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Thread: Balance Bike opinions

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    americancyclo's Avatar
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    Default Balance Bike opinions

    I was just at a bike shop with my 20 month old daughter and she is starting to show interest in balance bikes. I was hoping folks might have some opinions on what balance bikes held up to a few years worth of use. We've talked about another kid at some point, and I'd rather buy one bike that will last a few years and can be handed down to the second child. The wooden framed Skuut my nephew has is pretty beaten up, and I'm not too crazy about the plastic wheels on the Strider, but I could be convinced otherwise.

    Any experience you've had or thoughts are welcome.

    Skuut - $62
    Strider - $71
    Giant Pre - $125
    Specialized Hotwalk - $175
    Trek Kickster - $179

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    Quote Originally Posted by americancyclo View Post
    I was just at a bike shop with my 20 month old daughter and she is starting to show interest in balance bikes. I was hoping folks might have some opinions on what balance bikes held up to a few years worth of use. We've talked about another kid at some point, and I'd rather buy one bike that will last a few years and can be handed down to the second child. The wooden framed Skuut my nephew has is pretty beaten up, and I'm not too crazy about the plastic wheels on the Strider, but I could be convinced otherwise.

    Any experience you've had or thoughts are welcome.

    Skuut - $62
    Strider - $71
    Giant Pre - $125
    Specialized Hotwalk - $175
    Trek Kickster - $179
    I've had the Skuut since Christmas - the little one is now 22 months old and has used it a couple of times (mostly indoors, b/c of the cold weather). Its still a little too big for her, but at GuyContinental's suggestion, I flipped around the 'seattube' and mounted it like that. Looks like this:

    I'm a little unhappy with the loosness in the bolts holding the fork to the frame, but there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the structural integrity of the bike. It is a bit big for her still, but I'm hoping that she'll grow into it as the warmer weather arrives.

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    I spent a good chunk of yesterday with 2 Striders, a Skuut aand three 3-4 y/o kids (4 if you include me). Skuut is my son's and the Striders belong to neighboring twins. If I had it over to do I'd probably go with the strider and *maybe* figure out a way to replace the crappy hard wheels. As you mentioned, the Skuut hasn't held up that well (although it will soon be passed on to the "also-ran" second child sometime this year) but my issue was with the sizing and learning curve on the Striders kids with short legs can start earlier and actually have a place to put their feet. You *can* hack a Skuut by flipping the "top tube" and drilling a new seat hole, lowering the stand-over by 2"+ but the slack headtube (I can't believe I'm saying these things) seemed really twitchy (but that could have been my kid). Counterpoint is that the proper tires on the Skuut make it perform far better on dirt (if you ever get nearly run over by a 3 y/o bombing down Zachary Taylor park, that's definitely not my kid...) and have possibly worn better than the Strider "tires". So-
    Early Use - Strider
    Later Use- Skuut
    Much Later - Strider (you can get a longer seat post for the strider, Skuut you are SOL)
    Durability - Toss up. Skuut "frame" is battered but I'm suspicious of the Strider tires

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bilsko View Post
    I've had the Skuut since Christmas - the little one is now 22 months old and has used it a couple of times (mostly indoors, b/c of the cold weather). Its still a little too big for her, but at GuyContinental's suggestion, I flipped around the 'seattube' and mounted it like that. Looks like this:

    I'm a little unhappy with the loosness in the bolts holding the fork to the frame, but there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with the structural integrity of the bike. It is a bit big for her still, but I'm hoping that she'll grow into it as the warmer weather arrives.
    A-ha! I was useful!

    That seat doesn't look level- did you drill out a new hole or just leave it be? On the bolts, while I had it apart I added some washers and Lock-tite. No looseness anymore.

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    If you haven't already looked at it, REI has one in its house brand. (no experience, just seen it)

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    Quote Originally Posted by GuyContinental View Post
    If I had it over to do I'd probably go with the strider and *maybe* figure out a way to replace the crappy hard wheels.
    Looks like that can be done for $24
    http://shop.stridersports.com/Option...HEEL-AIR-ALUM/

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    Quote Originally Posted by americancyclo View Post
    Looks like that can be done for $24
    http://shop.stridersports.com/Option...HEEL-AIR-ALUM/
    Sold! Oh wait... I have a Skuut... passed the link on the the Strider Dad.

    Just for the heck of it I thought about putting 12" knobbies on the Skuut but decided that such puttering time and my $25 in parts was better spent elsewhere.

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    Just out of curiosity, can you not take a really small kids bicycle, take off the pedals and get the same effect? Trek and Specialized, at least, probably make some very small two-wheelers. I would think the sturctural integrity would be a bit better.

    Also, that way you can graduate them to pedals without having to buy something new.

    Liz

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    Quote Originally Posted by eminva View Post
    Just out of curiosity, can you not take a really small kids bicycle, take off the pedals and get the same effect? Trek and Specialized, at least, probably make some very small two-wheelers. I would think the sturctural integrity would be a bit better.

    Also, that way you can graduate them to pedals without having to buy something new.

    Liz
    Problem is weight- I have a 12" Giant kids bike that weighs fully 26 lbs (1 lb less than my FS MTB...) taking off the cranks and BB would save some weight but the build on the strider type bikes is way way lighter. Trek does make a wee-kids bike that is sort of light but it's expensive and still not *light*.

    As an aside, there must be a market out there for a kids bike with a weight proportional to it's size... yes I get that kids bikes get worked but "respect the bike" is already a mantra in my house...

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    Quote Originally Posted by eminva View Post
    Just out of curiosity, can you not take a really small kids bicycle, take off the pedals and get the same effect?
    Yes.

    Pheonix Bikes did this for me for something like $25, using a frame and parts they had lying around.

    For a bike a typical child won't use for long, it's a good way to save money.

    You might have to cover the bottom bracket with something to keep the kid from scraping his/her legs on the edges though.

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