* Prices may differ from that shown
I had heard great things about this company for kids' bikes and so decided to get my son the balance bike (no pedals). Prices are good for the quality of the item and shipping costs reasonable - quick delivery also. The build quality is fantastic and the bike very lightweight. It is easy to adjust the height of the saddle. The steering is firm and cannot be turned too far around which provides much needed stability. Tyres are good quality and there is a nifty back brake which we eventually persuaded our son to use. He had the bike when he was just 2 and is getting on for 3 now and it has really brought his balance on in leaps and bounds. The only problem we have is self-induced in that we bought him a mini-micro scooter which he can go faster on and so he tends to prefer that sometimes. All in all a great company and a good product. I will be buying the next stage up once he's ready for it.
On Tuesday 27 March, my son turned three making him officially a big boy as he reminds us on at least an hourly basis. His dad and I thought it only appropriate to celebrate this graduation into big-boyhood by buying him his first big boy bike. Kyle is an extremely active and strong boy and the level of destruction he can cause is extraordinary to say the least so it was vital that we found a bike that could withstand the endurance test that is hurricane Kyle and unfortunately, it was doubtful that the Spiderman bike from Argos he had his eye on was going to do the trick. With this in mind I started to do some research online into different options. One brand in particular kept popping up in reviews and newspaper/magazine articles. That brand was Isla Bikes. Now, I am not particularly knowledgeable when it comes to the latest and greatest names in cycling but when Isla Bikes was mentioned in several cycling magazines and websites, I thought it would be a good place to start. Isla Bikes has acknowledged what appears to be a gap in the market in that good quality, attractive and practical kids bikes that are built for endurance -particularly my sons age are not easy to come by. ***Who are Isla Bikes*** Isla is not only a seasoned cyclist, but had also been designing adult-sized bikes for years before she recognized the struggle young cyclists faced trying to maneuver bikes that weigh almost as much as they do and are stiff and difficult to handle. Thus Islas business idea was born and she either imported the tiny components needed to make her exclusive childrens bikes or she had them made herself. ***What makes Isla Bikes so great*** All Isla bikes have child specific frame geometry and have been designed and built with their young riders in mind; Brakes can be operated safely with small hands and gear levels are carefully selected to be age appropriate. Each bike can be customised with a variety of tires, the option of mudguards and even a carrier. These options make the bike more flexible and adjustable and suitable for mountain biking and cyclo cross, as a track racing machine at your local track league, or simply for family days out. It is also possible to have your bike customized with different coloured detail if wanted. The Isla Bike motto appears very much to be less is more. They focus on developing a quality bike for your money instead of opting for the latest gizmos that can ultimately reduce the performance of the bike. ***Ordering*** You can post in your order but we phoned in and spoke directly with Isla who asked us various questions about our son to make sure the choice we were making was the correct one. She took payment by Direct debit although you can also pay by credit card or even by cheque (does anyone have a cheque book anymore?). It isnt possible to order online at this point however I expect this is because they feel it is important to make sure the most suitable bike is being bought with the child in question firmly in mind. It is also possible to make an appointment to visit their showroom where you can test the bikes outside before purchase. Living in Glasgow this wasnt the most practical of options for us but would likely be a worthwhile idea for those of you living nearby ***Communication*** I was impressed with the communication I enjoyed with Isla. All my questions were answered and we were updated on our orders status by email and phone every step of the way. One email even included best wishes for my sons birthday which is an added touch not often found in customer service these days. ***Delivery*** As is the norm, we had left everything until the last minute and I was concerned that we had left it too late for the bike to arrive on time for my sons birthday. The website told us most bikes are delivered within 10 days (without customization) if in stock and we had exactly 7 days until the party. We ordered it on Saturday with stabilizers and were amazed to take delivery of a securely packaged big boy bike on Wednesday. It would have been there on Tuesday except for a problem (totally on our part) with the payment. Delivery costs £12. ***Assembly*** It is important to remember this isnt Ikea the bike didnt come with the tools needed to assemble it although all that was needed was a set of Allan keys and a screwdriver. It was only a matter of putting on the pedals and in our case stabilizers which took no more than 5 minutes. Even I the least DIY minded person on the face of the planet could do it! ***Available Range*** Isla Bikes cater to children starting from as young as 2 years old and up to 11+. There are 12 styles to choose from. Style-wise these are effectively grown up bikes in mini sizes. They are sleek and stylish looking. If you little one wants Bob the Builder, Spiderman or Dora the Explorer. You wont find it here, although a quick trip to Halfords to pick up a helmet satisfied my sons need for a bit of merchandising with matching action man bell, riding gloves and helmet. Our bike came in a subtle steel grey with silver and black accents. Even the stabilizers and wheel rims were co-ordinated to the rest of the bike with a matching black opposed to the usual silver metal. It truly is gorgeous and my boy is so proud! One of only two suggestions I would have for Isla bikes is it would be nice to see a range of accessories such as helmets, bells etc available. Having said that, maybe that would take the focus away from just creating great bikes. ***Cost*** These are exclusive bikes and you very much get what you pay for. My 3 year olds bike cost £119 (including stabilizers) which may be more than many parents expect to pay for their kids bike. Having said that, the price tag not only comes with a safe, stylish, adaptable and sturdy bike, it also comes with a 5 year guarantee on frame and forks and a 2 year guarantee on parts, which is pretty rare. On top of that, your childs old Isla bike can be traded in on a new one giving you a part exchange rate dependant on the condition of the bike being bought back. *Additional costs* Stabilizers: £14.99 Mudguards: £14.99 Colour customisation: £19.99 ***Complaints*** I have only one issue worth bringing up here and I hate to even mention it because every other aspect of the service outweighs it. It took several attempts to actually get hold of Isla. There is no note of opening hours on the website and no answering machine when you call. I would suggest anyone calling should do so between the standard 9-5 hours and hopefully soon Isla will install voicemail to avoid losing any impatient customers. ***Conclusion*** My son loves his new bike and I am the proudest mummy in the world as he tells me Leave me alone I can do it myself in his beautifully distorted Glaswegian/Canadian accent and I watch him pedal off down the path with the biggest smile imaginable on his face. The entire experience was a true delight and Isla bikes have guaranteed themselves a returning customer for years to come through the fantastic customer service we received, the wonderful product and all-round customer care. I would pay the £119 twice over for the end result we are so very pleased with. A childs bike is an investment and I feel certain that we have invested wisely this time. Any parent thinking about buying a bike for your little one, please visit www.islabikes.co.uk before you go any further.
Islabikes Ltd / Upper Aston Farm, / Claverley / Nr Wolverhampton / WV5 7EE.