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  1. #1
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    Bike for my 11 yo son

    My son has been riding a 13.5" haro 26" wheeled mountain bike for the last two years. I have a yeti bigtop 29er medium frame that this past time out, I dropped the seat and let him ride it, while I rode his. He is 5' even, so my bike is BIG for him, but he rode it like he stole it. Now his birthday and Christmas are coming, so I am looking at a bike that will stay with him at least until he is 14 or 15.

    I do not want to go cheap, but really can afford somewhere around $700. I have stopped by the local LBS, but small frames are not on the floor and need to be built. Its a tough decision because the next model up is always that little bit better.

    Currently looking at Trek x-caliber 5 or 6, but can others suggest what else I can look at. In the Trek, the two smaller frames come in 650, while one of the shop guys who stands 5'3" told me to get the smallest 29er I could find.

    I am also considering looking used, as he knows that many times you get more from a used bike than new for the same cost.
    Located in Rhode Island.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    With him still growing I'd be looking used ,unless you could pass it down. I'd also see if I could find women's frame for the shorter top tube.

  3. #3
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    Its always tough knowing that a child will grow out of a bike sooner than later. When my nephew wanted a mountain bike at 13 years old, I knew whatever I got him, it wasn't going to fit him in 2-3 years and it was difficult finding a used bike in a 15-16" frame that would fit him. This was well before 29ers and 650Bs since he's 22 years old now. I ended up getting him a closeout Specialized Rockhopper in a 15" frame for tad over $500.00. Lucky for me, he took well care of it and I was able to sell it, when he was 17, for $250.00. He definitely got $250 worth of fun and experience on that bike, so it wasn't that bad.

    This is one to consider..

    2013 Marin Bobcat Trail 29er 15" MTB Hardtail Bike Shimano 9S Hydraulic Disc New | eBay

  4. #4
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    Thank you for the link. Today I am going to call another couple of local bike shops and see if they have any left over bikes that might work. I looked at that Bobcat, and my only concern is if a 29er isn't too big for him at the moment. If I could see it before buying, I might be more inclined. It does look like a decent deal.

    I might put him on my wife's Specialized Jett and see how that looks for reach. It does make sense that a women's bike might fit him better for now. I know that in a couple of years he will probably upgrade, but I will help him with that one instead of buying it for him.

  5. #5
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    29" wheels are overprescribed in general IMO/E, and particularly for smaller riders and those with less strength. If that's something you have your heart set on for whatever reasons, so be it, but I personally would be looking at higher end used 26" bikes. My son is about the same height and kills it on wheels right down to 18". Faster acceleration, snappier handling, more room to move around on the bike = more fun in my book. Shops are going to push 29 cuz that's what they have in stock, not so much because they're the right choice for everyone. YMMV of course.

    Oh, and a plug for Blackstone Bike shop in Cumberland too - good peeps.
    Sinister Bikes
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  6. #6
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    Don't get me wrong, I would love to find a higher end used bike. But there are not many options out there in 15" ish frames. The few that I have found on craigslist are priced at almost new prices for 2006 and 2007 bikes. I tend to look up the new msrp and compare it to the asking price. I found several that looked good, but the asking price was just too high (80% of new price).

    I will have to check out Blackstone bikes. I am not adverse to taking a drive to meet good people.

  7. #7
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    Yeah, there are plenty of people that think they can get almost all their money back on older bikes. You can sometimes leverage info from BicycleBlueBook.com to beat 'em down into more reasonable range if you see something that would work well for you but isn't priced right.
    Sinister Bikes
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  8. #8
    Fat Is Where It's At Moderator
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    There was a time when my kid will change frames twice a year due to growth, thank goodness those days are over and currently rides a 18" 29er.

    If looking at hardtails check the Giant Talon line, they come in 27.5 and 29. A good option will be to get an used bike, you may luck out and find a full susser that he will beat the hell out of.

    Other brands with good component packages are Airborne and the Marin's found on eBay.

  9. #9
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    My buddy just bought a 2005 Trek full suspension (don't recall model), disc brake, 26er for his 12 year old daughter. XC geometry, small size, decent parts - all subXT - but for $450 it seemed like a good deal. Made me think about one like it for my 12 year old twins so I jumped on craigslist and found a 2000ish Rocky Mt Element, again small/15" for $400. Sold before I could get to it. Point is - I think an older, 26er can be found for a pretty fair price. I agree that a 29er would be too much size and gearing for someone of this size and age.

  10. #10
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    I want to thank everyone for all of the input. Trying to find a used bike in a size my son could ride proved too difficult. We ended up finding a 650B Specialized Pitch in a small frame and my son is in love. Brought it home yesterday and did a quick 5 mile loop so he could try it out. So far he loves it. Time will tell what components hold up, but for now it seems pretty stout, and is lighter than a couple of other bikes we checked out. But that is with my uncalibrated arm scale.
    Thanks all.

  11. #11
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    I also think as someone pointed out, you will need 2, maybe 3 different frame sizes as you son ages from 11-15, there is a huge difference in size there. Buy used, you can even get away with pretty inexpensive models and components, as they won't have to last that long, and the rider is pretty light.

  12. #12
    oh my TVC 15
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    svon89,
    Good advice is best tempered with more information. If your son is expected to get taller than 6', he'll grow through two frame sizes between now and 15. My son was riding an 18" frame at 11, a 19.5" Trek frame at 12 and we bought him a 22.5" Trek at 13 (on the large size at the time). At 14 he's slowing down, but at 6'3" he still has some room in the bike to grow (expected to end up 6'5" to 6'6"). I bought the 18" used, handed down the 19.5" (which is now my wife's bike) and bought the 22.5 new (as a last year's close out). I would find a nearby shop that has some last years models and buy on the slightly large side or find a good used bike. When he stops growing if the used bike is too small you're out less money, if it still fits, he has a campus bike that you won't miss if it gets stolen. Just my $.02.
    The most expensive bike in the world is still cheaper than the cheapest open heart surgery.

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