Sea Otter: Manufacturers putting real resources into kids bikes

Pint-sized two wheelers with geometry and components just for junior

Kids Sea Otter Classic
Oregon’s Isla Bikes specializes in lightweight aluminum kids bikes.

Oregon’s Islabikes specializes in lightweight aluminum kids bikes.

Islabikes Creig 24 and Beinn 20L

Islabikes is a UK brand with US headquarters in Portland, OR. They specialize in lightweight aluminum kids rigs that range from the Rothan balance bike with 12″ wheels all the way up to 26″ youth bikes. They even have three models of kid’s road bikes. The Islabikes Creig 24 (pictured above) has a 7005 aluminum frame and features an RST F1rst air fork with 60mm of travel with lockout and rebound adjustment, and SRAM X5 1×10 drivetrain with twist shift and Avid disc brakes. Claimed weight is 23.8 pounds. MSRP is $1099.99. The Islabikes Beinn 20L has a 7005 aluminum frame and rigid cromoly fork. The drivetrain is SRAM 7 speed with twist shift and V-brakes. Claimed weight is 17.3 pounds. MSRP is $440. — Gregg Kato

MSRP: $440-$1100
More information:

The star of the pump track, the Specialized Fat Boy, in kid size.

The star of the pump track, the kid’s sized Specialized Fat Boy (click to enlarge).

Specialized Fat Boy 20 and 24

For 2015, both Trek and Specialized are offering scaled down versions of their popular fat bikes to fit younger riders. In both 20- and 24-inch wheel size, these fat bikes bring a sense of adventure to riding that parents won’t mind riding slow for. They are versatile enough to ride in sand, dirt, and snow, and the suspension in the tires helps give kids a smoother ride. And as Specialized’s Emily Watts reported from the pump track, “Kids think they’re motorcycles, and they want to take them out.”

Available since Christmas, the Specialized Fat Boy 20/24 comes with disc brakes for controlled, confidence-inspiring stopping. They have a 1x drivetrain to keep shifting easy, and kids change gears with a trigger shifter so it’s easier for little hands.

MSRP: $1,000-$1,200
More info:

Trek’s new kids’ fat bike, the Farley 24, will be available this August.

Trek’s new kids’ fat bike, the Farley 24, will be available this August (click to enlarge).

Trek Farley 24

After much deliberation in the Trek camp, they decided the best geometry they could offer kids in their fat bike platform was the 24-inch wheelsize. The bike will suit riders from 50–63” tall, comes with a 1X drivetrain, and weighs 28 pounds. It’s available this August in two colors.

More info:

This article is part of Mtbr’s coverage of the 2015 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. For more from Sea Otter CLICK HERE.

About the author: Kristen Gross

Kristen Gross loves bikes, all sorts, and above all, XC mountain bikes. She races in the pro category and gets a lot of joy from teaching others the way of the trail as a mountain bike skills instructor—especially women who are just discovering cycling. She is a USAC-certified coach, and she runs her own freelance writing business based in Carlsbad, Calif. You’ll find her either writing or riding, bringing over 10 years experience to both. Why does she ride? To offset her addiction to Coca Cola and Lay’s Potato Chips.

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  • turbodog says:

    I really admire the blind ambition of these industry types. I’m sure these will be a hot seller with those people that already have bought road bikes, 29er’s, fat bikes, etc. They are going to have to start selling purpose built bike storeage sheds to people.

  • Chicken_Rider says:

    These seem so expensive for a bike that a kid could easily grow out of. For example, a $200 balance bike? For my kids, we got a 12″ bike off of craigslist for next to nothing and removed the crank. The other bikes being in the $1500-2000 range blow me away, I bet most kids wouldn’t last 2-3 seasons on them.

  • TheDirtySanchez1999 says:

    The best part about the more expensive kids bikes is that they can learn to ride a really light bike at a younger age. I mean really ride a bike, not pedaling a heavy turd. Imagine if you were 50 pounds and are forced to ride a 25-30 pound piece of crap. Sorry, but the fat bike thing is a bad idea IMHO. Too heavy. Some other companies work a mention are:
    Little Shredder – Sweet park bikes
    Trailcraft Cycles – Sweet XC bikes
    Spawn Cycles – Sweet full range of bikes

    • kurtisk says:

      I agree! If you want your kids to ride a bike get them the best bike you can. You wouldn’t ride a [email protected]@r7 bike, and you can be sure they won’t either. I have had a 11 yr old who rode my daughter’s XS Kona bike like a pro for over 7 miles of real trails the first time out. When he brought his junk bike, he was done after 1 mile.

      Other insights: 1) bring their friends–riding with dad is boring; 2) they can’t use twist shifters, but they can operate trigger shifters; 3) big bikes don’t bother kids as much as adults, get them on the biggest bike with the biggest wheels they can ride–do you remember riding a bike sized for you as a kid? I don’t.

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