24" or 26" wheel girls bike - help please!

philguy Posts: 20
Hi to all

I'm really hoping someone out there can help me in my search for a good quality bike (Ridgeback MX, Specialized Hotrock, Islabike Bein etc) for a single parent struggling to match a tight budget with the above aspiration..!

My daughter is 10 - about 135cm tall, quite slim and light for her age. In her early years, she had a succession of cheap, secondhand, pretty heavy, no gear bikes that have all served a purpose but for her 9th birthday I managed to find a secondhand MX20 that I could afford.

After her previous bikes, she's really loved having a lighter bike with gears that she can really enjoy. However, she's (inconveniently and expensively! :shock: ) put on a growth spurt and now (I think) needs a much bigger bike. Frankly she looks a bit ridiculous riding around on what now looks like a very small bike even with the seat post at its highest!

If I'm honest, perhaps she's probably not quite tall enough right now for a 26" (although I understand that an Islabike 26" is smaller than most other makes?), but I think she'll be able to ride one with confidence while she 'grows into it' so to speak.

I'm having real difficulty finding a suitable bike (lightweight, geared, good components etc) for her. I've tried eBay, Gumtree, local bike shops and local ads - all to no avail so far. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas or perhaps even have a bike themselves their child(ren) no longer need that would fit the bill...?

All suggestions/ideas/bike offers very gratefully received.

Many many thanks to all who respond...

PS. I'm based in SW London but am also often in West Yorkshire


  • Mike Healey
    Mike Healey Posts: 1,023
    It depends on how much you've got to spend, but I always propose an Islabike. Not only properly sized including components (brakes, cranks, handlebars, etc.), but resale value as %age of original purchase price is the highest of all models.

    As for size, go on islabikes.com and check her size guide - http://www.islabikes.co.uk/bike_pages/p ... web-c2.pdf

    Depending on where in West Yorkshire, you could always drop by our Kids Saturday Bike Club, Richard Dunn Sports Centre, Odsal, Bradford and you might be able to try one out for size. PM me for more details
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • baudman
    baudman Posts: 757
    As you've suggested, it's not the wheel-size per se that dictates the bike fit, it's the frame. So there's a broad range of 26" bikes out there that fit all different sized people. (That's why Islabikes have 26" bikes which are 'smaller'.Also, that Islabikes size guide is brilliant - but really, only for Islabikes as the other manufacturers tend to use really bad geometry in their kids bikes).

    I'd reckon, however, that for your daughter's size, you'd certainly be sticking with 'kids' sized bikes.

    The only real way is through test rides. This shot is of my then 6yo daughter 6 months back riding what is quite obviously a bike that is a bit too big for her. (24" wheels, fwiw). However, she was quite comfortable riding it and as you've said, a growth spurt or two and it would fit her at the minimum level. If, however, she felt uneasy, and it could potentially prevent her from riding, then it would be too big a risk imho (also increased risk of injury, due to not being able to handle the bike as well).
    Good quality bikes hold their resale value and/or can be kept for the next child in line.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • philguy
    philguy Posts: 20
    Thank you both for those extremely hlepful replies. On the one hand, I don't want to fall into the trap of getting her a bike that she'll 'grow into' but which she initially might find difficult to handle and lack confidence in. On the other hand, perhaps a 24" wheeled bike may not last her too long at all, and may in fact either be already too small or 'the right size' for only a very short space of time.

    I looked at the size chart on the Islabike website which seems to indicate by height that a 24" is in fact too small. However, by her inside leg measurement, a 24" looks to be more or less right. But, I suspect, only for a very short while! :lol:

    My instinct says a 26" is the right way to go but it clearly makes sense to try her out on both a 24" and 26" (of differing brands I presume as they all seem to vary so much?). She has been on a friend's 26" and, like baudman's daughter, it looked too large for her. However, also like your daughter, she felt comfortable and relatively confident on it. Hmmm...food for thought.