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  1. #1
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    Scott Spark JR. 20 kids bike review

    Before buying a bike for my son's 5th birthday, I did quite a bit of research. He test rode the Specialized and Trek 20" wheel models which were 30+ pound tanks. The trek geometry was obviously that of a poorly disguised bmx bike. Additionally, here is an example of the dialogue with the specialized dealer:

    (me) "is the fork adjustable?"

    (LBS) "no"

    (ME) "then why does it take all my 170 lbs of weight to compress the fork? my kid has no chance of using it."

    (LBS) "it's just for show"

    I was appalled. I had decided on the Ibex, but (luckily for us) they were out for the season. then I stumbled on the Scott http://scottusa.com/us_en/product/77/634/spark_jr_20

    I couldn't find any reviews, but PM'd a guy on this forum who bought one for his kid. he loved it, so that was enough for me. I ordered one for $350 (the other brands are $250 for a rigid frame with a rear shifer only.) when it arrived I was blown away. The suspension is actually set up for a 40-125 pound kid. it has a 2x9 shifter set up and only weighed in at 26lbs!

    His confidence and enjoyment went through the roof on the first ride. He is now cleaning both uphill and downhill sections that were impossible on his 16" single speed. Plus, it is cool to see the suspension totally active on rocky and rooty sections of trail. The quality of build is great, and Scott even thought of the little stuff, like brake lever adjustment screws for little hands.



    Is it perfect? almost, but not quite. The rear derailleur (while probably fine) looked a little clunky to me, so I replaced it with an old Dura-Ace I had laying around. we also switched out the seat with his old one that was not quite as cool looking, but more comfortable for him.

    Scott has done an incredible job with this bike. This is the ONLY full suspension 20" wheel production kids bike. For only $100 dollars more than the rest of the field you get a REAL kids mountain bike, not just a gilded bmx bike that pays lip service to mountain biking. Now that i know the quality and thoughtfull design that went into this bike, I would have gladly paid twice as much for this bike. Thank you Scott Montgomery and everyone at Scott USA for taking Family mountain biking seriously.


  2. #2
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    very nice

    I too was looking for something for my 5 y/o last year

    We ended up getting him the GF precaliber.

    While not FS everything was built up light with a real crank set/headet bars wheels etc. It is lighter than everything else we looked at (around 22-23 lbs) The fork actually bottoms often, I would like to find a spring for it, and it does not have bottle cage bosses

    But overall a great bike and value (around $250) IT IS NOT THE TREK

    No matter what though it is great to get the kids out on the trail

    My 4 y/o is riding a Specialized hot rock (I think) that I out BMX brakes and a Redline flip flop hub wheel and 22t freewheel cog on so he can get around the easy stuff with us.

  3. #3
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    That smile says it all. My son and I have just discovered the joys of mtb.

  4. #4
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    Ok, I have to ask and please don't flame me....why get a fs for such a young kid? The reason I ask is that I was always taught that you first want to teach any rider learning to do singletrack how to pick lines and that the best way to do that is with a ht. I know with the teens and adults i've seen start with fs, they often aren't the smoothest riders cause they learn to plow over stuff rather than flow. It's obviously that the little guy has caught the bug, but does starting them on fs make for the best rider? Again this isn't an attack, merely a question. I plan on buying my nephew his new bike for Christmas and will too be looking for a bike he can learn to ride a trail with. Thanks.

  5. #5
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    Why FS

    I'm new to mountain biking so please educate me, but when I was faced with the same decision I chose FS because when my son went off small jumps (say 18") the bike would hit the ground so hard - it just didn't seem good.

    I don't think there is anything he could do about it either because the bike weighs half as much as he does. Also just going up curbs and bumbs is much more comfortable and less jarring now with full suspension. I think he has more fun now.

    There's a little more information about the Scott Spark JR 20 here:
    Scott Spark JR. 20 kids bike review

  6. #6
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    Excellent. I'm glad you were able to find a serious bike for your little one.
    When under pressure, your level of performance will sink to your level of preparation.


    Shorthills Cycling Club

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kizmit10
    Ok, I have to ask and please don't flame me....why get a fs for such a young kid? The reason I ask is that I was always taught that you first want to teach any rider learning to do singletrack how to pick lines and that the best way to do that is with a ht. I know with the teens and adults i've seen start with fs, they often aren't the smoothest riders cause they learn to plow over stuff rather than flow. It's obviously that the little guy has caught the bug, but does starting them on fs make for the best rider? Again this isn't an attack, merely a question. I plan on buying my nephew his new bike for Christmas and will too be looking for a bike he can learn to ride a trail with. Thanks.
    That's not a bad point... My 6-y-o has a micro-mini sized GT BMX, which I got chiefly because of its weight, or lack of it. However, even after gearing it down to make it easier on the legs, it's still a bit tough on him to crest rises and keep up any momentum. While trips to the BMX track are great fun for both of us, I can't see us hitting any trails together on his current ride.

    And hey, if he can have a PlayStation3 instead of a box of Meccano...

    I'll be looking up the Scott in short order.
    Cheers,

    Robbo

    Eat my shorts, build a bridge and get over it - Devil

  8. #8
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    Excellent review! How tall is your son?
    Official Chocolate Fountain Spokesman

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robbo
    That's not a bad point... My 6-y-o has a micro-mini sized GT BMX, which I got chiefly because of its weight, or lack of it. However, even after gearing it down to make it easier on the legs, it's still a bit tough on him to crest rises and keep up any momentum. While trips to the BMX track are great fun for both of us, I can't see us hitting any trails together on his current ride.

    And hey, if he can have a PlayStation3 instead of a box of Meccano...

    I'll be looking up the Scott in short order.
    Update: And wouldn't you know it? The Australian Scott importer doesn't/won't bring in the Spark JR, and the GF Precaliber isn't available, either. If anyone can give me a lead on a savvy shop Stateside who'd be interested in shipping a Scott to the other side of the world, I'd really appreciate a PM.
    Cheers,

    Robbo

    Eat my shorts, build a bridge and get over it - Devil

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