Do you know what the main problem with children bikes is? There is virtually no choice. Have you ever tried to shop for a bicycle for your kids? Not an easy task (unless you absolutely don't care) because about 99% of all children bikes look like this:
An average children bike (Source: Google Images)
They are ugly, heavy and made of some very cheap components. Perhaps the cheap part of it may be justifiable somehow. Children outgrow their bikes quickly, after all and no one buys a small size bike for his/her child hoping it will last for life. But it doesn't excuse the designers from building ugly and heavy bikes.
Hopefully, there are some alternatives but unfortunately, still too few. The first one I heard about was Islabikes. It is a British manufacturer of children bicycles and at least in pictures they appear to be better designed: are prettier, look lighter and seem to be of better quality. Take a look at their Cnoc16 model and compare with the first bike above:
Cnoc16 by Islabikes (Source: Islabikes.co.uk)
But that's in Britain. Here in U.S., we were a bit out of luck. Until recently. This year Linus introduces Lil' Roadster - their children bike for boys (There is a girl version as well!). I have to say that this is the first children bicycle that caught my attention in a long time. Not only it looks great, doesn't come in pastel blue or Barbie pink, looks lightweight, but it also comes with some components still missing on many small bikes: fenders, chain cover and a bell. I guess it's beauty is in simplicity. One gear, one (coaster) break, simple lines. And another big plus - it does not pretend to be a BMX or a mountain bike. Good work Linus!
Linus Lil' Roadster (Source: Linus Bikes)
But in the end, it always comes down to price. As I mentioned above, our little ones will outgrow these bikes quickly, which means - we don't want to spend too much. And unfortunately, we will likely not see many Lil' Roadsters in our neighborhood. At $300, it seems like a bit pricey offer (Closer to $200 would make more sense). But if you have multiple kids at different ages the bike can serve well all of them, one by one. And then, it may be worth considering.