First pedal bike - 14 vs 16- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    First pedal bike - 14 vs 16

    I've been reading through these forums and there is some absolutely fantastic advice from you all. I'm hoping to tap that knowledge.

    My son is 3.5 and probably about average height (40" tall, 16" inseam). He's been on a balance bike for a few months and he's pretty comfortable on it. Nothing crazy, but he'll rest his feet on the top tube and coast, and he's recently started to complain that it's not fast enough. So I take that as a sign that he's ready for a pedal bike.

    The main thing that I'm looking for is a bike that he'll feel confident on and that he can use to learn to pedal. But I also don't want him to be limited by his bike if he wants to get more adventurous.

    The 16s that I've looked into all seem to be a little too tall for him to use as a first pedal bike. A 14 seems like the way to go, but I'm worried that he'll outgrow it very soon. If we go with something like a Commencal Ramone 14, at what point is he too big to comfortably ride that bike?

    Any bike suggestions on a first pedal bike for a kid that's about 40" tall with a 16" inseam?

    Thoughts on the following specifically?
    Commencal Ramone 14
    Frog 40/43
    Specialized Riprock 12

  2. #2
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    Testing, can you reply to my comment?

  3. #3
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    Testing reply. I believe everything's straightened out now. Thank you!

  4. #4
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    Spawn Yoji 16" is the ticket man. It's kind of an off road bmx, which is what most kids need to be riding when young and developing skills not miles. It's short with somewhat BMX geo and gnarly tires. Ours is like 12.5 lbs. You can put flat bars on it if the stack is too high. It's not a big bike intentionally. Their 14" is a really small bike, you might skip that one. Everything is nice tho. Lots of little things about those bikes that arent obvious but make a difference.

    Prevelo's 16' with disk brakes is a better true mountain bike but its heavier and a bigger frame...not usually ideally for 3-4yro unless the kid is a monster. Not sure about the frog but pass on those others.

    If you search this sub-forum you'll find a ton more detail.

  5. #5
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    Spawn Yoji. My daughter had the 16 and it was fantastic. The resale value on spawn bikes has been incredible in my experience.

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    Svinyard and eyeballs, thanks for the quick reply!

    I can't get a Yoji 16 in the US (at least not from their website). I'm also in Florida, so local availability and trades aren't likely.

    EDIT: I take it back. If I access the site from one computer, it says "This model does not ship to the US", but another computer says it DOES ship to the US, but with a different seatpost.

    Any idea what the minimum seat height is for the Yoji 16? And what's the stand over? Since he's never been on a pedal bike before, I'm concerned that he'll get put off if the bike's too big for him.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phins View Post
    Svinyard and eyeballs, thanks for the quick reply!

    I can't get a Yoji 16 in the US (at least not from their website). I'm also in Florida, so local availability and trades aren't likely.

    Any idea what the minimum seat height is for the Yoji 16? And what's the stand over? Since he's never been on a pedal bike before, I'm concerned that he'll get put off if the bike's too big for him.
    I measured stand over for someone else in a previous thread (search). I think it was about 16" or so. The seat goes really low and is a nice small Pivotal. My 3yo did it on his tippy toes and was shorter than 40". He learned to pedal in about 30mins. You'll be fine.

    Ping Spawn via their contact form or on Facebook. They have updated their website stuff recently and its just a little screwed up for that bikes page I'm guessing.

    The nice thing is that as the kids grow and even move into a 20" MTB, that Yoji with the high rise bars (or even higher) works well enough as a BMX bike (which the kid will need too...BMX and a MTB). Resell is great on them...tho they are hard to let go . My big 7yro on his 24" mtb...he still steals that bike to mess around and work on his manuals and bunny hops and trying to 180 lol.

  8. #8
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    If your son is 40" tall should be fine on the 16. My youngest has outgrown hers and she's around 46" tall now. I would call or email spawn if the website is telling you it's not available in the US. Also check the pinkbike classifieds...that'll be your best bet to find one used.

  9. #9
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    Sophie started with a 12" wheel and recently moved her to a 14". 14 inch was second hand 20. when they are that young and not very balanced I wouldn't bother spending any money on the bike. I made sure the brakes were V not canti's and that was it. As she is progressing on it I'm going to get a decent 16 inch bike (canyon offspring 16) for her.

  10. #10
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    My son is about the same size. I ended up getting a Prevolo Zulu One due to sizing that seemed intermediate to the Spawn 14/16, disc brakes, and a seemingly more forgiving geometry.

    To be honest, he hasn't really taken to it as a pedal bike. He does ride it as a strider bike a reasonable amount and has gotten good at using the brakes, but he resists the pedals. I certainly wouldn't want a bigger bike, but if the Zulu 16 does come in at 12.5 pounds, the physical size might be less important than the almost 4 pounds lighter it is. I think that they could have made the Prevelo a bit lighter. It feels like it could withstand me riding it.

    Edit: It looks like the weight difference in stock format between the Zulu 1 (15.9) and the Yoji 16 (14.25) is less than I thought. Svinyard might have meant his now custom version and I missed that.

  11. #11
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    Thanks again to both!

    Svinyard, found your other sizing post - "17.25 to the top of the seat, and ~17 usable stand over." I just pushed my kid's balance bike seat up to 17", so we'll see how he does with that.

    eyeballs, thanks for the pinbike tip! It's gotta be Red, so that'll limit my used options, but definitely worth a look.

    Any specific reason that you guys recommend Spawn over Commencal? The Commencal 14 is $300 shipped, whereas the Spawn is $450 (need to get the 150mm post separately). If he'll get significantly more long-term use out of the Spawn, it makes sense. But if he's gonna out grow both of them in 18 months anyway, then it might make more sense to go with the cheaper option as the first peddler, and look into something better as his next bike if he shows interest.

  12. #12
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    POAH - it could be the difference in markets, but I haven't seen anything at all in the US for less than $100 used, and that's not including whatever it'd cost to ship. I'm with you on the not spending a ton at this point, but to get something with a low enough height and hand brakes, I'm easily in the $200 range (used).

    MarcusBrody - Prevalo is out since I'd have to paint it. He's only asked for two things - pedals...and Red heh. If I'm dishing out this kinda cash for a bike, I'd better get one that's the right color so he'll actually ride it.

  13. #13
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    At that age, they can be pretty fickle with color -- when we ordered our 14" Yoji last year, I put the tablet with the Spawn site in front of my son (then 3) and asked him which color he wanted.

    He picked green, but when we came in he kept asking why I didn't get purple.

    When it came time to order a 16" in December, he was pretty insistent on blue for the next bike.

  14. #14
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    My mistake on the weight, ours is like 13.5lbs instead of 14 or so. We put smaller cranks on it and fly bars.

    The Ramones 16" isn't a bad bike. The cranks are too long tho and its 2lbs heavier or so. 2lbs is a lot. Lots of guys drop 1000$+ to drop 2lbs off a bike. But the Ramones has some stuff going for it too. The relaxed HTA will make it less BMX'y which at times is good and at times less ideal...but for trail riding it's better IMO. The pivotal seats (Yoji BMX style seat) make more sense and let them drop REALLY low. I don't like the Ramones setup but whatever maybe its not a big deal. Also, you dont have to buy a different seat post man. Just cut the one it comes with down with a hacksaw. Takes 10mins.

    Eitherway, both the Ramones 16" and Yoji 16" seem like really nice bikes and the geo isn't bad (the backend isn't really long on either of them). I think the only thing wrong with the Ramones is the 114mm cranks. My kid is still riding the 89mm cranks (we swapped when he was little)...the 102mm stock cranks would be great for him now. I think it's only a big deal until they are standing and pedaling permanently. Sitting and pedaling with long cranks makes it less ideal for learning to pedal when they are little. He is about 42in tall and 4yo.

  15. #15
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    If you do your own maintenance and don't already have a long 25.4mm post, I'd recommend just buying a second short post for riding and keep the 300mm one to swap in when you work on the bike.

    The shorter posts don't leave much insertion when you raise them enough to attach the clamp from a workstand.

    For $15 or so it's less than you'd pay for a lot of bike tools and as an added benefit you don't need to worry about keeping track of where the new safe insertion depth is when raising up a cut down post.

  16. #16
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    I'm on the hunt now for a used Spawn Banshee/Yoji! Svinyard's measures were confirmed by Spawn (they say 16.5 and 16, but close enough).

    TimTucker - too true about the color. In fact, my son just came in and informed me that he wants a blue bike haha. He keeps going back to red, though (and that's what mom's got) - so that's probably the safer bet.

    I can't thank you all enough, it's a special kind of community that's willing to jump in and offer advise and politely handle questions from overbearing parents.

  17. #17
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    Glad to help. I don't know what it is about the spawn bikes, but every one I've gotten for my kids has impressed me more then expected. I wouldn't worry too much about the color. My daughter wanted green when I ordered her the Yama Jama (because her banshee was green) but the only color available was blue. I put green pedals and grips on, and she still loves it. It also happens to be the coolest looking bike in the garage (out of 6) in my opinion.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phins View Post
    POAH - it could be the difference in markets, but I haven't seen anything at all in the US for less than $100 used, and that's not including whatever it'd cost to ship. I'm with you on the not spending a ton at this point, but to get something with a low enough height and hand brakes, I'm easily in the $200 range (used).

    MarcusBrody - Prevalo is out since I'd have to paint it. He's only asked for two things - pedals...and Red heh. If I'm dishing out this kinda cash for a bike, I'd better get one that's the right color so he'll actually ride it.
    it was seriously cheap but people just want rid of their old stuff. It was pink which satisfied her mum ha ha ha.

    I was looking at the commencal 14 before we got this second hand bike. only issue I have with it is the tyres are slick and offer no grip on anything but tarmac. Considering the commecal 16 as well as the off spring.

  19. #19
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    Those are really cool bikes, but for my kids, they went through 16 inch bikes in one summer. My son grew a lot and went from a 16 straight to a 24, and my daughter who is shorter, went from the same 16 to a 20 in less than one year.

    My experience was, buy something decent but cheap, you will be practically giving it away very quickly.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by nobody special View Post
    Those are really cool bikes, but for my kids, they went through 16 inch bikes in one summer. My son grew a lot and went from a 16 straight to a 24, and my daughter who is shorter, went from the same 16 to a 20 in less than one year.

    My experience was, buy something decent but cheap, you will be practically giving it away very quickly.
    The 16" Yoji can stick around for years as a BMX alternative. My 8 year old son has a Kink 16" BMX but rides the Yoji some because it is lighter and easier to work on tricks. We have had it for a few years and gets ridden nearly every day by someone.

  21. #21
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    My son had the Commencal Ramones 14....actually first one here in the US (I'm in SoCal). I'm ready to sell it if you're interested. I still have the box with the training wheels and manual (never needed them).

    I didn't want to spend a ton until I could tell if my son would take to riding, and the Commencal was very easy for him to ride. He went from a Specialized balance bike to the Commencal and never needed training wheels.

    I chose to go with the 14 because I didn't want him to regress and need training wheels because he didn't feel comfortable on a bike that was too big. I've seen that happen and it's kinda traumatic for the kid.

    My son now rides a 20" Norco Charger (which he is about to outgrow).

    Anywhoo, IM me if you're interested in the Commencal. I'm about to post on Pinkbike and CL.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raivyn View Post
    My son had the Commencal Ramones 14....actually first one here in the US (I'm in SoCal). I'm ready to sell it if you're interested. I still have the box with the training wheels and manual (never needed them).

    I didn't want to spend a ton until I could tell if my son would take to riding, and the Commencal was very easy for him to ride. He went from a Specialized balance bike to the Commencal and never needed training wheels.

    I chose to go with the 14 because I didn't want him to regress and need training wheels because he didn't feel comfortable on a bike that was too big. I've seen that happen and it's kinda traumatic for the kid.

    My son now rides a 20" Norco Charger (which he is about to outgrow).

    Anywhoo, IM me if you're interested in the Commencal. I'm about to post on Pinkbike and CL.
    Hi. I was looking at buying a Ramones 14 here in NZ. I see they changed the geometry significantly between the 2018 and 2020 models. Assuming you have the older model - did your son have any issues with pedal strikes? The newer model has a higher BB and shorter cranks, and I saw another poster complain that their kid was always striking pedals and wiping out...

    (I'd offer to buy yours but shipping to New Zealand might blow the budget!)

  23. #23
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    POAH - it could be the difference in markets, but I haven't seen anything at all in the US for less than $100 used, and that's not including whatever it'd cost to ship. I'm with you on the not spending a ton at this point, but to get something with a low enough height and hand brakes, I'm easily in the $200 range (used).
    I agree with POAH but I'd say the trick is to look in the right place for your area. If you are a keen cyclist then you probably look in the wrong places and prices online tend to follow a trend... if one is for sale at $200 then others will try $200. Where I live the local gumtree and facebook groups are good... and local pin-up free ads in supermarkets. Where you live might be different but somewhere are parents with a kid a bit older wanting rid of the bike that's now too small.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by nwa bike dad View Post
    The 16" Yoji can stick around for years as a BMX alternative. My 8 year old son has a Kink 16" BMX but rides the Yoji some because it is lighter and easier to work on tricks. We have had it for a few years and gets ridden nearly every day by someone.
    Cant say this enough. My giant 7yro still rides (steals from little brother) because he can work on his manuals so easily. Its def a bike that lasts a LONG time as it's truly just an off-road BMX bike that works as a beginner pedaler too. Just swap the bars for higher rise Fly bars (like 20$) and itll get ridden for yrs. At this age the BMX skill devo style riding is what really pays off for them rather than traditional trail riding. Yoji is like 70% the former...30% the later and super light.

    FWIW this is as cheap as bikes get...wait till they get older. Then its park passes, suspension bikes, busted derailluers, brake bleeds and fancy pedals/shoes/helmet/pads/armor etc. Then you can be broke like the rest of us and having a blast: ).

  25. #25
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    I had the same concerns as the OP but decided to go all in with a Park 16. The fit is pretty good for my little dude, he is just not sure about pedaling yet. He is 3.5, about 42inches tall with a 18inch inseam. I am working with him now on how to pedal, but he is still pretty attached to his Balance bike since there is the comfort zone there. My hope is he can ride the park for at least 2 seasons. before he needs a 20 or 24inch bike.
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  26. #26
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    Yoji 16. Go 14" only if you want a BMX bike like the Cult Juvenile, otherwise you'll be buying a 16" not long after the 14". BTW the Juvenile is heavier but geo is better for tricks. I see 7 years olds on 14" BMX... pretty sure the Yoji 16 is going to be with us for quite a while.

    +1 to svinyard's last comment. I spent $150 on pads a month ago after spending $110 for a replacement helmet (he cracked his FF). Then his shoes wore out, so we went with Vans. Now it's obvious the pedals on his bike suck with decent shoes, and the best replacement is Chromag Radar flats for $90 (I ride cheapo Chesters). It also looks like he's going to destroy his derailleur a lot faster than I would. My wife asked why I was buying so much bike stuff and I pointed at the kid. For once it wasn't me!

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