watch out for handlebars/grips being too tall on 12"/14"/16" bikes- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    watch out for handlebars/grips being too tall on 12"/14"/16" bikes

    I've seen a lot of parents bring kids out to mtb trails, bmx tracks, skateparks, and pump tracks, and the most common problem I've seen is that many 12"/14"/16" wheel bikes have the proportions all messed up.

    The most common issue is that the handlebars and stem-rise are way too big for the bike. They put the grips at shoulder or even face-level. Not only is this awkward (imagine being an adult with handlebars that high) . . .but it's also great for smashing teeth !

    Look at this kid. No adult would ever ride with handlebars at high-chest level. The stem should be all the way down and the bottom of the handlebars should be clamped right next to the headset like on a normal bike.


    Another example of a bike withi stupid-tall handlebar/stem combo:


    This is an easy fix. If you wan to spend a lot of money, you can get a BMX "mini" or "micro mini" -- or you can just change the stem and/or handlebars.

  2. #2
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    My son rides that geometry on his 12" and 16" bikes and does fine. In fact, it gives him more leverage to pull up on the front wheel when riding off curbs, etc. The upright position also encourages looking around for cars so I don't mind it.

  3. #3
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    I felt the same way, so I built my sons Specialized Hotrock with an 18" fork and 2.5" rise Bmx bars.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails watch out for handlebars/grips being too tall on 12"/14"/16" bikes-hotrock-prototype-7rs.jpg  


  4. #4
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    That bike is sweet!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Demo9
    I felt the same way, so I built my sons Specialized Hotrock with an 18" fork and 2.5" rise Bmx bars.
    Excellent !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Demo9
    I felt the same way, so I built my sons Specialized Hotrock with an 18" fork and 2.5" rise Bmx bars.
    Very nice indeed! My son has a Hot Rock 16 too and I just checked a video of him on the bike to see what position he has on it. The bar is a bit lower than on the pictures at the top of this thread but it's still quite high.

    On your kids bike, you have removed the front brake. I am trying to get my boys to use both front and rear brakes, just so they will be comfortable with that once they hit the trails. What do you think about having only the rear brake?

    Kind regards,

    Clemens

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cinq
    Very nice indeed! My son has a Hot Rock 16 too and I just checked a video of him on the bike to see what position he has on it. The bar is a bit lower than on the pictures at the top of this thread but it's still quite high.

    On your kids bike, you have removed the front brake. I am trying to get my boys to use both front and rear brakes, just so they will be comfortable with that once they hit the trails. What do you think about having only the rear brake?

    Kind regards,

    Clemens
    The bike will have a disc on the front soon. I bought a jig to weld disc tabs onto the fork. I have another 16" Redline that I built for my son that has a front disc. I set it up so with the lever pulled all the way it just slows the bike down and won't lock up. I chose to go the disc route because disc brake is easier to apply and modulate for my 4 year old son.
    For trail use I would definently have front and rear brakes. We travel to Whistler several times a year and you have to have front and rear brakes to ride in the bike park, no coaster brakes.

  8. #8
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    Sorry to revive an old thread-

    Demo9, can you give any details on where to source an 18" fork like that? This geometry looks much better than the stock 16" Hotrock.

  9. #9
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    I would check throughout your local bike shop for a haro or mirraco 18" fork. That's what I did. It may not have been those brands, but one of the bmx companies sell the 18" forks.

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    Thanks!

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    Resurrecting an old thread here. I've fallen down the rabbit hole of making my girls bikes a little more trail worthy. Just a little better for them to control. Regretting not buying a "real" bike when I bought these.

    Not lookign to get crazy. Although those cranks burn my eyes...

    Ordered SmallBlock 8's and swapped out the coaster brake.

    But what about putting a set of riser bars on this.
    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ki...coaster/115158

    I'm considering a pair of these. I'm 99% sure they will fit fine.
    https://www.clearybikes.com/collecti...ser-handlebars

    The question is, will it screw up the fit? Being a little bit lower? Will it screw up handling? What's the down side?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by SactoGeoff View Post
    Resurrecting an old thread here. I've fallen down the rabbit hole of making my girls bikes a little more trail worthy. Just a little better for them to control. Regretting not buying a "real" bike when I bought these.

    Not lookign to get crazy. Although those cranks burn my eyes...

    Ordered SmallBlock 8's and swapped out the coaster brake.

    But what about putting a set of riser bars on this.
    https://www.specialized.com/us/en/ki...coaster/115158

    I'm considering a pair of these. I'm 99% sure they will fit fine.
    https://www.clearybikes.com/collecti...ser-handlebars

    The question is, will it screw up the fit? Being a little bit lower? Will it screw up handling? What's the down side?
    What bike is she riding now? How tall is she? I think the main thing is that the grips should be at a height that are above the hips but below the shoulders, like stomach or mid-chest level. Most adults have their bars even lower, like at mid-quadracep level while standing with a comfortable bent-knee stance.

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    My son's 20" Trek Superfly and his 24" Trailcraft both have flat bars. The bars are still well above the saddle height, but put him in a more athletic and balanced position than most kids bikes with high rise bars.

    His 16" bike did have riser bars and a somewhat more upright position. I think they can progress to a more aggressive position slowly as they get bigger. It happens anyway as they grow and saddle height goes up.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails watch out for handlebars/grips being too tall on 12"/14"/16" bikes-trek-superfly-20.jpg  

    watch out for handlebars/grips being too tall on 12"/14"/16" bikes-trailcraft-full.jpg  


  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmc4130 View Post
    What bike is she riding now? How tall is she? I think the main thing is that the grips should be at a height that are above the hips but below the shoulders, like stomach or mid-chest level. Most adults have their bars even lower, like at mid-quadracep level while standing with a comfortable bent-knee stance.
    They are currently riding the HotRock I linked to. They probably only have about 6mos left on that bike and I can't justify buying another one for such a short window. Lesson learned. Their next bikes will be legit, lightweight mountain bikes. I'm just trying to see if I can eek out a little more control and handling from the current one. Shaving a couple pounds with the tires, ditching the coaster setup and the kickstand doesn't hurt either.

  15. #15
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    If there's one thing I've learned, it's that kids adapt. Coaster to hand brakes, BMX style bars to flat bars, etc. Unless your kid is a 3 year old Jackson Goldstone just make the switch with their next bike they'll adjust to the differences in the new bike in no time and this will all be a thing of the past. The only reason I'd mess with it in the meantime is if there's a specific situation that you're looking to overcome or the geometry/riding position is wrong for the terrain you're on, etc. This all assumes of course that the child in question will be upgrading sooner rather than later. If it's a situation where the kiddo will be on this bike for an extended period... then it might be worth it to make a few tweaks.

  16. #16
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    watch out for handlebars/grips being too tall on 12"/14"/16" bikes




    I'm a firm believer in proper geometry from the start. It's all about building a foundation of good habits and muscle memory. This guy isn't even 5 yet he shreads! He'll be on real deal trails next month.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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