Wot no Grifter?
Five ways to get your kids rolling on real bikes.
Ages 1-16: The Hope Academy
Kids grow out of bikes as fast as they do shoes, so the fewer you have to buy, the better. That’s where the Hope Academy comes in — from £6 a month Hope will loan you a bike, anything from a strider to a 24in wheeler. Hope has a fleet of 1,000 bikes (yes, you read that right), all lightweight hardtails from Kanya or Early Rider, and all specced with Hope brakes and components. They even have miniature flat pedals, cut-down versions of Hope’s F20.
“We’re not making any money,” Rachael Walker from Hope said. “It’s just a good thing to do to get more kids on bikes — and then the chances of them carrying on riding are good.”
Ages 1-5: Wishbone Bike
The Wishbone is really three bikes in one, which is a great way of allowing the bike to grow with your child. Starting as a three-wheeler, the Wishbone can be converted to two wheels when it’s time to learn to balance. Then raise the seat and flip the frame and you’ve got one of the largest balance bikes out there… just don’t wait too long to get junior pedalling.
Ages 2-4: Cube Cubie 120
The big balloon tyres on the Cubie mean your nipper can get a really comfy ride even with just 12in of wheel and no suspension travel. It’s a proper little balance bike too, little grips for small hands, decent saddle and lightweight aluminium stem.
Ages 4-16: Islabikes Pro Series
The Pro Series is a new concept from Islabikes: covering four different off-road bikes, the idea is to offer a lightweight, top spec design… even if it comes at a price. We’re talking full UD carbon forks from the age of four, a singlering narrow/wide chainring and Rockshox 30 TK Gold forks on age-eight bike and upwards.
Ages 12+: Orange Zest
26in wheels aren’t dead, they’re alive and kicking for smaller riders who will benefit from the reduced diameter. The Zest has the modern geometry you’ll find on your own your bike, with a relatively long wheelbase and short stem, single-ring drivetrain and routing for a dropper post.