Here at Black Mountain Bikes we are a team of designers, engineers and mad keen cyclists that realised that when it came to children’s bikes there was a major issue… kids grow and their bikes don’t!
Ending the sizing compromise
We were fed up with buying bikes for our own children that they quickly outgrew. We wanted to end the ‘sizing compromise’ where parents had to either buy a bike today that would fit their child, but that they would soon grow out of, or bike a bike that was way too big for them that they would grow into. We believe that the product should be better. We wanted a bike that would fit a rapidly growing child for at least two years, and genuinely fit them correctly for that whole period. Getting the right fit is vital when a child is learning to ride. Get the bike right from the start and you will have a mad keen cyclist on your hands.
The main feature of our design is that we have ditched the traditional diamond shaped frame that you see on most children’s bikes. Conventional bike frames just didn’t make sense to us. They missed the point that kids are growing and pedalling stronger every day. We’ve made a super light weight bike that starts out as a balance bike (Mode 1), then you swap out the balance seat tube for our pedal seat tube that is supplied with the bike (which includes the cranks, bottom bracket, etc.). This turns the bike into a small pedal bike (Mode 2). You then move a few bolts around and the bike grows into a large pedal bike (Mode 3).
Getting bigger, getting stronger
But sizing is about more than just the height of your child. The other key thing to note is that when you swap between small and large pedal modes on our bikes the gearing also changes. We have a pretty ingenious rear hub that allows you to switch between two gears as you change size, it’s a two stage belt drive, our IN:GEAR system. The reason for this? As kids get bigger and more confident on their bike they also get stronger. The harder gear allows them to fly along and really develop.
A gap in the market
What we recognised was that current kids bikes (even the ‘best ones’) were not truly designed for their user, and this meant that there was a real gap in the market. This struck us as a major design failure as they were designed to fit and be suitable only for a very short period, and then reliant on selling-on as second hand to recoup the parent’s investment and buy the next appropriate bike. This may work for some people, but it struck us as a crude solution to the problem.
Put simply, sizing is crucial for growing children and we want put to put an end to the sizing compromise that any parent faces when buying a bike for their child.