Well it is my boy’s birthday tomorrow and I got him a new bike.
Now dad rides a mountain bike and the lad said he wanted a mountain bike for his birthday – I tried to tell the wife, it’s not my fault! He has been on a couple of small outings with his little 16” Giant with me and he liked the small sections of single track we rode. Everyone was very encouraging on the trail, stopping there KOM runs and pulling over for the lad. Great to see some heart still in mtb’ers. For those that encourage young ones out there, let me tell you he really liked the comradery and it lifted him during his many tiny pedal strokes. Keep up the positive work guys, you can have your race face but keep the love too.
The dilemma for me was, I was involved. What to get – the first thing that falls out of my mouth is usually carbon these days (with a good dose of garlic and other food left overs). I knew that one wasn’t going to wash, dad has to hold back. Well let’s set the criteria – a needs analysis (with a hint of bias).
The key to a good kid’s bike is weight. The lighter it can be the more enjoyable it is to ride for them. Some of these Kmart like/sytle bikes are way too heavy and not as enjoyable, you won’t see the kid flourish and develop skills – that is why most people go the bmx route I guess, light weight etc. I wanted him to have hydraulic brakes and I wanted a bike he could hang on to and grow into.
And then there is the whole roller over evolution going on out there (29ers, 32ers). The next criterion to set was that we should aim for 26” wheels – an aggressive target for a 7 year old. He’ll be moving up 10”, from 16” to 26”. A day to celebrate his biggest wheel size move (I think the wife is celebrating some other emotion). When he’s finished with this, he will be getting a 32er mtb no doubt. I know, I was weak, I should have really stepped him up to a 27.5 wheel in one go, but his birthday is before the 1st of April – see guys, it’s a 650B Jackal that’s coming.
• Low standover
• Short tt
• Disc compatible
• Flexible or multipurpose (around the house, road, single track,bmx track)
• 26” – so very low
• Potential life span
We considered bmx’s and cruisers as they meet the criteria as well, but he wanted a mtb. The Jackal well meets the criteria list to. He can effectively use this bike for 8 or more years, we all know that we would love the luxury of a DJ bike when we are bigger, a great fun skills bike for hacking about. So, if he keeps going, potentially this bike will be very complimentary to any biking plans he might have. And if he doesn’t then that’s fine too, his choice.
I ordered the last CCCP bike in Australia, the next week it was closed. He likes blue, so we got a short in blue. It looks good, dad kind of wants to ride it too but I think my knees will hit the bars.
We got a very short Straitline stem to keep the TT down as much as possible. The new Jackal has a bigger head tube, nice. We reduced the Revelation fork down to 100mm for standover, adding fast rolling and light crossmarks for better standover as well. Oh, and a 20mm front axle because at 30+kgs he might flex that baby.
And as he has little crankers I had to get little cranks, so I went for some 165mm Truvativ DH cranks – a little weighty I know. The bike looks tiny, I don’t think I can ride it, I might bend the tiny cranks, well maybe not them ones.
He ended up with some special leftovers from one of my other bikes, some Hadley hubs for better rolling, some XX gears and XX brakes for light weight. All makes for a nice 10.4kg bike. It’s going to be very cool seeing him ride this and we’ll hit the single track on the weekend. Can’t wait to see his face as he realises 26” wheels roll a little faster than 16”s.
I thought I would share this little journey as others will have growing mtb families as well.
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Thread: A boy's Jackal