Six years ago, I wrote about children learning to cycle. Whilst researching the piece, I spoke to someone from the CTC.
He told me about a new company that was starting up, run by someone called Isla. I rang her and we had a chat and I mentioned the company in my piece. It was so nice to actually speak to someone who ran her own company and not a PR representative of a huge cycle manufacturing chain.
My eldest was then about three and I was looking for a bike for her, so decided to buy a balance bike. I’d seen loads of the wooden versions around London but they really annoyed me for some reason and, at the time, Isla’s Rothan was much cheaper than the other metal versions around (I think she vastly underpriced her bikes in the early months).
The reason Isla bikes are so good, but also what makes them not the cheapest you can buy, is that they are made with components that are specially made for children’s bikes, not scaled down versions of adult bikes. Hence brakes are easy to apply: they’re not stiff, but have a lovely, easy, action. I think this is really important for little folk with their tiny hands. IBs also hold their value incredibly well. Look on eBay and you’ll see what I mean. And they look great. Our bike man said that my daughter’s Isla bikes were the best quality children’s bikes he’d ever seen. You can read more about what makes them so good here.
You can of course buy cheaper children’s bikes and if that’s what you want to do, go right ahead. I learned to ride on a bike far too small for me, up and down the corridor at my aunt’s house in Italy. The moment I got my own bike (I was TWELVE), I was able to ride it straight away.
Both of my girls have always had Isla bikes (it helps with the value for money thing if you can pass them down the sibling chain), from the Rothan, through the Cnoc and the Beinn. Because my children have unfeasibly long legs, I always ring up for advice before purchasing and you should too if your children have very long or short arms, of if you’re not sure of sizing. And although my eldest learned to ride on the balance bike, Rothan, she still decided she needed stabilisers on her pedal bike when she graduated to one.
Today Isla bikes launches in the US. So all of my readers in the US can also buy one.
*Disclaimer. I bought all of our bikes at full price for years, but the last two years Isla has, exceptionally, given me a discount on my children’s bikes (I think I’ve bought two with a discount) as she credits me with helping her launch her business. Of course she would have done it all by herself.
We bought an Isla bike for our daughter and it is fabulous. She loves it and everybody comments on it. Took a while to get her started (we didn’t put stabilisers on it) and she didn’t really get on with the balance bike (wooden) that we had. But then it clicked and the bike just seems perfect, not too heavy, just made wonderfully for her (she is 6). She adores it. Doubt I will ever want to buy a different brand bike for my kids (and was even eyeing up Isla bikes for me, for when the day comes that I don’t have a baby in a sling)!
Yes. I’ve been eyeing up the Isla bikes for adults too.. so glad you have found them to be good, too.
Katie (7yo) has an Isla bike and we love it! She’s so petite for her age there’s just no way she’d manage any other type of brakes to the Isla ones! Or indeed a heavier framed bike. That it looks so good and isn’t covered in stickers gives it real longevity for daughter no2 and makes it appear as “grown up” as she craved it to be. (She’s sensitive about being visibly smaller than her peers, so this was a real plus!) I’d heard about them from your reviews, daddy heard about them from a biking fanatic friend who has them for his children. Ed called them for advice and was very impressed. We won’t be looking anywhere else for our girls bikes in future now and will be recommending to friends!
(And yes I’d like one for myself too.)
We have islabikes for each of our three older children, they are fabulous. The bigger bikes can be ridden pedals off as balance bikes too which helped them get the hang of pedalling. If you live near Ludlow you can go to their office and try them out on a little track (I haven’t, but a friend has).
So excited to see them in the States and Portland is the perfect spot to launch as everyone loves to bike. We brought one Isla bike from the UK with us and thought we’d just buy other bikes when we got here, big mistake as all the other kids bikes are much heavier compared to the Isla bikes. Olivia has been riding her Beinn in the Cyclocross and being so light it makes it easier to carry over the hurdles whereas my other children struggle with their heavier bikes. I would also like to add that this bike has been through 3 kids so far and still looks like new, the only thing we’ve had to replace is the tyres, oops almost spelt that tires 😉
Hubby is a bike fiend and won’t look at any other kids bikes. they are spot on and the kids love them:)