“ Manufacturer: b'Twin / Type: Kid's bike „
Riding a bike for the first time is one of those lovely milestones for parent and child, and one that my daughter was failing to reach until we bought this lovely 16" girls' bike from Decathlon. It's a really well made bike - having 2 daughters it's not the first we've bought - and what's more, in our experience the service we received in the store we purchased it from was excellent and meant that we got the right bike for our child.
The bike is for children from 105-120cm tall, which Decathlon say is 4-6, making me think my children are indeed a little vertically challenged like their mum. It costs £79.00 - though we used a downloadable £10 off voucher on our purchase during a promotional event. My daughter is 114cm tall currently, which as it turned out was several centimetres too tall for the 14" wheel bike she'd been trying unsuccessfully to learn on. I think it's fair to say we've learned the hard way that even though you know they are likely to grow out of them quickly, having the right sized bike is essential. Both handle bar height and seat can be changed on this one so that it is the right height for both child confidence and safety, and this was done on purchase by the staff in the store who were also happy to take the time to answer questions and check our child was comfortable with the bike. Talking of safety, the bike has a number of pleasing features - for a start it comes complete with front and rear lights, reflectors and a fully covered chain, meaning that it's not going to get tangled with trousers or put oil onto clothes. It can be accessed for maintenance from the rear.
The bike doesn't have any gears, which to me is not really an issue for a starter bike. It does have very well designed brakes that are great for learners; the front ones are cantilever but the back one is a drum cylinder type. I've found that my (just) 6 year old has learned to use them fairly quickly, the levers are well designed for small hands and the fact that the back break is very efficient and strong does, I think, mean that the rider is less likely to find themselves pitched over the handlebars. Apart from these features, there is a bell included on the bike and also the possibility to fit a parent handle or stabilisers - we didn't opt for either of these as we were keen for her to learn to ride and so was she. One small thing that I think is a shame is the fact that the bike doesn't include is a stand - we bought one for a reasonable £2.99 and it was fitted for free on purchase, with this addition it's a pretty well perfect bike. I like the fact that the rims of the wheels are aluminium - they may not be shiny but they are not going to rust or need polishing.
The frame is steel which does mean it's quite heavy (9.2kg), but the finish is really good and it's solid. Whether you like the look of it is down to personal preference, from our point of view it is girlie without being too "pink" - my daughter really likes the stickers and the picture of a happy confident little girl - which might as well be a self portrait as her progress has been really quick.
Using the bike:
I think partly because we waited until she was ready to learn, and partly as this is a good bike, from the off riding this bike has been a really positive experience. Having had it fitted were able to go back and have a free check up once it had been used a while. The sturdy tyres have made it perfect for use on a gentle sloping field, for learning, and it copes well with road and track too. The bike can be used to free wheel - again a good feature for learners, and the saddle is well padded and seems to be very comfy - we've had an issue with other bikes having poorer hard plastic saddles. The pedals are well made too and grippy. All in all it's a great bike and my daughter loved it from first use. Now she has learned to balance she is getting more and more confident and pretty well able to use it unassisted; she seems to find it easy to pedal and steer - again not a given, her previous bike had badly designed handle bars that were prone to hitting her knees when turned, no such issues here with the straight bars with nice rubber hand grips that are both great for small hands and good for propping the bike against a wall or protecting it from damage when gravity takes over. Touch wood she has not had too many spills on this bike and it's had a fair bit of use and still looks as good as new.
I really would recommend this bike and also the service provided in store - though it can be bought online as well. It's good to know that the frame is guaranteed 5 years and the parts two - though realistically I know she is likely to outgrow the bike fairly quickly and certainly before the guarantee expires. Though you can buy cheaper bikes I think this one is well worth the purchase price, particularly as it comes with accessories of the type that you actually need for riding, rather than ribbons on the handle bars, doll carriers or decoration that sometimes seem to be a selling point on other branded bikes. There are no such gimmicks here, this bike is for proper riding.
I think it was worth buying a quality bike for my daughter to learn on and it does mean that we can all bike ride together, it's a proper bike rather than a toy. I would thoroughly recommend this item and Decathlon for purchasing bikes, it will probably be the first place we look when the time comes to change either of our children's bikes. Since we bought this we've been delighted with it, quite simply it was a great buy and it looks great in the photos we took of her riding by herself for the first time - the huge smile on her face says it all.