Well after much time reviewing many of the tuned 20" bike posts, we have finally finished my sons Commencal Ramones 20". Out of the box, the bike weighed a little over 11kg.
With some serious tuning, we got it down to 9kg! Many of the high end parts are second hand (eg 9 Speed stuff) which are readily available and quite cheap. Of course the build cost significantly more than the cost of the bike, but when I look at how much money I spend on my own bikes, it is all pretty relative. And when you see your kid having fun on the bike, flying up hills and doing stuff that he never did before on a bike, you know that it is all worthwhile.
The build worked out really well and the bike absolutely flies. When comparing him with his buddies on their 20 & 24" klunkers, the commencal just seems to roll and handle extremely well. I don't think it's just due to the weight which we saved which makes the big difference, but also the body position on the bike (stem/handle/seat) which all seems to be in proportion and fit well. I don't know, it just works really well - and every kid in the neighborhood wants to ride it. The fork also works extremely well for his weight - a bouncy fork is also a highlight for a 7 year old kid! The Kenda tires with lightweight BMX tubes also roll extremely well.
The wheels consists of Velocity road hubs with Velocity Aeroheat MSW 20" rims. As the wheels are pictured below, the weights for the front and rear are 540g and 720g, respectively. The wheelset was built by Matthew Larsen Wheelbuilding (Matthew Larsen Wheelbuilding) and works extremely well. Matt did a great job with the build and is also a great guy to deal with - very flexible and nothing was too difficult - don't hesitate to give him a call for your custom wheel build options!
We thought about going discs, but decided to stay with V-brakes due to weight savings - the Avids Speed Dials are also a very effective brake especially when considering the total weight of the bike + rider.
The build list is also included. As you can see, some of the most effective weight saving part swaps were for the simple stuff... stem, bars, seatpost and seat - these are also relatively cheap. Anyway, I hope this post helps the other dads out there striving to get their kids bikes down to a respectable weight!! Let me know if you have any questions.
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