If you want to get your child a good bike for Christmas – or at any other time of year, come to that – you have to consider an Islabike. We don’t know anyone who has regretted buying one.
Most kids’ bikes really ain’t much cop. They’re heavy, the brakes aren’t very good, they’re… well, they’re just a bit disappointing. Islabikes might be more expensive than most children’s bikes but they’re also much, much better. Plus, when it’s time to sell it on, you can get a decent price for the bike as long, as it’s still in reasonable nick. Islabikes will even buy it back if you buy a larger one.
The Beinn 24 is built around a 7005 T6 aluminium frame – like many, many adults’ bikes – with a cromo steel fork. The components fitted are child specific, so you get brake levers that little hands can reach easily, for example. They’re linked up to linear pull brakes (V-brakes by another name) rather than the usual stiff calliper brakes that you get on most kids’ bikes.
The 24in wheels use box section rims so they should be strong enough, and there are some meaty Kenda tyres on there that look like they’ll last. Quick releases make sorting out punctures a whole lot easier, and save time if you want to whip the wheels off to sling the bike in the boot. Islabikes spec them on all bikes with wheels of 20in or larger.
The Beinn 24 comes fitted with a SRAM X4 8-speed derailleur gear system that gives a wide ratio range (it’s an 11-32T cassette). We all know how children can struggle on the hills and that can put them off cycling. Remember? It used to be really difficult. Maybe it still is.
The SRAM 3.0 Comp twist grip shifter is really easy to operate. There’s just the one chainring up front; Islabikes reckon that children can find multiple chainrings difficult to understand. Plus, going with just a single (32 tooth) chainring saves weight and makes maintenance easier.
Islabikes do the details well too. You get eyelets for mudguards and a rack, for example, the saddle is a reasonable size rather than something borrowed from a tractor, and many of the bearings are sealed to keep maintenance to a minimum. Oh, and the Beinn 24 is available in three different colours. As well as this hot pink version it comes in chili red and aquamarine blue.
Our review bike weighed in at a highly reasonable 8.6kg (18.9lb). In this size it’s aimed at children aged 7+, although it also comes in 20in and 26in wheeled models – a small and large version of each. There are even adult versions too. Islabikes have a size chart that’ll help you pick the right one.
The price? It’s £349.99. Now we just need to check the EU regulations on child labour and get a small person on board to do the reviewing.
Order from Islabikes and delivery will usually be made within seven days. Check out the full range at www.islabikes.co.uk.
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.