Glerc is a Chinese company that builds bikes for both kids and adults. While not a recognizable name here in America, we can say with confidence that they are putting out quality bikes that can compete with anything available on our shores. And they are sold at what we consider to be a very reasonable price point.
The Glerc kids bikes have a belt drive, single speed drivetrain, and are lightweight. We appreciated the simplicity, quality, and price.
We tested the 20 inch version but it also comes in a 16 inch model for younger riders.
Review In A Nutshell
- Simple – no gears, chain, or shifters to worry about
- Quality parts
- Simple assembly
- Internally routed cables
- Lots of bang for your buck
- Not sold in local bike shops
- Sharp (not rounded) bolts
- Cheap grips
Why Belt Drive Bikes Make Great Kids Bikes
We have reviewed belt drive bikes (like the Belsize 20 and the Priority Start) here before, and our opinion remains unchanged. Belt drive bikes a great alternative to a chain-driven bicycle that’s going to be used by kids riding around the neighborhood, or hitting up the bike path with the family on the weekends. The lack of required maintenance, durability, and ease of use all add up to a solid, dependable drivetrain that will keep the smiles coming as far as the kids can pedal.
You’re probably asking yourself right about now, “What is a belt drive bike?”, and that’s okay. More common in Europe than the U.S. currently, a belt drive bike is no different than any other bike you’ve seen, save for the drivetrain, which is powered by an automotive style belt instead of a metal chain.
Advantages of this setup include less maintenance. There’s no need to lube the chain, making messy chain grease stains a thing of the past, a slight reduction in weight, and superior longevity. Whereas a traditional chain should be replaced every so often, a belt can often last the life of the bicycle!
Like a lot of direct-to-consumer bikes these days, the Glerc 20” shows up “mostly” assembled. We has to install only the front wheel, handlebar, seat post, and pedals.
The required tools are in the box, although we used our own Park Tool pedal wrench rather than subject our fingers to the tiny open wrench Glerc provided. That wrench will absolutely do the job in a pinch, however.
From the moment we opened the box to the moment our tester was pedaling up the road was less than 25 minutes. And most of that time was spent removing packing materials. Yeah, it was that easy, meaning the smiles arrived soon after the box was unloaded from the delivery van!
Lightweight, High Quality Build
Available in three color choices (brushed silver, blue, and green), the aluminum framed Glerc 20” is a good looking bike that features name-brand, high quality components. These include the mini-V brakes with child-appropriate levers, Kenda Small Block Eight tires with small knobs, a comfortable seat with an appropriately sized seat post, and a Gates automotive-grade belt.
The bike sports a step-through frame design that makes it easier for kids to get on and off the bike, which we always appreciate. Glerc lists the 20” version as appropriate for children 5-9 years old or 43-50 inches tall.
The brake cables are routed internally through the frame at the factory, which is a very nice touch not always seen on children’s bikes. Internally routed cabling presents less of an opportunity for snags and crimps, once again cutting down on required maintenance – thanks, Glerc!
The choice of aluminum as a frame material is important, as anyone who follows our reviews knows that we love LIGHTWEIGHT bikes for kids. Steel is a great material, but unless you are getting into the very high-end of adult bikes, it’s going to be heavier compared to aluminum.
Our six year old tester weighs just under 50 lbs., meaning a 25 lb. bike (which is normal, if not exactly ideal in the kid’s bike world) is 50% of his total body weight. Imagine if an average sized adult (~180 lbs. in the U.S.) were asked to ride a bike that weighed half as much as they did. That’s 90 lbs. and would be totally absurd!
Fortunately, the Glerc 20” weighs in at a svelte 18 lbs., which is very much acceptable. A lightweight bike is easier to ride, accelerate, feels snappier, and will allow for longer family outings, too! Another advantage aluminum has over steel is that it doesn’t rust, so when the inevitable scratches occur, corrosion won’t set in.
An additional nice touch we all appreciated was the addition of mounts for a standard-size water bottle cage. You’d think all kids bikes would have this, but they don’t!
Due to the small size of the frame’s front triangle, the water bottle cage mounts underneath the downtube, which can lead to road or trail gunk getting thrown on to the spout of the water bottle, but it’s nothing a quick wipe of the hand can’t fix.
Besides, as we always like to say, “dirt is good for you!” All in all, we are big fans of our kids being able to carry their own water bottle, because it takes the burden off Mom and Dad and allows the child to drink more frequently than if they have to stop and ask us for a drink, leading to better hydrated and happier kiddos.
How Does It Ride?
Our tester spends about 75% of his bike time riding a mountain bike in the woods these days, so given the chance to get out on a “gravel bike,” as he refers to the Glerc, he immediately pronounced it “wicked fast!” Sure enough, despite lacking gears, the Glerc moves smoothly and efficiently over pavement, hardpacked dirt, and gravel paths.
The Kenda tires have just enough tread to provide grip on varied surfaces or imperfect pavement, and their recommended inflation pressure of 40 PSI translated to smooth speed. Taking some air out of the tires provided a cushy, albeit slower ride, which would be perfect for unpaved paths.
The Glerc has a comfortable yet very modern seating position, with a 50 mm riser handlebar and stem capable of being flipped for a higher or lower position, allowing the bike to grow with your child. The belt drive is whisper-quiet, requires almost no maintenance, and also serves as a conversation piece when out and about!
We particularly loved not having to worry about stains on legs or pants from chain grease. This makes it an ideal bike to ride to and from school for families that live in bikeable communities.
Room for Improvement
We love the Glerc 20”, but as with most things, there is some room for improvement. The front wheel is secured using 15 mm bolts with sharp edges. These can lead to scrapes and cuts in the case of a crash.
We much prefer rounded bolts for safety (which the Glerc curiously has on the rear wheel, but not the front). Or, even better would be a quick-release skewer to allow tool-free removal in the case of a flat tire or transportation in the back of an SUV.
Another nit-picky observation we had was the flimsy rubber grips the Glerc arrived with. They won’t last more than a few months of riding before wearing out.
Fortunately, grips can be purchased at your local bike shop or online for less than $20. Because of the low coast and ease of upgrading the grips, we consider this far from being a dealbreaker.
“Nice to haves” (although not totally necessary) would be some form of disc brake, most likely mechanical due to the price point. But even those aren’t a requirement as the bike is designed for more lightweight use than a heavy-duty mountain bike, where the rider can be expected to be riding through mud, water, and other environments that make stopping more difficult.
Who’s it For?
The Glerc 20” belt-drive is a great bike for kids that want to cruise around the neighborhood with their friends, hit the bike path on the weekends with the family, and maybe even do some light, mellow trail riding without having to worry about shifting gears.
Mom and Dad will love the lack of required maintenance. The bike is set-it and forget-it, with no chain to lube, stretch, or mess with. That lack of maintenance frees up more time for the important things, like riding bikes!
The single-speed gearing on the Glerc 20” was ideal for our test area, which has a little of everything, from rolling hills to long flat stretches and the occasional “big climb,” as our testers call them. While our tester managed to “wind out” the gear on a flat while racing his brother (who was on a geared bike), the Glerc generally proved to be ideal for long stretches on the bike path, as well as the hills in our neighborhood.
Bottom Line: Lots Of Bang for Your Buck
At $319.99 with free Prime delivery on Amazon, the Glerc 20” presents a tremendous bang for your buck. The bike is of the highest quality, requires little to no maintenance, It is designed with kids in mind to give them a lightweight, efficient pedaling platform that will grow with them for several seasons.
Although Glerc may not be a household name in the U.S. yet, parents can purchase this bike with confidence. It’s easily repaired at any local bike shop, or in the home garage.
About The Reviewer
Chris Del Sole has been an avid cyclist for over 20 years. He is now sharing his love of the sport with his wife and three children. A Marketing Director by day, in his free time he can be found riding, working on, looking at, talking about, and generally geeking out over bikes. In the winter, he spends his weekends teaching skiing and encouraging his kids to “send it” off every jump in sight.
Since the writing of this article Chris has left his track down the trail and passed on. He will be forever missed and thought of often. Chris, thank you for the indelible mark you left on this world.