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  1. #1
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    MTB Spec for a 9yr old

    Hi all

    I am looking to build/buy a bike for my nephew as a first 'proper' MTB. This is an Xmas present so trying to get some planning done.

    I am deciding on hardtail or full suspension
    Weight is a major consideration (if only for the Kudos)
    Drivetrain, any advice/tips appreciated

    Finally, like all kids the gimmicks are what will hold his attention. Any novelties along this line would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks for looking and all interest is greatly appreciated with free eggnoch at my house for all who help

  2. #2
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    Reputation: Dremer03's Avatar
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    Go to a store and buy a bike. I dont even know where you can buy a kids frame, unless he is exceptionally big for his age.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  3. #3
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    Thanks for that, but not realy in the spirit of what I am trying to achieve. I would like him to get the ownership of a self build and it starts to build his skills.

    Anyone else got any offerings inline with the original request.

  4. #4
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    BMX or look at some of the kids sized giants and specialized. stick to hard tail and even rigid as a ways to keep the weight down. too heavy a bike he'll tire to quickly. better would be to grab a bike off ebay and then help him to paint it any color he likes and then you can help him reassemble the parts.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil6340
    Thanks for that, but not realy in the spirit of what I am trying to achieve. I would like him to get the ownership of a self build and it starts to build his skills.

    Anyone else got any offerings inline with the original request.
    Why would you just dismiss my suggestion?

    Seriously I know no frames that you can buy that are for mountain biking ou can probably find a nice BMX frame that would suit his size, then go from there. If you really want him to self build the bike perhaps you could buy a bike all built and take it apart and give it too him i pieces.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by xmangox
    yeah they look good but they are still around 25pounds. thats like an adult male weighing 180 pounds pedaling a 75 pound bike.

  8. #8
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    Ok, on the gimmick front: I recently put a poplock-equipped fork on one of my bikes. It's I bike I keep set up as a loaner-bike. Kids who borrow the bike seem to love that poplock feature. My 13-year-old wants it on his bike. I'd almost rather not have it, but the kids seem to love pushing that lever to lock the fork, and then clicking the button to release the travel. Go figure.

    Good luck w/your project. Hope your nephew enjoys the bike you build for him.

  9. #9
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    BTW, how old (or tall) is your nephew? Is he large enough to be on a 26-inch wheel bike yet? A 29er perhaps?

    Another thing that's a big hit with kids is a bashguard. I built my son's most recent bike with a set of SLX cranks in the 2x9 configuration, with a bashguard. He loves the look of that. Plus the guard keeps his pants out of the chainrings.

    I also threw a bashguard on a neighbor kid's bike last year. The kid loved it.

  10. #10
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    REI has a nice selection of kids bikes. The 24 inch Ponderosa at $479 is light with decent components. They also carry the Kona Shred in 20 and 24 inch for $499 and $599. If they have a fall sale you might be able to find the bikes at 15% off. REI also has a 24 inch thats a bit heavier called the Tractor thats in the $250 range.

    If you really wanted to go light a single speed BMX-Mini can be had slightly used in the $150-$200 range. These bikes only weigh about 15 pounds and a smaller kid can easily pedal them. They are generally for 5-8 years old although their are some bigger frames. Not a lot of demand for these bikes so many people arent familiar with them.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by borregokid
    If you really wanted to go light a single speed BMX-Mini can be had slightly used in the $150-$200 range. These bikes only weigh about 15 pounds and a smaller kid can easily pedal them.
    One of the kids around town has one of those bikes. The kid rocks on it. 24-inch tires. Skinnier than regular BMX tires. The kid is always bunny-hopping something -- not sure I've ever seen him actually sit down on his saddle -- so I'm pretty sure the bike is lightweight.

    There are also 24-inch, BMX cruiser bikes.

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    Hi all...

    Thanks for the many replies and and suggestions. Just as an update, my nephew has been using a BMX but now seems to be ready to move to a 'geared' bike based on the riding we are doing. Buying a bike off the shelf and learning to strip and rebuild is an option so thanks for that. Also thanks for the tips on what is popular. I am still searching for the 'lightest' option...

    Thanks all so far

  13. #13
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    try to stay away from 24" wheel bikes , Fisher and others make 13.5" frames for 26" wheels and normal parts. My son still rides his 13.5" GF mullet jump bike even though he rides a Med. Heckler now.

  14. #14
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    Carver bikes makes a frame called the mini. It can be setup to run 24 or 26 rims or a combination.
    www.carverbikes.com

  15. #15
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    Was in the same position this summer. My son just turned 10 in June. We were going to buy a 24 inch bike, but with the help of the LBS we went with a 15" Kona Fire Mountain.

    Glad we went with a 26" wheel bike. He handles it well and it should last for some time.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CZMTBva
    Carver bikes makes a frame called the mini. It can be setup to run 24 or 26 rims or a combination.
    www.carverbikes.com
    Great find, just about the right size for a 9 year old. From my research I found out most 9 year olds I believe are about 3'9" so a frame for a kid 4'1" is pretty close and it can grow a bit with him just switch out the 24 inch wheels fr 26 inch wheels.
    Big Foot Blue KHS XC704r

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vtolds
    Great find, just about the right size for a 9 year old. From my research I found out most 9 year olds I believe are about 3'9" so a frame for a kid 4'1" is pretty close and it can grow a bit with him just switch out the 24 inch wheels fr 26 inch wheels.
    I must raise giants then... My 8 yr old daughter is already 4'8" and my 5yr old son is 3'9". I think that's the biggest problem with "kids bikes." You say you want to build a bike for a 9yr old. I think right away "no problem, just find a 13-15" frame 26" wheeled bike and go to town. Others here think "no way a 9yr old will fit on 26" wheels, go smaller (bmx) or buy off the shelf for now."

    So maybe we need to be more specific when talking about bikes for kids. I.e. listing height, weight along with age?

    My issue right now is finding a decent fork for a small bike. I'm not impressed with the Spinner and similar forks that are on the 24" wheeled bikes, but don't have the coin to buy a nice light Fox fork for my kid's bike. Maybe someone should put together a FAQ on good/light parts for kids bike builds...

  18. #18
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    check out trek

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...es_9_12/mt220/

    the crank has an extra space for the pedals so the kid can grow into it, then move the pedals in due time


  19. #19
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    My daughter is 10 and 4'10" tall and rides a 2000 GT Outpost Trail which weighs in at 29lbs.

    http://www.bikepedia.com/QuickBike/B...rail&Type=bike

    She loves it compared to a crappy department store bike that was probably in the upper 30's weight wise. She's done rides over 10 miles now.

    I have the seat just about all the way down and I would say it would fit perfectly in about another 1/2 inch. She'll be able to use this bike for years to come.
    Last edited by JohnDoe5; 09-23-2009 at 05:05 PM.

  20. #20
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    i have three kids that have been racing BMX since they were three and four years old. The oldest will be eight in Dec. and the youngest is five. They have their race bikes and they each have a MT. bike. The oldest rides a Trek 24, the next a Giant 250 and the last rides a redline mini which has been modified to accept a seven gear rear. They all would rather ride their race bikes because of the weight but when we ride the trails they are on their MTB because of the wider tires. Just a suggestion, if you are looking to build a bike get an aluminum expert or pro frame and build it up with some 1.5 tires. It will be a lighter bike that they will be able to throw around.

  21. #21
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    Here's the story on 14.5 Performance Access build for my son

    Build it, and he will love it!! It is a cool frame for a great price!!
    And I love beer!!

  22. #22
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    I picked up what I think is a 20" Schwinn steel frame 1x6 rigid mountain bike with 24" wheels for my 9 year old daughter, she never rode it much but her little brother is 9 now, 4'3" and about 65 pounds. He rides the hell out of it. He has about 600 miles on it since July. It is steel and heavy, he is pretty well done after 8 or 9 miles of flattish mixed riding. It is about 26 pounds, only a pound lighter than my 26" wheel full suspension bike. $100 for it used at the LBS, it was a great buy IMO. Plus, with the way kids have a tendency to not take great care of things it is nice to not have a lot of money tied up in it. The Jamis X24 is looking good for his next ride!

  23. #23
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    Dont compromise... it could be worth it.

    My son started riding fairly serious trails at age 9. We went to Moab when he was 10. I have pictures (not digital) and memories of him on slickrock that are priceless. He also started racing before that, getting around the beginner loops by himself.

    You hit the nail on the head earlier when you noted the relative weight issue. For your 65lb kid you can’t be too much of a weight weenie. He isn’t very strong in the upper body and with his light weight he isn’t going to break anything.

    I would search and find a very small (13.5 or 14) HT frame with V brake studs. Really light V-brakes can be had for a song on ebay now, same thing for light hubs and wheels that aren’t disk compatible. If you can find some old light wt. tapered square spindle cranks, (cook bros or TNT were very light) the old Ti bottom brackets are only about 110g and as light as he is you won’t have to worry about him breaking them.

    • Short stem, 25.4 size are cheap now. Get one with 17 degree rise that you can flip over to lower the bar height
    • Bontrager Ti flat bar. He’s not very big so it can be narrow. In fact the old Bontrager Ti bar with the plastic spacer can be run with a road stem. The nice thing about a Ti bar is that it will survive crashes.
    • A fork could be tricky now days. I fund this old Rock Shock with what I swear were 26mm stanchions. Yellow and black like the original Judy. I took the guts out and replaced them with light elastomers. The end result was a 2.5lb fork with an ideal spring rate and damping for a 70 lb kid that didn’t require any air before he rode it.

    One final suggestion… watch ebay for a old school weight weenie bike. I’ve seen them sell for $600 to $1000 with very high end (albeit old school) bits. Buy it and use it for parts for your frame.

    I probably spent over a grand on my son’s bike in 1999 and kept it current until he got old enough to be more concerned about his car, girls and his own sport (tournament paintball) to ride. But the times we had riding together were worth every penny. In fact it would have been worth 5 times as much.

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