This is always a difficult one to answer as at R's age races are not always on the road and then you must factor in how quickly she will grow. Worse still, she will grow in spurts, usually the off-season so the life of the bike may be very short! Of course this can go both ways...
I am probably not the best to advise but would suggest that if her current bike fits many of the following:
Is the right size
Is not over heavy
Has narrow tyres
and in no particular order, then investing in some races may serve you better than a new bike. Obviously if she is struggling on a heavy bike with poor gearing then worth looking at.
The last issue is her size right now. From memory I think she is just a little petite, arms and legs both a bit short to fit on even the smallest adult bikes. The kids road bikes in my opinion may look racey but in fact are just looks. They tend to be heavy with awful geometry and the very poorest quality, cheap and nasty running gear (brakes/gears etc) which is in fact adult size. For example; brakes that the kids don't have the strength to use.
Unless you have to, maybe hold off for a little while. Garret's bike is an extra small adult frame we got second hand in the club. You are more than welcome to meet up with us and cycle on it for a while and see if you think R is close to an adult frame. That will help you a long way towards which bike you should consider.
Let me know what you think either on here or by phone if you like. My number is 0eight six four 0 6 seven six84.
Hi Mark-i would agree with Garry. Alot of the childrens racers although they have a small frame, the handlebars, the brake levers etc are adult size. This makes it difficult for them to reach to. I found this with Lilys bike. We had to get the granny brakes installed on the tops as she couldnt reach the levers.
And yes they are terribly heavy. What im finding is that Lily uses hers for road cycling(Bray Wheelers cycles etc) but for the actual races most of the time the kids bike route is off road. So we use the MTB.
The other option is a cyclocross bike. Road bike frame with fatter tyres and different brakes. You can change out the tyres back to road slicks. However once again finding a junior frame is difficult and pricey.
Im in the process of trying to convert her road bike into a cyclocross but its impossible to source a 24inch fat tyre to fit on the rims.....apparently this is not uncommon.
Now if you still buckle under the pressure of an 11 year old here are a few options:
*Isla Bikes (UK) kids size frames and kids geometry (pricey, but good resale value) Try the Luath bike.
*Halfords do a junior racer called the Tempo. Both in 24 and 26inch.
*Eurocycles do a junior FELT racer. Pricey though.
Thanks for the response and advice Garry & Heidi.
I might wait until she is a bit older as she hasn't really been on a bike much anyway. It would make sense to let her get use to the one she has and maybe later in the year, look at changing when she is a bit bigger and suitable to a small adults bike.
michaelp wrote: Mark, it's probably worth keeping an eye out for a decent second-hand bike, that way you're not spending a fortune and you should be able to recoup most of the money when she does grow out of it...
And you are welcome to try out Garret's extra-small adult sized bike to know whether you should be keeping an eye out for similar.