October2015

The importance of quality

Centennial Parklands

A year ago when we started our bike business, we took a big risk, by entering a very different market from what I personally knew from Germany, where I spent most of my life growing up. My view is that the Australian bicycling market appears to be happy to spend endless sums on high-end road and mountain bikes for adults, but when it comes to 20” or 24” children’s bikes, $300-$400 seems to be the absolute maximum. Bikes below the 20” size tend to be under the $100 price bracket.

Our bikes are above those price ranges and many people are at first in doubt about our pricing (as also discussed in Bicycling Trade). Yes, we agree, our bikes are not cheap, but in our opinion, the incremental price provides our junior riders with superior performance in developing and accelerating their riding skills. After all, isn’t the common saying: You get what you pay for?

Blackwattle Bay

When our eldest graduated from his balance bike, our priority for choosing a pedal bike was quality, how easy it was for him to ride and our budget. To make a bike easy to ride, it is necessary to invest into quality components. Low quality components are typically heavy and make the bike hard to manoeuvre, especially for a small child. Personally, I think low quality bikes are extremely dangerous. I constantly would question how responsive the brakes were, how the bike reacted if a major part broke and as a result what injury my child would get from it. Cycling alone is not risk free, but I want to reduce the risk of falls and accidents wherever I can and it is certainly possible by choosing a good quality bike.

And what a difference the bike makes! Lower quality bikes in my mind, pose a higher risk for injury as are very difficult to ride while learning and building their confidence on two wheels. Good quality bikes typically ride well and the rider can focus on balancing and riding rather than manoeuvring the bike.

Balast Point Park

Our boy moved from a balance bike to a normal push bike shortly after his 3rd birthday. He never used training wheels and he transitioned within less than an hour and off he was by himself. He initially needed help to get on and off the bike, but with time he mastered those challenges problem free. As he does have access to bikes through his parents’ business, he became extremely curious about the new bikes he saw us promoting. He wanted to ride them, even though they were too big for him. By the time he was 3 ½, we allowed him to try one of our troX elite 20” samples not thinking he would succeed (a mountain bike we recommend for kids 6 years and up). Well, we were wrong! He needed help to get on, but he mastered the rest with ease and soon went for his first proper bike ride with me.

Narrabeen Beach

Bad Feilnbach

Shortly after we visited friends, who had a 12” push bike with training wheels. He wanted to ride it too and we obviously let him. What happened next surprised me. My son sat on it and could not ride it. He had trouble moving the pedals. The same boy, who rode 20” bikes at 3 ½ simply couldn’t get the 12” with training wheels moving! This bike appeared to be a lower quality bike in my opinion, even before he sat on it. My first impressions by simply looking at it cemented my view. The welding was poorly done, the cranks were too long, the wheels and spokes were made out of steel and it was extremely heavy. S’COOL’s kids’ bikes are designed for children and for their abilities. They have light-weight aluminium frames, roll well and are easy to push. As a result the child can solely focus on balancing, riding and having fun. They look forward to getting on their bike, so much so, it’s sometimes impossible to leave the house without their bike (which is the way it should be when you’re growing up). I saw this with my son and with children in our circle whose parents got them S’COOL bikes when we launched. The kids are of different characters and abilities and some of them are more timid than the others, but they all love riding their bikes. The beauty of this is, they last. Our son’s bike will be passed on to our daughter and I have no doubt we will then be able to pass it on to another child as well.

Many factors speak to investing into quality kids’ bikes, just like we invest into other shorter-term items as our children grow such as prams, clothes (that kids sometimes wear only once or not at all), cots or the fit-out of their nurseries and bedrooms. It makes me wonder why people are happy to spend so much on these items, but when it gets to a bike they first shy back?

Brauneck

Lenggries

A bike is a tool to learn balance, i.e. their motor skills develop. It’s fun and gets the kids into exercise (a separate topic to address with childhood obesity and lack of movement becoming an increasing problem affecting kids nowadays). Quality means it lasts and can be re-sold or passed down to other children who are lucky enough to inherit it. As the saying goes, “I’m not rich enough to buy cheap things” so I’d rather save more and pay a little more and not have to replace and repair lower quality products so often (hence I save) and also contribute to protecting the environment, by reducing waste and landfill.

All S’COOL bikes are designed and engineered in Germany and come with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty.