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Thread: Islabikes experience?

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    hozn's Avatar
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    Default Islabikes experience?

    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.
    Last edited by hozn; 06-11-2013 at 09:47 AM.

  2. #2
    ShawnoftheDread's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    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...

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    You should buy it! I have no justification, but I'm telling you what you want to hear so you should listen to me.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShawnoftheDread View Post
    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.

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    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.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hozn View Post
    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.

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    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.

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    Nice

  9. #9
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    dasgeh is offline Queen of Family Biking & All Things Kidical
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    You're gonna sell it here when your kids outgrow it, right?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by dasgeh View Post
    You're gonna sell it here when your kids outgrow it, right?
    Of course!

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