My daughter needs a new bike, having outgrown the kids bike she's been riding. She started riding the 24" wheeled mtn bike that we had that was left over from my son, and it was fine for her. However, she is also a twin, and her smaller twin sister (they're the un-twins, 6" difference in height!) wanted a bike with gears also.
My thinking at this point is to buy a x-small framed but full size mtb for my daughter, although I think she is a tad too small for it. Even at 5'0" her proportions are still that of a kid, not an adult. I hesitate to buy another 24" sized bike that she'll be too big for in a year, and I found that the kind of sidewalk riding that they're used to on 20" bikes isn't possible on the 24 incher anyway. She tried riding my son's bike (he's 5 11) and had a lot of trouble. She also had trouble with the thumb shifter, she couldn't push it hard enough, but that could just be the shifter's age. Even if she outgrows an XS frame, the other one probably won't so it will not go to waste.
So, I'm seeking opinions. And while I'm at it, any recommendations for an entry level mtb? I looked at BD and while the pricing looks good, I'm not sure I want to buy online. Scott, Fisher, Trek, Spec, Cannondale? Others?? Front shock, no shock? Hybrids? I don't like hybrids as they're the best of neither and sometimes the worst of both.
I'm a roadie myself, and ride a Kuota Kredo with Choru$ components, just so you get an idea of where I come from. I don't ride an MTB and I'm not familiar with the component and frame levels by name, but appreciate that there are differences.