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  1. #1
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    13" MTB w/ 26" wheels too big for 9yo?

    Hey folks,

    So, I'm eying a used 13" Trek 4300 with 26" wheels for my oldest son. He has been riding bmx's since he was 4, and he's now starting to ride with me on our local trails. His bmx is heavy, single speed, and the crank is enormous...so, rock hopping is a chore.

    Is a 13" Trek with 26" wheels too big for a 9 year old boy? He is 4'7", weighs 65lbs and has a ~26" inseam. Normally, I'd just put him on the bike, look at the stand over height and check body positioning while riding, but the bike is 1.5 hours away...so, I'm at a little bit of a disadvantage here.

    For all of you that have kids that have made the transition from bmx to MTB, let me know what you think.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I'd guess it's too big but only by a little - if he's been riding that much, he'd probably not care a bit - get an super short stem, flip a set back post backwards, get a flat bar, maybe cut them down - whatever it takes. cranks arms may be the worst offender - swap the ones from his current bike if you need to.

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    Cool...thanks for the feedback, jsj3831.

    So, I've got 1 that says "get it" so far. Who else is going to chime it?

  4. #4
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    Doesn't sound too big to me.
    My problem is, my son is a little giant. He's going to be 8 in 9 days and I think he would fit that bike fine.
    I would grab it before it gets away.
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  5. #5
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    Thanks NY

    Quote Originally Posted by NYrr496 View Post
    Doesn't sound too big to me.
    My problem is, my son is a little giant. He's going to be 8 in 9 days and I think he would fit that bike fine.
    I would grab it before it gets away.

  6. #6
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    Try and find a local shop with a left over 13 inch bike and have him ride it. If he was into BMX and is now going out on the trails, he'll probably be more comfortable on a smaller bike.

    It's not really about stand over, more about TT length and how stretched out he end ups.
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  7. #7
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    Today, I was riding with a kid that was 4'5" on a Trek 4300 13" bike 26er.

    <img src="http://s1.yzimg.com/000447akd0vbma1a.640x480">

    The bike was too big for him but he had no problems at all.

    I think your kid will be fine. That frame has an incredibly short seat tube. Just move the saddle forward and use a short stem like 50mm slammed to the head tube with no spacers.

    It will be a tad big but he will grow into it quick.

    The tire selection and fork selection is so cool that it is a distinct advantage over a 24 inch bike.

    fc

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Today, I was riding with a kid that was 4'5" on a Trek 4300 13" bike 26er.

    <img src="http://s1.yzimg.com/000447akd0vbma1a.640x480">

    The bike was too big for him but he had no problems at all.

    I think your kid will be fine. That frame has an incredibly short seat tube. Just move the saddle forward and use a short stem like 50mm slammed to the head tube with no spacers.

    It will be a tad big but he will grow into it quick.

    The tire selection and fork selection is so cool that it is a distinct advantage over a 24 inch bike.

    fc
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  9. #9
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    Yes, I see what you mean, TwoTone. It would be great to see the top tube and his position on the bike while riding. Like you said if he's stretched out, he won't have fun with me on the trails... Thanks for the input.

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Try and find a local shop with a left over 13 inch bike and have him ride it. If he was into BMX and is now going out on the trails, he'll probably be more comfortable on a smaller bike.

    It's not really about stand over, more about TT length and how stretched out he end ups.

  10. #10
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    Wow...good info Francois. I think I'll make the drive to take a look at it. Now to do a quick search on converting to disc brakes before I go. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by francois View Post
    Today, I was riding with a kid that was 4'5" on a Trek 4300 13" bike 26er.

    The bike was too big for him but he had no problems at all.

    I think your kid will be fine. That frame has an incredibly short seat tube. Just move the saddle forward and use a short stem like 50mm slammed to the head tube with no spacers.

    It will be a tad big but he will grow into it quick.

    The tire selection and fork selection is so cool that it is a distinct advantage over a 24 inch bike.

    fc

  11. #11
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    Look I'm not saying which way is best, but the main thing you have to keep in mind is your son's riding.

    Many are saying it will be fine, but what kind of riding do their kids do?

    If you follow the guys at little shredders, they all stay on smaller bikes longer because they are doing tricks, which won't be easy if a child is pushed onto a XS 13.

    So it really boils down to the child and the riding they do. I had everything to build a XS 26 inch frame on 24 inch wheels, but once I saw him on it I knew jumping, and learning manuals etc... would just be too hard.

    Again, if he were just riding trails maybe, but my son is jumping ramps, learning to get over log piles and other obstacles, that is just much simpler on a smaller bike. Heck every so often he hops on his sisters 20 inch Shred because it's easier to do the trick he is trying to learn.

    So I'm not trying to sway you either way, just giving you something to consider, only you know what your son's abilities are and what he is going to want to do on the trails.
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    I follow what you are saying and completely agree with you, TwoTone. He has solid street riding and smooth trail skills, but traversing rocks, large roots and logs are going to be all new to him. The key components of his next bike will be multiple gears for hill climbing, front suspension for soaking up rougher trails, and good brakes. He's not a free styler or downhill bomber; he just wants to ride with his Dad. Thanks!

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    Here is the build for my 8 yo that I did at the end of 2011 when he was 7yo. 26" wheels are not too big...just have to fit everything else to him. My kid has grown a lot in the last year, but bike still fits.
    Another Performance Access 14.5 build log

  14. #14
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    Page 6 post # 149 has a lot of pics and video of his progression into and on 26" wheels
    Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)

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    Nice build, wycough. Clearly making a 26er fit can be done; and your son def has the capability to handle that bike. Thanks for the info.

  16. #16
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    My son just turned 10, but has been riding an XS Santa Cruz Juliana for the better part of a year. For true trail riding the bigger tires help a ton, he fits the bike nicely and is really getting much faster. I think it's the way to go for trail riding, but for pump track, park and doing tricks it's too big.
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    Cool. So, it sounds like he's fine on the trails; is he able to negotiate small obstacles (roots and small logs), too?

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmodeus2112 View Post
    My son just turned 10, but has been riding an XS Santa Cruz Juliana for the better part of a year. For true trail riding the bigger tires help a ton, he fits the bike nicely and is really getting much faster. I think it's the way to go for trail riding, but for pump track, park and doing tricks it's too big.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR11 View Post
    Cool. So, it sounds like he's fine on the trails; is he able to negotiate small obstacles (roots and small logs), too?
    Yes, definitely. It's great for mountain biking. He's starting to wheelie it, but bunny hops or the local pump/jump track are not in the cards on this bike.
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  19. #19
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    Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by Asmodeus2112 View Post
    Yes, definitely. It's great for mountain biking. He's starting to wheelie it, but bunny hops or the local pump/jump track are not in the cards on this bike.

  20. #20
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    Several kids (9-10yr olds) at our son's school have 13" w/26 " wheels bikes. The bikes look really big but they don't seem to have an issue riding them though.

  21. #21
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    Last May, I sat my son on a 13 or 14" 26er at the LBS. The bike was way too big for him.
    I then built a 24" bike in July. It fit perfectly and now, it's starting to look small. I can tell already I'll be doing a 26er sooner than I thought.
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    Quote Originally Posted by 50calray View Post
    Several kids (9-10yr olds) at our son's school have 13" w/26 " wheels bikes. The bikes look really big but they don't seem to have an issue riding them though.
    I guess kids are real adaptable.

    NY - I can imagine he's about to grow out of it. That's my thought as well. As soon as I get the 24" it will be time to move up..ha!

  23. #23
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    I agree with NYrr496 and I took another path and built a Sette 26er with 24" wheels. My little guy looked small on it at first, but man he can really handle the bike well even though it was big and now he can continue to grow on it. I have 26" wheels waiting. We wound up having enough to build a spare 24" (Rocky Mountain Reaper 24) that we use as a loaner and street bike for now.

  24. #24
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    My son is a big (long legged) 7 y.o. and he rides a 13" 26er. Just barely had enough stand-over at the
    beginning of Summer, and now clears it by a full inch and a half!!!
    He rides it really well, and even rides the thing through the skills park with ease.
    He looks like he's riding a 29er and can plow over root sections way easier than is Hot Rock 20"
    It was a leap, but he would have outgrown a 24" within a year.

  25. #25
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    If you're going to convert it to disc brakes anyway, why not build up a 24" wheelset with disc hubs. That will lower the standover by about an inch. In a year or two, reuse the hubs and build up a 26" wheelset. Not sure it's worth the hassle, but if you know how to build wheels, it might be worth it.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghglenn View Post
    My son is a big (long legged) 7 y.o. and he rides a 13" 26er. Just barely had enough stand-over at the
    beginning of Summer, and now clears it by a full inch and a half!!!
    He rides it really well, and even rides the thing through the skills park with ease.
    He looks like he's riding a 29er and can plow over root sections way easier than is Hot Rock 20"
    It was a leap, but he would have outgrown a 24" within a year.
    Another success story....thanks

  27. #27
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    hmmm. I'd have to learn to build wheel sets, and like you said it may not be worth the hassle. I'd like to get him on a bike that is truly a joy to ride. Still exploring options. Thanks

    Quote Originally Posted by maleonardphi View Post
    If you're going to convert it to disc brakes anyway, why not build up a 24" wheelset with disc hubs. That will lower the standover by about an inch. In a year or two, reuse the hubs and build up a 26" wheelset. Not sure it's worth the hassle, but if you know how to build wheels, it might be worth it.

  28. #28
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    For general knocking about on cycle paths and around the beach my 11 year old has taken to riding an old 17" HT 26er with 175mm cranks I use down the local skate park, It's far too big for her; she almost looks like she's in a TT, but she won't be told. I think it's a colour coordination thing with soon to be teenage girls.
    Trail riding she uses a 13" 24er Hotrocks - been looking fo a decent 24" fork to no avail so far, but the frame will take 26" wheels so I may buy an 80 or 100mm 26er fork and wheelset or I might just buy her a 13" 26er and the 8 soon to be 9 year old can use the hotrocks

  29. #29
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    Simplejohn...These guys...CarbonCycles.CC :: Components :: Products

    do some 24" forks.
    I have some 26" on my wifes bike, & they are brilliant quality. not sure if they ship to the US though. her 15" Specialized Hotrock weighs something silly like 20lbs.

    I'm working on an old 12" Specialized Hotrock 26" wheel for my son. He's not even 7 yet, & not exactly the tallest, but he has ridden it to try it out. Its still too big obviously, but gives me something to do over winter. Planning on fitting 420mm rigid carbon forks, as suspension at his weight is next to useless. Other item on the list is a new stem & flat bars. Truvativ do a 40mm reach, zero rise stem. Kenda Smallblock8 tyres work great for kids. They dont need huge amount of grip, but what they do need is low rolling resistance, plus the SB8's are around 500g each. Fitting 140mm rotors also, no point in huge amounts of wheel locking brake power for him. I'm also thinking of rebuilding his wheel on 24" rims, but that might be a bit much.

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    JR11,

    The one thing I have learned about setting up bikes for kids is they are way more adaptable than adults. I've had my 3 kids on many different builds from 16" wheeled, coaster braked BMX bikes to 24" full suspension. They have enjoyed each one and ridden well on all.

    This has helped me to stop agonizing over their gear, and remained focused on creating fun riding situations which for my family means less uphills, more shuttles and lifts, bringing friends, finding interesting trails that provide a sense of adventure and having treats (essential).

    It sounds like you are headed in the right direction, and as you can see from searching these forums there are many ways to approach buying bikes for children. In the end you will do the right thing, because whatever you get will be right. Good luck and enjoy the time with your kids.

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    Good point, DWDW. Both my boys have been riding since they were 4-5 and they never complain...ever...about any of their gear. Thanks for your perspective.



    Quote Originally Posted by DWDW View Post
    JR11,

    The one thing I have learned about setting up bikes for kids is they are way more adaptable than adults. I've had my 3 kids on many different builds from 16" wheeled, coaster braked BMX bikes to 24" full suspension. They have enjoyed each one and ridden well on all.

    This has helped me to stop agonizing over their gear, and remained focused on creating fun riding situations which for my family means less uphills, more shuttles and lifts, bringing friends, finding interesting trails that provide a sense of adventure and having treats (essential).

    It sounds like you are headed in the right direction, and as you can see from searching these forums there are many ways to approach buying bikes for children. In the end you will do the right thing, because whatever you get will be right. Good luck and enjoy the time with your kids.

  32. #32
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    I know a 10yr old on a xs 26'

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    8.5yo on 26"


  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by wycough View Post
    8.5yo on 26"

    How tall is your kid and inseam? Sure looks to be crotching the tt to me...but if it works!

  35. #35
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    My son has been on a Giant Trance xxs, 13.5 " since he was 6. I put on a 60 mm stem and moved the seat forward. He has become a great rider.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Montana_mike View Post
    My son has been on a Giant Trance xxs, 13.5 " since he was 6. I put on a 60 mm stem and moved the seat forward. He has become a great rider.
    When did Giant make an XXS Trance? I'd be interested in that. Thanks Bill

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    XXS 5" FS for 9 year old

    Earlier this year I built up a 13" Jamis 650B2 frame for my 9 year to rock the local trails. It has some special components including some Sinz 150mm cranks. Although the frame is specced for 650b wheels I used 26" and they seem to work just fine plus they lower the stand over. Works great but he has lost the passion for now so it's gathering dust apart from an occasional shuttle blast in the local mountains. Before that he rode and raced a custom build 26" wheeled 13" GF frame. The great thing is the parts trickle down from my bikes!!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 13&quot; MTB w/ 26&quot; wheels too big for 9yo?-iphone-offload-060612-553-1024x768-.jpg  

    13&quot; MTB w/ 26&quot; wheels too big for 9yo?-img_0063.jpg  


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    Good reading. My wife just spotted a 13" frame for my 10yr old daughter. We were talking about another 24" bike. She has an older 24" one that we bought used for my 14yr old but would like to upgrade.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    How tall is your kid and inseam? Sure looks to be crotching the tt to me...but if it works!
    24" inseam on a 25" standover approx.

    based on race results against all older kids in local N. TX mtb series and the urge to ride 2 to 3 times per week, i'd say its working just fine. Now I will say that his bike skills are well developed for an 8year old. He was even on this bike at 7yo. Those bike skill were developed racing bmx over the last 4 years, dirt jumping and mtb on local trails in DFW area.

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by wycough View Post
    24" inseam on a 25" standover approx.

    based on race results against all older kids in local N. TX mtb series and the urge to ride 2 to 3 times per week, i'd say its working just fine. Now I will say that his bike skills are well developed for an 8year old. He was even on this bike at 7yo. Those bike skill were developed racing bmx over the last 4 years, dirt jumping and mtb on local trails in DFW area.
    And this is the only point I keep trying to make. I'm not picking on you but I keep seeing everyone say it will be fine on a bunch of these posts and never go into details about the child it works for to the person asking.

    Now, had your son not been BMXing for 4 years and was just now trying to learn bike skills, would you still consider this bike a good fit or too big?
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    And this is the only point I keep trying to make. I'm not picking on you but I keep seeing everyone say it will be fine on a bunch of these posts and never go into details about the child it works for to the person asking.

    Now, had your son not been BMXing for 4 years and was just now trying to learn bike skills, would you still consider this bike a good fit or too big?
    No offense taken at all. I did, however; post on this first page #13 and #14 posts links to detailed info referring to my son and this bike.

    Let me try and copy/paste the info directly in my next post below which will detail his transition into 26" wheels with pics and video

    Quote Originally Posted by wycough View Post
    I think this post has moved from discussion about younger kids to a little bit older ones now. Original title was for a 6yo. My kid had no issues at 6yo riding a slightly customized bmx bike on the local trails in the Dallas, TX area. The advantages of the bmx bike to me out weighed the mtb options for a 6yo. A basic used bmx mini race bike can be picked up cheap. The light weight of the race bmx allowed my son to develope bike handling skills and attack the trails aggressively. At 44yo, I still ride a SS rigid 29er. (actually just changed it over to a fixed gear) He started riding bmx and trails at 4.5yo

    I didn't build his 26" 1x9 hardtail/rigid fork until after his 7th birthday. I felt he was ready for that bike at that age and size due to his ability learned on a bmx race bike. Some comments lately about the 8-9yo age range. Sure at that age, i think a proper mtb is needed as opposed to a bmx race bike.

    Kiddo just turned 8 this summer, so i'll update with a few pics and video for visual on sizing and skill levels both bmx bike and mtb. He has been riding the 26" now for about 1year. He races local series and consistantly podiums against older kids. The only changes to the 26" has been to raise the seat and switch to longer cranks, but recall i started him at 140mm. Heck, the seat went from slammed to 6" seatpost showing. He has also moved from a mini bmx frame to a jr size for his bmx racing. So he has grown! There are alot of pics and vids below each shows different bike skills and sizing with both bmx and mtb. The decision to chose bmx or mtb at different ages ultimately is an individual choice. We just chose the lighter higher quaility bmx race bike to transition into a 26" mtb. (just click on images that say they are videos to play)

    bmx late 6yo


    mtb early 7yo


    mtb early 7yo video


    mtb 1st race on 26" early 7yo


    bmx late 7yo


    bmx video late 7yo


    mtb today's race 8yo


    mtb today's race video 8yo

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    Here is the first part of the post that I referenced that includes info on his 26" build including a parts list and why I chose certain parts...




    My buddy at the local Performance found me a returned Access frame hanging around down in Austin. So they shipped it up. $120 total with shipping. I'll keep up with the build log here.

    My son is 47" and 50lbs 6 years old. He has been racing local MTB scene on a SS Redline BMX(20") geared for local trails at 36x18 on 145mm cranks and running it tubeless with 21x1 3/8ths tires.




    The Access will be just a bit big, but I think he can handle it. If not, it will last a long time so it can just sit and wait. But, I just don't see that happening. Going to do a 1x9(34/11-34) in bright orange and blue anodizing.

    Parts List so far...
    Access 14.5 - wow! nice frame and light. Will powdercoat it next week, I don't like the flat black or the stickers. Gonna shave the v-brake mounts,too.
    Origin 8 Cromo Lite - it's the 396mm A/C at 1120grams. That will lower the front end alot. The curved legs and rake should ease the twitchy-ness. Will shave the v brake mounts also before powder.
    Truvativ 40mm stem/Origin 8 15* flat bars - shortens the reach for him
    Woodman headset and seat clamp - blue ano
    Sun Ringle Equalizers - blue ano...very sweet wheels by the way
    SRAM X7 rear deraileur
    SRAM X9 twist shifter
    SRAM 11/34 Cassette
    Odessey junior seat
    Origin 8 Seatpost
    AC 140mm cranks - blue
    XT Bottom Bracket
    ESI Grips - Blue
    Race King - front 26x2.0
    Small Block 8 - rear 26x1.75
    BB7 Brakes Jagwire housing/cables
    Tektro Mini Levers

  43. #43
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    This is a video of him riding on his other 26" bike, which is a dirt jumper converted to a fixed gear. This bike is just a tad big for him but he handles it good for the purpose of fixed gear training and the local trails we use it on. It is bigger than his 26" race bike. Maybe this video will give some perspective to his size. His bike handling skills are better on the race bike considering it fits him better and is only about 21lbs. This bike is bigger and weighs 34lbs plus no parts have been changed to accomidate his smaller size.


    Fixed Gear 8 Year Old - YouTube

  44. #44
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    wycough, that's one of the reasons I've said not picking on you. I know you have always mentioned your son's background. Lately there has been a bunch of these post a ton of very short, it will work, or my son's on one answers.

    We all know, there's a difference between riding one on the street or light XC trails and jumping, doing manuals etc... I was only trying to get the point across that we should be giving more complete answers to parents that ask.

    All that said, I'm still curious, without that background and skill would you still think the size was ok for a beginner- which your son isn't.
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    Oh yea, no offense taken at all.

    It is a really small bike. I think I had to take into consideration his riding ability, the difficulty level of our local trails and lack of quaility in 24" when making the decision to move him to 26". I think the 26" has improved his skills in the last year among other things. A 24" with big cheap heavy stock tires prob measures very close in size to a 26" with smaller appropiate size lightweight tires. I bet his 1.75 Small Blok 8 has a pretty small overall diameter compared to a common stock brand name 24" bike/wheel. So i am gonna hold true to ready for 26 inch. However i would have been concerned with the standover for a less experienced rider. One should also consider that a higher quality 26" bike will also ride and handle better than alot of generic 24" bikes on the market.

  46. #46
    mtbr member
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    Mar 2008
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    147
    I can see your point about sizing. I noticed that he doesnt handle the bigger dirt jumper/fixed gear near as well as his race 26". There are so many factors to take into consideration and a person must take each choice on the child"s individual size and abilitly in combo with other factors

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