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  1. #51
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    I started racing BMX in california when I was 10 and moved to florida and won the florida state championship when I was 12, once I turned 14 I started riding and racing mountain bikes (proflex, marin, specialized). I was winning races against guys twice my age. I owed it to my BMX skills. I am now 30 and just getting back into mtbing. (and I still have the skills )

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by countryman
    I started racing BMX in california when I was 10 and moved to florida and won the florida state championship when I was 12, once I turned 14 I started riding and racing mountain bikes (proflex, marin, specialized). I was winning races against guys twice my age. I owed it to my BMX skills. I am now 30 and just getting back into mtbing. (and I still have the skills )
    I never raced bmx bikes. But did the typical ride a bmx bike till I could drive thing.

    Closing in on 40y/o, I joined a mountain bike group that rides over the winter twice a week.

    My legs and lungs are lagging compared to the group. But in terms of skill level, I'm actually towards the front of the pack. I too credit BMX riding as a kid to develop the fundatmental skills of bike control.

    Then I rode motorcycles through valley roads as well as taking my MR2 to lapping days at the race track. That helped the whole managing traction and choosing the best lines aspect.

    Now to builld the legs and lungs...coming...slowly...

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDiamond-1
    Dude, any six year old can get air on a BMX
    I was reading this thread thinking the same thing. When I was between 6-7 yrs old, I was the youngest boy in the block. That meant I did stuff the older boys did too.

    We used to build ramps taller than me to jump off. This was of course when Evil Knivel was a big star, so by 8 yrs old I was jumping over people.

  4. #54
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    Found this thread, and since I am currently looking to get my son (6 in a couple months) a new bike, I have been trying to find the perfect bike.

    I like the mini bmx race bikes for their light weight, but their skinny tires don't inspire confidence for mountain biking. And, of course, all the mountain bike-style kids bikes with gears and useless front suspension that weigh a ton aren't very appealing either.

    But, I think I found what I am looking for. Gary Fisher makes the PreCaliber SS - aluminum frame, single speed, front and rear v-brakes looks like it will fit the bill. Anyone with any experience with this bike? I'm hoping it weighs in the 20lbs range rather than the 25-30 lbs range like most other mountain bike-style kids bikes.

    The only other manufacturer that I could find that makes something similar is Trek, who own Gary Fisher Bikes. Kinda sucks, because I work in a shop which carries Giant and Haro, but unless I went with a mini from Haro, nothing from either company seems to really come close. Oh, well, over to my competitor to see the Fisher.
    A ride a day keeps the therapist away.

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDiamond-1
    Hey Jwiffle,

    Not tying to change your mind about the Fisher, but check these MTB's out:

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bc/...=38479&eid=164

    I have had many friends with both the Fisher and one of these Specialized HotRocks, and the HotRock won out by far. They are light, definitely under 26 lbs. and a much stronger & reliable frame that he can grow into. I was going to get my son the 24" HotRock a year ago, but chose to go full bore FR/DH instead due to his fast paced FR skills. His FR MTB now has 6" travel all around and will also fit 26" tires when he is ready for the larger size. Anyway, I wish you the best and hope you find what your kid needs and will make him happy.
    Yeah, I had seen the Specialized. I can get a similar bike from Giant that I could purchase with my employee discount, but I'm turned off by the gears and suspension. I'm not sure my son is ready for gears, and the suspension forks on these little bikes seem to do little more than add unnecessary weight. The trails I take him on currently don't really require suspension or gears (I ride my rigid ss Karate Monkey when I take him). But I may rethink it. Thanks for the input!

    One day I hope he might be able to do some of the stuff your son is, but that's aways off. Pretty cool for a kid to be hitting that drop!
    A ride a day keeps the therapist away.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwiffle
    I like the mini bmx race bikes for their light weight, but their skinny tires don't inspire confidence for mountain biking.
    The "skinny" tires work just fine for real mountain biking.

    A BMX Mini is a much, much better choice than the tanks that pass for "mountain bikes" for kids that age.

    Do your kid a favor, skip the lame MTB tanks and get him shredding on a BMX Mini.

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by simplexity
    The "skinny" tires work just fine for real mountain biking.

    A BMX Mini is a much, much better choice than the tanks that pass for "mountain bikes" for kids that age.

    Do your kid a favor, skip the lame MTB tanks and get him shredding on a BMX Mini.
    The funny thing is that to a 6y/o a 20" bmx bike is like a 29-er...no maybe a 32-er for the boy. He can roll over a lot of stuff pretty easily due to his light weight and the light weight of the bike and relatively large diameter wheels for the weight.

    I find the skinny tires to not be much of an issue. Again, just remember the bike weighs 16lbs and the boy weighs 45lbs. Imagine him on a 25lb mtn bike. That'd be like me at 165lbs riding a 90lb bike!!!

    So scaled down to his weight. Those 1-3/8" tires are probably like 3" tires to us.

  8. #58
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    Love this thread. Today, My daughter is off her training wheels.

    She knew that when she could ride without training wheels, she could get a dirt bike to go riding with me. She loves MTB, watches Roam, Between The Tape, Earthed, NWD as much as I do.

    So the battle between the kids MTB or a BMX starts. Good info in this thread.

    While we decide, she continues to rock the electra cruiser
    [SIZE="1"]Delta Dirt Dogs[/SIZE]

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  9. #59
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    my son is 5 and just got his training wheels off last week, and just yesterday became able to start off and stop by himself... which is nice because dad was never much of a jogger lol. i gave him my old bmx bike. its a 1999 haro backtrails x3 20"(mint). its a tad big for him and the cranks are too long but its something he can grow into. actually something that should last him quite a few years if he takes care of it(which ill try to make sure he does) kids at that age just need a bmx bike in my mind... so now hes got a bike, and just bought my wife a raleigh 5.0 and put a baby seat on it for my daughter, so now we can all go riding as a family this year.

  10. #60
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    Update.

    I went ahead and purchased the Fisher PreCaliber SS. Just got it today. Seems very nice. It's got some decent mountain bike tires, decent width-2.0"-and actually a nice tread! The Giants and Haros I am used to seeing have the same cheap tread as low-end entry level hardtails that are supposed to work in the dirt and on the road, but work for neither. This tread seems like it will work in the dirt very well.

    The weight is pretty decent, too. 19.9 lbs on the digital scale (with wheel reflectors and pants guard installed - my son wouldn't let me remove them! He watched me build the bike and since they were preinstalled insisted on having them-he didn't notice me not install the front and rear reflectors ) So the weight is decent, only a few pounds heavier than a mini, and a lot lighter than most of the suspended gearies.

    I think this will work nicely for him. I can update in a few months after he's gotten some real ride time on it.
    A ride a day keeps the therapist away.

  11. #61
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    That's a good looking bike. Also with 2.0 tires, I'm sure it'll roll over a lot of obstacles.

    I find the chain guard useful since the kids like to just jump on and go regardless of what pants they are wearing.

    Does it have a freewheel? I like the front and rear brake setup. And at under 20lbs should be a great bike.


  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002
    That's a good looking bike. Also with 2.0 tires, I'm sure it'll roll over a lot of obstacles.

    I find the chain guard useful since the kids like to just jump on and go regardless of what pants they are wearing.

    Does it have a freewheel? I like the front and rear brake setup. And at under 20lbs should be a great bike.
    Yes, it does have a freewheel, and a fairly high quality one at that. Easily removeable and replaceable unlike some.

    He took it for his first riding today. Hit some easy singletrack on it, does great. He's made the switch to hand brakes pretty well already, although I'm going to have to work on him using the front brake as well, as he seems to favor the rear (I think just because it's in his right hand - I have never put the scare of front brakes into him).

    Overall, so far so good, and a nice little mountain bike.
    A ride a day keeps the therapist away.

  13. #63
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    I would take it easy with the front brake.

    I like the fact that my son experiments with skidding the rear tire with the brakes. But I don't know that he'd be able to do threshold braking with the front if you know what I mean.

    He goes down enough as it is.

  14. #64
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    Great thread. I'm trying to figure out where to go next with my 6.5 year old. He's definitely outgrown the 16" Hotrock that I bought for him a couple of years ago. When I put him on the bigger bikes, they seem too big for him though.

    He's gaining some confidence at the dirt jumps near the house and I'm afraid a leap to a bigger bike will rock that. Decisions, decisions...




  15. #65
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    after a day I trying out bikes, we went with 20" specialized hotrock. (coaster and hand break, single speed, rigid fork) not too heavy, and she is really comfy on it. We tried bmx and monies, cranks too long, and top tube too long
    For her, she was really stretched out and didn't like it.
    [SIZE="1"]Delta Dirt Dogs[/SIZE]

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  16. #66
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    So some observations with my son on his Redline mini:

    1. The 20" rims are like 29-ers to us. Can roll over bigger obstacles easier.
    2. The longer wheelbase adds further stability
    3. The light weight lets him really go fast. Almost too fast.

    The downside.

    1. It's still very responsive bike. Watch out. If he doesn't pay attention, he can find himself on the ground.
    2. Limited tire size. Wish he could run fatter tires. It's fine for what he's doing, but I always wonder if fatter tires would be more comfy.

    For your little guy that seems to really like the dirt and possible jumping, it would be no problem. Except, as he gets bigger and stronger, the aluminum tubing may not handle abuse as well as a chromoly bike.

  17. #67
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    Great thread, thanks for posting your experience. My oldest girl turns 7 next week and this Saturday we are going to a LBS to pick out a new mountainbike. She talks about it constantly and can not wait to ride the trails that so far, she has only got to hike on. She rides her pink Electra around the house all the time, which she refers to as her "roadbike" and considering that I ride a rigid SS, I do not think she really cares if her new "mountainbike" has gears and a suspension fork. Throw in the fact that several of our local trails are relatively flat and I think some type of BMX or mini might be worth looking at.

    Brian

  18. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brandy
    Great thread. I'm trying to figure out where to go next with my 6.5 year old. He's definitely outgrown the 16" Hotrock that I bought for him a couple of years ago. When I put him on the bigger bikes, they seem too big for him though.

    He's gaining some confidence at the dirt jumps near the house and I'm afraid a leap to a bigger bike will rock that. Decisions, decisions...
    Brandy, you may have fixed it by now, but I just want to point out that your son's helmet will do him little good in a crash with the straps so loose. It will come right off his head. Tighten the piece where the two straps by the ear connect so that the piece is just below the ear lobe, and tighten the strap under the chin so that you can only fit a finger or two underneath. Helmet should not be able to move around.

    As for your question, I say get him a 20". He definitely looks big enough, and even if he is a little timid of the size at first, he will very, very quickly get used to it. My son, after just a ride or two, is quite comfortable on his new 20" mtb.
    A ride a day keeps the therapist away.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackDiamond-1
    I know you mentioned you had him try out the larger bikes. Did you try him out on a 18" or 20" on varies build bikes like Trek, Specialized, Fisher, Giant, Haro, etc.??
    We had him on my older son's 20" and he just felt really unstable. I know part of it is a confidence thing, so it will take time to adjust to the bigger bike. I'm looking at a couple of options...either the http://www.sebikes.com/Race/MiniRipper.aspx or the SE Ripper Jr.

  20. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jwiffle
    Brandy, you may have fixed it by now, but I just want to point out that your son's helmet will do him little good in a crash with the straps so loose. .
    New helmet on his noggin now. He fought me so much with that one and complained every time I tightened it and then would loosen the straps the second I wasn't looking. It actually just hit the dumpster this morning.

  21. #71
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    Did 17 miles this afternoon with the kids, my 8yo was on her 20" MTBalike, my 6yo old his Kuwahara mini and the 4yo was on a trailer bike with me. My daughter was fine on the MTB but her brother looked much more comfortable and much more left in his legs over the last 3 miles on his mini. At one point he just came out of the saddle and hammered it, his big sister had to work really hard in top gear to stop him getting away.

    Simplify and add lightness - Colin Chapman

  22. #72
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    Great feedback!!

    I agree that with kids, just having something simple and light works very well. They are very adaptable. IMHO, I think we want to buy geared and suspended bikes for our children because that's what we ride. However, it doubles the weight of the bike and they are waaaaay more resilient than us.

    A light bike geared for the terrain will do wonders for them.

  23. #73
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    My kids (8 & 10) just cranked a 10-miler yesterday.
    Rollin.jpg

    What a blast! Mixed conditions - water, mud, singletrack, mini-DH's - kept them motivated. I was blown when they would grind up the hills. Post ride re-cap, they were totally stoked and ready to roll next weekend. It was really cool to notice one had pulled ahead while we were talking, then the other would break away to chase him down. They each picked their own jersey two summers ago - TDF junkies!

    Tom P.

  24. #74
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    My 7 year daughter is about the same size and she does great on her Specialized Hot Rock...its got 6 gears and she climbs great with it. By the looks of the pictures he is ready to start ripping! I can guarantee that my little one will be making this a life long sport if not career.

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by one piece crank
    My kids (8 & 10) just cranked a 10-miler yesterday.
    Rollin.jpg

    What a blast! Mixed conditions - water, mud, singletrack, mini-DH's - kept them motivated. I was blown when they would grind up the hills. Post ride re-cap, they were totally stoked and ready to roll next weekend. It was really cool to notice one had pulled ahead while we were talking, then the other would break away to chase him down. They each picked their own jersey two summers ago - TDF junkies!

    Tom P.
    That is so awesome!

    I need to post up some recent pix too.

    My 6y/o is doing well on his bmx. My 2.7 y/o daughter is starting to really get comfortable with her Like A Bike. They chase each other around the cul-de-sac all the time. They were so impressed with my son's ability to jump on a pedal bike after the glide bike that they are buying one for their son.

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