Friday, June 16, 2017

Journey Girls Bike Set

Calista Gets a New Bike!

Journey Girl's bike is not a new item, rather it is a re-release of a bike that made its debut in 2013.  In 2014 it started showing up in its current state.  Originally the bike was light blue with purple accents, had black tires, and a white basket and handlebars.  The "new" version is mostly a salmon pink with teal blue accents, white tires, and the same white basket and handlebars.  The set comes with a helmet to keep you Journey Girl safe and retails for about $30.

I have two Our Generation bikes (both identical) that I love, which is why it took me a long time to decide to get this bike.  The Our Generation bike is made of metal, with real rubber tires, training wheels, and a "working" chain.  It is very sturdy and resembles a real bicycle.  The Journey Girls bike is made of plastic, feels very light, has plastic wheels, small balancing wheels, and a non-working chain.  The Journey Girls bike is $10 less though, and it comes with a helmet.  Is the Journey Girls bike worth the $30?

As I mentioned, the Journey Girls "Cruiser" is very light weight due to it being made entirely of plastic.  The only metal on the bike are the screws that hold the plastic pieces together.

Is the fact that the bike's frame is not metal a big deal?  Not really...I mean we are talking about a doll bike.  So it doesn't have to hold much weight.  The plastic is plenty solid for normal play.  If a child pushes down too hard on handlebars, I do fear that weak points will be shown and the plastic may break, but that is just a theory, not a truth.  Salmon pink colors the entire frame, with a Journey Girls sticker on the crossbar.

My sticker has a part that is bubbled and no matter how much I struggle with the thing, I can't get it to stay down.  Both the sprocket (gear) and the chain protector have the same style of sticker on each piece, with the later again sporting the Journey Girls name.

Teal fenders add another color that carries over into the handle grips and the foot pedals.  Plain white adorns the handlebars, the little front carrier basket, as well as the plastic spokes on the wheels.  The rims of the wheels are a strange mauve/purple color that is also on the rim of the basket.  Tassels hang from the handle grips bringing back memories of my banana seat bike I had as a kid.

On the back of the bike on top of the fender is a carrier rack made of gray plastic, the same that can be seen on the cranks, the little bell on the handlebars, the fender stabilizers, and the small stabilizing wheels on the bottom of the bike.

Off the carrier rack is a large curved piece of plastic that almost looks like the back of a seat, which is essentially what it is.  It is made to help sit your doll up straight.  However, I found that I didn't need it once Calista's feet were strapped in and her hands were on the handlebar grips.  So I popped it out.

If you flip the bike on its side you will see where the seat back is clipped into the carrier rack.  If you push on that area the seat back should come out.  You make to squeeze the end together a little using a tweezers or pliers.

The bike looks much more realistic without the seat back and the dolls don't need it.  Plus it makes more room on the carrier rack this way.

The seat of the bike has a fabric cushion with the same design on it as the stickers that adorn the crossbar.  It is a cute touch and is one place that the Journey Girls bike betters the Our Generation bike, which has only a plastic seat. (ouch!)  The seat is positioned so that there is really only two positions that the pedals can be placed.

When the pedals are flat, parallel to the ground, both Calista's feet can be placed on the pedals, either with the right foot forward or the left foot.  Without any movement in the Journey Girls knees, these are the only two positions that work.

To hold Calista's feet on the pedals a loop of elastic sticks up from the top surface of the pedal.  By slipping these around her shoes she is able to stay seated on the bicycle very easily.

The handlebars look a little goofy when you first look at them because of their shape.  Again they remind me of the tall handlebars that my banana seat bike had.  When you put your doll on the seat and strap her feet in, you will find out quickly why the handlebars are shaped this way.  Calista's hands fit perfectly on the hand grips!

Much better than on the Our Generation bike, which uses rubber loops to hold the dolls hands on.  You are even able to turn the handlebars to either side a little, not much, but a little.  Tassels hang down from the ends of each hand grip in colors that match the scheme of the rest of the bike.

The tiny basket on the front of the bike has the "JG" symbol on it, so you can tell who made it as it comes towards you too.

One issue with a bike is that it is very difficult to balance without motion.  Because of this issue Journey Girls has added a small kickstand with two little wheels on it underneath the pedals.  Although not as realistic as the training wheels that are on the Our Generation bike, these wheels do just as good a job of keeping your doll and her bike upright.

You can pull the wheels off, but then the bike doesn't stand on its own.

I'm not sure if I like these tiny wheels or the training wheels of the Our Generation bike better.

I can take one training wheel off so that you don't really see the other one as I photograph, but the little wheels are always there.  Very smart of Journey Girls to make the wheels gray so they blend in more with blacktop and cement (I'm sure that's why they picked that color).

Now onto the most frustrating part of this set; the helmet.  I was super excited that the Journey Girls set has a helmet.  It's a great way to promote safety through play.  If my doll wears her helmet, I may be more likely to when I ride my bike.  and the helmet is really cute with the front being plain white with the "JG" symbol on it, and then the helmet fades to the purple that is on the basket lip.  It's a cool design.  Sadly the helmet does not fit.  Well, that isn't completely true.  The helmet fits perfectly on Calista's head, but getting the strap buckled is a lesson in patience.

The parachute cord buckle is difficult to get together because the straps are so tight, even when they are loosened to their full length.   It is nice to have a buckle though compared to good job on that part Journey Girls.  The old Journey Girls dolls are a little easier to get the helmet on.  And if your doll has a ponytail, it has to be low and loose to get the helmet on.

As with other Journey Girls products, this could just be an issue with my set.  Fitment can vary from set to set.  If it does not, you may be helping your little one get this helmet on and off a lot. Or like my Calista...she just rode unsafely!  One more issue with the helmet; the straps are pegged on the inside of the helmet with a tiny bit of the strap poking out after the peg.

This piece of strap grabs Calista's hair every time the helmet is adjusted or taken off.

When her hair was in a ponytail the strap would pull chunks of hair out of the ponytail...annoying!

All ratings are out of 10

Playability 8 – This is a fun bike.  It is easy to get Calista on and off, you can play with the little wheels on or off, and it is a cute bike.  I wish that the basket on the front was a little bigger, but the added rack on the back is helpful for carrying more items.  Good fun.

Value 7 – For the price you get a nice little bike that is pretty good quality.  Compared to the Our Generation bike or an American Girl bike, this one seems on the cheap side.  It's made of plastic rather than metal (although it is a sturdy, good quality plastic), the wheels are plastic rather than rubber, plastic spokes compared to metal spokes, and a non-functioning bell, all make this feel a bit cheap, especially compared to the Our Generation bike.  All that being said, I still really like this bike for the price.  I think this is about what I expect for a bike this price, and I am surprised by the OG bike.

Quality 7 – Again, the bike is made of a solid plastic with good quality all around.  Some of the thinner plastic pieces are flimsy (like the fender stabilizers and the little wheels to balance) and there are visible screws that could be hidden better.  The stickers have some issues.  Overall, though this is a great bike.

Overall 7 – Buy this bike when it goes on sale it will be well worth it.  Even at it's normal price it is a good bike.  Yes it has some flaws.  And the helmet doesn't fit real well.  As a whole though, this set is really neat.  I love that Calista fits on it perfectly.  Her hands and legs look comfortable.  It just fits a little better than the Our Generation bike (not surprising...well maybe a little, since some of the JG items don't fit JG dolls all that well either).  If you are looking for a fun way for your doll to get around (that is age appropriate...who has ever let an 8 year old drive a car by themselves) than this is the perfect set for you.  Pick it up when a sale comes or a 15% off coupon.


The AG Homeshooler said...

Meredith and Kelsey have been nominated for the Sisters Award! Go to my blog, AG's Wondrous World, to see what they get to do. Congratulations!

Melody Silverleaf said...

Thank you for the review. I like your attention to detail.