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  1. #1
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    Kid bike noob - help needed

    I picked up MTBing at >40yo and know nothing about teaching kids how to mountain bike.

    My 8yo boy wants to ride with me. He's currently not aggressive on a bike, but may have it in him as demonstrated on the slopes. He's on a cheap 20" BMX now and doesn't stand much at all. His riding to date is mostly tar.

    I want him to learn skills but also gain confidence. We'll start by riding some machine groomed flow in New England, but want something that can handle some low-key NE chop, too. Eventually.

    The budget is ~$400 or less. I'm looking at a GT Stomper Ace 24, but also considering a larger BMX bike. He's a very large/tall 8yo.

    Maybe I'm just wandering into endless internet opinion, but I'm curious to learn more on the subject before I purchase.

    I'm guessing the BMX would teach him skills faster and the GT SA24 would build confidence better? (I get that the coil fork may be junk and require upgrade.)

    If so, to what level? Would he be going OTB a lot on a BMX? How much would a comparative sled like the GT slow his learning of body position, etc?

    Or am I just stuck in analysis paralysis and should just buy a damn bike and hit the trail?

  2. #2
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    I've noticed the kids that learn early on a bmx (at bmx/skate parks and not singletrack) always seem to end up the insanely talented ones. My girls didn't start out that way, but after a couple years (currently ages 7 and 9) are now capable of intermediate techy singletrack (but no ledge-drops as they can't manual). It's crazy how fast kids progress if you just get them out there and ride. The trick seems to be keeping it fun and finding the right motivators. We do lots of traveling around to different trails, and have done one private lesson (I want to make sure I was on the right track). This summer we have a big vacation planned to a lift park with a kids program.

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    The big key would be how tall?

    If you look through prior threads, there are examples of tall 8 / 9 year olds on XS 26" or 27.5" bikes, which may be easier to find used in your price range than a good 24".

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    Quote Originally Posted by eyeballs View Post
    I've noticed the kids that learn early on a bmx (at bmx/skate parks and not singletrack) always seem to end up the insanely talented ones. My girls didn't start out that way, but after a couple years (currently ages 7 and 9) are now capable of intermediate techy singletrack (but no ledge-drops as they can't manual). It's crazy how fast kids progress if you just get them out there and ride. The trick seems to be keeping it fun and finding the right motivators. We do lots of traveling around to different trails, and have done one private lesson (I want to make sure I was on the right track). This summer we have a big vacation planned to a lift park with a kids program.
    Interesting. We won't be starting at parks, though they are building a pump track near me.

    So you started your girls on MTBs?

    Will definitely strive to keep it fun. We spent untold sums on hot chocolate and pizza until the skiing took hold with our kids. Now we get to use the threat of no skiing to our advantage.

    I will try to get him out early and often this year!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimTucker View Post
    The big key would be how tall?

    If you look through prior threads, there are examples of tall 8 / 9 year olds on XS 26" or 27.5" bikes, which may be easier to find used in your price range than a good 24".
    ^This, regarding MTB size.

    My advice: get a BMX bike for each of you, and play around. Get a 20" wheeled bike for you, with an appropriate sized frame, and a 18" wheeled bike for him, maybe 20 with a small frame-- but the idea is to get a small BMX bike, so he can learn to stand, and to move the bike around underneath him.

    The basic mountain biking skills can easily be learned with a driveway and a curb, and maybe a couple of planks of wood. Obviously if you have a skatepark, this is a little bit easier... But it's all about what you are likely to do more often.

    As for the trails, I think you may want to wait a couple of months and see what kind of trails you like riding together as a family. If you are primarily going to dirt jumps and downhill lines, vs if you are doing more distance on cross-country trails, will lead to two very different answers for which bike you should buy.

    (PS. *No* fork is better than cheap fork. Caveat--if the kid thinks a fork is what makes it a mountain bike, then disregard what I just said. Because he will overcome that extra weight with enthusiasm, kids are weird/awesome like that.)

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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimTucker View Post
    The big key would be how tall?

    If you look through prior threads, there are examples of tall 8 / 9 year olds on XS 26" or 27.5" bikes, which may be easier to find used in your price range than a good 24".
    I think he's about 4'6" - give or take. Maybe a little less?

    He got on his sister's 24" this weekend and that looked barely on the edge of small enough, but maybe I'm wrong and he'd fit on a 26er?

    That's an excellent point you make about relative availability of used bikes in that size.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDinME View Post

    Will definitely strive to keep it fun. We spent untold sums on hot chocolate and pizza until the skiing took hold with our kids. Now we get to use the threat of no skiing to our advantage.
    Hahaha! That is awesome. Like in 'Curb Your Enthusiasm', "you flipped it on them".

    I kinda sealed my sons fate with that by having him watch videos with me from like age 2. By the time he was on a board by 4, he was unstoppable. Sponored the next year. Nuts. At 10 now, he's the best riding partner I could ever have. Total tree and powder hound, but destroys the park/rails.

    I very much agree with Eyeballs about BMX bikes. Get a decent 18" wheel street/dirt bike for him and let him get after it. (Fit, Colony, United etc.etc. My son has a Colony Sweettooth) But also, don't shy away from single track. At your sons age, it sounds like a 24 is probably a good size to start on. There are quite few decent 24" options, and every year there are more options for the front end (suspension wise).

    I started my boy on a strider at age 3 and he was running that thing along on twisty single track at about 3.5. He was irreversibly hooked. He's since gone from 16" wheels, to 20" (customized rigid hardtail, Zaskar) to 24" (customized Orbea MX24 Team Disc) and he can hold his own on average trail, dropping people on 6K bikes. I'm now looking at building a 26" frame for him since I'm not stoked on much of what is out there, but I digress.

    Edit: 26 is an option at his height. My son is 56 inches (4'4") and fits his 24" with his seat extended and a 60mm stem authoritatively now. His handling and weight distribution on it is in the 'sweet spot'. Hence why I'm looking at a 26 for him by the middle of summer. Your boy will fit on one fine now, but also fit a longer TT 24" too if there is one that you can either borrow or get for next to nothing.

    I have looked at the options out there for 26 and 27.5 and I'm not exactly clicking my heels about any of them. But that's my opinion and it differs from most in these forums. Personally though, I think that at their size, if moving one increment to a 26 is possible it's better than jumping to a 27.5, and I say that because even though they can roll the things, it's more than they need, and at the moment, there isn't nary a 27.5 that has a shorter backend than 42.5cm, and also is stacked (stackheight) and slacked to the ceiling due to too long of a fork being specced. While that's short for a 29er, it isn't for a 26 or a 27.5. And as far as their bodies are concerned, that's long. But, this is why I'm looking at building a 26 that's designed around a 453 fork, and a 413-415 chainstay. I feel like everything else out there is making due, and I hate making due unless the stars align on it. So much for me digressing.

  8. #8
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    Yup, 18" BMX for skill building and local park and pumptrack stuff and maybe an XS 26" (better investment and more options if he can fit one) for trail riding. BMX bikes suck for MTB trails, big time, IME.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by rabitoblanco View Post
    ^This, regarding MTB size.

    My advice: get a BMX bike for each of you, and play around. Get a 20" wheeled bike for you, with an appropriate sized frame, and a 18" wheeled bike for him, maybe 20 with a small frame-- but the idea is to get a small BMX bike, so he can learn to stand, and to move the bike around underneath him.

    The basic mountain biking skills can easily be learned with a driveway and a curb, and maybe a couple of planks of wood. Obviously if you have a skatepark, this is a little bit easier... But it's all about what you are likely to do more often.

    As for the trails, I think you may want to wait a couple of months and see what kind of trails you like riding together as a family. If you are primarily going to dirt jumps and downhill lines, vs if you are doing more distance on cross-country trails, will lead to two very different answers for which bike you should buy.

    (PS. *No* fork is better than cheap fork. Caveat--if the kid thinks a fork is what makes it a mountain bike, then disregard what I just said. Because he will overcome that extra weight with enthusiasm, kids are weird/awesome like that.)

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    Thanks.

    I know what kind of trails/riding we'll be doing: XC on New England roots and rocks / short climbs and descents. There are a few miles of machine groomed flow nearby, which is where we'll start.

    So maybe leave him on his 20" BMX w/ coaster brakes this spring and do some driveway / curb drills and also hit the smooth flowy stuff / pump track? Then get a MTB once he has a broader base and is ready to hit the natural ST?

    Ha - I get you on the fork.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LDinME View Post
    Thanks.

    I know what kind of trails/riding we'll be doing: XC on New England roots and rocks / short climbs and descents. There are a few miles of machine groomed flow nearby, which is where we'll start.

    So maybe leave him on his 20" BMX w/ coaster brakes this spring and do some driveway / curb drills and also hit the smooth flowy stuff / pump track? Then get a MTB once he has a broader base and is ready to hit the natural ST?

    Ha - I get you on the fork.
    That is the sort of riding that I honed my self on starting in the 90's. My son too. It develops skill that translates to everything. I stand even moreso by the bike type I recommend.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    That is the sort of riding that I honed my self on starting in the 90's. My son too. It develops skill that translates to everything. I stand even moreso by the bike type I recommend.
    Cool. Thanks. Sounds like your son rips! That's awesome.

    So to make sure I'm hearing you right:

    You're suggesting he be on a 18 (or 20) BMX for non-trail fun/drills and get a 26 (or 24) for trail work?

    With that - I'd be inclined to leave him on his crappy big-box store 20" BMX and leave the dough for a better MTB... Crazy talk?

    Long-term (if there is one) he's not likely to be a park kid or dirt jumper - in part because they're not around here, and in part because I know him.

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    Bmx will be perfect for pump track. Definitely get him a mtb for the singletrack though. At his height I'd guess if you get him a 24" he'd outgrow it soon, but also be able to maneuver it better and learn faster. A 26" bike will last him longer and roll over obstacles better.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LDinME View Post
    You're suggesting he be on a 18 (or 20) BMX for non-trail fun/drills and get a 26 (or 24) for trail work?
    That's what I would suggest, and definitely an 18 rather than a 20 for BMX at this point. A solid "NO" to the coaster brake box-store BMX; decent BMX bikes are cheap enough and worth every penny.

    Might aslso want to check the some of the NEMBA chapter classified pages on Facebook, as well as Northeast Bike Classifieds, for used MTB options. Been seeing some 24"s pop up recently.
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDinME View Post
    Cool. Thanks. Sounds like your son rips! That's awesome.

    So to make sure I'm hearing you right:

    You're suggesting he be on a 18 (or 20) BMX for non-trail fun/drills and get a 26 (or 24) for trail work?

    With that - I'd be inclined to leave him on his crappy big-box store 20" BMX and leave the dough for a better MTB... Crazy talk?

    Long-term (if there is one) he's not likely to be a park kid or dirt jumper - in part because they're not around here, and in part because I know him.
    I wrote that before I saw that your son was 4'6". You can get him on 20" with a shorter TT. Like around a 20.25". I would upgrade from the big box store BMX bike. I'll find you some links of worthy bikes.

    He might surprise you once he is on that bike. BMX does strange things to people. I still dirt jump on a 20", and my son loves our East Coast dirtjumps (called 'trails') So much so that he just isn't stoked on the straight line ones we have here where we live out west now. I told him he'd like the ones I used to build more, and when we took a trip back home last summer he totally agreed. Won't stop talking about them. Anyhoo, don't discount your boy yet. And if he's not into it, no harm no foul. But he might just go nuts once he gets on a pumptrack on the proper bike.

    Yep, a 26 will fit. He's in the sweet spot for a 24" that isn't ridiculously short in the effective TT/Reach department. But like Eyeballs is saying as well, he will be off it pretty soon. Like by the end of the summer for sure.

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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post
    That's what I would suggest, and definitely an 18 rather than a 20 for BMX at this point. A solid "NO" to the coaster brake box-store BMX; decent BMX bikes are cheap enough and worth every penny.

    Might aslso want to check the some of the NEMBA chapter classified pages on Facebook, as well as Northeast Bike Classifieds, for used MTB options. Been seeing some 24"s pop up recently.
    Ha! I think I'm echoing you Slap!! I think though that a shorter TT'd 20" could be good for him. I think he might be big for the 18"ers soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    Ha! I think I'm echoing you Slap!! I think though that a shorter TT'd 20" could be good for him. I think he might be big for the 18"ers soon.


    Could be right on the 18"; I'm just going by my son. He stayed on both 16" and then 18" til the bitter end; was almost 14 and well over 5' when he finally moved to 20". He really likes to be able to move around the bike, and smaller bikes seem to work best for him.
    16" at 9
    Kid bike noob - help needed-img_1666.jpg

    18" at 12
    Kid bike noob - help needed-img_3011.jpg

    Gonna be 15 in a couple weeks and he's 5'-11" now.
    WTH happened?
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    Quote Originally Posted by slapheadmofo View Post



    Gonna be 15 in a couple weeks and he's 5'-11" now.
    WTH happened?
    Seriously, and it's too late to try and stunt him with whiskey and cigarettes

    Yeah, you're probably right about LDinME sticking with 18".

    I actually have a 18" frame that's full cromo. When we got that bike it was apparent that the head angle was off and it was welded at like 78 degrees. So they had me cut that in half and sent another frame. I'm thinking about grinding off the top and down tube remnants and brazing in new top and down tubes as a second, slightly longer frame for him.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    I wrote that before I saw that your son was 4'6". You can get him on 20" with a shorter TT. Like around a 20.25". I would upgrade from the big box store BMX bike. I'll find you some links of worthy bikes.

    He might surprise you once he is on that bike. BMX does strange things to people...if he's not into it, no harm no foul. But he might just go nuts once he gets on a pumptrack on the proper bike.

    Yep, a 26 will fit. He's in the sweet spot for a 24" that isn't ridiculously short in the effective TT/Reach department. But like Eyeballs is saying as well, he will be off it pretty soon. Like by the end of the summer for sure.
    We transitioned from a 20" to 24" mtb and our speed and range increased very obviously. I intentionally ride 26" to keep a parity there, and we can cover 4-9 miles without issues.
    But as he's played more with the BMX bike, and discovered dirt jumps, and downhill lines, I'm wishing I'd built him a 20" dirt-jumper instead! Ultimately, the answer will be both-- as the purpose of each is so different, and we can't go riding at Tsali with a DJ! To the point, though-- I thought a FS 24" would be the ultimate bike, and have quickly realized that maybe a 20" aggressive frame with gears would actually be a the ultimate bike-- if one had to pick one.

    Echoing above on the BMX bike-- I think it's very important to have hand brakes (learn modulation, and instinct) and good pedal position (moving which foot is down, pedals to level etc.) both of which don't work on a coaster-brake bike. Even if you spend $150 on a good (brands mentioned by jochribs above) used bmx bike, you'll sell it back for what you spent on it. If you buy new for about 300-400 as they tend to be, you'll still 1. never lose more than 50% and 2. likely get years and years of use. Echoing what's been said, 6yr old Rowan has been riding this BMX bike since he started pedaling at 3. For the same reason it's fun for adults to ride 20" (I'm serious, get yourself one, thank me later ) it works for them for a long time.
    -Ridwan

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    Yup, my 20" is pretty much my favorite bike honestly. Out of em all.

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    Bmx racing is also huge fun and great for skills building. Also tends to be a kid oriented environment and compared to other bike discipline they are cheap. We have done bmx racing and mtb riding since my son was 3 and it's been a great experience. You can get a competitive used bmx race bike for $400 easily. A good, light kid mtb will run a lot more than that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LDinME View Post
    I picked up MTBing at >40yo and know nothing about teaching kids how to mountain bike.

    My 8yo boy wants to ride with me. He's currently not aggressive on a bike, but may have it in him as demonstrated on the slopes. He's on a cheap 20" BMX now and doesn't stand much at all. His riding to date is mostly tar.

    I want him to learn skills but also gain confidence. We'll start by riding some machine groomed flow in New England, but want something that can handle some low-key NE chop, too. Eventually.

    The budget is ~$400 or less. I'm looking at a GT Stomper Ace 24, but also considering a larger BMX bike. He's a very large/tall 8yo.

    Maybe I'm just wandering into endless internet opinion, but I'm curious to learn more on the subject before I purchase.

    I'm guessing the BMX would teach him skills faster and the GT SA24 would build confidence better? (I get that the coil fork may be junk and require upgrade.)

    If so, to what level? Would he be going OTB a lot on a BMX? How much would a comparative sled like the GT slow his learning of body position, etc?

    Or am I just stuck in analysis paralysis and should just buy a damn bike and hit the trail?
    You will need to get both. You can get a BMX bike within your range for sure. Race or park bike. The MTB will cause you problems. Vitus makes the best bike for the money. You aren't stuck in analysis paralysis. Buying the right back is difficult and crucial. We ride from time to time with kids who's parents made poor decisions. There is a very big difference in bikes. Your kids will struggle to learn skills at a park without a BMX bike and you can not ride a BMX bike on a mountain. Get both.

  22. #22
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    Vitus Nucleus 26" or VRW and Cult Gateway Jr. 20" (20" TTL) or an 18"

    I got my nephew that Cult bike for 285$ with some freebies thrown in. He is 5"3" and it fits him well, a touch big (seems like the good kids/guys ride small) but a nice bike for the money. Not perfect but its good. Hard for me to tell if its ideal (I'm not a BMX guy). Maybe you can go sit on them? We went used on the BMX, if you can find the right bike that's ideal imo as they are blunt instruments that seem to take an unreal beating.

    At under 5ft and after seeing the nephew on the Gateway Jr., I'd lean towards the 18" Cult Juvenile I guess. Maybe someone can check out the pic below and say better. A 4-11 kid was at the house yesterday on the Cult 18" and it looked good to me. We don't BMX race but we spend eons at the indoor park over the winters now and most kids that rip are on bike on the smaller side. The Kaden (or Camden?) kid is there doing 720's at 7yro on a tiny 16". Insane. My kids know him from YouTube apparently from winning the Woodward hotwheels events.

    Racing seems like the ticket for a lot of kids. We have family that used to be top 3 in the state and that kid can RIDE. His Mom said the program is pretty awesome.

    Pic of my 5-3 nephew on his Gateway Jr. at Skate Park
    Kid bike noob - help needed-ant-bike.jpg

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    Caiden BMX! My kids (OK and me) watch him on youtube. That little guy is amazing. If there was an indoor (or even outdoor) park near me my kids would definitely be riding a bmx as well.

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    Kid bike noob - help needed-933b1570-cff5-438c-83a4-68b1b79f94d3.jpeg
    If you have the luxury of BMX and MTB Iíd go to the end points on both.
    Above is last Sundayís Enduro training ride with competitive Enduro racers .. My 9yr old is riding an XS 27.5 frame and 26Ē wheels... no problem on clearance with 142mm cranks. The frame designer is actually in the photo and after Sunday is taking an old XS from stock for his own 9yr old.

    He didnít quite keep up but he wasnít far off either up or down and these are club level riders and Iíd certainly not keep up with them all.

    Extra points if you can spot the 9yr old!

    Kid bike noob - help needed-4c9e9257-3636-4567-963d-f814fcc8282a.jpg
    Here is there bike

    140mm front and rear but I can take it to 160 front and 140 rear.
    142mm cranks... 35mm stem and short bars...
    2.5wt in the damper on the forks and the 32mm are easily stiff enough. The CC DB air is adjustable to give him full travel.
    I didnít get any photoís in action... I was quite honestly too blown but itís EWS level stuff with drop-offs bigger than he is tall and gaps.
    Itís more effort for him on the way bigger bike but he can still manual off a drop or pump a gap..

    However on Saturday we played on some uplifts and jumps and he rode this as he can throw it about a lot more.
    Kid bike noob - help needed-e3d64b8c-7677-4258-b026-027d38fcb4f0.jpg
    Kid bike noob - help needed-e575b498-a278-4e9d-b613-b2186220e1d8.jpg

    Sadly the shock canít be locked and it would be nice to have a BMX as well but.. it would mean divorce.

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    Dudes... This has been awesome. Thank you.

    I'm going to look for an XS 26 for him to try. I'll look for a used 18" BMX, too.

    Will update.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LDinME View Post
    Dudes... This has been awesome. Thank you.

    I'm going to look for an XS 26 for him to try. I'll look for a used 18" BMX, too.

    Will update.
    The black bike above is a 27.5 XS frame but with 26Ē wheels.
    This makes it ďsmallerĒ than a XS 26 for now so he uses the full dropper etc though the chainstays are longer simply to fit the 27.5 wheel.

    The longer term plan is he will grow and can then fit 27.5 wheels and eventually this will become the agile bike for the stuff he currently does on the red 24Ē bike.
    Iím just under 5í11Ē and I can use the black bike, indeed itís fantastic for me with 27.5 wheels and taking it down jump lines at the bike park.

    Incidentally Iím over 50 and didnít restart the whole MTB thing until 4-5 years ago. My last MTB before that had elastomer forks

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    You should do a full post on this Steve. Which frame is that? It seems like its a common move to go to that 27.5 XS from 24" but its great to get the real world experience with it as I'm sure there is some nuances to it. Cool they you stuck with 140mm cranks. I think it was Sacto who was looking at the XS 130mm Canyon Neutron which looked pretty sweet too as an XS do it all bike.

    27.5 question: Which brands besides Norco do you guys know of where their chainstays change with the frame size?

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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    27.5 question: Which brands besides Norco do you guys know of where their chainstays change with the frame size?
    I'll preface this by stating that these may not be practical options, but they're all interesting ones...

    If you're just searching for 27.5 with the shortest chainstays possible, I did come across this:
    https://www.whycycles.com/our-bikes/tf-cycle/

    Guerilla Gravity has a modular platform -- I know they offer a choice of seatstays, might be worth reaching out to see if they can do different chainstays:
    https://ridegg.com/modular-frame-platform

    Then there's the new Atherton bikes that use 3d printing for lugs to come up with geometry specific to your body:
    https://www.pinkbike.com/news/the-te...ton-bikes.html

    If you want to put in some work, Calfree designs sells DIY bamboo kits that could be customized:
    https://calfeedesign.com/calfee-bamboo-diy-kit/

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    I personally think 27.5 sounds awesome on paper to jump to from a 24", but the issue is that there isn't a rear end (that I've seen, yet) that is lower than 42.5. Maybe that WTF above is shorter, but when I saw the ETT at 590mm, I didn't even bother looking further.

    Even the Commencals ( that look sharp as all get out this year) have a 435 rear end on the 27.5 (Juniors)

    But, their intent ain't what I'm looking for obviously. Frustrating shit.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    You should do a full post on this Steve. Which frame is that? It seems like its a common move to go to that 27.5 XS from 24" but its great to get the real world experience with it as I'm sure there is some nuances to it. Cool they you stuck with 140mm cranks. I think it was Sacto who was looking at the XS 130mm Canyon Neutron which looked pretty sweet too as an XS do it all bike.

    27.5 question: Which brands besides Norco do you guys know of where their chainstays change with the frame size?
    Itís a fairly small UK brand (Bird Bikes)... if you ever saw the ďis Santa Cruz a boutique bikeĒ discussion on WW Cyclery this would be no question boutique (if 1/2 the price)... but it has a very good pedigree in terms of European EWS.

    The chainstays are what they are ... or ...

    The good news on chainstays .. after the 50% owner and designer / tester /rider saw the bike in use on Sunday he revealed he still had a prototype XS in the workshop AND a 9yr old ... and he left saying he was going to build it up ...
    If he decides to make some shorter chainstays up Iíll be up for it and he might as well do 2 as 1 ... but otherwise Jnr handles the bike as it is.

    Heís running the 35mm stem and theoretically I could shorten it further with an offset headset .. the wheels could be lighter but despite weighing next to nothing he is pretty good at wrecking wheels... so the Spank Race 28ís are pretty solid (and were <$20 a rim in any color so long as it was blue)

    The cranks are just what I could get used and cheap and non-hollow cranks (as opposed to hollowtech spindles)... but at some point Iíll swap for the Zee cranks on his current Norco 24. (If the wheels are over specíed then the Zee cranks are doubly so)

    Otherwise nothing special... its a nice light frame for alloy... non boost (so I can use my wheels, hubs etc.) and 216x63 shock so i can reuse... quite honestly choice was made on reusing spare components as much as anything plus it being advertised locally at a very good price (<$300 for the frame only)

    It has the old 32mm Revís on it .. I did get some good advice from Vorsprung and Steve said ďas good as anything until he puts on weightĒ... Iíve got some spare Pikes i can take off my enduro rig... but he really doesnít need the stiffness and the Revís are simple to change damper oil myself and a mate whoís a professional coach and especially kids sayís to leave him on 140 for now.

    So honestly yep a few nuances... but same old as with any bike.
    You can check the geo here:
    https://www.bird.bike/wp-content/upl...a-Sheet-V1.pdf

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    I personally think 27.5 sounds awesome on paper to jump to from a 24", but the issue is that there isn't a rear end (that I've seen, yet) that is lower than 42.5. Maybe that WTF above is shorter, but when I saw the ETT at 590mm, I didn't even bother looking further.

    Even the Commencals ( that look sharp as all get out this year) have a 435 rear end on the 27.5 (Juniors)

    But, their intent ain't what I'm looking for obviously. Frustrating shit.
    For real, the Commencal one is disappointing considering their 24" chainstays are nice at 390mm and the 27.5 jr is 435? Norco tho is one of the few that adjusts chainstay length based on frame size (nice for the tall guys too). The Optic XS drops from 425 in the small down to 420mm. I'm not sure you can get shorter than 420mm tho. Cost at this point starts to be an issue however. You can find them used. A sick Norco Sight XS womens was up for 2800$, full carbon (lol) and 150mm of travel. I'm sure a little grom is ripping that right now.

    https://www.norco.com/bikes/mountain...ptic-aluminum/

    Rocky Mountain Reaper does a 27.5 bike, stays are like 426. Kind of like an adult XS. Ride9 is a surprisingly useful thing for getting the fitment right and can be adjusted for Park/Big Shuttle days. I do that on my own Instinct. Seems expensive for the spec.

    That's where the Canyon Neutron looks so nice. The XS geo is maybe doable and the price and spec is nice! I think 1899$ on sale now. 130mm bike. Sacto was looking into those for his kid moving up from 24". 428mm stays...not perfect but the price is. The mens comes without Eagle and is 1799$ which might work better if you are doing 26" wheels.

    https://www.canyon.com/en-us/mtb/neu...ron-al-6-0-wmn

    Fwiw there are two Norco Optic XS on PinkBike buy/sell right now. One is carbon the other isn't. Alum one is 2500$ CAD. Not sure what that is in dollars but its not bad. The carbon one is brand new with warranty. You could probably drop the front end down from 130 if stack was a problem too (rear is 120mm).

    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2456717/
    https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/2422895/

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    It's crazy. 435 is 29er territory. That'd be like going back to 440-450 on a 29er. No thanks, no how, no way.

    I get the coming off a 24 onto a 27.5 but I just don't think it makes great sense, whether you're in my camp (all around XC) or yours (park/enduro etc). I think it is more wheel and wheel base than a kid that is still, by all intents and purposes able to ride a 24", needs.

    It's just more mass and bulk to deal with that their relatively little bodies would be better suited to deal with 26"

    I'm looking at building or having built, a versatile 26" hardtail for my son that won't be outclassed anywhere except for a gravity park. I don't expect him to be on it for more than 2 years. I don't care. Proper fit is more important to me than skipping a wheelsize even though the parts will be easier to find. He also won't fit optimally on that bigger wheelsize.
    So I don't see it as a win moving to 27.5

    If he gets into bike park etc., another bike goes into the quiver.

    I am eternally irked by whats out there.

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by jochribs View Post
    It's crazy. 435 is 29er territory. That'd be like going back to 440-450 on a 29er. No thanks, no how, no way.

    I get the coming off a 24 onto a 27.5 but I just don't think it makes great sense, whether you're in my camp (all around XC) or yours (park/enduro etc). I think it is more wheel and wheel base than a kid that is still, by all intents and purposes able to ride a 24", needs.

    It's just more mass and bulk to deal with that their relatively little bodies would be better suited to deal with 26"

    I'm looking at building or having built, a versatile 26" hardtail for my son that won't be outclassed anywhere except for a gravity park. I don't expect him to be on it for more than 2 years. I don't care. Proper fit is more important to me than skipping a wheelsize even though the parts will be easier to find. He also won't fit optimally on that bigger wheelsize.
    So I don't see it as a win moving to 27.5

    If he gets into bike park etc., another bike goes into the quiver.

    I am eternally irked by whats out there.
    We aren't there yet so I'm not sure what works. That's why I'm interested in what's worked for Steve's kid (which is funny cause I remember when he talked about his kid doing 3k climbs at like 8yro and now he's a DH racer if I recall).

    I'm also worried about the big bike. I like that the kid can throw it around and drift a bit and have fun on it. I hate to think of him going from that to just rolling on a boat.

    Yama Jama 26" might be the ticket? Its hard to find hardtails with short rear ends even in 26" (Vitus one is cheap but like 430mm).

    Spawns is 415mm stays and prob has the right cranks and everything to a degree. 100mm of travel on the Velvet fork (which isn't bad, a kid has one in our neighborhood). I kind of wish the drive train was 11-42 for the money. Trailcraft is doing 26" too $$$.

    https://spawncycles.com/yama-jama-26

    Building a frame sounds insane but also super cool. I spent a day in the Lil Shredder Bikes garage (thanks Brian!) and the stories he told about building bikes for the uber groms (including his kid) and testing them etc was really interesting...but also daunting lol.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    We aren't there yet so I'm not sure what works. That's why I'm interested in what's worked for Steve's kid (which is funny cause I remember when he talked about his kid doing 3k climbs at like 8yro and now he's a DH racer if I recall).
    You never know with kids ... he got bored/pissed with XC because they punish the kids real hard for missing a race. Heíd podium in one then miss a single race because of my work and they would place him at the very back of the grid of 90-100 kids as punishment behind kids who hadnít even raced before.

    When he started DH he had a choice.. he couldnít race both the same day.. so unsurprisingly he chose the one didnít punish him. Heís not allowed to do Enduro in England or Wales and its a 12hr drive to Scotland ... so he just defaulted to DH,

    It doesnít really seem to matter so long as its on a bike.

    He spent 18 mo. on uplifts and push-ups... except a weekend where we did a days pedalling and a days uplift with one of his old XC buddies.
    Perhaps not surprising just embarrassing but at his age he keeps fitness better than I do in my 50ís.. and he did a surprisingly good job keeping up with the adult club level guys and me on the climbs. (I wasnít worried about the DH part so much)
    big bike ...
    Yeah, thatís why he kept the 24 for now.
    The big bike is a better pedal platform and more travel but the 24 is more fun at present.
    4 mo in though heís started to favor the bigger bike more often.

    Sunday he did some big drops and doubles and thatís probably the first time on that bike... He was riding blind and its not park so no warning signs so he was committed before he knew it and had enough presence of mind to keep off the brakes and pump and surprised himself. I canít see him sticking a whip to flat in for fun but he also benefitted from the travel on the natural trails.

    Another 12mo .. who knows. He might be wanting a DJ of wanting to enter some more XC races or he might get a lycra fixation and take up road...(though itís way more dangerous so I hope not)

  35. #35
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    Steve, how tall is your kid now?

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    We aren't there yet so I'm not sure what works. That's why I'm interested in what's worked for Steve's kid (which is funny cause I remember when he talked about his kid doing 3k climbs at like 8yro and now he's a DH racer if I recall).

    I'm also worried about the big bike. I like that the kid can throw it around and drift a bit and have fun on it. I hate to think of him going from that to just rolling on a boat.

    Yama Jama 26" might be the ticket? Its hard to find hardtails with short rear ends even in 26" (Vitus one is cheap but like 430mm).

    Spawns is 415mm stays and prob has the right cranks and everything to a degree. 100mm of travel on the Velvet fork (which isn't bad, a kid has one in our neighborhood). I kind of wish the drive train was 11-42 for the money. Trailcraft is doing 26" too $$$.

    https://spawncycles.com/yama-jama-26

    Building a frame sounds insane but also super cool. I spent a day in the Lil Shredder Bikes garage (thanks Brian!) and the stories he told about building bikes for the uber groms (including his kid) and testing them etc was really interesting...but also daunting lol.
    I like everything about the Yama 26 except for the stack height/headtube length and the effective TT/Reach. It is just too tall and too long. 58cm ETT dude!! Thats moderately average adult numbers. Everything else ticks the boxes. Chainstays, BB drop, headangle and seat angle. It's just those goddamned stack and reach numbers. Ugh.

    The Trailcraft Maxwell 26 is also pretty sweet, I dunno. But I'm thinking the fit is a bit of a stretch still.

    I'm not stoked on that Vitus in the least. I mean the price is spectacular, but the wheelbase, and the head angle?? Sorry Svinyard. Can't get behind it. LOL!

    Yeah, I'm a little nervous about taking the plunge on something custom, BUT I have really thought out the numbers, based on what I see as an issue on everything else that I see. Little tweaks here, little tweaks there. Plus, I know how my son rides. He's like me. Very front wheel intuitive. Trust and follow that front wheel. We snowboard the same too, except he's getting way better than me. But our styles are very similar. Now I play catch up to him.

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-XtC View Post
    You never know with kids ... he got bored/pissed with XC because they punish the kids real hard for missing a race. Heíd podium in one then miss a single race because of my work and they would place him at the very back of the grid of 90-100 kids as punishment behind kids who hadnít even raced before.
    Damn Steve, I am sorry to read this and that really sucks. I'll tell ya, it was that same sort of bullshit that had me basically say eff it back in 2005. I was still racing, was doing pretty well in cross, getting call ups to the front, missed a few races and still got 13th for the series in our region...but I was so freaking sick of a bunch of snoots, that I was often faster than, acting like they were God's gift to cycling. Really stand-offish. During these last years of me racing XC, cross and road, I was getting more into riding trails (DJ's) and building. I was meeting pros at spots that would make you pee yourself, and they were THE NICEST guys I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Treated you like you were a friend. The friggin amateur lycra crowd acted like they were royalty on the other hand. I said eff it, and took a full time dirt jumping and building hiatus for about 6 years. But, I'm still pretty fast, lol!!

  38. #38
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    It's interesting to see these discussions go back and forth. Despite the differences in local terrain and what bikes work well best for kids living near different types of trail systems, the one thing that seems to be pretty constant is dads obsessing over their kids' bikes.

    I feel a little out of place at times, since I'm learning all this stuff along with my kids rather than having a solid base and trying to teach them what I know. So far my shopping and research skills still far outstrip my riding skills.

    My overall observation has been that a lot of the traditional geometry measurements make sense for road bikes but don't really tell me the things I'm interested in on a mtb, especially one for kids.

    ETT in particular seems like a red herring to me on kids bikes. On a road bike (and larger sizes of adult mtbs), that gives you a good idea of how far you'll be from the bars when seated, since the seat is pretty close in height to the bars. I'll dub this "effective seated reach" or ESR for short.

    For kids bikes that are designed closer to a traditional DJ bike (Spawn's bikes are one example), the seat is much lower and therefore horizontally closer to the bars in a normal seated position. Rather than raising the seat up, kids usually just get moved up to the next biggest wheel size when they get a little taller.

    If I compare two small frames with short seat tube lengths and everything identical except the seat tube angle, the ETT is going to look much larger on the frame with the slacker seat tube, yet the ESR for a kid sitting on the saddle at its lowest position may be almost identical.

    From playing around with our Yoji, I found that A2C and head tube lengths didn't really make as much difference to fit as I would have initially expected. A longer fork and bars with less rise may have had an impact on handling, but they resulted in an almost identical cockpit.

    For HTA, I think I'm getting on board with the idea that there's something to having something slacker than traditional XC geometry, but I think it's more useful the smaller the bike is. From watching my kids (2 and 4) ride, I do see that it's harder for them to stay stable on downhills than it is when going straight or uphill. In part, because they're simply going faster. Trading some stability on the flats for more downhill just seems like it evens out the difficulty somewhat.

    The other downside of a slacker bike (difficulty with tight turns) is partly canceled out by the bike itself being smaller. Because of the shorter wheelbase, a 16" or 20" bike has a much larger margin of error for how wide or late they can safely take a turn or tight switchback.

    Once you start getting into larger wheel sizes and longer wheelbases, I'd imagine that the balance of benefits vs drawbacks start to shift back in favor of traditional XC geometry when riding mostly on XC trails.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Steve, how tall is your kid now?
    Iíll have to measure him again!

    56.5 inches or 1m 44cm
    Last edited by Steve-XtC; 04-24-2019 at 10:30 AM.

  40. #40
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    Well, budget (wife) ruled the decision.

    Ended up getting him a GT Stomper 26 from the LBS. He's loving it on local town paths - still too wet to hit the woods. Maybe this weekend.

    Certainly not all the bike I wanted but it fits our budget and if he falls in love with ST riding, I'll find some disc wheels and mount the hydraulics I have from my old bike and maybe cannibalize the drive train, too.

    Thanks for the input. 26 was definitely the way to go! Glad I didn't just wander out and get a 24.

    In fact, the first bike the LBS pulled off the rack was a 27.5. My son rode both and the 27.5 had him way too stretched out and he almost dropped it trying to dismount on flat ground.

    If all goes well, he'll get two years out of this, grow like a tree, and take Dad's old bike forcing me to get a new one.

  41. #41
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    Sweet man, money well spent. Did you get the Ace or the Prime? How tall is your kid again? (sorry I'm trying to gage the next level for my kid and height/bike sizing from others helps a lot). Cheers!

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Sweet man, money well spent. Did you get the Ace or the Prime? How tall is your kid again? (sorry I'm trying to gage the next level for my kid and height/bike sizing from others helps a lot). Cheers!

    Prime for $350.

    He's 4'7" and around 90#s. 25" inseam

    He actually sags the fork a bit sitting... Will look at an "affordable" air fork if he really takes to it.

  43. #43
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    We're having fun, but I'm regretting the rim brakes. Zero modulation is really limiting his confidence downhill.

    I can take some Avid hydro's off my old HT, but I need new-to-us wheels. Anyone know how to get lower cost or used 26" disc wheels? Maybe I should take this question somewhere else?

  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDinME View Post
    We're having fun, but I'm regretting the rim brakes. Zero modulation is really limiting his confidence downhill.

    I can take some Avid hydro's off my old HT, but I need new-to-us wheels. Anyone know how to get lower cost or used 26" disc wheels? Maybe I should take this question somewhere else?
    If modulation is the problem with the v-brakes, have you tried setting the pads with a little more toe-in? Upgrading the pads to Kool-Stop or something similar might also help.

    Here's some thoughts for wheels:
    - Look for local forums / facebook sales groups and ask what anyone has lying around -- there's likely to be someone with older but higher quality stuff lying around collecting dust

    - If you're comfortable with the DIY approach and have the tools, re-lace the wheels with a cheap set of disc hubs (if you're lucky and can find ones with the same measurements as your existing hubs, you may even be able to reuse spokes)

  45. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by TimTucker View Post
    If modulation is the problem with the v-brakes, have you tried setting the pads with a little more toe-in? Upgrading the pads to Kool-Stop or something similar might also help.

    Here's some thoughts for wheels:
    - Look for local forums / facebook sales groups and ask what anyone has lying around -- there's likely to be someone with older but higher quality stuff lying around collecting dust

    - If you're comfortable with the DIY approach and have the tools, re-lace the wheels with a cheap set of disc hubs (if you're lucky and can find ones with the same measurements as your existing hubs, you may even be able to reuse spokes)
    Thanks. I'll try the toe-in and see if that helps.

    I figured there must be some lying around me unused, too. But I don't facebook. Maybe a call to some LBSs to see if they have?

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    I think he'll get the hang of modulating the vees soon enough. Somehow I managed to ride them for 20yrs in all sorts of really technical terrain without trouble Setup half way decent they modulate pretty well actually. One option if you want to get carried away and can't fit disks are Magura hydro rim brakes. Back before discs they were the hot ticket for DH racing and still are popular for trials bikes. They bolt on like vee brakes and offer really good modulation. Power still isn't on par with good disc brakes but modulation is there.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by LDinME View Post
    Thanks. I'll try the toe-in and see if that helps.

    I figured there must be some lying around me unused, too. But I don't facebook. Maybe a call to some LBSs to see if they have?
    It might be different where you are but lots of used 26Ē wheels are not reflecting the price you get new ones discounted.

    I had spare hubs sat in the shed so bought rims only but I saw a lot of really knocked down full wheels often cheaper than people were trying to sell used ones.
    Not directly of use to you but a local to me company has started making their own hubs and did a load of deals with their old Taiwanese Hubs laced to rims... and the 26Ē were especially cheap. I also saw 2 sets of really nice 26Ē wheels going at the bike shop at a trail center for something like 25% retail...

    It might involve a bit of an internet trawl but youíd probably find

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