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  1. #1
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    Quality 12" wheel bikes other than Specialized Hotrock?

    My son's getting pretty good with his Specialized Hotwalk glider bike, and will be ready for pedals soon. I want to get a quality 12" wheel pedal bike (because it will have to last through him and his little brother), so I was looking at the 12" Hotrock. Any other alternates to consider?

  2. #2
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    Keep BMX racing bikes in mind. Our 4 year old started out on a glide bike as yours did. He is riding one of these this spring. We got this bike mostly because of it's relative light weight. His like-a-bike was nice and light and I didn't want to give him something really heavy for his next bike. I don't understand the predominance of overbuilt kids bikes -- does a 30-40 pound rider need something that strong?

    Everything on this bike is setup for his size (except maybe wheel size). I turned the stem around and cut the bars to make it even better for now. He is riding it by himself, but needs a quick push to get on the pedals. We probably should have gone with a 18' wheel size for that reason (lower BB). This one is 20" (better tire selection).

    Have fun!

  3. #3
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    I have used 14" BMW Kids bike - run bike/pedal bike combo. It is quite low, so my daughter started on it in run mode, and got couple years of use - son got Haro z10 first - earlier, and will switch later. Money well spent.. (given that we here sometimes spend more on a rear wheel hub alone.. and use it less)

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    I have used 14" BMW Kids bike - run bike/pedal bike combo. It is quite low, so my daughter started on it in run mode, and got couple years of use - son got Haro z10 first - earlier, and will switch later. Money well spent.. (given that we here sometimes spend more on a rear wheel hub alone.. and use it less)
    Interesting, I didn't know BMW made kids bikes. I've researched a little more, and I think I'll probably go with the hotrock since they all seem to be priced about the same, and the comparable ones by Trek, GT, etc. have goofy frames and add-ons like fenders.

    In researching, I saw this bad-ass 20" bike by Kona, too bad it doesn't come in a 12" wheel model with just a rear disc!


  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zuuds
    In researching, I saw this bad-ass 20" bike by Kona, too bad it doesn't come in a 12" wheel model with just a rear disc!
    I just got a 20" bike for my daughter, and I came to the conclusion that light weight and good tires are the most important feature. I also looked at Kona, and Scott Voltage. V-brakes will stop everything just fine, and full rigid is perfectly fine - with decent high volume tires. I got Giant XtC Jr 20, got it weight close to 20lb by replacing things like cranks, seatpost, stem and handlebar, bottom braked, derailleur... Now need to do 1x9 speed upgrade - needs a new rear wheel. My daughter did not enjoy push around 28lb bike our friends have that she tried, but now flies around on the new one.

    It will be kept for my son as well - I will get 18" BMX for him in between 14" incher and 20. My daughter used 16" Kettler for a year, and those things suck. Coaster brakes should not be ever used. Just bad habits.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Curmy
    I just got a 20" bike for my daughter, and I came to the conclusion that light weight and good tires are the most important feature. I also looked at Kona, and Scott Voltage. V-brakes will stop everything just fine, and full rigid is perfectly fine - with decent high volume tires. I got Giant XtC Jr 20, got it weight close to 20lb by replacing things like cranks, seatpost, stem and handlebar, bottom braked, derailleur... Now need to do 1x9 speed upgrade - needs a new rear wheel. My daughter did not enjoy push around 28lb bike our friends have that she tried, but now flies around on the new one.

    It will be kept for my son as well - I will get 18" BMX for him in between 14" incher and 20. My daughter used 16" Kettler for a year, and those things suck. Coaster brakes should not be ever used. Just bad habits.

    How is your daughter on this 20"er? Do you know what her inseam is? I am tied between a 16 or 20" for my 4yr old son. He had a dept store 'Tonka' tank bike that was a 14" I think and it seems small and heavy. It's a tough age to find something decent and light. I wish more manuf offered alu frames in this sizing.

    A.

  7. #7
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    I would stick to the Hotrocks. There by far the best bang for the buck and the lightest. I have put disc brakes on my sons 12" Hotrock and a 16" Hotrock. I found the 16" bike on Craigslist for $40. I added a couple of pics for inspiration.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Quality 12" wheel bikes other than Specialized Hotrock?-gavins-bike-disc2.jpg  

    Quality 12" wheel bikes other than Specialized Hotrock?-prototype-hotrock-1rs.jpg  


  8. #8
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    how did you do the disc conversion? relace the hubs? what about the frame?

  9. #9
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    You have to lace in a flip flop hub. Then buy a thread on adapter to hold the rotor and a caliper bracket from www.choppersus.com. You will need to do a little machining on the thread on rotor adapter because its too thick. If your doing a 12" wheel it will need to be 16 spoke rim only. Then buy a set of 32 hole mini bmx hubs to lace up. If you use the front hub you will need to machine new bearing spacers because the spacing is different on the 12" hotrock vs the 16" bike

  10. #10
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    Demo9 are you planing to sell 12" by any chance?
    Last edited by aramid; 07-21-2011 at 06:41 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by aramid View Post
    Demo9 are you planing to sell 12" by any chance?
    No, I'm not selling the bike but I could build you one. Let me know.

  12. #12
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    I like the 12" HotRocks, but my LBS had a Haro Z12 in stock. I got it this past Christmas and we never had to mount the training wheels. He just turned 3.


  13. #13
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    I have a somewhat related Hotrock 12 question for anyone who has one.

    I picked up a used 2010 Hotrock 12 (girls) off ebay and I have a question about the steering. The steering seems to "snap" to 15 degree increments when you turn the steering column, it doesn't turn freely. It is a smooth action, but just seems to want to stop every 15degrees or so. It does appear to be fairly even increments, so my first thought that it was intentional by design, but I have nothing to compare it against. We have a Hotrock 16 and 20 as well, and neither of these have this feature (or non-feature). Anywho, just seeing if anyone else has the same bike and can comment on the steering smoothness.

    Thanks
    Last edited by pgallett; 10-04-2011 at 12:57 PM. Reason: extra detail

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgallett View Post
    I have a somewhat related Hotrock 12 question for anyone who has one.

    I picked up a used 2010 Hotrock 12 (girls) off ebay and I have a question about the steering. The steering seems to "snap" to 15 degree increments when you turn the steering column, it doesn't turn freely. It is a smooth action, but just seems to want to stop every 15degrees or so. It does appear to be fairly even increments, so my first thought that it was intentional by design, but I have nothing to compare it against. We have a Hotrock 16 and 20 as well, and neither of these have this feature (or non-feature). Anywho, just seeing if anyone else has the same bike and can comment on the steering smoothness.

    Thanks
    Pitted bearing? 15 deg could be about one ball worth for a 24 ball bearing.

  15. #15
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    I would say pitted bearing also or someone tighten the headset too tight.

  16. #16
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    I overtightened the headset on my 20" BMX bike and it had the exact same symptom. It damaged the bearing and it had to be replaced after a few months.
    2010 Giant Yukon FX
    Pure XCR Wheelset/Geax Saguaro Tires/Tubeless
    Bike Weight Lost: 2.48lbs (1124g)

  17. #17
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    Just got this bike for my daughter tonight. There is a lot of resistance what it feels like coming from BB when I spin the cranks while lifting the rear wheel which also spins for few rotations and stops. Is this normal for coaster braked bikes? I should have inspected more carefully before leaving the LBS but we were all excited and didn't expect this from a new bike. Taking it back tomorrow for an inspection.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by stoked View Post
    There is a lot of resistance what it feels like coming from BB when I spin the cranks while lifting the rear wheel which also spins for few rotations and stops.
    I have also noticed a bit of drag on the coaster brake while coasting. However, there is no reason that all the bearings can't be adjusted so they spin freely. Do NOT expect silky smooth action, but they can certainly be adjusted to provide free-spinning action. Only "cartridge" style bearings can't be adjusted, but those are uncommon on kids bikes.

    Almost invariably, bikes come with bearings that are adjusted too tightly. On my son's bike, the rear hub was crunchy and had a lot of resistance. If they leave the LBS that way, the bike shop did not do it's job, and it should definitely be taken back. Don't accept some story about how they are just "like that". Not true - they just didn't want to spend the time on a low-dollar kids bike to fix it up.

    Good luck and have fun!

    -Damon

  19. #19
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    Demo9: That is totally AWESOME! I just picked up a 16' Hotrock for my nephew, though not for the stellar price you got yours. The bike was in great condition. Other than some small scratches on the fork (always on the fork!) and scuff marks on the frame, it looks like the bike wasn't banged around much. This is gonna replace the 12" red Hotrock I got him a a year or two earlier. (I know, I'm an awesome uncle!). I prefer Specialied kids bikes because they're aluminum and fairly affordable used and new. And they actually look like proper bikes, to boot :P

    What I like the 16" is that it has a 1 1/8 headset, so that means I can play with putting in a pimp stem. Thinking about an Azonic Shorty and doing what Demo9 did by using a shortened riser bar. Then pimping it with some ODI 90mm grips with custom etching on the lock rings. Would love to do the disc conversion, but too costly, I'd imagine. I'll wait until he moves up to 20" maybe.

  20. #20
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    I'm looking at the Specialized Hotrock and the Giant Animator in either a 12 or 16 for my kid's first bike. Unfortunately, my LBS doesn't carry either one. Any advice on size for a 38" tall 3 year old? Thanks for the help!

  21. #21
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    Our three and 1/2 year old is mesmerized by our bike porn dvd collection and is asking to ride on trails. We have a cheap (walm--t) balance bike with foam tires and are looking to upgrade him to a 12" bike. With budget in mind, how do they compare? I'd prefer 'normal' tires.

    Peace,
    Oquipah

  22. #22
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    I love the Sinz crank upgrade on the Hotrock 16"!
    I just bought an Intense Micro for my 4.5yr old daughter.
    My 3.5yr old son is currently using a Strider and has pretty much mastered that so I'm trying to find a nice light 12" bike for him. It certainly looks like the Hotrock 12" is the best option out there but they're bloody expensive for a kids bike which they will outgrow fast. Even though the Intense wasn't cheap it will last a long time and my son can use it once he's tall enough.

  23. #23
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    my attempt to find a very low 12" wheeled bike

    I bought a used novara firefly 12" and it the lowest seat height is about 19" from the ground. Cutting the seatpost will get it to 18". I am looking for something around 16" from the seat to ground (not standover) for my smallish almost 3 year old. This happens to be the same as a strider seat at max seatpost height. Looking at internet pictures, it looks like the specialized hotrock 12, trek mystic 12, and maybe GT laguna 12 and giant lil'puddin can go that low. Anyone have experience with these or other 12" wheeled bikes with low seat heights? thanks

    the knobbies are also really tall (what 3 year old needs 12x2.25 knobbies?) but smaller diameter street tires seem hard to find and would only lower height by ~ 1/4". Props to anyone who can recommend a low cost 12 x 1.75.

    the disc and 3pc crank conversion on the hotrock is pretty sick, btw Why not weld a disc tab to fork while you're at it?

  24. #24
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    I ended up buying a Specialized Hotrock 12 for my son. It's a great little bike and my son went straight from the Strider to that and was riding smoothly and with confidence (much better than his older sis who never rode the strider) within about 30 mins. His low speed control and balance is excellent. (all thanks to all the time he spend on the Strider I have to say)

    My daughter is currently riding a Scott Contessa Jnr 16" to build up her confidence as she's still a little wobbly at times and has more trouble getting going and coming to a controlled stop than her little bro. She can ride the Intense micro mini but I find that she lacks the control and gets up too much speed which scares me. The Scott seems slower and safer at this point but it won't be long before she switches over.

    With my son being on the short side I think it'll be another two years or so before he can change over to the Intense unless he has some sudden growth spurt.

  25. #25
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    thanks Axxis

    It looks like I will be looking for a hotrock 12 (seems hard to beat at that size). How tall was your daughter to be able to fit the intense micro mini or one of the 16" wheel bikes? How does she do with the hand brake?

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