Bicycle for my daughter

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.

Trek Zara girl's bike pink 24" wheel step through frame.

Update: I visited Sprockets in Santa Cruz (very nice people there!) and learned the Zara is a 26″ wheel bike. My daughter selected the Trek MT220 (24″ wheels, 21 speed “girl” model) and she loves this bike. Thanks, all, for the feedback in the comments!

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.

Thanks!

16 Comments

  • March 15, 2010 - 9:42 am | Permalink

    How about a Batavus kids bike? Clever Cycles has a 24″ personal bike.
    http://clevercycles.com/products/bicycles/kids-
    Batavus also makes a 24″ wheeled Old-Dutch for kids.

  • March 15, 2010 - 9:45 am | Permalink

    I'm just waiting for the “Your daughter is worth Dura Ace” ad campaign from Shimano.

  • March 15, 2010 - 9:58 am | Permalink

    That's a wonderful suggestion. I was just thinking “surely the Dutch have bikes for children” and there you go!

    The nearest Batavus dealer is in San Francisco. It' a 2+ hour trip for us to SF, and unfortunately they keep really odd hours. Hmmm, how to make this happen….

  • March 15, 2010 - 10:05 am | Permalink

    My son has XT on the bike he got last year. Not quite the level of Dura Ace, but still pretty good. At my daughter's age he had Shimano Alivio, which is I think about equivalent to the SRAM 3.0 on the Trek bike above.

  • Andy
    March 15, 2010 - 10:31 am | Permalink

    Sprockets on Mission St (near BaySt) in Santa Cruz is a Trek dealer. And the owners, Phil and Kathy, are very nice.

  • lavardera
    March 15, 2010 - 10:58 am | Permalink

    My daughter outgrew her 24″ bike – a Giant MTX 225. Not really what you are looking for as its a mountain bike with full 21 gears. But I'm selling for half what I bought it for, and its in near new condition. Mold knubs are still on the tires.

    https://accounts.craigslist.org/post/shwpst?pii

  • lavardera
    March 15, 2010 - 11:13 am | Permalink

    Got the Link wrong – try here:

    http://southjersey.craigslist.org/bik/163282087

  • March 15, 2010 - 11:40 am | Permalink

    Well… either ROAD TRIP! or…

    Have it shipped! http://www.mydutchbike.com/shipping/

    There's really no reason you can't work out the odd hours part. Can't a Dutch Bike Shop help out a bike blogger?

    Good luck!

  • March 15, 2010 - 12:01 pm | Permalink

    For something like this I'd rather my daughter have a hands on look and feel of the bike. Assuming he has the kids bike in stock, Oscar (the owner of My Dutch Bike) would undoubtably open his shop for me.

  • steve
    March 15, 2010 - 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Batavus has some really nice stuff for kids. Different enough that the other kids will probably notice. These are the sort of thing you buy second hand in Holland because they last much longer than the few years a kid is at the proper size.

  • cyclemumbreeze
    March 16, 2010 - 12:35 am | Permalink

    This differs from your qualifications, but how about a folder like a Dahon or maybe a mini-velo? They may not be the most comfortable bikes, but they could be useful for a long time.

  • March 16, 2010 - 10:33 am | Permalink

    That's a good idea, @mumble. I was looking at folders for her and had the same thought, but then my daughter gave me that “Dad sometimes you're a real idiot look” that pre-teen girls are soooo good at.

  • MarvinK00
    March 21, 2010 - 9:06 pm | Permalink

    I like the Trek MT220 better than the Zara and it's basically step through in the girls design.. and easy to find in turquoise or purple:
    http://www.trekbikes.com/images/bikes/2010/larg

  • TrekKidsBrandManager
    June 10, 2010 - 8:51 am | Permalink

    The Zara actually has 26″ wheels for inquiring minds that want to know. It's the perfect ride for girls who have outgrown their “little girl” bikes, but don't want an MTB-style bike.

  • TrekKidsBrandManager
    June 10, 2010 - 8:53 am | Permalink
  • June 10, 2010 - 10:13 am | Permalink

    Thanks Tara — I visit the local Trek dealer (Sprockets in Santa Cruz — great shop!) and discovered the Tara is 26″. But they also had the MT220 there and that's what my daughter picked out.

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