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  1. #1
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    Anyone regret getting a nice FS (lil shedder or similar) for their 6 yr old?

    As the topic says, anyone ever feel like they should have just gone with a hard tail for their 6 yr old? Or... what did the FS give you that the HT wasn't going to?

    It's interesting to me that most of the vids from lil shedder these days shows their kids on the hardtail. Is it because while the FS is sweet on a trail, they still have to keep a lighter hardtail for jumping and such? I'm totally ok with dropping coin on 1 bike, but not 2. I love both trail riding and jump parks with my little dude and will be going back to Whistler finally this year (after 3 yrs away ) and planning to bring him along.
    Last edited by phatfreeheeler; 04-20-2015 at 02:19 PM.

  2. #2
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    The issue with FS on a 20" is pedal strikes. The frame would have to have a decently high BB to compensate for sag and travel. I modded my son's Marin HT to provide 80mm of usable travel by swapping out springs with lower spring rates. He was able to make it down Mammoth Mountain Skid Marks trail on it which is pretty amazing. Whistler is probably going to be a lot smoother with tackier dirt. I think a HT will be fine. Let them learn how to load the bike and transfer weight first before going FS. My .02... and it's free.

  3. #3
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    I see no reason to get my kids FS bikes. Hardtails at most, is what they are looking at. Currently my 9yo has a Giant BMX, my 6yo has a Toys R Us special but is getting a BMX for his birthday, and my 5yo daughter has her own litle Toys R Us special which will be upgraded to something of her choice when she outgrows it. I'm going to be building up hardtail mtb's for my oldest two, out of spare parts and old steel Haro frames. I have an old SID and a Marzocchi Bomber still in good condition, plus spare wheel sets, etc.

    When I started mountain biking I was on a rigid bike. I still feel to this day that it allowed me to learn how to ride better than a bike with suspension would have.

    Plus for a 6yo, the less moving parts, the better.

    Just my opinion.

  4. #4
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    I have a shredder on the way in a week or so and I will let you know but as of now, I am completely comfortable with the decision to get it for my small 7 y/o. It is used and was built with light weight parts. I will have less in this bike than some have in their light weight HT builds. Is it necessary for him to have a FS, absolutely not. He rides a Hotrock Pro 20 and I figured if I built it to 20.5 lbs like the shredder is I would not get my money back when he grows out of it. Don't think there will an issue reselling the shredder.

  5. #5
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    I wasn't really askiing why you chose not to get a FS for your kids but thanks.

    Pedal strikes are definitely a concern, but the bikes I'm looking at are designed with that in mind to a degree. Very short cranks are better anyways. Anyone actually own one of these for their kids have anything to add before I pull the trigger. I'll just have to make the kids walk to school up hill both ways in the snow while sharing one pair of shoes to toughen them up

  6. #6
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    My 4.75 year old rides a Lil Shredder Prodigy with 16" wheels and 102mm cranks (from Spawn). He's 41" tall. Pedal strikes are definitely an issue for him, but he is learning how to time his strokes. Not sure a hardtail would be any better. The pedal strikes come at the top of roots, the crown of bumps, etc. Not when he is bottoming out. The only issues he has with the suspension (front and rear) is that it's hard to tune for his weight (<40lbs). Since your kid is 6 and probably weighs more, (s)he will likely have less of these issues, especially with bigger wheels.

    The only time I really regret getting the FS over the HT is when I see him struggling a bit on the climbs. But I'm guessing the weight savings of the HT would probably only be about 1lb.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by phatfreeheeler View Post
    I love both trail riding and jump parks with my little dude and will be going back to Whistler finally this year (after 3 yrs away ) and planning to bring him along.
    I think you have to ask yourself what you and your 6 year old will be doing more of and your little dude's direction or riding path he is interested in, not yours. We didn't go the FS direction simply because we ride to bike parks about 2x a year and the rest of the time is spent riding local trails. The pounds of weight a full suspension bike will add is compounded when you have a 40-50 pound child, which makes riding uphill that much less fun as lixxfe also mentions below.

  8. #8
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    lixxfe – Thanks for posting your experiences. Everyone always does a post when they first get these rad little bikes. Usually about how cool it is to see their kids riding them, but that is normally the end of it. There aren't really any accounts of how the learning process went for their kids or if they would have done anything different. How does the bike work for riding dirt jumps and pump tracks? Are you running a 24" fork like they show in the Lil Shredder Prodigy webpage or a 20" fork like a Spinner Air or MRP? The 24” fork would of course improve pedal clearance by ~20mm (BB is now above the axles), but raises the bars almost 2” which hurts standover… an issue which reduces kids confidence IMO. It also slacks out the HA by over 2 deg. Everything is a balancing act and the 16” wheels really cuts into pedal clearance I’m sure. Propain uses 95mm cranks with 16” wheels, 115mm with their 20”. On full compression the pedals on the 16” will touch the ground according to the CAD model I created. Lil Shedder doesn’t have a good website with geo and actual current build specs.

    Just to be clear, anyone who’s come to the point of deciding to possibly buy their kid a bike at this level, and takes the extra time to come to a public forum to hear others experiences, is obviously very involved with their kid and has an understanding of what makes them happy. If you have never put your kid on a high quality full suspension mountain bike you really are just speculating.

  9. #9
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    I've got a 5 (almost 6) year old son on a Lil Shredder full suspension bike with 20inch wheels. He got it for his 5th birthday and loves it. He's been ripping on his BMX bike since he was 3. He was trying to tackle our local trails here in BC on his Redline BMX, and without a front brake and no suspension, he was getting pounded and was going to get hurt.

    I've never seen him strike the pedals, but that may be because he learned to keep the pedals level through rough stuff on his BMX. The only major change I've done to the bike that I wish I'd done sooner is put a 24 tooth narrow-wide chainring on the front. Raceface makes these (I don't think they're on their website) for fatbikes now and they work perfectly on the shimano cranks that come with the Lil Shredder. Now he can actually climb up hills.

    He rides in a weekly mountain bike camp, and I ride with him on local trails about twice per week. He also frequents our local BMX track with it. He's been in the Whistler bike park one day last year and I'll probably take him in a few times this year as well. I wouldn't consider taking him in any downhill bike park with a hard-tail, especially not with how bumpy and chundery the Whistler park gets.

    I have no regrets about getting the full suspension Lil Shredder. It also comes with the MRP fork which works much better for kids than the spinner fork that comes with the Lil Shredder hard-tail.

    I don't think the full suspension adds that much weight. maybe a pound over a hard-tail? All the weight on these bikes is in the wheels anyways. No one makes light 20 inch wheels for kids. The Lil Shredder comes with heavy duty BMX rims with way too many spokes for kids. That's just all that's available. My son's wheels weigh more than my 29er wheels with 2.35 Maxxis minions.

    If the goal is jumping, I think you're always going to be able to boost off any lip higher on a hard-tail, same as with adults, hence all the pics of hard-tails jumping. It can be done on a full suspension though. But if you want to trail ride or take your child into a downhill park, full suspension would be safer and more enjoyable for him.

  10. #10
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    I have had my son on a 20" HT (Specilized Hotrock that has had pretty much everything upgraded other than frame, bar, seatpost, saddle. It started as a small upgrade project that got a bit out of controlled. (MRP fork, custom wheels, cranks, brakes, ect...) The bike worked well but had steeper geometry than most current adult bikes and tended to be a a bit rough on rocks and smacking into square roots. Some of the finesse you learn as an adult is still developing. If I knew my son was going to be serious about riding when I bought the 20" frame I would have gone full suspension. (at the time he had done a few trail rides but was still getting the hang of it). Assuming cost fits the budget, anything I can do to make his ride more enjoyable that encourages him to keep riding and ask to go with me is worth it.

    He turns 9 this weekend and is getting a Transition Ripcord 24. (full suspension). I think the bikes from Little Shredder, Transition, and such have a definite step up in modern geometry and are doing a little bit better job than the big boys. (I no longer want a 69 or 70 degree headtube and have proper technique (most of the time), why would I want my kids to ride geometry that I am less than comfortable on) Cost wise the 20" may be a two year bike and then on to bigger. They can do a lot on 20" wheels but do get bogged down quicker on certain terrain and the kids just keep growing.

  11. #11
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    Thanks for your insights Sweetness and string. I think I've decided to take the plunge and if I decide at the end of the summer that it was a mistake, resale on these bikes is usually quite good. Safe and enjoyable are exactly what I'm not seeing with many 6-8 yr olds on rigid's and HT's. The rare great ones look like pros, but not every kid is a pro. One thing I'm doing that is slightly out of the ordinary is currently building a set of 18" wheels with some sweet looking 18" Kenda Smoke tires. I have lots of spare hubs lying around, so the cost is low and it should make the transition easier as even at almost 48" he isn't currently comfortable on any 20" bikes I've tried to get him on because he feels like he can't bail easy enough.

    Too bad 18" bikes and parts are so rare cause it's an easy way to lower a bike 1".

  12. #12
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    Hi Phat,
    Sorry for the delay in reply. Tough to find time to sit down and post with young boy running around, as you no-doubt know. I don’t have much to add beyond what Sweetness and String already said. But in reply to your specific questions:

    My boy rides at a local jump/pump park (Shells in Foster City, CA) but doesn't do any jumping. Just likes to ride up and down and around the smaller features. We are mostly riding local single-track trails in Norcal. Sierra Morena at Skeggs, Upper Campus and Emma McCrary in Santa Cruz, some trails at Annadel, etc., if you are familiar with the area. Basically, some of the milder trails his mom and I like to ride. Mtb is very much a family activity, and we basically got him the bike so he could ride with us on the trails we like to ride. It’s working great so far, and we are pretty happy with his progress. More importantly, he enjoys it and looks forward to riding with us.

    I got the 20" MRP fork with 80mm travel, but I reduced travel to 50mm to reduce standover, and rake. I wanted something a little more cross-country/all-mountain, versus downhill. To me, even the 20” fork at full 80mm travel rakes the front out too much. Another thing is the bars were going to be way too high. Even running at 50mm travel with a flat bar and zero rise stem, the bars are a couple of inches too high, relative to seat position.

    BTW, it’s great that you are building up an 18” wheelset. I’m gathering the parts to build up a set too since I think the jump from 16 to 20 is just too big. As you noticed, there are not many options available. Maybe this is the start of a trend and more companies will start to offer parts!

    Additional Comment:
    Another issue I ran into with the raked out geo: I couldn't get the seat positioned properly for normal trail riding. Even with the 50mm fork, the seat needs to be positioned further forward. Unfortunately, I ran out of seat rail, and I couldn't find a 25.4mm dia. offset seatpost that works right when 'set-forward'.
    Last edited by lixxfe; 04-24-2015 at 02:06 PM. Reason: added comment

  13. #13
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    Cool lixxfe, thanks for the extra info.

    I've actually ran into a snag on my plan as the company I was trying to buy from says they can't ship to the USA (Propain bikes). Believe it or not I like the bike they made more than the Lil Shredders and on top of that they are over $1k less right now with the exchange rate. Of course, if I can't get the bike here all that is useless and I'm left with only 2 Full suspension options in the US. The Commencal Supreme 20 or the Lil Shredder Prodigy. The Commencal is a very heavy frame though (3000g), so while I'd save on cost, it might be hard to keep the weight sub 22lbs and I'm a bit nervous about how well it would pedal with the main pivot around the BB.

  14. #14
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    Propain Frechdax

    Thanks for sharing that info. Had heard of the brand before, but didn't know they offered a 16 and 20" bike. Just eyeballing the geo, I would say that it's not nearly as slack as the Lil Shredder Prodigy. Would have saved me some work if I went that route... And lb/$ is great.

    Did they give a reason for not exporting to US? Patent issues? Liability issues? Lack of local distributor?

    The only issue I see is that it looks like there are specific frames for the two tire sizes. No replaceable/adjustable dropouts for the swingarm.
    Last edited by lixxfe; 04-24-2015 at 01:59 PM. Reason: adding comment

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by lixxfe View Post
    The only issue I see is that it looks like there are specific frames for the two tire sizes. No replaceable/adjustable dropouts for the swingarm.
    To my understanding, this is not true. The frames have a second set of holes for all mounting hardware for the 16" rear wheel, brake, and derailleur hanger to attach to.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by phatfreeheeler View Post
    One thing I'm doing that is slightly out of the ordinary is currently building a set of 18" wheels with some sweet looking 18" Kenda Smoke tires.

    Too bad 18" bikes and parts are so rare cause it's an easy way to lower a bike 1".
    Do you have some 18" rims you'd recommend?

    I want to build an 18" set of wheels to lower the BB height on a couple of 20" bikes.

  17. #17
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    Pretty sure there will be Lil shredder rentals in Whistler. When are you going? Our boy will be 5 soon and he will be ready to ride the park, but too small for suspension.

  18. #18
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    I'll post 18" details once I build them up... it's a bit of a project. Most good 18" rims are 18x1 which is a larger rim specific to micro bmx racing. For fatter tires you need 18x1.5-2.125 rims.
    The thought of just renting a lil shredder has definitely crossed my mind. I'd still need to buy a good 20" HT this month at ~$1k and Spawn and Commencal are out of stock. The thing is, I still think a full suspension would be better for him by next summer as his skills grow and then I'd either hope for the best or sink the money on the FS then. Seems like I might as well make the plunge now and get another year out of the more expensive bike.

  19. #19
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    Just a thought for those saying that HT is better for kids than FS.
    Mordern suspension in these bikes can be locked out front and back when and if required.
    HT is good for teaching some tecnhiques, but at speed over the wrong surface the bike will get launched along with the kid.
    On longer ruffer trails the HT will transfer every bumo into the kid so not much pleasure. You wont feel it as your riding plush with deeper tyres whilst they are rattling around.

    Lil Shredder, Propain & Commencal will all take 10 speed so dont worry about getting them up hills, and make sure you get the right cranks as they need to be short.
    Not sure what Lil Shredder is using to get 24t but you can cut down Zee cranks to less than 130 no problem and they will take a 39t. Match this to an 11/36 and nearly evry hill can be climbed.
    MTB: Stumpy, Enduro, Hotrock, Commencal Supreme
    ROAD: Jamis Zenith, Pinarello Dogma

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffter18 View Post
    On longer ruffer trails the HT will transfer every bumo into the kid so not much pleasure. You wont feel it as your riding plush with deeper tyres whilst they are rattling around.
    Yes, great point. People comment on the roll-over difference between 29ers vs 26. Imagine the difference between 16, 18 or 20 versus 26. That 6" drop that you don't even think about on a full-sized bike is a cliff to the little guys.

  21. #21
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    To add our experience... Got my son a shredder 2.5 years ago. His riding skills went up right way, and fast. Now he is 7 and we are selling the shredder (to someone who posted this thread already!). Shredder frame is only 4.5 lbs, so you are looking at about a 1.5 lbs penalty over a HT build.

    We didn't go crazy with the build, and had spare parts in the garage we were able to use. Resale of the bike was easy.... Didn't even post on PB, just mentioned it in a post here.

    I've bought numerous bikes for the kid over the years, and I've found it you buy quality bikes, especially used ones, you can essentially "rent" them for a couple years at almost no cost. I think I even made money on his redline pit boss.

    I would do it again in a heartbeat.

  22. #22
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    Thanks for all the feedback... I'm committed to the direction at this point. The only question is which bike now. I really like the Propain, but may not be able to get one. The Commencal frame with shock is 6.6 lbs so a lot more than a Shredder. I have not had any success finding a used bike but somehow I'm going to make it happen.

  23. #23
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    phatfreeheeler, I saw the pic in the propain thread. Glad you were able to work out shipping to the U.S.

    As for anyone thinking of putting their kid on a FS, if you think they need it, just do it! I honestly didn't know if mine would ride any better but he wanted a bike like mine so I picked up a used shredder and he is definitely more confident on it. Right away I noticed the wheelbase difference. The shredder is 5" shorter than his HR pro 20" and the cock pit is more compact. He rides faster and jumps everything now. It came with Sinz 125mm cranks and pedal strikes have not been an issue. I found out the frame is one of the first 10 made and has a different swingarm that prevents using a modern chain guide or a four arm crank so a 30t NW is not an option. He has had a few chain drops so I'm making a custom piece to fit. I limit his single track rides to 3-5 miles to prevent boredom but he is not tired at the end like when he was on the HR.

    Here is a pic from a few weeks ago at the new park in NC. The photographer was doing a shoot for PB and snapped this as we were unloading the shuttle at the top.
    Anyone regret getting a nice FS (lil shedder or similar) for their 6 yr old?-image.jpg

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