That headline isn’t a typo. The brand best known for changing the face of the children’s bike market has launched a range of bikes specifically for the older rider.
Owner, Isla Rowntree, first designed her range of children’s bikes having discovered that the market lacked anything she’d want to recommend to her friends with children. Now finding that her parents’ riding is being limited by the bikes available to them, she’s set about designing bikes which address the limitations of the ageing body, without resorting to battery power.
Isla explains that her parents’ generation were revolutionary: they were politically active and socially conscious campaigners that saw through – and brought about – some of the biggest societal shifts since the industrial revolution. They were radical before ‘rad’ was invented, and having redefined gender roles, class structure and generally set about creating the much freer society we live in today, they’re now challenging ideas about what it means to be ‘old’.
Knitting is an act of craftivism, gardening is for carbon footprint reduction not flower shows, and they’re more likely to get purple streaks and an undercut than they are a purple rinse with shampoo and set. This is a generation who is still active well beyond the age of 65. Indeed, many are still working well into their 70s, and look around you at any Town Council meeting, voluntary group or local committee, and you’ll probably find it’s this generation that is keeping things ticking over while the younger ones worry about housing ladders and childcare costs. The swinging sixties has a new meaning (there might even be a bit of that going on) and these older people aren’t looking to hang up their bicycle clips just yet.
Reflecting the vibrant years in which this target market came of age, the new ‘Icons’ range from Islabikes consists of three models, all named after musical icons from the era of flower power. Let’s take a look.
- Price: £799.99
An urban bike for about town and quiet lanes, this features a very low step through frame, an 8-speed 11-40T cassette with 32T chainring, and hydraulic SRAM DB Level A1 brakes. 26inch multi surface tyres, plus mudguards and rack as standard should make for a practical bike. At 11kg it’s the heaviest of the range, but is still a lightweight bike for one of this upright/hybrid style.
- Price: £1,199.99
Designed for road riders for whom the traditional drop bar design is no longer comfortable, this is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing of the three models. The slender twin top tube mixte influenced frame has a nice retro look to it, but at 9.4kg with a carbon fork it lacks the weight that many a vintage bike will come laden with. SRAM DB Level brakes keep things under control, while a 10-speed 11-40T cassette and 30T chainring get you up to speed and hanging on with the Sunday club ride, even on the hills.
- Price: £1,199.99
A mountain bike designed for those whose days of hucks and jumps are behind them, but who still want to adventure off road, this step through rigid bike weighs in at just 9.9kg. Sit-and-spin 11-40T 10-speed gearing coupled with a 26T chainring will allow riders to climb those tougher off road climbs without having to muscle up them. We’ve had one of these on test, so hop on over here to check out our first ride review.
Common Design Features
All three bikes come with some key features designed to address common physical restrictions experienced as the body ages. We naturally become less powerful and strong, arthritis often affects mobility and flexibility, and balance becomes less stable. These can combine to deliver a loss of confidence in riding. All three bikes include the following:
- Twist Shift Gears – for easier operation with reduced manual strength and dexterity.
- Easy-Tyre-Change proprietary rims, to enable puncture repairs with weaker hands and retain independence.
- Hydraulic brakes which deliver high braking force for low power inputs.
- Low gearing to enable seated climbing.
- Light weight frames to counteract reduced power outputs.
- Low step overs for easier mounting and dismounting.
- Optional dropper posts for even easier setting off and stopping.
Isla stopped by to talk us through the Jimi and the range. Watch what she has to say here:
For more details on the range or to place an order, head to the Islabikes website now.