Spawn Kotori as trail bike?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Spawn Kotori as trail bike?

    Looking at building a 24" frame up as a trail bike for my daughter and wondering if anyone has experience to share? Compared to the Yama Jama it looks like the primary difference in geo is the slacker seat angle (70 vs 72) which might make climbing steeper stuff trickier?

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    Slacker head angle will make climbing harder due to wandering. Slacker seat angle will just make the seat setback slightly further. That's adjustable by simply moving the seat. I know of someone trying to sell a complete Kotori converted to gears if you're in the USA. it's in NorCal. But I do see a few folks on Instagram who have bought them and treated them like a single speed. Tinkered with the gearing and take their kids for a trail ride on it. Seems to work on mild trails.

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    Thanks head angle is actually the same between the Kotori and Yama Jama. I was bit concerned about seat angle because the rails on kids seats are so short that they don't leave much room for adjustment. The frames are a really good deal and I get to play at my favorite hobby of speccing and building it up

  4. #4
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    Yikes $1150 for a kids bike? Is this even real? I paid $less than $300 new for my daughter's Raleigh with disc brakes. Granted it might not have the level of components, but they did her quite well until she was ready to upgrade to a Yeti ASRC. I think you can get a Diamondback from REI for around $500 if you can't find a deal on the Raleigh.

    https://www.rei.com/c/kids-bikes?r=c...s-bikes&page=1
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  5. #5
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    ^ except he didn't ask for suggestions for cheaper bikes. He asked about the idea of a Kotori frame. A high quality, good geometry and lightweight frame. That's on closeout for $235.00

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    I'll add a few points:
    - with the sale price of the frame and building up with parts that I have on hand, some of which get moved from the previous frame and then onto the next one, it ends up costing me far less than the complete bike price. In fact, not too different from the $750 Diamondback you linked to
    - though weight is only one consideration, that Diamondback is almost 27 pounds! The build I have planned would be more like 21 or 22 - a huge difference for a 55lb kid
    - I think what people often forget to consider is resale value. In my area high quality kids bikes retain their value far better than lower quality ones. This can narrow the cost difference considerably

  7. #7
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    These are my thoughts on building kids bike.. I've built a lot of bikes in the past. Practically every bike I've owned I've build myself and I've done a lot of research looking to build one for my kids. First and biggest problem I had when looking for parts to put a bike together was cranks and crank length. It's hard to find anything under 170mm at a decent price new. Even if you were to find one it's likely you'll have to upgrade it again when he/she outgrows the bike. Second are wheels. Aftermarket wheels tend to be pricey. I know because I had to look for a replacement wheel for a friend who's kid managed to bust up their 20" wheel. The next is Forks. Again, aftermarket forks are expensive unless you're in the industry or have connections to sources. Paying retail for any of the above 3 mentioned comments is basically buying a new bike in itself and then some. Then there's all the other smaller and miscellaneous stuff which tend to add up (saddle, bars, brakes, drivetrain etc) By the time you're done you'll be in the $1200 territory unless somehow you get donor parts for free. Bear in mind also as your kid grows most of these parts can't be moved to the new bike.

    As for the resale market, sorry but people don't pay a premium for custom one off bikes that don't have very much brand recognition. When I listed my Specialized and GT bikes for sale one Craigslist I got back almost as much as I paid for them because it was easy to know what they were worth. People immediately recognized the bikes and I got a bunch of emails. They were sold within a week. I doubt people will have a clue what a Spawn bike is. I didn't until I saw this thread.

    Anyways, I gave my humble opinion, the rest is up to you. Either way I'm sure you kids will enjoy whatever they end up with. Riding is what matters. Good luck.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemonaid View Post
    These are my thoughts on building kids bike.. I've built a lot of bikes in the past. Practically every bike I've owned I've build myself and I've done a lot of research looking to build one for my kids.

    As for the resale market, sorry but people don't pay a premium for custom one off bikes that don't have very much brand recognition. When I listed my Specialized and GT bikes for sale one Craigslist I got back almost as much as I paid for them because it was easy to know what they were worth. People immediately recognized the bikes and I got a bunch of emails. They were sold within a week. I doubt people will have a clue what a Spawn bike is. I didn't until I saw this thread.

    Anyways, I gave my humble opinion, the rest is up to you. Either way I'm sure you kids will enjoy whatever they end up with. Riding is what matters. Good luck.
    Reading these forums there seem to be two types of people...ones who want to save a few bills and build up a bike themselves from closeout/used/ebay parts, and those who could care less about money so they buy the best bike they can afford. Neither is right or wrong. In my experience really anything new and under $700.00 is going to be 25+ pounds still. Anything used is going to be 27+ pounds and about $300 or less on Craigslist, etc.. You can ride that used bike for 2-3 years and sell it for what you paid for it, but you will have to put $500 into it (or more) to bring the weight down to what these new 22 pound (or lighter) bikes now are coming in at. Most as you noted are in the wheels, fork,cranks, etc..

    No offense but sounds like you've been out of the kids bike scene if you've never heard of Spawn. Spawn is indeed a newer brand, but they do fetch a premium on the used market compared to say a Specialized, Trek, Giant, Cannondale, etc....which really don't even have premium kids bike offerings. It's not the market they are going after, probably not enough volume or even a blip on their radar. They have no problem letting smaller brands like Spawn sell direct. Big brands sell average bikes to bike shops, Spawn sells more performance bikes direct.

    Kids grow fast, and I know what a 500 gram lighter wheelset on my 29er feels like. The performance gains, etc. that come from dropping over a pound of rotating weight. Now imagine your 50 pound kid. 2-3 pounds in weight reduction anywhere on the bike is HUGE. Especially if you climb hills! This is why we are seeing these smaller companies popping up focusing on premium kids bikes. Some parents could care less about resale value because they can pass it down, or they don't have the same mindset of "my kid is going to grow out of it in 2-3 years so I'll just buy him/her a turd for now.

    My advice is buy the best bike you can afford for your kid. Lighter bikes are better bikes when you are a light kid just starting out.

  9. #9
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    That's a sweet little beastie.

    Have you considered the Rocky Mountain Reaper?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemonaid View Post

    As for the resale market, sorry but people don't pay a premium for custom one off bikes that don't have very much brand recognition. When I listed my Specialized and GT bikes for sale one Craigslist I got back almost as much as I paid for them because it was easy to know what they were worth. People immediately recognized the bikes and I got a bunch of emails. They were sold within a week. I doubt people will have a clue what a Spawn bike is. I didn't until I saw this thread.

    .
    I've been shopping on pinkbike for kids bikes. If you are willing to ship, Spawn bikes definitely have good resale value. If the bike isn't destroyed you can probably count on getting ~ %60-%70 of retail price. A used Spawn 24" hardtail sold the other week for $650 in the first day.

  11. #11
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    The geo would be fine for basic trail riding (plus you will have bike with good geo for jumping). Remember most kids that age only ride 5 miles max, before they are done. Most trails you are going to take them, don't have long climbs too. In-addition, most kids like to have there seats dropped as lowest it can go, so both feet can touch the ground... which throws off proper seated riding geometry anyways. Since most climbs are not long, most will just stand-up and climb.

  12. #12
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    I just noticed you said "daughter".

    Having just purchased 2 24" Yama Jama's for my twins and putting the bikes on a diet, a lighter bike for girls is key. The difference 3lbs, lightweight wheels and smoother hubs can make is pretty big. Also, I tried the stock gearing @ 34T+11-36 cassette and they really struggled up sharp pitches. They could do it. But it wasn't helping build any enthusiasm for riding trails. Keep in mind they don't have the same sense of momentum and timing as an adult. I swapped the chainring to 28T and the magic started happening. Have fun!

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by the.vault View Post
    If you are willing to ship, Spawn bikes definitely have good resale value.
    Or you live anywhere with a decent MTB scene. Spawn, Trailcraft, Lil Shredder, et al. sell in a hurry in Denver, Bellingham, SLC, etc. Premium kids bikes hold value like used Tacomas.

    $235 for a Kotori frame is a great deal. I knew a guy who had one set up as a trail bike and it worked great so I'd definitely say go for it.

  14. #14
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    Remember most kids that age only ride 5 miles max, before they are done.
    Our first ever real ride on his 20” was 20 Miles ... we planned 10 but then he wanted to ride back

    However that’s 3 years ago and I got to say it depends on the bike weight.
    We now often ride 20-30 miles and 3000-4000 feet of climbing.

    Today we won’t be climbing ... I gotta go wake him up to drive to the uplift but the point really is of course many kids don’t cycle far on 30lb + bikes ... his FS Enduro/ DH bike weighs 23 lbs (or 26 with DH tires) and his XC a lot less (<20 lbs)

    If you want a bike for a kid to ride a couple of hours and go 5 miles that’s not the same bike as going out with your kid for “proper rides”

    If you buy or build the price is still no more than a “proper adult bike”. Except the weight is way more important for a kid

  15. #15
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    [QUOTE=Steve-XtC;If you want a bike for a kid to ride a couple of hours and go 5 miles that’s not the same bike as going out with your kid for “proper rides”[/QUOTE]

    I disagree, time spent riding 5 miles with my son (and his buddies) was worth time spent as you call proper rides. The issue wasn't the bike/weight... it the avg kid's attention span. If they are not really into XC riding/racing, the "average" kid is ready turn around 5-7 mile range (my experience). My kid had proper kid's DH bike (commencal supreme 24 custom) and trail bike (ns clash jr custom).

    I am actually selling his kona process 167 (s), since he is now a true dh bike.

  16. #16
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    That's pretty damned awesome.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by dc40 View Post
    I disagree, time spent riding 5 miles with my son (and his buddies) was worth time spent as you call proper rides. The issue wasn't the bike/weight... it the avg kid's attention span. If they are not really into XC riding/racing, the "average" kid is ready turn around 5-7 mile range (my experience). My kid had proper kid's DH bike (commencal supreme 24 custom) and trail bike (ns clash jr custom).

    I am actually selling his kona process 167 (s), since he is now a true dh bike.
    The two things (attention span and bike that can be pedalled*) are not unconnectd.
    *This includes proper geo and crank length

    This is essentially 3 elements... bike weight, energy/fuel and attention span but the latter is very much linked to the first two, especially in younger kids.

    I'm sure I don't need to tell any parent kids get cranky when either they have used up their energy/they are tired. They also quickly let their attention drift if they are not also being continually stimulated... but for young kids the two are far more interconnected than teenagers or adults...

    The whole XC thing is just irrelevant unless that is what's available where you live... we ride trails that are far too technical for any XC classification.. many are official stages in National EWS Enduro circuits. (I don't know ANY XC circuit that includes road gaps ...) The only XC Jnr. does is turning up for regional races and taking a podium. When we climb 2000' in one go this isn't for XC this is to get to the top of an EWS DH stage we can shred. The attention span is having checked out the photo's of the stage ...

    When Jnr was 5 he was a non-sporty kid who's main exercise was running round the playground, a bit of swimming and such. He wasn't bad at sport he just never really had an interest so just a typical kid.

    The point I'm really trying to get is the number of times I hear "there is no point having a decent lightweight bike because ..... /crank length doesn't matter because ......
    So far as I can see this is entirely based on observation of kids on heavy bikes, usually with the wrong length cranks and without making the riding interesting for their age.

    It's deciding what kids can do... then making it that way.


    Back when we started (aged 5) about his 3rd ever ride without training wheels we rode a flat route on fire trail 10 miles to a local pub. His mother arranged to come out and meet us to take him and his bike back.. After we had eaten he insisted on riding home as well.
    Within the next few weeks we progressed to riding trails he/we used to make dens in the trees and we would ride around so he could patrol his dens.... we had planned picnic spots etc.

    Keeping him cycling was a matter of keeping him interested in the next part of the ride... and giving him a reason to cycle the next 5 miles to the next den or picnic spot.

    It also involved keeping him fuelled up with food... and a suitable bike.

    At this point Jnr wasn't doing any racing... we just went out and rode a long way quickly because he had the bike/fuel/interest to keep cycling to the next den or picnic spot.

    One day we met some now good friends in the car park.... and the kid is my son's age... they got chatting as kids do... and suggested we rode together.


    They did pretty well... the kids enjoyed racing up hills etc. so a friendship was born and we started going to XC's with them. This isn't what we usually ride, especially kids XC which is tame to the point of being more appropriate to a CX bike... but pedalling is pedalling... so Jnr does very well ...

    4 times a year we turn up to the local cycling club kids XC... he's comfortably taken a gold every time in the XC TT and they ask him to join the club. We politely decline because the club believes kids can only ride 4-5 miles... and spend most of the time doing mind numbingly boring stuff like riding round traffic cones or under a limbo in a car park...


    and trail bike (ns clash jr custom).
    You seem to have completely missed what I mean by a proper trail bike if you call the Clash Jnr a "proper trail bike" ....

    I happen to have a NS Core..I love the bike but it's built like a tank. It's a great fun bike that I CAN ride trails on and I'm actually looking at buying a Jnr NS for Jnr*.. but NS Don't sell this as a trail bike...

    copy/paste from NS
    "PERFECT FOR PLAYING IN THE CITY, OFF-ROAD AND ON PUMPTRACKS. LEARN HOW TO BUNNYHOP, RAIL BERMS OR CLEAR YOUR FIRST SMALL DOUBLES. "

    (*As Jnr is half Polish and has family in Gdansk this pre-disposes me to buying him a general purpose bike he can use on the dirt jumps and pump track where it is a great bike. We have access to an indoor jump barn and another outdoor area but aggressive tyres are banned (they mess up the sculpted dirt) and proper jump frames are very strongly encouraged...he currently gets allowed on by putting his XC tyres on but its not really ideal for dirt jumps)

    I took out the NS Core to the trails two weeks ago and I was completely whacked after 20 miles cycling with two 8yr olds! That was most of the point of taking it out.. the other part being there are some new jumps I wanted to play on on not wreck my trail bike if I bailed on a big double.

    I don't actually know the weight of the NS Core... it's not really important to me but I know what it feels like sticking it in or out of the car or onto the bike stand and what it feels like after 5 miles on the trails.

    After the first 5 miles I was cursing every climb... and quite honestly putting in a lot of effort into just keeping up with the 8yr olds. If I was on my trail bike I'd be barely breaking out into a sweat but the extra weight and geo had me feel like I'd ridden 20 miles after 5. (OK its also got a 34T front and 11-28 on the back).

    I weigh 70kg, 3x my kids weight and adding 4-5kg on a bike (with that geo) had me absolutely tired out. That of course was part of the plan .. but going back to attention span of kids. Even as an adult with the intention of making the ride physically demanding my attention span and interest was challenged. I had to keep reminding myself WHY I was doing this and try and convince myself I was having fun. There must have been 20x on the ride I wanted to just go back to the car and get my trail bike...

    I will keep taking the NS Core out to the trails to get fitter but truth be known I hardly enjoyed the DH and jumps because I was so tired from the climbs...



    So after a lot of meandering...
    My point is most kids can cycle far further than 5 miles if you keep them fuelled up, keep them interested and they are riding an appropriate bike. If you take one of those 3 away then of course they won't but that's not a real measure of what most kids can do...

  18. #18
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    Steve-xtc, you are missing my point, your kid is not the average kid. I understand the importance of weight, properly fitted bike, and geo, especially for the types of rides you and your son our doing. Most parents are not willing to invest that much to get a bike under 20 lbs. Most parents are just trying to get their kids outside and off technology. If the kids has more interest, as your son and mine, then I am all about investing and getting the correct bike for the type of riding you want to accomplish. For example, my sons clash jr was down to 22 lbs, which was fine for the type of trail rides we did. Also, he used it for more dirt jumping... 90% of our riding is lift access or hike-a-bike.

  19. #19
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    Ahhmmm, the Koroti 24 is on sale for a long time now, and it looks tempting as a base for a DIY 24" bike. Anyone has an idea about bolting on a derailleur on this frame?

    Spawn don't mention it on their site.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by oren_hershco View Post
    Ahhmmm, the Koroti 24 is on sale for a long time now, and it looks tempting as a base for a DIY 24" bike. Anyone has an idea about bolting on a derailleur on this frame?

    Spawn don't mention it on their site.
    Pretty sure they sell the hanger for it.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by svinyard View Post
    Pretty sure they sell the hanger for it.
    They don't anymore. I was planning to go that route for my son's new bike, but they are out of stock and don't have any left. They even unbolted one from an old bike for a prior customer. Anyway, out of luck on that one, unless you machine one custom. Sucks cause it would have made a killer trail bike for relatively cheap.

  22. #22
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    Link to the Kotori dropout, which includes a hanger. Based in the description, it will only fit newer model years (?) with vertically stacked slots.

    https://spawncycles.com/kotori-2-dro...ailleur-hanger
    Last edited by CeUnit; 08-17-2019 at 11:39 PM.

  23. #23
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    In the meantime, the chinesse discovered there is a demand from DIY junkies, and this is available:

    https://m.aliexpress.com/item/329616...16f08126d4792d

    24" forks also exist in AliExpress.

    I have absolutly no idea about the quality of these products.

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