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Can children learn to ride on a basic (cheap) bike??

(32 Posts)
Beeperbird Wed 27-May-20 19:28:50

So my eldest is about to turn 5, and we got him a basic Halfords pedal bike for his birthday that arrived about a month ago - we didn’t spend a lot as we don’t have a huge amount but had the cash at this point so wanted to get him something.
He’s been a pro on his balance bike (that I proudly got from a rummage sale for £3!) so after doing some reading I assumed he’d move easily to a pedal bike.
Anyway, he’s been struggling to find his balance on his new bike - so I asked some friends from various places.
The overwhelming answer is that the bike we bought is too cheap... we should have bought one of the brands that are more like £300 for a new (or over £100 second hand)... eeek!
I mean I get more expensive can equal easier to use but surely they can still learn on a basic bike? Or have I completely wasted my money? confused

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helia Wed 27-May-20 19:32:54

How heavy is the bike?

We've just taught DS3 to ride one of the bikes you describe... We took the pedals off so he could use it as a balance bike. Once he was balancing for 10 seconds and gliding along then we put the pedals on. He can now cycle a few months shy of his 4th birthday. I'm afraid it was on one of the lightweight expensive bikes you describe though... He had a secondhand bike shaped object with stabilisers which he couldn't even pedal as it was so bulky.

CaraDune Wed 27-May-20 19:36:53

DS's second bike was a Halford's tank - weighed more than my adult bike. But it did okay, he could use it on the BMX course in the local park. It also had the plus point of being indestructible (yes, he crashed it into quite a lot of immovable objects up to and including boulders!) I wouldn't worry too much about it.

Thecatisboss Wed 27-May-20 19:38:10

DD learnt to ride an expensive lightweight bike as it was so much easier for her than a heavier one would have been as she was very petite at 5.

Ylvamoon Wed 27-May-20 19:41:06

... I don't know. But I can reassure you both my DC had "cheap" bikes from Halfords/ ToysRus and learned to ride them around 4 years of age. Granted, they did learn to control the bike while it still had stabilizers but once they were flying round corners and peddling up some "hills" we took them off. Never looked back or questioned the price of the bike.

Aroundtheworldin80moves Wed 27-May-20 19:41:13

The majority of children learn to ride on cheap bikes from places like Argos and Halfords. They may take a bit longer, but they will get there.

00100001 Wed 27-May-20 19:42:53

As PP said, take the pedals off for now

CharlieandLolaCat Wed 27-May-20 19:45:01

Make sure the seat is nice and low. Personally I would say if he can do a balance bike you don't need to remove the pedals - he can do that already.

Crikey0000 Wed 27-May-20 19:46:56

I learned in the 1970s, I'm sure the bike was an old second hand one and very cheap. My kids learned on a second hand bike. Its not about how much the bike cost , more about them wanting to learn & being able to naturally balance.

HopeClearwater Wed 27-May-20 19:49:00

This is a crazy question. Of course he can. What do you think children did before there was all this balance bike / £300+ bike stuff?

Beeperbird Wed 27-May-20 19:49:34

@helia it’s 9kg (according to the manual)... it does feel heavy! I’ll try taking the pedals off so he can use it like his balance bike I think before giving up on it

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Digestive28 Wed 27-May-20 19:50:08

Start with recreating balance bike if he can do that, pedals off seat low, and then add pedals when more confident. Cheaper ones are heavier so harder to get momentum on to then begin peddling but should be fine

rach2713 Wed 27-May-20 19:50:13

My 3 year old learnt to ride her big sisters peppa pig bike from Argos. When she got the hang of it her granddad bought her a 90 quid halfords bike and she loves it..

superking Wed 27-May-20 19:50:59

My DS has just learnt on a cheap hand-me-down bike that is too big for him and very heavy. We do want to get him a better one at some point but I'm hoping that now he's ridden that, he'll be able to ride anything!

Stuckforthefourthtime Wed 27-May-20 19:51:48

They can ride on cheap bikes but usually need to be a bit older and stronger to ride without training wheels, often 6 or more, whereas a 4 year old can often learn on a light and well balanced one like a Frog. Most of us learned on cheap heavy bikes, it's fine.

NothingIsGoing2GetBetterItsNot Wed 27-May-20 19:52:28

My eldest did and it certainly wasn't an impediment to her learning but what changed it for me was having to carry the bloody thing if she got fed up or fell off (both of which seemed to happen often).. We got her a 14" Halfords carrera 2nd hand - they're super light, on a par with isla and frog but a fraction of the price - and it actually did make a difference to her riding (she learnt to ride standing up on it as the lighter weight didn't over balance her) plus she was happier to push it herself when she got fed up so, win-win!

Got ds the same when he started riding and I do think it helped 🤷‍♀️

Itsmemaggie Wed 27-May-20 19:53:11

Yes, of course he can. Agree that taking the pedals off may help him get used to the extra weight.

Beeperbird Wed 27-May-20 19:53:48

@HopeClearwater I dunno, took a lot longer to learn perhaps?
Maybe I phrased my question wrong, I didn’t mean to offend you! I was just looking for some reassurance and trying to figure out what I should do next...

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Beeperbird Wed 27-May-20 19:54:52

Thanks for the reassurance and tips everyone!

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Alanna1 Wed 27-May-20 19:55:31

I think it depends on the child. If you have a weak, slight child then they may not be able to push their body weight! You can buy good bikes second hand and sell them on when you’ve finished with them, if you take care of them.

ProseccoBubbleFantasies Wed 27-May-20 19:55:47

I've never heard of it being essential that a bike is expensive. And I live in a place where EVERYONE cycles.

Stabilizers are a big help, though

Thesaltandthesea Wed 27-May-20 19:57:21

My 3yo has just transitioned from a balance bike to a frog bike in less than a day. DD has a heavy Halfords bike and stabilisers and only mastered it at 6ish. Sorry!

DobbyTheHouseElk Wed 27-May-20 19:57:55

Bet you are talking about a frog bike. Bloody expensive and seem to have created the idea a bike has to be expensive and lightweight.

Bollocks to that. Get a cheap second hand bike.

Beeperbird Wed 27-May-20 19:59:20

@Thesaltandthesea don’t be sorry! Seems to be a recurring theme that they “get it” much earlier on the more expensive lighter bikes

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concernedforthefuture Wed 27-May-20 19:59:47

Cheap bikes (Halfords) tend to be really heavy and cumbersome. If you can stretch to the cost of a second hand Islabike or Frog Bike, he will find it so much easier. They hold their value well too so when outgrown and you go to sell on, you'll get your money back (or possibly more!).

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