Debating Cannondale Cujo Plus 20/24 sizes for son- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Debating Cannondale Cujo Plus 20/24 sizes for son

    Before I start, I'm not a bike novice. I raced road bikes for about ten years, I've owned cx bikes, etc but I mainly just ride light xc mtn trails these days. So, I understand bikes but my god, I have never been this confused about kid's bikes.

    My son turns 7 this month. He's about 51.5" tall, inseam is about 23.25-ish", weighs maybe 54 lbs or so.

    Based on 'general' recommendations, I initially thought he'd be in the 20" size category. But thread after thread I read has similar kids pushing 24".

    After a lot of contemplation, I had decided to spend a few more $ than I initially planned and started considering the Cannondale Cujo 20 & 24 plus bikes. I'm agetting him something so that he can ride WITH me. I want to get him doing longer distances, maybe even hit a non-technical xc trail or pump course.

    Focusing on the Cujo, just for now, I can't quite figure out which size is more appropriate. 20" seems potentially small to the point he'd outgrow it by the end of the year. The 24", if I'm reading this right, has a standover height of just under 24". With an inseam less than that, I can't see how he is getting on that bike. So, I'm really curious when I see other threads of people with 6 and 7 year olds on this size bike. Anyone with experience on this model...?

    Stated geometries:
    Cdale's own site is a bit all over the place (I realize these are rough guidelines but still...)

    Cujo 24:
    Height Range 56" - 66"
    Standover Height 23.9"

    Cujo 20:
    Height Range 48" - 60"
    Standover Height 20.5"

    To me, that puts my kid at the 20" but that kind of surprises me
    Last edited by stuttsdc; 02-06-2019 at 09:58 AM.

  2. #2
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    Ok, it'd be good to describe in a bit of detail his riding level (not just he's strong rider...) but also your goals as far as the kind of riding your hope to do soon.

    Regardless, if you buy the right bikes (relatively) and focus on development and just riding a bunch of varied stuff (to keep it fun) while also building some life saving skills; a kid can go from jumping a speed bump to clearing a 15ft table in 12mo pretty easily depending on the kid (he's at the right age to be hitting it hard if you want).

    Buy a bike that you would really enjoy if you were weak as a wet noodle for the mtb. Would you want a plus tire bike with heavy wheels and tires with a narrow range drive train? Prob not cause it just wouldn't be as much fun.

    If price is an issue, the Vitus 24" is a sweet mtb with an air fork and decent components. I wouldn't hesitate to do that. Now you prob ride a sweet XC bike, Trailcraft makes one of those for your kid. It costs about the price of two iPads I think and is dialed. Resale is going to be really strong too so you'll get some of that back for sure. Spawn hardtail is just OK these days in 24". Prevelos is REALLY freaking nice (that fork is buttery smooth) and the 11-46 range is what you want (cujo is like 12 - 34 8sp, spawns is only 11-36 10sp). You want the range if you can get it.

    He is 110% on a 24" bike BTW. No question there.

    Def get him a nice used BMX bike. 16" will last him a long time. Zero need to jump to a bigger, longer. Smaller is better. You'll want a BMX or DJ bike too. Sitting on the sidelines while your kid rides the skate park or whatever is for jokers and a waste of time you could be riding with the kid. N+1 bikes right 😉. A nice used BMX will be 150$+ for a Cult Juvenile, Sunday Blueprint, Fit Misfit, United Recruit, Wethepeople seed, etc.

    The BMX riding will make for fun variety (important) and teach him 10x more than rolling down the trail if you guys put some time into it. I saw that little Caden phenom my kids watch on YouTube the other day. He was at our big indoor park. He's a tiny 7yro kid whipping 720's like nothing over and over again. Always a stark reminder how good the BMX scene (racing or freestyle) is at accelerating kids development.

    So on the cheap the Vitus 24 Hardtail (plus tires slow you down) and a used BMX is the way to go. Make sure he's riding a FF helmet at all times. Bell Super 2r/3r are ideal. Check eBay for cool Stormtrooper or Boba Fett models, some guy on here got a steal on one for 100$. My kids have killed teeth going 1mph on Pumptrack because no FF helmet. Happens all the time but every day I see more and more kids on a FF. Our neighbor kid got lifeflighted out like 5yro riding in the neighborhood with no FF. Just not worth it.

    So just my opinions tho we've gotten all this from other days on here and it's served us well.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for feedback. Iíll check out the other modes but Iím really just looking for feedback on the cujo sizing

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuttsdc View Post
    Thanks for feedback. Iíll check out the other modes but Iím really just looking for feedback on the cujo sizing
    Have you seen this thread? https://forums.mtbr.com/families-rid...a-1067494.html Some good and bad reviews there.

    I don't have any specific recommendations, except don't be tempted to buy a bike too big so that they can grow into it. It will be harder to handle, heavier, and less enjoyable. If anything, buy something in their size range and if you need to you can have them use it a little longer to get by until christmas or birthday, etc. My kids ride BMX and MTB, and they have more fun on smaller, more playful bikes. My 6yo is 46" and his MTB is an Orbea MX20 team disc. He is definitely on the small side for it, so he likes his other bikes better unless we are going for a longer trail ride. Also, I kind of wish I had gotten a single speed bike. He is so used to single speed from BMX, that he will usually just power up all of the hills without changing gears unless I know there is something really big coming and prep him for it. We live in a more rolling terrain area where there are some steep hills, but not very long.

    Anyway, good luck with the decision.

  5. #5
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    No doubt. Good points. I def don't want a bigger bike he can't handle, so that's why I'm trying to see who around here is familiar with this model. I feel like he's possibly between sizes but I might be wrong.

  6. #6
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    He is closer to being in between a 24/26 than 20/24. I know kids his sizing racing DH on a 26". 26" is not ideal but a 24" would be assuming the bike geo isnt lame. You want something with chainstays around 390 and roughly 530 or so in reach, a 500 or so Top tube and a wheelbase around 1035 depending on HTA, shorter. Stack closer to 500 for rigid. Your kid needs to be on a 24" or more. The Cujo 24" is a better fit than the 20" for sure and he'll only get a season or two out of that 24" cause your kid is big like mine. The sizing oddity for the Cujo 24" come not from the wheel size but the janky geometry. So while it's the right wheel size for sure the bike isn't going to handle well.

    If you want a bike that isn't too big and can ride longer further as well as some Pumptrack, that bike ain't it. The chainstays are as long as some.short end 29ers at 425mm. Let that sink in. The stack is oddly about the same size as a 24" 150mm travel bike, super high for a simple rigid bike. Riding that on a pumptrack will suck as will learning to manual or lift the wheel etc. The plus tires with crappy gearing range will result in a lot of rotational weight resulting in shorter rides.

    So wanting to ride longer and further on some mild trails and also do the Pumptrack (great idea for kids)...that 24" is just poorly designed for both of those things. I see this all the time with the 20 little boys on our mtb team. The plus tire bikes, while the kids can certainly ride them, definitely hold a kid back at certain important things while providing no/little advantage elsewhere, most noticeable on the pedal trips and skill work like Pumptrack and bunny hopping drills. They are basically similar to adult fat bike.

    My kid is the same size as your kid (he just turned 7 and is 60lbs and 52". Here are some pics for sizing. He is currently way to small for his 20" by rode it all last summer as a 6yro. He'll be on a 24" as soon as we can find the right FS bike.

    This is early last summer and he was 6yro 50". Even here the 20" is too small:
    Debating Cannondale Cujo Plus 20/24 sizes for son-screenshot_20181007-082217_slow-motion-editor.jpg

    Here he is on a 24 Spawn of his buddies when he was 6yro and 50", it's nearly ideal:
    Debating Cannondale Cujo Plus 20/24 sizes for son-20181008_172817.jpg

  7. #7
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    Your feedback and pics are great, thanks.
    Don't get me wrong...I know this isn't the bike for a pumptrack, etc. That's not my focus anyway and I'd probably end up getting him a used mtn bike for that stuff. I get the points about rotational weight, etc, and I am looking at a couple of other models. But I don't think the bike overall really has a ton of trade-offs, particularly for a 7 year old with the kind of riding I envision doing.

    That's a very nice bike btw

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuttsdc View Post
    Your feedback and pics are great, thanks.
    Don't get me wrong...I know this isn't the bike for a pumptrack, etc. That's not my focus anyway and I'd probably end up getting him a used mtn bike for that stuff. I get the points about rotational weight, etc, and I am looking at a couple of other models. But I don't think the bike overall really has a ton of trade-offs, particularly for a 7 year old with the kind of riding I envision doing.

    That's a very nice bike btw
    Gotcha, makes sense. The nice thing about it being a CDale is that you can prob find a bike to at least parking lot demo, probably back to back with other bikes at a shop. I do like that the bike has appropriately sized sized cranks.

  9. #9
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    This is the Vitus 24" 479$ at chainreaction I was talking about (free shipping). For the price its insanely nice, no clue how they swung this spec but damn if it isn't awesome for 480$ (cheaper than Cujo 24" too). Any comparable bike from Orbea or Norco etc. is 650$ minimum and all come with the wrong cranks and worse drive train. Vitus nailed it for the price.

    Vitus
    https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/...aign=nucleus24

    I do equipment advising for our kids MTB team (sorry for unloading so much info btw) and am stoked that this is finally an option for kids that shred but can't swing 1100$ for a Spawn/Prevelo etc. Under 500$ airfork hardtail is a big deal. We can get kids off of crappy Riprocks and whatever else the big brands are pushing and just put them on one of these. The community will then have a flux of sweet used bikes in a couple of years that actually work and it'll be all good at the 300$ price point then too. Cheap MTB'ing for the next generation with real functional bikes.

    Highlights vs Cujo:
    1- Hydraulic brakes vs mechanical (this is kind of a big deal for little 7ryo hands)
    2- Shorter CS@ 415 vs 425 on Cujo (still a bit too long but better is better)
    3- Bit Wider range cassette with 9sp 11-36 vs 8sp 11-34
    4- The 140mm cranks are better than 130mm of Cujo (150mm+ is too big)
    5- Lighter trail tires an wheels are ideal for what you are doing
    6- 65mm travel Air fork!
    7- Shorter 50mm stem and better bars - Weird 75mm stem on Cujo with big rise sucks
    8- Slacker 67d HTA (on a hardtail mind you) is ideal for what you are doing
    9- Stack is only 487 insead of 545 on Cujo (big deal as riser bars can make it go higher as the kid grows but 545 is pretty tall to start on.)
    10- Shorter top tube will fit the kid a bit better too

    Chainreaction delivers for free and you'd pay no duty fee's if that was a thing. Not often a bike is this big of an upgrade and cheaper too, to my knowledge nothing comes close to this as this price or even more. You'd have to spend 1k$ to beat it. Cheers.
    Debating Cannondale Cujo Plus 20/24 sizes for son-prod173140_green_ne_01.jpg

    fwiw my buddy has Giant's version of that Cujo geometry (minus the plus tires) in 20" and like 48in tall. He hates and his kid struggles (but isn't a bad rider). Its that silly long geometry that kills him. When he gets on our Spawn its night and day. He's selling it and dropping 1k$ on a Spawn/Prevelo bike of the same size because Vitus doesn't make that in a 20" hardtail yet.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Debating Cannondale Cujo Plus 20/24 sizes for son-download.jpg  


  10. #10
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    Nice of you to post that. That does look like an interesting option. Curious what the weight is on these.

  11. #11
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    Looks like weight is a touch of 25lb. So, comparable to the Cujo. Needs pedals, though the pedals on the cujo are plastic junk.
    Dang...you may have talked me into this. Need to think about it. And I wonder how long it takes to arrive from the UK and whether or not it has to be assembled. I've some research to do...

  12. #12
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    I ordered a bike from UK a month ago. Took 5 days to Oregon, I'd guess it's 5 to 14 days. Assembly will be like any bike in a box. Just need the wheels installed and handlebars put on. Some Wellgo peds for 35$ kc0001 (I think) should do the trick. 25lbs seems pretty dang light. 2k$ trail craft is 24lbs.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    25lbs seems pretty dang light. 2k$ trail craft is 24lbs.
    Quick correction: We are quite a bit lighter than 24 pounds and under $2k for our Pineridge 24.

    Our $1849.00 Pineridge 24 bike is coming in at 20.15 pounds (with pedals) for the Pro Deore level build with Stans Crest MK3 wheels, Carbon TC30 80mm fork, alloy spindle TC direct mount cranks.

    https://www.instagram.com/p/BtkSYrSFcq1/


    Granted it is a $1849.00 24" bike, but no part is heavy. We've trimmed ALL of the fat. Stans Crest MK3 rims (310 grams each) wheelset is 1250 grams. You don't have to figure out "how do I make this 25 pound bike 5 pounds lighter" as we've done it for you from the beginning. Ridiculous to most, but coveted by many. It's 3.6 times more expensive than the $525.00 Cujo the OP is looking at, so factor that in as well.


    The Vitus is a great looking bike and 24" platform to start. You can drop almost a pound just by switching the Maxxis Snyper tires out for Rocket Ron's, drop another 250-300 grams with a simple fork upgrade, and probably close to another pound with a stem/bar/seatpost/saddle swap. Replace anything that spins first, it will net the biggest performance gain for young, lightweight kids. Tires, wheels, cranks. Believe it or not, light shoes make a huge difference for kids too. 100g of additional weight may not sound like much when you look at the energy expenditure to accelerate them, but it adds up over a multi-hour ride. I can feel it, and I definitely prefer lightweight shoes for longer rides. My 50-ish pound kids did too when on the smaller 24" bikes.

    Our Maxwell 24 full suspension 24" bikes on the other hand are over $2K and start at 24 pounds. Maybe that is the bike you were referencing. Still 4+ pounds lighter than everything else in the 24" full sus category.

  14. #14
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    Ah yes, that is the bike I was confused with, pardon me. Yeah FS. Good on the clarification, I'm take notes on lightening advice. Cheers

  15. #15
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    [deleted.... ]
    Last edited by stuttsdc; 02-08-2019 at 01:27 PM. Reason: deleted comments

  16. #16
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    I bit the bullet and decided to order the Vitus Nucleas 24 from CRC based on svinyard's recommendations. I'm hoping it's not a total clusterf* to deal with shipping/delivery. I'm reading such a variety of conflicting reports. On their web site, with the cost under $800, it being a complete bike, etc it sounds like I shouldn't have to worry about any additional customs or courier feeds but I've no idea if that's true, when I could expect to to actually show up, etc. Ugh. Well, I have about 15 days to the kiddo's birthday so hopefully I didn't make a huge mistake.

    While I'm at it...the rims on this bike are spec'd really vague. Hoping they'd allow me to (eventually) do a tubeless conversion. I'd probably just have him ride stock for a while with tubes and hope the trail doesn't end up being a pinch-flat nightmare.

  17. #17
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    That's a great tip on the shoes! Y'all build awesome bikes and really nice job on the weight/cost ratio. I'd likely have bought a trailcraft if the 20" had been released 6 months earlier! As it is we ended up with a great custom build @ 16.18lbs with pedals, but it cost a lot more than a trailcraft and was a ton of work to get right. We'll likely hit you up for a 24" in a year or two

  18. #18
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    Does that 16lb bike have suspension fork on it or is it Rigid? I'm guessing it's Rigid but didn't want to assume. You put in some nice work there!

    Congrats on the Vitus stutts. It'll be there within 10days or less I'm guessing. I was really surprised how fast my calibre DJ got here but I guess you never know. Def no duties. That'll be a fun Birthday!!

  19. #19
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    I actually got a tracking email saying it'd be here on Wednesday. Crazy. I had to put a hold on delivery until Friday so I can be here to sign for it.
    Ordered a set of chromag radar pedals for the little dude too. He should be stoked. Hopefully, 26lb or whatever it comes out to stock with pedals isn't a major drag.

  20. #20
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    It's rigid. I'd guess that suspension fork would add around a pound to a pond and a half (the fork is 750g). It's also a mixer with a 24" front wheel and 20" rear wheel. So the extra roll over helps mitigate not having suspension.

    details here https://forums.mtbr.com/families-rid...d-1092907.html



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  21. #21
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    Just an update. Shipping on the Vitus was absurdly quick with local delivery by DHL. Did not have to pay any extra import/courier fees. It would have been here w/in 5 days of my order but I actually had to put delivery on hold for another two days b/c I wanted to be home to receive it.

    I set to work putting it together straight away. Basically, I just had to unpack it, put on the wheels, the handlebars, and pedals. Not rocket science.

    The frame did have a couple of scratches. It was wrapped fairly well though I could tell that some of the internal packaging to secure the bike was loose or useless. The scratches were not deal-breakers and thankfully, they included a vial of touch-up paint in the box. Very nice. To be honest, the Chromag Radar pedals I ordered from Jenson USA were more scratched. I suspect they resold me a pair someone had returned. Pedals get scratched and they weren't abused (the threads looked clean so I'm not saying they were installed prior to their sale)...I kept them.

    The front brake cable was a fair bit longer than needed. I'm going to leave it as-is for now. I don't believe it's significant enough to be a hazard but it could have been installed with more thought. I had a pain getting the front rotor to sit in the brake properly. Took me longer than it should have but I eventually got it aligned correctly. Brakes could have been dialed in a bit better. They don't need to be bled but I would have adjusted them a bit more before shipping.

    This is a really nice little ride! It feels light enough as well. I'm waiting for son's birthday to give it to him....this weekend.

    The only 'upgrade' I'm considering right now is a tubeless conversion. I have not had an opportunity to measure the rim width. I'd hope it's a fairly standard width, even if it comes with schraeder valves. The rims are super generic. There's literally no labeling on them at all and the specs just say 'Shining'. They are installed with Maxxis snyper 2.0 folding tires.
    I've never done a conversion myself, though I run tubeless on my own bike.
    Kind of curious... anyone know if I could get away with some 21mm rim tape or do I absolutely need rim strips. I was trying to figure out what size rim strips I'd need, if that's the case.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuttsdc View Post
    Just an update. Shipping on the Vitus was absurdly quick with local delivery by DHL. Did not have to pay any extra import/courier fees. It would have been here w/in 5 days of my order but I actually had to put delivery on hold for another two days b/c I wanted to be home to receive it.

    I set to work putting it together straight away. Basically, I just had to unpack it, put on the wheels, the handlebars, and pedals. Not rocket science.

    The frame did have a couple of scratches. It was wrapped fairly well though I could tell that some of the internal packaging to secure the bike was loose or useless. The scratches were not deal-breakers and thankfully, they included a vial of touch-up paint in the box. Very nice. To be honest, the Chromag Radar pedals I ordered from Jenson USA were more scratched. I suspect they resold me a pair someone had returned. Pedals get scratched and they weren't abused (the threads looked clean so I'm not saying they were installed prior to their sale)...I kept them.

    The front brake cable was a fair bit longer than needed. I'm going to leave it as-is for now. I don't believe it's significant enough to be a hazard but it could have been installed with more thought. I had a pain getting the front rotor to sit in the brake properly. Took me longer than it should have but I eventually got it aligned correctly. Brakes could have been dialed in a bit better. They don't need to be bled but I would have adjusted them a bit more before shipping.

    This is a really nice little ride! It feels light enough as well. I'm waiting for son's birthday to give it to him....this weekend.

    The only 'upgrade' I'm considering right now is a tubeless conversion. I have not had an opportunity to measure the rim width. I'd hope it's a fairly standard width, even if it comes with schraeder valves. The rims are super generic. There's literally no labeling on them at all and the specs just say 'Shining'. They are installed with Maxxis snyper 2.0 folding tires.
    I've never done a conversion myself, though I run tubeless on my own bike.
    Kind of curious... anyone know if I could get away with some 21mm rim tape or do I absolutely need rim strips. I was trying to figure out what size rim strips I'd need, if that's the case.
    Very cool man. Grab some pics when you get a chance and the weight if possible (You should start a new thread for posterity sake, nice review so far). Tubeless, I wouldn't worry about going super wide unless there is something I don't know about. I like narrow tape rather than super wide. It does good enough and doesn't get hung-up when I use a tire lever on it. Super nice they gave you some extra paint.

    Hows the fork and shifting? Its amazing how fast they can ship a bike. I can barely get parts that fast from Cali to Oregon on some days.

  23. #23
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    Yeah, right now, I have the bike well-hidden in storage. That's why I haven't really weighed or measured anything. I should say that I do believe it was in the 25# range (w/out pedals) just on feel. That is, it in no way felt like a tank.
    I barely had a chance to test the bike out. The fork felt smooth, capable. It arrived locked out and held a nice bit of air when i pushed down on them. I'll have to adjust for a 53# kid when he gets on it. The brakes stop on a dime. I didn't care that you have to press in the levers about halfway before they kick in...that's the adjustment I would have preferred. But they in no way are 'squishy' or require an immediate adjustment. I'll let my boy ride it for a bit and feel them out first.

    Shifting was very smooth. Couldn't be happier w/that.

    I actually got an email from Vitus saying their internal rim width is 19mm but they don't have a spec on external yet. If anyone can settle whether or not I'd have to use a rim strip kit vs rim tape, that'd be welcome. I see a lot of conflicting opinions in other threads. I probably won't rush to do this. I ride w/a couple of friends who still use tubes and I can't recall a time they flatted out there. So, I'll probably give it a go on the trail and see what I'm dealing with first.
    Last edited by stuttsdc; 4 Weeks Ago at 10:54 AM.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuttsdc View Post
    Yeah, right now, I have the bike well-hidden in storage. That's why I haven't really weighed or measured anything. I should say that I do believe it was in the 25# range (w/out pedals) just on feel. That is, it in no way felt like a tank.
    I barely had a chance to test the bike out. The fork felt smooth, capable. It arrived locked out and held a nice bit of air when i pushed down on them. I'll have to adjust for a 53# kid when he gets on it. The brakes stop on a dime. I didn't care that you have to press in the levers about halfway before they kick in...that's the adjustment I would have preferred. But they in no way are 'squishy' or require an immediate adjustment. I'll let my boy ride it for a bit and feel them out first.

    Shifting was very smooth. Couldn't be happier w/that.

    I actually got an email from Vitus saying their internal rim width is 19mm but they don't have a spec on external yet. If anyone can settle whether or not I'd have to use a rim strip kit vs rim tape, that'd be welcome. I see a lot of conflicting opinions in other threads. I probably won't rush to do this. I ride w/a couple of friends who still use tubes and I can't recall a time they flatted out there. So, I'll probably give it a go on the trail and see what I'm dealing with first.
    Might be late but unless they are really really tight just stick some gorilla tape on then cut to size if you need to. Iíve never needed a rim strip on any of probably 20+ sets of wheels Iíve converted (no all mine). Gorilla tape actually sticks ..l many tubeless rim tapes barely stick (wtb is terrible) the best but might not be sold in the us is TRex tape.... it even sticks to damp rims and also seems more waterproof than gorilla

    Donít stick any fluid in... remove valve cores and use some dish detergent on rims and tires ... also make sure they are ice and warm. . if you have to stick a tube in overnight..

    Donít worry about initial leaking before you put fluid in.. just get them to seat.. once seated just put fluid through the valve with core removed. This way if it doesnít go 1st time no mess. Good sealant will take care of the rest ... it can take a bit of riding to get it all worked in nicely on non tubeless tyres though.

    Smaller wheels can be harder just because the curve is tighter but also take less air.




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  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-XtC View Post
    Might be late but unless they are really really tight just stick some gorilla tape on then cut to size if you need to. Iíve never needed a rim strip on any of probably 20+ sets of wheels Iíve converted (no all mine). Gorilla tape actually sticks .
    I'll second the gorilla tape. In fact Reynolds and Enve were even shipping their wheels with Gorilla tape for a while. Makes tire install a bit harder on some rims due to thickness, but it does work well.

  26. #26
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    Waiting on our Vitus 20"Plus to take on spring break, tracking says wednesday, just arrived in OH and cleared customs this morning!

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