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.
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.
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