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We focus on designing frames with low stand-overs to take much of the awkwardness out of getting on board and dismounting after.
We trim as much weight as we can with lightweight aluminum frames on many of the youth models and use aluminum parts where possible (the limiting factor here is working within a youth bike appropriate price point) to work towards that make-it-as-light-as-possible goal.
The additional benefit of this spec-as-much-alloy-as-possible design bias is that the product will hold up in the elements significantly better (with a much slower and lower oxidation rate) than other kids bikes built with more steel parts. We know because we have kids too and their Jamis bikes are often left outside for much of the year. Were amazed at how good these bikes look 3, 5, and even 7 years later.
Another way we assure aesthetic durability is to electroplate many of the exposed steel parts with a black protective coating. Parts that are usually chrome-plated or painted instead on other bikes, often start chipping or rusting within weeks of being purchased. While our black electroplating wont completely prevent rust, it will retard its onset. And even when oxidation has occurred, the black electro-plating helps to mask and conceal that oxidation. Another benefit of electroplating is that the manufacturing process is less environmentally toxic than chrome plating.