Our 9-year-old is tall for his age and measured up beyond the scope of the largest kids Beinn 26, so on advice from Islabikes we decided to try the adults Beinn.
This handily bridges the gap between kids and adults’ bikes but still with Islabikes impeccable attention to detail, the first thing you will notice about any of their bikes.
That attention to detail and carefully chosen specification make this a somewhat premium choice, and you would really expect it to be for a shade under £700. That’s an awful lot of money to splash out on a children’s bike but having been on a Beinn since he was 5 years old, we knew this one would last and survive to be handed down to his little brother, just like the smaller Beinn was.
The Beinn S comes with massive 29” wheels, a size more often found on mountain bikes. This helps the bike roll over obstacles easier than bikes equipped with smaller 27.5” wheels, but it’s slightly less manoeuvrable as a result. It also looks a little strange on the relatively small Beinn frame, with the rear wheel being tucked right up into the seat post.
Being bedecked with a mostly high-end SRAM drivetrain the Beinn is faultless in gear changes from its 7-speed cassette operated via a SRAM gripshift on the handlebars. This is a very easy system for progressing riders who lack confidence, especially when navigating tricky roads. The numbers of the gears are clearly marked, and operation is intuitive, even for someone not used to riding geared bikes.
It’s a similar story with the V-Brake setup which is responsive and easily operated without applying a full death grip. Although they lose effectiveness in the wet versus disc brakes, they are easier to maintain and cheaper to replace when components wear out.
The tyres offer a reasonable balance between grip and rolling resistance making for a decent hybrid like ride, as is the case with the rest of the bike. Geometry is set up to give a fairly upright riding position, which is comfortable for long durations. This is complemented by an ergonomic, well padded Islabikes saddle.
Everything that has gone into making this bike has been considered for performance on mixed terrain, as well as durability and an overall light weight. As such, weight has been kept to a very respectable 10kg. If you’re searching for a comparative frame of reference this isn’t much more than cheaper bikes made for 5-year-olds and is lighter than most full-sized adults road bikes.
Currently at its lowest saddle position, the Beinn S is likely to grow with our son, we think for at least four or five years, and we have no doubt that the frame and components will stand the test of time to pass the bike down to our next child.
This puts the undeniably large initial investment into the bracket of good financial sense, in total two Islabikes are likely to have taken our two sons through a total of 10 years cycling, from the ages of 5-15 and in todays throwaway culture that is somewhat of a miracle.