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  1. #1
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    Opinions on sizing

    From another thread I read an interesting suggestion on sizing:

    Quote Originally Posted by GSJ1973 View Post
    ^^ I'm of this opinion.
    It's pretty simple really:

    Step one: Take front wheel out of 24" and 26" bike.

    Step two: Put both wheels between legs. 26" first, 24" second.

    Step three: if kid crotches 26" and has to tip toe over 26" in order not to touch, kid needs 24". If kid crotches 24" on tip toes, kid needs 20".

    Generally our kids have fit 24" from 50" to 57". 50" is seat slammed on a 24" at 7.5 years on average for our "50th percentile" kids. 56" is really in between sizes, but technical trails should still be on 24" due to much better stand over. Once 5 feet tall, 26" wheel 13" frame bikes work well. They grow like weeds once they hit 9-10 or so!
    My kid's inseam is 22.4" (23" with shoes), so I'd think on tip toes, the 24" wheel would NOT hit her in the crotch, she'd make it over. I'm trying to decide between a 20" and 24" for her. She's 49.5" overall. The LBS here have been useless helping me figure out a size. They've changed over the years and don't have people with bike knowledge anymore it seems. They ask my kid what colour she likes and work based on that. The one guy had her talked into a cruiser with only a coaster brake. I'd said right when we got there that we needed hand brakes as she learned how to use a rear hand brake when she was 3, and refuses to use the coaster brake on her current bike. She's ridden it for 2 summers without using the coaster to actually stop, only hitting it by accident when she didn't want to.

    < /end tangent>

    Here are pics of her on a couple of 20" bikes at one of our LBS. The seat isn't at the correct setting for her because they wouldn't even bother to adjust that for her so I she could do a test ride. Opinions on whether the 20" seems like the size to go with? She's a paved path rider. We do gravel and dirt when camping in the summer. She's not a daring kid. She'd be weak in a situation where her wheel turned in a pot hole, hit a rock, etc. and wouldn't do well if there was a wipe out (tears for hours, wouldn't get back on bike, etc.). So I'd like to build up her confidence and skills. She does ride solid and likes going fast though.
    Last edited by QueenMAUW; 05-15-2014 at 08:56 PM.

  2. #2
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    Forgot to mention that my problem is that I ordered a 20" today figuring that's what she should be on without getting an opportunity to try her on a 24". I'm going to try and get to a store today and hopefully confirm the 20" was the way to go.

  3. #3
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    From selling bikes and teaching my grands to ride, my experience is as follows, more based on age rather than height. 3-6 yrs, 16" wheels; 6-8, 20" wheels; 8-10, 24" wheels. Once they reach 4'6", confident kids do fine on an XS (13" or smaller, depending on brand) full-size bikes. In the pics above, to me your daughter looks too cramped on those 20" bikes even if the saddles were correctly adjusted. If the bike is way too small, they won't learn any faster than if it's too big. I know stand-over is a big confidence issue but it's not the only important aspect to fit. A few XS entry-level mtn bikes and hybrids, and even 24" versions of them, are available in step-thru frames, which can mitigate the stand-over issue for girls and those boys who are willing to ride that style bike. 10+ yr olds who are 5" should at least try the S-size frames, as they'll grow out of XS in no time.

  4. #4
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    Here's a bad pic of her on a 24"



    Was a bit too high in seat but he said if they pulled the reflector off, could lower the seat more. So she would fit with height. Reach seems ok. I think she must have long arms. Wheels looked giant though!

  5. #5
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    I admit I'm biased, but if she's comfortable with it on a test ride, I'd go with the bigger bike. Bigger wheels will be a little more stable as well. She'll grow into it fast; just feed her the right additives.... :-)

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    Got better pics at another shop as guy adjusted seat to correct height for her.



  7. #7
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    She looks like a decent fit on the 24" Norco.
    Seat is still set pretty low for her though IMO.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by TFitz View Post
    I admit I'm biased, but if she's comfortable with it on a test ride, I'd go with the bigger bike. Bigger wheels will be a little more stable as well. She'll grow into it fast; just feed her the right additives.... :-)
    I think I may need to have her take another test ride. She started out with some wobble, then got going and when she wanted to stop, she decided to "try what I told her" (last summer and the summer before mind you!) and press back to use the coaster brake. That doesn't exist on these bikes. LOL So she ended up losing her balance and tipping over. Jumped up and shouted "I'm okay!" though and was fine to get back on. We barely had any time though so she really only went maybe half a block.
    Last edited by QueenMAUW; 05-08-2014 at 10:55 PM.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    She looks like a decent fit on the 24" Norco.
    Seat is still set pretty low for her though IMO.
    Ya, the seat was as low as it could go. I got the guy to measure to floor to top of seat so I can compare it with other bikes I'm interested in, if I can get that measurement for those. The Norcos seem to be tanks and I really want something lighter.

    Which leads to me being worried about all the features on the 24" bikes. I was getting a Cannondale 20"; the 24" of the same bike has disk brakes, 21 gears a lefty fork. Ha ha. None of which she needs at 7.5. And most of the other brands have shocks on the 24" which she doesn't need either. Although if the bikes fits her for 4 years, maybe she'll need those features then.

  10. #10
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    24 for sure. She's going to find it more stable - especially int hose situations where she has to roll over/through obstacles.

  11. #11
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    As with other posters, the 20" is too small and the 24" is the one to go for. She could also have the saddle a bit higher on the 24. Only do a small saddle height increase at a time so its not a big jump.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenMAUW View Post
    Here's a bad pic of her on a 24"



    Was a bit too high in seat but he said if they pulled the reflector off, could lower the seat more. So she would fit with height. Reach seems ok. I think she must have long arms. Wheels looked giant though!

    It's true, the seat will drop another inch or so with the reflector off. I bought the same XTC 24 for my son. He's 50" btw. I swapped the front fork out for the lightest 26" fork I had laying around. I ordered a spacer kit which will allow me to drop that fork to 63mm or so to bring the front end down to the stock height as it would have been with the 24" fork.

    With a gaggle of mods I have dropped that bikes weight down to 25lbs. The stock tires are pretty heavy and the kickstand adds a lot too.

    Also, the rear end can be modified to take discs pretty easily imo. It's on the longterm radar.

  13. #13
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    Thanks everyone. Who woulda thunk. After researching 20" models for a month, I am now back to square one looking for 24's!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenMAUW View Post
    Thanks everyone. Who woulda thunk. After researching 20" models for a month, I am now back to square one looking for 24's!
    I don't know what your budget is and if you ever plan on taking her to some trails, but I just bought my Daughter the Cannondale Race 24. She is really liking it. I've done a ton of searching when I was looking for my son and I think I can say this is about the best value out there in a 24 inch bike. I wish they were out when I bought my son his 24.

    I don't think you can find another 24 inch kids bike for $500 that comes with an air fork. The air fork I bought for my son Marin cost $200 alone.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I don't know what your budget is and if you ever plan on taking her to some trails, but I just bought my Daughter the Cannondale Race 24. She is really liking it. I've done a ton of searching when I was looking for my son and I think I can say this is about the best value out there in a 24 inch bike. I wish they were out when I bought my son his 24.

    I don't think you can find another 24 inch kids bike for $500 that comes with an air fork. The air fork I bought for my son Marin cost $200 alone.
    Thanks! I was looking seriously at both it and the Street 24 (rigid fork). It's good to hear feedback on the Race. Did you happen to weigh it? We looked at a 24" Giant tonight and it was 29.8 pounds. A far cry from the 21.14 I was going to get with the 20" Cannondale!

    Now that we're up to a 24, there is a higher likelihood of her doing trails in the next couple years when we camp.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenMAUW View Post
    Thanks! I was looking seriously at both it and the Street 24 (rigid fork). It's good to hear feedback on the Race. Did you happen to weigh it? We looked at a 24" Giant tonight and it was 29.8 pounds. A far cry from the 21.14 I was going to get with the 20" Cannondale!

    Now that we're up to a 24, there is a higher likelihood of her doing trails in the next couple years when we camp.
    Well I didn't weight it before I swapped out the shifters and bars, so mine wouldn't be the stock weight. The stock wheels felt pretty light.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenMAUW View Post
    Ya, the seat was as low as it could go. I got the guy to measure to floor to top of seat so I can compare it with other bikes I'm interested in, if I can get that measurement for those. The Norcos seem to be tanks and I really want something lighter.

    Which leads to me being worried about all the features on the 24" bikes. I was getting a Cannondale 20"; the 24" of the same bike has disk brakes, 21 gears a lefty fork. Ha ha. None of which she needs at 7.5. And most of the other brands have shocks on the 24" which she doesn't need either. Although if the bikes fits her for 4 years, maybe she'll need those features then.
    For your purposes, you really don't need anything really fancy IMO. Myself, I'd see if I could find a used Specialized Hotrock or something similar. Even new, they're a decent deal, and even come in an 11.5 and 13.5 size option.

    Specialized Bicycle Components

    I personally have had a good experience with my son's Hardrock. He rode it as a 'DH' bike for awhile, now that he's got a dedicated bike for DH, we've built it back into a trail bike. I can't say anything bad about it, serves us great.

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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    For your purposes, you really don't need anything really fancy IMO. Myself, I'd see if I could find a used Specialized Hotrock or something similar. Even new, they're a decent deal, and even come in an 11.5 and 13.5 size option.

    Specialized Bicycle Components

    I personally have had a good experience with my son's Hardrock. He rode it as a 'DH' bike for awhile, now that he's got a dedicated bike for DH, we've built it back into a trail bike. I can't say anything bad about it, serves us great.


    Thing is, if you're looking new, the cheapest Hotrock w/ 21 gears is $410, for $90 more with the Cannondale you get a real air fork.
    I'm really amazed Cannondale can sell this bike as cheap as they are.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    For your purposes, you really don't need anything really fancy IMO. Myself, I'd see if I could find a used Specialized Hotrock or something similar. Even new, they're a decent deal, and even come in an 11.5 and 13.5 size option.

    Specialized Bicycle Components
    If only we had good, used decent bikes around here! There isn't any brand names bikes for sale on Kijiji here. Ever. Wait, there is one old, 16" Specialized for $100. The larger bikes are all from Walmart, Canadian Tire and Sport Chek and are selling for $100 used.

    And I seem to recall the last time I asked the dealer here that sells Specialized if he could order the kids bikes in, he said he doesn't. You have to buy from his tank Mieles on the floor.

    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    Thing is, if you're looking new, the cheapest Hotrock w/ 21 gears is $410, for $90 more with the Cannondale you get a real air fork.
    I'm really amazed Cannondale can sell this bike as cheap as they are.
    I just checked prices in Canada and it seems the Specialized with 21 gears, with shocks or street model go for $469. The 7 speed model is $449. And the XC model linked to above goes for $529. The Cannondale Street or Race are $499 here, so priced between the Specialized models.

  20. #20
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    So Cannondale's kids catalog has inseams for each bike, here http://media.cannondale.com/media/ca...talog_KIDS.pdf

    From that document, the 24" is technically too big for her, and the 20" is supposed to be good for about "7-10 years". Looking at my kid on a 20" bike, how would any 10 year old fit on a 20? My kid isn't even big for 7, she's barely over the 50th percentile.

    I got a shop to measure the seat height for me on the Cannondale street, and at it's lowest seat height, it was lower than the Norco she was on, which is probably better for her.

    Quote Originally Posted by othello View Post
    As with other posters, the 20" is too small and the 24" is the one to go for. She could also have the saddle a bit higher on the 24. Only do a small saddle height increase at a time so its not a big jump.
    I don't think we could have moved it up. She was on her tip toes and any higher and I don't think she could reach the ground. I'd guess 20" wheels would put her closer to the ground for her feet to reach, but she could have the seat higher for her. But if she's too cramped from seat to bars, then that isn't any good.

  21. #21
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    I did get the 11 inch frame for my daughter, but I have a different opinion than most- as long as it fits, smaller is better for learning bike handling skills.

    I will say based on the pictures, the 20 is too small at this point.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenMAUW View Post
    Thanks! I was looking seriously at both it and the Street 24 (rigid fork). It's good to hear feedback on the Race. Did you happen to weigh it? We looked at a 24" Giant tonight and it was 29.8 pounds. A far cry from the 21.14 I was going to get with the 20" Cannondale!

    Now that we're up to a 24, there is a higher likelihood of her doing trails in the next couple years when we camp.

    Nice. I forgot to weigh my son's XTC 24 before I modded it, hehe. Anyways, you shouldn't be so shocked at the weights. Lower end bikes weigh that much because they cost that much. You will shave a few more pounds stock by spending more up front, but realistically it will still be on the heavy side. If you want the lightest bike up front, I think the islabikes creig24 is it, but that's over 1K. If you're not mechanically inclined, I would look at that one.

    Also, the fork on the stock bike is 4.5lbs. I swapped it with a 2003/4 SID WC carbon fork that I bought used/cheap a while back. I also swapped everything I could within reason, ie. carbon bars/post, spank stem, double crankset, schwalbe smart sam tires, 8spd X4 drivetrain, etc etc. Bike weight is down to 25.5lbs. Ironically it weighs less than his mom's 26er HT that collects dust.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by thesmokingman View Post
    Nice. I forgot to weigh my son's XTC 24 before I modded it, hehe. Anyways, you shouldn't be so shocked at the weights. Lower end bikes weigh that much because they cost that much. You will shave a few more pounds stock by spending more up front, but realistically it will still be on the heavy side. If you want the lightest bike up front, I think the islabikes creig24 is it, but that's over 1K. If you're not mechanically inclined, I would look at that one.

    Also, the fork on the stock bike is 4.5lbs. I swapped it with a 2003/4 SID WC carbon fork that I bought used/cheap a while back. I also swapped everything I could within reason, ie. carbon bars/post, spank stem, double crankset, schwalbe smart sam tires, 8spd X4 drivetrain, etc etc. Bike weight is down to 25.5lbs. Ironically it weighs less than his mom's 26er HT that collects dust.
    The Giant that the store weighed for us was the girls' version, the Areva. And I know that sometimes the girls versions weight a tad more due to how they shape the tubing and often a wider, heavier seat. It also had reflectors and a kickstand on it.

    As for Islabikes, they won't ship to Canada unfortunately. I've tried to buy both a balance bike and a 20 or 24 from them, and they can't help me other than pay for shipping to USA first and then my figuring out my own expensive way to get it here.

    We're capable of swapping parts, my hubby doesn't seem too interested in that though. He'd like to get her something usable out of the box. I think he just doesn't want to spend $400 then still have to put in another $200-$400 in. Add to that the hours of research needed for me to figure out which parts to get and where to get them in Canada, etc.

    Maybe if I could find something in the $200 range he'd be cool with swapping out parts, but I think anything in that range is going to end up as a total rebuild other than the frame. LOL

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by QueenMAUW View Post

    Maybe if I could find something in the $200 range he'd be cool with swapping out parts, but I think anything in that range is going to end up as a total rebuild other than the frame. LOL
    I spent $500 on my son's Marin and the only thing left are seat, steam, seat post and frame.

    Just explain to your husband you can end up with so much better bike for less by starting with a decent bike and upgrading.

    Take the Islabikes- it's $1000 and comes with X5 drive train, My son's bike ended up about there, but it ended up with a much better spec.

    Now my daughters will be as nice or better than my son's since hers already came with an air fork, that's $200 saved vs. my son's.
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  25. #25
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    Well it looks like we're getting the Cannondale Street 24". Any of the Specialized models other than the XC had at least some steel, like the handlebars and were only $30 cheaper. the XC was more expensive and had a coil shock which isn't really optimal from what I understand. The other brand name 24" were all around $400 or just over but all had some steel and a coil shock so were likely going to weigh more than the Cannondale anyway.

    I had a hard time deciding between the Race and the Street. In the end, we figured she needs to just get miles on the bike. We don't do any trails as her younger sister is going to be with us in the trailer for a couple more years. So, it's paved paths, maybe a dirt or gravel back lane, but that's about it. Thus, we went with the double walled rims and disc brakes over the air shock. Still not sure if it was the right decision. The shop will place the order tomorrow I believe so if anyone has opinions, feel free to share.

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