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My four year old is very much a fan of 'pink and sparkly', so when I spotted this cute little Kid Active bike (with requisite pink and sparkly bits) in a local discount store I decided to treat her as I thought it was about time she learned how to ride a bike. Ours is the Honey model, but the same bike is available in a few other varieties, although the main difference seems to be the colour and designs on the frame and saddle of the bike.
Hollie's Honey bike is less than twelve months old, we bought it at the tail end of last summer but she's had plenty of use from it due to the dry winter we had - this one was already assembled but as her dad had to tighten a few nuts around the wheels and saddle I suspect if you were to buy it from elsewhere it would need a element of self-assembly. The saddle moves up and down to suit the height of your child and this is an easy process, simply requiring you to loosen the bolt and slide the saddle pole to the required height. Once you've done this you can tighten it up again and your (growing) child is ready to start cycling.
Not that I recommend you buy it, not at all. It's been pretty useless actually and when Hollie turns five in June we're planning to buy her another bike to replace this one. The main problem is that it's very rickety feeling, with wheels measuring just 14" this is very much a 'starter' bike - so why have Kid Active made the bloody thing so hard to control? The handlebars don't twist as fully as they should which makes the bike really awkward to pedal in the direction Hollie wants to go in, this could well be a safety feature but I personally think it's just a very poor design - after all, what's the point in learning to ride a bike that will only comfortably go in a straight line? As an example of this, Hollie sometimes takes her bike out and rides it along the pavement at the front of the house - she has definite boundaries (although one of us is always peeping at her from somewhere, even if she thinks she's alone) and knows she's not to go past next doors driveway. This means a reasonably sharp turn when she reaches the corner of their house, the pavements are wide around here so this shouldn't be a problem - but with this bike it is as the turn has to be done in a ridiculous amount of stages due to the stupid handlebars.
The brakes aren't too bad, or I should say at least they work (in a fashion). They're positioned quite low down on the handlebars which makes it fiddly for little hands to get a decent grip on them, Mark tried forcing them upwards a little but that didn't work as the bases are fixed so we've had to explain to Hollie that she needs to take care when she builds any speed up while riding her bike. When she does manage to squeeze the (pretty stiff) brakes the bike comes to a gradual stop, no way would I trust her riding anywhere near a road on this bike as surely the most important aspect of a child's bike is the braking capability - and that's pretty much zero on this thing thanks to the fact that she can't extend her fingers quite long enough to make the brakes work!
The pedals are good; there's no reflective strip on the edges which isn't great as far as safety goes, although to be honest I doubt many four or five year olds are going to be riding their bike in the dark so this probably isn't too much of an issue. Aesthetically it makes the pedals look quite dull though, probably due to the fact that I'm so used to seeing reflective strips on every single bike ever made that this one looks pretty bare without them. The pedals rotate well and have grippy sides to make it easier for small children to keep their feet where they should be, Hollie generally wears her trainers or pumps when cycling so her feet don't slip off the pedals but watching her attempt to cycle in flat soled sandals last night revealed that even those seem to grip the pedals surprisingly well.
The wheels and stabilisers. Pffffffft. Rubbisher than a pile of rubbish at a rubbish dump. The actual wheels aren't too bad, the bright white finish of the tyres turned a fetching shade of nicotine yellow after just a couple of weeks though and the pink paint on the wheel started to peel off in roughly the same time - result: an old looking bike that hasn't even reached its first birthday yet. The stabilisers are so wobbly that Hollie might as well have started off on a standard two-wheeled bike, when she has the bike in a certain position neither of them have any contact with the floor - which is bizarre considering they're supposed to be there to help her learn how to control the bike, and also to keep her steady while riding it!
I'm not impressed with this bike at all. The RRP is around £60 and that is an utter joke considering the quality of the build, I paid £35 and still feel a bit ripped off to be honest as it's such an awful little bike and has been a huge disappointment for Hollie. Even the handlebar grips are of such poor quality that they've gone mouldy (yes, mouldy) over the winter despite the fact that it's stored under cover with the rest of the family bikes.