Bike advice for tween daughter

Discussion in 'Beginners Forum' started by jkgramzinski, Nov 23, 2010.

  1. jkgramzinski

    jkgramzinski New Member

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    I am a newbie into road biking (4 months now and training for my first century). My eleven year old daughter is now picking up bike riding and needs a new bike. She is riding her step-sister's ten year old Walmart hand-me-down.

    I am wondering whether to get her a beginner road bike or start her on a hybrid. I am worried the road bike may be too much for her and the low brakes, etc. may be too advanced. However, since there will be many times we ride together, I want her to be able to keep a decent pace over distance. It is so hard to ride that slow on my bike.

    We ride mostly paved country roads around our house and may do some trails.

    Suggestions?
     
  2. TxCyclist

    TxCyclist Administrator Staff Member Admin Staff

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    If she's going to ride around not on the road only, I think a hybrid would be good choice, it can open up her options to different types of cycling as well.
     

  3. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    First of all forget the mechanics as an issue. They are more or less the same functions whether they are for a road, trail ect regardless of how the work is actually done. The shifters might work a little different and the brakes may work differently, but the act of this hand works this brake will be common to all of them. The feel might be a little different, but the actual procedures will be the same. At 11 she is at a perfect age to start and with very little time it will be second nature to her.

    Three things to consider. Bikes are like tools. They are designed for a job. The closer you can be to getting the right tool for the job the better. Yes I have used a flat head screw driver on a phillips, but the phillips head driver is far far better. If budget allows I'd consider two bikes. One for trail and one for roads, and I would put the biggest budget on the type of riding she does the most. IF its mostly roads, get the best road bike you can afford and an entry level mountain bike. If its mostly trails reverse. Budget might not allow that now, but if it can with one bike now and another in 6 months its something to consider, but not always the right choice.

    The hybrid isn't going to be that much better than a road bike on trails other than the riding position. The hybrids I have seen still use the same road bike gearing and tires. IF you have to have a one bike that does both, this isn't the way I'd go.

    A comfort bike will have more of the trail type gearing, and won't be as fast. Depending on your 11 year old size she might be big enough to ride a full size, but let the local bike shop help you. The full size comfort has the hybrid type riding position, but most will have 26 inch wheels that let you put a wide variety of tires on it. Skinny tires for road an fat tires for trail will fit on the same wheel, but changing tires can be a pain. Yet it does work. Id expect this to be just ok on anything but the tame trails, and ok on road.

    What I did for a while is take a mountain bike and put narrow tires on the 26 inch wheels. Ok on the roads, but it is in its element on the trails. I bought an extra set of wheels and had street tires on one and trail tires on the other. (can do that with a comfort as well) Even though you didn't need to change tires, there were a few things that had to be done to change wheels mechanically. Not that hard and some 11 year olds could do it, but it might be a bit much for some.

    You are far smarter than I was. I didn't ask anyone and had to figure it out myself. grin
     
  4. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan ♥'s Bicycles

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    If braking is the issue you see with a road bike keep in mind that you can add in-line cross-top levers to any road bike to allow for easier braking from multiple hand positions.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. jkgramzinski

    jkgramzinski New Member

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    Ok, I should have been more specific with the trail comment- those are paved bike trails, not mountain bike trails.

    I didn't know you could modify the brakes on a road bike, so that may be an option. That was the most difficult thing for me to learn and I am more experienced and more coordinated than she is.

    Thanks for the advice!
     
  6. greenhorn

    greenhorn greenhorn

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    Local bike shop can put those top mount brake levers on pretty quick. Doesn't add much weight either. I got back into road biking at 51 and had those added to my new road bike and felt more comfortable knowing they were there. And they can be taken back off just as easily as she gets more comfortable.
     
  7. photosbymark

    photosbymark New Member

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    If they are paved trails, a road bike would be the way I would go but that's just me. Yet what my mom and dad often did would be to take me to where we were going to get the bike and say, would you like this one or that one. I got to make the choice, but it was put in a way that they didn't care which one I picked. A hybrid would also be just fine. As long as there is no dirt involved, either would do her well.
     
  8. BlazingPedals

    BlazingPedals Member

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    Eleven is a great age to start riding seriously. I've seen lots of kids that age doing long tours. My son did DALMAC - 325 miles in 5 days - at age 12. He rode a Raleigh road bike with 24" wheels. When he outgrew that, he bought himself a used but very nice Schwinn, which he still rides at age 28.
     
  9. momule

    momule New Member

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    At age eleven just get that gal an inexpensive hybrid and let her ride. She should be close to the age that boys are better than bikes and she will ride one or the other but not both. Good luck to you with this one...
     
  10. froze

    froze Banned

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    I agree with the inexpensive hybid. If you get an expensive bike then at age 13 she has friends she rather spend time with then riding a bike then your not out a lot of money. If you can find a decent one used that's even better.
     
  11. SprocketGirl

    SprocketGirl spin... spin.. spin

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    as a young lady who rides a ton.... i am only eight years older than i was when i was her age.(about the age i began riding miles and miles) in my early years of cycling seriously i spent most of my time on the road and paths. i have since grown to like mountain biking better but without the foundation in road riding i would have never cared.

    i hope you will seriously consider my view on this. people are worried that you will buy her a nice bike and then she will turn to boys or friends. i agree as she gets into her teens she will care about these things and the bike might possibly get dusty :). however, if she has a bike that is enjoyable and does not need work all the time she may lean toward cycling. of course she will outgrow this bike regardless of what you chose for her. i, would get a bike suited for what she will be doing. in this case it sounds like she will benefit most from a road bike. simple is better, a lot of girls get discouraged when riding is complicated. what gear when and why type stuff. i would try to find her a road bike that has three ring gears(up front) tell her to ride in the middle one and shift through the rear gears to make riding easier or faster. teach her spinning cadence(consistent pedaling rhythm/speed) not focused on bike overall speed. she will concur the gears quickly and be shifting the front ones before you expect... same with road brakes. if you are worried about it get her a road bike and put flat bars on it. as she gets better and more confident then go to drop bars.

    the main thing is to not do anything that would make her decide cycling is not for her

    things i have seen done that turn youth away from cycling

    1: a bike that is too big(it is scary to be on a bike that is too big) yes she will grow into it but will hate cycling by the time she does

    2: a bike that is junk(i do not mean you have to break the bank chep is fine just not junk)

    3: too long of trips too soon(let her pick how far you go, soon she will want to go farther than you may)

    4: ugly bike (it is silly but we are girls and if it is embarrassing to be seen on we won't want to ride it)

    i grew up in a small town in france, thus it was hard to find a used bike... but with the internet a bike her size should be easy to locate, if not in your town. lots of LBS's take smaller bikes in on trade when someone grows into a larger one. check with them they may have something that is not even on the floor. most bike people will help to get a kid on a good bike.

    so, i would look for a used road bike that is in good shape...
    buy some new accessories and help her install them, stuff that will pretty it up. if you do not know how to install stuff ask around at bike shops i bet someone will help teach her.... if she works or adds to the bike it will give her a since of responsibility and ownership. as she grows, let her learn more and more about how it works. the other day i helped a young girl change a flat, her dad said, "oh you can just do it you don't have to show her and tell her what you are doing, we trust you." i showed her anyhow, i believe as you learn how it works you ride better.
     
  12. froze

    froze Banned

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    You were raised in Europe, France to be more exact, and cycling is huge there. But in America there are many more young women playing baseball and basketball then there are those interesting in cycling. Of course that can also be said about the young men here in America too. Because cycling is a low attended sport in America it's difficult to get youth interested in it...not saying it's impossible, just difficult. I cycle a lot, but neither of my daughters have any interest in it all, they would rather text message!! Now I can bet you that if I lived in Europe and cycle my daughters would be into it, at least one of them would because that one is a strong rider now and doesn't ride much! I found her a nice bike, a Kona Lava Dome, and she can ride it an average 14mph speed for 20 miles WITHOUT training for a ride and she's 16. And get this, she wasn't even tired afterwards! I did my best to encourage her to ride more but she's more interesting in drawing...well at least it isn't texting!! at least not yet.
     
  13. littleman624

    littleman624 New Member

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    I'm not sure how stable she is on a bike but if this needs refinement, purchase a cyclocross bike and continually narrow the tires (and wheels as needed for compatibility) until she is comfortable with traditional road tires and upgrade to a road bike if she still shows interest in cycling. I purchased my bike (a 2010 Motobecane Mirage Sport) from bikesdirect.com for $400 and it came with the top mounted brakes already installed. This site specializes in road bikes (including women's) but they also have a variety of mountain and hybrids as well. All bikes are factory direct at wholesale prices.
     
  14. froze

    froze Banned

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    I like Bikesdirect. In fact I'm seriously considering Motobecane TI Le Champ SL. I've always heard that they have great customer service and the reviews on that particular bike have been very high.
     
  15. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    Uh, what state do you live in? Where I lived in SoCal, everyone had a bike, and the schools even fielded cycling teams.

    By the way, I do agree that Bikesdirect is pretty awesome for deals. And they have great customer service. Any time anyone on a certain other site had an issue, no matter how great or small, I just reached out to Mike and he took care of them.
     
  16. froze

    froze Banned

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    I now live in Indiana, I use to live in So Cal (Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Glendale, Simi Valley, Lancaster and Bakersfield) from 73 to 2004. From the years I lived there everyone did not have a bike, they had cars, few had bikes and even fewer actually rode them. I have heard that in the last 10 years (?) more and more high schools are offering cycling teams. But upon doing a web search the cycling clubs in HS's are entirely mountain bike racing. And the schools that have the teams only have that sport due to private grants that were given, Easton being a major grant contributer. None of the schools can have a biking program based on tax payer revenue like football. But it is promising that there are some schools now offering that sport, question is where will it lead?

    I will say this, cycling is more popular in California then in Indiana probably due to the weather.

    As a spectator sport it's still rarely watched here in America unlike Europe where crowds of spectators line the streets to watch. In America they, the greedy advertisers, wouldn't want a sport that a spectator can watch for free, they have to charge admission, they can't charge admission if all one needs to do is stand on a road and watch the riders go by.

    I watched a race in Bahrain and there were very little spectators there too. It seems to be a European thing for the most part with some mild interest here. I'm of course talking about cycling as a sport not as a necessity.
     
  17. Industry_Hack

    Industry_Hack Total noob (& forum admin) Admin Staff Tavern Member

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    I would never admit to living in Simi, Bakersfield, or Lancaster. I lived in Thousand Oaks from '76-'96, and Westlake Village from '96 until I moved to Australia in 2003. During that time, we had Redline in Newbury Park, Mongoose in Chatsworth, JAG in Thousand Oaks, and PK Ripper Landing Gear being welded in Thousand Oaks. Park Pre was somewhere around there too - I know this because I bought everything that had been left in the warehouse when they went out of business. Giant has their US offices in Newbury Park. SoCal is the home of cycling in so many ways, and NorCal was the birthplace of the mountain bike itself.
     
  18. SprocketGirl

    SprocketGirl spin... spin.. spin

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    as for her skills she is gifted... but surprisingly a lot of us young ladies are... anyhow, you make a good point, the town i grew up in still does not have consistent cell coverage thus, texting is a tough past time, but there are two bike shops... encourage her in what she loves.
     
  19. froze

    froze Banned

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    Lancaster wasn't a bad place to live until the aerospace industry crashed then housing took a dive and gangs moved from LA areas like Compton and infested Palmdale and Lancaster; but I got out just before that happened. Bakersfield when I moved there had about 330,000 people living there now it's hovering at around a million in just 7 years...mostly illegals, it's also the second most toxic place to live. But I liked the Bakersfield area because it was easy to get out of town on the bike path and head up into the mountains on small roads.

    I took my longest one day bike ride in Bakersfield leaving at 5am to get off the desert floor before it got hot. I took Panama Ln to 43, to 119, to Taft to catch the 33 to Ventucopa, where I caught the 166/33 then back onto the 33 all the way to Meiners Oak/Ojai, then onto 150/Baldwin Rd around Lake Casitas till I got to Via Real in Carpinteria, then on and off the 101 till I got to Jameson Rd exit just past Summerland, then onto Santa Barbara where I meant my wife waiting for me at her parents house. That was about 150 miles and it took me 12 hours with stops in Maricopa and Meiners Oak for water and food refill. My skinny butt hurt like crazy for several days afterwards, needless to say I put the bike on the car for the trip back two days later! I was 49 when I did that trip.

    Obviously the best place I lived was Santa Barbara, but I left there just before they took out the traffic lights on 101 and the town was smaller more quaint, but when those lights came out and 101 became a large freeway Santa Barbara turned into an extension of Los Angeles. I guess if I ever moved back to the ocean I think I would head further north to Oceano (maybe Morro Bay) which is substantially smaller then Santa Barbara. I'm trying to retire and don't need a mortgage again, and to live in that area I would have to come up with almost a million dollars cash...ain't going to happen since I would have to liquidate everything and live on next to nothing with no way to pay the property taxes!
     
  20. froze

    froze Banned

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    I've been encouraging her for the last couple of years, praised her like crazy when she did the 20 mile thing...maybe I over did it? The darn thing about parenting you just don't know what will work and what won't, and what works for one child doesn't for the other. I wish an instruction book came out at birth instead of the placenta!!!

    But I also encourage her drawings, among other things she does.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2011