Bobbin Gingersnap 12″ kids bike review

When Bobbin Bikes asked us if we’d like to review their beautiful Gingersnap kids bike AND the matching adult bike, the Brownie, I immediately regretted moving from the gentle countryside of Cheshire to the steep hills of Cumbria.  Thankfully, I knew just the person to ask to review them.  Jen lives in a Cheshire village and has two daughters. She cycles to work regularly and had recently been asking me about which type of bike to buy for her eldest, who at the time was 4 years old and had just started school.  

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Review of the Bobbin Bikes Gingersnap 12″ children’s bicycle

I’ve never written a bike review before.  And my daughter has never had a bike that cost us more than £10.50 before (thanks eBay and cousins!) so I was excited to take Cycle Sprog up on their offer to review Bobbin Bike’s smallest pedal bike – the Gingersnap 12.  And even more delighted when they asked if I’d like to borrow the matching adult bike.  Um, where do I sign…?!Brownie and Gingersnap

First things first.  What do they look like?  You’re buying style with Bobbin Bikes.  As you can see from the photos the colour is contemporaneously classical.  It’s called “Pale Mint” but to me it edges towards blue.  Though I often do think green is blue (according to my husband) so I’m not sure if I’m completely trustworthy on the whole colour thing.  Anyway, it’s lovely.  If it had been more blue, my daughter would never have wanted it because blue is for boys.  Well, it was last year.  Now blue is her favourite colour.  Of course.  It also comes in blossom pink, cerise pink, yellow and duck egg blue.

The bike was delivered in a bike box to our house and was well packaged and protected.  It was very easy to put together and came with the correctly sized Hex (Allen) keys and bike spanner which was a nice touch.

How easy to ride is the Bobbin Gingersnap 12? 

What can I say?  She loved riding it!   The Gingersnap 12 is more upright than the “bike-shaped“ objects my daughter is used to riding.  The saddle is padded and she says it’s more comfortable, as it’s much more cushioned than she is used to.

Whilst the Bobbin doesn’t claim to be one of the lightest kids bike on the market (at 8.3kg) it is really well-made and solid, and is much lighter than her previous bikes. The steering is more responsive than she was used to and she got the knack within a couple of trips out.

The chain-guard means that clothes don’t get covered in oil, or caught in the chain.

Child sized brakes for child sized hands

For me, the most important advantage of the Gingersnap over other bikes she has had is that she can actually use the brakes.  I hadn’t realised before that she had struggled to apply them.  Living in Cheshire we are more likely to see an albatross roosting on our roof than a natural slope of any sort, especially one which may count as a hill, so brakes hadn’t really factored in my thinking before.  With hindsight, I’ve realised she usually stopped pedalling and waited until she was going slow enough to put her feet down.

Of course, I’m now racked with shame, as if I’d put her in the front seat of Oblivion without a harness.  What if she couldn’t stop and had gone in front of a car..?

Bobbin Gingersnap 12" child size brake levers

But on the Bobbin she can brake easily and quickly.  You can see from the photos that the brake is nice and close to the handlebar. That’s a feature I’m really impressed with.

We even found a hill (well, a bridge over the river does pass for a hill round here – seriously, I used to do running hill training over a flyover) that she made up, and more importantly, down the other side!

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Sizing of the Bobbin Gingersnap bikes

One thing to note about the Gingersnap first bikes is the sizing.  They do a 12″ and a 16″ bike.  However, all my daughter’s friends are now riding 14″ bikes!

The effect isn’t a safety issue, but a speed one.  Whilst she’s quite small for her age, she’s now turned 5 and just outgrown the 12″.  Her legs are flying around but she’s struggling to keep up with her friends, which isn’t great for her competitive nature (or that of her friends!) who are on their 14” wheel bikes.

The Gingersnap 12″ is aimed at children aged 2-4 years and the saddle height goes from 44 – 52cm. The larger Gingersnap 16” is aimed at children aged 5-6  with a saddle height of 47.5cm to 58.5cm.  The 16″ bike obviously comes in heavier, at 9.6kg.   I’m not sure when she was any smaller she’d have been able to cope with handling a 16″ bike.

Accessories for the Bobbin Gingersnap kids bikes

As you’ll have noticed, the Gingersnap comes with an all important wicker basket, which is perfect for carrying everything a 3 or 4 year old could need on a bike ride – cuddly toys, acorns, snacks, shopping lists etc!

Bobbin Gingersnap review

Both the 12″ and 16″ Gingersnaps come with stabilisers (very attractive looking ones, too but we didn’t need them). When my younger daughter is tall enough she’ll be able to use the bike and we should get two summers worth of fun before she outgrows it.

Is the Bobbin Gingersnap 12″ good value for money?

The Gingersnap retails at £170.  As I have two children, this equates to £85 per child, which I think is reasonable value.  It’s comparable with other mid range bikes and significantly cheaper than some of the premium kid’s bikes available, plus you’re getting a lot of style for your money.

It’s also really worth thinking about the value of having brakes designed especially for children with smaller hands who might struggle to brake on other, cheaper bikes.

Gingersnaps are now starting to pop up on eBay. As they are so sturdy and well-made, I’d imagine you’d recoup a good amount on the second-hand market if you look after it.

There’s a lovely detail that my daughter spotted with the observational skills that I’ve long-since lost.  “Mummy, why does your bike have a big ‘B’, and my bike has a little ‘b’?”  I’ll choose to believe it isn’t a typo that has snuck through Quality Assurance, but it is because of the answer she gave; “your bike is big and my bike is little”.  As I said, you’re buying style with a bobbin.

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Where to buy the Bobbin Gingersnap

The Bobbin Gingersnap 12 is available directly from the Bobbin Bikes website or secondhand through eBay.  The 12″ bike comes in five colours – we reviewed the pale mint one.

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Jen was provided with the Bobbin Gingersnap 12″ kids bike to review by Today’s Cyclist, the UK distributor for Bobbin Bikes.
Some of the links in this article contain affiliate links
, which means that if you make a purchase Cycle Sprog gets a very small commission from the retailer for sending you their way. This helps us to keep Cycle Sprog running and free to use. Thanks for your support.

This post was first published in May 2017 and updated to include new prices and availability in February 2021


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