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  1. #1
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    Kid's Mountain Bike Upgrades

    Just bought my 7 yr old the Zed 20 (w/7 speeds). He's too small for a bigger bike with more gearing but our riding suggests he needs more. Can I upgrade the crankset and add a front derailur and shifter to this bike? If so, which crankset and components would be recommended? Thanks

    Anthony

  2. #2
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    Sorry, I can't answer your question, but I have a few questions for you. How much was the Zed 20 and did you buy it local or through the net? How much does it weigh? If the purchase was through the net, where? TIA

  3. #3
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    Bought it in-store at REI for $200 - http://www.rei.com/product/730709
    Don't know weight. Compared it to DB Octane 20, Specialized Hotrock 20 6spd, Schwinn Mini Mesa, Giant mtx125.

  4. #4
    dh1
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    anything is possible with enough money and time, but upgrading the cranks, buying a front deraileur, shifter, new chain, etc. on that bike seems like an expensive endeavor (unless you can find parts used and install them yourself).

    Personally, I think you would be better off selling the one you have and buying one that already has what you need. You could easily be out well over $100-150 to buy a shifter, deraileur, chain, chainrings, cranks, bottom bracket (if needed).

    **edited to add: I think you are sensing he needs more gearing because his bike is slow? It will always be fairly slow with 20" wheels. The gears he has should be adequate for any riding a 7 year old will do. If you wait until he is a bit taller, most of the 24 inch wheeled bikes have more gears and obviously larger wheels. My 9 year old is now on a small adult sized bike and he rides it comfortably. His first MTB was a 24" wheeled Marin Bayview trail. It was a great kids MTB, light, 24spd, adequate front shock for a kid, etc. The 24" bikes standover height really isn't much more than that of the 20" wheeled bikes. I just set it next to my daughters 20" wheeled Trek and the saddle height is only about 2 inches taller.

  5. #5
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    That does sound expensive. Can you change the cassette to a 9 by chance then maybe you only need a rear derailer and shifter. Just a thought...

  6. #6
    dh1
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    Quote Originally Posted by aadadams
    That does sound expensive. Can you change the cassette to a 9 by chance then maybe you only need a rear derailer and shifter. Just a thought...

    Unlikely that the spacing on the rear wheel would accomodate a 9 speed. That also would include a new rear shifter, new narrow chain, and new rear deraileur (if the spacing would accomodate. On top of that, the 9 speed vs 5 or 7 speed has similar sized large and small cogs. The extra gears fill in gaps between.

    The question is what makes you feel your son needs more gears? Geared too high to pedal uphills, or geared to low to get any decent speed?

  7. #7
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    When one grasps straws...., yeah it seems that a new bike may be the prime solution especially since one can be had for 200-300 bucks.

  8. #8
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    Thanks for the replies... based on the rides we've done, the issue I think is lack of low gearing for hills... Not many options for bike with 20" wheels and 21 speeds... I've found only one, Ibex Alpine 320. Adding another 100-150 to the K2 Zed 20 gets me to about even with the Ibex (which I'm not sure you can even get right now).

  9. #9
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    My recommendation is not to bother with the upgrades unless you have money to burn. He will out grow that bike in like 1-2 years so just wait it out. My 7 year old son is already on a 24" wheeled bike. Specialized makes a 24" wheel hot rock with a super small 11.5" frame. It's got 21 speeds with a real triple crank and front dérailleur. Cost was around 350.00. Expensive for a kids bike but it's big enough that it will last a few years and it's like a real mtn bike with full set of gears, decent wheels and real front shock and good brakes.

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