Relatively lightweight, the Hoy Bonaly bike manage to balance a well thought out design and cost, making it a valid option for a taller rider who isn't quite ready for the weight or complexities of gears. If the chain had a guard, it would be close to perfect.
Variety of wheel sizes
Variety of Colours
No chain guard
When Sir Chris Hoy launched his range of kids bikes back in April, he promised lightweight bikes and competitive prices. Named after the final down hill run on Sir Hoy's old riding patch in Pentland Hills where Sir Chris Hoy first rode his mountain bike, the Hoy Bonaly bike range was carried over from the previous bike Evan Cycles exclusive range, but now comes with a completely redesigned lightweight frame, child friendly components and in 16, 20, 24 and 26 inch wheel sizes.
A Lightweight design was the biggest priority for Sir Hoy, who believes that if you calculated your body weight in relation to your bike, some kids bikes weights would be the equivalent of a adult bike weighing around the same as a motorbike.
With the 16" Hoy Bonaly bike weighing in at 6.06kg (with pedals), you could argue that some adult bikes weigh less, but the second of Hoy's priorities was cost and in order to keep the price down to £260 as apposed several thousands, there has to be compromises to be had. Besides, its a mere 250 grams heavier than the brand leading 14" Islabike Cnoc but costs £30 less.
Made from 6061-T6 heat treated alloy, the single speed Hoy Bonaly bike comes with narrow Q factor crankset which Evan Cycles says has been designed to ensure smaller riders’ legs are closer together and pedalling is efficient and smooth on the 25/14 gear ratio.
All the other components have been child friendly designed too, with the Tektro alloy mini-V brakes coming with short reach levers, narrow 450mm handlebar and 60cm stem. The 16" single wall aluminium rimed wheels are shod in Kenda K193 tyres, and up top is a Hoy kids super light foam saddle, which comes with an integrated handle for that all important adult hold in setting off, sudden slow down grab or even just carrying it back through the park once your child has had enough of riding the bike, although it's much more comfortable to lasso an old inner tube round the bike and carry it on the shoulder like an over sized work bag.
Having a tall just turned four year old is tricky when it comes to bikes she'd out grown her balance bikes last summer, but has struggled with the physical leg strength to turn pedals on anything other than flat, or downhill, bike rides. She's now at 1.07 meters, meaning she'd only really got going on her lightweight 14" Islabike Cnoc on more uneven and undulating terrain before already being at the seat post limit and complaining of sore hands on when it was rough going under wheel. So bigger wheels, aka a new bike, was certainly required, but the added complexity and weight of gears are by no means needed just yet.
The bigger wheels of the Hoy Bonaly bike immediately helped smooth out the terrain and while leg strength is still being built in my 'tall for age' four year old, she seemed to be better able to deal with cycle path obstacles, such as larger stones and potholes. Bigger wheels also meant faster rolling speed, as the same 25/14 gear ratio is used on the Isla Cnoc my daughter upgraded from, however, she's recently learnt a lot more speed moderation, so was able to control the bike at slow speeds well - but it's worth remember when your child hops on for the first time.
The child friendly Tektro alloy mini-V brakes work well and had plenty of adjustment to allow for small hands, so there were no issues with radial grip of bars and braking, I just wish my daughter would always choose this stopping option over feet skid stops - but I guess that will come in time!
Considering the Hoy Bonaly bike is a fair bit bigger than her old one, I was really surprised at how fast my daughter mastered riding it, even with the weight being around a third of her overall weight, it would be like me riding a 23kg bike (under 10kg is considered acceptable) and I'm pretty sure I'd struggle to handle the steering. It's far from a criticism of the Bonaly - as it's one of the lightest kids bikes on the market, it's more to highlight how well designed and mechanically put together the bike is. A less balanced bike wouldn't allow this seamless bike transition, so hats off to the designers.
However, there is a but, a reasonably big but. There's not chain guard, something that I personally think on a kids single speed bike is a necessity. The chainring is protected, but the rest of the chain is open, leaving little fingers really vulnerable when 'fixing' or 'checking' the bike as small ones tend to do. As we're already a adult finger tip down in our family, owed to a track bike cleaning incident, we're incredibly aware how easily and quickly an accident can occur, even as a very experienced young adult at the time, so it's definately something I would prefer to see inclosed on a kids bike.
There's no doubt that the Hoy Bonaly bike will out last the length of time of time your child will be able to ride it before outgrowing. It's really well put together with will thought out components and the paint scheme nod to the velodrome track is a lovely touch.
£260 may see like a lot of money to spend on a bike that will be outgrown fairly swiftly, but it really will enhance a child's experience of riding a bike and hopefully give them a life long love of cycling, which is totally priceless.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011.
She's specialises on the technical side of all things cycling, including pro peloton team kit having covered multiple seasons of the Spring Classics, and Grand Tours for both print and websites. Prior to joining Cycling Weekly, Hannah was a successful road and track racer, competing in UCI races across the world, and has raced in most of Europe, China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won 24 hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas. She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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