Early Rider Belter 16″ – The best bike for kids money can buy?

I am being very wary of not putting my own ambitions on the shoulder of soon to be 4-year-old Jonas. It is important that he does whatever he wants, and what he thinks I want him to do. To ride a bike, however, is mandatory.

He has been riding a Strider ST4 balance bike since he was two and fancies the 3-wheel scooters as well. As he got closer to 4 years old he was ready for a bike with pedals. The search for a bike began.

The Strider ST4 – the balance bike Jonas got when he was one and a half years. It is a good bike and makes the transition to a bike with pedals much easier.

Honestly, the selection of children bikes is mostly rubbish. They claim a lightweight of «just» 8kg. My own bike is around that weight, and when Jonas is weighing 15kg, that would be equivalent as my bike was 36kg(!). Finding the joy of cycling was really important to me, and that is difficult with poor equipment. We ended up with an Early Rider Belter 16«, which looked like the best bike a 4-year-old could have. A belt drive chain is a huge advantage and made of high-quality aluminium parts makes the weight a class leader of 5,6 kg.

Learning to ride a bike is difficult, but kids learn at an astonishing pace. After three focused sessions of 20 minutes, he said; you can let go now. After that, he hasn’t looked back. Only a few days in he rode 11km in one day(!) and can maintain a speed of 10km/h.

Cool art – cool bike
The setup for Jonas, with the seat all the way down, which he is barely able to sit on. I don’t believe he would have fit the bike much sooner. It is supposed to fit until the age of 6, according to Early rider.
Very good looking indead.
A very cool looking seat in faux brown leather.
A belt drive is a huge advantage. No grease and dirty oil and nearly maintenance free.
This is the only issue I have with the bike. The pedals are slippery, really slippery. Jonas slides of them when he stands up to ride. He actually rode outside a 50cm edge and hit himself hard due to the pedals slipping. I bought grip tape which solved the problem but was disappointed with Early Rider’s choice of pedals.
Ritchey handlebar – top quality. The Tektro rim brakes also work really well. I especially like their ability to adjust the brake levers reach, which is a must to fit small fingers. They sell a version with rim brakes as well, called Works, but I found it to be more vanity than practical.
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Jonas truly loves riding and it opened a new world in terms of speed and reach. Now he can get cover distances of hundred meter in no-time and we can practise our sprinting skills 😉
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Is the Early Rider Belter 16″ the best bike for kids you can buy? At least I have not found anything better, not even anything close. The low weight, belt drive and overall great quality parts make it superior to any other option I have seen. Except for the slippery pedals, I could don’t see how it can be made better.¨

Is it worth the price of £299+shipping? (around 4200 NOK including customs). While 5,6 kg is light, it is surely enough for Jonas. He is just strong enough to lift it up and generally handling the bike getting it in the elevator, doors etc. He thinks to ride up minor uphills is truly hard and sometimes he has to stop and walk with the bike to get up. With a bike of 8 kg, it would make it significantly more difficult for him to handle it, and difficult to enjoy riding. For that reason, I would say it is worth the price, even at 2 – 3 times higher than other bikes for kids in that age.

Publisert av

triallan

I am a 33 year old PRO triatlete. My goal is to swim, bike and run as fast as possible, and enjoy the journey. All my adventures and triathlon related stuff is well documented on this blog.

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