For a long while, Islabikes was the only name in town if you wanted to buy a good quality lightweight bike for your children. In recent years, there have been plenty of new companies vying for that market and there is now a pretty good choice of well-specced bikes for any terrain your children are likely to tackle.
With an eye to that competition, as well as reflecting the company’s love of competition, Islabikes is coming out with a rather special new range…
Islabikes Pro Series
Not quite entering the lofty realms of the bespoke carbon full-susser, but getting pretty close to the ‘pony’ bracket in price, the Pro Series bikes are aimed at the young racer and cycling enthusiast. Company founder Isla Rowntree says:
“We have designed full carbon forks that perfectly match the geometry of each bicycle size, low Q factor cranks, our own superlight and grippy cyclocross tyres and sprinkled each bike with titanium and aluminium finishing bits to shave off the last bit of weight. These are serious bikes for children who are serious about their cycling. I hope we see some of their names crop up as Olympians in the future.”
They’ve certainly had loads of thought put into them, so what’s in the range?
Creig Pro Series
Available in both 24in and 26in wheel sizes, the Creig Pro Series is a lightweight alloy XC mountain bike with a Rockshox 30 Gold TK fork. Islabikes says these forks have been specifically selected due to their narrow 30mm stanchions which reduces overall friction meaning they can be run at much lower pressures, which light riders (like children) need.
The Creig Pro Series comes with Stan’s NoTube Rims in both wheel sizes meaning these bikes can be run tubeless with their Schwalbe Rocket Ron tyres.
Geometry on the Creig Pro Series is cross country orientated. Islabikes have designed their own low Q-Factor cranks, which has allowed Islabikes to lower the bottom bracket and still maintain a safe lean angle. This in turn helps reduce overall standover height, so children can get their feet down when they want to stop.
Beinn 20 Pro Series
The Beinn Pro Series is a proper mountain bike for smaller riders featuring a custom carbon fibre fork which Islabikes has designed from the ground up. Low spoke counts and aluminum nipples have been used in the wheels to help keep rotating weight to a minimum.
Islabikes notes that one of the biggest difficulties in designing the Pro Series Beinn 20 was finding a cassette with a wide enough ratio for the bike’s intended use. Currently the only available wide ratio cassettes are 10speed, which is a little too wide, due to the short chainstay. A wider cassette results in an increased chain angle causing chain drops and premature chain wear. Rather than increase the chainstay, which would affect the ride characteristics, Islabikes has specced a 10 speed SRAM cassette and converted it to 9 speed by removing the 15 and 17 tooth sprockets and replacing with a 16 tooth. Cunning.
The Beinn 20 Pro Series also comes with Avid DB5 hydraulic disc brakes, Islabikes own tyres, and Stan’s tubeless ready rims.
Cnoc Pro Series
Apparently almost every element of this bike has been custom designed and manufactured by Islabikes, including the full carbon fork. With full carbon fork legs, crown and steerer, it gives huge weight savings and promises excellent steering agility. It says here.
Further weight savings come from Islabikes’ custom tyres which feature a very supple 185TPI construction. A custom tread pattern has been optimised to provide fast, but grippy, performance for lighter riders. The Cnoc Pro Series also has a hollow titanium bottom bracket with carbon shell. As with all bikes in the Pro Series range, the Cnoc makes use of Islabikes’ full carbon 25.4mm seatpost. Islabikes’ own pedals also feature titanium axles and pins keeping the weight to a minimum.
All these weight-saving, pocket-lightening materials bring the Cnoc 20 Pro Series in at 4.8kg (inc pedals), saving 1.3kg over the current Cnoc.
Clearly this range is targeted at the young and keen racer rather than your average canal path pootler, and parents buying these are going to be looking for performance rather than ‘something to grow into’. If it’s a financial return on your investment in your young prodigy, you might want to consider golf, or tennis, as even a successful pro cyclist is unlikely to be paying off your mortgage for you. Of course, you might just really love your child, or possibly want to feel a little bit less guilty about what you spend on your own bike. And to be fair, the resale value of kids bikes seems to be higher than bikes for grown-ups. But whatever your thinking, if you want one, the Islabikes Pro Series is available to pre-order now.
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