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hozn
06-11-2013, 08:25 AM
Seeing kids with team kit and Zipp wheels doing the kids "race" in Clarendon this past weekend made me swear I would never be one of those parents. But ironically, I also saw at the Kids race what looked like an awesome and perfectly-sized bike for my soon-to-be-3-year-old.

It was an Islabike CNOC 14 -- a 14" bike, which is pretty sweet because my son is really on the upper end of a 12" but still too small for any 16" I've seen.

http://islabikes.com/us/bike_pages/cnoc14.html

At $269 it is not a cheap bike. At all. That's more than my first [adult] mountain bike cost. It even costs more than the little computer clipped to my stem; oh wait, no, it's a lot cheaper than my Garmin :)

But I love the fact that it has v-brakes and other "real" (but smaller) bike components. And that it's lightweight. Most kids bikes weigh as much as my 59cm commuter; this one -- at 12lbs --actually weighs significantly less than my carbon road bike. With another boy on the way, this should at least get a few years of combined use, which helps mitigate the cost a little.

So, the real point isn't to seek validation in this extravagant bike purchasing question, but rather to ask if anyone has first- or second-hand experience with Islabikes. I know it's a UK company, and they seem to be relatively popular over there. Here it's handled by a distributor in Portland; it appears that the only way to buy them is direct from the distributor (unless one is lucky enough to find a used one). I was worried about the 14" tube size (I don't think I've encountered that size), but it looks like I can at least order some on Amazon.

I'm going to give them a call today to ask a few questions about the bike before I make a final decision. Am also interested if anyone has recs for other 14" bikes (or 16" bikes that can accommodate a little dude with 15" inseam) that are lightweight, etc.

ShawnoftheDread
06-11-2013, 08:32 AM
Seeing kids with team kit and Zipp wheels doing the kids "race" in Clarendon this past weekend made me swear I would never be one of those parents....

I'm going to give them a call today...

I hate to break the news to you, but...

jabberwocky
06-11-2013, 08:34 AM
You should buy it! I have no justification, but I'm telling you what you want to hear so you should listen to me. ;)

hozn
06-11-2013, 08:50 AM
I hate to break the news to you, but...

Oh yes, this is not lost on me :) I think I'd still draw the line somewhere south of Zipps. If I can't afford/justify them for myself I don't think my kid is gonna get them for riding a race where everyone gets a medal. OTOH, maybe I should stop being judgmental. Stones, glass houses, and all. In truth, it's hard not to love that some mom or dad is excited enough about their kid wanting to race that they've spent thousands of dollars on their equipment.

hozn
06-14-2013, 03:25 PM
Just to update, after talking with the Islabikes distributor (in Portland, of course) a couple times I did decide to order the bike.

Interesting thing about the rear brake. In the UK the CNOC 14 comes with a rear mini-V brake; I was pretty excited about that, but in the US the rear brake is a coaster brake (though this is not pictured). I asked about this and apparently it is because the CPS requires that bikes that have a maximum saddle height of less than X (I believe it was 655mm?) have a rear coaster brake. The thought (according to Islabikes sales rep) is that kids can't use levers when they're that little; although Islabikes has designed special levers for little/not-so-strong hands, so it'd be nice if the CPS could have some flexibility there. Anyway, I thought that was interesting.

ShawnoftheDread
06-14-2013, 06:22 PM
Oh yes, this is not lost on me :) I think I'd still draw the line somewhere south of Zipps. If I can't afford/justify them for myself I don't think my kid is gonna get them for riding a race where everyone gets a medal. OTOH, maybe I should stop being judgmental. Stones, glass houses, and all. In truth, it's hard not to love that some mom or dad is excited enough about their kid wanting to race that they've spent thousands of dollars on their equipment.

Like most things with parenting, it's hard to know where we should draw the line when the time comes.

hozn
06-25-2013, 12:28 PM
My son's new bike (CNOC-14) came in last week and I took it out and "put it together" (straighted the bars and installed the pedals) today to make sure nothing was amiss. This is an awesome little bike. Almost all bolts are hex bolts, valves are presta, micro adjust seatpost. Even fender mounts (though I deemed fenders impractical for singletrack). I am an Islabikes fan.

317331753174

ShawnoftheDread
06-25-2013, 01:13 PM
Nice

dasgeh
06-25-2013, 01:54 PM
You're gonna sell it here when your kids outgrow it, right?

hozn
06-25-2013, 02:01 PM
You're gonna sell it here when your kids outgrow it, right?

Of course! :)

GuyContinental
06-25-2013, 03:45 PM
Of course! :)

Dibs!

83(b)
11-08-2013, 03:42 PM
I know others have lamented the difficulty of finding good children's bikes. This mountain bike build (http://www.flickr.com/photos/3rrrproducts/sets/72157636036495024/with/10012535484/) Nao Tomii (builder/owner of Tomii Cycles) did for his son is pretty cool. Fully adjustable from 20" to 26" wheels! I'm sure it costs an arm and a leg unless you own your own jig and welding setup, but if you're kid can ride grow with it for more than 5 years it's a little less insane.
http://farm6.staticflickr.com/5502/10012535484_4aaf02d033_c.jpg

mstone
11-08-2013, 04:38 PM
I've seen stuff like this from time to time, but I'm not convinced it's actually a great solution. By eye, it looks like the standover is higher than either of my kids' 20 inch bikes (meaning they'd need to be bigger to start). You'll almost always have an unusually short or long stem, which will affect handling. I dunno; if you're doing this to save money, the wheels & tires end up being a significant fraction of the cost and I'm not sure how much you'd really end up saving. If you're doing it to make the best possible bike, why compromise the fit? I guess I'd be interested to see how it works out, but I suspect it won't become a magic bullet for the problem of kid bikes.

hozn
11-08-2013, 04:58 PM
It is always nice to see builders designing bikes for their kids. For many of us, I imagine, cycling is very intrinsically connected to childhood and it is wonderful to see projects that focus on that demographic. Really I am sure that kids could care less (give or take) so the target market is here is reminiscent parents :)

There are a few kids bike options that are pretty nice now. Specialized makes nice, relatively light bikes. Obviously I am very pleased with Isla (and intend to keep buying these; they rock!). They are not super cheap, but if every bike costs $400 (i am guessing/averaging) and I need 4 before they are in adult sizes, that is still less than one of my bikes. (...And so I guess I am the perfect market for expensive kids bikes.)

mstone
11-08-2013, 07:18 PM
if every bike costs $400 (i am guessing/averaging) and I need 4 before they are in adult sizes, that is still less than one of my bikes.

This is not the argument I've tried at home, let me know how it goes. :-D

hozn
11-09-2013, 07:33 AM
This is not the argument I've tried at home, let me know how it goes. :-D

Oh, I don't anticipate making the case to my wife. I will just use discretionary allowance; that is how my non-transport bike purchases happen -- and how my kid's CNOC 14 got purchased. :) (Though $270 is basically on par with Specialized prices.)

ShawnoftheDread
11-16-2013, 11:24 AM
Well I picked this up today. Unfortunately it fits the smaller kid instead of the one I was shopping for. So I still need one more!

4083

hozn
11-16-2013, 01:59 PM
Beautiful! Is that a UK import? (The current US ones have a coaster brake up to 16" wheel size.) I am envious; coaster brakes suck! :-)

ShawnoftheDread
11-16-2013, 02:25 PM
Beautiful! Is that a UK import? (The current US ones have a coaster brake up to 16" wheel size.) I am envious; coaster brakes suck! :-)

Yes! Freewheel in the back.

DismalScientist
11-16-2013, 02:39 PM
I have a 14 tooth fixed cog if that would help.:rolleyes:

mstone
11-16-2013, 06:22 PM
Beautiful! Is that a UK import? (The current US ones have a coaster brake up to 16" wheel size.) I am envious; coaster brakes suck! :-)

Foot operated brakes are a CPSC requirement for small bikes. (So with only hand brakes it's illegal for sale in the US.)

hozn
11-16-2013, 06:43 PM
Foot operated brakes are a CPSC requirement for small bikes. (So with only hand brakes it's illegal for sale in the US.)

Yeah, I know. It doesn't mean it doesn't suck! :)

ShawnoftheDread
11-16-2013, 07:30 PM
Foot operated brakes are a CPSC requirement for small bikes. (So with only hand brakes it's illegal for sale in the US.)

Oh, if the CPSC objects then I'll be sure to return it right away.

mstone
11-17-2013, 12:59 PM
Oh, if the CPSC objects then I'll be sure to return it right away.

I don't think they really care much about private sales. They certainly don't seem to be going after Craigslist bikes with no reflectors.

mstone
10-02-2018, 07:29 PM
Looks like islabike is closing their US office. Remaining inventory is discounted, so this is the last best chance to get (IMO) the best off-the-shelf kids bikes without having to deal with shipping from the UK. I have kid #2 on the beinn 26, with kid #3 looking forward to moving up. Too bad they couldn't make it work in the US market.