Which 24" for 500 max budget- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Which 24" for 500 max budget

    Last summer I bought my son a trek pre-caliber 24 for general use. It's been a great bike but this season he's become a lot more into riding and has even been adventurous enough to try some easy green singletrack. I want him to be able to grow his skills and try more singletrack but as is the precaliber just isn't going to cut it. I had thought about upgrading the trek but by the time I do I might as well just get him a different bike. Most of our riding would be here https://www.mtbproject.com/directory...one-state-park

    Or

    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/437...on-creek-trail

    The bikes I have on the shortlist would be the Vitus Nucleus 24, Diamondback Line 24, or Trek Roscoe 24. Any reason to get one over the other or avoid any of the options? Or is there something in this price range I'm missing? I do not want to go over the budget and it needs to be something easily available and in stock that I could order soon and receive fairly quickly as I already have a buyer for the precaliber and don't want him to be without a bike for long.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlindberg View Post
    Last summer I bought my son a trek pre-caliber 24 for general use. It's been a great bike but this season he's become a lot more into riding and has even been adventurous enough to try some easy green singletrack. I want him to be able to grow his skills and try more singletrack but as is the precaliber just isn't going to cut it. I had thought about upgrading the trek but by the time I do I might as well just get him a different bike. Most of our riding would be here https://www.mtbproject.com/directory...one-state-park

    Or

    https://www.mtbproject.com/trail/437...on-creek-trail

    The bikes I have on the shortlist would be the Vitus Nucleus 24, Diamondback Line 24, or Trek Roscoe 24. Any reason to get one over the other or avoid any of the options? Or is there something in this price range I'm missing? I do not want to go over the budget and it needs to be something easily available and in stock that I could order soon and receive fairly quickly as I already have a buyer for the precaliber and don't want him to be without a bike for long.
    1. Vitus
    2. Diamondback

    "Fat tires" and "grow his skills" don't often go in the same sentence. The vitus is a home run for the price. I know you said you don't want to go over budget but there are a couple of really nice 24" hardtails in the "wife didn't leave me" category.

  3. #3
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    The Vitus bike is more equivalent to a 750$ Norco Charger. Those other bikes aren't in the same category as it from a component spec. You'll want to look deeper there and you'll see the difference.

    That DB bike sucks, you don't want that.

    -Bad coil fork is really heavy and doesnt work
    -Mechanical brakes not hydraulic (hydraulic are really nice for kids)
    -The DB has adult cranks. A kid could make them work but they are too long for sure. 140mm down to 127mm seem to be a good range.
    -Gearing is just ok

    The Vitus does all of these things right. I wish the back end was shorter but at this price there is nothing that comes close for that spec. You'd need to jump to the Norco or others similar but it's a big price jump.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    The Vitus bike is more equivalent to a 750$ Norco Charger. Those other bikes aren't in the same category as it from a component spec. You'll want to look deeper there and you'll see the difference.

    That DB bike sucks, you don't want that.

    -Bad coil fork is really heavy and doesnt work
    -Mechanical brakes not hydraulic (hydraulic are really nice for kids)
    -The DB has adult cranks. A kid could make them work but they are too long for sure. 140mm down to 127mm seem to be a good range.
    -Gearing is just ok

    The Vitus does all of these things right. I wish the back end was shorter but at this price there is nothing that comes close for that spec. You'd need to jump to the Norco or others similar but it's a big price jump.
    Yeah. Agreed. I was trying to be nice. There just isn't that much out there in terms of minimum MTB specs for that price-point Would you buy yourself a $500 Mountain bike?

    The 24" Vitus is always sold out it seems. We followed people on here's advice and got BMX bikes and we now go to skateparks, pump tracks, skills lines a couple of times a week. Our kids skills have developed much more on those. He can ride pretty close to everything downhill. He struggles on some climbs, but that stuff comes with strength and time.

    I get the budget thing, but $1000 is the same price as an ipad or a nintendo with a handful of games. And you can resell it when he grows out of it.

    If he rides real stuff, he needs a fork that works, decent gearing, decent geometry, and hydraulic brakes. Anything short of those things and he will outgrow his bikes capability if he likes it and rides regularly.

  5. #5
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    Agreed, I wasn't disagreeing with you BTW. You had it right. I did buy a Calibre DJ for 550$. Pretty fun! Cool the.bmx has been good to you. Fun stuff.

  6. #6
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    As an added note I can get the Line 24 at enough of a discount to change out the fork and keep it around my budget. I also have an extra set of tektro brakes laying around as well. Would this make the line 24 a viable option or do other factors like crank length still make it a poor option? Around here I think gearing and the ability to pedal uphill will be pretty important too if Im going to keep him going.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlindberg View Post
    As an added note I can get the Line 24 at enough of a discount to change out the fork and keep it around my budget. I also have an extra set of tektro brakes laying around as well. Would this make the line 24 a viable option or do other factors like crank length still make it a poor option? Around here I think gearing and the ability to pedal uphill will be pretty important too if Im going to keep him going.
    Gotcha that helps. The crank thing is critical imo. The gearing is more limited as well if I recall. Depends on how big the discount is but swapping cranks can be a little tricky at this size but not impossible.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Agreed, I wasn't disagreeing with you BTW. You had it right. I did buy a Calibre DJ for 550$. Pretty fun! Cool the.bmx has been good to you. Fun stuff.
    You, Dan, Slaphead have all had great advice! I have an athletics background but not in anything with wheels. It has been tremendously helpful. I bought a Transition DJ myself. We spend so much time at the pump tracks and skate parks I wanted to make sure I was riding with the kids. Also, my 8 year old was beating me down the mountain and my pride wasn't good with that!!!!

    If you are buying a bike and changing out cranks, forks, brakes and gears and saving money, great for you! We bought a Spawn and he rips down the mountain. I guess it depends on what all you are riding but he is clearing stuff I thought only kids on youtube did. Lots of kids in our area can ride.

    I will just say this, the only bikes we have bought that we regretted were the ones our kids skills surpassed and we have to get same size wheels but upgrade the bikes.

    P.S. Sorry for the confusing posts where I am referring to both the OP and Svinyard!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlindberg View Post
    As an added note I can get the Line 24 at enough of a discount to change out the fork and keep it around my budget. I also have an extra set of tektro brakes laying around as well. Would this make the line 24 a viable option or do other factors like crank length still make it a poor option? Around here I think gearing and the ability to pedal uphill will be pretty important too if Im going to keep him going.
    As an aside, Maybe a compromise, and I don't know if they are out yet, but Flow had a 24"/26" that changed geometry when you changed tire sizes. Would having a bike that could "grow" help the budget grow? Sounds like you are handy enough to work on the bike.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwa bike dad View Post
    As an aside, Maybe a compromise, and I don't know if they are out yet, but Flow had a 24"/26" that changed geometry when you changed tire sizes. Would having a bike that could "grow" help the budget grow? Sounds like you are handy enough to work on the bike.
    Checked the flow website and they don't have anything larger than 20" available yet. It said check back soon. The Vitus looks to be in stock right now so I might try for that first.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlindberg View Post
    Checked the flow website and they don't have anything larger than 20" available yet. It said check back soon. The Vitus looks to be in stock right now so I might try for that first.
    I think you will be really happy. It seems to be hands down the best bike for that price range. Checks off a lot of things most didn't think you could for that money.

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    The contrarian view: consider a 26. They are cheap, the odd (small) sizes are always available, and he'll grow into it. Probably a lot more bike for the money.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sapva View Post
    The contrarian view: consider a 26. They are cheap, the odd (small) sizes are always available, and he'll grow into it. Probably a lot more bike for the money.
    Not a bad idea. A friend just got the 26". He is a slightly taller than normal 8 year old and it is tough for him to stand over. He is on his tip toes with the seat slammed. The bike doesn't look bad with him on it and riding. FWIW.

    Edit: Oh, sorry I thought you were talking about the Vitus 26"...

  14. #14
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    Look at the GT Stomper Ace 24. Dick’s Sporting goods has that bike most of the time for $349 and sometimes even under $300. I got my daughter the Lola Ace (girl version). Yes it has a cheap fork but suntour has a sale for the XCR Lo air fork for $129 shipped. She’s loving the bike more and more every day. Her skills have improved from just neighborhood rides to a blue/green trail in a matter of 2 months.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlindberg View Post
    Checked the flow website and they don't have anything larger than 20" available yet. It said check back soon. The Vitus looks to be in stock right now so I might try for that first.
    Love to get an update of what bike you chose, and how it worked out. I am a bike noob relatively speaking and have gained a great deal of information from the expertise of others. Don't underestimate the passing on of real experience.

    One side note, when I hear develop skills, I hear it differently than before I listened to Svinyard, Slaphead and Dan. Is your kid going to be jumping. If by skills you are talking about climbing technical stuff that is very different than flow trail/dh stuff. If you kid wants to jump, get them a BMX bike. If it is about longer rides, all of the bikes you mentioned will work.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwa bike dad View Post
    Love to get an update of what bike you chose, and how it worked out. I am a bike noob relatively speaking and have gained a great deal of information from the expertise of others. Don't underestimate the passing on of real experience.

    One side note, when I hear develop skills, I hear it differently than before I listened to Svinyard, Slaphead and Dan. Is your kid going to be jumping. If by skills you are talking about climbing technical stuff that is very different than flow trail/dh stuff. If you kid wants to jump, get them a BMX bike. If it is about longer rides, all of the bikes you mentioned will work.
    I guess I should have been more specific, by skills I just meant with climbing/descending on beginner to intermediate single track and developing stamina. Right now l feel like the bike he currently has is a hindrance as he's fighting a heavy bike with a pogo stick fork and bad brakes.

  17. #17
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    The Vitus Nucleus 24 has arrived. It actually came earlier this week. Shipping from the UK was quick and it was a breeze to assemble. It's been raining all week so far here so my son hasn't gotten to ride it yet but it sure seems like a great bike for the money.Which 24" for 500 max budget-img_2117.jpg

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mlindberg View Post
    The Vitus Nucleus 24 has arrived. It actually came earlier this week. Shipping from the UK was quick and it was a breeze to assemble. It's been raining all week so far here so my son hasn't gotten to ride it yet but it sure seems like a great bike for the money.Click image for larger version. 

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    Nice choice! I so wish this bike would have been around when I bought my kid a Rip Rock. Hindsight is 20/20. He progressed fine on the Riprock and is known as a young ripper in our area, but he's still climbing and XC adverse, and I think that was developed when he was 8 years old trying to crank that near 30lb. bike up hills and on long rides.

    When we're out riding, parents are always asking me how to develop their young riders, and I pretty much parrot the advice here (BMX first, lightest MTB you can afford when you're ready). My son and I have gotten really good at spotting the kids in our area who started out racing BMX and progressed to MTB. They hop on an MTB and progress insanely fast.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwa bike dad View Post

    If you are buying a bike and changing out cranks, forks, brakes and gears and saving money, great for you! We bought a Spawn and he rips down the mountain. I guess it depends on what all you are riding but he is clearing stuff I thought only kids on youtube did. Lots of kids in our area can ride.
    I think we've run into your kid (and probably you) at Runway. I've seen a rider a few years younger than my kid on a Spawn there recently. My kid rides the Orange Giant (when he's not on a BMX or DJ) and talks a lot.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfly View Post
    Nice choice! I so wish this bike would have been around when I bought my kid a Rip Rock. Hindsight is 20/20. He progressed fine on the Riprock and is known as a young ripper in our area, but he's still climbing and XC adverse, and I think that was developed when he was 8 years old trying to crank that near 30lb. bike up hills and on long rides.

    When we're out riding, parents are always asking me how to develop their young riders, and I pretty much parrot the advice here (BMX first, lightest MTB you can afford when you're ready). My son and I have gotten really good at spotting the kids in our area who started out racing BMX and progressed to MTB. They hop on an MTB and progress insanely fast.
    Pretty sure my Stingray back in the 60's was around 30 lbs (the chromed steel console shifter and fake motorcycle springs added 10 lbs alone), and the next bike, a 10 speed Western Flyer, wasn't much better. Kids are so spoiled today

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by hogfly View Post
    I think we've run into your kid (and probably you) at Runway. I've seen a rider a few years younger than my kid on a Spawn there recently. My kid rides the Orange Giant (when he's not on a BMX or DJ) and talks a lot.
    Probably! We are there all the time! How fortunate we are to have a facility like that. And for FREE! So grateful for the area we live in. I am jonny-come late to the biking world, but my obsession has grown. Make sure and come say hey! My son is normally on his BMX bike out there. And the fact that your kid has a DJ means you are good people! My wife would kill me!!!!

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