Bicycling has become one of the most popular fitness pastimes for adults around the world, but for kids, technology just hasn’t kept up. While it’s certainly important to prevent injuries while cycling on dirt trails in the mountaintops, Brian Riley and Kyle Jansen knew that what was just as important—maybe even more important—was keeping a little boy from snapping his arm after flying off the front of his bike in his own driveway. This is why Guardian Bicycle Company was born. Riley and Jansen saw a serious lack of kid-friendly bikes designed with safety as a top priority. So, they decided to build one.
Guardian Bikes has been operating since its launch at the Interbike Trade Show in Las Vegas in 2015, and runs its operations out of Irvine, California. The brand has since gained notoriety as “the safest bike for kids”, and there’s some evidence to back it up. The way it works is pretty simple at the face: the front brake on the bike only works when there is weight over the rear tire. This means that as a child’s body is lifted from the bike’s seat, less pressure is applied on the front brake. This speeds up slow-down time, while also preventing what Guardian Bikes refers to as “head over handlebars” accidents. These completely preventable accidents are often caused by front-brake bikes, when uneven weight distribution + increased speed = a true disaster.
Guardian Bikes’ award-winning, patent-pending brake system, the SureStop, is something of a marvel, even given how utterly simple the design is. The brakes are controlled by one handlebar squeeze, rather than two. This means that kids doing awesome one-handed stunts (often a precursor to those head over handlebars pitfalls) can focus on staying balanced and aware of their surroundings, rather than on squeezing two pumps at once.
The Guardian bike itself is designed ergonomically for a child’s frame. The wheel base sits lower to the ground, the wheels are further apart, and the seat is positioned lower. According to some basic physics, that means that the rider’s center of gravity is closer to the Earth, making spills from a great height less of a possibility, no matter the child’s age or height. In fact, Guardian bikes makes it easy to find the perfect size bike for little ones (20”, 22” and 24”) based on the child’s height. There are even recommendations for how long the bike will remain a great fit.
Guardian Bikes are designed to be lightweight and easy to maneuver and learn on. They are crafted in 100% 6061 aircraft grade aluminum and are 10 pounds lighter than the average kids bike. Each frame is also hand welded, with designs picked by kids!
The world has already taken notice of this innovative brand, with features on NBC, FoxNews, the Orange County Register, and Parenting. The market for kids bikes is a steady one, with 19% of the 2.4 million bikes sold through independent dealers as of May 2015 being bikes for children, according to the Orange County Register. If there’s ever a market for a bike like what Riley and Jansen have built together, it’s certainly there.