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  1. #1
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    Kid's 20" and 24" single speeds

    I'm thinking ahead to my son's sixth birthday and a replacement for his 16" Specialized Hot Rock. Since I ride my rigid steel single speed 29er with him, I was thinking that instead of complicating things with gears a single speed would be the way to go. I'm not talking about a BMX bike, I'm talking about a kids single speed mountain bike.

    Problem is I'm not finding much. Apparently most manufacturers think kids should have cheap, crappy, heavy suspension forks and gears. I think a full rigid single speed is perfect for kids. So far the best I've come up with (and I am on a budget of less than $300) is the SE Soda Pop bikes. He might be big enough for the 24" by the time his birthday comes around. The gearing would need to be changed, and I'm not thrilled with the caliper brakes...but I like the simplicity.

    Any other ideas?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    ...I think a full rigid single speed is perfect for kids...
    It really depends where you ride. Where I ride with my kids a SS full rigid just didn't cut it.

    Best rigid SS for a kids bike will be a BMX mini or micro. What's wrong with a BMX bike?

  3. #3
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    I'll put it this way, unless you live somewhere completely flat, do your kid a favor, get them gears.
    Just cause as an adult you're into SS, doesn't mean a kid will be.

    My daughter rode her brothers 20 inch 7 speed once, she now has an enthusiasm that wasn't there before because for a kid SS sucks. She can wait for the bike to get handed down this coming spring. She doesn't care about color or anything she normally makes a big deal about.

    Right now it's all about how much easier the hills are on that bike vs. her SS 16inch
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  4. #4
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    I guess people simply don't remember being a kid...I rode dirt trails all my childhood on a Redline 102b, only we didn't call it mountain biking. It had ONE gear and I don't ever remember complaining, we just had fun! We had a whole network of trails with berms and jumps. If a hill was too steep to climb we got off and pushed our bikes up it. I also rode full rigid my first three years of mountain biking and have since owned two SS full rigid bikes. Obviously I'm not going to take a six year old on trails I ride my Stumpjumper FSR on...

    IDK...maybe kids are just pussies these days

    BTW-most BMX bikes have very steep geometry and are usually over built in the price range I am looking at.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    I guess people simply don't remember being a kid...I rode dirt trails all my childhood on a Redline 102b, only we didn't call it mountain biking. It had ONE gear and I don't ever remember complaining, we just had fun! We had a whole network of trails with berms and jumps. If a hill was too steep to climb we got off and pushed our bikes up it. I also rode full rigid my first three years of mountain biking and have since owned two SS full rigid bikes. Obviously I'm not going to take a six year old on trails I ride my Stumpjumper FSR on...

    IDK...maybe kids are just pussies these days

    BTW-most BMX bikes have very steep geometry and are usually over built in the price range I am looking at.
    Well no they aren't pussies, just a lot of us actually take our kids out on trails. If you don't plan on taking your kid out on trails, then by all means light SS is the way to go.
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    If you can find a 2010 Kona Shred 2.0, it was SS. By 5 year old has had no problems running a simgle speed on the North Shore. Yes, sometimes I have to give him a push, but he just stands and climbs most of the time anyway.

    I'd rather he focus on handling his bike, and learn to regulate his speed, than have to think about what gear he is in.

  7. #7
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    I'd be more inclined to get a Raleigh Mtn Scout, new $250, used <$100. Then convert it to 1X7. This would be simple (no crappy, heavy suspension fork) durable and lighter than the Soda Pop.

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    I had my kids ride SS for a fair while. Fact of the matter was that with gears they rode more and walked less. They could also ride further and still enjoy it. Adding suspension increased both the stuff they could ride, the speed they could ride it and how far they could ride. All of these things made gears and suspension a great thing for me and my kids.

    If you're into the whole rigid SS S&M thing then cool, but kids are uncomplicated, don't read MTB mags or forums and tell it like it is. I'll do anything to make the sport more enjoyable for them and a lightweight bike, gears and suspension have been some of those things. My kids are riding more often, faster and further. For me that's all the proof I need.

    Your mileage may vary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TigWorld View Post
    I had my kids ride SS for a fair while. Fact of the matter was that with gears they rode more and walked less. They could also ride further and still enjoy it. Adding suspension increased both the stuff they could ride, the speed they could ride it and how far they could ride. All of these things made gears and suspension a great thing for me and my kids.

    If you're into the whole rigid SS S&M thing then cool, but kids are uncomplicated, don't read MTB mags or forums and tell it like it is. I'll do anything to make the sport more enjoyable for them and a lightweight bike, gears and suspension have been some of those things. My kids are riding more often, faster and further. For me that's all the proof I need.

    Your mileage may vary.
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  10. #10
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    20" - 2004 and earlier specialized hotrock.

    I don't know if you're into used, but Specialized used to make a freewheel singlespeed 20". I had one, but sold it off in favor of gears. I bought it for $50 on Craig's List.

    They make coaster 20" now, not sure why but you could convert the coaster brake to a freehub (ala BMX style) and use the handbrake.

    24" - hard one. I'd buy a geared and convert to single speed. Again I favor Specialized because you can pick one up cheap on Craig's List due to the popularity of the brand. Add a SS tensioner and remove all the other stuff. It'll probably come in below $300. Specialized makes a "Street" version now, which is a rigid. It comes up on Craig's List now and then, much more rare. New, it is over $300 unfortunately.

    There is also isla bikes, which makes geared rigids, some work to strip it down with a SS conversion kit and you should be good. It might be a bit over budget though, but they are lightweight and will be much lighter in SS form.

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  11. #11
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    My son (9) and daughter (7) have geared mountain bikes. We are in Texas, and riding the trails requires riding up many short but moderately steep and technical inclines. In an effort to find some kids their age to ride with we have ridden with other kids on BMX bikes. My kids clean many of the trails that the kids on BMX bikes walk 50% of. (I understand the OP is thinking single speed mountain bike, not BMX). Plus they like to ride around the neighborhood and they can grab a big ring and haul butt. I love watching my kids grind up tricky ups and thread their way around obstacles, then bomb down the other side. They shift a lot. YMMV, but for me, gears provide invaluable flexibility that allows my kids to ride much more and in a vastly larger amount of environments....

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I'll put it this way, unless you live somewhere completely flat, do your kid a favor, get them gears.
    Just cause as an adult you're into SS, doesn't mean a kid will be.

    My daughter rode her brothers 20 inch 7 speed once, she now has an enthusiasm that wasn't there before because for a kid SS sucks. She can wait for the bike to get handed down this coming spring. She doesn't care about color or anything she normally makes a big deal about.

    Right now it's all about how much easier the hills are on that bike vs. her SS 16inch
    I would disagree.

    My son doesn't really care what he rides, as long as he's riding.

    He reaches for the rigid SS more often than not, tho.

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    I'm lucky to have some rare '80's cromo Aussie custom built ("Crisp") BMX's for my kids - awesome for a trail ride! One runs 20 x 1 1/8 rims (currently on slicks for road!), and the other 24 x 1 1/8. They are 6yr old twins, and bikes are awesome. Madly light and really high quality! Don't disregard high quality BMX's!



    Here's one....
    1987 TITANIUM JUNIOR SIZE PHASE II 24 INCH BMX FRAME & FORKS OLD SCHOOL BMX | eBay
    Last edited by mat-with-one-t; 11-08-2011 at 08:35 PM.

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    I live in Florida and I don't really think my kid needs gears right now either. He does great on his current 16" BMX bike. Kind of a bummer that there aren't more rigid, SS MTB options for kids. Next time I'm near an REI, I'm going to look at these: Novara Duster 20'' Single-Speed Bike - 2012 - Free Shipping at REI.com

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    To the OP...

    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    I'm thinking ahead to my son's sixth birthday and a replacement for his 16" Specialized Hot Rock. Since I ride my rigid steel single speed 29er with him, I was thinking that instead of complicating things with gears a single speed would be the way to go. I'm not talking about a BMX bike, I'm talking about a kids single speed mountain bike.

    Problem is I'm not finding much. Apparently most manufacturers think kids should have cheap, crappy, heavy suspension forks and gears. I think a full rigid single speed is perfect for kids. So far the best I've come up with (and I am on a budget of less than $300) is the SE Soda Pop bikes. He might be big enough for the 24" by the time his birthday comes around. The gearing would need to be changed, and I'm not thrilled with the caliper brakes...but I like the simplicity.

    Any other ideas?
    To RolledMeat....

    Quote Originally Posted by RolledMeat View Post
    I live in Florida and I don't really think my kid needs gears right now either. He does great on his current 16" BMX bike. Kind of a bummer that there aren't more rigid, SS MTB options for kids. Next time I'm near an REI, I'm going to look at these: Novara Duster 20'' Single-Speed Bike - 2012 - Free Shipping at REI.com
    Here is a great 24" SS for FL riders...



    I ride it from time to time either on the trails or street, as I I grew up on a BMX, so I like the feel, but they (20" that is) are too small for me these days, so I like to ride this 24". It is fast and very agile and makes a great trail/DJ/street bike.


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    Quote Originally Posted by mtnbiker72 View Post
    I'm thinking ahead to my son's sixth birthday and a replacement for his 16" Specialized Hot Rock. Since I ride my rigid steel single speed 29er with him, I was thinking that instead of complicating things with gears a single speed would be the way to go. I'm not talking about a BMX bike, I'm talking about a kids single speed mountain bike.

    Problem is I'm not finding much. Apparently most manufacturers think kids should have cheap, crappy, heavy suspension forks and gears. I think a full rigid single speed is perfect for kids. So far the best I've come up with (and I am on a budget of less than $300) is the SE Soda Pop bikes. He might be big enough for the 24" by the time his birthday comes around. The gearing would need to be changed, and I'm not thrilled with the caliper brakes...but I like the simplicity.

    Any other ideas?
    Sorry to bump this old thread, but What did you wind up finding? The Missus bought the 10 and 11 year olds derailleured bikes last year without consulting me and I've been tearing my ****ing hair out repairing and maintaining them ever since.

    PS: You posters who replied here who have successfully taught your children how to properly ride and maintain a geared bike have my utmost admiration.

  17. #17
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    Kid's 20" and 24" single speeds

    I ended up getting my 5-year-old a Trek MT 60 and he figured out the gears after a week or two. Now he's 7 and riding a Trek MT 220. My little one just turned 5 and is almost ready for the MT 60.

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    For a 20", check out the Cleary Bikes Owl. They are brand new, but look interesting...

    Owl - Cleary Blue - 20" Singlespeed Bike | Cleary Bikes

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    Quote Originally Posted by booron View Post
    Sorry to bump this old thread, but What did you wind up finding? The Missus bought the 10 and 11 year olds derailleured bikes last year without consulting me and I've been tearing my ****ing hair out repairing and maintaining them ever since.

    PS: You posters who replied here who have successfully taught your children how to properly ride and maintain a geared bike have my utmost admiration.
    You could always just convert their bikes to singlespeed for pretty short $$ - cog, spacers, chain and a maybe a half-link might do it.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    You could always just convert their bikes to singlespeed for pretty short $$ - cog, spacers, chain and a maybe a half-link might do it.
    There are also some nice internally geared 3-speed 24" bikes out there now. I think Giant make one?
    As mentioned, my son rides a 24" mid 80's BMX mini cruiser. It weighs almost nothing, and makes a beautiful MTB on more sedate trails (and it's no as if I would be making tackle tech stuff!!). He's currently 8, and has been riding it since he was 6. Should do him a few more years. Mat


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    That thing is sweet.

    I somewhat-restored an 83 MCS Magnum Mini for a buddy of mine's son (the guy had won the state championship on it when he was little and it had sat for ages in 'storage' and I thought it would be a cool to spruce it up). Didn't come out as nice as that though.



    My kid rode his mini on trails when he was 5 and maybe 6. He was racing BMX at the time, and that was the bike he was most at home on and it worked really well to start out with, besides the tall gearing. That can be messed with, but the whole 'stand up all the time' thing can be a little much for a lot of kids IME. Some kids take to it, but I think not most.

    For trail riding, I think we got a 24" Hardrock when he was 6. He was able to handle much varied terrain with it. We love our BMX bikes, but for trail riding, they can be limiting IMO. Of course, that would also depend somewhat on what your local trails are like.
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