The bicycle market is booming in 2020, but with all the innovations in the bike sector, one target group is often neglected: children.
Hayes has recognized this and offers functional components that are tailored to the needs of children and young people. For example, Hayes offers handlebars and grips with a smaller diameter specially developed for the little ones on its Junit bikes segment.
In an interview with ISPO.com, Tim Fischer, Marketing Manager Europe at Hayes Performance Systems, explains how parents can help their kids have even more fun and safety on their bikes and what a difference the right equipment can make.
ISPO.com: Why did Hayes develop an extra handlebar for children?
Tim Fischer: The idea for the ProTaper MTB Junit handlebar/stem combination came from our own experience. For people with smaller hands it is difficult to grip adult grips safely or to reach the brake lever. In addition to the lack of comfort, this also raises safety concerns, as it is difficult to control the bike and cramps in the hands can occur, especially on longer descents.
For the development of the Junit handlebar, we obtained anthropometric data from NASA. These data showed us the dimensions of the hands of 5-8 and 8-11 year old children and teenagers in North America, Europe and Asia. Compared to the hand size of the average adult, there was a difference of 28 percent. Based on the percentage difference, a handlebar and grips were developed.
How exactly does this affect the handlebar and grip design?
The handlebars have a smaller diameter towards the end - where the grips are located - than handlebars for adults. This allows a smaller diameter of the grips (22 & 27mm diameter). The trick is that the rubber carrier material has been extended beyond the grips, so that standard bike components such as brakes and shift levers can be mounted. Additionally, the components clamp the grip on the inside. On the outer side of the grip there is a clamping ring with an integrated end cap. This prevents it from getting lost - this offers additional protection against stupid injuries.
What distinguishes a child-friendly bike setup?
Just like with bikes for adults, the contact points such as grips, saddle and pedals make the difference in the setup. In addition to the contact points, a suspension designed for kids and teens like our Manitou Junit fork and super light brakes like the Hayes Dominion SFL, equipped with levers for people with smaller hands, bring a huge improvement.
How do I know if the setup of the kids bike is suitable?
This is a bit trickier on children's and youngsters' bikes than on adults. In general, the most important thing is that the kids should have fun riding and feel comfortable on the bike, otherwise the joy of riding suffers, which they will let you know pretty quickly.
What changes can I make to improve my child's bike quickly and thus increase the joy of riding?
The best way to increase the joy of riding is to ride together and show them how to do it. Because there is nothing to buy that can outweigh the support of the parents. In addition, the ergonomic improvement by installing a handlebar/handlebar combination is probably the easiest upgrade. If you want to go even further, you should install brakes that have been designed for the needs of children and young people.