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  1. #1
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    New Bike for Son

    So my 10 year old son (4'9" tall) needs a new bike. The owner of my LBS suggested a Trek 820 with a 13" frame for $350. He will be using it primarily to bike around the neighborhood. My wife thinks that price is outrageous and found the Tony Hawk 720 with 24" wheels for $131 on Amazon and Wal Mart.

    I'd like to go with the Trek but can't explain to her what the $200 difference is. Any advice is appreciated.

  2. #2
    Bikesexual
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    Son's safety would be my first idea. 👍
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  3. #3
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    It won't fall apart in a month. Usually free tuneups from the LBS.
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  4. #4
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    Safety, definitely. But it goes even further. A lifelong love of riding starts as a kid, and is greatly helped by a bike that is not dogsh1t.

  5. #5
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    Just get him a 27.5 or 29er and he will grow into it. Don't want your kid to outgrow the bike in a year or get picked on for having ''smaller'' parts than the other kids.

  6. #6
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    I wouldn't get him a bigger bike. It's a common practice to let kids 'grow into' a bike that's too big for them but it can put them off cycling. Imagine riding a bike that was massively too big and heavy foe you. Sound like fun? I have a friend who did that, put his ten-year-old on a full-sized bike, not a light one either. Couldn't get the thing up any hills. Get his a bike that fits. Even as he gets bigger he'll throw it around like a BMX.

    Yes, it makes sense to buy a good brand. The quality is better and it doesn't cost as much as you think. In the UK the brand that seems to hold it's value the best is Specialized. The guy on the street seems to know the brand and hold it in high regard. One of my sons had a 24'' Giant bike and the other a 24'' Specialized hotrock. The Hotrock cost slightly more new but after selling the bikes years later it was the Giant which cost more as it lost much more of its value.

    It's pointless even talking to non-cycling women about bikes! Don't even ask her, just buy a bike. My wife used to say to me 'You have a bike. What do you want another one for?' ;0)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I wouldn't get him a bigger bike. It's a common practice to let kids 'grow into' a bike that's too big for them but it can put them off cycling. Imagine riding a bike that was massively too big and heavy foe you. Sound like fun? I have a friend who did that, put his ten-year-old on a full-sized bike, not a light one either. Couldn't get the thing up any hills. Get his a bike that fits. Even as he gets bigger he'll throw it around like a BMX.

    Yes, it makes sense to buy a good brand. The quality is better and it doesn't cost as much as you think. In the UK the brand that seems to hold it's value the best is Specialized. The guy on the street seems to know the brand and hold it in high regard. One of my sons had a 24'' Giant bike and the other a 24'' Specialized hotrock. The Hotrock cost slightly more new but after selling the bikes years later it was the Giant which cost more as it lost much more of its value.

    It's pointless even talking to non-cycling women about bikes! Don't even ask her, just buy a bike. My wife used to say to me 'You have a bike. What do you want another one for?' ;0)
    A lot of this^

    As a father of five, all who bike, I've been through this a few times. Fortunately my wife defers to me when buying bikes and she understands the value of quality.

    One thing to keep in mind, good quality kids bikes maintain a decent resale value. The Wal-Mart bike will not. Ask your wife how she feels about adding to your local landfill in a year?

    Speaking of used, have you looked?

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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    I wouldn't get him a bigger bike. It's a common practice to let kids 'grow into' a bike that's too big for them but it can put them off cycling. Imagine riding a bike that was massively too big and heavy foe you. Sound like fun? I have a friend who did that, put his ten-year-old on a full-sized bike, not a light one either. Couldn't get the thing up any hills. Get his a bike that fits. Even as he gets bigger he'll throw it around like a BMX.

    Yes, it makes sense to buy a good brand. The quality is better and it doesn't cost as much as you think. In the UK the brand that seems to hold it's value the best is Specialized. The guy on the street seems to know the brand and hold it in high regard. One of my sons had a 24'' Giant bike and the other a 24'' Specialized hotrock. The Hotrock cost slightly more new but after selling the bikes years later it was the Giant which cost more as it lost much more of its value.

    It's pointless even talking to non-cycling women about bikes! Don't even ask her, just buy a bike. My wife used to say to me 'You have a bike. What do you want another one for?' ;0)
    Most 10 year old's can ride a full size bike easily and without problems. Most would prefer an adult bike to feel at home with whoever they ride with as well. Having a ''little kid'' bike while your friends have faster full size bikes is embarrassing and just as likely to put them off of riding.
    Fitting a bike to a 10 year old may make riding easier for 1 year until they grow 6 inches and the bike is instantly to small. Kids are not going to be doing serious tech riding where fit and body memory is that important anyway at that age.
    I felt sorry for my cousin who got a 24'' bike while everyone else had 26'' back when we were kids. He rode it for years and hated it.
    If money is no object and buying a new bike every 1-2 years is no big deal then fitting a bike to a child makes perfect sense, otherwise it does not matter much IMO. With an adult who is constantly the same size and coordination the wrong size bike can be a real uncomfortable thing. Kids change size and coordination very fast and the way a bike fits and handles to them changes just as fast so comparing an adult fit to a child is not the same at all.

  9. #9
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    No way a ten-year-old will be out of a 24'' bike in one year. My second eldest was pissed off when I sold his Hotrock and got him a full-sized bike as he could throw the little bike around like crazy. He was at least fifteen at the time! The bike was obviously too small for him but he loved it.

    Kids on bikes that are too big for them will not be faster. They will be much, much slower.

  10. #10
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    Mr.pig. he's ten, he's biking around the neighborhood. What's wrong with a bigger bike? No one said massively bigger but you! Who wanted to be faster when they were ten unless they raced bmx? Short stem, seat lowered, seat rails forward, swept back bars. Adjust at the speed of growth. Should he measure sit bones too?

  11. #11
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    Well it's the OP's call. He can think about it for himself and do what he wants.

  12. #12
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    There was a kid on my local trail the other day, in what appear to be a 29er, he couldn't have been more than 10, and he looked pretty comfy climbing a small steep section standing on the pedals. It looked impressive.
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  13. #13
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    For non-trail riding, i.e. urban, there are a lot of bikes that would work. Suspension is not required.

    So, in that respect the Tony Hawk fits the bill, although there is a concern about overall quality, and mainly around assembly. Box store bikes are infamous for poor assembly, because the teenager in the back is assembling barbecues, bikes, and lawn equipment at the same time.

    If there's intent for real trail riding, then the recommendation changes entirely.

    My recommendation would be for a solid urban bike from a bike shop. Maybe slightly cheaper than the Trek you mentioned, but still more than the Walmart.

  14. #14
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    4'9" will start to fit the XS or S female bikes.

    I started my son at 6 on a 32lb steel walmart bike. Took him on trails people do with full size 29er and travel. My kid has LEGs due to it and still loves to ride.

    he is also 10 but is only 4'5" so finding a bike for him is a pita.

    with just riding around the block, any bike will do really.
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  15. #15
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    That Trek 820 looks like a very good choice, steel frame, good components, good price, LBS support, hard to go wrong with that.

  16. #16
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    There are many variables that come into play here for example how often is the kid going to ride do his friends ride do his friends have nice bikes do his friends have larger bikes or nice ones where is he going to be riding how often will he be riding does he take care of his things. How athletic is he (larger bike)? Tell him the differences and see what he thinks.

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  17. #17
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    A decent "bike shop" bike has resale value. he'll certainly outgrow it but if he takes care of it (not leaving it out in the rain, allowing it to be stolen, not leaving it behind the car to be backed-over), then you can get at least half of the price back.

    bikes from Walmart don't last, especially the way kids treat them. they get donated to Goodwill or thrown out the with garbage.

    what are you trying to teach your son: make intensional decisions to buy quality stuff that last and has a purpose after you're done with it, or buy cheap junk that you throw away after a few months?

    furthermore, get that bike that he wants to ride. The Trek is a better value, but if he's not into it, it's going to gather dust. if the Walmart bike appears to be the coolest thing he's ever seen, he's going to ride it into the ground.

    is he interested in mountain biking or just a bike to pedal around on? mountain bikes tend to have a lot of complex parts that can be damaged and broken, especially the way kids treat them. in that regard, a small-framed BMX bike might be a better option.

    regarding size, you can get a bike with a frame that's a size up from his ideal. just make sure he can mount the bike and ride it safely. putting him on a bike that was designed for someone a foot taller than him is just asking for a trip to the ER.

    used bikes? is there a bicycle co-op near you?

  18. #18
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    The short answer is: quality.

    You can get down to each of the components and compare, including the frame, derailleur, etc. and not forget the type of material used in each of those. Lastly, the assembly--but poor quality parts can only be assembled so well. Save yourself the same money spent on parts that break.

    The point made below is important--this is a "big purchase"-- so you could use this opportunity to teach a real lesson about shopping and buying and supporting quality.

    If you're not going on trails at all, consider a used BMX bike as well-great fun, and"park bikes" tend to be heavy and indestructible.
    But a good mountain bike is such a great all rounder, I feel it's the best "just a bike" option.

    You could also show her a Li'l Shredders bike to readjust what "expensive" looks like


    Quote Originally Posted by mack_turtle View Post

    bikes from Walmart don't last, especially the way kids treat them. they get donated to Goodwill or thrown out the with garbage.

    what are you trying to teach your son: make intensional decisions to buy quality stuff that last and has a purpose after you're done with it, or buy cheap junk that you throw away after a few months?



    used bikes? is there a bicycle co-op near you?


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  19. #19
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    When I was that age my mom didn't bought me, I'm happy for your kid.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Pig View Post
    What do you want another one for?' ;0)
    Yeah, I am debating this with my wife too. I want to get a Specialized Enduro to put in my garage with my Stumpjumper so she doesn't get lonely at night.

    In other news:

    I am also in the market for a kids bike myself. My daughter is 9 and she fell in love with biking. I can't even leave the house by myself without her flipping out that she can't ride on the trails with me. She rides a BMX bike for the time being because it caught me off guard that she wants to MTB with me. I do find quite a bit of deals on CL for 24" Hotrock bikes so I may end up grabbing one even if they have "boy colors" lol!
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  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Battery View Post
    I can't even leave the house by myself without her flipping out that she can't ride on the trails with me. She rides a BMX bike for the time being because it caught me off guard that she wants to MTB with me. I do find quite a bit of deals on CL for 24" Hotrock bikes so I may end up grabbing one even if they have "boy colors" lol!
    Haha that's so great! Kids are often surprising aren't they?!

    Makes me think of when my friend was looking for bikes and I sent him a couple of blue/ green ones and he goes "oh no, it's gotta be girl colors" and I said "1. what's that mean and 2. are you just guessing? " and sure enough when he actually talked to her, she wanted a Blue bike with green pedals! (I know you didn't mean that all literally, @battery, but just funny story)
    yeah man, find something that's her size and she'll be so excited.

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