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  1. #1
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    7 Year Old MTB recommendation please

    Hi,

    I just discovered this forum -- how exciting!

    My son will be turning 7 this summer and it's time we moved up from the $50 wallyworld special he's been riding.

    He's 70lbs and 50" tall with an inseam of 22" -- and growing fast.

    Can someone help me figure out if a 20 or a 24" bike would be best?

    The primary use will be rocky, unsmooth trail riding, but will also do some field/grass as well as pavement riding.

    Also, I'm looking at the following:

    Gary Fisher Precaliber
    Ibex 320k or 440k
    Specialized Hotrock
    Diamondback Octane
    Bayview trail 24"
    GT Aggressor 24
    Haro Flightline 24
    Trek MT220

    Can someone recommend which of these, or others, that would be best? Price is definitely a factor.

    Thanks very much,

    Joseph
    Last edited by josephnyc; 03-30-2013 at 07:25 PM.

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    Maybe it's the holiday weekend, so everyone's tired of newbies asking what bike should I get for me kid....

    After spending many hours reading reviews and spec, it sure looks like the Diamond Octane 24 ($289 from REI) is a very nice bike for a (big) 7 year old.

    Does anyone see any reason why this would be a mistake?

    Thanks very much!

  3. #3
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    Re: 7 Year Old MTB recommendation please

    I would suggest a 24 unless you want to be upgrading in 6 months. My suggestion would be a Scott Scale jr. Its got an adjustable air fork and a front derailleur. It's also much lighter than most kids' bikes.

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    Look at the Scott Scale Jr 24

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    Thanks for the recommendation of the Scott Scale Jr. It certainly looks great.

    It's also more than $150 more than the Octane, which I found on Amazon for $224 (including shipping).

    I'm not doubting that it's a better bike, but I'd much rather save the $150 unless my son will be dissatisfied or have a harder time with the Octane.

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    The scott scale 24 RC has an airshock and is a grand. It's a great bike!! I was considering a 13-inch Specialized Hotrock 24 and ended up buying a Specialized xs Myka for my 52 inch daughter and it is great. The Myka is a woman's bike. The xs Myka had about the same reach and stand over as the Hardrock. Some here skip 24 bikes and go on to 26. Bill
    Last edited by Billinsd; 03-31-2013 at 09:49 AM.

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    I was looking at the Scott Scale Jr 20 -- sorry.

    The Specialized XS Myka appears to be a 26" bike. My son is 50" wall with a 22" inseam. I'm worried that a 24" bike would be a little big for him.

    Wouldn't 26" definitely be too big?

  8. #8
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    I bought a Craigslist 24" Gary Fisher Tyro for 60 bucks, stripped it down and built it up into a fairly decent hardtail.
    I like turtles

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    Unfortunately, I'm pretty handy but can't take on any projects whatsoever for the next umpteen years (just no time), so I need to make this as easy/least-time-consuming as possible.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by josephnyc View Post

    The Specialized XS Myka appears to be a 26" bike. My son is 50" wall with a 22" inseam. I'm worried that a 24" bike would be a little big for him.

    Wouldn't 26" definitely be too big?
    Probably a bit too big now, but in a few months? I would have him try what ever you buy. The Myka is also a woman's bike, don't know if that matters. Bill

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    He has a Rallye 16" (outside diameter including tires, right?) that he rides fine, but it's just a little small for him, so I'm hoping he a 24 would be for at least a couple of years.

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    You need to get him to stand over a 24 and balance the bike if he can't hold it up then its too much. Also site and stear while holding the bike make sure he has the reach to turn. My daughter is the same size and I went with a hot rock 20". This bike has a lot of adjustability in the stem, put disc hubs and plan to up to a nine speed. Then she can ride until almost 9 then go straight to a 26. I feel for the money Specialized has more adjustability and upgrade capable.

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    Here is a photo of my daughter and her Myka. She has a 21 inch inseam. The bike is a little big for her, but she is not an agressive rider, does not ride down steep rocky terrain yet, mostly cross country stuff, fire roads and single track.

    I also bought a used Sid air shock off Craigslist and replaced the handlebars and seat post with carbon ones and got the weight down from about 30lbs to 25lbs. She loves the bike.

    Bill
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 7 Year Old MTB recommendation please-2013-02-11_16-04-54_916.jpg  

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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roc1 View Post
    Then she can ride until almost 9 then go straight to a 26. I feel for the money Specialized has more adjustability and upgrade capable.
    I think the biggest mistake a parent can make is to prolong their child on a 20" bike (which is way too small) then go straight to a 26" bike which is way too big. Buy the bike that fits them now. They will have way more fun. Would you want to ride a 15" bike if you are 6'2" feet tall, or a 23" bike if you are 5'8"? That's basically what you are doing. Sure you can make it work but it sucks.

    My son has had a 24" since 7, and at 9 not until this summer I can't see him going to 26" until he is at least 10, but probably 11.

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    Thanks so much everyone -- you guys have great experience and knowledge to share and it's very generous of you to do so.

    It sounds like he should be fine on a 24" I'll try to have him straddle one (somewhere).

    The Octane at $225 shipped is looking like a winner.

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    8 year old on a 24 inch wheel. 51 inches tall, 23 inch inseam, 63 lbs.

    7 Year Old MTB recommendation please-toph-mtb.jpg

    By the way, I would not spend $200+ for a bike that has a "Goose Neck" stem.

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    What's a goose neck stem and does the Octane have one?

    If there is a better bike for less than approx $300 (delivered), I'd love a recommendation.

  18. #18
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    Is this the DB Octane?


    7 Year Old MTB recommendation please-db-octane.jpgIs this the bike DB Octane?

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    yes. I see the stem, but I don't know if the shape/design is a bad thing.

  20. #20
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    Maybe, but it may not be the current one.

    Diamondback Bicycles - 2012 Octane 24 Boys
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    No fine tuning with the "Goose Neck". That position is set in stone unless you want to replace the entire front end.

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    I see. You can see how little I know about MTB.

    Is it silly to think that the set position will be just fine?

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    Most likely your son will never know the difference. Then again he may say his bars are too far away even after you have moved the seat up all the way. You never know.

    However, as a parent I want to make sure my son is using gear that fits properly. An adjustable bike helps a proper fit

  24. #24
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    Not ideal, but with those quill type forks, you could utilize a quill adapter and then use whatever stem and spacer stack you want.
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  25. #25
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    Another option. Get an aluminum framed bike that is the lightest you can find. Something like this from Specialized.
    Specialized Bicycle Components

    It is their "street" version of their 24" bikes. It has a rigid fork and is several pounds lighter than it's suspended brother. Your boy is 70#. So just run about 20psi of air pressure and it'll be what suspension he'll be riding on any bike.

    My son is 53" tall and 64#. I got him the Cannondale Race 24. It's got the air adjustable fork. And he can't blow past the stiction to use any travel. Hopefully when this summer roles around and we've been more hours in, he'll be able to push himself harder and maybe the stiction will have loosened up by then.

    In the meantime, I'm changing out crank arms for something a little shorter and possibly replace the pedals. Otherwise, the hardest part is just carving the time to get out there and ride.

    First time out. He's a little overwhelmed at the park with so many ppl. I think the pedal strikes bothered him the most. Still, he wants to go again which is the most important thing.
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    I think it'll be out too late for my boy. But I would have bought this one right away if my LBS carried it or could order it.

    Just get out and ride!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JRS73 View Post
    No fine tuning with the "Goose Neck". That position is set in stone unless you want to replace the entire front end.
    Not true.

    You can easily replace a quill type stem. They're very cheap, and come in a variety of lengths/angles.

    Kalloy Dirt Drop Quill Stem 100079753 at CambriaBike.com

    Also, as mentioned you can get an adapter that changes this style of stem to accept readily available 'real' mountain bike parts, but that would cost a lot more and you wouldn't really gain anything. I think that for most 7 year olds, this level of customization isn't something you need to worry about. (I think a lot of 'serious' bikers tend to overthink some of this stuff - most kids aren't going to notice or care one way or the other.)

    You can also get adjustable ones, for about $20.

  28. #28
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    Okay, so the quality, style, size (most likely) and goose neck are all almost definitely just fine for a 7 year old (hopefully for at least a couple years) and $225 makes it a good value, right?

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    I find best value is going with something used, but it's also more risky and more of a PIA, specially if you don't have a lot of familiarity with what you're looking to buy.
    I think that bike looks fine for the price and I'm sure the kid enjoy it, but I would seriously consider trying to buy it at a local bike shop if you are not comfortable working on bikes. Many offer a free check-up / tune-up after a couple weeks of riding, and you're more likely to get a bike that's properly put together than going the e-bay route. Of course, bikes aren't rocket science either, so if you're comfortable doing a little research and turning some wrenches, no reason not to save a few bucks.

  30. #30
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    I would seriously recommend finding that bike in a store and sitting your son on it. A family friend has a slightly older version of that diamond back and 2 things strike me about it. The thing weight a TON, and it has pretty junk components on it. And it honestly isn't that cheap. I look at it as an overpriced walmart bike. The suspension is all but locked up. The blunt truth about it is that it is more show than go, and isn't a terribly fun bike to ride.

    Now, having said all that, if you still like it, get your son on the bike, have him try it. If it fits and he likes it, that is important, and trumps most anything i said.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GMF View Post
    I would seriously recommend finding that bike in a store and sitting your son on it. A family friend has a slightly older version of that diamond back and 2 things strike me about it. The thing weight a TON, and it has pretty junk components on it. And it honestly isn't that cheap. I look at it as an overpriced walmart bike. The suspension is all but locked up. The blunt truth about it is that it is more show than go, and isn't a terribly fun bike to ride.

    Now, having said all that, if you still like it, get your son on the bike, have him try it. If it fits and he likes it, that is important, and trumps most anything i said.
    I'm totally not in love with this bike. I just thought I'd be done with this research and he'd have a nice bike for $225.

    Your firsthand knowledge is very helpful.

    I'd sure appreciate a recommendation for a better bike (lighter, suspension better for rough trails, etc.) for around $300.

    Thanks!

  32. #32
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    Personally, I'd keep an eye out for a craigslist deal. Look for specialized, trek, or less likely a scott. I bought a 20" hotrock for my kid and it is holding up well. A family friend went and bought a used 24" hotrock for well under your budget in great shape.

    For me... kids bikes = buy used bikes (but from kids who never really got into it... of which there are many).

    Maybe not what you are looking for, but is my opinion of the best value out there.

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    GMF: I agree completely that value is at its peak when you buy used in very good shape.

    Unfortunately, that takes time which is scarce for me, and involves a risk because of my lack of knowledge of bikes.

    Is there a new, available on-line, 24" mtb bike for around $300 that's considered good?

    Thanks

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    Does anyone have a recommendation for a new (preferably available online) 24" MTB for around $300?

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    I'm not super well versed in the 24" wheel bikes, but if you are planning on going to REI anyway, take a look at their Novara kids bike:
    Novara Tractor 24" Bike - 2013 at REI.com

    I'm just looking at the aluminum frame, and maybe a little bit nicer suspension fork. Don't get hung up on suspension, though, because at this price point it can almost be more of a liability (extra 2-3 pounds of weight that may not actually boing) than a benefit.

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    That's a good suggestion.

    Do you think the Novara Tractor is a good step up from the Diamonback Octane?

    How does the Novara compare to a Specialized Hotrock 7 (which is the MTB version, I believe)?

  37. #37
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    Honestly, I don't know. Like i mentioned before, I have not been looking at 24" bikes. My kid is still in the solid 20" range, so i'm out of my element in providing concrete suggestions/advice.

    Good luck!

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    It looks like a half decent bike.

    I'd probably lose the triple up front to lighten it significantly.
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  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Not true.

    You can easily replace a quill type stem. They're very cheap, and come in a variety of lengths/angles.

    Kalloy Dirt Drop Quill Stem 100079753 at CambriaBike.com

    Also, as mentioned you can get an adapter that changes this style of stem to accept readily available 'real' mountain bike parts, but that would cost a lot more and you wouldn't really gain anything. I think that for most 7 year olds, this level of customization isn't something you need to worry about. (I think a lot of 'serious' bikers tend to overthink some of this stuff - most kids aren't going to notice or care one way or the other.)

    You can also get adjustable ones, for about $20.
    Definite benefit I see to using a quill stem rather than an aheadset stem on a kids bike is that the quill stem is adjustable for height/growth. You can start with the stem slammed low when the kid is small and raise it as they grow. With an aheadset stem, you need to firtst cut-off the steer-tube length to setup a low stem height when they are small but then cannot raise the stem later. Alternative is to leave an ugly, unsafe stack of spacers sticking up above stem on the too-long steer-tube when they are small, sort of defeats the purpose of ahead-set weight savings. MTB's went to 1-1/8" steer-tubes and aheadset stems to gain a bit of extra stiffness for full-size rides, but a 1" quill stem is still plenty stiff for a kid size rider.

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    Okay, it looks like I've made my decision: We're getting the Specialized Hotrocks 7 24" in black/red from a LBS.

    From what I can learn online, it's worth the extra money.

    I hope he likes it.

    Thanks everyone for your help and support!

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    Which one the 11.5 or 13" seat tube. I agree they are nice bikes, I was planning on buying one. Bill

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billinsd View Post
    Which one the 11.5 or 13" seat tube. I agree they are nice bikes, I was planning on buying one. Bill
    I certainly could be wrong, but my understanding is that the Specialized 7 Hotrock 24" only comes in 11" (not 11.5 or 13).

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by josephnyc View Post
    I certainly could be wrong, but my understanding is that the Specialized 7 Hotrock 24" only comes in 11" (not 11.5 or 13).
    You are correct, it's only the higher end XC models that have 2 frames sizes.

    I know price plays a part but if I may, I'd suggest for the $30 to get the 24 speed.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    You are correct, it's only the higher end XC models that have 2 frames sizes.

    I know price plays a part but if I may, I'd suggest for the $30 to get the 24 speed.
    Oh!

    I didn't realize that.

    Are the XC models just as good/appropriate for rough trails?

    Now I'm confused again.

    Which model would be best for rough trails:

    7 Year Old MTB recommendation please-specliazed-bikes-compared-2.jpg7 Year Old MTB recommendation please-specliazed-bikes-compared.jpg

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    Okay, I called Specialized and here's the scoop:

    The Hotrock 24 21 speed is the same as the Hotrock 7 -- except for the # of gears.

    The XC model is a scaled down version of an adult bike that would be slightly less good on rough trails (it has different specs that make it slightly less of a MTB).

    I'll go with the Hotrcok 24 21 speed.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

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    Quote Originally Posted by josephnyc View Post
    Okay, I called Specialized and here's the scoop:

    The Hotrock 24 21 speed is the same as the Hotrock 7 -- except for the # of gears.

    The XC model is a scaled down version of an adult bike that would be slightly less good on rough trails (it has different specs that make it slightly less of a MTB).

    I'll go with the Hotrcok 24 21 speed.

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

    Well it boils down to what you want to spend. I think our kids are light enough that I'm really surprised at the answer you got from Specialized. I think either is fine for rough trails, unless your kids is an incredible rider like some I've seen on here, but in that case you're not buying one of these.

    Sorry I saw this post late. Here's my 2cents. As some have said, I think too many parents push kids onto XS26 too soon, not all, but a lot. Think about your own riding and learning, smaller bike is easier to learn how to handle- wheelie, manual bunny hop etc...

    My son had a Specialized 12 and 16 inch bikes. When I started looking at 20 inch bikes, I was surprised at some of the measurement differences. Marin is smaller for the same wheel size then most. We went with a Marin 20 inch and he is now on the Marin 24inch Trail Disc. The chain stay on the Marin is 3/4 or 1/2 inch shorter off the top of my head. Making it IMHO better for learning some of the basic skills I want him to learn.

    I also think the disc brakes help inspire confidence with smaller, weaker hands. I liked that the MArin had mechanical vs. hydro so that I could adjust the front so that he couldn't lock it up and go over the bars until he learns better modulation.

    I think any of the better brand bike will be nice. In full disclosure I bought the Marin Disc and upgraded just about everything, the only stock items are the seat, seat post, seat post collar and frame. I still think it would have been a nice bike for the money.

    Now I will say I've watched tons of video with my son, like Danny MacAskill so it inspires him to try stuff. He's been riding over small log piles since he was on the 16, starting jumping those black skate board ramps on the 20 and it now really trying to manual/wheelie/ bunny hop well with the 24. So the money wasn't a thought for me.

    Another thing to note about size, my daughter is on a Kona Shred 2-0, and every so often my son still loves getting on it to try some tricks because of the size.


    Hope this helps, don't be in a rush to get them off that 24.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Well it boils down to what you want to spend. I think our kids are light enough that I'm really surprised at the answer you got from Specialized. I think either is fine for rough trails, unless your kids is an incredible rider like some I've seen on here, but in that case you're not buying one of these.

    Sorry I saw this post late. Here's my 2cents. As some have said, I think too many parents push kids onto XS26 too soon, not all, but a lot. Think about your own riding and learning, smaller bike is easier to learn how to handle- wheelie, manual bunny hop etc...

    My son had a Specialized 12 and 16 inch bikes. When I started looking at 20 inch bikes, I was surprised at some of the measurement differences. Marin is smaller for the same wheel size then most. We went with a Marin 20 inch and he is now on the Marin 24inch Trail Disc. The chain stay on the Marin is 3/4 or 1/2 inch shorter off the top of my head. Making it IMHO better for learning some of the basic skills I want him to learn.

    I also think the disc brakes help inspire confidence with smaller, weaker hands. I liked that the MArin had mechanical vs. hydro so that I could adjust the front so that he couldn't lock it up and go over the bars until he learns better modulation.

    I think any of the better brand bike will be nice. In full disclosure I bought the Marin Disc and upgraded just about everything, the only stock items are the seat, seat post, seat post collar and frame. I still think it would have been a nice bike for the money.

    Now I will say I've watched tons of video with my son, like Danny MacAskill so it inspires him to try stuff. He's been riding over small log piles since he was on the 16, starting jumping those black skate board ramps on the 20 and it now really trying to manual/wheelie/ bunny hop well with the 24. So the money wasn't a thought for me.

    Another thing to note about size, my daughter is on a Kona Shred 2-0, and every so often my son still loves getting on it to try some tricks because of the size.


    Hope this helps, don't be in a rush to get them off that 24.
    It seems that ~$300 is a pretty good value -- there are clearly far better bikes for far more money, and far worse bikes for far less money. With a (n arbitrary) budget of ~$300, it seems that this is a smart move.

    I'm not sure I understand your position with respect to getting my son the 24" bike. Do you think I'm pushing him too soon onto too big of a bike?

    Thanks

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    I just read your original post and your additional posts.

    I think we might be missing a serious piece of information.

    How much does your child like riding?

    Does he do it just to do it, or does he go out there because he loves it and wants to raise hell?

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    Quote Originally Posted by josephnyc View Post
    It seems that ~$300 is a pretty good value -- there are clearly far better bikes for far more money, and far worse bikes for far less money. With a (n arbitrary) budget of ~$300, it seems that this is a smart move.

    I'm not sure I understand your position with respect to getting my son the 24" bike. Do you think I'm pushing him too soon onto too big of a bike?

    Thanks
    No I don't think you're pushing. I actually started with XS26 inch frame and 24 inches wheels and even then, after I put him on it realized it was the wrong way to go. For some it works. Me I'll be keeping my son on the 24 for a while unless he has a huge growth spurt.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRS73 View Post
    I just read your original post and your additional posts.

    I think we might be missing a serious piece of information.

    How much does your child like riding?

    Does he do it just to do it, or does he go out there because he loves it and wants to raise hell?
    My son has endless energy and desire to be active, and very much likes biking.

    He would love to raise hell, but doesn't know how (yet).

    We have miles of trails at our summer place, some flat, smooth, hard packed and parts muddy, rocky, hilly. The idea is for us to go together (unless his middle aged dad finds it too difficult (;-)

    Does this change the appropriateness of a Specialized Hotrocks 24?

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