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  1. #1
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    Bike recommendations for a 12 yr old

    My 12 year old son is currently ridding a Norco Detonator 24", shortly it'll be too small for him. Looking for a all-mountain/trail hardtail for him, suggestions?
    26 or just go with the 27.5? Want to get him a decent bike, but since they grow so quickly I don't want to invest too much money.

  2. #2
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    I got my son who is 11, a Trek Marlin 27.5. Fits him great at the moment but my wife can also use it so even when he outgrows it the bike will still be used. A 26" bike will still do well too and you can likely find them pretty cheap even for a nice bike since many people are dumping them for newer standards.
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  3. #3
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    Depending on whether or not you're one of those people who keeps parts laying around, you might actually consider building him a bike. I had a bunch of parts laying around so I grabbed an On-One frame and an SR Suntour Epicon 120mm fork and a set of brakes (all the parts I didn't have) and built my son a bike from what I had laying around. Some of it was cast off 10 speed stuff from when I upgraded to 1x11, some of it was old non-tubeless wheels, but when it was all said and done, it was actually a very nice bike considering I had only $600 in it.

    Note - it took the thankless wretch only days (it seems like...ok, it was two years...) to outgrow that bike, but his sister rides it now and he........has stolen MY single speed. So just brace yourself.

  4. #4
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    height?

    budget?

  5. #5
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    No spare parts lying around. So I'll be looking for a complete bike, maybe used and upgrade some components. Max. $1500. He's around 5'2".

  6. #6
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    id get this. things awesome. i just demoed the 29er in SC, thing just LOVES to go fast. and its built to last. im savin up for one now

    https://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/chameleon

    heres a good review/vid

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjaMLm8qes0

  7. #7
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    Check out Cube bikes on Chainreaction. They're on sale right now and for the money you won't find a better spec- I've looked.

    Just have to hope they have the right frame size.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by nauc View Post
    id get this. things awesome. i just demoed the 29er in SC, thing just LOVES to go fast. and its built to last. im savin up for one now

    https://www.santacruzbicycles.com/en-US/chameleon

    heres a good review/vid

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HjaMLm8qes0
    That's one of the bikes I was looking at, but I found a very nice used Kona Honzo SL.

    29" tires would be too big for him.

    I'm curious to hear from others, if the 27.5+ tires are too much for 12 yr old? Most All mountain bikes are either 29" or 27.5+, and to get a narrower width 27.5 tire, I'm looking at xcountry bike. I think a trail/all mountain bike with a slacker head angle is what I'd prefer. I have until spring to get him a bigger bike, so I'll keep my eyes open for a good used bike. I'm think bikes like the Chameleon, Kona Honzo and maybe a Norco Fluid might work very well for him? Any other suggestions of like, reasonably priced bike would be appreciated.

    Thanks

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Check out Cube bikes on Chainreaction. They're on sale right now and for the money you won't find a better spec- I've looked.

    Just have to hope they have the right frame size.
    I'll look into them. I just bought myself a bike, so I'll have to wait to generate some more $$$

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graveltattoo View Post

    29" tires would be too big for him.

    I'm curious to hear from others, if the 27.5+ tires are too much for 12 yr old?
    The industry likes to claim 27+ is the same size as 29. They aren't really, but they ARE bigger than 27.5. My advice would be stick to 27.5 anyway because I've demoed several 27+ setups and didn't like them. Apparently someone does, but I don't see a lot of riders in my area on them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Graveltattoo View Post

    Most All mountain bikes are either 29" or 27.5+, and to get a narrower width 27.5 tire, I'm looking at xcountry bike. I think a trail/all mountain bike with a slacker head angle is what I'd prefer. I have until spring to get him a bigger bike, so I'll keep my eyes open for a good used bike. I'm think bikes like the Chameleon, Kona Honzo and maybe a Norco Fluid might work very well for him? Any other suggestions of like, reasonably priced bike would be appreciated.

    Thanks
    I see a lot of 27.5 Trail/AM hard tails. I was just thinking though, with a $1500 budget..?

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/stance-2-2018

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    The industry likes to claim 27+ is the same size as 29. They aren't really, but they ARE bigger than 27.5. My advice would be stick to 27.5 anyway because I've demoed several 27+ setups and didn't like them. Apparently someone does, but I don't see a lot of riders in my area on them.



    I see a lot of 27.5 Trail/AM hard tails. I was just thinking though, with a $1500 budget..?

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/stance-2-2018
    Thanks for the feedback. Can you elaborate on '. I was just thinking though, with a $1500 budget..?'

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graveltattoo View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. Can you elaborate on '. I was just thinking though, with a $1500 budget..?'
    The link I posted to Giant's website is a 27.5 FS bike for $1500. It's not the greatest bike, but I think it's a good example of what's attainable at that budget. Honestly, for $1500 dollars in today's market, the only thing you shouldn't be able to buy is a carbon frame. Otherwise low grade but high quality FS is a real option. The other thing about the Stance is that unlike a lot of other bikes you're going to find, it's available in an XS size that will fit him at 5'2".

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cotharyus View Post
    The link I posted to Giant's website is a 27.5 FS bike for $1500. It's not the greatest bike, but I think it's a good example of what's attainable at that budget. Honestly, for $1500 dollars in today's market, the only thing you shouldn't be able to buy is a carbon frame. Otherwise low grade but high quality FS is a real option. The other thing about the Stance is that unlike a lot of other bikes you're going to find, it's available in an XS size that will fit him at 5'2".
    I didn't see the link, until you pointed it out. Thanks.
    Looking for hardtail options. Some suggested looking at Trek Marlin, SC Chameleon and Cube so far. There's SO many bikes out there, never heard of Cube before.

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    I think you're on the right track..solid choices there. As far as 27.5+, definitely fine for a 12 yr old.. in fact I would say that's a great option for a lighter, maybe newer rider. Plus bikes can be a lot of fun and are confidence inspiring in my demo experiences. Good luck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nauc View Post
    Wow, great components for the $$$. Just bought myself a better hardtail, so going to have to wait a bit before he gets his next bike! I'm aiming for early spring, so I have time to save!

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    Quote Originally Posted by mannyfnz View Post
    I think you're on the right track..solid choices there. As far as 27.5+, definitely fine for a 12 yr old.. in fact I would say that's a great option for a lighter, maybe newer rider. Plus bikes can be a lot of fun and are confidence inspiring in my demo experiences. Good luck.
    I'd disagree for a 12 year old.
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  18. #18
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    i wouldnt buy a + bike period. perfect example, why are many dh world cup racers switching from 27.5 to 29 vs plus size. lot of these 29ers can run 27.5+, but they arent

    so if 27.5 at 2.4 or 2.5 doesnt have enough grip, why not run 27.5 plus. thats not happening, theyre switching to 29

  19. #19
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    A 12 year old is not a dh world cup racer. Anyway, it's a personal preference thing for your average trail rider.. There's no doubt plus bikes generally grip better than 29ers.. and 29ers roll faster and have better rollover. That's why some dh riders prefer them. But Plus bikes can be an absolute blast depending on where you ride.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I'd disagree for a 12 year old.
    So you think that's too much tire for a 12 yr old?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Graveltattoo View Post
    So you think that's too much tire for a 12 yr old?
    Yes. One of the best things I did for my kids was to swap out the heavy stock tires. Why would I get heavier ones?

    If I ride somewhere the conditions dictate it, I'd just go fat for when it's needed.

    I know I sound like an ass but this whole plus thing to me is a bunch of riders that aren't confident in their skills. When I've run out of traction, it was my riding not my tires that did me in. I see no reason to strap a heavy band aid on my bike- just learn and move on.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Yes. One of the best things I did for my kids was to swap out the heavy stock tires. Why would I get heavier ones?

    If I ride somewhere the conditions dictate it, I'd just go fat for when it's needed.

    I know I sound like an ass but this whole plus thing to me is a bunch of riders that aren't confident in their skills. When I've run out of traction, it was my riding not my tires that did me in. I see no reason to strap a heavy band aid on my bike- just learn and move on.
    Yes, that's the challenge I'm finding is a bike with good geometry for a trail/all mountain bike with 27.5 tires. Seems like all the trail/all mountain hardtail bikes come stocked with 27.5+ or 29". Any bike that has Xcountry geometry has the 27.5. It would be nice to have to avoid getting a different wheelset/tire.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graveltattoo View Post
    Yes, that's the challenge I'm finding is a bike with good geometry for a trail/all mountain bike with 27.5 tires. Seems like all the trail/all mountain hardtail bikes come stocked with 27.5+ or 29". Any bike that has Xcountry geometry has the 27.5. It would be nice to have to avoid getting a different wheelset/tire.
    Take a look at this, they have 15'' in stock
    Vitus Bikes Sentier VRS Hardtail Bike - SLX 1x11 2017 | Chain Reaction Cycles
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Graveltattoo View Post
    Looking for hardtail options.
    Take a look at the Giant Fathom

    https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/fathom-1-2018

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Yes. One of the best things I did for my kids was to swap out the heavy stock tires. Why would I get heavier ones?

    If I ride somewhere the conditions dictate it, I'd just go fat for when it's needed.

    I know I sound like an ass but this whole plus thing to me is a bunch of riders that aren't confident in their skills. When I've run out of traction, it was my riding not my tires that did me in. I see no reason to strap a heavy band aid on my bike- just learn and move on.
    Have you actually looked at the weights of any of the new plus tires?.. some of them are very close to standard 27.5 weights because of the thinner sidewalls. This is exactly why I said good for lighter, newer riders. A 12 yr old would be fine on them. It's a pretty common opinion that they're great for starters. Why not give the kid something that'll give him confidence and have a lot of fun on at the same time. Because that's what it's all about, no?..having fun. If you haven't ridden a solid plus bike, do yourself a favor and try it before knocking it. I've been at it a long time, am a very good rider and found that some of these bikes are absolutely fantastic. No, it's not a crutch in the slightest..it's just fun and allows you to push things a bit more than normal. OP, explore all options, including 27.5+ . Have your son demo what he can and see what he likes the most.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by mannyfnz View Post
    Have you actually looked at the weights of any of the new plus tires?.. some of them are very close to standard 27.5 weights because of the thinner sidewalls. This is exactly why I said good for lighter, newer riders. A 12 yr old would be fine on them. It's a pretty common opinion that they're great for starters. Why not give the kid something that'll give him confidence and have a lot of fun on at the same time. Because that's what it's all about, no?..having fun. If you haven't ridden a solid plus bike, do yourself a favor and try it before knocking it. I've been at it a long time, am a very good rider and found that some of these bikes are absolutely fantastic. No, it's not a crutch in the slightest..it's just fun and allows you to push things a bit more than normal. OP, explore all options, including 27.5+ . Have your son demo what he can and see what he likes the most.
    I have ridden plus, vague feeling hated it. My M3 was a much better bike when on normal tires and it gets praised as a plus bike. The irony is plus got all hyped up and even on the M3 thread people are going to the smaller 2.6 from 2.8 once the neato wears off.

    It's common opinion by whom? I think they're the worst thing you can give a beginner, not as nimble, vague not as precise.

    Look you like them great. I ride where there are rocks, the light plus tires aren't durable.

    Do you even have young kids?
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  27. #27
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    You shouldn't be turning the OP away from any particular style of bike. He mentioned plus, so let his kid decide for himself. Plenty of people like them and he might too. Your opinion could lead him away from a good option. Everyone has an opinion...doesn't mean yours is right for him. I'm telling him to demo. All I'm hearing now from you is I hate plus ..not necessarily helpful. No, I don't own a plus bike..just trying to give an unbiased thought. It's up to them.

  28. #28
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    Check out the Honzo. It is killer for the money. I think we sell those things for like $1500. I bet used you could get $1000 out of it in a year or two.

  29. #29
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    My 12 year old son rocks his 27.5” Diamondback hardtail with no issues. He also came off a 24” and I wanted 26” for him, but couldn’t find any unless it was a really crappy bike. Heck, I’m still on 26”. He’s never had an issue. His is a women’s bike (for the shorter reach), in either medium or small, I can’t remember.
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  30. #30
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    i bought my 10 yr old the norco fluid 6.2. its a FS 26 and he loves it. its a really nice little bike and the perfect size for the him to grow into a bit. prob perfect for the 12yr old BUT at 5'2" he is getting to the point where a regular 27.5 small is the right call. or possibly even the 26+ option might be good. the norco fluid HT + is 26 in XS and S.....i'm super impressed with norco for the money. really good geometry and tons of options in their lineup

  31. #31
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    Thanks for the feedback! Good to hear input from those that have kids the same age riding.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    ....a bunch of riders that aren't confident in their skills. ..... I see no reason to strap a heavy band aid on my bike- just learn and move on.
    So, no dropper post for you huh?
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  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    So, no dropper post for you huh?
    Actually considering getting rid of it. Oh and blasphemy, I just added a FD back on my bike.
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