Wednesday, February 6, 2008

No Pressure

It's really hard to find a high quality bike for kids without going custom and/or spending a wad of cash. The Miyata in the picture popped up on Craigslist a couple weeks ago and even though it's still about 4 or 5 years away from fitting Maddie, I had to jump on it.

Note the small front wheel. If you want a road bike to fit a small person and you want it to ride like a road bike, you can't spec it with a 700c front wheel. If you do, you'll have to rake the fork and/or slacken the headtube so much that it just won't handle/respond like a classic road/racer bike. That said, lots of companies put 700c wheels on the front of tiny bikes and lots of folks enjoy riding those bikes.

As far as I know, the bike company Terry popularized this design. I suspect the design has been around for many years before that, but as far as I can tell, Terry gets most the credit for making it a popular-ish design.

This is a fantastic bike for a small person: triple-butted steel frame, lugged construction, good-enough mid-grade, 90's Shimano components. I had a similar bike made by Novara in the 90's that I regret giving away, so I'm glad this one popped up, as they seem to be getting scarcer and no other big mass-producer bike company makes a design like this anymore. When the time comes, I'll probably swap out the rear wheel for a more modern/light cassette. Who knows, maybe we'll even powder coat it pink with sparkles.

Since Maddie is still a few years away from riding this beauty, it will be a loaner to a friend of mine who has a daughter. Apparently she's excited to ride it, though a tad worried about the color.

7 comments:

joe said...

Just call it the bumblebee, then the colors are great

Hank (gigowiz at gmail.com) said...

I showed Steph the picture and she likes the colors. Whew! Catastrophe avoided. :-) Is it sexist of me to say, "She's such a girl"?

ken said...

That's not sexist - men fret about color all the time.

When we bought our car, we waited two weeks so I could have a metallic gray one.

If they had come in two-tone yellow and blue, though, I'd have waited a month...

michael said...

Novara makes a road bike with 26" inch wheels.

http://www.rei.com/product/760877

John Speare said...

Michael: I was going to talk about the Pulse in this post, as it's one of the few small road-ish bikes with normal geometry. Redline makes one too. There's probably others that are small road bikes with 26" wheels front and back. The Pulse is a cool bike, but really at $450, it's a bike Maddie will have to help pay for at some point, if she's into that. I bought this one for 60 and in my opinion, it's at least twice the quality the Pulse is. Plus the Pulse is aluminum, so I don't know if I could even help her pay for it...
These Terry-esque bikes were marketed towards adults. The small road bikes now are marketed to kids.

michael said...

I really love the DIY aspect of what you folks are doing going out and buying a retail bike would be going against that.

John Speare said...

Michael -- I'd buy a new bike if it made sense. In fact, we bought Maddie a new bike last year. I'm not a huge DIY'er when it comes to bike stuff, or much of anything-- ask my wife, I buy way too much new bike stuff. In this case the REI bike just doesn't even compare in the value department to the Miyata. It's really not a DIY'er kind of deal on this one.