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Old 09-20-05, 11:26 AM   #1
BradS
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A small bike / correct bike, for an 8 year old, ideal price range $250 - $600.

A small bike / correct bike, for an 8 year old, ideal price range $250 - $600.

He is going to a local BMX park that was just built, with tons of jumps. All dirt park.
He is really trying to jump, and having difficulty. He is a wiry, 60-pound kid
He is having 2 primary problems, #1 getting enough speed at the start of the top of the hill, #2 strength, and probably upper body on a bike that is too small and too heavy
He is riding a small, rear braked bike that I will trade in or sell separately.

So here are my thoughts, which is a consolidation of this forum. I would really love comments and feedback.

My assumptions/no feedback unless I am clearly not thinking correctly

A. Rear brake is all I want, front brakes would need to be removed if bike comes with it

B. Need to buy, if the bike does not come with, a set of pads for the top tube and stem at least, and the bars if they have a cross bar.

C. I donít care if it is used or new, as long as used doesnít mean stressed frame etc. if it is used

My Questions

1. Weight is a HEAVY consideration. I could use some thoughts here. Is 16 pounds light, or can I/should I get lighter?

2. Tires should be, ideally, 1 1/8" or 1 3/8", not 1.75" - 2.25" tires because they will only slow the kiddo down. Any disagreement here? Is there weight considerations here as well?

3. Three piece cranks are a bonus, but if the cranks are short, say 115 mm - 125 mm they should be fine. Three piece will allow you to change to shorter crank arms if needed, and they usually are because the poor kids are real choopy on cranks that are too long. This sounds neat, what does it mean? And any suggestions are welcome here.

4. Sizing indications that I can apply. If there is sizing, arms, where body is, handlebars etc, and I need to normalize an adult sizing version, please point me in that direction

5. A San Fran Bay area store that specializes in Kids BMX, east bay even better, and do these shops sell used along with new?

Thanks again.
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Old 09-20-05, 12:56 PM   #2
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DB skindog
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Old 09-20-05, 03:36 PM   #3
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he's 8. he will outgrow anything you buy him quickly. the best thing to do is take him to a shop and let him pick out something he likes. if it fits him and he likes it, then it's perfect.

after a year or two, get something else if he's still into bikes....
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Old 09-20-05, 10:09 PM   #4
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HI, thanks for the response. Although I agree, he will outgrow it, he is going 1-2 times a day to the track, and I am okay with sinking money in now. Any additional thoughs/comments from you or others would be appreciated. Another idea I had was that he strictly is on dirt track and wants to jump, not race.
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Old 09-20-05, 11:15 PM   #5
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Depending on where you're at in the Bay area I'd recommend Calabazas (south bay - Cupertino) or Hank and Frank (east bay - Berkeley and another location in Lafayette), both are shops with solid reputations in the BMX market.

You can find a lot of quality entry-level (and up) bikes in that price range, far too many to list. In response to your considerations:

A. You'll have no trouble finding a bike with only a rear brake. I would recommend a bike with a freewheel instead of a coaster brake...an 8 year old is getting to the age where he can stop reliably using only hand-operated brakes. Coasters can be a liability if he likes to spend time in the air.

B. You can order these online, but Calabazas and H&F both should have a couple padsets on hand. You would be better off padding your kid though, not the bike. Helmet and gloves are pretty standard, I personally think shin protection is the most important after that.

C. Unless you know what you're looking for, the convenience of buying new usually outweighs the added expense.

1. 16lbs is about what a road bike in the Tour de France weighs. Twice that would still be perfectly acceptable for a BMX bike. Too light and not only are you paying a lot more for parts, often you're sacrificing durability and longevity.

2. Skinny tires are for race bikes. Bikes that usually have weight limits around 90lbs. 90lbs assuming the kid's a racer, not a thrasher. I wouldn't worry about rolling resistance, I would focus on getting something that's both reasonably light and reasonably strong.

3. 3-piece cranks are stiffer and sturdier than 1-piece, that's all that's really important in BMX. Since most of a BMXer's time is not spent in the saddle, crank arms run long. 115-125mm is WAY too short.

4. BMX bikes aren't road bikes...'fit' depends a lot on what you want to do with the bike as well as body geometry. Bars can be moved back, seats can be lowered...many *adult* BMXers run seats dropped all the way, since they're hardly (if ever) used. Some run seats high enough to be pinched between the knees and that's the consideration. Ideally bars should stand parallel to the fork, but he'll probably have to have them moved back until he has a chance to grow into the frame. Your average LBS is going to have plenty of smaller BMX bikes (but not all the way down into the mini and JR race bikes) with shorter top tubes and chainstays for younger riders.

There ya go, think I hit everything mentioned there!
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Old 09-20-05, 11:27 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by hypersnazz
Depending on where you're at in the Bay area I'd recommend Calabazas (south bay - Cupertino).
Hella. I got kicked out of there today for shooting the sh1t for way too long with a couple of the mechanics.
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Old 09-21-05, 12:03 AM   #7
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Hella. I got kicked out of there today for shooting the sh1t for way too long with a couple of the mechanics.
hahaa, not by Rob?
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Old 09-21-05, 12:09 AM   #8
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Of course by Rob. Mary and Bob have no idea what's going on, anyway. Rob knows that I'm not really talking about brake pads with Pat for thirty minutes.

Rob's the man, though, especially when he's out of his mind drunk like he was at the Cecil Johns memorial service.
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Old 09-21-05, 12:23 AM   #9
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BMX Plus! did a two-part article a few months back on building a pint-sized jump bike. If you can get hold of the back issues, there's plenty of pointers regarding buying stuff for the little guys. Snazzy pretty much covered everything though, especially safety gear vs pad set.
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Old 09-21-05, 03:27 PM   #10
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I was just looking on ebay. Search for BMX Mini Jr. You will find what you need. These Mini, my sone ha one, are unbelievably ligtht. My son has an older shwinn. It's probably at least 10 years old. But these kids can't wear them out or break them. It's for 90 lbs and under. We paid $125. The technology hasn't come so far that you need to spend a ton on a Brand New one.
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Old 09-21-05, 04:00 PM   #11
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BMX Plus! did a two-part article a few months back on building a pint-sized jump bike. If you can get hold of the back issues, there's plenty of pointers regarding buying stuff for the little guys. Snazzy pretty much covered everything though, especially safety gear vs pad set.
I remember that article, it was actually really comprehensive. And I still wouldn't recommend a Mini.
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Old 09-21-05, 04:11 PM   #12
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I remember that article, it was actually really comprehensive. And I still wouldn't recommend a Mini.
When I was a kid, it was one size fits all. "Here ya go son, watch yer nuts".
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Old 09-21-05, 04:12 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypersnazz
I remember that article, it was actually really comprehensive. And I still wouldn't recommend a Mini.
By mini, you're talking about the 1 1/8 inch tires bike I'm assuming. I can't imaging why you wouldn't reccomend a very light bike for an 8 year old. You aren't going to get anywhere near the wieght with anything else. It's still a 20" bike, but the frame, wheels, cranks everything is made super light weight.
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