The Islabikes Beinn 20 is designed for kids from age 5+ as their first 'proper' bike. It comes equipped with a 7 speed SRAM cassette, SRAM gripshift and a lightweight aluminium frame.
After sizing Sam up using Islabikes chart it looked like he was going to find the Beinn 20 a tad large but we took Islabikes advice nonetheless and quickly came to realise that the geometry allows for a good range of adjustment. With the saddle almost at its lowest point Sam can still reach the handlebars and sits in a good position which allows for plenty of control and decent balance when his skills allow! We've seen much larger and older kids riding around on Beinn 20's with the saddle precariously teetering at it's highest setting, this is probably welcome news to any parent investing a hefty £390 into their child's bike as it guarantee's an element of longevity. There's more good news for your pocket though, especially if your little angel has younger siblings, because this thing is as sturdy as they come. It has a sense of permanence and build quality that feels like a cross between a medieval castle and an expensive German car.
The SRAM gripshift is intuitive and easy for children to use, Sam absolutely loved the novelty of shifting the SRAM 7 speed wide ratio cassette for the first time, often up and down the gears at inappropriate moments, so its thankful that it has a smooth action, which helps with low speed, laboured gear changes.
The lightweight aluminium double wall rims are coupled with aluminium quick release hubs, this pairing offers up low rotational mass and ease of transport and storage. The tyres provided with the bike are a good middle ground between road and off, providing decent grip on loose gravel and mud but offering up little rolling resistance on the road.
The aluminium mini V-brakes are easy to operate and the levers are in the right place and designed correctly for little hands. They can feel pretty sensitive at first, especially if your child is used to rubbish bikes (as kids so often are) but Sam quickly learnt to control his input....apart from when he really wanted to do some skids.
Even with such a solid build quality the Beinn 20 still manages to laugh in the reflectors of most kids bikes, with a light and nimble touch. Steering is responsive but not too twitchy and the bike is light enough to easily be manoeuvred around at low speed.
Overall the Beinn 20 is comfortable, well designed and superbly built. We have a 1 year old and have absolutely no doubt that he will be using the Beinn 20 once Sam has grown out of it, and even after it's been through 2 kids the residual value of up to two thirds the original purchase price can usually be achieved, should you come to sell it on.
If you really want your child to enjoy cycling from the off then you would do well to invest in a quality bike, and this offering from Islabikes is easily one of the best out there.