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  1. #1
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    Entry-level 27.5 mtb for my son

    My 13-year-old is ready to step up to an adult-sized bike ,and without spending a ton of money I'd like to get him something that's not terrible to ride on some simple local trails. Anything to get him out of the house and away for Fortnite for a bit. The price range that's passing the "wife acceptance factor" is around $6-700, which doesn't go a long way, I understand. I'm looking at these two options, and I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts to share:

    Vitus Nucleus 275 VRS
    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod173154
    Pros: Real air shock, geometry, Boost, dropper post-ready
    Cons: 2x9 lower-quality drivetrain

    Gravity HD 1BY10
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...5-29er-mtb.htm
    Pros: 1x10 better quality drivetrain, kid thinks it looks nicer
    Cons: Coil fork, possibly geometry?

    If there's anything else worth considering in this price range, please let me know!

  2. #2
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    It's tough to get a bike with the goal to spark interest in riding. On the one hand, you don't want to spend a ton of cash in case the interest doesn't take. On the other hand, you don't want to get something that won't function well which could lead to disinterest. Nothing like faulty shifting to make a new rider not want to ride. Been there, done that. If it were me (and I had to do it gain), I'd take a serious look at used bikes in hopes of getting something with better components. I wouldn't focus as much on geometry just yet. Second bike, when interest has set in, and skills have developed, then geometry is more important. Just my opinion with the experience I've had with buying first "real", "adult", bikes for someone.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  3. #3
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    I agree with fred...you can get an awesome used bike with much better components for $600. Plus, you can actually go look at them and try them out before buying.

    I did a Bikesdirect bike for my son years ago when he was a teenager. It was OK but I spent lots of time tweaking cheesy components. Brakes, seatpost, rims, hubs, drivetrain, shock, etc...they all are 'low budget' and won't perform or last as well as better quality components. A used bike that's been well maintained will have much better components that are built to last.

    Edit:
    If you go used, don't overlook 26". Lots of great hard tail and full suspension bikes out there which would be great for a 13 year old.

    Also factor this in...I have tools and do all mntc so it only cost me time to keep things trail ready. If you don't have that ability, you're at the mercy of a shop.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  4. #4
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    Thanks guys - I'm definitely checking this site and pBilke for classifieds. This price point is a little tough *it's not worth shipping and everything driving distance for me seems to be really old or way too expensive. I'm not in a huge hurry though, so maybe more options will pop up when people get their tax returns and decide to upgrade for the riding season.

  5. #5
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    1. Let him choose the bike
    2. Ride like he prefers. Make fun. Take Jumps. Catch each other.
    3. Find others with kids same age and go with them.
    4. Make sure it's single trail. Twisted jumpy stuff. Small up and downs. Areas to train technique and play.

    Have fun.
    Let him take the lead.

    Btw of the two bikes I would take the vitus even if the 2x setup is a mess. And you can't change it without getting into a huge mess. I have the exact same crank and gear setup on one of my kids bikes. It took me 40 hrs to get the 1x conversion to work just reasonably. Worst money ever saved.

    Coil fork is next to impossible to get to work with sub 65kg riders imo.
    The geo on the virus is 10 year ahead. It's also much more safe.

    Get a used 26 or 27.5. Add a cheap dropper and some burly tyres. Go BMX style.
    Last edited by krumme; 1 Week Ago at 03:10 PM.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenoone View Post
    Thanks guys - I'm definitely checking this site and pBilke for classifieds. This price point is a little tough *it's not worth shipping and everything driving distance for me seems to be really old or way too expensive. I'm not in a huge hurry though, so maybe more options will pop up when people get their tax returns and decide to upgrade for the riding season.
    Good plan...they are out there you just need to find them. Here is an example - I just sold this last summer for $400. 2009 Kona Dawg Supreme which was a $2K bike new (26"/Fox fork and shock 140mm travel/3X9 Shimano XT/Shimano XT brakes/etc). It was a backup bike but an awesome XC ride that handled my 220lbs effortlessly on technical terrain. Still easy to find parts on-line. This was XL frame but a 13year old would tear it up on a bike like this in a S/Med frame.
    Entry-level 27.5 mtb for my son-dawg1.jpg
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  7. #7
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    That's pretty awesome! What do you think about this? It's a little old, but local to me. Priced pretty well given the components, it looks like.
    https://santabarbara.craigslist.org/...784718885.html

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenoone View Post
    That's pretty awesome! What do you think about this? It's a little old, but local to me. Priced pretty well given the components, it looks like.
    https://santabarbara.craigslist.org/...784718885.html
    I'd take a close look at it in person. It's just me, but when I see someone posting pics to sell something, and hasn't at least taken the time to clean it up, I have to wonder what regular routine maintenance may have, or not have, been like. And maybe it's just the color of the dirt, but the chain looks rusty.
    You didn't quit riding because you're old, you're old because you quit riding.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenoone View Post
    That's pretty awesome! What do you think about this? It's a little old, but local to me. Priced pretty well given the components, it looks like.
    https://santabarbara.craigslist.org/...784718885.html
    Nice! Way more bike than the two initially posted. Just need to give bikes like this a thorough inspection and take your time to find a good one. If needed, bring someone with you who is familiar with components to ensure they are in good condition, look for wear (like suspension bushings, bottom bracket, drivetrain, brakes, etc.).

    On a good quality bike like that even if one or two things need attention you can still get replacements on line really cheap and do it yourself. On my 2012 Santa Cruz Heckler (backup bike) I just replaced entire XT drivetrain (cassette, chain, derailleur, crank, bottom bracket, chainring) for under $200.
    12 Santa Cruz Heckler
    18 Kona Process 153 AL/DL (27.5)...

  10. #10
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    Another local option Intense 5.5 EVP for $400

    My buddy is selling this 2005 (I think) Intense 5.5 EVP for $400, and it's in good shape, but pretty dated from a tech standpoint. Fox Vanilla front shock and XT drivetrain. I know this was pretty high-end when it was new, but I'm not sure after 12 years how it compares to something modern and "entry-level". On the plus side, I ride an Intense, and I kind of dig having the same thing for the kid. Thanks everyone for sharing your thoughts!

    Entry-level 27.5 mtb for my son-20190111_150817.jpg

  11. #11
    2x is underrated
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    Quote Originally Posted by stevenoone View Post
    My 13-year-old is ready to step up to an adult-sized bike ,and without spending a ton of money I'd like to get him something that's not terrible to ride on some simple local trails. Anything to get him out of the house and away for Fortnite for a bit. The price range that's passing the "wife acceptance factor" is around $6-700, which doesn't go a long way, I understand. I'm looking at these two options, and I'm wondering if anyone has thoughts to share:

    Vitus Nucleus 275 VRS
    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod173154
    Pros: Real air shock, geometry, Boost, dropper post-ready
    Cons: 2x9 lower-quality drivetrain

    Gravity HD 1BY10
    http://www.bikesdirect.com/products/...5-29er-mtb.htm
    Pros: 1x10 better quality drivetrain, kid thinks it looks nicer
    Cons: Coil fork, possibly geometry?

    If there's anything else worth considering in this price range, please let me know!


    The Vitus looks better but, I've been seeing this more and more lately, one wheel is a different spec than the other wheel. What I mean by that:

    Traditional axle spacing: front is 100x9, back is 135x10
    New spacing: front is 100x15, back is 142x12
    Boost spacing: front is 110x15 or x20, back is 148x12

    The Vitus specs are wrong, they say that the front axle is 100x15mm but the 2019 XCR boosted fork is 110x15mm. They also say the back axle is 135x10mm, which means it's a dropout frame instead of a thru-axle one. I would e-mail them for sure and ask them to double-check the axle spacing on both front and back, they may have screwed up the back axle spec too. This is happening a lot, whatever people are updating the newer bikes are not updating the wheelset specs correctly on a bunch of different websites for many different bikes. This is really important because it determines what future wheelset you can or cannot buy later if you want a better one.
    Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres: quod Belgiae, quod Celtae, et quod Aquitainae.

  12. #12
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    A few years ago I wanted to get my 3 grandsons (12,13 and 15) into riding with me as I am young enough and fit enough to enjoy this part of their lives. We started out with Jamis bikes all in the 6-700.00 pric range. They had RST coil forks and triple chain rings but all had hydraulic disc brakes. They were all decent entry level bikes and the boys were hooked.

    Just last year we upgraded to "Plus HT's". A Fuse, a Chameleon and a Dragon. All in the 1700.00 range and the guys are having a blast. Their first bikes weren't spec'd great but they were durable and got them to really like MTBing.

    As mentioned ride where he wants, we did a lot of miles on paved/gravel paths while they got their legs and confidence up. Now they like ripping off road almost as much as I do, lol.

  13. #13
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    My suggestion is look at bikes at REI.

    Since you are not certain that he will continue riding, their 1 year return policy is a win win.

    Yes- they have a generous return policy.

    If he out grows it and needs something better return it and then look for a better spec'd biked. You dont have to buy the next one at REI either. They'll refund you the full amount.

    If his interest fades, return it.

    This isn't a work around or taking advantage of their return policy either. They have it because they want you as a customer.

    I did this - I didn't even know about it when we bought our first bike in September- my son turned 14. We purchased a DB Hook.

    Their bike mechanic manager was the one who told me about it when I went in to talk about upgrades because my son got into it hard.

    Now he has has a Release 1- went on sale right before Christmas so he got one Christmas present this year

    Buy on line and ship to store- they assemble and will let you know when it's ready.

    Or take a trip in to the Santa Barbara store and talk with the bike dept.

    For an entry level bike they have:
    Cannondale Catalyst 3 27.5" Bike - 2019 $460.00
    Cannondale Catalyst 1 27.5" Bike - 2019 $620.00

    Again- if it just doesnt work out- return it.
    West Adams Los Angeles

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by broccoli1 View Post

    If he out grows it and needs something better return it

    If his interest fades, return it.

    This isn't a work around or taking advantage of their return policy either.
    Well...kinda...
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Well...kinda...
    The rep is there in spirit again. haha

  16. #16
    Keep on Rockin...
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    Together, my son and I built up an "on sale" Ragley frame from CRC. I did have most of the parts.

    Hardtails are lighter and the way to go for kids.

    The newer wide range 1x drivetrains make a big difference.

    Parts like stems, bars, wheels, forks, seats, etc can be had for dirt cheap in the classifieds. Maybe let him do some of the work.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    Well...kinda...
    possibly- but I imagine they are betting on people like me who didn't really shop at REI to come back. Which I did.

    I'm sure their bean counters looked at the ROI of creating such a liberal return policy.

    I dont feel guilty-sheite- I'm now pushing their brand/store :0
    West Adams Los Angeles

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by broccoli1 View Post
    possibly- but I imagine they are betting on people like me who didn't really shop at REI to come back. Which I did.

    I'm sure their bean counters looked at the ROI of creating such a liberal return policy.

    I dont feel guilty-sheite- I'm now pushing their brand/store :0
    They had to scale it down from a LIFETIME policy to only a year policy. Its why rei gets my business. Yeah some stuff is pricey but you have a year to decide if you like it or not.

    For the OP, if you're still trying to make your mind up, I'd go with the Intense 5.5. Looks like a great deal, and would be easy to flip as well.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by broccoli1 View Post
    possibly- but I imagine they are betting on people like me who didn't really shop at REI to come back. Which I did.

    I'm sure their bean counters looked at the ROI of creating such a liberal return policy.

    I dont feel guilty-sheite- I'm now pushing their brand/store :0


    Not pushing guilt - that's their policy and it is pretty awesome. I've been a member for decades and they've always been great about returns.

    Personally, if something works and fits the way it should and I use it, I wouldn't return it down the road. I know that there are people out there who use things regularly and put a fair amount of wear on them, then just bring them back and get their money back. Somewhere there's a point where it seems to get to the 'taking advantage' point, I guess. But like you said, it doesn't seem to bother them, so...
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  20. #20
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    That Intense looks like a pretty good deal if it fits him.

    Watch out though, when I gave my son my Devinci Troy his skills skyrocketed and he started leaving me behind on the descents. I was blown away at just how good he got so quickly. He's riding black diamond descents with dad now.
    Riding Washington State singletrack since 1986

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    That Intense looks like a pretty good deal if it fits him.

    Watch out though, when I gave my son my Devinci Troy his skills skyrocketed and he started leaving me behind on the descents. I was blown away at just how good he got so quickly. He's riding black diamond descents with dad now.
    I'm at that point as well, kid has learned to drop his dad. That's why I switched bikes back now he's on the 26" Blur and I'm back on the Kona 134. I always said "It's not the bike it's the rider" but that 27.5 Kona showed me how that's not always the case!
    oops I wasn't clipped in

  22. #22
    BOOM goes the dynamite!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Curveball View Post
    That Intense looks like a pretty good deal if it fits him.
    Need to emphasize this. Nothing will turn off a new rider more than throwing him or her on a bike that's the wrong size...since he's 13 a tad too big would be OK so he wouldn't outgrow it in a year. Frame looks like a large?

  23. #23
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    Just gave this Marin Nail Trail 6 to my son who turns 13 tomorrow. A bit big for him, but he is new (one mountain bike ride completed) and enthusiastic. It was only $826 at Performance bike, 30% off due to closing. It's a 27.5"er and I don't know if it's an "entry level bike" but it seems and feels like a lot of bike for the money.

    Entry-level 27.5 mtb for my son-outthedoor-large-.jpg

  24. #24
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    Sounds like a trip with your son to the Performance Bike shop 50ish miles away would be time well spent. And you might come home with bike!

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