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where to buy a gender-neutral bike without licensed characters?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
DD is ready for a regular bike this summer -- she's 4, she's a pro on her balance bike (which she's been riding for 2 summers), and she's super eager to graduate to a "pedal bike." We don't expect her to need training wheels since she can already balance well.

Are there places we can buy/order a bike that is:
1) Decent price -- not insanely expensive
2) Decent quality
3) Not over-the-top girly or boy-y -- just a "regular" solid color bike that isn't so gendered, no licensed characters (no Disney, Dora, etc).
4) 14" -- it's the size that fits her best, but it's less common.

Thanks for any tips on where we might find such a thing!
Edited by indigosky - 4/23/12 at 12:07pm
post #2 of 15
I would check Craigslist. I usually see tons of bikes listed for kids smile.gif
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
We've been watching Craigslist, but over the last couple weeks there's only been one bike in my daughter's size, and it's pretty far away.

Any other suggestions? I think the 14" thing is making this trickier.
post #4 of 15

It's yard sale season.  Find one that is the right size and get some spray paint.  Fun!


We've been going nuts trying to find a balance bike where we live!  The cheapest is a $100 metal one.  Wanna sell yours to us?  Wonder what shipping would cost...PM me if you are interested!

post #5 of 15
Why not ask at your local bike shop? They are going to have a better variety than somewhere like Toys R Us, plus if you buy you'd be able to support local business. Usually if you buy your bike there they will also do adjustments and make sure it's put together correctly, which the big box stores don't do.
post #6 of 15

14" is not a bike store standard size in the US.  You will not find a quality bike with resale value in a 14".  You won't find one made of aluminum (which is very important IMO when they are younger particularly).  Steel is too heavy to be a good material for a bike frame.


If she really cannot fit a 12" high quality bike then she will be able to handle a 16".  Also if she can ride a 14" steel bike she will not have any trouble with a 16" aluminum bike.


I almost always buy my kids' bikes used on Craigslist and resell them the same way.  Each one ends up costing me from $0-30 after my kids have outgrown them.  Buying new is what kills.  There are a lot of kids these days whose parents buy them nice bike store bikes but don't live in a sidewalk neighborhood or are too busy to really use them.  You will find these on Craigslist and they won't even need a tune-up. 


Look on Craigslist for brands like Specialized, Raleigh, Novara, Trek.  Some Schwinns are bike store bikes and the Schwinn Gremlin is a nice little aluminum bike.  We've had that, and many Specialized Hotrocks.  DS currently has his first gear bike, a 20" Novara, and DD has her first gear bike, a 24" Raleigh.   


If the seller is not sure what the wheel size is, tell them it is written on the sidewall.  Make sure it is aluminum and lightweight. 

post #7 of 15

Because the frames are different, sometimes one 16" will be be huge while another may fit. I had trouble with sizing, too. Really wanted a 14" but ended up with a 16" that was too big... When it was time for the next size, I was looking for an 18" because the 20" in the stores were way too big. I found a 20" on Craigslist that had a smaller frame than the ones in the stores and it worked fine.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
On the ones we tried so far, her feet and nice and flat on the ground on a 14". My partner who took her to try them said the 12"s seemed way too small, and she had to be on tiptoe to reach the ground on the 16"s.

For learning to ride a bike for the first time, if we give up on finding a 14", would you go too big or too small?
post #9 of 15

Too small is usually better. With regard to the character stuff, most of it is stickers that you can peel off with a little effort. You can replace a seat with a plain one or stretch plain fabric over it or even cover it with duct tape. Maybe you can paint it with some kind of paint meant for vinyl. My son's bike was a girls pink bike from Craigslist so I had to peel off all the stickers before I could spray paint it and I swapped out the seat.

post #10 of 15

If a 16" is too big then put her in a nice aluminum 12".  Seriously, they can go from a 12" with the seat way up to a 16" with the seat down. 


A steel 14" (which is what you will find in that size) weighs about 25 pounds.


A Specialized Hotrock 16" weighs about 20 pounds.


A Hotrock 12" weighs about 16 pounds.


This is a big deal when they are learning to control the bike.


You can get good quality lightweight 14" wheel bikes abroad.

post #11 of 15

I'd second bigpokey on the 14". Also 16" are not all the same size. Somehow some are smaller than others. The Hotrock is one of those smaller ones with a low frame. Also consider that you will get better resale value on a quality aluminium bike as  opposed to the steel junk.


We were in similar boat with dd1. We got her to do her first pedal strokes on a borrowed 12" that was too small. Only needed it for two days. As I said it was indeed way to small, but she needed it to build confidence.


Then she was just fine on her Hotrock; could handle10 km rides within a couple weeks. I cannot imagine her having to lift a steel frame bike. I'd have to stand it upright for her before she can take off on it. The weight matters more than the perfect size.

post #12 of 15
post #13 of 15
I have found several good options on amazon. Not sure if it was a 14" though. I got a really cute blue, green, and white bike for dd2 from there. It does have a fee stickers of cherries, but it doesn't scream Disney princess or anything.
post #14 of 15
Originally Posted by *Eva* View Post

I found this one online that looked ok.  Honestly when my kids are that little I'm not looking for any super high quality b/c they're going to outgrow it so soon anyways.  http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=14+in+bike&hl=en&client=firefox-a&hs=yz9&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&prmd=imvns&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_qf.,cf.osb&biw=1366&bih=547&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=shop&cid=2826348953979897563&sa=X&ei=Q9OxT8bALJHqggfZz4nYBg&ved=0CK8BEPMCMAE

I hear you on that. Kids grow through equipment fast. But the lightest is still better I believe. Some of these kids are small. My 5 y.o. is 37 pounds and we go for 8-12 km rides with her. I could not ask her to ride a steel bike that is 70% of her body weight. She'd hate biking. I am an adult and I tried riding a cheap bike 40% of my weight. It sucked; yet this is the feat that she has to do with her aluminium bike. I can't ask her more than that. I don't think she'd actually be able to lift a steel bike off the ground to ride it.


So I think it all depends what the OP wants to do with the bike. If she wants her DD to go for actual rides then an aluminium bike is the way to go. (Even buying it used).

If it is just a question of romping to the end of the street and back then it doesn't really matter anything will go.

post #15 of 15
I'd go for a lighter bike. My older daughter had a terrible time learning to ride a bike, and it was a cheap one and pretty heavy. We got a nicer bike from a locally owned bike shop, and she learned very quickly. That weight makes a huge difference. They're more expensive but they hold their value well and can be resold. I'd consider it anyway.
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