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  1. #1
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    Looking for a 26", "all mountain," hardtail, kid's frame

    Does this exist?

    I'm looking for kid's frame with somewhat specific criteria, and am hoping somebody knows of one as an off-the-shelf option. I've looked through many pages of threads here, and haven't found an answer yet - so I apologize if this has been covered. I have to believe that I'm not the first one to want this, so maybe I just missed it. My kid is an average 9 year old, at 4'-9".

    He's been riding a typical HotRock and it still fits 'ok', but it's kind of a heavy / crap bike and is pretty limiting once you start doing any real trail riding. The "I look just like dad," elastomer fork is the worst part, but the limited 24" tire options and NORBA-esque riding position are also annoying. He has to bear a lot of his weight on the handlebars. I'm sure this is a common complaint.

    Meanwhile, I have a garage full of super-high-end 26" components that I'm no longer using, and could free-up to build a nice, light, quality ride for a kid. My thinking is that since switching to tall, 29 (or 29+) wheels has worked so well for me, then why wouldn't a kid get the same benefits out of sizing up to 26", from the more common 24" wheels.

    Here's what I'd like to find. Thanks for any leads:

    - Very short chainstays, proportioned for a kid under 5' tall. I'm guessing they should be around 14.5" - 15" ? It makes no sense that his tiny 24" wheel frame has chainstays over 16" - almost as long as most adult 26" frames. Might need a yoke connection at the bb, and might need to use a 1x drivetrain, if that's what it takes.

    - Slack seatpost, for comfort, handling, confidence on downhills, and the ability to allow the bike to fit for a longer period of time as he grows. (effectively lengthens top tube as post is extended) Obviously, it's going to need to be curved around the rear wheel.

    - Low bottom bracket. It makes no sense for a kid to sit as high as an adult. He can learn to time his pedals to avoid strikes. But I'll have to use shorter cranks too, which will help. Lack of this feature is the main reason that a XS adult bike won't work.

    - Lots of standover clearance. Low top tube.

    - High front end, for more comfortable, versatile, athletic, upright riding position. I can't imagine why most kids bikes encourage such a low and/or stretched-out riding position as they do. As with the slack seat tube, a taller front will allow it to fit him longer, too.

    - Shortish top tube, so that weight distribution is still good, even with the high front end. Just as with adult AM bikes, it doesn't need to be as long if the riding position is more upright.

    - Slackish head tube angle. Needs to kick the wheel far enough forward to prevent t.c.o. Most 26" forks have about 45mm offset/rake, so the trail calculations will affect how far it can go. I have not doubt that this is one of the reasons most kids bikes (and small bikes in general) have such long top tubes for their proportions, but I think something like 70 degrees ought to be feasible when you consider using very short cranks. People learn to compensate easy enough for too much trail (think about fat bikes).

    - 1 1/8" headtube, because that matches the available forks.

    - High-quality steel, preferably.
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  2. #2
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    Some of the small dirt jump
    frames get close to what you are wanting to find in terms of geometry. Longer head tube, slacker head angle , close to 15" chainstays.

  3. #3
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    A lot of that seems incompatible though largely because of adult components meaning it's not a scaled down adult frame.

    Even kid specific short cranks tend to just be shorter versions of the adult in terrms of the Q factor...

    Thinking about it the critical component is the chain.... (or maybe its all catch-22)
    The link length and chain thickness are all adult sized so the chainstays need to be nearly adult sized or the chainline can't work between lowest and highest (as this is also fixed)

    So we have a standard link length and more or less width (for a number of rear cogs) than sets the tooth spacing ...

    The rest is really not that hard to change .... (shifters, brakes etc.) but the geometry is somewhat dictated by the drivechain being scaled for an adult.

  4. #4
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    Completely agree with what Steve-XTC said about geometry. Not sure this fits all of your criteria, but these bikes handle great and the price is right:

    On-One Inbred 26er Vertical Dropout | On - One
    Dirt Merchant Bikes
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  5. #5
    Hardtail Steel Forever
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    If you don't mind going FS, look on ebay for XS BMC frames. I've seen a number of NOS 2009 - 2012 XS frames on there.

    Example: BMC Trailfox TF01 Frameset Extra Small | eBay

    21" top tube, 68 degree head angle on the TF01.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    Completely agree with what Steve-XTC said about geometry.
    I actually have a 26" bike with ~14.75" chainstays; no problem with chainline when running 1x9. It can also fit a derailleur up front I believe (haven't tried it myself yet).
    Can't get much shorter without going to smaller wheels.

    Looking for a 26", "all mountain," hardtail, kid's frame-img_3407.jpg
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  7. #7
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    It do not meet all your requirement but I like this 26" bike kids bike...
    Kidsmtbike,kids,kidsxcbike, kidsmtb, youth, highschool mt bike - Whyte Bikes U.S.A.
    2015 Salsa Blackborow 1
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by LewisQC View Post
    It do not meet all your requirement but I like this 26" bike kids bike...
    Kidsmtbike,kids,kidsxcbike, kidsmtb, youth, highschool mt bike - Whyte Bikes U.S.A.
    Do you actually have this bike? Was wondering how much it weighed, and if you really could get someone who is 4'1" to ride it (like they claim in their ad). Definitely a real nice looking bike, but when are people going to stop putting grip shifters on kids bikes?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    Completely agree with what Steve-XTC said about geometry. Not sure this fits all of your criteria, but these bikes handle great and the price is right:

    On-One Inbred 26er Vertical Dropout | On - One

    I actually have one of these I am parting out to buy a family cargo bike. Ping me if interested.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by BullSCit View Post
    Do you actually have this bike? Was wondering how much it weighed, and if you really could get someone who is 4'1" to ride it (like they claim in their ad). Definitely a real nice looking bike, but when are people going to stop putting grip shifters on kids bikes?
    I looked at it for my daughter but with exchange rate and duty (I'm in canada) it was really too much money. I found a one year old Trek X-Caliber XS with 27.5" wheels instead. On the UK website the 2017 model is listed at 25 pounds (11.4kg).

    At 4'1" I,m very sceptical... My daughter is 4'8" and her XS is just ok for her and she could still ride a 24". Reach, TT, Standover are all bigger on the whyte...

    EDIT: Here's a pic of my 7 years old son on the XS small bike of my daughter. He's 4'6". I don't think a 4'1" kid riding a similar bike is a good idea...

    Looking for a 26", "all mountain," hardtail, kid's frame-img_6976.jpg
    Last edited by LewisQC; 07-07-2016 at 06:25 PM.
    2015 Salsa Blackborow 1
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  11. #11
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    Fuel EX Jr

  12. #12
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    Spawn makes the Kotori 26"
    Chain stay is 400mm. Maybe shorter with sliders slammed forward.
    Aluminum tho
    *Just realized, single speed. You are probably looking for gears.
    How about a Pivot Point? steel, hanger option, slack
    only thing is it has a taper HT, but nothing a reducer race can't solve

  13. #13
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    I'm considering building an On One 456 Evo2 frame from my son. Very similar situation to yours, I have an older bike I can pillage for parts. Check out the 456 it appears to check most of your boxes: steel, slack 1/8", etc. Comes in 14" too

    On-One 456 Evo2 Frame | On - One

  14. #14
    Dream it, Do it.
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    I've been considering carrying the 26" On-One frames as a good option for transitioning kids from 24" bikes to 27.5" bikes.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Mama View Post
    I'm considering building an On One 456 Evo2 frame from my son. Very similar situation to yours, I have an older bike I can pillage for parts. Check out the 456 it appears to check most of your boxes: steel, slack 1/8", etc. Comes in 14" too

    On-One 456 Evo2 Frame | On - One
    If you can find one, an XS On-One 26" wheel Scandal is a great bike. Very light, and long/slack. Will also take a reasonably one travel fork.

  16. #16
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    Damn. Thanks for all the replies everyone! For some reason I wasn't getting notifications that there had been any, and I forgot to check back after starting the thread.

    Some good suggestions here, that I'll have to look at in depth.

    Looking at them just briefly, and expanding on Steve's theory about incompatibility of adult components, it seems like the controlling/limiting factor for most of these XS bikes is the top tube length. 21" seems to be about as short as they go, and I'm guessing that shorter than that would lead to TCO (toe interference) problems at the front tire -at least when the head angle set to work with standard 26" fork offsets. But I think that shortening this dimension is the thing that would make the most difference in comfort/fit because, otherwise, he'd still be stretched out pretty far. Maybe a super short stem combined with a bar that sweeps backward a lot is the only way to achieve the proper reach.

    On the other hand, by next spring my son may have grown enough that a 21" top tube is actually pretty close to right.

    I still think that proportionally lower bottom bracket and shorter chainstays should be doable and locatable, but I suppose it's a matter of economies and market demand at that point.
    Last edited by iamkeith; 4 Weeks Ago at 09:09 AM.
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by LewisQC View Post
    It do not meet all your requirement but I like this 26" bike kids bike...
    Kidsmtbike,kids,kidsxcbike, kidsmtb, youth, highschool mt bike - Whyte Bikes U.S.A.
    This one is an interesting find indeed! But, as @BullSCit says, it seems dubious that someone as short as they say could acutaly fit it. It's a 13" seat tube and has more standover clearance and is "described" as a kid's bike but, otherwise, it looks pretty much identical to a 14" XS adult bike: 22+" top tube, 12" high bottom bracket (I assume that's measured with fork sag), and 16 3/4" chainstays.

    Unfortunately, no frame-only option, either.
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    I actually have a 26" bike with ~14.75" chainstays; no problem with chainline when running 1x9. It can also fit a derailleur up front I believe (haven't tried it myself yet).
    Can't get much shorter without going to smaller wheels.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    There you go! THAT's the length kid's bikes should have. Even in 26", but especially in 22" and 24" wheels.

    It did take a yoke and a clever seat tube solution to make it work, so obviously more expensive. If you're still tuned in, is that a one-off custom frame, or is it an off-the-shelf frame? It is interesting, even if it isn't a realistic solution for what I need at the moment.
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    Completely agree with what Steve-XTC said about geometry. Not sure this fits all of your criteria, but these bikes handle great and the price is right:

    On-One Inbred 26er Vertical Dropout | On - One
    This one seems to be a promising, too. Probably really good option for someone just a little older and taller. Website doesn't have full geometry specifications, but I found this in a review, talking about the bottom bracket height. Definitely on the right track:

    On-One Inbred (26 inch wheel version) Frame Review - My Thoughts on this Classic Steel Frame | Andrew Welch

    Dirt Rag Mag:
    I believe these Brits have full confidence in not having component or frame failures. The Inbred is “kid proof”, “bullet proof”…it’s overbuilt.. The story goes that Brant, a designer for Planet X, wanted to do more hardcore stuff. On-One was launched to do “crazy, really niche projects.”...The 11” (279.4mm) bottom bracket height, which is approximately 0.75”-1” lower than most mountain bike frames, provided a lower center of gravity....


    21 1/2" top tube, so not the shortest - but close. Still has adult-size 26.6" chainstays, though.

    Also not clear what fork A-C length any of this is based on, but I'd have to believe that, being a current 2016 model, a typical 100mm travel fork would be about right?

    Edit: Here's this thread, too, in which Brant himself responds.

    14" inbred for 10 year old

    Looks like there was once a 26" model called the "Summer Season 456" that would be the grail if I could find one. Pics of Brant's daughter's bike: https://www.instagram.com/p/bTHA1KI-DQ/
    We still hang bike thieves in Wyoming [Pedal House]

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    There you go! THAT's the length kid's bikes should have. Even in 26", but especially in 22" and 24" wheels.

    It did take a yoke and a clever seat tube solution to make it work, so obviously more expensive. If you're still tuned in, is that a one-off custom frame, or is it an off-the-shelf frame? It is interesting, even if it isn't a realistic solution for what I need at the moment.
    It's a 1-off jump/pump/play bike my buddy made as sort of a prototype for a playful fatbike. He makes cool ****.

    https://www.facebook.com/wraithbicycles/

    Fatty (the Grunt)
    Looking for a 26", "all mountain," hardtail, kid's frame-fat.jpg

    Did a 20 and a 24 for his kids also

    Looking for a 26", "all mountain," hardtail, kid's frame-20.jpgLooking for a 26", "all mountain," hardtail, kid's frame-24.jpg
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by iamkeith View Post
    ..... the controlling/limiting factor for most of these XS bikes is the top tube length. 21" seems to be about as short as they go, and I'm guessing that shorter than that would lead to TCO (toe interference) problems at the front tire -at least when the head angle set to work with standard 26" fork offsets. ....... Maybe a super short stem .....is the only way to achieve the proper reach.
    Off the shelf in the used market you're probably going to have to make compromises, most notably in the chain-stay length.

    Few years back my son at 8 and last week my daughter at 8.5 and 4'-1" tall fit on a 2010 26" women's XS GT Avalanche with 24" wheels installed. Standover is pushing the limit, but once on the bike fit looks great. Think the bike has 21.25" HTT, 25.6" standover (w/ 26" wheels) and we used 40mm stem with an old-school 1" rise bar cut to length. Appropriately sized cranks have prevented toe overlap with the 26" Ardents and boys size 6 shoes.

    My son at 12 and about 4'-9" (short for his age) just moved to a 2009 Trek Fuel 15.5"(S) men's 26er which is listed at 21.7" HTT and 28" standover. Again with a 40mm stem and the shortest HT-II cranks of 165mm. Two other boys we ride with are on the same bike with similar adjustments. One is ~4'-11" and the other ~5'-3". The taller one has been on it 2 years and is now using a regular 80-90mm stem with a normal amount of seatpost showing now.

    My suggestion to you is to find a 40-50mm x 31.8 stem and visit some shops to see what your kid fits on in both mens and womens S and XS. Take some actual measurements of the bikes so you can compare to manufacturer's geometry charts. Most likely you'll be sitting on 27.5ers and will need to extrapolate the dimensions to older 26" bikes. At 4'-9" I would not hesitate to look at S and XS bikes 5-10 years old which have shorter TT's than today's designs.

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