We would suggest a HYBRID or a COMFORT MOUNTAIN BIKE for you. A hybrid (it is also called a cross bike) is a bike with tall, thin wheels that have high tire pressure. The wheels are not as this as those on a road bike (or what you might call a racer), but the higher pressure than on a mountain bike makes it easier to pedal. Hybrids have higher front ends, meaning that you do not lean over when seated on the bike. Most come with suspension seatposts, which we call "cush for your tush". A comfort mountain bike has the same upright seating and big, soft seat as a hybrid, but wider, low pressure tires. These tires will give more traction in loose footing, but spread out and cause more drag, making it harder to push along. Most comfort bikes run from the low $300s up to $700 in our store.
A mountian bike is probably the right choice for you. Mountain bikes are made tough (they become more durable as they get more expensive) with wide, knobby tires that can dig in to loose dirt or gravel, and don't spin out on steep climbs. Most have front suspension today, and many have front AND rear suspension, for the ultimate in comfort and protecting yourself from the big hits. The latest newcomer to this genre is the 29'r. 29 inch wheels to climb over anything. Come in and test ride both to feel the differences and to help you make your choice. Our mountain bikes run from the mid $200's up to $700. Can't decide how much to spend? Test ride a variety of bikes from different price ranges so you can feel the differences and make an informed purchase.
Fitting your child to a bike that is safe now, but will fit him or her for a few years may seem impossible, but not at Koslow Cycle! We have one of the biggest selections of youth bikes in the western suburbs. We have tricycles and 12" bikes to fit 2 to 3 year olds. 16" bikes are generally best for 4 year olds and small 5 year olds. Compact frame 20" bikes fit 5 year olds and up, have plenty of growth potential and hot styling to make them proud of their new wheels. Full size 20" and 24" bikes come as mountain bikes (these have gears) or park, trail or freestyle bikes, depending on the type of riding the youth will do. Do not discount what kind of bike your child wants. A lot of parents think the a BMX or Freestyle bike, with 20" wheels is too small, but a lot of young people ride these bikes all the way through high school and after. They are strongly built and will hold up to jumping off ramps and trying to learn to do tricks. DO NOT BE FOOLED BY THE LOOK-A-LIKE YOUTH BIKES IN DISCOUNT AND MOST SPORTS STORES. These may look the same to you, but they are cost less because they are made cheaply. Many are "throw away" bikes, that use low quality parts that will not hold up long, and then are more expensive to fix then a good bike, if they can be fixed at all. Youth bikes start around $135, with the most popular models selling for around $175 to $300. We carry models that run up to $700.
What we call Road bikes today, you may think of as racers or ten speeds. Very narrow, high pressure tires are very fast, but also more likely to be damaged off paved surfaces (thus being called road bikes). Road bikes are mainly being bought today by the enthusiast or triathlete for fast, long distance riding. Because the most common buyer of road bikes today is a more serious rider, they generally begin around $800. There are flat bar road bikes that have many of the features of Road Bikes, but do not have the turned down handlebars and the tires are a little wider. They are for long, fast rides where Road Bikes cannot go.
OK, NOW HOW DO I CHOOSE THE RIGHT FRAME SIZE?
OR, FRAME SIZE, I DIDN'T KNOW ARE DIFFERENT FRAME SIZES!!
Most people are aware that there are different size wheels on bikes (you know, 20", 26", 700c, etc.), but did you know that bikes have different frames sizes? Or I should say that bike store bikes have different frame sizes, not that cheap stuff from discount stores. The most important reason for getting the right frame size is safety. Since people come in all heights (with our main concern actually being leg length and torso length), shouldn't bikes come in differnt frame sizes? Bikes frames vary from 12" to 23", with some companies going even smaller or taller. When you stand over the cross bar (the frame bar that runs between the seat and the handlebars), a recreational rider should have 1 to 2 inches clearance, between their crotch and the bar. More aggressive, offroad riders will have up to 5 inches of clearance, because they will crash more often, and on a greater variety of footing. Next for good fit, when you sit on the seat and the pedal is at the bottom of its path, put the ball of your foot on the pedal. Your leg should be nearly straight. Too bent, and you will fatigue quickly, and possibly cause knee damage. Too high, and your hips rock as you pedal, possibly causing hip injury. If the overall bike is too small (the frame is to small), you feel crunched in and probably fold your back and other parts into positions that will cause at least pain, at the worst, injury. If you bike is too tall, you are probably "reaching" for your handlebars, causing you to be so stretched out that you are having sore hands or an achy neck.
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