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  1. #1
    Super Clyde
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    What would you do?

    I 'm buying my son his first mountain bike and I'm not sure what to do. He's 11 years old and about 4'8", he's pretty short for his age. I had him stand over a 13" Trek 3500 and his crotch was sitting on the top tube pretty hard. He doesn't have any trouble reaching the pedals seated, and the reach seems okay, I'm just worried he might injure some important while he's riding if he slips off the pedals or something like that. Now my quandary is whether or not to buy him the 26" or go with a 24". How tall is too tall for a 24"?

  2. #2
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    I'm all for proper fitting bikes. But the right size depends on your son's height, skill level and type of riding. Your son is at the point where he could go either way depending on your criteria. A point to buying a 26" is that it's easier to find higher end, better quality components. If higher end components don't matter to you, go with what feels most comfortable and inspires confidence.

  3. #3
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    I think either way he will probably outgrow either bike rather quick at his age. So if it was me I would go with the bike that fits him best which isn't the trek 26".

    "Another option would be to buy him a used 24" and probably by next year he would be ready for a 26"

  4. #4
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    Look at other 26" frames that provide more standover clearance for same reach. At age 11, I would be hesitant to reccomend a 24" frame, he will likely be to big for it in no time.

  5. #5
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    My vote is for the 26" I just fitted a 9yo on a 26"
    I had to put a 30mm stem and a smaller seat. Also did all the brake adjustments to get them closer for him to grab the levers. The usual kid adjustments.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan300 View Post
    My vote is for the 26" I just fitted a 9yo on a 26"
    I had to put a 30mm stem and a smaller seat. Also did all the brake adjustments to get them closer for him to grab the levers. The usual kid adjustments.
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you wont take the standards for top tube clearance lightly

  7. #7
    Super Clyde
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJamis View Post
    I think either way he will probably outgrow either bike rather quick at his age. So if it was me I would go with the bike that fits him best which isn't the trek 26".

    "Another option would be to buy him a used 24" and probably by next year he would be ready for a 26"
    I think that's the way I'm leaning. I've been checking Craigslist and unfortunately there isn't much 24" selection beyond Walmart type bikes. I'm going to take him to my LBS on Saturday and have him ride a 24" before I make my final decision.

  8. #8
    Havok
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    That escalated quickly

  9. #9
    one chain, two sprockets
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    I'll step in and rattle the cage little. I'm 6'4" and ride 24's. I have a custom SS that will accept 26 & 24 wheels, but prefer the 24's all around. I ride XC, AM, skate park, pump track, jump line - all on the same bike. But that's just me...

    So, when my sons both graduated from the mini-BMX 20x1-3/8's world, I got each of them a 24" Kona. Not only does this fit them better, it is a confidence boost as they feel much more in control of the bike (i.e. wheels). At the moment, three years in, all I can see altering is about +15mm on stem length (or wider bars) for my older son along with a laid back seat post.

    I know all the arguments on wheels size, but thought I'd throw out there what works for us...

    Tom P.
    2x Mini-BMX'ers available....

  10. #10
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    I would definitely go with a 26" bike. If you can find an XS frame with good components then moving up is easy. Believe me, kid sized bikes go quick on the used market.

  11. #11
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    If you buy right you can resell the bike that fits him now for close to what you paid, I usually break even on used bikes my kids outgrow (my friends all need bikes for their kids too, I have sold several to friends). Your son is going to have more fun, and be a better, more confident, and safer rider on a bike that fits him. My son is 4'11" (pretty leggy, a very tall 9.5 yo) and is just right on a 14" Klein Pulse Comp 26. My daughter is on a hotrock 20 with very little standover, I put a downhill-type top tube pad on her bike, she's really happy with it.
    In my area there is a regular flow of 24" Specialized Hotrocks on Craigslist (search craigslist for 'hotrock' and 'hot' for the people who write it as 2 words).
    I'd put your son on a proper fitting 24 for now, and also start shopping for a small or xs 26er, when you find the right one just hang it up in the garage until he's ready for it. Bikes are like shoes, kids grow fast and they're going to go through several sizes.

  12. #12
    Super Clyde
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    What would you do?

    I've been scouring Craigslist the past week or so, and I've found one 24" Hotrock 2 hours away. The rest are Huffys, Pacifics and the like. I'm going to keep my eyes open, and hopefully I'll find something.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by askibum02 View Post
    I 'm buying my son his first mountain bike and I'm not sure what to do. He's 11 years old and about 4'8", he's pretty short for his age. I had him stand over a 13" Trek 3500 and his crotch was sitting on the top tube pretty hard. He doesn't have any trouble reaching the pedals seated, and the reach seems okay, I'm just worried he might injure some important while he's riding if he slips off the pedals or something like that. Now my quandary is whether or not to buy him the 26" or go with a 24". How tall is too tall for a 24"?
    My 11 year old is short for his age, no way I'd put him on a XS26er yet unless he was just riding around on paved trails.

    My son is jumping, learning to manual, bunny hop and riding obstacles that I put together for him. All of that would be much harder and discouraging on a XS26er.

    Sometimes he still pulls out his sisters 20 inch bike because it can be more fun depending on what he is trying to so.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan300 View Post
    My vote is for the 26" I just fitted a 9yo on a 26"
    I had to put a 30mm stem and a smaller seat. Also did all the brake adjustments to get them closer for him to grab the levers. The usual kid adjustments.
    Age is a horrible way to for anyone on this forum to pass along information on kids bikes.
    Line up a class of 9 years olds and you are going to get a huge variation in heights.
    Type of riding plays a role. There a huge difference in making a 26er fit for pavement and making one fit for 'mountain biking'.

    OP already mentioned his child was short for his age. How tall was the 9 year old? I love to know is that 9 year old actually jumping the bike off ramps, bunny hoping? I going to guess no.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  15. #15
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    Some of the positives of riding a smaller bike, as TwoTone alluded to, is that the kid has more room move around as well as the bike being easier for the kid to throw around (and get away from in a crash). A smaller bike makes it easier to develop better overall bike-handling skills in my experience, such as body english and weight shifts, and encourages them to learn to ride out of the saddle. Learning to ride standing is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of developing strong handling skills - my son didn't use his seat for the first 3-4 years of riding, and it shows.

    Most kids seem to gravitate less towards the whole old-guy sit-n-spin style of riding where bigger wheels work best and more towards a playful riding style that's more about having fun than being efficient. Smaller wheels and more flickable bikes = more fun IMO. And the more fun they have, the more they'll want to ride.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Some of the positives of riding a smaller bike, as TwoTone alluded to, is that the kid has more room move around as well as the bike being easier for the kid to throw around (and get away from in a crash). A smaller bike makes it easier to develop better overall bike-handling skills in my experience, such as body english and weight shifts, and encourages them to learn to ride out of the saddle. Learning to ride standing is probably one of the most overlooked aspects of developing strong handling skills - my son didn't use his seat for the first 3-4 years of riding, and it shows.

    Most kids seem to gravitate less towards the whole old-guy sit-n-spin style of riding where bigger wheels work best and more towards a playful riding style that's more about having fun than being efficient. Smaller wheels and more flickable bikes = more fun IMO. And the more fun they have, the more they'll want to ride.
    Well put.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  17. #17
    Havok
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Some of the positives of riding a smaller bike, as TwoTone alluded to, is that the kid has more room move around as well as the bike being easier for the kid to throw around............ Smaller wheels and more flickable bikes = more fun IMO. And the more fun they have, the more they'll want to ride.
    Very well said. I'm rethinking my opinion now. I in favor of getting them on bigger wheels, but now I think I'd rather him have more control over the bike to develop his skills. Reps to you man

  18. #18
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    There are two boys who ride 20" Mt bikes in my area and I cant keep up with them so its not the size of the wheel that counts.
    When you've seen someone rupture their scrotum on a bike you won't take the standards for top tube clearance lightly!

  19. #19
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    Thanks you guys.

    My kid has always rode so much more comfortably on bikes that were a little small for him. He's about 4'-6" and has a couple 24" mt bikes, but his favorite thing to ride is an 18" BMX park bike. He moves around on the thing like a monkey, and you can tell he's just got total control of it. He can ride a small 26" fine, but it's totally different game; he's putting more concentration into 'driving' the bike than 'riding' the bike, if that makes sense.

  20. #20
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    I saw a local dad buy his kid a small 26er and laced 24 rims to to the the hubs until she was big enough then he just changed the front to a 26 now she is riding on full 26ers

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowbeaverking View Post
    I saw a local dad buy his kid a small 26er and laced 24 rims to to the the hubs until she was big enough then he just changed the front to a 26 now she is riding on full 26ers
    I tired that, yes it lowers the bike, but the TTE, and chainstays are still the 26ex size, it doesnt change reach and stack.
    13 Lenz Lunchbox punkass

  22. #22
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    reach can be changed with stem, bars and seat positioning changes and adjustments and the expense is less in the long run. The chain stays are a different story it would tend to make things like manualing harder but not impossible the longer wheel base would prove to be more stable though. The bike you buy needs to reflect the riding style and areas your child wants to ride

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