/ Isla Bikes? Any alternatives?

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Phil Payne - on 31 Mar 2013
I want to get my daughter (nearly 7) a new bike as she has outgrown her current bike. My girlfriend says that we should just get her a cheap bike from Decathlon, but I've had a look and they are all made of steel and weigh a ton.

We live on a hill and with her current single speed bike she can't manage to ride it up the hill and has to get off and walk. Hardly surprising when the bike weighs about 15kg which is more than half her body weight.

I've done quite a bit of research on the internet trying to find a decent lightweight kids bike and the one name that always comes up is Isla Bikes and I'm yet to see a bad review.

I've also looked at bikes from Specialized and Trek, but they always seem to come with front suspension which just seems totally pointless and only there for looks and increased weight.

What else is out there or should I just go ahead and get an Isla Bike?
Timmd on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil Payne:I don't see why not if you can afford one.

andy - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: from much research i didn't find an alternative. You can probably get a fair bit of what you paid for it when she outgrows it too.
Radioactiveman - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil Payne:

Islabikes are great,not cheap but bloody good. They will also take them back off you for part ex.
Phil Payne - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: What about Frog Bikes? They seem to be quite a new company offering up a very similar lineup of bikes to Isla bikes but only slightly cheaper. Not many reviews of them though as they are such a new company.
mike123 - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: Isla bike s are worth every penny if you want your kids to enjoy riding . They are pricey but they last and even if they are hammered they still go for nearly new prices on eBay . Just like grown up bikes try to test ride , that usually sells them
Jamming Dodger on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: I bought my son a second hand Isla cross bike (26") and its really well built. If you can get your hands on one second hand then id go down that route. If new, yeah theyre expensive but worth the investment cause they re-sell at a decent price.
Jamming Dodger on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: I still have a Ridgeback HT for sale actually! Pics available on request. ;) Ideal for a 7 year old.
Phil Payne - on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Jamming Dodger:

Thanks, but I'm pretty much set on getting an Isla bike (in red so that my son can use it as well in a few years) but I just wanted a second opinion and any suggestions for other brands that I might not have heard of.
yer maw on 31 Mar 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: I really don't think Isla bikes are worth the money. The arcteryx of the bike world!

I'd strongly suggest you look at Dawes bikes as they use aluminium frames and good components for kids bikes, and you'd pay a lot more for a comparable Isla or Specialized bike. My son has had a Blowfish and Bandit. Good bikes and you are right to want an aluminium frame for kids.
DT5714 on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to Phil Payne:

I agree that Isla bikes are the dogs .........., my 5 year old is on her third now.

I have sold her previous bikes on eBay and have pretty much go back what I paid for them when I bought them new from Isla bike!!

I wouldn't buy anything else until she can fit on a 'proper' bike.
macmuseeuw on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to Phil Payne:

Isla Bikes are great. My 5 year old son is a member of a large kids cycling club and nearly all the kids ride them. They hold their price if you are selling it on.

I agree with all the comments made above.

MFB - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: Ridgeback
Phil Payne - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to MFB: I just had a look and the MX16 is a really heavy steel frame and the MX20 is about 35% heavier than the equivalent Isla bike.
andy - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to DT5714:
> (In reply to Phil Payne)
> I agree that Isla bikes are the dogs .........., my 5 year old is on her third now.

Blimey - her third? At 5? Does she grow really really fast? My kids are 10 and 12 - the youngest is on her second bike and the eldest is on her first (small) adult one. Do Isla bikes have any adjustment?

ChrisJD on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to andy:

Our 5 (nearly 6) year old is on his fourth now ;)

Well, three Isay, fourth (newest) is a Ridgeback (bought as an intermediate, so his little brother can have the biggest Isla).

Balance (Rothan), Cnoc-14, Beinn-20 Small, Ridgeback RX20 (rigid fork)

(started on the balance bike at 2 years and 2 months)

Isla are great bikes, worth the money.
Etak - on 01 Apr 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: another vote for Isla - you get what you pay for it seems. I think when kids are small weight is much more significant than for adults and the isla bikes seem to be the lightest around (other good features like small brake leavers also make them just better than other stuff) - not cheap tho
Sean Bell - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: Orbea MX 20" ? The Team version is lightest..

wbo - on 02 Apr 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: It can be a struggle, but shop around. We have a few kids bikes. The Treks are heavy. My 10yr has one, and it's decent and rides well but weighs more than my steel bike. In contrast my 6 yr has a GT with 20 inch wheels that even with front sus is pretty light.
I'd agree with giving front sus a miss if you can. It is possible. Small front sus forks on elastomers (most are) are just heavy rubbish that don't work.
The alternative is a BMX bike tho' it obviously only has one gear, and is less of an option for most girls.
ChrisJD on 08 Apr 2013
Just had a week in Font, using bikes a lot.

Really impressed with the Ridgeback RX20 (rigid fork) and James loves it. It is 5lbs heavier than the equivalent Isla (the Ridgeback does have bigger proper MTB Tryes), but it is well made and is a quality bike. No quick release wheels though.

His 4 year old brother is now zooming around on the Beinn-20 Small like a pro.
Phil Payne - on 10 May 2013
In reply to Phil Payne:

Aaarghh!!!! I left it too late to order and now, when I went to order today, I find out that Isla aren't selling bikes outside of the UK at the moment. I really need to get my daughter a new bike soon, as she has really outgrown her current bike and the nice weather is here.

Hoping to get into Chamonix newt weekend to see what they have, but last time I checked the only bikes that seemed to fit her were non-geared, heavy bikes at stupidly high prices.

That will teach me to wait. I would just order an Isla to my UK address and then get it shipped over, but am not willing to pay £100 for shipping it. Maybe someone knows a cheaper way to get a bike shipped to France? It must be possible, as Isla were offering shipping at £30, but they probably have a special deal with a courier.
TimB - on 11 May 2013
In reply to Phil Payne:

Don't think you'll find as light as an Islabike, with the same kind of proportional components for a reasonable price in a normal bike shop (I've tried!).

However, although mainstream big brands kids bikes look a lot heavier on paper, they're not that much heavier for a child to ride. At 7 your daughter is starting to be big enough for bikes that start to look like proper ones - Specialized, Scott, Felt, Orbea and Lapierre (and probably others) all have decent enough 24"-wheeled bikes that seem expensive, but aren't that much heavier and at least have components that aren't made of cheese.

Watch out for some bike shop staff though - they'll happily sell you something way too big on the grounds that your child will grow into it...
Phil Payne - on 11 May 2013
In reply to TimB:

Although she's nearly 7, she's still quite short and definitely not ready for a bigger bike. She's 113cm, so the Beinn 20 small looked to be the perfect size for her. Her friend has a 20" Specialized that she's had a try on and it's way too big for her and she fell off it as a result, not to mention how heavy it is and has totally pointless suspension. When I've looked at other brands, all of the 20" models are way too big for her, which means that I have to look at 16" bikes, which don't come with gears and she will outgrow very quickly.

There must be a massive market for kids bikes and I can't believe the selection is so poor.
blakeberry - on 12 May 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: try the moda cyclo cross bikes, 2 different small sizes, good bikes too, try baines racing cycle shop at Silverstone circuit, they also ship bikes all over the world
davepotter2011 - on 14 May 2013
Another vote vote Isla Bikes
Customer service is top notch too...

Gav M - on 14 May 2013
In reply to davepotter2011:
> Another vote vote Isla Bikes
> Customer service is top notch too...

Agreed. They refused point blank to sell me a bike until my daughter's height and inside leg were the right size for it. You won't get that in Halfords.
Phil Payne - on 20 May 2013
I finally got round to buying my daughter a new bike, because if I had left it any longer it would have been too late for the summer. I couldn't get an Isla bike in the end as they aren't shipping to Europe and the lead time was too long even for the UK.

In the end I had to compromise and just buy the best that I could find locally and ended up getting her a BMC Blast 20.

It's not really the girly bike that she was dreaming of, but she certainly seems to be enjoying it and was out doing laps around part of the village yesterday and really having fun riding it. Watching her go downhill makes me think that my next purchase will probably be some protective gear (body armour) because she doesn't really seem to have any fear.

Thanks for all the advice on this thread!
Mountain Llama on 20 May 2013
In reply to Phil Payne: Hi Phil a tad late for you but other may benefit -!

Cheers Davey

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