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Help Needed for Kids Xmas Bike Modification

Can I remove pedals and crank from granddaughters first bike ?

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PatMc10/12/2019 12:17:55
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Urgent advice from bike experts needed please.

My son has bought his 5 year old daughter her first bike for Xmas. He's been advised to remove the pedals as a first stage in teaching her to ride the bike.

Taking only the pedals only off seems easy but it would leave the crank arms in place which could be a bit of a nuisance.

Can the cranks also be removed without having to remove the chain & sprocket ?

Brian Cooper10/12/2019 12:57:24
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It is unlikely that the cranks can be removed without also removing the chain, etc. . If the main chain-ring and the crank on the opposite side are removed, there is the likelihood of the bearings falling out and dirt getting into hole.

If the child is still learning to ride, it might be a better option to get a "balance bike". . These are superb bikes with no pedals and a low seat position so the kid can use their feet to "run" whilst on the bike. . It doesn't take them long to learn how to balance, and then she can graduate to a bike with pedals. yes

B.C.

MattyB10/12/2019 12:58:52
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If you remove the crank and spider there will be nowhere for the chainring to attach to, so that would have to come off as would the chain. If you have the right tools this is easy, if not then you will prob need a bike shop (crank removal is not a job that should be bodged with the wrong tools). Once removed you would also need to tape over the BB to stop dirt getting in there.

Personally I would just remove the pedals and see how she goes, my daughter had no problems with doing that (you can always immobilise the crank with a cable tie round the chainstay; probably best done on the non-drive side).

Edited By MattyB on 10/12/2019 13:01:25

alex nicol10/12/2019 13:02:49
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Can't say I've ever heard that one before.

For what it's worth I'd be inclined to leave the pedals on as feet on pedals add to the stability of riding the bike.

Both of my kids learned to ride their bikes (many years ago) pedals on with no problems.

G194010/12/2019 13:07:16
3523 forum posts
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I think removing the cranks and bottom bracket is an excellent idea to help a child learn to ride. I know I learned on our large backyard which had a gentle slope just freewheeling my fairy cycle.

You will certainly need to remove the chain (it wraps round the chain stays) which is easy with the appropriate tool if there isn't a split link. Cranks and bottom bracket are also quite easy to take off but again suitable pullers are needed. I'm sure a bike shop would do the job for a small charge - or for nothing if you'd bought the bike there.

I have all the tools and I'd gladly do it for you but I live in Derbyshire which is a bit far from you

Geoff

PS most (all?) bottom brackets on full size bikes are sealed units these days (probably on childs' bikes, too) so there'll be no likely hood of getting dirt in.  They still fit in the standard British bottom bracket shell (watch out for the LH thread on the LH side) so there's no problem with loose steel balls and cups and cones as a few years ago.

Edited By Geoff Sleath on 10/12/2019 13:14:27

John Bisset10/12/2019 13:30:44
203 forum posts

Several quite different views here!

Personally I - we -found no problem teaching our kids to ride bikes with the pedals attached, They had all had a tricycle to play on first which may have helped a little.Typically all three were happily away with less than a couple of days's of help - holding the saddle lightly from behind to add stability, then running up and down our quiet cul de sac.

First one at five,the other two younger, since younger kids are always desperate to catch up.

So personally I 'd say you are over-complicating. By all means add trainer wheels or take the pedals off if you must. Other than that, keep it simple., Kids are keen to learn, and learn fast! Hope your grandchild has fun...

Max Z10/12/2019 15:13:52
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Posted by Geoff Sleath on 10/12/2019 13:07:16:

(watch out for the LH thread on the LH side)

Geoff, I know you are a biking man, so I am hesitating to comment on this. But I think the "odd" (LH) thread is on the RH side, to avoid the pedal unscrew from the crank when its bearings run heavy.

Max.

Edited By Max Z on 10/12/2019 15:15:32

MattyB10/12/2019 15:30:35
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Posted by John Bisset on 10/12/2019 13:30:44:

...So personally I 'd say you are over-complicating. By all means add trainer wheels or take the pedals off if you must. Other than that, keep it simple., Kids are keen to learn, and learn fast! Hope your grandchild has fun...

Stabilisers seem to have gone right out of fashion for teaching kids - I'll leave you to decide whether that is because they are genuinely less effective for kids learning, or if it's because the industry would rather sell you a balance bike instead...

PS - One thing that is a huge step forward is the fact that you can actually buy decent, lightweight kids bikes now with good geometry. Isla, Frog et al may be expensive, but the difference between them and the old "Halfords hack" machine that is seemingly constructed from lead is night and day. Best of all they actually retain a lot of their value too. There is also a new line from Go Outdoors that is apeing the premium brands with light weight frames and kid specific geo and parts at a lower price (Wild Bikes).

Edited By MattyB on 10/12/2019 15:38:55

MattyB10/12/2019 15:35:38
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Posted by Max Z on 10/12/2019 15:13:52:
Posted by Geoff Sleath on 10/12/2019 13:07:16:

(watch out for the LH thread on the LH side)

Geoff, I know you are a biking man, so I am hesitating to comment on this. But I think the "odd" (LH) thread is on the RH side, to avoid the pedal unscrew from the crank when its bearings run heavy.

Max.

The pedals on both sides are designed so they unscrew when you pedal. This might seem illogical, but if they tightened in the direction you pedal you'd never get em off! This is why I always use some anti-seize on the threads, that way you can torque it up that little bit harder safe in the knowledge it will always come off (admittedly I don't have carbon cranks though).

Guide to removal, and there are lots of good Youtube vids on the subject too including this one from King Calvin of Park Tool fame...

Edited By MattyB on 10/12/2019 15:37:16

John A H10/12/2019 16:59:23
133 forum posts
160 photos

Geoff was talking about the bottom bracket shells not the pedals.

Both the bottom bracket and pedals have one LH thread and one RH thread - that is unless the bottom bracket is "Italian" in which case both bottom bracket sides have a RH thread, my Colnago's have "Italian" bottom brackets and over tens of thousands of miles the bottom brackets have never come loose. These days there a lots of different types of bottom bracket/crank systems each with different tool to remove.

For the pedals …. if you put a spanner/allen key on/in them and the chainset freewheels then it means you are trying to unscrew, if the bike tries to move forward then you are tightening them. Righthand side pedal is RH thread and left side is LH thread.

It's slightly confusing because for some pedals you use a spanner around the base of the pedal axle so you are turning it as you would expect for that thread but some use an allen key inserted into the axle from the "rear" of the crank so it seems like you are turning it the opposite way - if that makes sense.

John Bisset10/12/2019 17:04:20
203 forum posts

Aha - something new. Thanks MattyB - I shall look up 'balance bikes.

Also a good reminder to me about pedal threads...

G194010/12/2019 17:56:58
3523 forum posts
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Posted by Max Z on 10/12/2019 15:13:52:
Posted by Geoff Sleath on 10/12/2019 13:07:16:

(watch out for the LH thread on the LH side)

Geoff, I know you are a biking man, so I am hesitating to comment on this. But I think the "odd" (LH) thread is on the RH side, to avoid the pedal unscrew from the crank when its bearings run heavy.

Max.

Edited By Max Z on 10/12/2019 15:15:32

You're right Max, my mistake. It's the fixed cup on the RHS that's LH thread on British bottom brackets. I really don't think it's necessary but, like a lot of things cycling, it's something that dates back over 100 years and difficult to change.

I did once have a left pedal unscrew whilst riding a newly built tandem. Fortunately we were going slowly up a steep, short bank and my foot, pedal attached didn't cause a problem as it hit the road; my stoker pushed us over the brow without my help

One thing I always did before flying with the bikes on holiday was make sure the pedals were free to undo for loading onto the aeroplane. That was back in the days when we cycled to the airport, stripped the bikes enough to satisfy the carrier, put the panniers and camping gear in a big cloth bag and enjoyed the flight. Not possible now.

Geoff

Paul Marsh10/12/2019 18:02:11
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My dad pushed me down a hill. Soon learnt to ride a bike.cool

PatMc10/12/2019 23:51:05
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Thanks to all who have offered advice. thumbs up

As mentioned the bike has already been purchased, it's a good condition S/H one that's the correct size for my granddaughter.

The idea is to use it in the manner Brian Cooper described, using a "balance bike". Once sh'e learned to maintain balance we'll refit the pedals.

I spoke to my son today & we've decided removing the cranks might be a bigger problem than first realised so we're leaving them in place.

ken anderson.11/12/2019 10:40:06
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8501 forum posts
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hello pat, I've got 6 grandkids, four of them riding bikes. All started of with a pair of stabilisers on the back, after the initial getting used to the bike ,they were removed. The youngins learn remarkably quick..... no fear.

ken anderson...ne..1...no fear dept.

Doc Marten11/12/2019 14:31:38
394 forum posts
4 photos

In all honesty, balance bikes can be bought and sold on cheap enough as not to be worth the hassle of removing cranks and bottom brackets.

Alex Ferguson 212/12/2019 03:11:32
36 forum posts

Stabilisers don't allow learning to stabilise.

Five? Quite old enough to ride a bike.

Ernie13/12/2019 09:12:51
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Pat, remember left hand pedal, le'ft hand thread

ernie

Robin Colbourne13/12/2019 20:30:47
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The danger of leaving pedals on is that if the child isn't using pedals, he/she gets their legs caught around them and comes off, or at least gets bruised/grazed. It is particularly unpleasant if its on the Achilles tendon, which may put the youngster off having another go for a while, not to mention grief from Mum.

A quick check on Gumtree showed 512 balance bikes nationwide for less than £20. Add in Friday-Ads, Preloved, Ebay and car boot sales, and there's a massive selection of used ones going for a song.

For the sake of £20 or less, of which you will get most of back when its done its job, definitely get a balance bike!

Once the child does move up to the bike with pedals once they have sorted out balance, the other thing that is useful, is a 'parent pole' which clamps on to the top of the seat stays  or saddle stem and sticks out back and up. It allows you to hold on as they get started.  You can relax your grip on it once they are balancing themselves and the child won't notice, so doesn't panic.  It also allows you to act as brakeman if they're heading for the neighbour's new car!


 

 

Edited By Robin Colbourne on 13/12/2019 20:46:35

Phil Green13/12/2019 21:11:17
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1538 forum posts
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Hi Pat, I'm with Paul & Alex - at 5 she should be riding properly, no stabilisers

Our bike racing club starts Juniors racing on minimotos at six years old, quite a few are girls...

 

 

 

 

Edited By Phil Green on 13/12/2019 21:13:27

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