How Cleary Bikes makes kids' bikes fun

Lighter, brighter and stronger could mean more riding

Want to get your little one excited about riding? Well, you're in luck. Cleary Bikes makes really cool kids' bikes featuring bright colors, catchy names and low weight. Perhaps more important, though, the five models are built with thoughtful geometry, proportional components and quality construction.

The gecko is built for tiniest of bikers and rolls on 12-inch wheels. two models are available, one with a coaster brake plus hand brakes, the other with a freewheel and hand brakes.: the gecko is built for tiniest of bikers and rolls on 12-inch wheels. two models are available, one with a coaster brake plus hand brakes, the other with a freewheel and hand brakes.
The gecko is built for tiniest of bikers and rolls on 12-inch wheels. two models are available, one with a coaster brake plus hand brakes, the other with a freewheel and hand brakes.: the gecko is built for tiniest of bikers and rolls on 12-inch wheels. two models are available, one with a coaster brake plus hand brakes, the other with a freewheel and hand brakes.
Here's the stepping stone to greatness, Cleary's tough, little, 12in Gecko

Based in Sausalito, California, Cleary Bikes applies the lightweight goal for which nearly every cyclist strives to kids' bikes. Oftentimes, kids are riding (or rather pushing) bikes that can weigh a large percentage of their body weight. To combat this, Cleary's bikes start at 12lb /  5.4kg for the Starfish balance bike, and top out at 24lb / 10.9kg for the geared Meerkat, which Cleary claims is 50% lighter than some competitors. 

In its high-performance, kid-centric approach, Cleary is quite similar to IslaBikes, the UK-based company that recently began selling its lightweight bikes online in the US.

Cleary's meerkat takes your little ripper one step closer to being faster than you with 24-inch wheels, 1x9 drivetrain, and even hydraulic disc brakes.: cleary's meerkat takes your little ripper one step closer to being faster than you with 24-inch wheels, 1x9 drivetrain, and even hydraulic disc brakes.
Cleary's meerkat takes your little ripper one step closer to being faster than you with 24-inch wheels, 1x9 drivetrain, and even hydraulic disc brakes.: cleary's meerkat takes your little ripper one step closer to being faster than you with 24-inch wheels, 1x9 drivetrain, and even hydraulic disc brakes.
Cleary's $645 Meerkat features 24in wheels, disc brakes and geometry made for actual riding. Plus it comes in five colors

Cleary also claims that its bikes evenly distribute the young rider’s weight between the hands, feet and seat for better handling and safety.

All Cleary bikes come with front and rear hand brakes, which is notable especially in the US, where coaster brakes are the standard for small bikes. The smaller wheel size Cleary bikes utilize linear-pull rim brakes, while the 24in-wheeled Meerkat slows with Tektro hydaulic discs. Being on hand brakes from the beginning makes the transition to bigger, and more technically advanced bikes simpler than learning on coaster-brake bikes before switching to hand brakes. 

All of the Cleary bikes are also ready for kid-size use and abuse. Wheel sizes 12- through 20in are propelled by singlespeed drivetrains, and every pedal bike comes with a tried-and-true 3-piece crankset with a square tapered bottom bracket ( and a threaded bottom bracket shell, thank goodness). Beyond the drivetrain, every frame has a protective sealant under its lead-free paint to prevent dents, dings and rust. Plus the fun and colorful Cleary seats clamp securely down with a bolt. In short, they're built properly, the way adult bikes are.

From the tiny 12in wheel Gecko to the "hey, how'd you get faster than me?" Meerkat, all Cleary bikes include:

  • Internal cable routing
  • Front and rear hand brakes
  • Grips, handlebars and brake levers designed for small hands
  • Slim, junior race-style vegan leather saddle
  • Protective sealant under frame’s lead-free paint to prevent dents, dings and rust
  • Lifetime warranty
Cleary Bikes are sold online in the US at https://clearybikes.com.
Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

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