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Thread: SS kids?

  1. #1
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    SS kids?

    Last weekend my son got his first taste of singletrack while being pulled along behind me on his trail-a-bike. Now he wants to do it on his own bike as soon as he can get free of the training wheels. His current SS ride is the little red "my first schwinn" with 12" wheels, it's almost too small already.

    My thinking is to jump straight to 20" wheels with a BMX mini. It seems like a little kids 29r as most little kids ride bikes with wheels smaller than 20" Here is a picture of about what I have in mind, it's a Redline, and a full on mini BMX racer. They go for about $400 retail but seem to go for $150-180 used on ebay. I like the little riser bars. I think it may make a great bike for following Dad on some easy trails.

    If he wants to race, that's cool too, but I won't push it. Any thoughts? Does anyone else ride trails with little kids like 4-7year olds?
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattman
    Does anyone else ride trails with little kids like 4-7year olds?
    My son has been riding on the trail since he was 5. He is 8 now, and is on a 20 inch 7 speed MTB.

    If you go with an SS, change the gearing so he can muscle up the climbs. That Redline looks like it would be hard to pedal on the trail.

  3. #3
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    After several months of gravel rides with my son (building up to 5-10 km), at his request I started to take him out onto the singletrack last summer when he was 4. I stuck to level and wide multi use trails. It was a little scary at first because his concept of speed and it's consequences are a little squewed, but it also works for him as he typically won't tense up in technical sections. He has a riot out there.

    Before hitting the trails, I set him up with a Specialized HotRock. Great little bike (6 speed twist shift, linear front and rear brakes, RST fork), but it weights a ton. It took him some time to get used to the independant braking versus the coater brake but he's progressing well.

    He's also taken hold of the twist grip quite quickly but now that I'm SSing he likes to lock his in 'number 6' (gear) and grunt up climbs out of the saddle. Brings a tear to my eye.
    Last edited by fritZman; 05-18-2005 at 04:33 AM.

  4. #4
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    My thoughts based on experience

    My son started on a Toy's R Us Kent then jumped right into a Haro CR Mini and from the Mini to a Diamondback Octane 24 which is his actual ride. The Mini was sold to my sister and one of her boys is riding it.

    The only concern with the mini based on my experience is that the 1 1/8 tire is so skinny that gets punctured a lot. My nephew pinch flatted his on a ride about 3 times, could be his riding style but when my kid rode it he never got flats but he only rode it on parks, streets and BMX tracks.

    Racing is another story, it will depend on the race promoter or sanctioning body. Back in the day when I was a full time racer (not a good one btw) my kid will always be inquiring about kids races and sometimes they will do it improvising. About 3 seasons ago I volunteered and took charge of the kids league (as we call it). We race kids from training wheels up to 10 on a specialy designed course and kids from 11 to 14 ride the real course along with their parents (for security). This has worked pretty well for us and my kid won his class the last 2 years and now is fourth in points but he's the youngest one of the group and takes a beating on every race. At the end of the season we have an awards ceremony and the first three of each class are awarded along with the big boys, they really dig that.

    Here are a couple of pics of my kid and his ride (not a SS).

    Current ride


    Birthday gift (stored at the lbs)


    Racing pic


    Can't wait for him to grow some more and get him a nice XC racing machine

    Trophies


    The best way to get your kid into racing is to race yourself and he will want to do it to. If your area promoter or sanctioning body doesn't do a kids race volunteer and get involved, it's hard work but very rewarding.

  5. #5
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    i dunno, matt

    that little redline looks fun and all, but i sorta think your little guy might be better off with a mini-geared mtn bike of some kind, if you are actually going out on trails and stuff.

    both my kids started riding and racing mtn bikes around 7-8 y/o, and enjoy it still. they progressed thru an assortment of 20 in, 24 in, and finally 26 in wheeled mtn bikes. the older one is now racing a SS at age 14 in the new female SS class in the local series, she started that last year at 13 and digs it. but, had she been stuck with the one gear in those middle years 8-12 grunting along and spinning out and stuff . . . . . . . . well i dunno. i am inclined to think that the beauty of SS might be lost on a 9 y/o kid having to push up every goldang hill when they could be learning how to shift gears and riding/scrambling up/clearing them.

  6. #6
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    Mont, you covered very well that point. I don't believe that a kid will really enjoy the SS experience, pushing a bike uphill is a pain for the big kids image how brutal will it be for an 8 y/o.

    Let him enjoy the outdoors and learn to ride the bike and trails, eventually a SS can be introduced later on and let him decide which one he likes best.

    What ever you do, don't push him.

  7. #7
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    Kids and trails

    My Lil guy was almost born on the trail! LOL! Mom was even racing with him inutero!!!

    I already bought one of those Red Lines for him! Its a bit tall for him now and I have to get a shorter crank, but by the end of summer he will be a single track crazy man!

    This is a picture of him racing last Sunday in our local series! He had a real race with the other little guy! They passed each other about 4 times! In the end they all win and get a prize!



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    i can vouch

    . . .for scoutdog's little guy !! i saw that little dude ( he is REALLY little !!) at the top of a huge-a$$ ski-jump hill on his little 12"-er twice this past weekend, barrelling along the trail heading for the downhill with scoutdog on foot in hot pursuit. if any little guy is set to blast off SS as a pre-schooler it is s-dog junior, fer shure.

    say scoutdog, i wonder if you can dig up a few pics of the killer kid's racin scene we are so fortunate to have here is WI, for the viewrs at home ?? i lack those kinda html skillz. anywayz, the little guys can race in numerous classes every other weekend on some really fun trails - from the everybody-is-a-winner kiddie race, to blasting along with a pretty sizable adult field duking it out for the precious medals . . . . . lots of kids are riding for teams, looking to move up and improve, etc etc. lots of racer families around here. it is cool - nothing better.

  9. #9
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    My older son learned on this one:

    And now my younger son (5) rides it. The cranks/pedals and chain are removed to allow him to get his balance scooting around without training wheels. As soon as he can push and hold up his feet and coast frequently for 100 ft. or so, I'll add the drivetrain stuff. As soon as he has mastered the rear brake, and has enjoyed the speed, had lots of fun, etc., then we'll get him a geared rig (not a hand-me-down).

    One thing I have also found is that the crank arms that are spec'ed with most kids bikes are way too long for the learner. I suggest finding some Dotek cheapie cranks at a mail-order or online bmx place like Danscomp; Doteks come in some very short lengths. When my older son (now 8) started riding scaled-down mtbs at age 6 the cranks on these were typically 170s and he really needed 140s.

    There's a lot of excellent advice in this thread. Some of the best is to not push your child. Let him or her take it up when they will. Singlespeed mountain biking is probably not the best way to go at first. Provide lots of opportunities, and they'll really want to join you.

    Those racing shots are so great!! Some lucky kids and parents on this forum.
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  10. #10
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    Great Info.... Thanks

    I'm going to have to do some considering about gears or not. One of my friends whose daughter is a bit older than my son, just went from a 20" SS bike to a 20" geared MTB and she's able to go more places easier.

    I rode trails from about 7 or 8 years old on various old SS bikes, it was all we had and pushing was just part of it. I remember certain hills that I could not climb until I got older or stronger...........Kind of like now, except now getting older is no help

    Here's a pic of us last weekend.
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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattman
    Last weekend my son got his first taste of singletrack while being pulled along behind me on his trail-a-bike. Now he wants to do it on his own bike as soon as he can get free of the training wheels. His current SS ride is the little red "my first schwinn" with 12" wheels, it's almost too small already.

    My thinking is to jump straight to 20" wheels with a BMX mini. It seems like a little kids 29r as most little kids ride bikes with wheels smaller than 20" Here is a picture of about what I have in mind, it's a Redline, and a full on mini BMX racer. They go for about $400 retail but seem to go for $150-180 used on ebay. I like the little riser bars. I think it may make a great bike for following Dad on some easy trails.

    If he wants to race, that's cool too, but I won't push it. Any thoughts? Does anyone else ride trails with little kids like 4-7year olds?
    I have 4 kids and introduced now all of them to MTBing using an Ultimate tandem trail-a-bike (pictured). Now, I pull my 4 and 5 year olds off road and my 8 and 9 year old daughters cruise the local trails on their Haro V20s which are pretty sweet bikes that I can hand down to the younger ones (ie, very well built).


  12. #12
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    that picture is so great. you should send that to dirtrag! i can just feel the excitement! i can see the helmets bobbling!
    if all goes well, my little guy will be there in 4 years!
    Only boring people get bored.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mattman
    Last weekend my son got his first taste of singletrack while being pulled along behind me on his trail-a-bike. Now he wants to do it on his own bike as soon as he can get free of the training wheels. His current SS ride is the little red "my first schwinn" with 12" wheels, it's almost too small already.

    My thinking is to jump straight to 20" wheels with a BMX mini. It seems like a little kids 29r as most little kids ride bikes with wheels smaller than 20" Here is a picture of about what I have in mind, it's a Redline, and a full on mini BMX racer. They go for about $400 retail but seem to go for $150-180 used on ebay. I like the little riser bars. I think it may make a great bike for following Dad on some easy trails.

    If he wants to race, that's cool too, but I won't push it. Any thoughts? Does anyone else ride trails with little kids like 4-7year olds?
    Hi Matt,
    I saw your post on the SSSS thread about this topic. I think you should go with a 16" for now.
    My boy was off training wheels at 31/2 and was a demon on his 12", but the 20" was just too much bike for him @ 5.
    He did a little offroading on the 12" at Peters and also had his first OTB there.
    We ended up going with a 16", and it's been great for him. A Haro Backtrails 16". I found that at his age, uphills are just not much fun for him.
    For instance, he hated going up Serrrano at Whiting Ranch, but loved going down Live Oak.
    He has rode Peters, Whiting, Aliso and the flat part of Blackstar. Relatively flat trails are what he considers fun and I want to keep it completely fun for now.
    Here he is at Fairview park in Costa Mesa. This is a great place for kids. Jumps and dips o'plenty:


    You might want to check out the BMX track off of Chapman and the 55. It's a good way to find out if racing is something he'd like to do.
    For what it's worth, Griffin is almost 8 now and has just about outgrown his 16". He'll be getting a 20" soon and we will be selling his bike shortly.

    PS-To 86 the training wheels, use the cracker technique. Put a trail of crackers on the sidewalk and have him roll his bike over the crackers while pushing on the ground with his feet (and the Twheels off). Once he has done that, have him do it again while he pedals and you run along side. The crackers make them look ahead instead of down. Griffin was on 2 wheels in about 8 minutes.
    "Get back to the hills, get back to baby where you belong." - P. Westerberg

  14. #14
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    since we are throwin up pics . . .



    http://www.http://extreme-photograph...03/Wausau_0030


    dang it, nevermind - i can't do html . . . . . . . arrgh.
    Last edited by mon t; 05-18-2005 at 01:59 PM.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by mon t


    http://www.https://extreme-photograp...03/Wausau_0030


    dang it, nevermind - i can't do html . . . . . . . arrgh.
    Here ya go...

  16. #16
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    Kids on speed (ss of course)

    Hi Matt,
    Sounds like we have boys the same age and ability. My boy just turned five this month. Last Christmas I bought him a Redline Pit Boss with 16" wheels. I was a bit concerned about the lack of a coaster brake and the bike was a fuzz too big for him at the time, but now he loves it and rides like a champ.

    He rides some flat singletrack with me along the Santa Maria river and does just fine. Although for longer rides I'm considering a setup like you have with a tag along bike attached to the seatpost. I think hills at this point could be discouraging.

    Nothing would please me more than if he got into racing, but I'm taking it slow. I have taken him (as a spectator) to several BMX races and although he liked them, he was not ate up with the idea just yet. However, I signed him up for a kids mountain bike race held at the Firestone/Walker mountain bike race last month and he loved it! More fun than competition, but he came in third in his age group. I had to drag him home.

    The more he wants to ride, the more I can ride myself.
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  17. #17
    One gear to rule them all
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    My daughter has been riding trails with me since she was 5. She is 9 now. I found that SS is just not possible for her. I would have to gear her bike super low, then she would be spinning her legs off in the flats. I think gears work best for young kids. She likes her XTR deraillures
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  18. #18
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    Keep it simple

    My experience is that kids will ride with you on anything, but less crap to deal with seems to keep em going better and longer. A single is a good idea, cause they don't deal with bad shifts, de-railled chains, etc. Just push and go. My kids have learned to ride geared bikes, and they love it, but I think if they were left to their own devices, one would probably choose a BMX style single speed sthat she could throw down, leave out, and basically abuse.

    The other is lusting for a beach cruiser/klunker that she can ride to school. It has to have a basket...


    I tried... I tried...

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