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  1. #1
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    High School kids on 8k + super bikes

    I can't believe how many of the kids racing in this area are riding ENVE wheels and carbon frames. It's not like football where the kid with the most expensive cleats doesn't have any real advantage.

  2. #2
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    I remember my first race at 14 yrs old. I had a rebuilt Univega steel frame rigid with parts I scrounged up and the others in the junior cat had Proflexes and other comparable mid-late 90s high-zoot.

    I knew how to use mine and rocked them other than a derailleur issue almost at the end. Still got 4th place in the end, regaining from 8th after I fixed it. 1st most of the run. Rider skill and fitness can compensate for a lot of excess spending. Yes, it helps to have more equipment but a coaching program makes as much or more difference.
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  3. #3
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    Who cares what the kids are riding. If their parents want to or can spring for a nice bike, then more power to them.
    I'm a mountain bike guide in South West Utah

  4. #4
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    You ain't seen nothin'. Go to a ski race some time (I've been to about 1,500). 8 year olds with full sets of racers and trainers per discipline, parents tuning skis in the starts, kids with more gear and assistants in the start area than a World Cup (I've been in about 150 of those starts, too), kids in $500 speedsuits that are baggier than David Byrne's Big Suit. I've even seen $600 goggles with HUDs. Makes cycling look really inexpensive and easy.

  5. #5
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    I recall taking my son to the NorCal Championship Camp as a freshman after finishing top 5 overall. He had a nice off-the-rack Stumpy with disks. Some of the bikes there were gorgeous and expensive and you could see the look on his face.

    Mid-week I get a call from the director. He wanted me to take a photo of the group. Oh,and by the way, your son had an overall victory in the road section.

    When we picked him up the next weekend he was hanging out with all the guys like he'd been there all his life.

    Respect and respect earned; the bike didn't matter.

    That said, as the seasons passed, we found an older lightweight Stumpy frame, got some custom wheels, carbon hydraulic brakes, XT bits. Then there was the Yeti Arc frame with tons of XTR and carbon bits. As second year Varsity racer he was set but we built it a little at a time.

    But, good is good, and that generally tells the tale, not the bike.
    I don't rattle.

  6. #6
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    The bike does make a difference though? Sure put Nino Schurter on a rigid 90s bike and he would still smash most people. But if your putting in 5 or 6 days hard training a week you want everything to help you gain an edge. Hence so much doping in cycling.
    If they are fortunate enough to have parents that are willing to spend big money on a bike for them good for them. If you were offered a top of the range bike when you were 16 would you not accept it?

  7. #7
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    I knew a guy who bought a truck and trailer to haul the 1/4 midget (?) race car his 4 year old son was racing, - the kid will probably be a Nascar pro at 18. What about equestrians?, bike racing with good equipment is dirt cheap compared to keeping a horse. I too get jealous having had to mow lawns for all my skis and bikes as a kid, but plenty of parents spend loads of $$ on their kids sports. Fairly recently a guy I know was telling me he was looking for a road bike for his (non-racer) kid with "ultegra or better", -105 apparently being not good enough for their weekend rides and tours. And don't get me started on ski boats, loads of people around here have $80k+ ski/wakeboard boats, just to pull jr around the bay a couple times on the warm weekends.

    Just let some of those kids with the nice bikes know you're looking to buy when they are ready to unload their 'uncompetitive older' bikes. I'm glad people buy the good stuff new, then it becomes affordable and available to people like me later on.

  8. #8
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    I don't think you guys understand this HS racing very well. This is big fish in small pond, not World Cup. There is so much over-hype about the competition and mistaken notions by adults about kids racing that is just wrong.
    I don't rattle.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    I can't believe how many of the kids racing in this area are riding ENVE wheels and carbon frames. It's not like football where the kid with the most expensive cleats doesn't have any real advantage.
    Food for thought: by the time I was a senior in H.S. I was riding a hardtail steel bike that was almost 7k. This was 1996/7. There is no way my parents could have afforded to buy that bike. Money from my jobs, swag from race and series wins, and sponsorships put that bike together. It can be done, even on a working high schoolers budget.
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  10. #10
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    High School kids on 8k + super bikes-2013-07-24-19-45-24.jpg

    I'm a Junior in High School, and this is my race bike. I would have to agree with OP in that that just about everyone in my category has a pretty sick race bike. However, this is justifiable, as many of the riders in the Varsity category of the High School series in Colorado are competitive on a national level. Hell, the kid (or I guess I should say man, as he showed up to the first race with a beard) who won Varsity last year finished in the top 3rd of the PRO category at Sea Otter . In my case anyways, I paid for my bike with money I earned from a summer job, and the generosity of the Intense Cycles Sponsorship program .

  11. #11
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    Varsity is a special level of competition. If one rides at that level quality bikes are created, found, subsidized, pulled together. Blake-O tells the story like it is.

    If I were Blake-Os coach I would be pulling strings at every shop and industry contact I could find. I would go to the League and see what they could do. I would make it happen.

    As a coach I did the very best I could to make sure every bike worked its best adn ws upgraded whenever possible.

    By the time we get to this point parents are on board and do whatever they can.
    I don't rattle.

  12. #12
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    Ridiculous? Probably. But compared to other sports, like Hockey, I bet it's cheaper

  13. #13
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    I think it is good parents are supporting their kids interest, and even better when the kid takes an active roll in supporting their passion. If that kid has a chance to turn a hobby into a profession, then why not. What kid dreams of a dead end office job.

    Hell I grew up on a south Texas farm doing all kinds of dumb **** in the bush, so when time came I joined the Army, and then went for Special Forces. Parents supported my choices and still do.

    You kids keep riding, do your best and enjoy life. If you can get into something you love the piss on what anyone else thinks, you ever want to take the out doors to a whole new extreme then join the Army and go to Special Forces selection, you will have the time of your life.
    De oppresso liber

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ac/bc View Post
    ridiculous? Probably. But compared to sitting around doing drugs, eating cheetos, and playing video games, i bet it's cheaper in the long run. :d
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  15. #15
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    This may be as far as these kids go with racing. That is a very important thing to keep in mind about this whole dang thing. It is an end in itself. Anything after that is gravey.
    I don't rattle.

  16. #16
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    IMHO, the racing itself is an incredibly small percentage of the benefit.

    I know there are High School racers reading this thread, so I don't want to ruin the benefits by spilling the beans.












    hint: Blake-O got a summer job because he wanted (probably didn't NEED) a better bike. If he was playing video games, he wouldn't have made the friends he met at the summer job.

  17. #17
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    What are really produced, though USA Cycling doesn't want to hear this when they show up to harvest the top racers after NICA/NorCal does all the work, are great life-long riders. Take a 30 year old who wants to ride and a 30 year old former high school racer and tell me who can really bring it; on time, bike prepared, fed, watered, and a positive attitude.
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  18. #18
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    As a high school racer in social, I have to agree with the general consensus is in this thread. Most of the guys/girls on the expensive bikes have earned them. Heck, our Varsity leader raced in Belgium this summer. I did feel like I was at a bit of a disadvantage with my 1999 Superlight 26er, but that just made me ride harder. Plus, it'll only make me enjoy the carbon race machine even more, once I get it.

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    It is tough when your cracking top 10 at Varsity level and might improve with better equipment and quality coaching but it is at that point where you need to decide what your true goals are. For my son and I the choice was easy, education was the focus and racing was for fun and not a career. Plus I couldn't afford to spend anymore then I already had towards racing with college starting up. For us NICA, and racing in general, created a bond and a hobbie we will continue as long as I can still pedal.

  20. #20
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    This is going to be my son's first year. HE started putting in a lot of miles so we got him an $850 steel framed bike. It's sweet compared to what he was running. Now he is taking it as a personal challenge to not be last in any of his races. "Man of Steel" He is loving the rugged individualism of racing the steel. We are soooo ready for the season to start. We are doing it on the cheap and it's still a small fortune (and so worth it)

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    My son started on a used (my old bike) Stumpjumper. The bike was 4 yrs old at the start of his first season. There were a quite a few 26ers in the Frosh races but his was by far the oldest bike in the field. The fast kids were on 29ers and most of those were carbon. He loved the bike and like your son it became a challenge to do as well as he could and I think in the end it had a lot to do with his development into a better rider. He went to the NICA camp and was the only boy on a 26er. He never won a race but did very well.
    I think your approaching it the right way, good luck with your season!!

  22. #22
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    Thanks. We are out at the 24 hours of Halloween at the Dirt Club this weekend. I've been suprised by the number of 26ers the grown-ups are riding. My son saw his first lefty today and got all excited. He's definitely caught the bug. I'm toying with the idea of getting him a super man jersey. Man of Steel.
    We're doing a 25 mile ride next Sat. Can't wait to hear his time. Then again, it's even money at our house that he gets lost somewhere on the route. He may end up doing a metric century. :-)

  23. #23
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    My son raced the last two seasons on a bike I built when he was two years old. He busted his @$$ this past season and placed 6th overall in his division (Soph. D2) this year. His 16th birthday was today and he got a brand spankin' new Specialized Stumpjumper Expert Carbon HT World Cup.

  24. #24
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    That is so awesome. I was just having a similar conversation (while we were working on our bikes in the garage at the same time ) with my 9th grade man-child who turns 15 today. He has what he has and it's great for what it is. If he puts in the effort and does well enough where we think spending some money might make a difference, we might go new wheels. In a couple years we could consider going big ticket. Sounds like your son really earned it. Truly awesome. Congrats to you and to him. Oh, and happy birthday to the boy. It's one he'll remember for a long time.

  25. #25
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    $8k bikes??? The spoiled brat thing is a little extreme. We don't have much HS level racing here in Alabama but I've met plenty of kids that ride and some are on pretty nice rides, but none I'd call dream machines. I imagine a lot of the kids you see out there started out racing MotoX or CC racing or even BMX racing. If these kids have that competitive spirit and are really getting after it, then I say more power to them and their parents for supporting them.

    That being said..there's TONS of used frames and parts out there still in really good shape. Swap meets, Online trading forums, facebook pages, ebay....lots of great places to catch good deals.
    Joe

  26. #26
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    My bike, Not a single piece of carbon to be found. I'm 14 and racing in 15-18(varsity) and get podium usually. A couple of my friends ride the superfly elite sl or the superfly 9.8 or other high end carbon bikes.High School kids on 8k + super bikes-image.jpg

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by idea man View Post
    That is so awesome. I was just having a similar conversation (while we were working on our bikes in the garage at the same time ) with my 9th grade man-child who turns 15 today. He has what he has and it's great for what it is. If he puts in the effort and does well enough where we think spending some money might make a difference, we might go new wheels. In a couple years we could consider going big ticket. Sounds like your son really earned it. Truly awesome. Congrats to you and to him. Oh, and happy birthday to the boy. It's one he'll remember for a long time.
    The gradual development of the ride teaches them much about bikes. There is so much more to this experience than the podium and bling.
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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Berkeley Mike View Post
    The gradual development of the ride teaches them much about bikes. There is so much more to this experience than the podium and bling.
    That is nice. Its better than some people i race with/ against who has his dad buy and put new things on his bikes without him knowing. At one of our races he was like, hey look i have xx1 now, thats cool. He didn't know until the race.
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  29. #29
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    Everyone goes through this process differently and its all good.
    I don't rattle.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by JustinKreger View Post
    My bike, Not a single piece of carbon to be found. I'm 14 and racing in 15-18(varsity) and get podium usually. A couple of my friends ride the superfly elite sl or the superfly 9.8 or other high end carbon bikes.Click image for larger version. 

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    That would get on the podium for beautiful cable routing.

  31. #31
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    whats wrong with riding a nice bike? every trail has different demands and a bike that can do it all "simply" is a great way to go. perhaps the opportunity of building, taking care of, and maintaining the bike is also an important skill, especially in an age where of many in our society don't know how a screwdriver works.

    personally I have found that keeping nice gear around promotes more saddle time with my kids. no shortage of titanium or carbon fiber around here, and no reason to be embarrassed about that. I have never put big $$$ into fancy cars, so I guess its all about priorities.

  32. #32
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    Simple thing is to ride what others around you are riding, if you want to hang with them and better gauge your ability against theirs. If you're racing, all that lightweight high end stuff can really make a difference, especially on race courses that are won on the climbs. On the other hand, better fitness training can really make a difference too. Perhaps some solid extra training effort done over the summer, while others were working summer jobs to afford a bling machine, might be worth more in the long run.

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    It's really not uncommon around Colorado for all the kids on junior development teams to show up with cars/vans/RVs full of S-Works bikes. Some of them are humble, and some live up to the spoiled brat attitude. My first USAC sanctioned MTB race I was sitting there going "WTF, a 10 year old is showing up with a $10k bike?!" and feeling like my $6k Epic was a "cheap" bike, haha. I rode a big box mart special when I was 10 so it was kind of shocking. Welcome to the world of junior racing...

    I help "coach" my local HS team from time to time and those kids crush it (and me) on whatever they're riding. Skills and strong fitness can be found across price levels of bikes. It just makes me happy to see them out having fun instead of sitting on the couch, and I honestly wish I was into cycling when I was in HS and had the opportunity to race.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by sooshee View Post
    I help "coach" my local HS team from time to time and those kids crush it (and me) on whatever they're riding. Skills and strong fitness can be found across price levels of bikes. It just makes me happy to see them out having fun instead of sitting on the couch, and I honestly wish I was into cycling when I was in HS and had the opportunity to race.
    Amen!

  35. #35
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    Little late here but just want to throw in my 2-cents.

    I raced the high school league races in Colorado for the past three years and have seen other racers on bikes ranging from $100 Walmart bikes to 10K bikes. In my opinion there is nothing wrong with either end of the spectrum, I rode a older Intense. But I do start to have issues when the kids on to 8-10K bikes are making fun of people who have less expensive bikes. On the flip side though it is one of the best feelings in the world to race the kids on the 8-10k bikes and utterly crush them, because this proves that the bike doesn't make the rider. So yeah, if they or their parents have the funds to buy them an expensive piece of carbon or aluminum then good for them, but don't talk big just because you have a pricey bike...

  36. #36
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    WTF! When I was in high school I remember shelling out like $30 for my race Speedos! But the college education was a cool reward for all those splats. I was a diver. Heyoooo

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by OScmidt View Post
    Little late here but just want to throw in my 2-cents.

    I raced the high school league races in Colorado ... I do start to have issues when the kids on to 8-10K bikes are making fun of people who have less expensive bikes. On the flip side though it is one of the best feelings in the world to race the kids on the 8-10k bikes and utterly crush them, because this proves that the bike doesn't make the rider.
    I can't tell you how sad it makes me to hear that kids are making fun of other kids' bikes at a league-sanctioned event or a league-sanctioned practice. For such behavior to be modeled, let alone tolerated, represents the pinnacle of bad parenting and bad coaching. It's appalling, and I'm sad you had to witness it.
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  38. #38
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    I attended all the Colorado League races this past fall and it's such a wholesome, supportive environment to be almost nauseating! If there's "making fun" of other's bikes, it certainly isn't pervasive -- I never witnessed it. There are "lesser" bikes to be found, but the big liability for riders comes in terms of function and mechanical reliability. When I felt sorry for a given rider was when their gears were popping, chains were dropped, or brakes were rubbing -- most of these things are avoidable and (usually) independent of the cost of the bike. My son has done well for the past two seasons on what is now a 6 year-old bike, but it's in great repair and we keep it dialed-in. I just don't see "bike lust" as a problem at the Colorado NICA races. Most kids are not wanting for a quality ride nor are they thinking they're limited by not having a top tier bike. And that's particularly true if their parents or coaches aren't telling them otherwise...
    "The plural of anecdote is not data." -- Attributed to various people in a variety of forms, but always worth remembering...

  39. #39
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    I agree that the CO League is one of the most supportive environments in Colorado bike racing. But at the same time the making fun of others bike isn't going to be the first thing to be seen, the issue is there though and it isn't always making fun of the bike in its entirety. more often than not it is one rider saying how one component/grouppo isn't as good as the one they have, though it often did come down to being about the entire bike. Last year (2013 season) for example there was the League issue of Tribalism, this wasn't one of the first things you would notice but it was there. I'm not saying that there are not racers who go out of their way to be supportive and helpful but there are those that are just not acting sportsmen like. Also in regards to the mechanical issue's, those are definitely the biggest killer when comes to the actual bike issues. This is mostly just me going off what I've seen and been around as a league racer. I'll also say that the League has the lowest amount of bike dissing of any of the junior disciplines in Colorado.

  40. #40
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    Kids on $8k bikes is fine, as long as they are being coached and have a real training program. Money spent on equipment is a waste if the same resources aren't being dedicated to the engine. If a high school racer wants to put in the effort and the dedication to be successful, by all means try to give them every advantage they can get.

    It's worth noting that these kids may be riding $8k worth of gear at retail cost, but if they're actually paying that somebody is doing it very wrong. The industry bends over backwards to get these kids gear as long as someone asks for it. It's a good investment from the industry perspective. You give them good gear and get them hooked on racing, develop a few superstars that you can sponsor as adults, and the rest become life long riders (aka customers). The kids get gear at decent prices and an interest in a lifetime sport that will benefit them greatly in the long run.
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    Sorry that you had to see that. I would have gotten all other my child(daughter) had I heard her do that to anyone. She is a Sophomore this year and was her 1st year racing. I was proud of her getting out there and she did decent but my proudest moments for me was on two different occasions she stopped in the race because she noticed other racers were having an issue and she gave one rider some of her water because they ran out and needed some and the other was she gave some of her shot bloks . Both racers were able to finish and told her thank you.
    She raced on a older 26" rockhopper that i tried to lighten up as much as I could.
    I wanted to see if she would like it(racing mt bikes) before looking to invest in a bike.
    Well she loved it, so much so she is forgoing softball which she has played the last 3 years and stick to mt biking.
    I was/am trying to build up a new 29er for her for Xmas but I'm on a tight budget . I won't get it done by Xmas but I am gradually looking for deals and hopefully get it built up before the start of the 2015 MBAA season

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