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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.

  3. #3
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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.
    I like turtles

  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.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  7. #7
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    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

  8. #8
    turtles make me hot
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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.



    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
    What he said...
    I like turtles

  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.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  12. #12
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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!

  13. #13
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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)

  15. #15
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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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  17. #17
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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.
    Work to Ride - Ride to Work
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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.
    I like turtles

  22. #22
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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.

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