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  1. #1
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    My 24" bike alternatives analysis

    My son just moved up from a 20" to a 24" bike. Here are the bikes I considered and my decision. I know there are other options, like Orbea, Scott, Islabikes, Giant, and others, but these are the ones I looked at.

    My son's 20 inch bike is a Trek Superfly 20. I chose it because it was light compared to most of the others. $420 seemed like a lot for a kids bike, but I thought he'd enjoy riding more on a light bike. It has served us well, and has been used for road riding, trail riding, and triathlons.

    The shop we bought the Trek from has a trade-up deal where they will give you 40% of what you paid to trade up to a new bike. So my first stop was the bike shop. The choices were the Trek Precaliber, Trek Superfly 24, and the Cleary Meerkat. The Superfly 24 weighed 25.5 lbs, the Precaliber even heavier, and the Cleary was 25 lbs. All heavier than what I wanted. I read good things about the Cleary geometry, and I was actually considering it, but my son had a hard time working the thumb shifter, and I figured I'd want to change a lot of the components, which would add to the cost.

    I considered the Specialized Hotrock 24 XC Pro. It has really nice components -- XT drivetrain, carbon bars and seatpost, hydraulic disc brakes. MSRP is $1550 so it's very expensive, but I have a Specialized dealer contact so I could have gotten it at wholesale price. I never found the actual weight of it, but I assume it's pretty light given the alloy frame and components. The main thing that turned me off was that the chainstays are pretty long.

    Pello Bikes (pellobikes.com) makes some really nice lightweight kids bikes. They don't have disc brakes, but the V-brakes work fine and are lighter weight. To me, they look like the best deal for the money. They are around $430 and have a great geometry, decent components, and are light weight. Their website doesn't show a 24" bike yet, but they had a 24" bike at Dirt Fest in May and said it would be available this summer. If one had been available this may have been my choice.

    The Spawn Yama Jama 24 looks like a great kid's trail bike. Good components, X-Fusion fork, good geometry. It's $1150, so very expensive. My son's favorite color is green, and if they had had a green one available at the time I might have ordered one.

    I looked at the Trailcraft Pineridge 24. These are amazing, with great geometry, light weight, and high-end components. However, the price also reflects this, with builds ranging from abut $1400 to over $2000. There is even a titanium one for $2700. They had one that was a previous years model with Crest wheels, 1x10 SLX/Deore drivetrain, hydraulic disc brakes, and a rigid fork, at a discounted price, and it was green, so I decided to get it. Weight is 20 lbs. even with pedals.

    My son loves this bike, and there is room for him to grow into it, so he should be able to ride it for a few years. I plan to get a suspension fork for it in the future for more aggressive trail or bike park riding, and we can use the rigid fork and maybe some slick tires for triathlons.

    I still think that the Pello bikes are the best deal for the money, but the Trailcraft is probably the best kid's mtb out there.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My 24" bike alternatives analysis-trailcraft-full.jpg  

    My 24" bike alternatives analysis-trailcraft-crankset.jpg  

    My 24" bike alternatives analysis-trailcraft-rear.jpg  

    My 24" bike alternatives analysis-trailcraft-cockpit.jpg  


  2. #2
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    I hadn't heard of the Pello ones until now. Good write up of the options. Glad to see so many off the shelf options that don't weigh 30 lbs.
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  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing your research!

    I went through the process two years ago and settled on the IslaBikes which I then added (1) front air suspension, (2) 1x11 SRAM GX drivetrain (3) carbon bar/stem and (4) new disc and tubeless compatible wheels and disc brakeset. I was able to get most of these parts mid-winter for 50-60% off and just built the wheels up myself. I think I was well under $1k in total investment of bike+upgrade parts and it's low 22 lb range now. It was a labor of love more than anything, since I will pass it through 3 kids over the next 5 years.

    The Trailcraft you got is pretty nice for the price, looks like all my upgrades included except for the air fork. Consider adding that, it really has helped my kids with their confidence on technical descents. Some of the German sites were selling it for under $200 when I got it.

  4. #4
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    Yeah, I already have an RST F1rst 24 fork on the way. It was bought for a build but never used, so the price is less than a new one. I'm sure it will help my son on our local trails, which are the typical east coast rocky/rooty stuff.

  5. #5
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    I'm facing the same issues right now. My son's birthday is in October and I need to have a a new bike by then. He's been on an Islabikes Bienn 20s for two years now. I converted it to SRAM trigger shifting and added larger volume tires. He's is tough on components though. Bottom bracket, free hub, brake pads, etc. Great bike overall and very adaptable.

    Anyway, here is my list of 24" bikes to consider:

    Islabikes Creig 24: light, proper components, air fork, good geometry. $1200+
    Trailcraft Pineridge: light, and ready to go! $1500
    Prevelo Zulu 4: 25.7 lbs, great components, air fork, good geo. $900
    Orbea MX 24 Trail: ? lbs, good components, crankset is too long, good geo. $649
    Cleary Meerkat: 25.5 lbs, decent components, crank is too long, decent geo. $660
    Spawn Yama Jama: ? lbs, good components, crank is long, good geo. $1150
    Norco Charger 4.1 : ? lbs, okay components, crank is too long, good geo. $769
    Rocky Mountain Vertex 24: ? lbs, okay components, crank ?, good geo. $769
    Scott scale RC Junior: 22.7 lbs without suspension fork, good components, $1000

    Not on my list:
    Cannondale Race 24: poor components, poor geometry
    Specialized Riprock: poor components, heavy
    Trek anything: I didn't find a bike comparable to the others on the list
    Giant XTC SL: heavy, old spec components
    Kona Shred 24: poor geo, poorly speed components for a kids bike

    I'm considering the Orbea and changing out the cranks. I'm really an advocate of 140mm cranks for 7/8 year olds. The Prevelo looks good as well but I wish to hell that I could shave a couple of pounds off it. If I get too weight crazy I'll be at the Islabike price.

    Any and all feedback is welcome.

  6. #6
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    ggphysics,
    From your list it looks like either the Islabikes or Trailcraft would be the way to go. You might even get lucky and find a used one on ebay or pinkbike. It looks like you'd want to change the crankset on most of the others.

    I think my next choice from your list would be the Spawn.

    And as I said in an earlier post, the Pello looks like the best bargain if you are okay with rim brakes. It also doesn't have a suspension fork, but that's a pretty easy upgrade.

  7. #7
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    I've been watching my six year old son progress on his sister's 24" Beinn w F1rst air shock and am now realizing I need another 24" bike ASAP. The other day I took him out on a 7 mile ride I do after work and he crushed the climbs (rides into my rear tire sometimes because I climb slowly) and on the descents has learned to stand and absorb bumps pretty well.

    But watching him from behind I can't escape the fact that he could do better with rear suspension. I'd always said I would keep them on hard tails until they learned the fundamentals and could really rip, and I assumed that was when they would be ready for an XS 26er I would build (around 8-9 years old). This guy is big, fits a 24" w abilty to put both feet on ground.

    So I am starting to think, do I look for a 24" full squish or just build another hard tail and wait 2 years til he can fit a small 26er? Anyone else up against this issue?

  8. #8
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    hotrock 24

    My son had a specialized hemi mini BMX 20 and it never really fit him right but it was 15lb.

    When it was time for a 24, I looked at islabikes and a couple others but did not want to pay 1k for a kids bike. My buddy had a Hotrock 24FSR pro for $200 with carbon bars and lighter seat/sepost. Stock it was 29.5lb, as bought is 28.5.

    I swapped out the brakes to TRP and levers to avid ultimate, both in red to match the bike. Had an old XT rear derailleur instead for the crappy one on it too. The cranks where too long at 160mm so I swapped out to bmx 150mm cranks with a 34 ring. The 160 cranks went on a friends kids bike. The next upgrade was Rocket Ron tires and lightweight tubs. The grips where trashed so some esi grips got cut and fitted. Total weight 25.1lb.

    The stem could be upgraded and I have an air fork waiting to go on.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails My 24" bike alternatives analysis-hotrock-24.jpg  


  9. #9
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    I picked up a Trailcraft back in Feb for my oldest and then a friend picked up the Orbea MX 24 Trail a few months later (he couldn't afford the Pineridge and probably wouldn't buy it even if it could). In the $600 price range, the Orbea sits at the top of the list for me. He picked his up at Sun & Ski for $650 I think and it came with a $100 gift card to boot. The components aren't as nice as the Trailcraft, but for what you're paying the spec is solid and considering the air fork is functional it's a screaming deal. That said, I've had a couple of things I've needed to hit Ginger up about at Trailcraft (nothing to do with the bike itself) and she couldn't have been more helpful/supportive. That to me, plus the amazing quality of the bike has left me with zero regrets. When the time comes, assuming his riding is up to par we'll be looking to Trailcraft for a 26 as well.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher2011 View Post
    I picked up a Trailcraft back in Feb for my oldest and then a friend picked up the Orbea MX 24 Trail a few months later (he couldn't afford the Pineridge and probably wouldn't buy it even if it could). In the $600 price range, the Orbea sits at the top of the list for me. He picked his up at Sun & Ski for $650 I think and it came with a $100 gift card to boot. The components aren't as nice as the Trailcraft, but for what you're paying the spec is solid and considering the air fork is functional it's a screaming deal. That said, I've had a couple of things I've needed to hit Ginger up about at Trailcraft (nothing to do with the bike itself) and she couldn't have been more helpful/supportive. That to me, plus the amazing quality of the bike has left me with zero regrets. When the time comes, assuming his riding is up to par we'll be looking to Trailcraft for a 26 as well.
    Dude I can't agree more with your post. I got my son the MX24 Team Disc, and have done a few upgrades (a few buys and few parts from my parts closet) and it sits at 22 pounds even with suspension. That's still with stock wheels. If I build a set for him, it will sit at 20 pounds. The geo on the Orbea is great.

    Ginger at Trailcraft is super cool. I picked up a set of tires and and some other parts from her and she was so nice to deal with. If I'd had the money to get one of those right off, it would have been the only choice. I think I'll still get the Maxwell 24 if my son will fit it in the next year. If not, it'll be the 26.

    I think for anyone that is looking at any of the Trailcraft but questioning the cost...don't. Just get one. You're getting more than what you're paying for. And you'll be getting it from someone that picks up the phone and remembers who you are. Top notch.

  11. #11
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    I bought a Diamondback Splinter 24 for my 9 y.o. recently and it's heavy but bulletproof. I swapped the spec SRAM shifter and cogs with a Zee shifter, SLX RD, and 11-42 cassette (Shimano 11-36 + Wolftooth 42T GC).

    I do like the Trailcraft Stan's wheels and the fact that you can run them tubeless. I may try Schwalbe's 24" x 2.4" Fat Alberts and try em ghetto tubeless on his current DB rims.

    I bought it for $950; currently DB has em on sale for a smidge over a grand new to make room for the 2017 model.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staktup View Post

    I do like the Trailcraft Stan's wheels and the fact that you can run them tubeless. I may try Schwalbe's 24" x 2.4" Fat Alberts and try em ghetto tubeless on his current DB rims.
    Gorilla Tape 'em. I've found also that regular presta valves will seat in Schrader drilled rims.

  13. #13
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    I finally made a move and bought the Islabikes Creig 24. I did make a few mods in anticipation of my son's needs.

    -changed the cassette to a Sunrace 11-42 (we have plenty of hills)
    -changed the chain to accommodate the cassette (KMC SL)
    -changed the seatpost clamp to a quick release for pump track riding
    -changed the tires to schwalbe Rocket Ron

    I am very frustrated with one aspect of the bike so far. I attempted to mount the Rocket Ron tires as tubeless. I pulled the rim strip, cleaned the rim and wrapped the rim with 5 layers of pvc electrical tape. The rims are tubeless ready with shouldered bead seats. I used Mavic tubeless stems, and even tried a Stan's stem. I cannot get these, or even the stock tires to seat on the rims! They seem too loose even with the build up rim bed.
    I'm using a small pancake compressor to inflate. I've mounted lots of tubeless tires both MTB and road without any trouble.

    Any ideas?

  14. #14
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    Have you tried running a strap around the tire to put a little bit of a squeeze on it? The Rons on my son's Trailcraft couldn't have been easier... with the exception of one that didn't want to seal initially. Another trick I use is to pull the core on the value and use a blow gun with some clear tubing form the hardware store, that way I can give it a huge shot with the gun to blow it on to the rim. Works like a charm. Considering how sloppy the tires are on my fatty and even they will go, I know you can get it. Stay on it.

  15. #15
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    Make sure the bead on each side is as close to the rim as possible. I've had a few issues with seating rocket rons, but usually can get them after messing with the location of the bead enough. I use a small ~1 or 2 gallon compressor for mine.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingfisher2011 View Post
    Another trick I use is to pull the core on the value
    This. The valve core restricts air flow into the tire more than you would expect. Even a pancake compressor should hold plenty of air to seat those tires. Pull the core and try them again. Yes, the tire will deflate immediately once you remove the compressor chuck, but the bead will stay seated and the tire should inflate easily after you put the valve core back in.

  17. #17
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    I really like the TC bike a lot (so much) and the Isla bike secondarily. But man, 60mm of travel sucks, especially with that cost. Even 80mm isn't a enough imo for 24". We are close to bottoming out 80mm on our 20" bike at 5yr. I can only imagine trying 60mm in 2 yrs (spring probably eats about 12mm of that fyi). Probably fine for XC stuff but anything remotely aggressive and you'll be wishing for more REAL fast or have to really stiffen it up. Spawn YJ 24" is a little better. Swap the cranks for 140mm and add 11-42 cassette would be nice...still stuck at 80mm but its an improvement I guess. Our 20" is about 20.9lbs FYI before going tubeless.

    Video on a 20" Spawn Yama Jama with 80mm @70PSI on Brood Fork. Its stiffened up for harder drops and you can see it still eats up a good chunk of that on a small jump with a down ramp. Its a little stiff on the smaller stuff now at that PSI. Wish it had 100mm and it'd be perfect I think. Still any day on the trail and we use all of that fork at some point. Not every kid hits the bigger stuff, but if they do...I'd look for more travel before dropping over a grand.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/i8AiY2m6yoW5V7p42

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I really like the TC bike a lot (so much) and the Isla bike secondarily. But man, 60mm of travel sucks, especially with that cost.
    To add to that, I don't get the love for TC's geo. HTA on the Pineridge 24 is 70* which is baffling to me.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    To add to that, I don't get the love for TC's geo. HTA on the Pineridge 24 is 70* which is baffling to me.
    I didn't notice this at all. That sucks. But their roots seem to be in hardcore XC which that might be fine. I'd pass on that for what we do. However the Maxwell is at a more normal 68 fwiw.

    For the price, if I was going hardtail (we probably buying maxwell) the Spawn YJ with some swapped cranks and 11-42 (if climbing a lot) is a solid option. Those Brood Maxtion tires is sick too. I really love the weight of the TC tho. 1550$ for a 21lb 24" bike is so nice.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    To add to that, I don't get the love for TC's geo. HTA on the Pineridge 24 is 70* which is baffling to me.
    I guess it depends on what you are looking for. I am guessing you mean it is too steep. If you need a bike park ride, there are better options. For these smaller wheel sizes and xc/am this kind of geo works great for the kids. But I wouldn't want 70 degrees on my bike for sure! Part of the problem is most manufacturers just shrink adult bikes. Small wheels behave differently. But, it all depends on what you are looking for at the end of the day.

    db

  21. #21
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    Another tubeless trick is to make sure the rim and tire bead is lubed. Just a little soapy water can really help otherwise the bead kind of sticks or grips to the rim center channel rather than sliding out and snapping into the bead.

    Also second the comments around loads of airflow. Remove the core, blast that thing and hear it pop. Then it should stick even after you release the pressure to put the core back.

    Anything you can do to force the tire to the rim helps eg the strap example. Or even manually manipulating the tire to try and get it closer to the rim.

    Good luck.

    db

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    But their roots seem to be in hardcore XC which that might be fine.
    Even in that setting it's dated thinking.

    "Man, my Nimble 9/Honzo/etc. climbs like sh*t!"

    Said no one, ever.

    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    However the Maxwell is at a more normal 68 fwiw.
    Better, but still behind the times IMO.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalBoy View Post
    I guess it depends on what you are looking for. I am guessing you mean it is too steep. If you need a bike park ride, there are better options. For these smaller wheel sizes and xc/am this kind of geo works great for the kids. But I wouldn't want 70 degrees on my bike for sure! Part of the problem is most manufacturers just shrink adult bikes. Small wheels behave differently. But, it all depends on what you are looking for at the end of the day.

    db
    If you have an explanation for why slacker HTAs work well on 26"-29" but not on 24" I'm all ears. Modern geo is not just for "bike park" riding. The progressive geo'ed AM hardtail 29ers out there (N9, EPO, Honzo, Rootdown, Stache, etc.) are universally loved and no one complains that they climb poorly. Even for elite-level XC racing the benefits of steep HTAs are dubious. Cesar Rojo explains why here: The Inside Line Podcast - Cesar Rojo, Founder of UNNO and Cero Design - Mountain Bikes Feature Stories - Vital MTB

    I would argue that the problem is not that "most manufacturers just shrink adult bikes." They don't, and actually doing that would be an improvement over most of the models available from major bike companies.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post
    If you have an explanation for why slacker HTAs work well on 26"-29" but not on 24" I'm all ears. Modern geo is not just for "bike park" riding. The progressive geo'ed AM hardtail 29ers out there (N9, EPO, Honzo, Rootdown, Stache, etc.) are universally loved and no one complains that they climb poorly. Even for elite-level XC racing the benefits of steep HTAs are dubious. Cesar Rojo explains why here: The Inside Line Podcast - Cesar Rojo, Founder of UNNO and Cero Design - Mountain Bikes Feature Stories - Vital MTB

    I would argue that the problem is not that "most manufacturers just shrink adult bikes." They don't, and actually doing that would be an improvement over most of the models available from major bike companies.
    Dan do you have a 24" FS that you like that isn't 29lbs and has some of the modern geo you are talking about? Geo on Spawn Rokkusuta looks nice but damn its still something like 28lbs. (I like the legit travel it has too).

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    Only sharing my experience. My 8yr old doesn't seem to have a problem. Seems fairly consistent with others. Cleary Meerkat, Trek Superfly have 70*, Giant XTC is 71. Some others like commencal Ramones, vpace, hotrock, Scott scale etc are 69

    I looked at all of this when researching his bike. 70 hta is somewhat middle for this style of bike. I don't think the TC is a strange outlier was my point. I know there are more DH oriented bikes with slacker geometry but just like grown ups, not a one size fits all.

    Feel free to design something more innovative, we need more good competition in this space! Seriously.

    db

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalBoy View Post
    Only sharing my experience. My 8yr old doesn't seem to have a problem. Seems fairly consistent with others. Cleary Meerkat, Trek Superfly have 70*, Giant XTC is 71. Some others like commencal Ramones, vpace, hotrock, Scott scale etc are 69

    I looked at all of this when researching his bike. 70 hta is somewhat middle for this style of bike. I don't think the TC is a strange outlier was my point. I know there are more DH oriented bikes with slacker geometry but just like grown ups, not a one size fits all.

    Feel free to design something more innovative, we need more good competition in this space! Seriously.

    db
    I don't like the idea that anything slacker or more travely puts people/kids into the "Bike Park/Gravity sled" territory. Its not true. The industry has grown up geo wise and figured somethings out clearly. Kids bikes are just woefully behind (always have been).

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Dan do you have a 24" FS that you like that isn't 29lbs and has some of the modern geo you are talking about? Geo on Spawn Rokkusuta looks nice but damn its still something like 28lbs. (I like the legit travel it has too).
    Doesn't really exist to my knowledge. Maybe Shredder, but they don't have geo charts on their website. If Flow's 24" FS ever actually happens I'm sure the geo will be dialed. No idea what the weight will be though. The new Propain Yuma looks good but weighs 27 lbs which isn't significantly different than the Rokkusuta 24. The Propain's suspension linkage is pretty simplistic, too. Advantage Spawn there.

    Don't get me wrong, the Maxwell looks like a great bike, certainly better than the Ripcord, Fuel JR, etc. Those bikes all have the Maxwell's travel, similar or worse geo and weigh 28-30 lbs. Worst of both worlds! They are cheaper I guess.

    If you sank the extra $500-$1,000 a Maxwell costs into a Rokkusuta 24 you could probably get the weight down close to the Maxwell.

    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalBoy View Post
    My 8yr old doesn't seem to have a problem.
    Well, we all thought the bikes we were riding 10-15 years ago were the bee knees, too. Now we know better.

    Quote Originally Posted by DigitalBoy View Post
    Seems fairly consistent with others. Cleary Meerkat, Trek Superfly have 70*, Giant XTC is 71. Some others like commencal Ramones, vpace, hotrock, Scott scale etc are 69

    I looked at all of this when researching his bike. 70 hta is somewhat middle for this style of bike. I don't think the TC is a strange outlier was my point. I know there are more DH oriented bikes with slacker geometry but just like grown ups, not a one size fits all.

    Feel free to design something more innovative, we need more good competition in this space! Seriously.

    db
    That it's not an outlier is part of the problem, it should be. Bottom line, steep HTAs are beneficial for sprinting on flat terrain and turning the bike without leaning. The former is a niche benefit and the latter is the wrong way to corner a mountain bike.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I don't like the idea that anything slacker or more travely puts people/kids into the "Bike Park/Gravity sled" territory. Its not true. The industry has grown up geo wise and figured somethings out clearly. Kids bikes are just woefully behind (always have been).
    Yep, this. The worst part is that, unlike high-end superlight parts, fixing the geo basically costs nothing.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by RMCDan View Post

    If you sank the extra $500-$1,000 a Maxwell costs into a Rokkusuta 24 you could probably get the weight down close to the Maxwell.
    I'm not expert on bike buildouts, I wonder tho if Spawn would sell just a frame at some point of the Rockstar.

    What would you start with to make the biggest weight dent for that 500$?

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I don't like the idea that anything slacker or more travely puts people/kids into the "Bike Park/Gravity sled" territory. Its not true. The industry has grown up geo wise and figured somethings out clearly. Kids bikes are just woefully behind (always have been).

    Its a little stiff on the smaller stuff now at that PSI. Wish it had 100mm and it'd be perfect I think. Still any day on the trail and we use all of that fork at some point. Not every kid hits the bigger stuff, but if they do...I'd look for more travel before dropping over a grand.
    100mm travel fork on a 24" hardtail??? The real problem is that there really are no good 24" products available suspension-fork wise and 26" forks put kids riding positions too tall to actually be decent climbing bikes. 410mm a-c on the 60mm travel 24" and 460mm A-C on the 26" forks are really completely different beasts. That;s 50mm difference which is 2 inches! 2 inches is huge enough on my 29er, now imagine on a little kids 24" bike. There is a really good reason the "26-inch fork shortening thread for 24-inch wheels" exists guys.

    You really need to pick your discipline - XC/Trail/bike park - and buy the bike which your kid is into more. There are geometries, suspension forks, and components which are better suited for both and many companies to choose from these days. Honestly there are so many choices now it's pretty awesome and there is not one bike which is clearly better than all others due to geo, spec, and weight. 3-4 pounds is huge when you are 50-75 pounds. Huge. Pick your poison as they say. My Yeti SB4.5 (67.5hta) is 6-8 minutes slower over 40 miles than my RKT9 (70 HTA) with the same length 120mm travel fork - both withing 250 grams of each other. Some things I love my 4.5 better than my RKT and vice versa.

    You need to figure where you live, what type of riding your kids (you) like riding the best, and how the bike is going to make them better riders. A 68 degree HTA bike is going to ride better in the park and downhill better than say a 70 degree HTA bike. A 21 pound bike with a 70 HTA is always going to go uphill faster than a 24 pound bike when you are 65 pounds. And so on. Sure all can do both, but one will clearly be better than the other.

    You have a Commencal Meta with a modern 69 degree head tube angle and 25 pounds with a 70mm travel 24" "META" fork. You have a Spawn 24 with an 80mm travel 26" fork with a 460mm a-c 110mm head tube length, 32x11-36 gearing, 270mm seatpost at 24.5 pounds and you have Trailcraft with 70 HTA, 21 pounds and wide range 11-42 climbing gearing.

    Really. Not rocket science which bike is better at one thing than the others here guys. And "fixing the geo"?? Fixing for who and what discipline? Where do you live? Do you do more descending? More climbing? Ride parks? Ride flat terrain?

    On paper, that Meta 24 looks like a sweet all around bike if you could get some weight out of it and shorten the cranks a bit. But maybe that geo needs to be "fixed" too?

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    100mm travel fork on a 24" hardtail??? The real problem is that there really are no good 24" products available suspension-fork wise and 26" forks put kids riding positions too tall to actually be decent climbing bikes. 410mm a-c on the 60mm travel 24" and 460mm A-C on the 26" forks are really completely different beasts. That;s 50mm difference which is 2 inches! 2 inches is huge enough on my 29er, now imagine on a little kids 24" bike. There is a really good reason the "26-inch fork shortening thread for 24-inch wheels" exists guys.

    You really need to pick your discipline - XC or bike park - and buy the bike which your kid is into more. There are geometries, suspension forks, and components which are better suited for both and many companies to choose from these days. Honestly there are so many choices now it's pretty awesome and there is not one bike which is clearly better than all others due to geo, spec, and weight. Pick your poison as they say. My Yeti SB4.5 (67.5hta) is 6-8 minutes slower over 40 miles than my RKT9 (70 HTA) with the same length 120mm travel fork. Some things I love my 4.5 better than my RKT and vice versa.

    You need to figure where you live, what type of riding your kids (you) like riding the best, and how the bike is going to make them better riders. A 68 degree HTA bike is going to ride better in the park and downhill better than say a 70 degree HTA bike. A 21 pound bike with a 70 HTA is always going to go uphill faster than a 24 pound bike when you are 65 pounds. And so on. Sure all can do both, but one will clearly be better than the other.

    You have a Commencal Meta with a modern 69 degree head tube angle and 25 pounds with a 70mm travel 24" "META" fork. You have a Spawn 24 with an 80mm travel 26" fork with a 460mm a-c 110mm head tube length, 32x11-36 gearing, 270mm seatpost at 24.5 pounds and you have Trailcraft with 70 HTA, 21 pounds and wide range 11-42 climbing gearing.

    Really. Not rocket science which bike is better at one thing than the others here guys. And "fixing the geo"?? Fixing for who and what discipline? Where do you live? Do you do more descending? More climbing? Ride parks? Ride flat terrain?

    On paper, that Meta 24 looks like a sweet all around bike if you could get some weight out of it and shorten the cranks a bit. But maybe that geo needs to be "fixed" too?
    I think you are equating the TC head angle with climbing prowess. TC is going to climb better because of the gearing/cranks (easy fix) and the weight (expensive fix). Its not the head tube angle dude. You bring up a good point with added height of the 26" fork.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I think you are equating the TC head angle with climbing prowess. TC is going to climb better because of the gearing/cranks (easy fix) and the weight (expensive fix). Its not the head tube angle dude.

    You bring up a good point with added height of the 26" fork.
    Depends on the bike and geo. My 67.5hta bike and 70hta bike are different beasts. My 70hta bike is 6-8 minutes faster than my 67.5 HTA bike over 40 miles. That's huge. Both same identical gearing, both bikes within 250 grams of each other (frame weight). I posted on the Yeti forum a while back. The geo of the steeper bike absolutely climbs faster where my substantial gains are made - climbing prowess goes to steeper HTA in my own personal example. There is a reason we don't see more 67-68hta race bikes on the xc circuit and most are in that 69.5-70+ degree range. For enduro riding, it's my Yeti at 67.5 all day long. Again, horse for courses.

    Yeah, 26" fork on a 24" bike is the strange one indeed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    Depends on the bike and geo. My 67.5hta bike and 70hta bike are different beasts. My 70hta bike is 6-8 minutes faster than my 67.5 HTA bike over 40 miles. That's huge. Both same identical gearing, both bikes within 250 grams of each other (frame weight). I posted on the Yeti forum a while back. The geo of the steeper bike absolutely climbs faster where my substantial gains are made - climbing prowess goes to steeper HTA in my own personal example. There is a reason we don't see more 67-68hta race bikes on the xc circuit and most are in that 69.5-70+ degree range. For enduro riding, it's my Yeti at 67.5 all day long. Again, horse for courses.

    Yeah, 26" fork on a 24" bike is the strange one indeed.
    So help me out then (i'm ignorant at this level). We live on Post Canyon trail system in Hood River. We ride out the door, a mile down and then ride up the trails. Or we drive up to an upper staging area and do the same. So we have some tough climbs...and some super legit downhill in a single trip. Its all blue and diamonds etc with gap/drops/gnarly stuff. I in no way can put my kid on a 70mm HTA for safety's sake on the downhill but need some very good climbing ability. What's the best option (assuming some mods) in a fully for 24" in your opinion? (Kid is 5 but growing fast.) The spawn YJ 20" is doing a good job, but again even at 80mm of travel we are eating it up fast. (the fork is insanely nice fyi...like really nice).

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    100mm travel fork on a 24" hardtail??? The real problem is that there really are no good 24" products available suspension-fork wise and 26" forks put kids riding positions too tall to actually be decent climbing bikes. 410mm a-c on the 60mm travel 24" and 460mm A-C on the 26" forks are really completely different beasts. That;s 50mm difference which is 2 inches! 2 inches is huge enough on my 29er, now imagine on a little kids 24" bike. There is a really good reason the "26-inch fork shortening thread for 24-inch wheels" exists guys.

    You really need to pick your discipline - XC/Trail/bike park - and buy the bike which your kid is into more. There are geometries, suspension forks, and components which are better suited for both and many companies to choose from these days. Honestly there are so many choices now it's pretty awesome and there is not one bike which is clearly better than all others due to geo, spec, and weight. 3-4 pounds is huge when you are 50-75 pounds. Huge. Pick your poison as they say. My Yeti SB4.5 (67.5hta) is 6-8 minutes slower over 40 miles than my RKT9 (70 HTA) with the same length 120mm travel fork - both withing 250 grams of each other. Some things I love my 4.5 better than my RKT and vice versa.

    You need to figure where you live, what type of riding your kids (you) like riding the best, and how the bike is going to make them better riders. A 68 degree HTA bike is going to ride better in the park and downhill better than say a 70 degree HTA bike. A 21 pound bike with a 70 HTA is always going to go uphill faster than a 24 pound bike when you are 65 pounds. And so on. Sure all can do both, but one will clearly be better than the other.

    You have a Commencal Meta with a modern 69 degree head tube angle and 25 pounds with a 70mm travel 24" "META" fork. You have a Spawn 24 with an 80mm travel 26" fork with a 460mm a-c 110mm head tube length, 32x11-36 gearing, 270mm seatpost at 24.5 pounds and you have Trailcraft with 70 HTA, 21 pounds and wide range 11-42 climbing gearing.

    Really. Not rocket science which bike is better at one thing than the others here guys. And "fixing the geo"?? Fixing for who and what discipline? Where do you live? Do you do more descending? More climbing? Ride parks? Ride flat terrain?

    On paper, that Meta 24 looks like a sweet all around bike if you could get some weight out of it and shorten the cranks a bit. But maybe that geo needs to be "fixed" too?
    Good post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    I think you are equating the TC head angle with climbing prowess. TC is going to climb better because of the gearing/cranks (easy fix) and the weight (expensive fix). Its not the head tube angle dude. You bring up a good point with added height of the 26" fork.
    This is a two way street. I'm pretty confident I can out descend most folks on new school "all-mountain" geo with more travel, on my 100mm hardtail with a 70 degree head angle. I've focused on my riding ability rather than industrial crutches. Rider, not the bike.

    A lot of these comments make 70 degrees sound like its a road bike with a 72.5 HA.

    It's not just the HA, but the rake/trail relationship that effects descending and climbing.

    I love a good dualie, don't get me wrong. I'm in the market for a good XC one. Maybe 69 or so HA. I don't feel it will be a hindrance in chunkier terrain in the least for me. One thing I love is cleaning terrain just as quickly on a bike that the industry has gotten the masses to turn their noses at, to actually believe that riding such terrain on such a bike is impossible or ludicrous. And I enjoy it doubly these days when I'm doing it to the chagrin of folks that have bought in, whole hog, at what they are being told they MUST HAVE in order to ride the terrain they're riding. (Which, sadly, in most cases has been getting easier, ironically...while bikes, or their riders, 'ostensibly' get more capable)

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    So help me out then (i'm ignorant at this level). We live on Post Canyon trail system in Hood River. We ride out the door, a mile down and then ride up the trails. Or we drive up to an upper staging area and do the same. So we have some tough climbs...and some super legit downhill in a single trip. Its all blue and diamonds etc with gap/drops/gnarly stuff. I in no way can put my kid on a 70mm HTA for safety's sake on the downhill but need some very good climbing ability. What's the best option (assuming some mods) in a fully for 24" in your opinion? (Kid is 5 but growing fast.) The spawn YJ 20" is doing a good job, but again even at 80mm of travel we are eating it up fast. (the fork is insanely nice fyi...like really nice).
    Geez, this all depends on how much climbing and descending. And how big is your 5 year old?? My Kids were not ready for 24" until 8, but I guess they might have been on the smaller side. Sounds like you want full suspension too, which adds even more weight to a kids bike. My kids rode 70 hta Marin 24's all over Utah, Arizona and Colorado. Hazard County to the River on Porcupine Rim even without a tear. HTA and "going over the bars" is over rated. Tire pressure and what they have for breakfast plays a much bigger role than bike HTA tbh. 70 vs 67 is nothing in terms of degrees IMHO. But it seems like all fs 24" bikes are in that 69 hta or less now that we are into 2017!

    But sounds like you want a 120mm fork or more travel and have a budget to work with. More than 100mm in the rear is going to push bike weight up into the 28+ pound weight, and really the only way to drop that weight is with a higher end 26" fork (see earlier post on height) and/or skimp on the wheel build (go lighter rim/spokes/hubs) which presents its own set of problems. Every 20mm of travel you go up over published geo numbers you will go 1 degree slacker on HTA as a point of reference. If you want to go bigger on a FS bike, FOX makes some sweet 26" forks still - "Performance Series 32 FLOAT 26 120 Grip 3-Position Lever 100mm Axle 1.125 Black Ano Matte Black Standard Chassis 39mm rake Part Number is 910-20-336" or "Performance Series 32 FLOAT 26 120 Grip 3-Position Lever 100mm Axle 1.5 T Black Ano Matte Black Standard Chassis 39mm rake Part Number is 910-20-337" if you are doing 15mm t/a. This is probably a 1700-1800 gram fork, not terribly heavy at this level. Also remember once you go 67-ish degree hta you might get pretty sloppy/wander-y performance in technical climbs for a kid on a small 24" wheel. A tall 26" fork might exacerbate the problem further.

    If you are going this level, might as well go dropper/stealth routing, right? I'm not sure of anyone doing a dropper equipped frame other than Norco. Maybe they can sell a frame only and you can build up from there. Norco frame, Fox 120, Stans 28 hole wheelset, etc... Maybe what I would do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    So help me out then (i'm ignorant at this level). We live on Post Canyon trail system in Hood River. We ride out the door, a mile down and then ride up the trails. Or we drive up to an upper staging area and do the same. So we have some tough climbs...and some super legit downhill in a single trip. Its all blue and diamonds etc with gap/drops/gnarly stuff. I in no way can put my kid on a 70mm HTA for safety's sake on the downhill but need some very good climbing ability. What's the best option (assuming some mods) in a fully for 24" in your opinion? (Kid is 5 but growing fast.) The spawn YJ 20" is doing a good job, but again even at 80mm of travel we are eating it up fast. (the fork is insanely nice fyi...like really nice).
    Are you guys doing the gaps, drops and gnarly stuff?

    Is there a link with pics of this trail system? (Edit... Just checked it out on the interweb.) Looks seriously buff. Almost like a 20" wheel dirt jumper could be some seriously good fun through there.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Are you guys doing the gaps, drops and gnarly stuff?

    Is there a link with pics of this trail system? (Edit... Just checked it out on the interweb.) Looks seriously buff. Almost like a 20" wheel dirt jumper could be some seriously good fun through there.
    Yes and yes. He isn't clearing the giant tables but we certainly hit the kickers for some air and clear the smaller gaps/drops. The berm runs are a blast right now with a little rain.

    GS: my kid is 5 and 50lbs but we are still on the 20" for sure for while. I just wanted to pick your brain while you were on the topic. Hell, I better start budgeting for this now. Lets say we settle for 100mm travel. What do you think of the Maxwell?

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    I know you're asking GS, but I'll throw in a handful of nickles. From what I saw of those trails, I can not imagine a 100mm travel bike being outclassed. Especially under a kid.

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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Yes and yes. He isn't clearing the giant tables but we certainly hit the kickers for some air and clear the smaller gaps/drops. The berm runs are a blast right now with a little rain.

    GS: my kid is 5 and 50lbs but we are still on the 20" for sure for while. I just wanted to pick your brain while you were on the topic. Hell, I better start budgeting for this now. Lets say we settle for 100mm travel. What do you think of the Maxwell?
    Not seen anything reviewed but looks like a great bike if you have the money. Another option looks like the Transition Ripcord as a frame-only and build it yourself. That way you get exactly what you want and not a 29+ pound bike with donor parts.

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    Yeah, unfortunately there aren't a ton of reviews on it. (The Maxwell) I think that's what I'm going for though for my guy. I just hope he doesn't hit a growth spurt over the winter. Out of all available FS bikes in this size range, it seems to cover the bases the best.

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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    So help me out then (i'm ignorant at this level). We live on Post Canyon trail system in Hood River. We ride out the door, a mile down and then ride up the trails. Or we drive up to an upper staging area and do the same. So we have some tough climbs...and some super legit downhill in a single trip. Its all blue and diamonds etc with gap/drops/gnarly stuff. I in no way can put my kid on a 70mm HTA for safety's sake on the downhill but need some very good climbing ability. What's the best option (assuming some mods) in a fully for 24" in your opinion? (Kid is 5 but growing fast.) The spawn YJ 20" is doing a good job, but again even at 80mm of travel we are eating it up fast. (the fork is insanely nice fyi...like really nice).
    We gave up trying to find one bike ...
    Jnr currently has a Norco Fluid with 100mm SID and it's been on a diet ... though not such a rigorous diet as his XC bike. (It's 11kg with his light XC wheels which are 32 spoke Crests with CX ray so probably way stronger than the heavy ones supplied with the bike)

    It's pretty good on the downhill gnarly stuff but it's not the same as a fully DH focussed bike... and he can climb on it but not like on his XC.... I'd have got a Transition Frame but that just wasn't possible in Europe... and importing from the US was more than buying the whole bike and chucking everything except the frame and shock.

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    Just a follow up on my decision. I purchased a Islabikes Creig 24 and made a few mods to tailor it for our riding. I swapped the cassette for an 11-42, installed a longer chain for the new gearing, a quick release seatpost clamp for pump track fun, and Schwalbe Rocket Rons. After those mods the bike weighs 22.5 lbs. My son loves the grip shift, low gearing and suspension fork. I'll post a few pictures soon.

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    Birthday Bike-Islabikes Creig 24

    My 24" bike alternatives analysis-fullsizerender.jpgMy 24" bike alternatives analysis-fullsizerender-1-.jpg

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    100mm travel fork on a 24" hardtail??? The real problem is that there really are no good 24" products available suspension-fork wise and 26" forks put kids riding positions too tall to actually be decent climbing bikes. 410mm a-c on the 60mm travel 24" and 460mm A-C on the 26" forks are really completely different beasts. That;s 50mm difference which is 2 inches! 2 inches is huge enough on my 29er, now imagine on a little kids 24" bike. There is a really good reason the "26-inch fork shortening thread for 24-inch wheels" exists guys.
    Yes and No .... as per the rest of your post
    A lot depends on the rest of the bike and specifically at the FS end the head tube length makes a big difference.. in some ways it's like seeing XS Adult 29ers .or XXL 650B's.. (most of which look ridiculous) but the ones that don't are because they didn't just take a medium frame and stick some wheels on...

    Some of the FS bikes the 26" fork fits well because the frame is built around it.... it might not be optimum in the way a XS 29er is a compromise to get the wheels on a tiny frame... but it can perform well in a specific use.
    The F1rst air is also a fairly decent KIDS XC fork ... at 1680g its a bit heavy but it actually works for the function it's intended ... what it isn't is a 24" DH/Enduro fork any more than a Fox or RS XC fork is for adults...

    You really need to pick your discipline - XC/Trail/bike park - and buy the bike which your kid is into more. There are geometries, suspension forks, and components which are better suited for both and many companies to choose from these days. Honestly there are so many choices now it's pretty awesome and there is not one bike which is clearly better than all others due to geo, spec, and weight.
    Many parents seem to get lost in this maze.... very few would consider entering a XC race on a 160mm+ Enduro bike or running a DH on a 100m HT XC bike.... YET everything is magnified for kids.... the issue is people's expectations.

    You need to figure where you live, what type of riding your kids (you) like riding the best, and how the bike is going to make them better riders. A 68 degree HTA bike is going to ride better in the park and downhill better than say a 70 degree HTA bike. A 21 pound bike with a 70 HTA is always going to go uphill faster than a 24 pound bike when you are 65 pounds. And so on. Sure all can do both, but one will clearly be better than the other.
    Or just go with something that will be OK on a range ....
    I've said the same thing about people saying "crap geo" .... for what ???
    My XC bike is a crap Geo for DH .... but it climbs like a demon ... I can get to the top of a push-up way faster (actually my trail bike might be faster in some due to the better traction it just eats more energy)

    Again it's expectations.... and I can see where it comes from.
    Modern trail bikes are not too bad in non-competitive XC... long travel HT's can be very capable ... and a fit rider can slog a Enduro bike around a tame trail... BUT all that is with Adults...

    Most of the weight of a bike isn't the wheels and certainly not the frame (in kids sizes)... its whats bolted to it. My personal observation is that it's all about the standard link length ... that dictates tooth spacing and such so there isn't really a way to make a smaller sized drivetrain based on off the shelf components.

    Equally this also puts constraints on the geometry.... 104 BCD might be standard-ish but that means 30T MIN ... and whatever you do the cranks have to be longer than the diameter of the chainring... so you need a cassette to compensate etc. and the chain stays need a length to allow that to work... and the kids rear mech weighs exactly the same as the adult on because it is the same and adding an inch to the A/C changes the head angle more on a small bike than a big one...

    I think parents need to be more realistic .. and realise kids bikes are like adults but more sensitive. Where an adult bike might cover more disciplines acceptably the kids bike will be narrower in what it covers...

    We have two 24ers ... one is XC focussed HT and the other is a "Enduro-ish" FS.
    The XC bike can cope with technical trails but not as well as the FS... we even used it on DH/bike park... but unsurprisingly its not better than my XC bike....
    The FS copes with trails and can be pedalled 30 miles... but overall it will be slower than the HT, even if the downhills are twice as fast... and its more tiring but more fun.
    It's still not a capable DH as a heavy specialised DH bike but it can be ridden back up the push-ups...

    I get where the expectation comes from though...my adult 27.5 trail bike with 130/140 up front (I stuck an extra 10mm airshaft ) and 130 at the back is far more at home on a wider range of disciplines... I'm certainly not going to win any XC event but I can at least finish... and it might not descend like the 160-200 bikes but it at least does so without the same force line choices my XC would require.

    The same just doesn't exist for kids bikes , kids weigh less and the components are all scaled to adults and weigh the same..and if anything are more restricted and sensitive.

  46. #46
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    The Marin Hawk Hill Jr is intriguing to me. It is a 24” full suspension that can also run 26”.
    It’s been less than a year and my son has almost already grow out of his 20” Trek Precaliber. I like the idea of it being able to grow with him. Anyone tried one of these and have any feedback?

    https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/hawk-hill-jr

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-XtC View Post
    Yes and No .... as per the rest of your post
    A lot depends on the rest of the bike and specifically at the FS end the head tube length makes a big difference.. in some ways it's like seeing XS Adult 29ers .or XXL 650B's.. (most of which look ridiculous) but the ones that don't are because they didn't just take a medium frame and stick some wheels on...

    Some of the FS bikes the 26" fork fits well because the frame is built around it.... it might not be optimum in the way a XS 29er is a compromise to get the wheels on a tiny frame... but it can perform well in a specific use.
    The F1rst air is also a fairly decent KIDS XC fork ... at 1680g its a bit heavy but it actually works for the function it's intended ... what it isn't is a 24" DH/Enduro fork any more than a Fox or RS XC fork is for adults...


    Many parents seem to get lost in this maze.... very few would consider entering a XC race on a 160mm+ Enduro bike or running a DH on a 100m HT XC bike.... YET everything is magnified for kids.... the issue is people's expectations.



    Or just go with something that will be OK on a range ....
    I've said the same thing about people saying "crap geo" .... for what ???
    My XC bike is a crap Geo for DH .... but it climbs like a demon ... I can get to the top of a push-up way faster (actually my trail bike might be faster in some due to the better traction it just eats more energy)

    Again it's expectations.... and I can see where it comes from.
    Modern trail bikes are not too bad in non-competitive XC... long travel HT's can be very capable ... and a fit rider can slog a Enduro bike around a tame trail... BUT all that is with Adults...

    ....
    I agree here but I think there is a sweet spot for kids. That "All-Mountain" category is a nice compromise but there are very few bikes that fit into it. The PineRidge is not it, its clearly a XC bike and I wouldn't want my kid hitting the stuff he hits on that geo (and no please don't say we are "park riders"...we ride up and then down). Especially 2 yrs from now when he steps up to a 24" bike. This is where an All-Mountain Hardtail like the Yama Jama fits as a nice middle spot Geo-wise. Though again I worry about the 24" version being wonky on the A2C height. Regardless *something* like that Geo seems to be the ideal bike for most hard riding kids. If they are going bigger, then the TC Maxwell seems to be the best option for the FS being that weight is such a big deal for young kids. A custom Transition build would be cool too but still you are dealing with a 26" fork and the added height there. Maybe its not a huge deal to deal with the 1.5in-2in but maybe it is for kids...I'm not the expert there.

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    I think the main thing is how the frame is designed (or not) for the extra 1-2" ... but like I said it's the same for XS sized 29ers ... just based on a very small sample of 1 the Norco 24 seems very well designed around the 26" fork. It's got an extra 12mm added due to lack of non tapered forks but I still have a small spacer under the stem and low rise bars .. in other words it could go lower if we tried. However as a trail bike it's just not needed... they soaked up the extra a-c in the frame design and the rear shock and the rear shock works surprisingly well...

    Like I said this isn't really that different to adult bikes ... their are plenty of "women's" XS bikes with 170 and even 175mm cranks ... plenty of 29ers where it looks like all they do is lengthen the chainstays and the size difference between an XS (say 5') and XL (say 6"6') is just as big.. to me it seems crazy that a bike designed for some one 5' tall has minimal changes to one for a 6' plus rider ...


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