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8 year olds next bike

waytogoyetwaytogoyet Posts: 36
edited September 2010 in Family & kids cycling forum
HI folks,
my eldest boy has just turned 8, rides a bit but nothing special but always enjoys it. We were near a hire place and he sat on one of their konas and decided thats what he wants, when they discount them in a month or so's time.
The bike in question is a kona hula, I'd expect it to be about £160 or so. But having read here about all the recommendations for islabikes I'm wondering if the kona would be a good thing
concerns are the 3 rings at the front and the 7 at the back - as to if there is a need for these or good to learn about these things? Also if the suspension forks are needed?
My 2nd son is 7 shortly, he can have eldests old bike, but I think it would be good to get him something similar next year, so as a handmedown I don;t think the kona (or any other) would quite work - I'm expecting this bike to last 3-4 years?
Would that seem right?
I expect it will be used for gentle family rides few on woodland trails with some slopes, and as I'm a runner more, I'd quite like him to be able to come offroad on paths when I run
thanks for any advice / experience


  • Hi Rob

    All the things said about Islabikes are true. My youngest got a red Beinn 26 Small for his 8th birthday last month. He's delighted and I have to say it's a great-looking bike.

    To answer your questions:

    - Triple front cog is confusing for kids. Mine aren't thick and cycle a lot and neither of them got the hang of it on their Scott mountain bikes. The 8 Isla bike gears top out at about 23mph ish and the biggest cog does for the steepest hills they've been up.

    - Suspension forks on kids bikes are usually rubbish anyway, add a lot to the weight and are a waste of space on any bike for road, canal or forest riding (the type of rides you list). Maybe for hard-core MTB riding, but that's not what most 8 year olds do.

    Nice touches on the Isla bikes are the weight, reach on the brakes, and the overall quality is high for the price, compared to adult bikes.

    3-4 years is about right. But better to get one that fits even if he grows out of it quicker than one that is too big to "grow into" and therefore highly dangerous.

    Re hand me downs, our kids are both boys, 10 and 8, so quite a lot of things do get handed down. But we try not to do that with bikes. More costly, I know, but they don't have any Playstation/DS/Wii/etc games so having a nice new bike is part of that deal.
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    Islabikes are great, and the principles behind justifying them are sound - but dont let that make you think all other bikes are bad. My daughter has the Kona Hula and its acutally a pretty good bike. My son has the Specialized Hotrock A1 (note the A1 alloy - they sell a cheaper one which is more heavy) and this is even better - lighter than the Kona, more racey geometry and better adjusted front suspension for their light weight.

    We also tried a Marin (bayview I think) which had better components than the Hotrock but a stiffer front susp and less impressive visually than the hotrock which was the deciding factor for my son.

    I had convinced my son that he could go without front suspension and get an Islabike but then they dropped the front to a single cog and playground currency was lost as a result - something which was important for him. I dont feel we compromised too much by going with something else - they are happier at the end of the day.

    Both son (10) and daughter (8) use all 3 of the front cogs albeit most of the time is on the middle one and he loves the suspension when we go to Swinley.

    Look at the Isla, but dont discount others - just make sure they are not too heavy. The Kona is a bit heavier but not too much so and the Specialized is lighter than the Kona.
  • apreading: You're right and I didn't mean to knock any other makes. Didn't intend to sound like that. Ours were happy with the Scott bikes they had before.

    I'd agree, the number of gears thing can be street cred issue and needed some careful handling in advance.
  • danncdannc Posts: 15
    +1 for the Isla bikes.My 8yr old hired a Kona before we got him the Isla and I must admit the spec looked good but there were just too many gears and it was a bit heavy because of the front sus.I don't think as ststed that there is anything wrong with the other makes but the weight of the Isla bike is quite hard to argue with and the finish is outstanding! :D
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    My own preference is for suspension-less Islabikes, tho' the Kona and Scott/Trek are ok if you can spend the money for the better suspension version.

    My own feeling is that suspension forgives kids/ mistakes which enables them to ride at a higher speed over rougher ground. Unfortunately, this means that when they find themselves in circs which their skill level is unable to cope with, they crash at a higher speed - ouch!.

    Rigid bikes "force" them to develop their skill level and to learn to read the surface ahead more carefully.

    The question of numbers of gears - depends on the child. Most don't really internalise which gear they should be in until about 10/11, altho', if they ride regularly off-road on moderately difficult surfaces, they pick up the idea slightly more quickly thro' necessity.
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • +1 for islabikes

    Simple for kids to use. Good quality and lightweight. They also allow you to trade in you old islabike when they outgrow it.

    £1.25 for sign up

    Cashback on wiggle,CRC,evans follow the link
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    My own feeling is that suspension forgives kids/ mistakes which enables them to ride at a higher speed over rougher ground. Unfortunately, this means that when they find themselves in circs which their skill level is unable to cope with, they crash at a higher speed - ouch!.

    Adds weight too.

    Of course, many kids see 'more/bigger suspension' as cooool... and that may be a factor. "That bike is boring, it has no suspension". But then... if that is defeated by always being the first to the top of the hill (and perhaps, back down again) then kids can be educated in the benefits of a lighter, more responsive bike eh?
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • wow, thanks for all the responses

    Andrew, thanks - you mention canal - thats where I do most of my runs! I was saying to him that I didn't think he should have a decent mountain bike cos he can get a bit stuck where its slightly more overgrown further down the canal, he says its cos his bike is too small! (see even at 8 years old it IS all about the bike!)
    AP thanks for posting that, I did think that with the 3 at the front it would be stuck in the middle one mainly. Interesting what you say about the playground bit, he did adore the kona, although we didn't say too much about the number of gears. I've looked up the hotrock too.
    dan he did have a ride of the kona, maybe I should go and hire it for a few hours. coming from almost a kidyesk bike though I don't think he'll dislike any part of it, cos it will be such a big step up
    RH ta, I see what your saying about the skill developing, I think he'll be a while til he is flying down the trails (or will he!)
    RAM - I saw that about trading them back in, I'm thinking of sending them a mail to see what they then do with those!
    BM, guess it is a balancing act between form and function, but thats like most things isn't it

    I guess what collectively is being said is that it is a balance between pleasing the child and getting them something exactly what THEY want and getting them something YOU want. The winner probably should be the one that ultimately they will ride on the most.
    To look at it a different way though
    Kona hula I can pick up for about £160 in a month ex hire
    Islabikes benin 26 small are at £300, I've been looking round for a 2nd hand one but don't seem to be many about
    Specialized hotrock there does appear to be a few on ebay, £300 new is a bit much for now

    Thanks for the guidance, I'll give it some thought
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,532
    Managed to get our Hotrock for £250 by emailing local LBS asking for a deal. I notice evans sell the girls one for £260 so I bet they would probably do a deal on the boys too - they must be able to afford to as they will buy them in at the same price.

    They key is to look at resale value. Islabikes are like hot cakes and its very hard to bag one used so they will sell for a premium.

    Similarly A1 hotrocks sell used for upwards of £180 usually.

    This is not a bad thing though - if you find a bike that is cheap used then you wont be able to seel it for much after you are done with it. Its the difference between what you pay and what you get back later that is key to affordability.

    The Kona at £160 is a good price though - we got ours for £220 new last year.

    As you say, the most important factor is which will they get the most use of...
  • One way round the street cred re gears/full suspension, etc is to get a bit geeky about the pros and cons. Kids of a certain age can think that's equally cool.

    Of course, some of us just stay a tad geeky into adulthood without ever being the slightest bit cool :oops:
  • isla bikes all the way.

    I have looked long and hard at this and am not really too concerned how much I spend on it either.

    Lad id 7 on the 19th August and I ordered a Beinn 20inch on Friday fro non other than Isla herself.

    Trust me they are the best by a mile!! :D
    Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.
  • bartimaeusbartimaeus Posts: 1,812
    Both my sons have Islabikes - a Beinn 26 S for my 10 year old and a Beinn 24 for my 8 year old, Alec - who is a keen cyclist. I can thoroughly recommend the bikes, as well as the excellent service you get from Islabikes.

    Alec already had a Trek MT60... but after seeing the Beinn 26 (which I bought first), and after weighing all our bikes, I bought him a Beinn 24. At more than 5lbs lighter than the Trek the Beinn 24 has transformed his riding (seethis posting).

    The Islabikes sizing guide seems to be spot on... so that will give you an idea of 'growing room' as they give you a minimum and maximum inside leg as well as an approx minimum height. The quoted weights are also accurate - and the Islabikes are light.

    I'm lucky in that I can buy a bike for my eldest knowing that it can be handed down to Alec - and in fact I bought the Beinn 26 earlier this year to encourage my 10 year old to learn how to ride, thinking that it might not get much use for a couple of years. Yesterday we got back from a holiday in Cornwall where we managed the 'Coast to Coast' which was 20 miles out and back... so the bikes are getting plenty of use.
    Vitus Sentier VR+ (2018) GT Grade AL 105 (2016)
    Giant Anthem X4 (2010) GT Avalanche 1.0 (2010)
    Kingley Vale and QECP Trail Collective - QECP Trail Building
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    Mr. Administrator, Sir, can we have a sticky saying, "Get them an Islabike, you will not regret it" and automatically transfer any questions about which bike to buy for your kid to it?

    In fact, any reported desire to buy anything else for the next generation should be banned by law.
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    Biased, moi?
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • Isla Bikes all the way. My little boy has just turned 7 and we bought him a fairly pricey Isla Beinn 20 - £250ish...
    He can't leave it alone and is flying along on it.

    I spoke to Isla herslef when ordering and she could not have been more helpful.

    Brilliant ! :P
    Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.
  • Another vote for Isla bikes - my daughter has a benin 24 and a luath 24. The luath handles beautifully on the road and when we rode in France in the summer lots of people road next to her to comment on how well she was riding (there were 10,000 cyclists)

    She has taken the benin 24 round the blue run at Llandegla and on the play area - she is ready for the red run and with her light weight I don't see the need for suspension - I agree with earlier post that skills will be better learnt without suspension (I rode mtb in the alps before suspension existed - so prob a bit hardcore anyway!)

    she uses her gears well on and off road, but would struggle if she had 2 chainrings

    My son charges round very quickly on a cnoc 16 and is just moving up to the benin 20

    We let them use bikes on campsites and for dogwalking including jumps etc and they are built to take this use (abuse depending on your opinion)
  • My son's first bike was a halfords jobbie, (hood i believe) the inlaws got it for him,

    it was a solid bike, but the twisty gears did nothing but confuse him, and it was violently heavy.

    Ended up Getting a deal from CRC on a Viper Mad Boy 08 HT last year, he loves it.

    if i knew about Isla bikes beforehand i would have looked into it but he's happy for now.

    GT when he's 13 methinks. Fundraising for Sands, the Stillbirth and neonatal death charity
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