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Old 04-30-08, 12:13 PM   #1
bulbar2
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Need advice on son's 1st bike

12 yr old son, want to buy him his 1st mountain bike. My budget is probably maxed at $350. I want the lightest bike I can get, but beyond that I don't know much else. I do know I don't want full suspension, just in front. One bike shop recommended Trek 3700 for $279 or 4300 (don't remember price) or Specialized Rockhopper for $369. Another one recommended Specialized Hard Rock XC for $370.

Also don't know what frame size to get. The one shop recommended 16" after seeing him, saying he'll grow into it but he was on hip tip toes straddling the bike which I don't want. I'm thinking a 13-14" but don't know.

Any advide or bike recommendations would be appreciated.
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Old 04-30-08, 12:41 PM   #2
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Your bike shop will be best for selecting the frame size for your boy. Mountain bikes are larger bikes than your typical BMX and while he should be able to touch the ground when standing over the frame there won't be much clearance. And being 12, he only has about 5 more years to grow, and he may be able to get away with only having to get one more bike to fit him instead of two, over those next 5 years. That's a lot of coin that can be spent on upgrades, or a really sweet ride when reaching adulthood.

Trek and Specialized both make great bikes, and being it's his first bike, you might as well let him choose after riding on each one. I don't know the difference in weight but I would expect them to be pretty close.

May I ask why you are not interested in a full-suspension bike?
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Old 04-30-08, 12:43 PM   #3
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Well, I guess I heard that full suspension bikes are pricier and heavier? Maybe that's wrong? Mine is a hard tail.
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Old 04-30-08, 02:04 PM   #4
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Correct about the hardtail. If your budget is only 350, DO NOT go for a full suspension as you can't get anywhere near a quality dualie for even $1000. It will also be lighter and mean less maintenance.

My first mountain bike was in that price range, a 2000 or so Specialized Hardrock. (It was about 350 as well). It worked great for me, I really loved that bike. I took in on the street, fire roads, and some fairly technical trails and it did everything I asked of it. Obviously I outgrew it and got a larger, lighter, more expensive hardtail, but that Hardrock really introduced me to my love of biking in the first place. (Now I probably have too many bikes...if thats possible...)
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Old 04-30-08, 04:42 PM   #5
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Thanks for the confirmation.
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Old 04-30-08, 05:09 PM   #6
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I have been through the same thing with my son. Any of the bikes you listed will do fine. You might consider the frame that looks a little large, he'll grow into it.....faster than you think.
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Old 04-30-08, 05:12 PM   #7
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he'll grow into it.....faster than you think.
+1 Been there, done that (larger size) and it paid off.
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