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Specialized Hotrock 16" for 3 year old?

Alex83Alex83 Posts: 14
(Still on the market for a bike for 3 y.o. Heavy steel Apollo from Halfords is rejected :D )

My son is 95 cm so just about tall enough for 16" bike according to Specialized's size chart.
However when we tried Hotrock 16" at the store, it looked way to big for him - handle bar is a bit too wide, and more importantly he can barely reach the floor from the saddle with his tip toes. Hotrock 12" was a perfect fit, but he absolutely refused to ride it saying "I want a big bike".

The guy at the store said he will quickly outgrow the 12" and recommended to buy 16".

What would experienced parents recommend? Go for 12" and upgrade in a year or two, or go for 16" an let him grow in it?

Also what is the consensus on the coaster brakes? Good or evil? :twisted:


  • oxomanoxoman Posts: 11,747
    The usual reply from myself and others would be Islabike as really light and well made and easy to sell on, however its worth looking at Frogbikes. Slightly heavier than Islabike but a lot lighter than Halfrauds offerings amongst others and prices aren't to bad either. See link
    Ps i don't work for them, saw them mentioned in one of the mainstream cyclemags some time ago.
    Too many bikes according to Mrs O.
  • baudmanbaudman Posts: 757
    When learning, if you want him to ride it, it has to fit. (Once they have the skills, I think they can get away with a slightly too big bike once they have plenty of confident riding experience under their belt).

    If it IS too big, unfortunately, I think a HotRock would just sit there for some time and be a cause of anguish - for both of you (and perhaps the Minister of Finance also?) HotWalk instead? :twisted: But seriously, a runbike in the meantime is a good idea, even if just for them to get around on if/when you ever walk anywhere.

    Coaster brakes? I don't see what all the anguish is about them*. It's quite a natural thing - pedal forwards to go, pedal backwards to stop. When young, it also means they can put all of their weight behind stopping - not just what low strength they have in their hands into brake levers. And on most (ie: censored ) kid's bikes, the brakes leave a LOT to be desired in both ease of actuating and effectiveness in braking. I prefer a coaster, combined win a front brake (brakes also aid in mounting/dismounting). Yeah, there's the whole not being able to spin the cranks back - but they learn how to move the bike forward and turn the cranks, or rock the bike back for the cranks to turn themselves. It can be a pain, but when there's a few big hills near your house, it's a small price to pay for being able to brake down long hills with confidence.

    And besides - you can do great skiddies!

    *My commuter has a 3spd hub with coaster.
    Commute - MASI Souville3 | Road/CX - MASI Speciale CX | Family - 80s ugly | Utility - Cargobike
  • raldatraldat Posts: 242
    My three year old loves his coaster brake. Gave him the comfidence to go down hills because he has fiull control. Little legend went straight from a running bike to a pedle bike without training wheels.
  • muscleflexmuscleflex Posts: 12
    Just to add, I got my son a hotrock 16 over a year ago (can't remember now exactly when) but he never used it much because he was into his scooter.
    Anyway, now that he's started to use it, he struggled with the coaster brake. No matter how much I told him coaster brake is better because of his weak grip, he had trouble with it so in the end, I bought a Raleigh rear wheel and replaced the whole back wheel of the hotrock (I had to buy a freewheel as well).

    As much as people say coaster brakes are best for kids to learn on, I will not recommend them. But I guess it's up to the individual kid but mine, he just struggled especially with the accidental back pedalling. Also when setting off from standing start, it was so hard for him to get the pedals aligned as with coaster brakes, you can't simply back rotate the cranks to the position you want.

    Oh - and the replacement rear wheel I got was MUCH lighter than the specialised rear wheel!!! I guess that coaster brake must weigh a ton!
  • Alex83Alex83 Posts: 14
    Quick update: We bought 16" Hotrock and he is very happy with it. Coaster brake has proven very good - it provides support so he can easily mount the bike and is quite easy to use, It did take him some time to figure out though. As the bike is quite large for him, we left the stabilizers on to let him grow into it.
  • muscleflexmuscleflex Posts: 12
    is he the right size then? you first mentioned it looked too big on him and he couldn't reach the floor
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