First real bike for big 11 year old
My son is just 11, and inexperienced. But he's also 5'5" Looking for mtn or hybrid type bike for him, on the cheap side.
What size do you recommend? I'm looking at a Diamondback Cobra 24 boys' mtn bike at REI outlet right now, but I'm worried it will be too small.
Also, we live in rural MI, very flat. Some trails but most riding will be on country roads. I'm thinking mtn is the way to go, but if there are other suggestions I'd be happy to hear them.
(remembering that some hybrids aren't exactly "cool" enough for an 11 year old).
Have the same problem with my son, same age, and a hair shorter than yours. And the same issue with a year old daughter, so I've been going over the entry level stuff a lot lately.
IMHO, a 24" wheeled bike will be too small, and why bother? It will be beyond a doubt that it is too small in a year. We sold my son's 24" bike to fund this one.
I Nashbar'd him a 26" wheeled, 16" frame Diamondback Response. Assembly is minimal, and using Google-fu I located enough coupons to bring the cost down to about $260 including tax and shipping (base model Response, not the Comp).
He loves it, and while it isn't something I would want to ride, I'm not 11.
Parts are decent enough, SRAM X4, 8 speed w/Vbrakes (DBack house brand). Not the finest, but good enough to hold their adjustment. Most other bits are also Dback house brand. Heavy & chunky, but solid & functional.
Only extremely dubious part is the fork (Grind Spinner 120mm of alleged travel), and again - I'm not 11. He isn't really heavy enough to compress it, unless he really nails something. At the least, it seems to be holding up well. I doubt very much if it would work for an adult.
Best part is it looks aggressive, and has the 11 year old cool factor going for it. Compared to the stuff other kids his age ride to school, it's actually pretty nice.
Watch it though, I've heard of this bike being sold at sporting goods stores with 7-speed junkyparts on it, not all builds of it will be the same. While the Nashbar parts spec isn't spectacular, it is at least fairly solid.
Bottom line - if you are comfortable assembling your own front brakes, attaching a fork and doing your own final brake & shifting adjustments, I think it was a great purchase. There are better bikes out there, but this will get him through til he needs yet another bigger bike - and it is at a quality level where nothing on the bike will get him killed, everything functions and all of the parts hold adjustment well. We put a computer on it - he rides it ~30-40 miles a week, which is a lot for a kid, and everything still looks/works great four months later with no further adjustment.
Did I mention that he loves it? Yeah, well worth $260.
I believe that Performance offers the same (or very close) build as Nashbar (same company) in store and assembled, and they do price matching.
Good luck! My kids are my favorite riding buddies.
My son is also 10, err.... turned 11 this week. He's 4'11" - 5', and has a 26" MTB with a 14" frame. ~2002 Raleigh M40 from a garage sale for 35. The forks are crap, but I tuned it up and put a set of good tires on it,, and he does pretty well on the intermediate trails in our area.
I am in the same boat with my son. I bought him a Trek 220 in March and he need bigger already. Make sure you at least get 26inch wheel set. I see 10 & 11 year old kids at the races all the time on modified 15inch bikes with shorter stems. I am trying to find my 10 year old who is 5ft a 13inch or 15inch bike now.
Dangit..I might have gone too big then....oh well.....I just bought my son his xmas gift. He's will be 8 years old in January but he's the size of most 9 1/2 year olds. He's always been longer than most kids his age. His current bike is a POS 1994 Trek 220. He needs a new one of the same size. But I can't see spending the money on a bike he would have for only 2 years. So he will now have a 26 size tire with a 16.5 height bike. He can grow into it!!!