Advice for 16" bike for first-timer- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Advice for 16" bike for first-timer

    Hey everyone. Joined the forum today seeking advice on a first bike for my son. I've exhausted all the past threads and could use a little more advice based on the current market today. He's 5yo, 42.5" .

    With everyone going on we've been doing more walks lately and my son has been expressing wanting to ride a two wheel bike. Currently he has a tricycle and a Strider balance bike. I can tell he wants to ride more but is a little scared of the whole thing. He's told me a few times he wants a two wheel bike with the small 2 wheels on the back.

    I'm been showing him videos lately to get him excited and trying to coach him on learning how to use the balance bike again. His major complaint has been the seat. he says it hurts his butt (Already upgraded to a bigger one a while back). We wen't out yesterday and started practicing more of the 'bunny' hops. He did pretty good but got fatigued on it after only 15mins, claiming his bottom hurts.

    I'm at a point where I want to buy him the best bike possible if it will shorten the progression to get to a two wheel bike. I figure if he has the desire, now is the time to feed it. Without being solid on the balance portion yet, I'm not sure how to attack this however. He seems pretty big for the strider though and the hard seat isn't helping anything.

    I've been looking at the Ramones 16, Spawn Yoji, Specialized RipRock, or maybe a Byk e-350. I think out of all those, the Yoji is the lightest (and I know a huge fan around here). There's the woom3, but I kindof like the idea of more of a mountain bike. He might get more use out of it later and might enjoy 'riding' more. I have no intention of taking him to a track or anything related though. We do have a couple dirt paths in the neighborhood though.

    At 16.3lbs, and $360 shipped, It seems like the Ramones 16 is the best bang for the buck out there right now. Not the lightest, not the heaviest, and still has a lot of bells and whistles. The Yoji is $455, so it is considerably more for what i can only tell is 2lbs better. Everything else seems comparable. Unsure of build quality differences however.

    I don't mind spending more money, but I don't want to spend it needlessly. If resale value is better on the yoji, maybe that's another deciding factor I should consider. I also have another one down the line, so this will get used twice.

    Could use some thoughts from others on this for recommending to a non-mountain bike family. I always had a mountain bike growing up and I know I sure enjoyed them. (also wasn't 5 though either). Appreciate it

    Pete
    Last edited by TTPete; 04-05-2020 at 01:22 PM. Reason: Updated

  2. #2
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    Honestly, I would find a used steel coaster brake bike in the price range of $0 to $20, let him learn how to pedal on it while balancing, then in two months, order a nice bike and throw the junker in the trash.

    At 42.5" tall he will be moving up to a 20" bike pretty quickly. My daughter was on a 20" bike when she was about that size. The reality is she not much bigger than that currently and 20" fits her well.

  3. #3
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    If money isn't the issue Spawn and it isn't close.

  4. #4
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    Ramones runs a lot bigger than the spawn. 42.5" is small for a 5yo. My 3.5yo is ~41" and has a cleary starfish balance bike and a spawn banshee 16 (older yoji). The spawn is big enough to intimidate him, a ramoes 16 would be too big. If your son is timid look at the woom as it is lighter and easier to handle than the spawn.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlhulit View Post
    Ramones runs a lot bigger than the spawn. 42.5" is small for a 5yo. My 3.5yo is ~41" and has a cleary starfish balance bike and a spawn banshee 16 (older yoji). The spawn is big enough to intimidate him, a ramoes 16 would be too big. If your son is timid look at the woom as it is lighter and easier to handle than the spawn.
    Once they start riding on their own, they progress incredibly fast. According to the websites geo, the Woom is slightly bigger than than the Spawn in each of the areas they have comparable geo. The Spawn is set up almost like a BMX bike with mtb tires. It is light, standover height is low (my 3 year old daughter can sit on the seat and both feet touch the ground.) You could take the bike on trails or bike parks. The handlebars are more BMX style and so sit higher than a MTB handlebar would. My 3 year old daughter (39.5") can ride the 16" Spawn with no problems at all. The geo is just really dialed in for a kid. And to help with the wife, the resale on those is really good. A lot of the other kids 16" bikes are set up more like MTB, so if they are sitting and riding, they end up really bent over. There is a big difference in the way a Cleary and a Spawn are set up.

    I don't want to share pics of pics of random kids on here but a google image search of "Cleary 16" and "Spawn Yoji 16" will show the differences. Very different set ups.

  6. #6
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    The Spawn Yoji isn't a MTB, its a DJ so sizing is different. Best bike for development aside from a BMX. Skip the roadie/gravel Woom/Islabike clones for sure unless you want to just sit and pedal (bad habit at this age). I've seen way to many kids struggle on those even on the easy trails, mostly because of the razor thin tires.

    Fwiw we aren't trying to get the kids pedaling around the neighborhood but good enough to ride blue flow trails (via Mom shuttle) and competent enough to ride with one of the local teams safely. So bike handling development and time spent daily on the bike is a huge priority for us over than just trail riding. Plus its way more fun for my kids at least. Not all parents are going that development/shredder route tho, so best to figure out what you want to do with the kids and go from there. Don't think that just because your kid is timid now that a proper bike and a bunch of time riding won't change that in a couple of months. I see it all the time. People underestimate kids on bikes, they usually just need time. Girls certainly shred too. (we have a huge girls program in town).

    A used 12" BMX is a fantastic option at this age (my kid is 45" on a Yoji 16") as often you can find them on craigslist for 150$. But very urban riding and not as versatile on the trail. Perhaps not the best first pedal bike tho as you have to stand and jam on them.

    If money isn't a big deal, go Yoji 16" for sure (370$), you'll get 2-3 seasons out of it and the resale will be incredible. Super light (13lbs) as any Woom/Isla roadbike, awesome volume MTB tires at this size, easy to learn to pedal and most importantly it really facilitates bike handling well (like any DJ). You can put lower rise Fly 2" riser bars on it to start (20$) and then throw on the stock riser bars when they are standing and pedaling. They should be able to learn to pedal in a day (1hr?) and then in a few months begin to stand and coast...then stand and pedal. Strongly recommend you never raise the seat once they can stand and pedal, they'll be twice the rider if they just stand and jam for now. The groms on local team all say "sitting is for old people" lol.

    My kid when he was 42" (lower rise fly bars). just turned 4yro on the Spawn. He's 5 now and still riding it. Too small at 45" to move up to 20" yet and still handle it well. He'll ride the Yoji next year as a DJ/BMX only option and not on the trail. It works well, he can huck 12" drop to flat with proper form, ride berms well and has some decent jump form. He can use it on the Manual Machine as well.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Advice for 16" bike for first-timer-aidan.jpg  


  7. #7
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    Appreciate the input and advice everyone.
    Was going to ask why not go for the Ramones if it's a slightly bigger bike (and cheaper), but I get the distinct impression the yoji is superior in almost every way.

    Wen't ahead and placed an order for the yoji16. Little bummed I was hoping he'd have a little more time with the bike before outgrowing it (sounds like two seasons), but his sister will be next in line, so it's probably fine. Will have to store it for quite a few years though.

    He's just now starting to get the hang of 'bunny hops' and lifting his feet up on the Strider 12sport, so figured a lower to the ground bike for him to flat foot for a bit would be a smart idea anyways. And I was sold on the geo and lower weight of the yoji (and he was sold on the green color). Hopefully that leads to lil sis picking it up sooner as well, so win win.

    svinyard - do you have any links for recommended lower rise Fly 2" riser bars? Thanks.

    Thanks for the help everyone. I hope he has a good time on this thing, looking forward to seeing him on two wheels soon.

  8. #8
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    Knobby tires, hand brakes. For good or ill that puts you at $300 or more. Most 16ers are coasters and the hand brake ones are nicer bikes.

    My nearly-6yo has been pedaling for a year but got too careful after some campground gravel spills on his coaster cruiser. He's outgrown it, too, in only 2 years.

  9. #9
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    I bought the yoji. Spent about 1 week teaching him to use the balance bike better, and then took about 2 hours to get him going on the yoji. Couple more days practicing and he can start himself, ride fine, and take corners sharp enough to scrape the pedals. I guess we're off and running.

    First 2 hours learning the 'pedals' sure did piss him off. I could see how riding a balance bike for several years could introduce it's own set of problems vs training wheels.

    Now that i bought him a 'dirt bike', all he wants to do is ride in the dirt and find things to jump. See how this works out...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by TTPete View Post
    I bought the yoji. Spent about 1 week teaching him to use the balance bike better, and then took about 2 hours to get him going on the yoji. Couple more days practicing and he can start himself, ride fine, and take corners sharp enough to scrape the pedals. I guess we're off and running.

    First 2 hours learning the 'pedals' sure did piss him off. I could see how riding a balance bike for several years could introduce it's own set of problems vs training wheels.

    Now that i bought him a 'dirt bike', all he wants to do is ride in the dirt and find things to jump. See how this works out...
    Ha, I like this kid. Time to build some sweet ramps now.

    Fly bars are a bit hard to find these days. You want the little 2" risers. That'll drop the stack down. The beauty is that you'll get prob 3 seasons perhaps as when he gets older it'll just be a little BMX/DJ bike which is really where the bike shines. A shorter, lighter DJ/BMX is what kids at this age need. If you want them to MTB, start them BMXing as much as possible. They will be so much better riders rather than just sitting and pedaling.

    As soon as you can, start bribing him with gummy bears for standing and coasting on pedals (once he has mastered pedaling in a couple of months or more). Can't stress that enough. Its all about the Stand and Jam until he is prob 7 or 8 and starts doing real climbs. Sitting is for old people. Their legs will eventually get strong enough. Just don't ever raise the seat.

    https://www.planetbmx.com/shop/bike-...pert-bars.html

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Ha, I like this kid. Time to build some sweet ramps now.

    Fly bars are a bit hard to find these days. You want the little 2" risers. That'll drop the stack down. The beauty is that you'll get prob 3 seasons perhaps as when he gets older it'll just be a little BMX/DJ bike which is really where the bike shines. A shorter, lighter DJ/BMX is what kids at this age need. If you want them to MTB, start them BMXing as much as possible. They will be so much better riders rather than just sitting and pedaling.

    As soon as you can, start bribing him with gummy bears for standing and coasting on pedals (once he has mastered pedaling in a couple of months or more). Can't stress that enough. Its all about the Stand and Jam until he is prob 7 or 8 and starts doing real climbs. Sitting is for old people. Their legs will eventually get strong enough. Just don't ever raise the seat.

    https://www.planetbmx.com/shop/bike-...pert-bars.html
    We learned as we went along. This is at a very small 3 on a 14" Yoji.
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  12. #12
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    Svinyard, appreciate the solid advice.
    Have another semi-related question. Thinking about picking up a bike for myself to tool around the neighborhood and local trails with him. Could use some advice.

    Was contemplating a DJ for myself, but a noooot quite sure that's the right bike for me (35yo). Looking for something to start refreshing and learning new bike skills and a good platform I can demonstrate what he should be starting to learn. Didn't think a 12sp and doing circles around the kid while he's on a single was a great idea. Maybe there's something in-between a DJ and a full on MTB that would make more sense?

    My initial thought process was to buy the same type of bike he has so i could encourage and demonstrate learning. I'm definitely not looking to large jumps or anything crazy, just looking for a bike to learn good skills needed for the MTB world. Any thoughts on the matter?

    Thanks
    Pete

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