Enjoying the great outdoors can be surprisingly expensive! Take some cues from these eight ways to enjoy frugal camping this summer.
Kids Bikes Brakes
Kids Bikes Brakes
Most cheap beginner bikes, like the 12-inch Huffy Boys Rock-It and Disney Princess and the 16-inch Huffy Disney Toy Story and Micargi BMX, feature coaster brakes only; unusual for a bike of its size, the 24-inch, one-speed Cranbrook Cruisers also sports the same kind of kids bikes brakes. At-home assembly is less complex with these pedal brakes, and for novice riders learning to balance, they're far easier to manage than struggling to brake by squeezing a hand grip.
As children get older and the bikes get bigger, kids bikes breaks include both coaster brakes and hand brakes. The 16-inch Avigo Dirt Wave and Waikiki and the 20-inch Pretty in Pink BMX models are equipped with both types of kids bikes brakes, which let riders get comfortable with the hand brake without it being the only option. This is a good thing, at least for the two Avigo models; several reviewers report on Toys R Us that the hand brakes are too stiff.
The combo design disappears altogether on more specialized and multi-speed bikes, which generally feature only hand brakes. Most of these models are beyond the Cheapism price range, but we found a few that fit: The one-speed, 20-inch NEXT Chaos Freestyle comes with front and rear caliper hand brakes and the 18-speed, 24-inch NEXT Power Climber is fitted out with cantilever brakes. The girls six-speed, 20-inch Pacific Chromium Mountain Bike features linear pull brakes as does the 18-speed Pacific Exploit. A critical review of the Exploit posted on Amazon by a parent who has worked as a bike mechanic asserts that linear pull brakes aren't nearly as effective as caliper brakes.
Kids Bikes Assembly.Buying a low-cost kids bicycle from a discount store usually means you'll have to put it together yourself. Even if you're not mechanically-challenged, you might find this a chore from hell. Indeed, reviews comment on bike assembly more frequently than on anything else, and what the adults have to say ranges from loud complaints that it's a total headache to sighs of relief about how easy it was; sometimes such divergent reviews refer to the same bike. Many reviews urge readers to have the retailer (assuming you buy the bike at a physical store) take on this task. Even then, there's no guarantee of perfect results; review after review for every model we researched notes that tweaking and adjusting is par for the course, as is the occasional part that simply fails or falls off. Reviews also mention that having your own set of Allen keys is a big help for DIY assembly.
To cite just a few examples: Assembling the Huffy Disney Princess was a piece of cake for one parent, according to a kids bike review on Walmart, while another admits to being completely befuddled. Writing about the Huffy Rock-It on the same site, a reviewer blames the in-store assembler more than the quality of the parts for some wobbles and notes that the problems were solved by taking apart the bike and greasing and tightening everything before reassembling it. Another kids bike review provides a laundry list of instructions on how to fine-tune the Rock-It, from adding extra grease to cautioning against over-tightening the nuts on the pedal crank and front fork.
Assembly instructions for the Avigo Dirt Wave are vague and not model-specific, according to postings on Toys R Us, and the small font only increases the aggravation. The Pacific Chromium Mountain Bike doesn't rack up the assembly complaints that its predecessor, the Tuscon, did in reviews on Amazon, although some commenters still recommend a trip to the bike shop for adjustments. The NEXT Power Climber may give riders a thrill, but reviewers cite annoyances like handlebars not fitting properly or parts that arrived damaged in the shipping box (a common complaint about cheap bikes shipped from vendor to home). One dad suggests buying the bicycle in a store rather than online so you can verify that all parts are present and in working order.
Pacific Bikes Review
NEXT Bikes Review
Avigo Bikes Review
Huffy Bikes Review
Micargi 16 in. Kids Bike
Pacific Tuscon Girls Dual-Suspension Mountain 20 in. Bike
Pacific Evolution Girls Mountain Bike 24 in.
Summertime is almost here and it's time to trade in your spring jacket. Ward off sweat and sunburn with a stylish cheap sun hat!
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