Although sometimes it seems as though every kid just wants the latest games console, tablet or smartphone, bikes are still a popular Christmas present. At Spokes, we would always recommend that you buy from your local bike shop (remember Spokes members get 10% discount on new bikes). They have the best products, they can advise you about the correct size bike for your child, they will assemble it and carry out safety checks, and they will set up the bike correctly for you. They will also offer a free 6 week check and make any adjustments after the bike has gone through its initial bedding-in period.
However, we recognise that many parents will still look to on-line retailers or places like Argos, Tesco and Halfords to get their bikes. The disadvantage of buying from these places is that the bike will require an element of self-assembly, or at best will have been hastily put together by a harassed shop assistant. As a result, we have seen many bikes that have been assembled incorrectly and in some cases, they have been in a condition that puts the child at risk of serious injury.
Some of the faults that we have seen include:
- Forks put on back to front.
- Loose handlebars and stems.
- Wheels not properly secured.
- Tyres not properly seated on the rims.
- Tyres on the wrong way round.
- Brakes blocks misaligned / rubbing.
- Brakes not engaging properly when pulled.
- Brake levers not at the correct angle.
- Pedals cross-threaded (remember the left pedal has a reverse thread!)
- Loose / misaligned saddles.
- Poorly indexed gears.
The good news is that these can easily be checked and sorted before your child gets on the bike. There is a wealth of information, advice and step-by-step videos available on-line at madegood.org. However, if you still have concerns about the safety of your child’s bike, then we would suggest that you take it to your local bike shop. They can check it for you and advise about any repairs / work that needs to be carried out.