If most kids’ bicycles seem like high tensile steel tanks, it’s because most are. Particularly those found at the big box stores like Target, Walmart and Toys ‘R’ Us. But, they sell many times more youth bikes that independent bike shops, so any improvement in them is certainly welcome. After all, have you ever tried to convince a non-cycling friend that it makes sense to spend $250 or more on a kid’s bike when they can grab one for under $100 while picking up their cereal and toilet paper?
Schwinn’s new SmartStart line remakes 12″, 14″, 16″, 18″ and 20″ bikes so they fit kids better, are easier to ride, and will grow with them for longer. And they start under $100 and are available at all three of those big box stores. Here’s what’s different…
The main differences between these and kids bikes of old are numerous. The cranks have been moved forward slightly for improved leverage, making it easier to pedal. And, the pedals are moved further inboard, closer matching a kid’s hip width. The saddles were also redesigned to fit those little hips.
Gearing has been changed to make them easier to start pedaling and limit top speed, which also helps you keep up with them once they get the hang of it. They’ve also reduced weight across the board, which not only makes them easier to get going but also to handle, particularly once those training wheels come off (which, if you haven’t heard of balance bikes, should be immediately upon receipt). The bikes come in various styles and colors, with and without streamers, including the sweet retro cruiser with banana seat shown up top.