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7yr old's bike - gear shift too stiff - options?

Sulli69Sulli69 Posts: 3
I have bought my 7yr old daughter a couple of new bikes that I have ended up taking back as the gear grip shift is too hard to get into first gear - the bikes have shimano deraileurs and proshift max grip shifts.

I can get it into first but even for me it is not what I would call easy and certainly not as easy as on my MTB, so obviously for a 7yr old it's absolutely useless.

As I have bought two different bikes, albeit with similar gear systems and makes, would I be right in thinking that all gear shifts on kid's bikes will be like this? Or is it just because we have gone for Argos and Halfrauds :oops: bikes???

She is tall enough now to use a bike with 20" wheels, so happy to spend a bit more if need be, but need one with gears so she can keep up with dad :lol: Any tips on bikes?


  • nicklousenicklouse Posts: 50,675 Lives Here
    stop buying bikes with poor shifters. can she use a trigger shift? get a bike with one speced or get it change for her.
    "Do not follow where the path may lead, Go instead where there is no path, and Leave a Trail."
    Parktools :?:SheldonBrown
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023

    Repeat ad infinitum

    Repeat ad infinitum

    Repeat ad infinitum
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • AnonymousAnonymous Posts: 79,667
    I really don't think children's bikes need gears.

    My 7 year old last year (she's now eight) rode a 26 mile round trip on her single speed Trek girly bike. Bless her she as knackered at the end of it, but gears wouldn't have helped.

    The trouble I had when choosing her a bike was finding something without gears and pointless suspension.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    I agree with some of the comments above, but I reckon 7ish is about the time to look at gears. Good gear systems should be easy to use.


    ...grip shift do wear in a little, and get better with use.
    ...have you lubed the shift internal mechanisms. about the cable?
    ...and the derailleur as well (assuming not hub gears).

    It's amazing the difference high-quality cabling can make over crud stuff. Without knowing what you bought, it's hard to judge.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Sulli69Sulli69 Posts: 3
    We first got a Silverfox Illusion 20" from Argos and then an Appollo from Halfrauds.
    I am asking if this is a general issue with these types of shifters, so unsure if it is just the poor quality of the bikes - it sounds as if I buy a better bike it'll have a better shifter - any suggestions?
    I do think she needs gears, her last one didn't and she had trouble with hills, whereas with gears she doesn't.
    As for stopping buying bikes with poor shifters - well that's why I am here and asking........
  • My seven year old has the same problem on her Raleigh Sunbeam. A strip and lube has helped as has her getting used to shifting. I was about to swap the gears for SRAM x4 which you can do for about £25 for the shifter and mech.
    This looks promising too ... ifter.html
    The other thing I considered was fitting a thumb shifter. They are free if you go to the tip - but they only had 5 speed and not 6!

    In the end though I have left it as is as she seems to be doing OK at the moment.

    Stuff I have designed
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Sympathise with this problem as some kids bikes do have very stiff shifting. It's certainly not universal though - mine have an Isla bike and a Decathlon and they can both shift the gears with the grip shift.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • merkinmerkin Posts: 452
    My 7 yr old son's Islabike was hard to put into 1st gear too. He seems to manage now though. Probably a combination of it freeing up with age and him manning up a bit!
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