Moving on to 26 or 27.5?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Moving on to 26 or 27.5?

    My son is finally outgrowing his Santa Cruz Superlight with 24 in wheels. He has my wife's family sizing DNA and at 12 is on the smaller size of the curve. I having a issue of deciding on getting a 26 vs 27.5 for his next bike.

    We've discussed what he wants in his next bike and he needs the following features.
    -Jumps like a lunatic
    -Hauls the mail
    -Does not care about climbing or xc at all. Downhill performance and overall idiocy at speed is all he cares about. I give him the phone and he breaks my strava DH pr's.

    Am I better of buying an older model all-mt 26 bike complete or build frame like Nomad, reign....?

    Or do 27.5 enduro bike that he feels are a bit big and "suck" at jumping at his small stature?

  2. #2
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    Nomad/Bronson style etc in 27.5.... I know a mob of kids on the freeride team (10 to 14) that fit this description and go really big. They are all riding bikes like a Nomad etc. It works great when I see them. They are working out on steep lipped giant gap jumps too and other technical type stuff, not just smooth MTB senders on the trail...so being able to maneuver the bike in the air is required. Plus they will work in the park too if that's your thing. The kids climb like animals on them as well FWIW. You can throw some 26" wheels and shorter cranks on them and have a nice bike that can grow in wheel size without BB issues. Used market for 27.5 size small is pretty decent relative to a clapped out 26". I personally like Norco bikes like the sight because the rear triangle shrinks with the sizing, which helps with smaller kids.

  3. #3
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    [s]What would be the benefit of 27.5?[/s]
    That last post didn't load earlier!
    Last edited by rabitoblanco; 10-06-2019 at 06:57 PM. Reason: I see it above!

  4. #4
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    It's like going from 20" to 22"....the short term gains are kind of small. Plus the suspension and tech in somewhat modern/used 27.5 will be vastly superior than an old 26" (it's hard to find these). Supply and demand is a thing with these, at least when I went through them on PinkBike. They can still be a nice 26" bike if all else fails via a wheel /crank swap. Growing into the 27.5 might be nice too...tho the frame size wont grow.

    That's my uneducated opinion at least (we are still on 24").

  5. #5
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    The difference in wheel size between a 26 and 27.5 is pretty small.
    The frame of course has been enlarged on bikes a bit more modern.

    I think the kid would adapt to the bike, sounds like he is a good rider which I assume means he should be pretty adaptable.
    He may be even faster with a bike more stable than what he's on which could be good or bad.

    Lastly, the 26" should be considered an interim bike, in my opinion. Most anything in the 26 realm is out of date and you are purchasing old tech. right away.

    I have a co-worker friend with a kid that is getting too big for his smaller bike. He made a comment "It will be a used 26" for sure". I believe dad still rides a 26" bike, circa 1997. One of the folks who thinks the past never dies and the old stuff is fantastic. We all think that until we move up. haha I digress, to keep the bike around for a while you should consider a 27.5. If you are looking for something you can both maintain together, a teaching experience, then go with the 26" and hold on as long as possible until he's grown enough for a larger bike and feel comfortable on it.

  6. #6
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    We went with modern geo and 27.5 frame with 26" wheels

    Just the last video I took... but this was his first go on this drop not really fully committed.

    A bit Half and half on his first go but we then did the entire trail again and he nailed it. Frame seemed large but he can hack it no problem.


  7. #7
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    Congratulations. He'll bet set up for a while now I'm sure!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Forest Rider View Post
    Congratulations. He'll bet set up for a while now I'm sure!
    That was half the idea, the other half being able to benefit from the more modern geo.

    He could get away with 27.5 now but with the short cranks and 26 wheels he benefits from a low BB and its great for DH ... even the limited frame so he can pedal he has only 150 on the back and 160 on the front so this will probably end up his Enduro/trail when he gets a DH.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve-XtC View Post
    We went with modern geo and 27.5 frame with 26" wheels

    Just the last video I took... but this was his first go on this drop not really fully committed.

    A bit Half and half on his first go but we then did the entire trail again and he nailed it. Frame seemed large but he can hack it no problem.

    Steve I'm exactly in the same boat, I've had a tough time coming up with a bike. Can you please share what 27.5 bike (frame) you went with to use the 26 wheels and the specs?

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepergoat View Post
    Steve I'm exactly in the same boat, I've had a tough time coming up with a bike. Can you please share what 27.5 bike (frame) you went with to use the 26 wheels and the specs?
    Sorry we were away (1/2 term) doing some extreme DH ...

    This is the frame data sheet ...
    https://www.bird.bike/wp-content/upl...a-Sheet-V1.pdf

    It's quite long and low.
    He has 142mm cranks on so this avoids pedal strikes.
    Currently running 160mm Pike's on the front ... after last week he may steal my Fox36's..

  11. #11
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    Thanks! Sweet setup.. My boys will be doing more trail riding than DH. So need to try to find something on the light side. Man what a pain trying to figure this out, my kids are weghing under 85lbs so trying to figure out 27.5 or 26 but also light enough so they don't feel like they're dragging a dead body. So a bike under 28lbs. HT ideally cause of price. But love this idea of a 27.5 frame with 26" wheels. They're just in between everything XS or Small etc etc

  12. #12
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    Didn't actually weigh this but I expect it's sub 28lbs...or thereabouts. He also pedals..(quite a way and quite a bit of elevation) and he's under 71 lbs before riding kit.. (I think most of his weight must be in his legs) ... the suspension can be dropped to 140 on the back.. for long pedal days. We even did one you could have done on a gravel bike about 40 miles and 2000-3000 feet of climbing.

    Previously he was using an old Revelation with the 32mm stanchions and that was lighter and the rims are Spank Race 28's DH race.. something even he can't taco ... so if it's not already it easily could be sub 28lbs with lighter wheels and fork... the shock is a CC DB Air which has enough adjustment for him to run with his weight... I don't think he could use a RS even in the lightest tune. It's a 150/63 or 140/63 leverage ratio

    I just put on a monster fork (foir his size) and tough rims as he also rides pretty hard DH (what we rode last week was crazy even by his standards - pro line triple blacks scared the pants off me)

  13. #13
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    Thanks for the tips, this is a different set up that hadn't crossed my mind.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepergoat View Post
    Thanks for the tips, this is a different set up that hadn't crossed my mind.
    Well, your set-up should obviously reflect your trails and what your boys like riding.
    However I found weight less critical than when he was getting onto a 24", that's not to say it's not important but just less so outside of a XC race. He'll winch himself up even if he might be slightly faster in some circumstances on a lighter bike and/or HT but in others he'll get up technical climbs he couldn't on a HT so its a bit of both but DH/rock hardens/roots it's completely different.
    I'd not really expected this, TBH I'd thought he would end up with a HT as well

    If he wasn't riding DH I'd probably go for something more like 140/130

  15. #15
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    Never built a bike before but may give it a go.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepergoat View Post
    Never built a bike before but may give it a go.
    Actually building is easy in retrospect. Lots of learning but afterwards you have all that knowledge (and some tools) to apply to maintenance.

    For me it was a learning experience of countless standards though. When you are confident a part fits it's basically just screw/bolt together except a few potentially tricker bits like headset fitting or potential gotcha's with left hand thread on bottom bracket/pedals... mainly it's getting the right standards.

    90% just requires 3 hex wrenches (and perhaps a T25 depending on groupset)... and there are endless video's or instructions online and forums such as this where you can get advice.

    Again retrospectively but a good start would be to strip down an existing bike to do a full clean/grease then you know everything should fit together and photo document on your phone.

    Some specialist tools are needed and then you need to decide if it's a one-off to take to a LBS or worth buying tools and cheap vs expensive tools. Other tools can be improvised ... a plastic standard glue/sealant tube (the type you put in a gun) empty with the end cut off for example makes a perfect crownrace setting tool... (though you can also just use a split crownrace you can just push on - fits on the forks where the lower part of the headset rests)
    Stuff like the BB tool, cassette tool I find investing in decent quality is worth it.
    Good quality hex wrenches are another ...

    The biggest decisions for Jnr's bike were made by what I had already, specifically boost vs non-boost and with it being a full suss old vs metric shock. I had forks and wheels in non-boost already so this made a decision for me.

    The other part I try and stick with is keeping wearable parts interchangable with all our bikes and this saves a lot of $$$ in various guises. One bleed kit for brakes.. one type of brake pads etc. (chains, links etc. etc. so I buy discounted) ... I also buy gear cables in bulk for example and good teflon coated outer in 30' lengths (goes a lot further that way)

    Based on our common standards lots of stuff can be bought as new .. we are still on 11sp and I bought plenty of never used stuff people had taken off a bike they were upgrading. If you go shimano then avoid the i-spec mounts...I advise just go for bar mount for 30g difference. It's cool until you break a brake or shifter... then it's a pain as the standards have changed...

    Anyway ... if you do build it's also fun and satisfying and you end up with exactly what you want... but unless you give yourself sufficient time it's hard to beat whole bike prices both used or new.

  17. #17
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    DEF build a bike sometime soon. It makes you a much better mechanic and allows you to take care of your kids bike (that is constantly thrashed) saving you cash and time. Its really easy for the most part. The only things I've had a shop do are press-in bottom brackets and headsets and wheel builds. The rest you just watch stuff and Youtube and bang it out. Even suspension services have been pretty easy (I'm not rebuilding dampers tho). In the end, no one loves your bike better than you so you can really get it dialed better than a shop for most stuff. Its really fun.

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