Well today I did a good thing, and recommended that a bike not be repaired.
A previous customer of mine asked for me to fix their son's bike after it had been recovered - it had been stolen. Doing a house-call on this one, I arrived to see a department store 20 inch mountain bike, which had been savagely beaten into a pulp. She asked if it was worth fixing and that she was willing to pay up to $75 to get it fixed. I told her to save her money and keep an eye out on the Buy & Sell or garage sales for a $50 BMX. Her son would like that a lot better. This brings me to the point of my blog today...
This bike was for her 6 year old son. I do not blame my customer, but I shudder at what department stores label "children's bikes" these days. These bikes are manufactured and assembled (for the most part - I know one department store that contracts work to a certain bike mechanic...) cheaply and with out any real thought. Kids should not be trying to learn to ride a 40lbs bicycle. Get them on a nice single speed BMX with a coaster brake or nice hand brakes. They weighs less than a Ford F-150, are better for balance, and are fun to ride in to your teens! I see too many kids these days suffering on top of multi-gear full suspension monsters that handle like boat anchors. You don't need to spend much. In fact, you can find used a BMX for any where from "get it our of my garage" to about $100. And there is always the outside chance that bike may be an old classic race or jump bike too. And if your kid needs a brand new bit of awesomeness, race BMX bikes can still be purchased for $1200 at almost any bike shop in the country. Save the multi-geared mountain bike for when they are teenagers and want a mountain bike.
So let's get kids bikes that they will like to ride and not a boat anchor.
Plus, you can do wicked jumps on them!