“ Brand: Falcon „
We bought this Falcon bike for my son last year and I have to say from the moment he picked it in the shop he has loved this bike.
The various appealing factors for him when he saw the bike were- the colours green his favourite, the water bottle and the bag on the. My son at the time was 4 years and we had debated about which height to get him but on the advice of the staff at the Bike Outlet in York where we bought it we picked a 16 inch bike as he just fitted this. Despite it being maybe a bit larger for him than a 14 inch bike he was more than able to reach the pedals and touch the floor so we were happy. Also buying the slightly larger size meant that we knew we should get a lot more wear out of it as 16 inch bikes tend to be for children 5-7 years old.
As we bought this from a local bike shop we didn't have to assemble the bike at all so I can't really comment on how easy this is to do. However have raised and lowered the seat and handles bars a few times which was very straight forward to do. I have also when my son attend a "Get off Your Stabilisers" session at school take both the stabilisers and his pedals off. Both were easy to do as the school provided the equipment. My only hint is that the pedals need to go on the correct side due to the way the treads are on the pedals. So if you are building it yourself makes sure you look for the R and L on the pedals that are clearly marked.
The bike is made from HiTen steel which I think makes it slightly lighter than just a steel bike but still as durable. What we have found straight away with this bike compared to his previous bike from Halfords is that even though this frame is 6 inches bigger than his fireman bike it is much lighter to lift and move around. What this has meant in practice for my son is that he has been able to ride it a lot easier and hasn't struggled to get the bike moving as he did with his previous bike. In fact he can now go so fast on it is hard to keep up. So for us the light weight frame is a huge plus. Given he has fallen off the bike quite a few times on the paths the bike hasn't actually received any dents to the frame at all and bar a few scuff marks actually looks still in good condition. Due to the camouflage style of paint work on the frame it does actually hide any minor scratch marks well and I think this style of paint work is very suitable for a kid's bike.
The stabilisers are very robust on the bike and can be adjusted slightly so you can raise them slightly off the ground so that as they cycle it is only if they wobble that they touch the ground. At present we have one raised slightly so he cycles on 3 wheels really. The plastic of the stabilizers is very robust and we have had no damage to them in the 10 months of use. They do however make a lot of noise as they trundle on the pavements so you can certainly hear him coming.
The bike has both a front and back break, these on the times we can get him to use them work very well. Over the 10 months of having the bike and as he has got more confident on the bike he is learning to press them more and more. They are not so tightly set that he grinds to a halt with a start that then means he falls off but they do stop him very easily which is great when he takes his bike to school for getting him to stop at roads.
The chain of the bike has a chain guard over it which has been great for protecting him against oil stains on him or his clothes. My only concern about this is how hard it would be to replace the chain if it broke. You can however easily oil the chain form the other side of the bike.
One of the selling pints for my son was the fact that a water bottle was under the seat at the rear. The bottle was easy to take in and out and he loved having a drink there which was great for cycle trips to the park. Unfortunately the holder actually broke after 6 months which was a disappointment as he snapped it to a degree that the bottle can no longer stay on here safely. He now needs to put his water bottle in the bag that clips to the front of the bike. They bag that is detachable to the front handle bars is great and my son often will have toys in there on his bike ride or a teddy watching where he is going. The bag copes well with all of these issues and never falls off even when he falls off the bike.
The paint style of the bike is camouflage this does appeal to my young son and with it having either stars or bullets on it is very military in look. My son choose the star look and refers to his bike as the star bike so its look and green colours were appealing to him and other young boys I imagine.
The grips on the handle bars are nice and soft for him to hold and provide plenty of grips on the plastic for him to hold on to. The soft plastic of these is wearing well with no real visible damage in the 10 months of wear and I have no concerns that this will fade or deteriorate over the next 2 years or so of use. At the end of the handle bars there are some signs of wear on the ends of the plastic where it has rubbed on the ground when he has fallen off but this hasn't gone through to the metal underneath unlike his cheaper small Halfords bike which did very quickly. The handle bars are great as they match very well the wheel alignment so he has plenty of control over where he is going and is now able to steer very well on his bike trips.
Overall we and more importantly my son are very pleased with this bike. It is nice and light for him to manoeuvre and control as he steers around everywhere on his bike trips. It is well made and durable and hasn't taken any dents when he has fallen off it or dropped the bike. The stabilizers are easy to adjust and remove as and when. The addition of the water bottle and the bag are nice touches that my son loves. Our only disappointment is that the bottle holder broke so soon due to this I am deducting a star so 4 stars from us. We got our bike from the www.bikeoutlet.co.uk for £80 as the store actually is in York we were able to collect there rather than order it on line but the service we got was good so I would recommend them for purchasing this bike from.