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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
    Hardtail Steel Forever
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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.
    WTB: Med Bontrager Ti Lite, PM Me...

  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
    Ride Fast Take Chances :)
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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.

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