Following the success of my eldest son’s first bike, a LikeAbike Mountain Classic purchased for his second birthday, the time came to consider a successor as his size and skill approaching the age of four, meant he had graduated to the next stage, a real bike with pedals.
After a reasonable amount of research and having gathered a consensus of opinion on various forums I came to the conclusion the next steed my eldest would use to develop his skills and allow me to start riding with him in a more meaningful way would be an IslaBike CNOC 16.
I ordered the bike over the phone with the help of a friendly and helpful member of theIslaBike’s team who guided me through the options. I decided on upgrading the tyres to off-road knobbly’s and didn’t bother with stabilisers or the mudguards as it was unlikely I’d take my son riding in the rain. When the bike arrived a week later it was delivered in a suitably protected cardboard housing. All I needed to do to get the bike up and running was turn the stem and tighten a bolt, and attach the pedals.
You get what you pay for…
At £149 plus extras this is certainly not a cheap first bike. In the flesh though, the first thing that struck me about the bike was the quality of the components as well as the metallic paintwork. It felt like a miniaturised quality adult bike. The 9″ frame is constructed from 7005 T6 heat treated aluminium, complimented by lightweight cro-moly blade forks, Ahead aluminium stem, Tektro aluminium ‘V’ brakes, which incidentally are nice and powerful comparable to adult equivalent brakes, and 16″ Alloy wheels with Continental tyres. Nice specification (Full spec available here).
On the quality front, despite being a kids bike there are no short-cuts. All the rotating parts run very smoothly thanks to ball bearings most of which are sealed. The scaling and geometry is also very well considered, for example the brake lever reach is adjustable and built to fit the smaller hands of a 4+ year old. The same detailing on the pedals, saddle etc make it a comfortable and easy to use ride.
Build quality is superb, so much so that it can easily take my 90 kilos on the several occasions I’ve had a go. It feels solid and positive. The brakes stopped me surprisingly quickly, amazing brakes! No rattling or need to keep tightening nuts and bolts up, it’s solid and reliable.
Despite the plentiful aluminium and the claims of being lightweight I was actually a little surprised at how heavy it is for it’s size and spec, listed as “approx weight 7.7kgs (16.9 lbs)” that makes it around the same weight as my Planet X carbon road bike. Still on the light side I was expecting it to be lighter. Despite this, from picking up similarly sized bikes in my local bike shop, it is comparably lighter. I do however notice my son struggling to lift the front when walking up to and over a kerb for example, but then technique and strength do play a factor which I as an adult probably take for granted.
Having ridden a balance bike for two years, my son almost instantly was able to ride this bike unaided, a real proud dad moment. As a keen cyclist on and off-road I can’t recommend this bike enough.
Here are a load of pictures…