20" mtb for 7 year old- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    20" mtb for 7 year old

    Long time lurker here. I've read through the site a bit but haven't seen anyone mention some bikes I'm looking at for my near 7 year old son. He's been riding a Woom 3 since he was 5 and does great on it. He wants a geared mountain bike for his upcoming birthday. I'd like something lightweight since he's used to the 12-lb woom.

    I first looked at a Trek Precaliber (since I have an x-caliber 8), but it was heavy and the forks were meh. I also looked at Norco Storm 2.2, but it wasn't much lighter and the forks were meh. I haven't seen a Storm 2.3, but with a rigid fork it should be lighter--I can't find any info on that, though. GT stomper looks too heavy. The Trek Wahoo would be perfect, but it's out of birthday budget ($440). I like the Trek Superfly, but can't find one anywhere except 1 on ebay. I also like the Orbea MX20, but can't find any locally or even in the states.

    The ones I'm considering are the Cannondale Quick 20 (I'd have to put on wider tires, maybe the ones from the Trail 20?) and the Scott Scale rigid 20. Both are around 20 lbs and I can get for $350. Does anyone have any experience with either of these bikes?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    I’d be looking 24” at 7 years old. My 5 year old is on a 20”. My 9 year old just moved from a 24” to a 26”.


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  3. #3
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    I had him sit on a 24" but he couldn't even touch the ground! He has a relatively short inseam (19") so I think 24" would be too big--granted we only tried one.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobycat2 View Post
    I had him sit on a 24" but he couldn't even touch the ground! He has a relatively short inseam (19") so I think 24" would be too big--granted we only tried one.
    Couldn’t touch the ground on the seat or over the top tube?

    Most kids bikes will have marginal stand over height when they are sized right. It’s just kind of how it is. They get real good at bailing sideways and it’s not an issue.


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  5. #5
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    Have you looked at the Woom Off? I'll be in the same boat as you soon. My 6.5 yr old is on 16" Islabike (12 lbs) and I want the jump in weight to be minimal when I get him a 20".

  6. #6
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    If he's small a 20" may indeed be the right size. My 8 year old daughter is about 46" tall and fits her 20" yama jama perfectly.

  7. #7
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    My boy rode a GT Stomper 20" He did pretty well with it. He just turned 8 and went to the Trailcraft Timber 26".

    The GT is a bit on the heavier side, but it has always a reliable bike that I really never had to do anything other than routine maintenance on. He rode it for about 2 years. Its for sale if someone wants it.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by jellothighs View Post
    Have you looked at the Woom Off? I'll be in the same boat as you soon. My 6.5 yr old is on 16" Islabike (12 lbs) and I want the jump in weight to be minimal when I get him a 20".
    I did look at it but the price tag ($660) was a bit much. I know I can recoup a lot with resale, but tbh I'm not sure how good of condition he'll leave it in haha! For that price you could also look at the Pello Rover or the Prevelo line.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyeballs View Post
    If he's small a 20" may indeed be the right size. My 8 year old daughter is about 46" tall and fits her 20" yama jama perfectly.

    thanks for info. My son is 48" tall but has a pretty short inseam. He's always been a stocky, but strong, little guy.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerfreese View Post
    My boy rode a GT Stomper 20" He did pretty well with it. He just turned 8 and went to the Trailcraft Timber 26".

    The GT is a bit on the heavier side, but it has always a reliable bike that I really never had to do anything other than routine maintenance on. He rode it for about 2 years. Its for sale if someone wants it.
    How heavy is that bike? I saw conflicting reports here and online--one said 21 lbs the other said 26.

  11. #11
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    I looked at about a dozen bikes lately. In the <$350 range they are all pretty dire. Even at the <$500 range they are pretty heavy - the changes are for the better (freehubs, plus tires) but not for the lighter. The Woom road bike is right around there but the Woom MTB is more expensive. The one I liked the best was the non-suspension Salsa. Norco makes some better bikes than the one you list.

    The value winners in my shopping were the Vitus bikes from Chain Reaction, but I think my kid is probably going to wind up on a used Hotrock. If I can get one of those for tens of dollars it'll be affordable to get it some lighter bits.

    If you get sticker shock remember an all steel 5-speed Stingray from 1969 would be $600 in today-dollars

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobycat2 View Post
    How heavy is that bike? I saw conflicting reports here and online--one said 21 lbs the other said 26.
    I can weigh it tonight

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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
    I looked at about a dozen bikes lately. In the <$350 range they are all pretty dire. Even at the <$500 range they are pretty heavy - the changes are for the better (freehubs, plus tires) but not for the lighter. The Woom road bike is right around there but the Woom MTB is more expensive. The one I liked the best was the non-suspension Salsa. Norco makes some better bikes than the one you list.

    The value winners in my shopping were the Vitus bikes from Chain Reaction, but I think my kid is probably going to wind up on a used Hotrock. If I can get one of those for tens of dollars it'll be affordable to get it some lighter bits.

    If you get sticker shock remember an all steel 5-speed Stingray from 1969 would be $600 in today-dollars
    Totally agree--most bikes are similar at this range, but was wondering if any stood out.
    The other Norco's are out of price range and my LBS doesn't carry them either, so I can't tell about weight. I can guess they're around 24 with suspension anyway.

  14. #14
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    So I have a 7YO and a 9YO and a Cannondale Quick 20, and a 24" Trek MT220.

    Just to be transparent right in the beginning, I'm likely to be the dissenting opinion in this thread.

    My 9YO son is larger than average (about 90th percentile on height) but when he was about 6YO he was about 48"-49" tall and we put him on the Trek MT220 straight from a 16" steel coaster brake bike. It took him a few weeks but ultimately he figured it out. That bike in the beginning was about 31lbs and now it is about 28.5lbs. It's not light but he was able to figure out how to manage it, and honestly, I think he ended up being a stronger rider because he was forced to learn how to deal with something that was hard to do, since he liked doing it.

    My 7YO daughter is on the small side (about 10th percentile on height) and when she was 6YO we bought her a Cannondale Quick 20, the non suspension bike with 1.5" street tires. Honestly I wish I had not bought that bike, I should have bought her one with a suspension fork and shorter wheelbase. She is now about 46" tall and she is adequately sized for it but the long wheelbase leans her forward quite a bit, which I don't like. The Quick 20 when I weighed it was 22.3lbs, and the 20x2.1 knobby tires fit on it fine. The original 20x1.5 tires were terrible, they washed out on everything but asphalt, which in hind sight, I guess I'm not surprised about.

    My son has ridden the Quick 20 lots of times and he has fun on it but he prefers his larger bike.

    Anyway, I guess my only real input is, I would not buy the Quick 20 a second time. Was it worth $100 used, sure. I wouldn't spend $350 on it though.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody special View Post
    So I have a 7YO and a 9YO and a Cannondale Quick 20, and a 24" Trek MT220.

    Just to be transparent right in the beginning, I'm likely to be the dissenting opinion in this thread.

    My 9YO son is larger than average (about 90th percentile on height) but when he was about 6YO he was about 48"-49" tall and we put him on the Trek MT220 straight from a 16" steel coaster brake bike. It took him a few weeks but ultimately he figured it out. That bike in the beginning was about 31lbs and now it is about 28.5lbs. It's not light but he was able to figure out how to manage it, and honestly, I think he ended up being a stronger rider because he was forced to learn how to deal with something that was hard to do, since he liked doing it.

    My 7YO daughter is on the small side (about 10th percentile on height) and when she was 6YO we bought her a Cannondale Quick 20, the non suspension bike with 1.5" street tires. Honestly I wish I had not bought that bike, I should have bought her one with a suspension fork and shorter wheelbase. She is now about 46" tall and she is adequately sized for it but the long wheelbase leans her forward quite a bit, which I don't like. The Quick 20 when I weighed it was 22.3lbs, and the 20x2.1 knobby tires fit on it fine. The original 20x1.5 tires were terrible, they washed out on everything but asphalt, which in hind sight, I guess I'm not surprised about.

    My son has ridden the Quick 20 lots of times and he has fun on it but he prefers his larger bike.

    Anyway, I guess my only real input is, I would not buy the Quick 20 a second time. Was it worth $100 used, sure. I wouldn't spend $350 on it though.
    Thanks for the input. So the $350 question is, if you could go back and buy your daughter a bike again (at 6 yo), what would you get? There are options I've looked at with a susp fork, but as you alluded to, most here indicate they aren't any good and are a waste of time and weight. As far as wheelbase goes, most I've looked at are similar; the Cannondales were on the shorter end compared to the trek and norco. The Scott Scale actually has a shorted wheelbase but only by 0.3 inches.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by tobycat2 View Post
    Thanks for the input. So the $350 question is, if you could go back and buy your daughter a bike again (at 6 yo), what would you get? There are options I've looked at with a susp fork, but as you alluded to, most here indicate they aren't any good and are a waste of time and weight. As far as wheelbase goes, most I've looked at are similar; the Cannondales were on the shorter end compared to the trek and norco. The Scott Scale actually has a shorted wheelbase but only by 0.3 inches.
    I went and looked at the Scott Scale 20 and Roxter 20 and of the two I would buy the Roxter, only reasoning is because it has an 8 speed rear hub for only $20 more. Also, believe it or not, the Tourney derailleur on the Roxter is a step up component wise.

    It appears to be correct that the Cannondale is a shorter 20" bike compared to the alternatives. I have not looked around for 20" bikes yet, but likely I will end up buying her a replacement by the end of the summer. At the moment I am looking for 24" bikes for my son, and it likely I will buy him a Commencal Meta HT 24. At this point I don't care about the price anymore, I want something that works well.

    I can tell you this, the features I will be looking for a replacement bike for my daughter are:
    1) air suspension fork and/or ability to have plus sized tires
    2) disc brakes, preferably hydraulic
    3) trigger shifters
    4) shorter chainstays, the 365mm chainstays on the Cannondale 20 are too long in my opinion
    5) more upright seating position
    6) as light as reasonably possible, frankly anything around 23-24 lbs is going to be fine

    I had previously read all the reviews and kids bike websites, and came to believe what they said regarding the "suspension forks don't work and are too heavy" and "lighter is always better" and "plus size tires are too inefficient for small kids rolling", etc. I've spent the last two years (several times per week) riding behind, and watching, my son on his MT220, and a year riding behind, and watching, my daughter on her Quick 20, and I don't really understand how people came to those conclusions.

    Are suspension forks heavier? Sure, but after watching my daughter's grips bounce around in her hands on gravel roads and average trails, I don't see a suspension fork as a downside. My sons MT220 has a lousy, all steel, coil spring fork on it, but I never see the grips beat on his hands the way my daughters bike does. Is the fork on the MT220 a good one? No. Is it better than nothing? Yes.

    Is a plus size tire less efficient? Sure, but frankly, on dirt and actual trail conditions, a plus size tire will outperform a light weight tire like a Rocket Ron in most situations. I am tired of my daughter washing out her tires. Those 1.5" Hookworm clone tires washed out on wet grass, mud, gravel driveway, pine needles, leaves, loose sand or dirt, sticks, pretty much anything except hard packed dirt or asphalt/concrete. The 2.0" knobby tire solved most of the washouts but hasn't really helped much with the grips beating up her hands. My son's MT220 has Rocket Rons on it, so I have actual experience comparing "lousy" heavy tire with lightweight "good" tire.

    Do kids really need disc brakes? If they ride in mud, then I say yes, on pavement, rim brakes are fine. I can tell you from my experience, I at this point hate the rim brakes on both my kids bikes. As soon as the rims get wet the brakes work lousy, as soon as they ride through a mud hole, the pads pack up with dirt and sand and leaves and junk. Disc brakes are one of the primary reasons I am replacing my kids bikes.

    My daughter does not get on well with her grip shifter. I balanced her on her brothers MT220, and she could shift the Altus level trigger shifters with no problem. Her grip shifters often go half way into a gear, and she then has to look at the shifter to see how to fix it, while she is moving. This often puts her in the wrong gear to start a climb and she loses 100% of her momentum a the bottom of the hill while she deals with the shifter problem. They work for some people, but I'm done with them.

    Shorter chainstays and wheelbase. My son who is much larger and stronger than my daughter, has no problem muscling mediocre bike geometry around hard (for them) turns. However, my daughter, has a hard time on the long wheelbase and long chainstays, when it comes to making a 150 degree to 180 degree switchback turn, in close proximity to an obstacle, like a tree, and even more so when that tree has roots in the trail. If you never plan to ride on trails, or will always be on easy trails, its probably not an issue.

    More upright seating position. Honestly she really only has this problem because she is small. I still have to deal with it though.

    Lightweight, sure lighter is better. However here is my counter argument for going overboard on weight reduction. My son's bike is a 28.5 lb MT220 with a 3x7 drivetrain, the front is 22/32/40, the rear is 13/15/17/19/22/26/34. He climbs nearly every hill in 32/19 and 32/22. He almost never goes into the 22 tooth front ring, and almost never goes into 34 tooth rear sprocket, usually when he does it's because he made a mistake shifting. Occasionally he climbs in 32/26. I'm not talking about miles and miles of continuous climbing, I mean moderately steep trails that are 1000-1500 feet long in the climbs with about 100-150 feet of elevation change, that typically have roots and junk to crawl over or avoid during the climb. If you are bike packing with your kid and he/she needs to climb for miles and miles up a mountain during a 4 hour ride, then sure, really low gears and light weight are essential. For everyone else, light weight isn't as big an impact as it's made out to be. If it were, kids with heavy bikes would be using the lowest gears, and I suspect most do not. Lighter bikes will handle better, sure I won't argue that.

    That being said, I guess my main point is to take everything with a grain of salt. Skepticism isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's just unpopular. I hope this has helped you rather than make the decision harder.

  17. #17
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    I like all that ^^^

    The shifter wasn't a decider for me, a trigger shifter is like $20 and easy to install.

    I wanted one with an 8 speed since that freehub opens a lot more drivetrain options but there were few of them.

  18. #18
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    My kid loves dirt/bumps/mud/the less pavement the better. After months of searching (mostly online being no LBS ever seem to have a 20 that weighs under 30 lbs) I went with commencal ramones 20 (7spd rigid but with 20 x 2.6" tires) for his 6th bday present. I didnt weight it but its advertised as under 23lbs.
    This replaces his light skinny tire 1 sped 16" Frog bike.

    I did 1 mod and that was to put on his seat/seat tube off his Frog bike being the seat was smaller & the seat tube was shorter.
    Only 1 ride (we are in upstate NY) which was on our street but he loved it - 5 lbs of air in tires gave him some "suspension" and he hit all of the pot holes, puddles, pavement drop/edges that he could find. He could shift up but not down - might have to swap the grip to trigger shifters if that continues.

  19. #19
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    Definitely swap for trigger shifters. Way easier for kids to operate.


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  20. #20
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    Very short assessment of the Cannondale Quick -- if you can still get a prior year Cujo for close to the same price, it's a much better option (plus tires / disc brakes).

    The main gripes I've seen on some of Cannondale kids geometry (abnormally large bottom bracket drop, shorter wheelbase, and steeper head tube angle) all come down to the stock forks having a shorter than average A2C.

    Put something like a 20" Junit fork (or a Suntour air fork) on the Cujo and the geometry is actually pretty close to something like a Spawn Yama Jama.

  21. #21
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    In case anyone searches for Norco Storm 2.2 weight, I got an email from my LBS that it weighs 23.15 lbs. Must mean the storm 2.3 weighs a pound or two less.

  22. #22
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    Also worth pointing out -- whenever plus tires come up, usually the complaint is that they're heavy.

    With the exception of the Specialized Big Roller and the Vee Crown Gem in larger widths, the weights really aren't that much different than the tires that come stock on most kids bikes (usually in the 550 to 650g range for 20")

    The real culprits for weight are usually the compromises that get made to meet a price point:
    • Solid axle, unsealed loose ball bottom bracket
    • Steel seatpost
    • Cheap hubs
    • Low end rear derailleur

  23. #23
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    The 20" GT stomper is 22 pounds

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakerfreese View Post
    The 20" GT stomper is 22 pounds

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    Thanks!

  25. #25
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    I just swapped the cheap wire bead tires on my kids Trek Superfly 20 for some Maxxis folding tires. Saved over a pound verified on a scale.


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