Cheap Bike? Expensive Bike?

Updated on March 08, 2010
M.S. asks from Jenkintown, PA
12 answers

my daughter is 4 and this is going to be her first bike. Is it worth getting a more expensive bike as her first bike, knowing it will only last about 2 yrs, but will be passed down to number 2. Or, is it not worth it as it won't really be used too aggressively at this age? Anyone with experience with either will be useful.

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answers from Harrisburg on

I would go with an inexpensive one. They seem to grow out of them so fast. Now, if you're a SAHM and you're kids will get to ride all day everyday, maybe go for the more expensive one. But for us, the inexpensive ones are doing just fine.

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answers from Washington DC on

My 5 yo fell in love with a Hannah Montana bike at Walmart last summer. It seemed a bit big for her but I figured we could install training wheels and it wouldn't be a problem. Well, apparently that make of bike and size of bike would not allow training wheels to be installed (I literally thought I was crazy for not being able to install them until I took it to a bike store). At the bike store they told me that the bike was way too large for her and they fitted her to the size she needed. I ended up spending a fortune for that bike and like it or not, it is hers for the next year or two. She was just starting to ride it at the end of the summer. I would say it is okay to get her a cheaper bike but make sure that it is the proper size for her. You may want to take her to a bike store just to be sure that you know what size you are looking for, and then take that knowledge to Walmart or Target.



answers from Philadelphia on

I wouldn't spend alot on the first bike as she will probably fall ect. make sure you get a helmet though. We bought our daughter her first bike on clearance at sears. it was a barbie bike.


answers from Spokane on

I say go cheap. They really don't get a lot of use out of their first bikes....and most bikes nowadays should last thru 2 kids, atleast!



answers from Madison on

It depends on how much bike riding you plan on her doing. If it's just around your driveway and street a little, then she probably won't wear down a less expensive bike. If you plan to be out biking a lot and bike further then just around your street, then maybe a better bike. You said you will be handing it down to your next child. It may be worth the money to get something a little nicer so it will last through both kids.



answers from Harrisburg on

We've always gone inexpensive, except for child #2. My husband insisted on spending a ton of cash on a "good" bike because he wanted to relive his childhood for one since this son likes bmx bikes and trick riding in the streets too. Once he got to the age/size that he would get one more bike and he'd have that until he got a car he spent the cash. I was not happy about it. He treats it not much better than he treated his cheap bikes. Cheap or expensive, bikes rust and paint chips if they're not taken care of. In my opinion, a cheap bike can last just as well if it's kept out of the rain and not left lying in the yard on it's side. So with our triplets we're getting them their first 2-wheelers with training wheels for Easter, and they will be inexpensive! They'll be kept out of the rain and when their trainers come off they'll be taught how to use a kick stand, lol. I had ONE bike growing up and it was old and junky, but I took care of it while it still fit me. They've got neat things on the market that are inexpensive to jazz a bike up. That's what we'll do as the kids get older, add streamers, baskets, bells, etc. And remember, your younger child is not going to want used stuff from big sister all the time so keep that in mind. As a youngest child I had to wear my brothers clothes! It may come to a point where the younger child says, "No more hand me downs!" with some stuff, and it is fair, so I wouldn't spend a ton of cash on something fancy.

K. B
mom to 5 including triplets
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answers from Philadelphia on

We have had good luck with Trek-can get at your local bike shop



answers from Indianapolis on

Go cheap. The huffy ones are fine for growing kids. My husband is very picky about his bikes, but he says to go cheap until their growing slows down in the teenage years. Even then it will depend on how responsible they are.

We've had the huffy trike, ten inch bike & twelve inch. 4yr old is using the larger one for the third summer, and the 2yr old is now going to be using the trike & ten inch for the 2nd summer. All are still in like new condition except for a little color lightening.

Here's how to size the child....When standing next to the bike, the seat should be level with their hip. My hubby and I both have expensive bikes, and this is how the bike shop sizes you. When she grows a little, just keep adjusting the seat & handle bars. The bike should last probably about 3 years. I'm pretty sure this will be my daughter's last year on our largest bike. She'll be getting a new one next summer.

Another suggestion...get a neutral color so that if you have a boy then it won't be stuck riding a pink or purple bike.


answers from Chicago on

Go cheap and make sure you get the right size for her. Don't get a bigger bike hoping she will ride it longer. It makes it harder for them to learn to ride if they don't feel comfortable on it.


answers from Pittsburgh on

Hi M., Get a medium priced bike from some place like Walmart or Target or Kmart. You want one that will withstand some punishment, but last a while. We still have a "little" bike that all three of our girls used & a couple of friends! The only thing we have done is replaced the tires (cheap) since they don't make 'em like they used to! Best wishes



answers from Tulsa on

No, she is going to outgrow it through the Summer months.

If she's anything like mine. K stayed the same size from 3-5, generally speaking. Her feet stayed from size 9 up to a 10 for nearly 2 years then she sprouted boats...LOL. She has already had 2 pair of taps shoes since Aug. and now says these are getting small. She went from a size 4/5 slim jean at the first of last Summer to a full size 6 this past Fall. She had worn the same Winter clothes for 2 years. The bike she got for Christmas is already to short for her, yes we can raise the seat up by it just looks odd. The proportions are off, her knees nearly hit the handle bars now.

I'd say buy the cheap ones (Less than $100) from Wal-Mart and then when she hits that plateau around 7-9 years old then you could buy her a more expensive one that would last until she starts her adult growth spurt. The training wheels come off as she grows and they can be put back on for a little sibling when their turn comes. K went from the regular size 12" to a full 16" in less than 6 months. Make sure you have her ride it before you buy it, just take it down from the hook and have her try to pedal it. If you want it to last for a long time adjust the seat very low then see if her feet touch the ground. If she's using training wheels they don't have to be flat, just touching if at all. She has to be able to touch the pedal all the way around.

We do BMX so an expensive bike is in our future but right now we are sharing/borrowing a bike for this activity. Those bikes can run in the hundreds of dollars. They break just like the others but to be honest they are put through more. I would not spend that much on a bike used for riding for entertainment. If you do family bike riding then perhaps a lighter,more expensive bike would work for you.



answers from Minneapolis on

I personally would look for a used one. There are plenty of very gently-used bikes out there that are just as good as new and could be passed down as well. Why not save the money?
I'd wait to buy a really nice bike for when she is a teenager and for the most part is done growing so she can use it into adulthood.

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