Field Tested: Islabikes Beinn 26 kids bike

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By Trina and Stephen Haynes. Photos by Justin Steiner.

As bike enthusiasts and parents, we hope our kids enjoy the activity as much as we do. Because of this desire, we try to outfit them as best we can with bikes and goods that suit them. Earlier this year we were struggling to find a bike that would fit our growing pre-teen daughter, Darby. She was getting too tall for her well-loved 24-inch wheeled bike, yet not tall enough for an adult 26-inch, even a size small.

The 26-inch wheeled bikes we looked at all seemed either too childish or too grown up and generally weighed close to half her bodyweight. Adult sized 26-inch bikes were just too big, stand over height and top tube length being the biggest deterrents. We did a lot of brow beating and swapping of parts to try and retrofit her old 24, but it was no use. Her knees were too close to the handlebars. She needed to bump up a size and we knew it, but we couldn’t bring ourselves to purchase an adult small 26 inch, knowing that it wouldn’t fit her properly for a few more years.

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Remembering how much we enjoyed the Islabike CNOC 16-inch bike we’d gotten for our son, Odin (see Issue 26), we discovered the Islabikes 26-inch Beinn. Islabikes, the British bike company with an assembly and customer service outlet in Portland, Oregon, specializes in children’s bikes.

Our typical family outing will have us riding through any number of different terrain from streets and sideways, to crushed gravel rail trails to the occasional mountain biking adventure. Darby has successfully navigated some local single track, rocks, roots, mud and all on her Beinn, despite her trepidation.

What Islabikes does well is take adult size bike geometry and shrink it down proportionately to fit a much smaller rider. In doing this, they create bikes that fit children well and are therefore fun and highly functional. They also have a high resale value due to their parts spec and the fact that they employ and very minimalist, unisex paint scheme.


Editor’s note: This review originally appeared in Issue #31 of Bicycle Times. To make sure you never miss a bike review, order a subscription and you’ll be ready for the everyday cycling adventure.


The Beinn’s aluminum frame is connected to a chromoly fork, with fender and rack eyelets, front and rear V brakes, lightweight wheels (with quick release) and Kenda tires. Darby’s Beinn is one size in a series of sizes offered by Islabikes from 20- to 26-inch, each with two different sizes (small and large) to accommodate riders from 5 years to 11 and up.

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Islabikes also understand a child’s ability to grasp a concept like shifting gears (or lack thereof). The Beinn employs a very simple SRAM 8-speed X4 drive train with grip shift. Most kids in this age bracket are just starting to wrap their heads around using gears and this set up is a low stress entry into that realm.

Our typical family outing will have us riding through any number of different terrain from streets and sideways, to crushed gravel rail trails to the occasional mountain biking adventure. Darby has successfully navigated some local single track, rocks, roots, mud and all on her Beinn, despite her trepidation.

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As parents, we have a difficult time laying down $500 on anything, let alone a kid’s bike. The Beinn’s sticking point for most parent will likely be the price of admission. Sticker shock is expected, but not necessarily justified. What won us over in the end was the fit, function and customization offered by the Beinn.

Check out all of islabikes offerings online and order directly through the company where you can talk to a real person who will help you make the right decision on size and customization.

Vital stats

  • Price: $500
  • Weight: 21.7 pounds
  • Sizes: Small, Large (tested)
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