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  1. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by wycough
    On my sons first Intense BMX race bike converted for trails, I ran a 1.5 rear and a 2.1 upfront. Maybe 16-17lbs this way with slime. Once again 4 1/2 yo.

    awesome how you put the fatter tires on there for mtb trails. best of both worlds: lightness of bmx race bike + shock absorbing of mtb.

  2. #127
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    I've read this whole thread and am amazed that some of these kids are riding mountainbike trails on SS BMX bikes. Most of our trails have hills, and I don't see my 5 year old daughter being able to ride them without some gears. My 8 year old has a Gary Fisher Tyro 24" bike, and hasn't touched her old BMX since getting it. She uses the gears occasionally around town, but we haven't been on any serious trails yet. I'm looking to upgrade my 5 year old from her 16" princess bike. Tried her out on her sisters old 20" BMX, but she is too short for a 20" bike still. I think 20" MTB's have lower seats though, but it'd still be close... Looking for a 16" bike, with maybe just a 6-7 speed rear shifter, and front and rear hand brakes. Don't have the $$$ to dump $400 into a BMX frame and components to build up a bike for her. Craigslist or Ebay is where I'm looking.

  3. #128
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    Quote Originally Posted by indianadave View Post
    . . . am amazed that some of these kids are riding mountainbike trails on SS BMX bikes. Most of our trails have hills, and I don't see my 5 year old daughter being able to ride them without some gears. . . . .
    SS versus gears is kind of a philsophical difference to riding. geared cross-country riders tend to think it's important to be able to make it up climbs, and they approach them slow and methodical and shift up--the sit and spin method.

    SS riders charge the hill and use body english and momentum to make it up. or sometimes not make it up--walking the top of part of hill is not a big deal because the benefits of simplicity outweigh it. so, to your point.... maybe it's okay if she doesn't make it up some hills. if she can quickly jump off and run the rest of the way up, she'll probably be happier than stressing out about how to properly shift to sit and spin.

  4. #129
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    Well, we moved from the above Intense to a bigger Redline BMX for awhile. Ran it with
    36x17 or 18, depending on the type of trail. And set it up ghetto tubeless with 1 3/8ths tires. EDIT: red bike above was powder coated to this yellow



    We then skipped the whole 24" and went straight to building him a 26" 1x9 Performance Access which you can see the build log here on this forum. Another Performance Access 14.5 build log The whole BMX bike thing really got my kid into MTBing. It really helped in my opinion.



  5. #130
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    Quote Originally Posted by indianadave View Post
    I've read this whole thread and am amazed that some of these kids are riding mountainbike trails on SS BMX bikes. Most of our trails have hills, and I don't see my 5 year old daughter being able to ride them without some gears. My 8 year old has a Gary Fisher Tyro 24" bike, and hasn't touched her old BMX since getting it. She uses the gears occasionally around town, but we haven't been on any serious trails yet. I'm looking to upgrade my 5 year old from her 16" princess bike. Tried her out on her sisters old 20" BMX, but she is too short for a 20" bike still. I think 20" MTB's have lower seats though, but it'd still be close... Looking for a 16" bike, with maybe just a 6-7 speed rear shifter, and front and rear hand brakes. Don't have the $$$ to dump $400 into a BMX frame and components to build up a bike for her. Craigslist or Ebay is where I'm looking.
    For SS riding, I've found that finding the right gear ratio for you riding is crucial. Once you have that, you're actually at an ADVANTAGE to geared bikes (lighter, more direct drivetrain) No fussing with gears. Just pound the pedals.

    The mini race bmx bike comes with 36/14 gearing. I changed it to 36/18 for general purpose riding. 36/20 is not out of the question for more challenging trail riding.
    Just get out and ride!

  6. #131
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    wycough,

    I'm really digging your project bike for your son. He sounds like a bit more intense rider than my boy. Also seems to be growing at a slightly faster rate.

    I did pick up a used 20" mtb off CL to size him up. The 20" mtb fits my son. But the quality of brake levers and rear derailuer are questionable. Not to mention going from lightweight mini wheels to standard bottom-basement (albeit alloy) wheels.

    He likes the novelty of the gears and the front brakes. Now of course, he rides around on this bike whereas he's been flying around on his old bike. I think I will take cues from your build experience and maybe look to a Specialized Rockhopper frame in size XS. I'm assuming this is about a 13.5" or 14". And build up a similar bike.

    On a side note. I picked up 2 20" mtb off of CL. One was a Jamis AL frame. Another was a Trek steel frame. Both bikes have v-brakes front and rear and 6speed grip shift RD. The Trek is an absolute tank. Weighs about as much as my steel mtb with a Pike fork.

    I took a magnet to everything to see where I might save some weight. Handlebar, bottom bracket, hubs for the Jamis. Add cranks and stem for the Trek.
    Just get out and ride!

  7. #132
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    Traffic...
    The Specialized was similiar sized, but the issue was in the other parts. I would have to change out so many parts to get it to fit him good. Why not just do a complete custom build? Did I spend alot of money for a 6yo's bike? Heck yes!!! But with very few changes he will be riding the new 26" for years and years. There is a thread here about small 26" bikes. Alternatives to Access i think.

    He could have easily stayed on the yellow redline for awhile longer. But i was in the mood to do a build up. It's just a tad big, but he is doing just fine. The standover should be just a little better and he is still getting use to the 26" wheels, heck they are more than 1/2 as tall as him. LOL! He was throwing that 20" BMX bike around like it was nothing. He is now riding some stuff he had issues with before. Last nights ride was 6 miles averaging 8.0 mph with gears and 26". BMX was the basis for that.

  8. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by wycough View Post
    Traffic...
    The Specialized was similiar sized, but the issue was in the other parts. I would have to change out so many parts to get it to fit him good. Why not just do a complete custom build? Did I spend alot of money for a 6yo's bike? Heck yes!!! But with very few changes he will be riding the new 26" for years and years. There is a thread here about small 26" bikes. Alternatives to Access i think.

    He could have easily stayed on the yellow redline for awhile longer. But i was in the mood to do a build up. It's just a tad big, but he is doing just fine. The standover should be just a little better and he is still getting use to the 26" wheels, heck they are more than 1/2 as tall as him. LOL! He was throwing that 20" BMX bike around like it was nothing. He is now riding some stuff he had issues with before. Last nights ride was 6 miles averaging 8.0 mph with gears and 26". BMX was the basis for that.
    The only reason I chose Specialized RH is that is my wife's bike. We got a replacement frame 2years ago because I discovered a crack. Replaced a frame from '96. So it has disc brake tabs and is set up to run a 100mm fork. It's got the old 60mm RS fork from '96 with all the same components.

    Was thinking of replacing everything on the bike except for the frame.

    So what issues did you have in terms of parts compatibility?

    --our latest ride was Ryan on his Redline mini, our 4y/o daughter on a TAB. We rode 5miles with 9mph on the flats. The TAB mounted to my CX bike is somewhat challenging with the high attachment point on my bike. Woah!!
    Just get out and ride!

  9. #134
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    The top tubes on a 26" will be long for a 48" tall 6 yo. So I had to go to a 40mm stem with 15* pull back bars to shorten the reach for him. Needed to go down to 140mm cranks. His small hands needed grip shifters and BMX mini levers. Went with a junior seat. And I decided on a 2.0 upfront but a 1.75 in the rear. Those tires are still huge for a 6yo. The 26x1.75 Small Block 8's were hard to find. The 1.75 rear also lowered the tire height a little effectively lowering the gear inches or "rollout". And since I had to use bmx cranks the smallest front chainring was a 34t. I would have really liked a 32t upfront to run with the 11-34 cassette. So no point in changing all those things out. Honestly, I have about $1200 in the orange 26". I didn't have a parts bin. So everything was ordered for his sizing or off ebay new. Some stuff from the LBS if they were competitive. The bb and cranks I already had. details here: Another Performance Access 14.5 build log

    $1200 divided by the number of years that he will get use from this bike justifies the price spent in my opinion.

  10. #135
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    I think everything that you did was the right thing to do to provide the proper fitment. Most ppl just can't justify that kind of effort and expense on a "kids" bike (that they will outgrow in a year or two.)

    I am fine with it (well, a lot of it) since when he grows out of it, he still has his sister to utilize it afterwards. Or. Many of the parts can be transferred over onto a larger frame if need be.

    Ryan is 8 now and stands about 52". He's still a little small for a 26" bike. But I'm thinking that with a stubby stem (50mm, 45* rise) and shorter cranks, that could get him really close. If I used parts like X-9 grip shift with X-9 short cage RD, they could easily transfer over to a new frame.

    I even thought about lacing up 24" rims with a good quality disc hub. But maybe I'll just stick with a good quality 26" wheelset and run some fast rolling skinnier tire.

    This would be a project we can work on and then have it completed for his 9th birthday. I'll have to find out what powder coating goes for in my parts.

    What I'm less familiar with is how to get separate chainring, crankset and bottom bracket. For my bike, I just picked up a Shimano Hollowtech LX, removed the small and large ring in favor of the bash guard and throw a chain guide on the frame to run a single ring up front. I have 32/11-34 gearing on my hardtail.
    Just get out and ride!

  11. #136
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    wycough, you did an excellent job on both of those bikes.

    one thing i can't help wondering though . . .(not specific to you, just in general) is parents kinda have a bias againt 24"s and want to get a kid on 26"s as soon as he/she's able.

    i think that the mtb industry--and bike shops as well--have a built-in concept that 24"s are appropriate only for a "youth" sized mtb . . . . and that as soon as a child can grow out of 24"s, and "graduate" to 26"s, they should....

    the reason i bring it up is that in the BMX and MTB Dirt Jumper scenes, a lot of full grown adults ride 24"s. even some of my shorter friends in their 30's have realized that for dirt jumping, bmx-style street riding and park riding they prefer 24" MTB's. when a short rider tries to manual on 26" wheels, they sometimes have trouble getting back far enough behind the wheel because their arms aren't long enough.

    something like a Blackmarket Contraband 24", Union Street Molly Maguire 24", NS Capital 24", etc. could be ideal for the 9-14 age group (or even later, obviously).



    here's a Specialized P.Street 24" specific bike (from 2005)--i know it's a tank--but just for size comparison, see how it looks next to a DK Xenia 26" dirt jumper:



    similarly,
    here's a Union Street Molly Maguire 24" mtbmx next to a Tribute Bikes 24" bmx cruiser:



    some of these dirt jumper 24"s aren't actually that short in the front end though, with 22" top tubes. youth-oriented 24" mtb's are going to be smaller frames... like the Norco Havoc 24": http://www.norco.com/bikes/mountain/...reet/havoc-24/..... the specs say it has a 530mm or 20.86"top tube center to center.

    24 inches of love
    http://www.ridemonkey.com/forums/sho...128368&page=36

  12. #137
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    I originally picked up a Specialized 24" for him used for $100. That thing must have weighed 35-40lbs and was completley low end entry level. The cassette and front chainrings were not set up for the proper gear inches that his young 6yo legs needed. Don't get me wrong...he is a very strong rider. The front shock...don't get me started. And so, I was back in the same boat. Why replace everything for fit and quaility. I may have kept the 24" frame and built up from there, but the deciding factor was that there are no decent light weight 24" disc wheels available for the most part.

    I did look at the 24" dirt jumpers. But the thing there was what you already touched on, the longer top tube just wouldn't work. And dirt jumper frames have differ geometry than an XC bike. Plus, the price of DJ frames compared to the Performance Access for $99 was crazy $$$

  13. #138
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    For instance, the Norco 24" looks to be single speed and it was time to move my kid to gears. And honestly for $600 most of those parts are just generic Chinese entry level.

  14. #139
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    So, I have to thank all of you for all the input on this thread. It was a great way to think through all the options and see what has worked or not worked for others. I was debating what to get my 5 year old daughter. She started on a strider at 2, migrated to a typical 12" kids bike without training wheels at 3, then on to a 16" wheeld BYK brand bike at 4. She ripped on all of these and was looking for the next thing. I was debating between which 20" MTB to buy for her when I found this thread.

    A few weeks ago, we bought her an Intense Factory mini (got a crazy deal at wiggle.co.uk, $500 shipped!) and she absolutely loves it! Fits her perfectly and she is a speed deamon on it. Took her a few days to tansition to the hand brake, but she loves being able to pedal backwards (like its some really cool trick).

    We had done a few rides at the local BMX tracks with her old bikes, but she always struggled. With this new bike, she completes the whole track and loves it. She has even joined the BMX club and won her first race and trophy.

    We have also done some light trail riding. I will be looking to get her a slightly bigger gear in the rear for trail days.

    Before reading this thread, I didn't even know about mini's. And now I can't stop raving about them. For my daughter anyway, it was the best choice. It is light and performance oriented and fits the way she rides. It may not be best for all kids, but definitely for her.

    Now, some pics of the machine, the kids, and the race!
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)-p1040953.jpg  

    Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)-p1040941.jpg  

    Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)-p1050059.jpg  

    Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)-p1050060.jpg  

    Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)-p1050061.jpg  

    Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)-p1050062.jpg  

    Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)-p1050063.jpg  

    Mountain Bike vs BMX (for 6y/o)-p1050064.jpg  


  15. #140
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    Just found this thread and thought I'd bump it to ask if there are any new opinions. James (previous poster), those pics are awesome of your daughter! My daughter went through the same stages at the same ages. I am trying to decide between the BMX mini and a 20" SS with a rigid fork.

    James (if you're still around) does your daughter primarily ride BMX now, or do you take her on mtn bike trails? How does she do on the trails with logs, hills, etc.?

    Any other opinions welcome!

  16. #141
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    I'm new to BMX race bikes and just picked up a 2006 Redline Junior for my son. From reading this thread, I want to make it a little easier for him to pedal and am going to change the 14t on the rear to an 18t. However, I'm not sure what freewheel remover I'm supposed to use on this, none that I've seen have a six prong setup. Any help would be appreciated.

    IMG_4737
    Last edited by leadfoot321; 02-22-2012 at 10:12 AM.

  17. #142
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    Quote Originally Posted by Maida7 View Post
    If you have steep climbs and/or wanting to ride trails then I highly sugest a real mtn bike with a full set of gears. Where I live evenything is steep and kids on single speed BMX bikes end up doing a lot of walking.
    +1, I have both my kids on MTB's and we've gotten several other kids to go out riding. Two had BMX bikes but it was so obvious to the dads they got MTB's with gears by the next time we went out. My 7 yr. daughter on a 20" with 1x6 out rode both 9 year old boys on BMX's. My son on his 24" 3x8 would shift into 1:1 and grind along balancing at walking speed behind the boys as they walk their BMX's so he can keep talking to them... sorta funny seeing a thin little 7 yr old girl waiting at trail end for the boys to come limping in.
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  18. #143
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    This thread is exactly what I was looking for since I'm trying to make the decision between BMX and MTN bikes for my 6 yo. After reading through it I decided to go the BMX mini route.

  19. #144
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    ACHTUNG - I haven't read this whole thread but for bike handling skills, BMX is definitely the way to go. I tried using my son's BMX bike for mtn biking and it's a no go. The tires are just too narrow and the fixed gear makes it tough. I ended up buying a mtn bike for my son as well. You can search my name for my thread build if interested. There are many others that built custom mtn bikes on here as well.

  20. #145
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    I am going to agree with you. I built my 5 yo a MTB using a Trek MT60 frame and some good components but settle for a crappy fork. He's 6 now and can do some semi technical single track for 6-7 miles (with some grumbling). However, he's bike handling skill is still not comparable to some kids on a small BMX bike. He's hardly shifting, so he ends up riding on the lowest gear so that he can do some modest climb without much thinking. I am thinking of getting him a street BMX now (either 18" or 20" TT) and hone him on his skill (track stand, balance and endo) in the park. It is very difficult to develop his bike handling skill on a MTB on a singletrack where he's trying to survive most of the time.

  21. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by khaotom View Post
    I am going to agree with you. I built my 5 yo a MTB using a Trek MT60 frame and some good components but settle for a crappy fork. He's 6 now and can do some semi technical single track for 6-7 miles (with some grumbling). However, he's bike handling skill is still not comparable to some kids on a small BMX bike. He's hardly shifting, so he ends up riding on the lowest gear so that he can do some modest climb without much thinking. I am thinking of getting him a street BMX now (either 18" or 20" TT) and hone him on his skill (track stand, balance and endo) in the park. It is very difficult to develop his bike handling skill on a MTB on a singletrack where he's trying to survive most of the time.
    I agree as well, get the kids the right bikes for the right activities. BMX for BMX and messing around at the park, MTB for hilly bumpy rocky singletrack... I'm even putting a road bike together for my oldest so we can do some group rides on the road and maybe some local road races in a year of two... I'm learning that what I like to do isn't necessarily what my kids like. So, it's better to place more small bets and get some less expensive but appropriate bikes instead of one way expensive but single purpose bike. My $.02
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  22. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by leadfoot321 View Post
    I'm new to BMX race bikes and just picked up a 2006 Redline Junior for my son. From reading this thread, I want to make it a little easier for him to pedal and am going to change the 14t on the rear to an 18t. However, I'm not sure what freewheel remover I'm supposed to use on this, none that I've seen have a six prong setup. Any help would be appreciated.

    IMG_4737
    No idea what the proper tool is but I used a screwdriver and hammer to remove one off an old bike.

  23. #148
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    Here's a recent pic of my two. My Son is 9.5yrs and Daughter will be 8 next month. My Son has a nice BMX but recently I restored an old 24" MTB I found, he loves it because it has gears. The Daughter got her 24" MTB for her last birthday and loves it to bits, it's the first bike that has given her more confidence to want to ride more often.



    The rigs (lol yeah a roadie friction shifter does the front gears as the twist shifter on the old bike was broken)

  24. #149
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    I think this post has moved from discussion about younger kids to a little bit older ones now. Original title was for a 6yo. My kid had no issues at 6yo riding a slightly customized bmx bike on the local trails in the Dallas, TX area. The advantages of the bmx bike to me out weighed the mtb options for a 6yo. A basic used bmx mini race bike can be picked up cheap. The light weight of the race bmx allowed my son to develope bike handling skills and attack the trails aggressively. At 44yo, I still ride a SS rigid 29er. (actually just changed it over to a fixed gear) He started riding bmx and trails at 4.5yo

    I didn't build his 26" 1x9 hardtail/rigid fork until after his 7th birthday. I felt he was ready for that bike at that age and size due to his ability learned on a bmx race bike. Some comments lately about the 8-9yo age range. Sure at that age, i think a proper mtb is needed as opposed to a bmx race bike.

    Kiddo just turned 8 this summer, so i'll update with a few pics and video for visual on sizing and skill levels both bmx bike and mtb. He has been riding the 26" now for about 1year. He races local series and consistantly podiums against older kids. The only changes to the 26" has been to raise the seat and switch to longer cranks, but recall i started him at 140mm. Heck, the seat went from slammed to 6" seatpost showing. He has also moved from a mini bmx frame to a jr size for his bmx racing. So he has grown! There are alot of pics and vids below each shows different bike skills and sizing with both bmx and mtb. The decision to chose bmx or mtb at different ages ultimately is an individual choice. We just chose the lighter higher quaility bmx race bike to transition into a 26" mtb. (just click on images that say they are videos to play)

    bmx late 6yo


    mtb early 7yo


    mtb early 7yo video


    mtb 1st race on 26" early 7yo


    bmx late 7yo


    bmx video late 7yo


    mtb today's race 8yo


    mtb today's race video 8yo
    Last edited by wycough; 09-09-2012 at 01:32 PM.

  25. #150
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    So after skimming this thread I think I want to buy my niece a Precaliber SS. Her birthday is this month and I want to cultivate a love of bikes in her. Her parents suck and she can't really ride a bike well. She's 43.5" tall and I'm not sure what she weighs. I think that the Precal will be ideal to get her into rising and if I bring my mountain bike (rigid SS) to visit she'll be stoked she has a bike just like her uncle's (she, for whatever reason, looks up to me). Thanks for. Helping me with that decision folks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Tone's View Post
    Id scrap the passion forum all together, its a breeding ground for unicorn milkers, rainbow chasers and candy cotton farters.

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