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  1. #1
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    10 year old Daughter

    I am interested in getting my daughter a good starter bike to introduce her to mountain biking. We have a road/cruiser bike that has 24" wheels that has introduced her to shifting (1x6). But she doesn't have that down 100% yet but we are working on it.

    Anyway I am getting a new bike and would love some suggestions about where to look for a bike. She is 4'9" and has long legs. I'm wondering when a good time to move to 26" wheels would be and what frame size would be appropriate. I'm not adverse to building up from a frame but really don't want to put a whole lot of money into a bike. Is my best bet to buy one from REI or Performance? The have a couple in the $300 price range and I don't want to go over that amount. I do have a second daughter that is 3 years younger that will get the bike at some point which helps ease the pain of a possible rejection of the sport.

    Sorry for the rambling post, just looking to see if anyone else has already gone through this process that could help me out with some lessons learned from their experience.

  2. #2
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    Been there just recently and you may not like my answer.

    -Who wants the bike more, her or you? If she's bugging *you* for it, then know that what you get will work for maybe 2 years and it. For my kid, 13/14 was a great time for 26" wheels. I could also rebuild old shocks with thinner oil so suspension worked for her.

    -If you are hoping she likes it, then I'd wait until she fits something you can rent and go to a resort. In the meantime, find physical activities you can share that she has some interest in. It will make it more fun for her if you suck at the shared activities too.

    **kid bike rant**
    Pretty much everything is designed for adults, not kids so, lever reach is huge, suspension doesn't work well, cranks are weird length... Pretty much nothing 'fits' until they can ride a small 26" bike. And then the shocks don't work because they are designed for someone 2-3x their weight.

  3. #3
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    Yeah, its partly getting her a bike and partly getting her to ride with me. I have decided on a path I think that will meet her needs for a bike and my desire to get her on the trails with me. I have a friend who is a great bike mechanic and we are going to build a simple bike from parts we both have lying around from our old bikes. I sat her on a 14" frame with 26" wheels today and she had plenty of room. I am looking at the Access aluminum frame from Performance and the only other thing I think I will be buying is an alloy fork and maybe a small stem. If she takes a shine to riding trails then we can upgrade when shes a little bigger. Planning on using an older XT group off an old bike as well as some street slicks I have for the old 26" wheels. We'll use V brakes and make it a 1x9 for simplicity. So if she hates mountain biking then she'll have a bike with a solid build that won't cost me much. Her sister will have to pick up the torch when she can fit the bike.else.

  4. #4
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    That sounds okay. Let her pick the color and the color of the stem! IMHO, it's important the bike not a big investment for anyone and that she have some kind of affinity for it. I'd add short v-brake levers so she can easily squeeze the lever.

    FWIW, more totally personal experiences that might not apply to your kid:
    -I kept the cycling at about an hour. The time out was longer because we stopped. She was exercised, but never got into a "death march" situation.
    -Don't hesitate to stop and look around when riding with her. Take lunch with you or something like it too.
    -For my kid, she was intimidated by all the gear. So I always ride wearing regular clothes with her. That's why I rent bikes (later age) too. It appeals to her strong sense of equity in the situation.
    -I always follow. She tries stuff and feels some personal accomplishment and we can share that because I was following.
    - Follow her interests when riding. She knows I'm there to have fun with her not ride bikes because Dad likes it.

    She's 14 now and cycling is not her thing, but we always have fun when we do it. That's a win. The goal was always growing up with a self-interested, physically active lifestyle.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gabola71 View Post
    Yeah, its partly getting her a bike and partly getting her to ride with me. I have decided on a path I think that will meet her needs for a bike and my desire to get her on the trails with me. I have a friend who is a great bike mechanic and we are going to build a simple bike from parts we both have lying around from our old bikes. I sat her on a 14" frame with 26" wheels today and she had plenty of room. I am looking at the Access aluminum frame from Performance and the only other thing I think I will be buying is an alloy fork and maybe a small stem. If she takes a shine to riding trails then we can upgrade when shes a little bigger. Planning on using an older XT group off an old bike as well as some street slicks I have for the old 26" wheels. We'll use V brakes and make it a 1x9 for simplicity. So if she hates mountain biking then she'll have a bike with a solid build that won't cost me much. Her sister will have to pick up the torch when she can fit the bike.else.
    Sounds like a very good approach and that you have the knowlege and assistance to pull it off. You will be able to piece together a much nicer bike with used parts than you can can otherwise buy new for $300. At that price point, a new bike is going to be a heavy piece of junk and has takes a huge depreciation in re-sale value once it rolls out of the store.

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