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  1. #1
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    My 4.5 year old has now progressed beyond his proper first bike. What to do?

    Morning,

    My 4.5-year-old has now progressed beyond his first proper bike - which is a Spawn Yoji 16.

    He is doing little jumps and little steep descents and loving it. Can do almost all green trails at bike parks.

    He struggles on climbs obviously and really bumpy sections cause of the lack of suspension.

    On top of all this, he has a 2.5-year-old brother who is also sending it on a balance bike. So when I buy bikes - it's basically two for 1.

    The big question is what type of bike to get next? I dont mind spending $$ to get a decent bike (i think its worthwhile).

    So am i better off getting a hard trail? Dualy? Ive been looking at Commencal and Spawn dualies and hardtails.

    thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by onawave View Post
    Morning,

    My 4.5-year-old has now progressed beyond his first proper bike - which is a Spawn Yoji 16.

    He is doing little jumps and little steep descents and loving it. Can do almost all green trails at bike parks.

    He struggles on climbs obviously and really bumpy sections cause of the lack of suspension.

    On top of all this, he has a 2.5-year-old brother who is also sending it on a balance bike. So when I buy bikes - it's basically two for 1.

    The big question is what type of bike to get next? I dont mind spending $$ to get a decent bike (i think its worthwhile).

    So am i better off getting a hard trail? Dualy? Ive been looking at Commencal and Spawn dualies and hardtails.

    thanks in advance.
    Hardtail from Spawn, Lil Shredder, TrailCraft or Prevelo is ideal for most stuff. Tho park stuff, a FS is the ticket. Spawn, little shredder or Commencals new Clash (not the old supreme) is pretty dang sweet @ 2k$ if you are doing a fair amount of that.

    You might just keep the Yoji with highrise bars for general trail duties and BMX (its a fantastic mini-DJ bike) and then get a 20" FS for park riding and shuttle days.

    FWIW I think most kids greatly benefit more from BMX/DJ style riding at Skateparks, Pumptracks and BMX parks than they do just MTB. So having both options is kind of mandatory if you can swing it. We spend days at the MTB skill track,trail riding blues and blacks, riding DH, Skate parks, Velo pumptracks and a 80k sqft indoor BMX park...we just cycle through it all and no single bike will do it all. But its awesome because the kid never get bored with one style as we switch it up.

    ATM we have a Spawn Yama Jama 20" hardtail and a 16" United Recruit BMX (29er LT and DJ for me). We've done a bit of DH park racing on the Yama Jama and it did ok at best. It just gets sketchy watching your kid skip across rocks at speed on even just a blue run (the kids get confident quickly). You quickly will be wishing for a FS if that's a staple of your riding. Tho they do get used to a bit of Gnar on that hardtail lol. Now we are looking hard at the Commencal Clash 24" FS in a couple of months when it drops.

    All of the other kids racing at the events we've been too(all 22 other boys and 20 girls) had a FS bike in the Under 10 crowd. 20" Spawn was popular as was the Lil Shredder stuff in that size.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Hardtail from Spawn, Lil Shredder, TrailCraft or Prevelo is ideal for most stuff. Tho park stuff, a FS is the ticket. Spawn, little shredder or Commencals new Clash (not the old supreme) is pretty dang sweet @ 2k$ if you are doing a fair amount of that.

    You might just keep the Yoji with highrise bars for general trail duties and BMX (its a fantastic mini-DJ bike) and then get a 20" FS for park riding and shuttle days.

    FWIW I think most kids greatly benefit more from BMX/DJ style riding at Skateparks, Pumptracks and BMX parks than they do just MTB. So having both options is kind of mandatory if you can swing it. We spend days at the MTB skill track,trail riding blues and blacks, riding DH, Skate parks, Velo pumptracks and a 80k sqft indoor BMX park...we just cycle through it all and no single bike will do it all. But its awesome because the kid never get bored with one style as we switch it up.

    ATM we have a Spawn Yama Jama 20" hardtail and a 16" United Recruit BMX (29er LT and DJ for me). We've done a bit of DH park racing on the Yama Jama and it did ok at best. It just gets sketchy watching your kid skip across rocks at speed on even just a blue run (the kids get confident quickly). You quickly will be wishing for a FS if that's a staple of your riding. Tho they do get used to a bit of Gnar on that hardtail lol. Now we are looking hard at the Commencal Clash 24" FS in a couple of months when it drops.

    All of the other kids racing at the events we've been too(all 22 other boys and 20 girls) had a FS bike in the Under 10 crowd. 20" Spawn was popular as was the Lil Shredder stuff in that size.
    Appreciate the awesome response.

    Since my kid turns 5 in about 5 months - do you think that the gear thing etc will be too much for him - or doe they just pick it up as per normal?

    Reading your post - it seems like to me id be better off getting the FS. (spawn or commencal).

    In saying that too - he is absoutely frothing to come out onto proper trails with his parents - and i want to encourage that as much as possible - in a safe manner.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by onawave View Post

    He is doing little jumps and little steep descents and loving it. Can do almost all green trails at bike parks.

    He struggles on climbs obviously and really bumpy sections cause of the lack of suspension.

    The big question is what type of bike to get next? I dont mind spending $$ to get a decent bike (i think its worthwhile).

    So am i better off getting a hard trail? Dualy? Ive been looking at Commencal and Spawn dualies and hardtails.

    thanks in advance.
    If you guys are doing mostly bike parks and stuff where weight is of little concern, go for the FS bike. Keep in mind most FS 20" bikes are going to be 25+ pounds, and geared poorly for climbing. So if you are climbing to get to the descents, the bike is going to likely be 1/2 his weight or more. Which can end a day pretty quick (based on experience) but this forum is a great resource for fixing that. A good hardtail is going to be 21 pounds or less. That extra 4-5 pounds is pretty huge for little kids, but might not matter if you are mostly going downhill.

  5. #5
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    Agreed with the above. If and only if Park riding is a big part of what you do, get the FS. If it's just once in a while you can usually rent a FS or just use the hardtail and go a bit slower. That's what we have done and you'd save some money too (for that BMX bike eventually).

    We chose the 20" hardtail initially and I think it made the kid a better rider. Don't worry about the gears, he'll figure out the gears soon enough, you just need to go and ride like 3 times a week and he'll take to it like a duck to water. Fwiw all of the 20" nice bikes have crappy gearing 11-36 is most common and most don't even have that.

  6. #6
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    Were about a year behind you and still working on what to do next. (3.5yo and 1.5yo with a Yoji 14, a 12 Joovy Bicycoo BMX balance bike, and a Chillafish Bunzi pre-balance bike)

    Im currently building up a Yoji 16 with a Suntour 20 air fork, 16 front disc wheel, wren 50mm stem, flat bars, rev suspension grips, 89mm cranks, 22t chainring, and 18t rear cog.

    Rossignol All Track Trail 20 seems like an interesting FS option for the price, but still no good reports on performance or reviews available. I was able to confirm with a shop carrying it that the built up weight is 24 lbs, which seems like a huge jump in weight from where well be at on a 16, but comparable to some of the other FS options in the size:
    https://suburbanskiandbike.com/Rossi...il-20-RMH0017/

    Im kind of hoping that Vitus comes out with a 20 version of their Nucleus line for 2020, but that would likely be too late for you.

    For shifting, Ive done some looking at electronic retrofit options, but most are a little pricier than Id like to spend right now. The benefit would be that since the shifters are wireless, you could start with them on your bike and shift for your kid until theyre ready to handle shifting on their own. Shifting for them manually would also work, but would require stopping to shift.

    Heres some of the options Ive seen so far (prices range from $275-400):
    https://www.archercomponents.com/
    https://www.xshifter.com/

  7. #7
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    If you want the 16" suspension with a sweet fork Prevelo now makes a 16" bike that is slacker and longer than the Yoji with disk brakes. Even a rigid one with disk brakes too. They are more of a MTB than a DJ bike like the Yoji but very nice.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    If you want the 16" suspension with a sweet fork Prevelo now makes a 16" bike that is slacker and longer than the Yoji with disk brakes. Even a rigid one with disk brakes too. They are more of a MTB than a DJ bike like the Yoji but very nice.
    But then you're at 18lbs with a freewheel instead of a cassette hub in back. I've yet to take measurements, but I think the Yoji will wind up closer to 16lbs with a similar length / head angle to the Prevelo with the 20" fork.

    It's certainly an easier approach to get something pre-made, though. This weekend's plan is attempt #2 at wheel building (spokes I got last weekend were a bit from getting hub measurements transposed).

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Agreed with the above. If and only if Park riding is a big part of what you do, get the FS. If it's just once in a while you can usually rent a FS or just use the hardtail and go a bit slower. That's what we have done and you'd save some money too (for that BMX bike eventually).

    We chose the 20" hardtail initially and I think it made the kid a better rider. Don't worry about the gears, he'll figure out the gears soon enough, you just need to go and ride like 3 times a week and he'll take to it like a duck to water. Fwiw all of the 20" nice bikes have crappy gearing 11-36 is most common and most don't even have that.
    Aplogies. I need to be a tad more clear here. While - yes there is some park stuff - my little dude is desperate to come out onto the trails with me. Which is mostly Enduro kinda stuff.

    Reading all these great replies (it seems like) that a hardtail will be the best way to go, basically due to weight challenges.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by onawave View Post
    Aplogies. I need to be a tad more clear here. While - yes there is some park stuff - my little dude is desperate to come out onto the trails with me. Which is mostly Enduro kinda stuff.

    Reading all these great replies (it seems like) that a hardtail will be the best way to go, basically due to weight challenges.
    Yep -- the quick recap of pretty much all these types of threads comes down to finding the right balance for your kids:

    Lower weight = more miles, easier uphill / usually higher cost for light components
    Lower gearing = easier uphill / more gears = higher weight
    Suspension (front or rear) = more aggressive terrain / suspension components = higher weight
    Bigger sized tires = better rollover / tires too big = standover too high to ride, harder for jumps and tricks

  11. #11
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    This seems best bang for buck thats available locally (auz)

    https://www.commencal-store.com.au/m...19-c2x26304591

    and am i better off getting the back now or waiting until June for his birthday? (ie should i be encouraging improvement and riding as quickly as possible?)

  12. #12
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    I've found that light weight and some gearing is the biggest thing for climbs. At 4.5 I built my son a 16lbs Flow with a 7spd drivetrain. He rides pretty much all trails, steep, rocky blacks included. I think the best off the shelf option is probably Trailcraft, but if you build your own you can knock 4+ lbs off.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  13. #13
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    The commencal looks cool but is probably super heavy. I'd check into weight.

    Sent from my Pixel 2 using Tapatalk

  14. #14
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    Commencal is 22 lbs, Trailcraft is 19 but double the price.

  15. #15
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    Technically the 2019 Commencal Meta+ 20" is listed at over 23.5lbs. Crappy wheels, tires, cranks tho. The frame and fork are pretty awesome. Hta could be steeper but the fork is a 100mm (same design as Spawns/TC's) which is pretty sweet. 80mm can go fast if the fork is set correctly to soak up bumps and chatter and not just big hits. Thats the beauty of that fork, it really does work much like an adult fork does.

  16. #16
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    Looking at the specs of the commencal more it looks like a great value for the money and should be pretty durable, but still just too heavy imo if there'll be a lot of extended climbing involved in your rides. I'd guess that swapping to normal width tires, light wheels, and appropriately sized cranks would go a long-way to dropping lbs and making it roll faster. If you do a lot of lift access trails or your trails are fairly flat then I'd guess that it'd perform well with just a tire swap.

    There's probably a little over a half pound to be had by swapping the drivetrain out (the x5 9spd cassette is quite heavy, the rest isn't too bad). In our experience 2"-2.2" tires are more than enough width/volume for a 4-5yr old rider. My little guy runs less pressure on 2" tires than I run on 2.6" tires and has yet to ding a rim or get a flat. 2.6" is just huge relative to the weight that'll be on them.

    The 145mm cranks are likely way too long also. There's also around 150g of weight to be saved by swapping the bottom bracket out for ti. Bars, stem, and grips are also easy ways to knock off some grams and not too expensive. Wheels make a huge difference, but get expensive if you want them really light (example, the ones we are running on my kids bike are DT240S hubs, ti spokes, DT aluminum nips, crest mk3 & alienation mischief rims)--ultra light but not really much cheaper than building a light weight adult wheelset.

    The frame looks awesome, brakes should be fine, fork should be fine. If it were me I'd likely end up replacing everything else.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikePilot1 View Post
    Looking at the specs of the commencal more it looks like a great value for the money and should be pretty durable, but still just too heavy imo if there'll be a lot of extended climbing involved in your rides. I'd guess that swapping to normal width tires, light wheels, and appropriately sized cranks would go a long-way to dropping lbs and making it roll faster. If you do a lot of lift access trails or your trails are fairly flat then I'd guess that it'd perform well with just a tire swap.

    There's probably a little over a half pound to be had by swapping the drivetrain out (the x5 9spd cassette is quite heavy, the rest isn't too bad). In our experience 2"-2.2" tires are more than enough width/volume for a 4-5yr old rider. My little guy runs less pressure on 2" tires than I run on 2.6" tires and has yet to ding a rim or get a flat. 2.6" is just huge relative to the weight that'll be on them.

    The 145mm cranks are likely way too long also. There's also around 150g of weight to be saved by swapping the bottom bracket out for ti. Bars, stem, and grips are also easy ways to knock off some grams and not too expensive. Wheels make a huge difference, but get expensive if you want them really light (example, the ones we are running on my kids bike are DT240S hubs, ti spokes, DT aluminum nips, crest mk3 & alienation mischief rims)--ultra light but not really much cheaper than building a light weight adult wheelset.

    The frame looks awesome, brakes should be fine, fork should be fine. If it were me I'd likely end up replacing everything else.
    Frame and Shock are great. I think even the brakes suck because the levers are a 4-finger lever. We the amount of work needed, it does get a bit expensive. Most of it would be fine and still about the same price of Yama Jama BUT I worry that the wheels be i30 totally require a full wheel replacement to...then it get over the top and not worth it for just the extra 20mm of travel. I don't think a 2.2 or 2.3 tire is going to work great on an i30 wheel...plus that rim is going to be heavier. Maybe I'm wrong tho and it'd be fine.

  18. #18
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    Good points. I'm sure the rims/wheels are heavy, but 2.2-2.3" tires work fine on an i30 rim. I've even run that on my bike

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by BikePilot1 View Post
    Good points. I'm sure the rims/wheels are heavy, but 2.2-2.3" tires work fine on an i30 rim. I've even run that on my bike
    Good to know so whats the cost breakdown to make it nice?

    1- 11-36 9sp cassette - 50$
    2- Tires 50$ (maybe smaller Crown Vee's)...or ideally Maxtions for 90$
    3- direct mount cranks, BB, 28t chainring...approx 160$
    4- Optional: brake upgrade (maybe some take off Guides?) 100$

    So total plus some elbow grease: 1160$ without brake upgrade...1260$ with brake upgrade. Not bad for a burly little Hardtail. It'd be REALLY cool to see if an offset headset could be on it. Dropping the HTA from 67.5 to 66 would be a big upgrade for a hardtail Not sure why all the HTA's on these are so steep on a modern hardtail. Imagine they get up to 70d when braking downhill in some chunder. I'd like to see 65d. Plus it'd help keep the stack lower and the extra wheelbase isn't a big deal with these tiny bikes.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Good to know so whats the cost breakdown to make it nice?

    2- Tires 50$ (maybe smaller Crown Vee's)...or ideally Maxtions for 90$

    It'd be REALLY cool to see if an offset headset could be on it. Dropping the HTA from 67.5 to 66 would be a big upgrade for a hardtail.
    Cheaper option to drop HTA: leave a 20x2.6 on the front and just put a smaller tire like the Maxtion on the rear.

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