20" plus bike options?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    20" plus bike options?

    I'm looking for an MTB for my daughter for her 7th birthday.

    I was thinking a 20" bike with plus tires (2.6" to 2.8") and a dropper post would be perfect for her. Our terrain here, (or at least the trails I would be taking her on) is pretty mellow, so a suspension fork would just be dead weight for a kiddo.

    Also, a lighter bike would be really helpful. Her current Clearly Owl is a nice bike, but it weighs more than my SS hardtail! She struggles with it regularly.

    So far I have found the Salsa Timberjack 20". Any other options?

    UPDATE: Also found the Cannondale Cujo, which looks like a good fit, but the seat post is on 25.4, so a dropper post would be a no-go.
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  2. #2
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    My first bike for my oldest was a 24” plus tire bike. It was a mistake. You can run kids tires at so low of a pressure anyway that there is no advantage to the plus tire. All it does is add weight.

    My youngest is now on a Trek Superfly 20. I run his pressure in the single digits with his 20x2.0 maxxis maxxdaddys.

    His 10 year old brother runs 26x2.3 tires in the teens.


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  3. #3
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    I'm curious about the benefit of a dropper post on a bike for a 7 year old? Especially if you say your trails are mellow.

  4. #4
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    Also, at 7 years old. I’d be shopping 24” bikes probably. Just a thought.


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  5. #5
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    She is small for her age. I'm pretty sure we can keep her on a 20" for two years... especially if its plus sized wheels.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by trimess View Post
    I'm curious about the benefit of a dropper post on a bike for a 7 year old? Especially if you say your trails are mellow.
    Getting on and off for one. Her seat height is currently about 1.5"-2" below optimal and its still a bit high for her when she is struggling to get started at low speeds and needs to kick off the ground a bit.

    As she develops some skills I would hope she can learn to use it for descending and cornering.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473 View Post
    She is small for her age. I'm pretty sure we can keep her on a 20" for two years... especially if its plus sized wheels.
    My oldest turned 10 last month. There’s no way he could ride his brothers 20” except as a joke. She must be really small but if so I still recommend against the plus tires. They are just really heavy and do nothing but slow kids down. Been there on kid one and won’t be back on kid two.


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  8. #8
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    Well, she's 47" right now. Suppose she puts on an inch in the next 3 months, then she's still an inch below Salsa's recommended minimum height for the Timberjack 20.
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  9. #9
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    We only have experience with the Specialized Plus Bikes. When my son demoed a plus bike at Seaotter, we found that he fit best on their 20 plus bike. His personal bike was a med 24" bike. He had moved up to a med 24" bike from a small 24" bike.
    I just transitioned my daughter to a small 24" bike from a 20". She's 48". I don't know how much smaller in diameter a 20" plus tire is to a non-plus 24" but my guess is, if you go with non-plus, you can get her into a 24".
    My son didn't like the 20 plus tire -too cumbersome.
    I've read how some folks in this forum have and enjoy the plus tires for their kids, but it wasn't for us.
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  10. #10
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    Just my personal opinion (so take it for whatever that is worth) but we do have had a ton of experience on different bikes and ride a ton with my boys (5&8). My 8yro is outriding my buddies on black freeride lines that they'll skip. My .02c

    Most critical component for kids is usually the wheels and tires and geometry. Rotational weight has an incredible effect on kids in our testing/messing around with multiple wheelsets and tires. We've done so much back-to-back testing and bike swapping with kids on the MTB Team. Skip the plus bikes, especially the Timberjack...its one of the worst (bigger tires than even Riprock!).

    3.0" Chao Yang tires?
    i35 wheels

    Those will be ultra heavy and the geometry will be weird just to accommodate such huge tires.

    The Norco Charger 20" is a solid air fork hardtail with nice geometry for 680$. It's close to what you'd spend on the Timberjack 20"+dropper. No brainer there man...plus you can get it at LBS (they will order it) and won't pay shipping either. My kids ride/rode 1200$ 20" Spawn bikes (before that Charger existed) and I wouldn't hesitate to put my youngest (5yro) on that Charger bike any day and send him down an 8mi shuttle back to home. I'd never put him on that Timberjack thing tho. Also that Charger would double as a DJ (with high rise bars added) when the kid grows. Very cool bike. Cranks are right too.


    EDIT: Actually the Rocky Mountain Vertex Jr. 20" looks like an even better bike for the same LBS money:

    Better than Charger:
    1- Shimano brakes and hubs!!
    2- Bigger tires (2.25" Crown Vee's are nice little tire)
    3- 9sp instead of 8sp - better quality X4/X5 drive train
    4- Geo is still spot on!
    5- Chainring doesn't look dorky with the unnecessary shielding
    6- Wider range cassette
    7- Bars are better size at 600mm imo
    8- Goes 10% faster because its red

  11. #11
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    Throw me into the "not impressed by the plus" camp also. Get a solid rigid bike with normal tires, and/or a suspension fork. Spawn, Trailcraft, Prevelo all have 20" bikes with a sweet suspension fork under 22 pounds. These "Plus" bikes are like 22 pounds, RIGID right?

    Problem with plus is the rim has to be wider (heavier) and tire is wider (heavier) which puts weight it the completely wrong spot when you are a lightweight kid.

  12. #12
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    So if plus wheels are too heavy, can anyone recommend some reasonably light... make that not heavy 20" tires and rims? I had thought about just making her a second wheel set for her Clearly Owl with a larger freewheel and bigger tires (I think the stock tires are 1.75" and nearly slick), but the parts were so heavy. I was looking at the 20" Bontrager XR1's and they weigh as much as the 29" XR1's! Rims all seem to be cheap and heavy or built for BMX/freestyle beating and therefore also heavy. I'd love to get her some 2.2" tires with a some knobs but still fast rolling, but it looks like all the options will turn her bike into a tank.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishMan473 View Post
    So if plus wheels are too heavy, can anyone recommend some reasonably light... make that not heavy 20" tires and rims? I had thought about just making her a second wheel set for her Clearly Owl with a larger freewheel and bigger tires (I think the stock tires are 1.75" and nearly slick), but the parts were so heavy. I was looking at the 20" Bontrager XR1's and they weigh as much as the 29" XR1's! Rims all seem to be cheap and heavy or built for BMX/freestyle beating and therefore also heavy. I'd love to get her some 2.2" tires with a some knobs but still fast rolling, but it looks like all the options will turn her bike into a tank.
    Wayne at SpeedGearBike might have an option for you. He is a really cheap wheel builder that is awesome. TrailCraft will sell you some ultralight wheels but they will be pretty dang expensive. Vee Crown Gem 2.2 tires in this size aren't bad.

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