Small kids on 29ers-
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  1. #1
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Aug 2010

    Small kids on 29ers

    I see a number of middle school kids on 29ers, and it looks kind of ridiculous, but seems to work okay for them. I was just wondering if there was any general consensus on 29ers for small kids.

    My son just turned 12, but is very small for his age - 4'7". He is still on a 24" bike, and it still fits him okay, but he could fit on a bigger bike and larger diameter tires would have some advantages in rolling over roots and rocks.

    I was looking at the Trek hardtails because in the XS and S sizes they come with 27.5 wheels, and my son is within their sizing recommendation for an XS 27.5er. I was considering the Procaliber 6 since it has a decent fork and drivetrain.

    However, the Trek alloy bikes are kind of heavy, and I just saw that the 2020 Specialized Epic hardtail comes with a light carbon frame and similar components and fork for just a bit higher price, and it comes in an XS size, but as a 29er. I have a Specialized connection, so I can get it at wholesale price. I'm just wondering how the XS 29er would work for a smaller kid.

  2. #2
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    At 13 my kid is taller (5'5") but we just bought her a Procaliber 6 to replace the Specialized Pitch Expert. Both bikes are size M, and she should still be able to ride the Pitch, but it just wasn't working for her. (she hunched over the handle bars and was miserable after a short time on the bike.) She has long legs and a short torso. My son, who is the exact same height as his sister, can still ride his Pitch size S (his legs are shorter and torso is longer), but only just barely. The daughter is more into riding than the son, and while I am going to have to upgrade his bike soon, I'm letting the pocketbook recover first. (Or maybe try to convince him to ride his sister's size M Pitch for a while.)

  3. #3
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    On the types of courses that NICA races usually occur, I think that a smaller kid can get away with a 29er and would argue there's probably a pretty good advantage for them in having a 29er. The problem is that if this is their only bike and they also like to get sendy and ride All Mountain style terrain, the 29er may prove problematic until they grow some.

    We're going with two bikes for this reason. The good news is that my wife is wanting a bike but won't ever be getting sendy, so I'm buying her a light "race" bike that my son can race with while allowing him to have a higher travel 27.5" bike for his all mountain/enduro/jump bike.

  4. #4
    mtbr member
    Join Date
    Nov 2019
    My son is in 8th grade, about 5 foot even. I built him up a bike, its a chinese carbon HT, it was marketed as a 27.5 but actually think its a 29er frame (29x 2.2 fit). anyhow, it is a small size, but I have it built using 27.5 wheels with a 120mm 27.5 fork and NX 155 cranks. Its pretty much perfect, and if he grows can then be upsized with 29" wheels and a longer stem if the reach gets cramped. Decent build, 22 lbs. Crank size is as important as anything, do not forget that. 10-12% of height. I have his old 26" bike (also chinese carbon HT) if your interested. just under 22 lbs, nice build.

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