We Love, You Need Guide: Bikes

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Sandra Gordon on Jun 4, 2010 at 3:15PM

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Mongoose ACE 20" Boys BMX

Mongoose

a Sandra Gordon on Apr 17, 2010 at 3:45PM

BEST INTERMEDIATE BIKE

Expert rating:

Bike Stats
Tire size: 20"
Bike weight: 25 lbs.
Best for kids aged: 6 to 9
Type of bike: Freestyle
Rider level: Intermediate to advanced
Price: $164.99

Get it Now: Mongoose.com

Expert review: This freestyle jumping bike is built to do tricks and stunts, so it's not the best choice for young riders who are mainly concerned with staying upright. If your child has cycling experience and is ready for action, this is a good choice. The bike offers sizable air-filled tires (which handle bumps better than polymer tires) and dual hand brakes, an advanced feature that gives riders more control. (Note: Make sure your child's arms are long enough to easily grasp the handbrakes on this bike, and it's a good idea to have a mechanic ensure that the handbrakes function properly.) BMX bikes are designed to be ridden on hilly trails and other challenging surfaces, but you'll want your child to hold off on the rough terrain until he has substantial biking experience.

Why we love it: It's visually stunning; cranberry red/silver color combination; offers a smooth ride; easy assembly and seat adjustability; plastic casing around the chain link (so it protects your kids pant leg from snagging!).

What we wish it had: Coaster brakes; smaller frame.

Great for: Confident young riders who want to take cycling to the next level.

Bottom line: Freestyle jumping bikes are a trend among young riders, but since the Mongoose ACE lacks coaster brakes (like most freestyle bikes), these really aren't for basic beginners. (Also the dual handbrakes can be tough for young riders to reach and grasp, making balancing kind of tricky.) This bike is best for a child with some riding experience, an interest in BMX or when the fear of falling isn't his primary concern. A great intermediate riding option.

What our parent tester thought:
"The bike rides like melted butter and feels quite sturdy. I know because I jumped on the bike first to show my son how fun and easy it is to ride."

"My husband gives the bike a 3 for assembly on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 as the most difficult."

-- Wendy, and her 6-year-old son, of Richmond, Va.

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