Trailcraft Maxwell 24?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Trailcraft Maxwell 24?

    Has anyone gotten their hands on one of these around here? Any thoughts based on specs/reviews? At $1350 for the frame it’s not a bad deal, I have most of a build around and would only need to check on fork and seatpost for proper fit. I’m looking for a good FS 24” bike to cycle my three kids through over the next few years, so willing to invest a bit.
    https://m.pinkbike.com/buysell/2283173/

  2. #2
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    If your kid isn't super airborne AM/Freeriding then that is the best "complete" 24" full suspension bike you can buy. Trailcraft is a fantastic company/people to deal with. They support their bikes really well and have a slew of after market components.

    If your kid is super hammering things Freeriding or DH racing then that Spawn Rokkusutta has more travel and geo to support that but weights something like 27.8lbs. Great bike there too for 2k. Depending how the summer goes we may definitely need one of these as 100mm goes really fast when a kid screws up a jump/drop. I see it on our 80mm Spawn hardtail. Still I like the pedalyness of 100mm.

    Now since you are doing a frame build, I would and probably am building a Transition Ripcord (this winter) . The Geo better (67* HTA etc. ). Frame new is 1k$ and can be had on sale from 600$ to 750$ at certain times. Super light too. Buy Trailcraft built wheels (stans or their house brand) and other stuff like the seat and stem etc. So much good but lightweight stuff at good prices. They take a lot of the weight weenie research out of the process.

    Guys have built those Ripcords up to sub 24lbs and the builds are well documented around here. Note that you really will want to get the fork and shock reshimmed or similar to support 60 to 80lb riders. Stock light rider stuff is tuned for people around 100lbs iirc and won't be as nice for a kid. That goes for the Maxwell shock too. It'll still work of course but with multiple kids coming, you might as well do it right.

    Oh and make sure you throw some Brood Maxtion 2.3 24" tires on there. There is no better.

  3. #3
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    Backinmysaddle,

    We're thinking about driving over and demoing one. If we do, I'll let you know what we think.

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    Got one in August, but it is next season's bike for my soon to be seven year old girl. I pulled the trigger while I know I had cash flow, and the wife was fully supportive.

    Let me premise this with the girl who's bike this is has been on a spawn Yama Jama 20" for a year and a half, and has fully earned this bike.

    Working with trailcraft was a pleasure, and they can spec it however you want with the plethora of options available - right on par with a great custom build if you already have parts.

    As far as the bike is concerned, it is awesome. The girl started beating her older sister up significant hills (we live in Gunnison county - Crested Butte area) when we transitioned to the bigger bike this fall. It is light, responsive, easy to peddle with good geometry, and much better bottom bracket clearance than her 20" bike. On crazy trails at the end of the season with significant steep downhills, I made her ride the 20" bike, but if I gave her the choice, she always chose the trailcraft.

    The only problem with the bike is the valve for the rear shock is in a bad spot, and after a significantly long ride with a little kid (+20 miles) it left a sore spot on her thigh. I think as she grows into the frame size, this will be much less of an issue.

    We are cross-country riders, and the girl jumps a little, but definitely not bike park hucking style.

    All in all, best buy ever if you enjoy riding mt. bikes with your kids.

  5. #5
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    Just put a Trailcraft pineridge 24 together. got the frame cranks fork and wheel set up. Then built the rest myself 22 pounds great ride for my son! crazy how a light bike can turn my son from just another kid on a mountain bike to a 10 year old going up the single track better and faster then "20 something" adult men.
    I just joined a mountain bike club with intentions of riding with my son. this bike is awsome!

  6. #6
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    Picked one of these up for my son for $1600 Australian complete. Didn't "need" any modifying but I did ad some custom touches. https://www.marinbikes.com/bikes/201...4-hawk-hill-jr

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob3 View Post
    Got one in August, but it is next season's bike for my soon to be seven year old girl. I pulled the trigger while I know I had cash flow, and the wife was fully supportive.

    Let me premise this with the girl who's bike this is has been on a spawn Yama Jama 20" for a year and a half, and has fully earned this bike.

    Working with trailcraft was a pleasure, and they can spec it however you want with the plethora of options available - right on par with a great custom build if you already have parts.

    As far as the bike is concerned, it is awesome. The girl started beating her older sister up significant hills (we live in Gunnison county - Crested Butte area) when we transitioned to the bigger bike this fall. It is light, responsive, easy to peddle with good geometry, and much better bottom bracket clearance than her 20" bike. On crazy trails at the end of the season with significant steep downhills, I made her ride the 20" bike, but if I gave her the choice, she always chose the trailcraft.

    The only problem with the bike is the valve for the rear shock is in a bad spot, and after a significantly long ride with a little kid (+20 miles) it left a sore spot on her thigh. I think as she grows into the frame size, this will be much less of an issue.

    We are cross-country riders, and the girl jumps a little, but definitely not bike park hucking style.

    All in all, best buy ever if you enjoy riding mt. bikes with your kids.
    Nice. Regarding the shock air valve protrusion, you can just flip it around backwards Euro style and easily solve that issue. We did it for our daughters bike (she pedals knees in a bit too). You have to reverse the bushing hardware but it is super easy with a vice, socket and or block of wood. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jalyKV8lAAo Or you can get a bit more creative like this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VQ1M5_C7JE

    That Monarch shock valve is in strange spot for sure. I know several (Scott, Devinci Spartan, etc.) were running their shocks backwards for a while for this very reason.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bob3 View Post
    Got one in August, but it is next season's bike for my soon to be seven year old girl. I pulled the trigger while I know I had cash flow, and the wife was fully supportive.

    Let me premise this with the girl who's bike this is has been on a spawn Yama Jama 20" for a year and a half, and has fully earned this bike.

    Working with trailcraft was a pleasure, and they can spec it however you want with the plethora of options available - right on par with a great custom build if you already have parts.

    As far as the bike is concerned, it is awesome. The girl started beating her older sister up significant hills (we live in Gunnison county - Crested Butte area) when we transitioned to the bigger bike this fall. It is light, responsive, easy to peddle with good geometry, and much better bottom bracket clearance than her 20" bike. On crazy trails at the end of the season with significant steep downhills, I made her ride the 20" bike, but if I gave her the choice, she always chose the trailcraft.

    The only problem with the bike is the valve for the rear shock is in a bad spot, and after a significantly long ride with a little kid (+20 miles) it left a sore spot on her thigh. I think as she grows into the frame size, this will be much less of an issue.

    We are cross-country riders, and the girl jumps a little, but definitely not bike park hucking style.

    All in all, best buy ever if you enjoy riding mt. bikes with your kids.


    BOB3, did you ever find a solution to your daughter's rubbing on the shock valve? My son is having the same issue.
    Last edited by gambit023; 04-28-2019 at 07:05 PM.

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    Just got one of these for my daughter. Brett was amazing to deal with, and I cannot give enough praise for the customization process. Being able to buy exactly what I wanted and nothing I didn't was mind blowing for me. Haven't gotten it on a scale, but with the 24" Maxwell in one hand and a 20" Yama Jama in the other, I couldn't tell a difference.

    And here's what happens when they make a mistake (they're only human). They accidently built up and shipped the frame in a different color then I had asked for. Once I let Brett know, he said just ride it and he would build up another in the proper color and send it out so that my daughter could still have a new bike to ride. The green color that was originally sent looked so awesome that we just decided to keep it anyway. There's no arguing these bikes are pricey, but I feel you get an amazing product and service that somehow feels like a bargain in the end.

    So far no issues with the shock valve, but my daughter hasn't had a ton of time on it yet.

  10. #10
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    My son is now used to the bike. He doesn’t complain about the shock valve any longer. I did however switch the valve cap with the one off my FOX as it was more rounded.

    Called Brett and he also let me know the shock can easily be flipped, but a shop may need to press the bushings out.




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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by gambit023 View Post
    My son is now used to the bike. He doesn’t complain about the shock valve any longer. I did however switch the valve cap with the one off my FOX as it was more rounded.

    Called Brett and he also let me know the shock can easily be flipped, but a shop may need to press the bushings out.




    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    The rockshox bush tool is $20 or so and worth it imho as you need to change the DU bush at some point anyway and it works on fox as well but a socket and bolt also work.

    Takes about 5 mins an end to get out and the same to put back. Most of which is winding the thread to the start point and back off

  12. #12
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    I'm leaning towards a couple Maxwell 26" for my twins - Good feedback in this thread.

    Can anyone comment on pedal bob? Or how the suspension behaves?

    We do some XC races right now but mostly bike rides and lots of bike play. Many of my peers are stuffing their kids onto XS 29er's and 27.5. But I need a quality "all around" solution.

    Here's another question for the group - once you take your kid to a FS bike, do you think you'll ever get them to go back to a hard tail? Because if my girls start racing in middle school, I'll be stuck buying VERY expensive lightweight, FS XC bikes....

    Appreciate any feedback! Thanks!

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    As for ever getting them off of FS, haha good luck. Maybe for the pump track, but no way on the trails.

    BTW- after looking at this frame option a bit I decided to go with a more AM rig with more travel. I am glad I went with 140mm of travel, with a properly tuned shock a kid can utilize that kind of travel as much as we can. The rubber ring is always down at the bottom of my son's shock after a day of riding. And I was surprised how quickly both my 8/10 year olds learned to control bigger wheels and move from 24" to 26" wheels. My 10 year old is probably ready for 27.5s so I am shopping for an xs FS frame to move her to next year.

    Last thing, moving to 140 travel and beefy tires adds weight, but it seems like kids at this age can handle the extra few pounds pretty easily. I dont notice any real challenges with them on sustained climbs. I guess if I had to choose between a more modest trail bike with 120 mm of travel and something with 140mm and add 3 pounds, based on my experience I would take the additional weight.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by backinmysaddle View Post
    As for ever getting them off of FS, haha good luck. Maybe for the pump track, but no way on the trails.

    BTW- after looking at this frame option a bit I decided to go with a more AM rig with more travel. I am glad I went with 140mm of travel, with a properly tuned shock a kid can utilize that kind of travel as much as we can. The rubber ring is always down at the bottom of my son's shock after a day of riding. And I was surprised how quickly both my 8/10 year olds learned to control bigger wheels and move from 24" to 26" wheels. My 10 year old is probably ready for 27.5s so I am shopping for an xs FS frame to move her to next year.

    Last thing, moving to 140 travel and beefy tires adds weight, but it seems like kids at this age can handle the extra few pounds pretty easily. I dont notice any real challenges with them on sustained climbs. I guess if I had to choose between a more modest trail bike with 120 mm of travel and something with 140mm and add 3 pounds, based on my experience I would take the additional weight.
    I think the key moving forward is that some of the new longer travel suspension weighs the same if not less than what we have used in the past at 100mm. Nicer dual airsprings (way less stiction at low PSI) and kid dampers make a huge difference as well. I agree, there isn't much of a downside (for kids at least) and the upside is pretty dang significant. Especially since kids smaller wheels hit everything where my 29" wheels roll right over and barely engage my suspension. Now, XC racing isn't something I'm familiar with and I'm guessing a short travel ripper that is super light can make a difference...especially with some of the nicer builds.

    Sacto: with you looking at pricey Trailcraft 26" stuff (sorry you have to buy two of these bro, oye)...wouldn't a used carbon Pivot whip with 450$ Stan's Crest 26" wheels be about the same price and lighter? Then you can move up to 27.5 when they are ready. Just curious

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    The comment about dual air shocks is spot on! My sons cheap DMC shock works far better than any of the fox or rock shox models we tried for this very reason. You can balance the air out at a relatively low level and get a great range and very little stiction. The Maitou Mattoc Pro has the IRT kit that adds to dual air and makes that shock awesome long travel shock for light weight kids. Far more economical than sending shocks in for re-valving, and allows for easy re-tuning for another kid who may be a different weight and have a different riding style.

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    Hey if you can somehow source 2 identical late model XS Pivot bikes. I'm all ears. But A) they won't fit B) I'm sure they will need full servicing and modifications. = costs more. And they will be non-boost. There are 2 listed on PB right now $2800 and $5k...Pfft. One is 4 years old and the other is 1.

    The downside of longer travel is weight and poorer pedaling efficiency. Longer travel means things have to be beefed up.

    As a former XC racer, I cut my teeth on rides that involved 5 miles UP so we could ride down. The down was a blast. The up was the part we were trying to maximize efficiency. I'm sort of blown away with the chatter surrounding "longer travel" and "3 lbs doesn't make much difference" - It's like the whole MTB community (here anyway) is so disinterested in how a bike pedals and feels. On the other hand, I'm appalled at the fact that a $9k Julianna carbon bike weighs 29lbs! It's absurd. in 1999, TWENTY YEARS AGO. A Ventanna FS bike weighed about 25lbs. 22lbs if you got aggressive. Design has improved since then. But the rider's acceptance of more and more and more weight is pretty nuts IMHO. These new bikes can rail through gravity assisted terrain like crazy. And it's awesome. But the pedaling part...lower and lower gearing. That's the industry's general answer.
    - Ok off my soap box for now.

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    Gotcha. Yeah geez youd think there would be some lighter stuff but apparently not. We've seen that the frame weight goes up a 1lb with long travel rigs like propain/clash but the rest is just the wheels/tire and components. My kids are light so pedal bob even on a longer travel rig is no discernable difference than a 100mm bike if they aren't standing and hammering. Especially with an over overdamped adult tune. My kids are behind yours tho, I'm sure it's more like an adult as they put on weight. 3lbs is a lot tho!

    Any Rocky Mountain elements out there? I know guys that love those and rocky makes really nice light carbon frames iirc. Even their enduro instinct bike that Malamed rides is only like 5.5lbs. The ride9 or whatever it is allows you to adjust the BB height which would help with dropping down to 26" wheels. Edit: bah its like everything short travel is a 29er. Regardless, Trailcraft is pretty hard to beat out of the box. Good luck! Itll be interesting to see what you guys end up with. Cool that your girls are still crushing it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoGeoff View Post
    As a former XC racer, I cut my teeth on rides that involved 5 miles UP so we could ride down. The down was a blast. The up was the part we were trying to maximize efficiency. I'm sort of blown away with the chatter surrounding "longer travel" and "3 lbs doesn't make much difference" - It's like the whole MTB community (here anyway) is so disinterested in how a bike pedals and feels. On the other hand, I'm appalled at the fact that a $9k Julianna carbon bike weighs 29lbs! It's absurd. in 1999, TWENTY YEARS AGO. A Ventanna FS bike weighed about 25lbs. 22lbs if you got aggressive. Design has improved since then. But the rider's acceptance of more and more and more weight is pretty nuts IMHO. These new bikes can rail through gravity assisted terrain like crazy. And it's awesome. But the pedaling part...lower and lower gearing. That's the industry's general answer.
    - Ok off my soap box for now.
    This is mostly tongue in cheek so take with a grain of salt...

    I have been riding since mid 1980s and so much has changed. I would (and do) gladly give 3-5 pounds for what we have now, I couldnt be riding in my 50s at all let alone the stuff I ride today if we hadnt had these innovations (and added weight).

    What you references as "XC" is what I think of as "just riding" or all mountain/enduro today, at least in the mountain regions of the west coast. Ride up 7-10 miles and then ride down. Increasingly this is on directional trails, so a dedicated climbing trail purpose built to ease the grind. The weight and HT angle stuff gets less critical when you are on a dedicated climbing trail.

    That is for adults admittedly. For kids, I think you have to look well beyond the % of weight of the frame in relation to a kid's weight. When I moved from a low 20's hard tail to a 27 lb FS bike for my son, the 4 lb gain for his 90 lb body would have seemed like a lot, certainly double me at 220lbs adding 4 lbs to my rig. But its not a linear relationship. The kids have a strength to weight ratio that is more like an insect than a 40-50 year old adult ;-) I got over this and just didnt tell my kids the bike was heavier. The number one comment I heard wasnt "this bike is heavier" but "hey the suspension helps on the climbing trail too" or "wow, this gear ratio makes it easy to climb up even on this big bike." Earlier this summer my son got up off the saddle and sprinted a 3 mile climbing trail, later I found out because his shifter broke and he was stuck in 3rd gear. He dusted me, he didnt like it and complained it was hard but the reality is he could do it. I sure as hell couldnt sprint that in 3rd gear, I was cranking in my 42t with a 28 front chainring!

    So I think there is a reason younger riders brush off adding 3-5 pounds, they dont really get adversely impacted by it, maybe in a race if they are against an equally fit person on a 3-5 lb lighter bike but not in the abstract. And older riders brush it off because we suspect it is the only reason we are still able to ride today after a couple of decades bruising our bodies on lightweight hardtails or fully rigid bikes!

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by backinmysaddle View Post
    So I think there is a reason younger riders brush off adding 3-5 pounds, they dont really get adversely impacted by it, maybe in a race if they are against an equally fit person on a 3-5 lb lighter bike but not in the abstract. And older riders brush it off because we suspect it is the only reason we are still able to ride today after a couple of decades bruising our bodies on lightweight hardtails or fully rigid bikes!
    I’m with you on that at least after a certain age/size ... when Jnr was 5-6 the weight made a huge difference... 7-8 less and he just turned 10 last week and is riding an adult XS FS now with 26” wheels ... the wheels are pretty heavy as I was more concerned with him not taco’ing them some spank race 28 rims .. and Fairly heavy tyres (DHR/DHF) but he’s never mentioned the bike weight .. and I don’t even know what it is ...

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    Quote Originally Posted by backinmysaddle View Post
    This is mostly tongue in cheek so take with a grain of salt...
    Oh I get it. The more plush, lower geared and subsequently heavier bikes allow for a wider range of people to enjoy riding. As long as you're not interested in going from A to B as fast as possible. Excluding going down.

    It has helped to expand the market.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoGeoff View Post
    Because if my girls start racing in middle school, I'll be stuck buying VERY expensive lightweight, FS XC bikes....
    Be honest, this is what you want, not what you dread

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    Weight matters, and it matters for kids too.

    But they are unusually bike strong for their size. A 50# rider can definitely pedal around a 30# bike and have fun. However there is no adult I can imagine that could pedal around a bike that weighed 60% of their body weight and still have fun.

    Still weight, and particularly rotating weight can make quite the difference in overall performance. And with Chinese manufacturing going all WW on a kid's bike doesn't cost much at all; it's mostly just choosing carefully. And of course at their light weight, any lower quality of the components is much less of a concern.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suns_PSD View Post
    Weight matters, and it matters for kids too. But they are unusually bike strong for their size. A 50# rider can definitely pedal around a 30# bike and have fun. However there is no adult I can imagine that could pedal around a bike that weighed 60% of their body weight and still have fun.

    From Google..

    "Previous studies have reported that the maximal power of young adults/adults is two- to threefold higher than the power of 8- to 10-year-old children. Such a difference is not unexpected because adults are more than twice as large as 8-year-old children. However, the power of adults has been reported to be 35–50% greater than that of children when scaled to body mass and 20–53% greater when scaled to muscle size. From young adulthood to older age, total power and power scaled to body mass have been reported to decrease by 6–11% per decade and by 6%–8% per decade when scaled to muscle size."

    There is also a lot else regarding skin thickness, significant immune system compromises from extreme exertion during exercise (like maybe riding a bike 60% of their body weight).

    Based on my own kids and their friends, kids don't ride bikes better that are X% of their body weight than adults of the same percentage.

    Lighter bikes are faster bikes and provide more enjoyment in most cases especially when climbing.
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    Another recommendation for Trailcraft....

    Brett is awesome to deal with. Just bought a PIneridge 24 for my 8yo (couldn't get the wife to sign off on the Maxwell). My son was fond of the 2.8 tires on his Riprock, and wasn't sure that this was a good trade...but within 2 minutes of riding the Pineridge, he had changed his tune.

    The bike is of the highest quality, and is beautiful. They stand by their product, and will work with any issues you may have. The resale value makes the added expense a no-brainer IMO. We will more than likely keep buying Trailcraft until our kids have outgrown their products.

    I wish they made bikes for adults!


    As for the bike itself, I was obvioulsy expecting a lightweight bike, and that it is. It's remarkable how much lighter it is than his old Specialized. It's slacker than I expected. I put a RST Snyper with 100mm travel on it (had one lying around), and it has a more aggressive look than I thought it would have....for an "XC" bike. I'm probably going to add a dropper pretty soon, but don't expect it will have any negative effect on his riding.

    I think it will be more than capable of occasional bike park trips even as a hardtail. I'd wager that the Maxwell would be capable of all but the biggest jumps at most bike parks.

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    Just wanted to add an update: After tons of riding on her maxwell now, the shock valve thing has not been an issue for my daughter. She's only once mentioned that her leg hit it. But she is absolutely crushing it (going up and down) on the bike.

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    I cannot believe it's taken this long for someone to do a video review of the Maxwell. The Bike Dads just popped this onto their youtube channel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LpP4_NjdAY&t=9s

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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoGeoff View Post
    I cannot believe it's taken this long for someone to do a video review of the Maxwell. The Bike Dads just popped this onto their youtube channel.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LpP4_NjdAY&t=9s
    Pretty much sums up my thoughts on that bike...unless your kid is at a sponsorship level, riding terrain that most adults won't do, this is the bike. The maxwell is easily capable of tearing up most bike park terrain. I'd buy this over the Commencal or Spawn.

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    I like how the review emphasized the Maxwell is a great "all around" bike. I think some of the other makers are over-selling their bikes as an all-rounder. Because they're all clearly gravity based designs. If we get Maxwells, I'll likely grab another set of tires (Minions) for the odd chair lift days. And call it good.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by tomson75 View Post
    Pretty much sums up my thoughts on that bike...unless your kid is at a sponsorship level, riding terrain that most adults won't do, this is the bike. The maxwell is easily capable of tearing up most bike park terrain. I'd buy this over the Commencal or Spawn.
    Agreed.

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    Its been a while since I have been here. The kid grew a little before the snow hit and we got access to trails again this last spring. Once she grew an inch (she is now 4'2"), it was no longer a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoGeoff View Post
    I like how the review emphasized the Maxwell is a great "all around" bike. I think some of the other makers are over-selling their bikes as an all-rounder. Because they're all clearly gravity based designs. If we get Maxwells, I'll likely grab another set of tires (Minions) for the odd chair lift days. And call it good.
    Put some Minions on it for regular trail days.



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    I've been thinking of putting a set of the brood maxtions on since they are significant lighter then minions (and the rocket rons are feathers). Probably not until summer though, since then we're taking a trip back up to highland. In the meantime, a dropper will be going on next month as a birthday present. Was thinking of going with the 75mm Lev.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eyeballs View Post
    I've been thinking of putting a set of the brood maxtions on since they are significant lighter then minions (and the rocket rons are feathers). Probably not until summer though, since then we're taking a trip back up to highland. In the meantime, a dropper will be going on next month as a birthday present. Was thinking of going with the 75mm Lev.
    I was contemplating the Brood Maxtions, but settled on Maxxis DHF and DHR2 since they were on sale. They are heavy. The 75mm KS Lev Si is a good choice. I went with the 80mm KS Lev model since the insertion part of the dropper was shorter overall compared to the Si model, so it can clear the slight bend in the seat tube on the Maxwell 24.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by gambit023 View Post
    The 75mm KS Lev Si is a good choice. I went with the 80mm KS Lev model since the insertion part of the dropper was shorter overall compared to the Si model, so it can clear the slight bend in the seat tube on the Maxwell 24.
    I saw that, as well as the slight weight advantage of the 80mm. Brett seemed to think there was no reason to spend more on the 80mm, so I'm assuming the 75mm version can fully insert as well. Have you heard/seen otherwise?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by eyeballs View Post
    I saw that, as well as the slight weight advantage of the 80mm. Brett seemed to think there was no reason to spend more on the 80mm, so I'm assuming the 75mm version can fully insert as well. Have you heard/seen otherwise?
    I'd go with what Brett suggested. He does spec them on his bikes so they should fit no problem. Or shot him an email to make sure it'll slam all the way down to the collar and report back to the forum for others to know.

    When I cut down the stock post to allow the seat to slam down there was a little bit of drag when I inserted it all the way from the post hitting the bend in the seattube. I took the insertion length of the stock seat post and settled on the KS Lev version.

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