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  1. #1
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    Very nice option for a solid 20 or 24 inch bike for kids - >OPUS bikes

    Like many others on this forum, I have been looking for a good quality, light, and reasonably priced bike for my son.

    I could not find anything decent for my 5 years old son when I started looking a couple of years ago, and then I came across the Marin Canyon and the Specialized Hotrock 20, which were the best compromise available IMO. Yet, the Hotrock was only available in 6spd, with a low-quality 12$ tourney derailleur, heavy rims, and a front suspension as heavy as an anchor. Don't get me wrong, it's a great bike, and my son really enjoyed it (see here) but I felt he could definitely use a few more gears, and could follow me a lot further (and higher!) if the bike was lighter.

    I read all the threads on how guys have been modifying their Hotrock to get it closer to their taste, and found Cinq's build to be a great set-up, so I began watching the used parts for sale on ebay and pinkbike.com for months, and collecting parts to mod the bike, hopefully in time for when my 2nd son would be ready for a 20 inch.

    But then this happened...



    Fast forward to January 2013, after months searching for a used 24in for my son who has outgrown the Hotrock 20; I hit luck and score this 2-yr old Hotrock 24, 10 minutes from home...






    After talking with the owner, he tells that he is getting rid of it because they are a family of mtb enthusiasts and that he bought a real mtb for his son.
    I ask to learn more and he tells me about the Opus Fever, a very nice set-up (26lbs for a 24 inch) selling for ~$700 to add to your shopping list of 24in bikes:

    $500 - $750
    - Specialized Hotrock 24 XC
    - Marin Bayview
    - Scott Scale JR 24
    - Kona Schred

    and higher up in specs and price ($1000+)
    - Kona Kula 24
    - Scott Scale RC

    They also have one of the best packages available in the 20in category IMO at only 22lbs (9.97kg) with disc brakes (see the Thunder below).

    Looks like the bike manufacturers are catching up with the demand for high(er) quality bikes for kids; there are better and better options now.

    The Opus were only available in Canada until last year; starting in 2013 they will be available in the US:
    Opus Blog Opus Announces First U.S Retail Partners

    Bikeradar review:
    Opus Bikes Brings High-end Urban And Kids Bikes To The US - BikeRadar


    OPUS Fever - 24 inch ~700 CAD$




    SPECs
    Weight - 26,4 lbs / 11,88 kg

    Frame - Opus Full Double Butted Aluminum Al-6061
    Wheels- Formula alloy disc hub Alex DP-17 Disc 32h Double Wall
    Colour- Race Red
    Fork - Spinner Grind 65mmAlloy steerer and stanchions - 1-1/8 Remote Lock-out
    Headset - VP-Semi Integrated - 1-1/8HandlebarPromax 31.8
    Stem - Pro max 31.8
    Grips - Opus Kraton
    Shifters - SRAM X-4 Trigger 3X8 1:1 Actuation
    Brakes - Shimano Hydraulic BRM-446 160mm Rotors
    Bottom Bracket - Prowheel External Bearings
    Crank - Prowheel hollow axle44/32/22 Alloy 152mm
    Pedals - Wellgo Resin
    Front Derailleur - Shimano Alivio
    Rear Derailleur - SRAM X-4Cogs SRAM PG-830 11/328 speed
    Chain - KMC HG50
    Tires - Kenda Smallblock 8 24 x 1.75
    Saddle - Opus Youth Specific
    Seatpost - Kalloy SP-600 Al. 30,9



    OPUS Thunder - 20 inch ~600 CAD$



    Frame - Opus Al-6061Aluminum
    Wheels - Formula Disc Al. Alex DP-17 Disc, Double wall
    Colour - Jet Blue
    Weight - 22,00 lbs / 9,97 kg
    Fork - Spinner Grind 50mm Alloy steerer and stanchions - 1-1/8
    Headset - VP-Semi Integrated - 1-1/8
    Handlebar - Kalloy 6061 PG, 25.4
    Stem - Kalloy 6061 - 60mm - 10 deg
    Grips - Opus Kraton
    Shifters - SRAM 1:1 3.0 Twist 7sp1:1 Act
    Brakes - Tektro HDC-300 Short Reach 160mm rotors
    Bottom Bracket - 3 pcs Steel Crank Prowheel Alloy 127mm 32-22
    Pedals - Wellgo Resin
    Front Derailleur - Shimano Alivio
    Rear Derailleur - SRAM X-3Cogs SRAM PG-730 12/327 Speed
    Chain - KMC HG50
    Tires - Kenda Smallblock 820 x 1.75
    Saddle - OpusYouth specific
    Seatpost - Kalloy SP-242AL 27.2




    So now I am wondering if it even makes sense for me to spend the $$ to mod the Hotrock 20. I don't have much used parts so I will have to put in about $400 in used and new parts to do the 9spd swap. If I could sell it for $200, I could get the OPUS Thunder 20 for the same investment...
    Last edited by 08FXT; 01-27-2013 at 07:38 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by 08FXT View Post
    Like many others on this forum, I have been looking for a good quality, light, and reasonably priced bike for my son.

    I ask to learn more and he tells me about the Opus Fever, a very nice set-up (26lbs for a 24 inch) selling for ~$700 to add to your shopping list of 24in bikes:
    The Opus is a really nice looking bike, glad to have another option. 26.4 pounds honestly is nothing to write home about though. My sons Scott Scale Jr. (non-RC) was a few ounces heavier and $200 less but it did come with V-brakes and not discs like the Fever. The biggest impact will be the wheels. At $1000 retail, the RC version of the Scott Scale has 20/24 spoke wheels and XT level cassette which I bet reduces the weight in a pretty huge way.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for sharing, Bill

  4. #4
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    Thanks for adding to the 24" bike options. Wow, very smart looking bike!! *sigh*...my budget needs to expand more...

    My first impression is that my son does not need hydro disc brakes. Although very bling, I just don't see him needing that kind of stopping power at his weight (68#). Depending on the fork performance, I see the Scott Scale JR24 fitting the bill at $500 (which is not chump chang for my household). But to me, it would be important to get a bike that would suit my son well for him to have mtb-ing "stick" as a fun activity.

    Now I've got 3 bikes I've got to take a look at:

    Scott Scale JR 24
    Cannondale Race 24

    and now the Opus Fever...

    well, at least there are options...
    Just get out and ride!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002 View Post
    Thanks for adding to the 24" bike options. Wow, very smart looking bike!! *sigh*...my budget needs to expand more...

    My first impression is that my son does not need hydro disc brakes. Although very bling, I just don't see him needing that kind of stopping power at his weight (68#). Depending on the fork performance, I see the Scott Scale JR24 fitting the bill at $500 (which is not chump chang for my household). But to me, it would be important to get a bike that would suit my son well for him to have mtb-ing "stick" as a fun activity.

    Now I've got 3 bikes I've got to take a look at:

    Scott Scale JR 24
    Cannondale Race 24

    and now the Opus Fever...

    well, at least there are options...
    I'm in the same boat for budget... I wish the wife would be a mtbr as well and place our kids bikes on the same priority level as say food or clothing...

    I tend to agree that disc brakes are overkill for a 8 year old, and unnecessary weight depending on how and where you ride. My son took a pretty bad fall over a sharp turn in the woods last fall that I think he may have avoided (or at least fell off before going over the ditch and into the woods) had he had better brakes, and since then I see more value in them...

    Good luck with your search!

  6. #6
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    The thing is for that $700, you can buy the cheaper Specialized or Marin bikes and spend the difference in making them better.

    I see value in Disc for kids because it makes it easier for them to start learning one finger braking. It's helped my son's confidence and really his younger sister- She rides a Shred 2.0.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  7. #7
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    Lots of good advise here. Thanks for the info.
    Pedal Dammit!

  8. #8
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    Yes - this thread is helping me. I've got to move up to a 24" soon, and needed some advice. Thanks!

  9. #9
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    I just ordered the 20" Marin for my soon to be 6 yr old daughter. Moved my 9 yr old to a 26" Kona over Christmas. It definitely helps the budget when your wife participates.

    5 yr old made it 6 miles on a relatively flat fireroad last weekend. The 9 yr old is up to 9 miles on simple single track and fairly difficult (climbing) mountainous fire roads. They really enjoy it.

    Last note... Disc breaks are a big confidence builder if you live in an area with steep terrain.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    I see value in Disc for kids because it makes it easier for them to start learning one finger braking. It's helped my son's confidence and really his younger sister- She rides a Shred 2.0.
    What are you comparing the performance of disc brakes to? A cheap brake that was on a 20" bike? Could your kids not do well with a good quality V-brake?

    I find a good quality V-brake just fine for riding in dry conditions. Only on long decends do they fall really short. And of course they suck in wet conditions.

    Now, instead of stopping 170# rider, the brakes have to stop a 70# rider? How much braking force is really needed? And is it braking force, or just bad brake design? Does lever design impact the application even more than the actual caliper design?

    I find that a well set up BB7 brake levers to have too much "spring" to preload the pads onto the rotor to get in the ready position compared to my XT hydros. They both have awesome stopping power, but the feel is definitely different.

    I one-finger my brake levers on typical single track. But then again, I have longer fingers than my son... How close does the lever have to be to the bar to allow a 9y/o one-finger actuation?
    Just get out and ride!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002 View Post
    What are you comparing the performance of disc brakes to? A cheap brake that was on a 20" bike? Could your kids not do well with a good quality V-brake?

    I find a good quality V-brake just fine for riding in dry conditions. Only on long decends do they fall really short. And of course they suck in wet conditions.

    Now, instead of stopping 170# rider, the brakes have to stop a 70# rider? How much braking force is really needed? And is it braking force, or just bad brake design? Does lever design impact the application even more than the actual caliper design?

    I find that a well set up BB7 brake levers to have too much "spring" to preload the pads onto the rotor to get in the ready position compared to my XT hydros. They both have awesome stopping power, but the feel is definitely different.

    I one-finger my brake levers on typical single track. But then again, I have longer fingers than my son... How close does the lever have to be to the bar to allow a 9y/o one-finger actuation?
    You're reading way too much into my comment. Simply put you're looking a $550 kids bike with crappy v-brakes. It isn't coming with nice Shimano or Avids. I was pointing out for less, you can get a kids bike that already comes with disc brakes and yes those are going to perform better than the stock brakes on the CDale.

    If your going to go all out into upgrading, you mentioned good v-brakes, then why not get a much cheaper bike like one of the Specialized and use the money you save to make it that much better for around the same cost.

    And yes I still believe that my son is learning better modulation with his disc then he would have with good v-brakes. You don't have to agree, it's an opinion, that's all.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002 View Post
    What are you comparing the performance of disc brakes to? A cheap brake that was on a 20" bike? Could your kids not do well with a good quality V-brake?

    "Good quality" and "V-Brake" should never be used in the same sentence on a bike under $600! It's all heavy stuff that costs $10 per wheel no matter how you want to polish it to make it look good I bet.

    Even crappy heavy disc brakes are way better than V brakes. Way better lever feel, modulation and confidence inspiring. Especially for newer and young riders. Let them learn one/two finger braking from the very beginning!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by TwoTone View Post
    You're reading way too much into my comment. Simply put you're looking a $550 kids bike with crappy v-brakes. It isn't coming with nice Shimano or Avids. I was pointing out for less, you can get a kids bike that already comes with disc brakes and yes those are going to perform better than the stock brakes on the CDale.

    If your going to go all out into upgrading, you mentioned good v-brakes, then why not get a much cheaper bike like one of the Specialized and use the money you save to make it that much better for around the same cost.

    And yes I still believe that my son is learning better modulation with his disc then he would have with good v-brakes. You don't have to agree, it's an opinion, that's all.
    Sorry if I sounded like I'm on my soap box with a pointed finger. I'm an engineer and I overanalyze everything by nature. Just trying to gather data points in making decisions.

    I don't dispute the advantage of disc brakes power and modulation. I just wonder how small fingers grasp 3 on the bar and 1 on the lever. I have to move my XT levers closer to the bar to get comfortable lever position for my riding and that's with adult fingers. but if it's possibly, I learned something.

    I think many of us try to put together a mini version of the bike we ride. I know that is what I'm trying to do. However, I ride the equivalent to a $2.2k hardtail when all is said and done. Not going to be plopping that into a kids bike.

    Ok, so we are somewhat handy with a wrench. How much upgrade is it worth and what can be salvaged. I built my bike with spending money on frame, brakes, drivetrain first because I can get very good parts for not a load of money. The fork and wheelsets were more expensive so I had to hold off getting the good stuff until later. In the end, I'm on my 2nd wheels and 3rd fork. But my brakes, drivetrain and frame are still the same as I started.

    Now on a 24", I can put nicer disc brakes on and then carry them over to a new bike. I suppose the same could be said about a nice set of hubs. Not being a master wheelbuilder, I'm at a disadvantage to just lace up a set of 24" wheels on the cheap. So I can't carry over wheels. I can't carry over fork. And I can't carry over cranksets. So what to get for my son that is capable and I can do some minor mods along the way that isn't just tossed out when he grows a few inches.

    As for the V-brake comment, I guess I'm comparing to the brakes that came on my son's Redline Proline mini. They were pretty powerful and fit his hands well. The whole bike weighed 16#. Again, maybe as we venture on wet and steeper inclines, he'll need to really learn to modulate that front brake. I did that for years on canti's before even V-brakes....or rather I learned to ride without brakes. Ha ha ha... But I doubt we'll be doing such hard core riding for a while. And so I'm hopeful to buy some time to see if he takes to the sport before I start sinking too much time and effort into it.

    Plus I gotta reserve some scratch for safety gear...

    In any case, please don't mistake my questioning as devaluing opinions. I'm just asking questions and collecting data.
    Just get out and ride!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by traffic002 View Post
    Sorry if I sounded like I'm on my soap box with a pointed finger. I'm an engineer and I overanalyze everything by nature. Just trying to gather data points in making decisions.

    I don't dispute the advantage of disc brakes power and modulation. I just wonder how small fingers grasp 3 on the bar and 1 on the lever. I have to move my XT levers closer to the bar to get comfortable lever position for my riding and that's with adult fingers. but if it's possibly, I learned something.

    I think many of us try to put together a mini version of the bike we ride. I know that is what I'm trying to do. However, I ride the equivalent to a $2.2k hardtail when all is said and done. Not going to be plopping that into a kids bike.

    Ok, so we are somewhat handy with a wrench. How much upgrade is it worth and what can be salvaged. I built my bike with spending money on frame, brakes, drivetrain first because I can get very good parts for not a load of money. The fork and wheelsets were more expensive so I had to hold off getting the good stuff until later. In the end, I'm on my 2nd wheels and 3rd fork. But my brakes, drivetrain and frame are still the same as I started.

    Now on a 24", I can put nicer disc brakes on and then carry them over to a new bike. I suppose the same could be said about a nice set of hubs. Not being a master wheelbuilder, I'm at a disadvantage to just lace up a set of 24" wheels on the cheap. So I can't carry over wheels. I can't carry over fork. And I can't carry over cranksets. So what to get for my son that is capable and I can do some minor mods along the way that isn't just tossed out when he grows a few inches.

    As for the V-brake comment, I guess I'm comparing to the brakes that came on my son's Redline Proline mini. They were pretty powerful and fit his hands well. The whole bike weighed 16#. Again, maybe as we venture on wet and steeper inclines, he'll need to really learn to modulate that front brake. I did that for years on canti's before even V-brakes....or rather I learned to ride without brakes. Ha ha ha... But I doubt we'll be doing such hard core riding for a while. And so I'm hopeful to buy some time to see if he takes to the sport before I start sinking too much time and effort into it.

    Plus I gotta reserve some scratch for safety gear...

    In any case, please don't mistake my questioning as devaluing opinions. I'm just asking questions and collecting data.
    One reason I went with mechanical discs- BB7 was it allowed me to get the levers closer to the bars and then I could still adjust where the pads starts to contact etc...
    I like for the main reason, I've set the front so it won't lock up right now while he is still learning to use more front than rear.

    Upgraditis is something we all suffer from. Here is the link to the bike I built my son if you're interested.
    Update: Marin Bayview Trail Disc build

    I originally started the project hoping he'd grow enough to fit a 26 XS frame with 24 inch wheels like many others have done on here. So I took my time and shopped ebay for really good deals.
    For example I found Buy It Now from the same seller, $60 for full BB7 set up and $60 for full XT drivetrain.
    I got the Carbon bar - new race face for around $32.
    The fork and wheels are where I spent the most money and lost the most weight. As I said in other posts, if my son didn't dislike the Specialized colors so much, I would have gotten the cheaper 21 speed v-brake bike that has the disk tabs on the rear of the frame and save some money. In the end, still really happy with the Marin.

    The Shred 2.0 for my daughter I just lucked out and found it on CL for $250 in almost new condition.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  15. #15
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    My son has a 2013 Giant XTC jr 24 inch. It is a great bike especially at the price point $375. I put some old Magura HS-33 on the bike since it does not have disc mounts.

  16. #16
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    I saw the Giant too. I thought that was a really good value bike for the money. I also felt the fork was actually tuned not too terribly. And I think it was somewhere in the neighborhood of 26# without pedals.

    I noticed it has a freewheel hub and pinned cranks. This seemed to be the major difference between the Giant and the Scott Scale Jr 24. I guess the only advantage of the Cannondale over the Giant is the fork... (but it does have disc brake tabs)

    No disc brake mount? Hm, I guess I must have overlooked that. Wow, hydro rim brakes? I've never heard of it...
    Just get out and ride!

  17. #17
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    If I could have I would have bought the Kona Kula, that is a badass kids bike. But the wife wasn't going for it. So it was down to a Trek MT220 or the Giant. Got the Giant since my sons other bike was a Giant also and it was the best value for what the wife wanted to pay.

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