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Lovely Bike; Needlessly Annoying Assembly
on December 16, 2009
We bought this bike for our daughter's 4th birthday next month. I wanted two things out of a bike:
1. No corporate marketing of Disney Princesses, Dora-the-(dead-eyed)-Explorer, or Barbie. *shudder* This is more difficult to find than you might think.
2. A bike that was high enough quality as to encourage riding, and make it a pleasure, rather than rendering it a tedious task soon to be given up.
I think this bike fits the bill on both counts, though as my child has yet to ride it, I don't know much about how well it functions. I will update post-gifting with my impressions that way.
Here are my initial impressions of the pros and cons:
- This bike is gorgeous. The style is very retro circa 1950's, with the full, generous, shock-absorbing seat, the 50's aqua (it's definitely more aqua than the baby blue it appears to be in the photo) and salmon-pink accents on the wheels and flowers. The other accent colors are black, white - and in the center flourish there is a champagne-tan color as a backdrop to the pink and white flowers. All the designs on the bike have a glittery appearance that sort of shines in the light. The seat, too is embellished with a scant floral design in pink and white, as are the fenders - these things I found difficult to discern in the photos.
- I love that the tires are primarily black, so that when they make contact with the dirty ground they won't instantly be rendered used and filthy looking.
- The bike, from all appearances looks as if it would be very comfortable and easy to ride.
- There really are no instructions. Zero. There's a really bad photo of the training wheel assembly that you won't be able to glean any information from, and a 'users manual' with lots of tips about not riding at night, and how dangerous that is, and always wearing a helmet, and even a thorough layout of a brake system that this bike doesn't have, but there's not a single detail about how you're supposed to assemble this thing.
I've never assembled a bike before, so I found this especially daunting, and it took me an hour and a half... which isn't terrible, all things considered.
Thankfully, the bike does come partially assembled. It is the buyers job to assemble the training wheels, which after a few mishaps I discovered needed to lock into an existing piece on the rear wheel. The front fender (that's what that strange u-shaped metal bar is for) and wheel, seat, handlebars (which also must be adjusted to the correct angle), pedals, and a couple reflectors that you have to guess on the intended location of. There are tools that come with the bike - 4 Allen wrenches and a double-sided wrench that fits the majority of the bolts, but I still needed a Phillips head and ratchet for miscellaneous other bolts and to occasionally hold something in place while tightening the other side.
I think I managed to get it put together correctly. It seems study, but I would have loved some validation on this point, as I am a complete novice at assembling bikes.
- The bike, as other reviewers mentioned, arrived with a few minor scratches. Seems to me, had it been protected a little better in shipping, this wouldn't have happened.
-The flower stickers were not applied as well as I would have hoped. There are a few areas where there were small bubbles under the stickers around the edges, and they couldn't be smoothed. I think this will effect the longevity of the appearance of the stickers, as dirt will get under them and cause them to peal.
- I wish the bike wasn't made in China. Not a totally unexpected detail, but I personally prefer things to be made anywhere but China.
One more tidbit of note is that the colors of the bike are unusual and would be difficult to match, and that's worth considering if you're ordering accessories. If you order baby blue or something in the standard pink range, it'll probably clash.
I knew I wanted a Giro helmet, and so we bought the Lucille the Bike Giro Rodeo helmet alongside it, and thankfully, the range of color in that helmet allowed for it to match - perfectly - though the styles are a little different, but there aren't really any helmets with a 50's look anyway. A plain black or white helmet would look nice alongside it too.
We bought white streamers and I'd recommend that anyone else buying streamers do the same. The bike has just enough white that the white streamers look like they 'belong'. Our other accessories are chrome and black, and look like they were made for this bike. I'm so glad I decided to stay way from the pink and blue spectrum!
I know, probably overkill in the information department, but when you're spending this much money, it makes sense to have a better idea of what you'll be getting.
All in all, I'm pretty pleased with this bike. If you want something different, there really aren't any other options, especially in this price range - I spent a lot of time researching.
I can't wait to see my daughter's reaction come her birthday. I think she'll love it. I mean, who wouldn't? This really is a hip little ride for youngsters :)