So you’ve heard me wax poetic about the best 14″ bike and the best 20″ bike. Well today I’m talking about 26″ wheel bikes, and I’m not going to call this one the best, only because there are so many 26″ bike options out there. I just happened to find one that I feel suits my son best right now.
TL;DR? The Haro Flightline One Rigid Step Thru is a great bike for growing adolescents (boys or girls).
Sizes – WTH?
Let’s talk about bike sizes. Kids bikes are usually measured by wheels size. Once you get beyond 24″ wheels you’re into adult bike territory. With adult bikes you’ll typically be looking at both wheel sizes (26″, 650B, 700C, etc.) and frame sizes (14″, 17″, 54cm, 55cm). To make matters worse, some measurements are in inches, some are in centimeters, and some have arbitrary numbers from the (g)olden days of cycling. The bottom line is to pay attention to what the sales guy is talking about and don’t be afraid to ask!
Growing Like Weeds
You may have noticed we skipped the 24″ wheel size bike and went straight for a 26″. Technically my son’s height is smack-dab in the middle of the 24″ bike range. But after outgrowing his 20″ bike, he began stealing his mom’s 26″ Trek Navigator 2.0. He looks and feels comfortable on it, so why not entertain the idea of getting him a 26″ wheeled bike? I like that idea over buying a 24″ and having him outgrow it in a year.
Like I said there are many options out there. Here are several we considered:
This is not an exhaustive list, they’re just a few that are available near me at the time of writing. If you’re savvy, you may want to do some internet searching and calling around to find out what is available nearby. Visiting a local bike shop for a test ride is paramount.
We landed on the Haro with the step-through design. He could ride this slightly over-sized frame for his height, but he could still get on and off of easily.
It doesn’t have a front suspension fork. Ironically there are other Flightline models that do come with a front suspension fork, and they’re cheaper 🤔 I suspect they charge the premium for the Step Thru frame, not the fork. The reason I like a rigid fork is because it’s much lighter.
The step thru frame is sometimes marketed as a women’s frame, but Haro have wised up with the following marketing message:
Ladies only? Not the Flightline One ST…One of Haro’s most popular models, the FL One also comes in a step-thru frame (all genders welcome). While it is true the majority of these are purchased by women, men with difficulty lifting their leg over a traditional frame may want to jump on an ST.
I wanted it for my son because he’s only 10 right now and having the top bar lowered makes it infinitely easier to get on and off.
I’m not saying it’s the best, but it’s the best for us right now. Do you have any 26″ kid-bike recommendations? Let us know in the comments what it is and why you like it.