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Kid Mountain Bikes

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
After a 'breakthrough' weekend with my 11 year old, I guess I need to bone up on what's out there for kid mountain bikes. He's small for his age and it seems we are always running into size versus quality/selection (and expense) issues relative to gear. (FWIW, the kid hammered out a 15 mile road/gravel road/single track ride of his choosing, after a 6 miler the day before. )

His current bike is a Black Diamond Octane 20, five speed. Any recommendations on a decent quality kid's, stiff tailed bike (I think) with front and rear shocks would be appreciated. Sizing and planning for growth are also areas of concern.

post #2 of 13
Get him a bike with 26" wheels. Don't waste your time on a 24" bike, he'll grow out of it too quickly.

There are a lot of good 26" kids bikes out there. Most come with sloped top tubes so the stand over height isn't so bad. Trek has a a number of kids bikes with aluminum frames. I bought my a daughter a 26" bike when she was 10yrs old (she's very tall). The bigger tires make a lot difference, especially off road.

Have fun with your son before he starts dropping you.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by SCWVA View Post
Have fun with your son before he starts dropping you.
Like he already does on skis??? Damn, they grow up too fast.

I guess a related issue is when to introduce clipless pedals?
post #4 of 13
stiff tailed? front and rear shocks?

I think if 24 inch is the only thing that fits right, that is what you should look at.

I have seen some very young kids at XC races with clipless pedals.
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by BushwackerinPA View Post
stiff tailed? front and rear shocks?
Bad terminology? Full suspension, ie Gary Fisher Sugar 3 (click on bike image to enlarge.)
post #6 of 13
His height and more importantly inseam makes all the difference as to whether he can ride 24" vs. 26" wheeled bikes. If he fits very small framed 26'ers, Specialized, Fisher and Jamis makes 13" frames. All fit differently.

My wife 5'-2" rides a 13" Jamis Dakar dually. The stand over is very low on that frame for a dually. A 13" Fisher fit her like a little kids bike in comparison. Go out and test fit frames.

Kona makes some nice 24's for kids.
post #7 of 13
Make him a 4-6'er!
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
Well Phil, I must be too short, 'cause that one went right over my head. (I may not be fast....but I sure am slow.) :

Thanks all for the input. More gear options to ponder.
post #9 of 13
24" wheel in the back and a 26" in the front. 6-9'ers are becoming popular for full sized bikes.
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
News to me. What's the pros and cons to '4-6 ing'? I take it that height off the ground is one option and and can increase the usable life of a bike for growing kids?
post #11 of 13
If you're in the market for a 24" due to your kid's size restriction, there are only a few of them that is trail worthy without paying through your nose. Scott seems to make the line out there (http://www.scottusa.com/category/76/junior). Although the upper models tend to be pretty expensive. There is/was the Bandicoot that was labeled under The North Face (have no idea who makes them) that is also pretty decent. Marin has one (at least used to have one) that is worth looking at as well.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the heads up on those options.
post #13 of 13
Thread Starter 
FWIW, came real close to getting a 24" Marin Wildcat w/disk brakes as it is a sweet ride. Discussing disks versus v-brakes with a long time bike and ski bud and pro bike mechanic, his feeling is the disks aren't as durable until you get into the higher end bikes. The important thing now for less experienced riders is also keeping it simpler, mechanically.

There was a 12"/26" Jamis Cross Country 3.0 , though just a tad too big, will last longer as the kid sprouts and he handles it just fine.....so we're off now so he can dust my growing butt on his new ride and is ecstatic!

Thanks again for all the good input.

(His new skis are comin' this week too.....the kid's not too spoiled is he.... Gotta keep your best riding & skiing buddy in gear.)
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