Buy a Real Bike For Christmas Not a Bike Shaped Object

For a couple of years, I was a volunteer with a charity bike recycling project. Through our doors came hundreds of children’s bikes. However, many of these were very heavy, manufactured from thick-walled steel tubing and with poor components, made from plastic or pressed steel.  We used to joke about these bikes and call them “Bike Shaped Objects”. (BSOs) I.e., they had the shape or form of a bike but due to their poor quality couldn’t really be described as a bike.

The difficulty is that people will often see these “bike shaped objects” in the shops, they will have what appear attractive features such a design featuring cartoon characters such as princesses or super heroes. These make them attractive to children but often that is a far as their qualities go.

Other “bike shaped objects” attempt to appeal to the adventurous young rider featuring front or even full suspension.  To be honest this is purely adding weight and expense to the bike.  For a small child’s bike lightness is the key and the stiffness of the suspension and weight of the child will mean the suspension won’t have any effect on the ride quality other than making the bike heavy and harder to pedal along.

Sadly, the quality of components of many “bike shaped objects” are terrible, brake leavers made of plastic so they snap when the bike is dropped on the floor, hubs with the bearings so tight that the axil will hardly turn and some wheel bearings, we have found may be entirely without grease.

Key to an effective V brake is the stiffness of the brake arms. The best way to achieve this is by using cast metal alloy sadly some manufacturers of “Bike Shaped Objects” use cheaper V breaks made from pressed metal V brake which vibrate and squeal.

Gear shifting on “Bike Shaped Objects” is often with cheap twist grip shifter, which are hard for little hands to use unlike thumb click changing.

One of the keys to keeping the weight of a bike down is the use of light weight alloy frames. Alloy is more expensive than steel, however bikes made from alloy will usually have wider diameter tubing. Sadly, some manufactures make “bike shaped objects” out wide diameter steel tubing which creates excessive weight.

In the Grassington Bike shop, despite the availability of cheap Bike Shaped object to sell to customers I simply won’t sell these as I want children to get a positive and fun experice of cycling from day one.

We therefore stock a range of quality light weight children’s bikes in different sizes.  They may lack the flashes of suspension, or the glamour of a cartoon livery but they will be easy to ride and provide hours of fun. What’s more we will make sure the wheel bearings are adjusted so they freely rotate and are packed with grease, plus all the components will be corrected tightened and adjusted appropriately.

Do pop in to the bike shop with your son or daughter and check out a bike that is the right size for them. If we haven’t got the colour in stock, we will order it in for and keep it locked away in secret until Christmas for you.