike was slowed down by your depreciation from purchases made for your bike.  Stop it!
- You need that money to invest, pay off loans, whatever!  (Remember you stopped reading if you were retired)

I know I sound like this righteous financial snob, but I will just let my accomplishments speak for myself:
- Until just recently I used to drive my car, sit in a room with men for 30-60 minutes, making small talk about sports I really didn't care about.  At the end of this I gave some money to cut my hair!!!
- Until just recently I drove my car 2.5 miles to work ....
- Until just recently I had 2 cars!
- Until just recently we dried our clothes in a dishwasher, the dishes on heated dry, and had regular flow shower heads!!!
- Until just recently I was paying to insure a $390,000 house, when mine was worth $230,000!  (Check your insurances!!!)
- Until just recently I paid for CFL bulbs while my power company gave them away for FREE!
- When I did ride my bike, I went to the bike shop to see everything I needed.  It totaled $200.  Luckily I woke up, found an old rack, modified it to fit, zip tied a milk crate to it, inserted a backpack with a garbage bag inside.  Whatever the weather, I will ride.  Money spent:  $0.  (And my mom just recently offered me free panniers!)
and my favorite:
- Until just recently I took those CFL's that I paid for and put them on the shelf, waiting for the incandescent's to burn out ....

So, as you can see, everything I write is with double black eyes from face punches.  I have just picked myself up out of my suckiness, and I write out of respect for the community, and the I write out of the seriousness that we need to take in controlling the future of our families!

You guys rule, you guys are awesome!  If you take up the challenge, please keep us posted!

skunkfunk

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2014, 06:44:43 AM »
- Until just recently we dried our clothes in a dishwasher

Yes, I can see how that would be inefficient.

Dyk

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2014, 07:14:56 AM »
- Until just recently we dried our clothes in a dishwasher

Yes, I can see how that would be inefficient.

Now, that is REALLY funny!  And while I am a little off center, it was a dryer.  Thanks for the huge laugh skunkfunk!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #13 on: July 15, 2014, 10:46:21 AM »
Kept putting off actually plunking the money down for new bikes, and this week two great bikes just popped up.

1. Have already bought a Pacific 20" with a Shimano 5-speed. Goblin Beta was sooooo thrilled. I was thrilled because it was an older, but well-adjusted bike for $40. She got the hang of the bigger bike (jumped from a 16") and the shifter within about 5 minutes.

2. Going later today to check out a newer Marin for $150. A bit pricey, but if it checks out I'm going to bite on that as well. I'm still coaxing Goblin Alpha off her training wheels. This shiny bike is extra incentive for her, since training wheels literally wouldn't fit anyways.


Thegoblinchief

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #14 on: July 15, 2014, 05:01:50 PM »
Actually, the Marin was $75. Not sure why I thought it was $150.

Got there and it needed some TLC, mainly a new shifter. Talked them down to $50. Going to try replacing it myself, going from stripped out SRAM grip shifter that didn't even match the rear cassette speeds to a Shimano 7-speed trigger style.

Everything else just needs adjustment and lube, I think. Hoping it works out.

Anatidae V

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #15 on: July 15, 2014, 06:33:03 PM »
As a kid whose parents like to ride bikes, and who used a bike a lot, gears made a lot of difference to whether riding is fun or causes tantrums. There's not much fun about being really slow due to strength and mechanical disadvantages. I'm not familiar with bike sizing, but I'd guess it'll be this bike and then they move onto adult bikes? That would make getting gears sound worth it.

Dyk

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #16 on: July 15, 2014, 07:40:48 PM »
2 bikes, multi-speed for $40 and $50.  Excellent work GoblinChief.  Well done!
(Since my last post, I now have 2 new riders without training wheels .... both on 16" bikes which I pieced together from multiple other bikes.  They are nothing great, but will last the year that we will use them!)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #17 on: July 15, 2014, 08:05:32 PM »
Good luck with the training wheels! We were very fortunate not to have to go that route. Our three-year-old had one of those balance bikes, but, well, we wanted it for the two-year-old. Got Big Brother a twelve-inch bike with pedals but no training wheels for $15 at a charity shop. By the end of the first lesson, he could pedal without assistance. Within two or three weeks, he could start and stop without assistance. (Before that, I had to hold the bike for him while he started off.) I had an instinct that if we put them on, it would be hard to get them off! SOunds like I was right.

Hopefully the incentive of the shiny new bike will do the trick. Congrats on the excellent Craigslist finds! I suspect we will also need two bikes in every size--that's the problem with the two back to back. Two of everything!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: 20" kids bikes - is multi-speed worth it?
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2014, 11:21:10 AM »
Today's ride says, if you have ANY hills AT ALL, multispeed is totally worth it. Both of my older two handled some pretty steep hills without stopping.

I occasionally have to circle back behind them to check what speed they're in, but for the most part they have picked up shifting quite well. One bike has a 7 speed trigger that I put on, the second bike has a 5 speed rotary/thumb style one (not sure what the technical term is).