Jakob – Fully Integrated – Kurs FAQ29. November 2023
Flatbar Backwoods in Brown with Orange from Hope Tech9. December 2023
I had always wanted to build my daughter a balance bike. She got too big before I got around to it. Then my son was born and I had a second chance. I almost missed my chance again, but managed to finish his balance bike before he was too big. It turned out really nice, and you can see some pictures of it here.
Since finishing the balance bike, building a bike for my now 9 year old daughter had also been on my list for a while. Finally managed to get it done this past summer. The problem with building bikes for kids is they grow out of them so fast. At the most you get two years out of them. One goal here was to maybe get 3 years to partially justify the time and money. Emma’s bike is built up here with 24 inch wheels, but the fork and rear end are long enough to take 26 inch wheels. So when she gets bigger hopefully we can just swap out the wheels and she can keep riding. I think with a longer/higher stem, and a seat post with setback it will work pretty well!
One cool thing about it, Emma was interested in the building process. So one evening we went to the workshop together and she watched a bit as I got started. Managed to get the front triangle cut and tacked while she was there. Cool for her to be able to take part in the process! Tubing is a mix of Spirit and Life from Columbus, very thin walled, to keep the weight down. She chose the RAINBOW frame number herself, of course, as well as the paint scheme and colours.
Originally I didn’t want to spend too much on the build, but on the other hand I didn’t want to put cheap parts on it, either. One big question was the crank. There aren’t too many options when it comes to cranks for kids bikes. But one that pops out is the kids crank from Hope. It’s the only nice one I came across. I decided to let Emma choose the color of the parts from what Hope had to offer, and she decided on orange. So we went with Hope for pretty much everything, but with a Starkes Stuck seat post from tune. The brakes are an inexpensive model from Shimano, but the reach to the levers can be well adjusted for kids, and the inexpensive brakes from Shimano work great. The fork is the Columbus Cross carbon fork, I wanted a carbon fork to keep the weight down, it should fit a 26 inch wheel with tires like these when Emma is ready for them. A basic Shimano SLX drivetrain rounds things out.
The front light on the bike is from Speed Buddies, and it turns out David from Speed Buddies lives in Potsdam. Apparently there are too many bike lights out there that are designed for kids, and this is one of the first. He brought me one to try out, and I am pretty impressed. There are a few colours available, it charges with USB-C which is nice, and the light has the great feature that you can mount a Lego guy/girl to the top and ride around with it! Very cool!
Have fun with your new bike, Emma!