Ah, kids bikes … they’re growing up so fast.
The children’s cycling market is steadily maturing and Eurobike 2022 was thrilling confirmation of its evolution in many directions.
Multiple brands of electric balance bikes, mini cargobikes, cycles made entirely from recycled materials and increasingly protective, lightweight and easy-to-use child seats; in many ways the junior cyclist market is a pint-sized version of a transforming bike industry as a whole.
The simple days of kids dragster, BMX and some simple mountain bikes are long gone. Companies are exploring new ideas to find their niche, and parents, it would seem, as increasingly willing to pay much more for their children to cycle.
Cargobikes were one of the most pronounced trends at Eurobike 2022, which a rapid explosion of exhibitors and much of one pavilion dedicated to them. However, Chinese manufacturer Clamber was one of the few with a tiny version.
Taiwan’s Ottobike has managed to fit a mid-drive motor into its new oiio balance bikes. The oiiio, which retails for €940 (A$1,376) has a brushless motor with five speeds, from 5kmh to 21kmh.
Ottobike revealed its prototype at Eurobike 2021 and started production this year. It’s now on the lookout for distributors.
Hamburg’s heyReflect remains the only producer of LED fitted safety vest for children and has undergone a recent name change. Launched in 2018 as myGlowy, the company has opted for a less childish title as it expands into adult-sized versions of its unique vests.
MET has released a new Bimbi Italia helmet with a very specific design for very small children. A cut-out at the top of the helmet ensures there is no pressure on the fontanelles, the soft spots of a newborn baby’s skull between the yet-to-fuse plates of bone. The Bimbi is also flat at the back, to make it more confortable for the child while sitting in a kids bike seat.
The Bimbi comes in both MIPs and non-MIPs versions, with a high-mounted LED rear light on the MIPs helmet so the light is more likely to be visible above a child seat.
It’s only a matter of weeks since a collaboration between MTRL.bikes and components designer and manufacturer Igus released a prototype of its bike produced entirely from recycled plastic.
However, MTRL then used Eurobike 2022 to display a kids bike version. The Dutch founders of MTRL, brothers Benjamin and Johannes Alderse Baas says they are now deliberating over whether to take the adult or the child version into production first.
The brothers play down the materials used to make their bike, saying bicycles made with recycled plastic are nothing new. But the MTRL bike is recycle.d plastic all the way down to its bearings.
After watching their grandfather run a bicycle repair shop, the brothers set out to “repair” the way bikes were made, to remove the need for repair stores.
They say they’re proud to create bikes their grandchildren will still be able to use – “or recycle if they don’t like the design”.