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When do gears come in to the equation?

ruthierruthier Posts: 4
edited September 2011 in Family & kids cycling forum
Hi, I'm fairly new to forum writing so bear with me!
My daughter is almost 6 and rides her bike well, but she's not got strong legs (she's pretty skinny!) and the hills on the way to school are tricky.
I have been wondering when gears come in?! I reckon she'd be able to change gear if she had some and it would make it easier for her (i think this as I'm chaning gear...my son sits on the back of my bike...and imagine being on a fixed wheel and not being able to!)
Interested to hear your views, thanks!
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Posts

  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    Thing1 turns 6 in Feb. She'd already have this if we could afford it*. Instead, perhaps Christmas or birthday.

    http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-au/bik ... 426/44350/

    As you've said, the hills are stopping her, so why not give her gears? We came to the same conclusion. Thing1 understands them well, and can tell you when to change and why. She's had a test ride and LOVED it!
    6086389935_f276c93e4e.jpg

    What I would caution, however, is gears are when area where a cheap bike really shows their cheapness. You need to buy well, and keep them maintained or else they are a pain. Also, cheap ones are often difficult for small, weak hands to operate in the first place.

    *Of course we could afford it now... but we're also against her getting heaps of stuff just for the sake of it.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • We got our eldest son an Islabikes Beinn 20 Small for his 5th birthday in July, which has 7 gears. To begin with it was a novelty and he was always changing gears for no reason and ending up in the wrong gear at the wrong time. Now all he needs is the occasional hint to change gear but most of the time he does it himself.

    So, at 6, I would think gears are certainly a realistic option - though I would suggest going for a bike with gears only on the back or at least adjust the limit screws to disable the front gears. Also, the Islabikes has grip shift which seems to work very well; I suspect that the lever type shifters might take more getting used to - though perhaps not!

    HTH,

    _
  • edhornbyedhornby Posts: 1,780
    I used to wonder about kids bikes with triples on - but having seen my niece with a halfords bike I now realise that you stick it in the granny when they first get the bike and leave it and then swap to middle as they get bigger

    if they are riding regularly then they'll soon learn (kids are ace at figuring stuff out :-) )
    "I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, how good is that"
    --Jens Voight
  • OUr experience is that it is easy enough to teach kids to change gear, but it can take a surprising amount of time before they use them properly. Barriers are:

    1. They're stiff - esp. twistgrip type - need careful attention to lubrication
    2. The top gear is the "fast" gear so they tend to keep in it even when they're straining going uphill
    3. Alternatively, they stay in bottom gear, spinning like a sewing machine, even downhill
    4. At 6, don't go near anything other a single chainring
    5. At 6, don't go near anything other a single chainring
    6. At 6, don't go near anything other a single chainring

    If you have a quiet safe route with a fair few lumpy bits, take her on it regularly and explain why and when she should change up/down. Get her to try them in different gears.
    Persevere.
    Also in our experience, a kid will change to the right gear properly off-road, but then turn stubborn on-road/track/towpath, etc. Many don't really internalise it until they're 9/10 years old.
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/eastbradfordcyclingclub/
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/eastbradfordcyclingclub/
  • I got my eight year old took an Islabikes Luath this year, it took her a quite a while to get the hang of why you change gear, but she got the hang of it in the end. I'd just put the bike in a low gear and leave it there until she's used to the bike though as too much focus on changing gear led to a few wobbles on the road for us.
  • My son is six and has a Carrera Blast 20" with 7 speeds. I still have to tell him when to change up and down sometimes and he can't manage the grip-shift in the wet but he gets the idea.
    I used to just ride my bike to work but now I find myself going out looking for bigger and bigger hills.
  • Do not get her a bike with gears - once she realises such things exist she'll spend the half of every ride asking you what gear you are in - and why can't the answer be something simple like a single number - before you know it you are trying to get a 6 year old to understand sprockets, chainrings and gear inches.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    Do not get her a bike with gears - once she realises such things exist she'll spend the half of every ride asking you what gear you are in - and why can't the answer be something simple like a single number - before you know it you are trying to get a 6 year old to understand sprockets, chainrings and gear inches.

    What, like one, two or three? :lol: (See bike above, and FWIW, my commuter also has a 3 spd coaster brake - see link in sig). Oh yeah, and hubs allow changing when stationary. Derailleurs, notsomuch ;)

    It'd also be the same for any bikes that only have a single chainring and, as mentioned above, I'd be avoiding ones that have any more than that. Think about your changing of gears, and the FD is always tougher than the RD. Would put it out of the ability of many kids.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • Thanks so much everyone for the replies. She currently has an Islabike cnoc 16 and she rides it really well. I guess the next step will be to get the Beinn 20 small when the cnoc 16 gets too small and then she'll have the gears and a bit more bike ability and strength in the process too!
    Really appreciate the advice, thanks again :D







    After the bikes, kids, dog etc... what I do in my spare time http://www.rootitooti.co.uk
    What I do in my spare time
    [url}http://www.rootitooti.co.uk[/url]
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