Kids' ’cross is coming. Are you and your little one ready?
Stampede Bikes recently changed its name from TykesBykes, but its Sprinter 16 kid's bike, with full rim brakes, is another entry into the growing options for kids (and parents) who crave something better and lighter than a heavy, overbuilt department store bike. Have a little one who wants to race kids' ’cross? Or commute to school? Or join you on rides down the bike path or the dirt trails? The Stampede Bikes Sprinter 16 wants your attention.
Weight, type of brake, ergonomics and gearing are all important considerations for little ones starting to ride a bit more than just around the park. Ability at a young age can vary greatly, and even though they outgrow bikes so fast, finding something that makes the experience fun and safe for kids is key.
We've reviewed top-end lightweight bikes from Islabikes (stay tuned for our upcoming Beinn 20" review), as well as the excellent steel Cleary Bikes Hedgehog, and both brands have more pricey options than the Sprinter 16. The $370 Islabikes CNOC 16" is an aluminum bike with miniaturized everything, a 25x14t gear, Kenda Small Block Eight knobbies, and comes in under 15 pounds. The $310 Cleary Bikes Hedgehog is full steel, 1.5 pounds heavier, and offers a lower 25x16 gear and smoother tires for the road.
The Sprinter 16 undercuts both competitor bikes with its $230 price, but adds a bit of weight (18.7 pounds on our scale, with pedals), wider 22" riser bars, and a taller (2:1) gear than the others. Our Stampede Sprinter 16" test bike came with 102mm cranks, the same length as Islabikes and Cleary.
We won't wax poetically about ride quality (at least until our testers can), but we offer the following impressions:
- The style of bike, with its wide 22" riser bars, lock-on grips and 2.125" wide tires is decidedly more mountain bike than Islabikes or Cleary Bikes (although Islabikes' line of bikes comes with the most capable offroad tires).
- Braking power is top notch with full length V-brakes. Skidding is easy, and has become a popular habit for our tester, for better or worse.
- The quick release seat post clamp is a nice convenient touch for the fast-growing riders (hopefully seat theft is a non-issue).
- The tall 2:1 gear is best suited for street riding, or strong riders. On hills and thick grass, it's quite tall, but it gives advanced riders more hope of keeping up with you than the ultra-low gear (1.56:1) we saw on Cleary Bikes' Hedgehog (Cleary now offers smaller rear freewheels as an upgrade), and it's taller than Islabikes' CNOC gearing (1.78:1) too. It should be relatively easy to lower the gear through a bigger freewheel if it's too tall for your young one.
- Components use standard dimensions, like a 27.2mm seatpost, 1-1/8″ headset and steerer and stem, making upgrades easy. Have a carbon seat post lying around? It's easy to start shedding weight in ways that make a much bigger difference than gram shaving with an adult bike.
- The wheels use a standard number of spokes too, with 36. That's overkill for such a small wheel size, and light rider. (Theoretically, Stampede could save weight, materials and a bit of cost with less spokes, but such products aren't common and therefore actually add to the cost of the bike.)
- Speaking of upgrades....have a seat? Our main complaint is regarding saddle size. The included saddle is wide and looks to be nearly an adult-sized saddle. It's soft and comfy for the chamois-less rider, but isn't a right-sized perch like we've seen on Islabikes and Cleary Bikes.
The Stampede Bikes Sprinter 16 isn't the Mercedes of kids' bikes, but it could be an affordable upgrade, a great second pedal bike for your kid (after a first 12″ coaster brake bike), or the first pedal bike for a taller learner coming off a balance bike.
At $230, the Sprinter 16 is a good value, and a fine investment into a little one's cycling future. Some may spend that amount of coin on a pair of bibs or two tires without thinking. Yet with the Sprinter 16, such an investment won't be ruined with one crash, and could enhance the lives of many as it gets passed on from kid to kid, or teammate to teammate. In our experience, higher-end kid's bikes also have decent resale value, as they're hard to find.
More info: stampedebikes.com
Stampede Bikes (TykesBykes) Sprinter 16" Kid's Bike Specs:
|Frame||Aircraft Grade 6061 T6 Alloy|
|Headset||1 1/8 threaded loose ball|
|Stem||Alloy 60 mm|
|Handlebars||480 mm wide, 55 mm rise|
|Grips||Stampede Bikes Custom Lock On 80mm|
|Brakes||Front & Rear hand alloy brakes, with short reach adjustable lever|
|Rims||Alloy 36 Hole|
|Hubs||Steel Front and Rear bolt on|
|Tires||Dual Purpose 16 x 2.125|
|Saddle||Youth Slim custom graphics|
|Seat Post||Alloy set back 27.2 x 250 mm|
|Seat Post Clamp||Quick release 34.1 mm|
|Freewheel||Steel 16 T|
|Crank-set||Steel 114 mm 32 T (102mm on our test bike)|
|Current Colors||Yellow, Blue|