My daughter had completely outgrown the bike she's had the last 3 years: a Giant Taffy, complete with basket and white tyres.
At some point we lost the tassles.
She rode everything on that bike. The most memorable moment was probably an OTB (over the basket!) ejection at our local 4X track. She also did a few kids MTB races on it, did laps of the local bmx track and took it along when we'd head out on the firetrails or singletrack as a family. The tyres didn't stay white...
As she got taller, I got a longer seatpost so she could keep riding it.
A couple of years back, she won the lucky door prize at a race, and took home a brand new Eastern Growler!
When she won it, it was way too big for her, but I figured it would replace the Taffy when she could ride it.
Thing is, that Growler is pretty damn heavy, designed for taking a beating at the half pipe, and the geometry is adult sized (handlebars especially). Worse, the seatpost isn't adjustable at all, since you're not actually supposed to sit on the thing.
So once she was big enough to ride it, it was great at the BMX track (especially for me!) but no good for her to ride on singletrack, firetrails etc.
I figured the next step was a 24" bike. She rode a friend's Specialized Hotrock 24", and really enjoyed the gears, but since she's so light (30kg) she wasn't budging the fork into its travel at all.
Also, she seems to have particularly long legs, and we needed to put the seat post up near the top of its travel to get her into a decent pedalling position.
It was the same story with the Scott Scale Jr 24".
I really liked the prospect of one of these because they seem to be about the lightest 24" you can get. These are rare as hens' teeth in Australia however - they're pricey so only a handful have been brought in, and I think they've been discontinued here for 2013 - and we had to drive all over Sydney to find one.
When we did, we found it was the same story as with the Hotrock: the bike's too small and she'd maybe get 6 months out of it.
Back to the drawing board.
The store where we'd seen the Scott suggested a couple of entry-level 26" bikes in a small frame size. But of course, an entry level 26" bike is a weighty prospect, she'd never get any benefit from the fork and didn't seem like a good idea. Not much fun pushing a 15kg bike around when you weigh 30kg!
I briefly contemplated building her a bike from the ground up, but quickly realised this was beyond both my skill set and budget.
But then a stroke of luck. We saw a Specialized Era Comp 2008 - women's hardtail in a small size - advertised for sale close by. Looked to be in great condition, about 11kg all up and great spec. Particularly exciting was the Fox 90mm air sprung fork - finally a fork we'd be able to set up for her weight. Juicy 5 hydraulics. Low standover height. It really does have a tiny frame. This one wasn't even the smallest frame size (it's a 15" and they did a 13" apparently) but it's absolutely spot on for her.
All in all, a fabulous bike which should last her many years. Wish I had a nice light hardtail like that...
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