Seemingly waiting in the wings for the announcement that the Under-9 races at Cyclocross Nationals would become National Championship events is Silicon Valley, California’s Kidz Karbon, a new endeavor launched by Markus Edge.
The new company is planning to launch with high-end balance bikes and 20” wheel cyclocross offerings, with other wheel sizes to come, and each constructed from carbon fiber using the most up-to-date construction methods and following the industry’s leading trends when it comes to adult cyclocross race bikes.
“We want to be there for the parent that sees cycling, and cyclocross racing in particular, as an outlet for their child, but that doesn’t want to see their kid lose interest because of what we feel, frankly, is often sub-par equipment like bikes that don’t fit, are twice the weight of an adult race bike and some that simply don’t function well,” said Edge.
“These truly are real race bikes,” said Edge, who noted that, “when it comes to performance advantages for kids, especially the youngest, weight is perhaps the biggest factor. Smaller children simply can’t lift a heavy bike over the barriers lap after lap. They need lighter options. We’re going to bring that to market.” Edge also showed pre-production design drawings of the company’s planned first models.
The balance bike will weigh in at an astonishing two pounds and will cost just $1,500 USD. The geared 20″ bike, complete with proprietary 20″ carbon tubulars built for the frameset’s thru axle design will weigh just 4.9 pounds and run a mere $4,900 USD.
“We’re working with some of the industry’s best-known carbon builders coming up with how our bikes are going to be built. Those guys in Germany… Tune? Yeah. They’ve been super helpful with feedback,” said Edge. Of course, high end kids’ bikes are not all that new. We’ve seen some at NAHBS this year and last year. But rather than show pieces, Kidz Karbon offerings are aimed directly at the racer crowd.
When asked about the timing of the company’s launch, Edge said that it was a fortunate coincidence. “We’ve been looking at this for a long time. I’m a former racer, so I know what it’s like to have top-notch equipment. It’s everything. I’m also a parent. And I know that my daughter is going to be better off, and have more fun, with a bike that has the most advanced technology.”
“The fact that USA Cycling has made this announcement just goes to show that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Edge. “We didn’t know this was coming, but we suspected it after seeing the number of riders line-up for the Under-9 race in Asheville,” he said, before adding “the seriousness of the Under-9 competitors, the way they tore around the course, looking for every advantage, like the kid that rode around the barriers burning with determination, that’s proof the market is there.”
There seems to be some support for the idea with none other than National Champion Jeremy Powers getting behind it. “Kids need outlets like cycling to channel energy and learn valuable life lessons. I know that was huge for me. This is a chance for kids to get involved and love it from the beginning with the best possible equipment. It’s going to help them focus,” he said, choosing a sponsor-correct verb.
Edge says that Kidz Karbon has some personnel who come from the product design and production sides of the cycling industry and that they are well into the production stage, and should move quickly to marketing and direct-to-consumer sales.
“We’re working with partners overseas now to bring the best carbon bikes to kids for parents who want their kids to have the best carbon bikes. The technology is there to build in vertical compliance and lateral stiffness into today’s bikes, and why shouldn’t the youngest riders benefit? Steel may be real, but it’s real heavy for young riders. We think we’re four months out from initial production Kidz Karbon offerings, which should put some bikes in kids’ hands just as the season gets under way,” he said.
For now, folks wanting to get one of those bikes can look for a Kidz Karbon Kickstarter in the near future, which will offer special introductory pricing. You can stay up-to-date on Kidz Karbon and be alerted to the launch of the Kickstarter campaign by completing the form below.
This post was published on April 1, 2016.