My daughter grew out of her old 20″ wheel bike a while ago. It’s a real stretch for her to ride any bike with 26″ tires (including my son’s old 13″ Gary Fisher frame), so I need something with 24″ wheels.
She definitely wants a step through frame, which eliminates Specialized’s and Raleigh’s entire line of 24″ kids bikes. We live in a mountain town so gears and a reasonably lightweight bike are good — no clunky hi ten balloon tire cruisers, please. The only two candidates I’ve found so far that fit the bill are Trek’s “Zara” girls’ bike and the Electra Townie 21D with 24″ wheels.
I think overall I like the Zara over the Townie 21D. First of all, it’s $100 less expensive, which always appeals to the cheapskate in me. There’s no front derailleur on the Trek and I like the chainguard. I’m not a fan of Electra’s flat footed frame geometry (though if my daughter prefers it that’s what will be important), and the Townie handlebars look uncomfortably high. I’m a sucker for the sportier look of the Trek.
On the other hand, the Local Bike Shop I almost always use carries Electra, but not Trek. Trek dealers are few and far between in my part of California (I’m a mere 40 miles from the International Domination Headquarters for Specialized Bicycles). Trek calls the color of the bike “Coral,” but it’s clearly pink, and my daughter is all done with pink and Disney princesses in her life. Finally, the bike shop owner is my neighbor and a super nice kid so I can maybe get a bro deal from him.
We’ll look for a Trek dealer this week that carries the Zara, I think, to try the bike out.
Do you know of other bikes that meet our qualifications?
- 24″ wheels.
- Step through frame.
- Reasonably light weight (no gas pipe tubing, please)
- Gears, but not too many gears.
- Price is a factor, so custom built is probably out.