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20" Bike for my Son

nbuuifxnbuuifx Posts: 296
My son has taken a while to get riding properly, he's 6 years old and has been quite happy being towed along on his trail gator. However he has just decided that he can ride like a big boy now, and on the last bike ride he ended up doing 7 miles before needing the trail gator (which I was amazed at!)

His current bike is looking way too small, and it weighs more than my bike! It is just a cheap steel 14" wheel Steel lump.

I've been eyeing up the Islabike Beinn 20" but not sure between the small or the large. I bid on a Beinn 20" Small last week but missed out in the last seconds.

However I've been browsing all sorts of other bikes too. One that keeps catching my eye is a Carrera Blast, not a great deal heavier and most of that is probably in the front shocks. As I've read though I found it is basically the boy version of the Carrera Luna. Now my daughter has recently grown out of her 20" Carrera Luna which I still have in very good condition in the garage. Now two things strike me from this, he finds the Luna too big and won't ride it (or wouldn't last time I tried to convince him), the second is that the bikes look nearly exactly the same - he doesn't like the fact that it looks girly but I'm half tempted to paint it and get him to use that instead.

His inside leg is 52cm. He is 118cm tall.

What are people's thoughts?

Should I paint the Luna - probably making it worthless?
Or sell the Luna and get a Blast?
Or sell the Luna and get a Beinn?
If I do go for the Beinn do you think the small would be better, he's nearly tall enough for the large and has the inside leg but given he finds the Luna too tall - would he struggle?

Or do something else altogether?!

I've only ever bought second hand as I think the value you get second hand is so much better.


  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    There's an active Islabikes selling group on facebook - loads of 20's coming up for sale. There's also a community group. Plenty of opinions on Islabikes there. Great thing about the Islabikes is that they seem to hold their value ..

    Another brand to check would be Frog Bikes - similar vein and I've not looked at them yet - but there's the Hoy bikes too.

    Re the Luna - worth getting him on it? Up to you - seems a waste to get rid of it just because the paint isn't the right colour ... what's its value right now? Unless they're a "top brand" kids bikes seem to go for next to nothing once secondhand ...
  • nbuuifxnbuuifx Posts: 296
    The Luna was a good buy at the time, I think they sold for nearly 300 at normal prices in Halfords but often had sales where they were closer to £200. We bought it second hand but it had barely been used, but looking now the second hand value is within about £10 of what we paid a few years ago. So we could sell it and it wouldn't have cost a lot at all.

    I'll check out the islabikes Facebook group, thanks for the tip there.

    I'm tempted just to tell my son to get on with it with the purple Luna but don't want to put him off cycling when he is doing so well.
  • figbatfigbat Posts: 680
    I have a 7yo son and an 10yo daughter. My experience is that asking them to ride a bike that doesn't look right will create a deep-seated resistance to the whole subject. How about making the re-paint a father/son project? Choose colours/designs together, strip, spray and reassemble together? Make a big point that this bike is now unique to him; nobody has one like it. The caveat being not to go too far off-reservation in terms of design, because fads change in an instant and tomorrow the carefully designed and agreed Spiderman vs Thunderbirds paintjob will be "babyish" or some other deeply unhelpful sentiment, putting you back to square one.

    I bought mine a Cube Kid MTB each - the 7yo a 200 (20") and the 10yo a 240 (24"). Both bought used in the run-up to Christmas, both in immaculate condition. They also like that they're on the same brand as my "big bike".
    Cube Reaction GTC Pro 29 for the lumpy stuff
    Cannondale Synapse alloy with 'guards for the winter roads
    Fuji Altamira 2.7 for the summer roads
    Trek 830 Mountain Track frame turned into a gravel bike - for anywhere & everywhere
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,498
    figbat wrote:
    I bought mine a Cube Kid MTB each - the 7yo a 200 (20") and the 10yo a 240 (24"). Both bought used in the run-up to Christmas, both in immaculate condition. They also like that they're on the same brand as my "big bike".

    My son has a red bike ... just like Daddy's ... except he hasn't realised that the red bike is my "winter bike" ... so no doubt he'll be wanting a black one for the summer shortly ... :D
  • Can highly recommend Frog bikes. My daughter has had a Frog 52 for a year and a half and absolutely loves it. It's nice and light, has trigger shifters rather than a grip shift and just generally seems really well made.

    She's already got into the upgrade habit as well, got some new pedals for her 7th birthday, and even made it onto the GMBN Tech show when I sent in the photos of her fitting them herself :D
  • Steve-XcTSteve-XcT Posts: 267
    Tough call!

    TBH the Luna is not worth much... nor less if you do paint it..but you could sell the luna and buy a blast ... yep it's the same but might make the difference?

    Whatever you buy/spend won't last long either at least in terms of them being big enough to get a 24" ... that's not saying they have outgrown the 20... but that you might want to spend more on a 24 ???

    You didn't mention WHAT you ride... and what you WANT to ride... not a great deal of difference at 20 but at 24 your then looking at different bike types.

    Just for reference (your preferences will doubtless be different) but some takeaway's ... you might apply.
    Age 5 Jnr has a Fireman Sam... with stabilisers and showed no interest in cycling
    One day he comes home from school and asks if he can have a proper bike if he can ride without stabilisers

    Weekend comes, take off stabilisers and he was riding in <2mins... and I'd committed/promised so ended up buying a fairly expensive but not "Isla expensive" rigid (Ash 20 from Evans)

    By about weekend 3 he was showing an ability to ride further than just 'local' so we got mum to meet us at a pub 10 miles away by canal towpath (flat)... he then surprised me by riding home
    Weekend after we went a more off road ride of 15 miles or so (Newlands Corner to Guildford and back) ... again expected to have to call mum but didn't.

    The week after we started going to Swinley... and he was soon doing the Blue and Red routes...

    9mo later the bike was holding him back... and he would JUST fit on a 24".... and because of what we ride he got proper air forks (bike cost £250) but the frame and forks are now the only original bits (it has had a lot spent on it since but he got more and more into it and is now racing MTB XC competitively).bac then of course I had no idea.. However at this point we had a good idea what he wanted to ride and that he really enjoyed it. This made a lot of decisions simple... we knew we wanted air shocks and we knew I wanted disk brakes.. (at the time mostly because riding muddy trails with kids rim brakes is awful... you adjust the brakes for their hands and they rub with the slightest out of true or mud and it drove me mad more than him) ... this might not matter if you ride road...

    Anyway.. he's now had 2yrs out of the bike and looks like another full one.
    He's also started racing downhill and we have another bike... but that's a whole separate story...

    My personal take outs.... I could have spent less on the 20" and should have bought used.... but either way you can only upgrade them so far. There are ££££ kids 20" bikes out there but you'd need to be certain this was their main hobby 1st.
    If possible get them to 24" before changing bike.(probably applies equally to road or CX)... but if not then buy used and minimise losses.

    Don't under-estimate how quickly they will improve if they enjoy it they improve WAY faster than adults both in distance and technique/skill etc..

    Whichever you choose will be both right and wrong when you look back in 2-3 years.... so in the meantime just work out which is more fun and you can afford...
  • nbuuifxnbuuifx Posts: 296
    Since posting I decided to try him out on the Luna, I told him that we needed to size him up to make sure we knew what size we need to get.

    He rode up and down our cul de sac which has a bit of a hill that he couldn't get up on his old bike. He rode up and down no problem he just struggles to stop. I adjusted the brakes to bring them in closer so his little hands could reach them but he can't get the hang of coming forward off the seat to put his foot down so he stays on the seat and can barely touch the floor so he kind of hops round in a circle whilst lowering the bike at an angle, which looks dangerous and scares him a bit!

    I took him out on a longer ride today on the flat where he could just keep going and I jogged alongside. He did a great job and cycled a good few miles building his confidence. I just need to work on the stopping with him.

    Whilst we were out he realised how much easier it was on the Luna and he has decided that the bike is excellent. So he wants to stick with it. He has decided the purple is ok but the pink writing is not. So we've started peeling off the ones that will come off (forks and wheels etc.) He then wants me to find some stickers to cover over the pink bits, so going to look at what I can find that will cover the wiring but blend in a bit too.
  • nbuuifxnbuuifx Posts: 296
    Scrap that, plans have changed, now I have to take it apart and spray paint it!

    I've taken the easy bits off.

    What I'm left with is the following:

    Crank arms - can't find my puller anywhere so will need to get another puller unless there is another way to remove them?

    Bottom Bracket - obviously the crank arms are in the way at the moment. I have a bottom bracket tool, but it is for my adult mountain bike - is it likely to be the same or do they do smaller ones for kids bikes?

    Chain - I had a quick look round the chain and couldn't see a special link - does that mean I will need to break the chain to remove it? Do I need to buy a special link to replace it?

    Headset Cups - the bearings etc came out fine, but the cups/race are left in the top and bottom - I've never had to remove these on a bike before do they just drift out?
  • nbuuifxnbuuifx Posts: 296
    Well I took the chain off and have got a quick link to replace one of the links.

    I found the puller and removed the crank arms.

    I've removed the bottom bracket.

    Headset cups I drifted out. I don't seem to have damaged them.

    The bottom bracket bearings didn't feel great though. The pedals didn't spin freely without the chain on. The tapered axle was difficult to turn with fingers once the arms were removed.

    It doesn't feel so bad once removed, could it have been over tightened on the bike?

    The bearings aren't sealed bearings, is it worth cleaning the muck out and regreasing? The non drive side is easy to do but how do I get to the drive side bearing?
  • nbuuifxnbuuifx Posts: 296
    Right, pulled the bottom bracket apart. The other side literally pulled off. It seems like a cheap bottom bracket it has caged ball bearings on either side and a plastic spacer through the middle.

    One of the bearings had two pieces of swarf from the manufacturing process lodged between the balls. I've cleaned the bearings and regreased. I'll give it a go and see what it is like when I reassemble.

    The frame is now metallic blue. Just need to do the lacquer before I put it back together.
  • Steve-XcTSteve-XcT Posts: 267
    Stick in a Shimano UN55 BB.....
    It will be lighter and will outlast the bike.... and <£15

    If you can't read the size then you can measure it or pop ingot he LBS and give them some business ..
  • mrolimroli Posts: 3,622
    Steve-XcT wrote:
    Stick in a Shimano UN55 BB.....
    It will be lighter and will outlast the bike.... and <£15

    If you can't read the size then you can measure it or pop ingot he LBS and give them some business ..

    I've got a BB issue - I've measured the bb shell (68), but how do I know what the spindle length should be?
  • Steve-XcTSteve-XcT Posts: 267
    mroli wrote:
    Steve-XcT wrote:
    Stick in a Shimano UN55 BB.....
    It will be lighter and will outlast the bike.... and <£15

    If you can't read the size then you can measure it or pop ingot he LBS and give them some business ..

    I've got a BB issue - I've measured the bb shell (68), but how do I know what the spindle length should be?

    I think its just stand it on a flat surface (vertically) and use a ruler.... top to bottom.
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