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  1. #1
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    MTB for my kid--quick question....

    I'm shopping for a new 24" bike for my 8 (almost 9) year old boy (he's currently got a horrific 20" Target bike that must weigh 40 lbs!).
    I know nothing of mountain bikes and such (I just have a road bike myself, and am a noob at that).

    I'm looking at these two:

    http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/colle.../mt_200_boys/#

    http://www.specialized.com/us/en/bik...24-7speed-boys

    My question really is, how much of a difference might the suspension make for a kid? Once he gets this new bike, I plan to buy myself some kind of mountain bike or crosstrail kinda bike so we can take our bikes when we go camping, and ride on the trails where we live (pretty mellow fair).
    Realistically, he'd be riding about 80/20 pavement/trail.

    The Trek appeals to me due it's simplicity, and it's much less than the Specialized, but is it gonna be a rough ride even on mellow trails w/o the suspension? He's an athletic and strong little bugger, and he "goes for it" with sports. I want to get something that's up to the task.

    Any advice greatly appreciated.
    2013 Specialized Allez Comp

  2. #2
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    Front suspension has a big cool factor, My boy is still on a 20" bike and the front forks are way to firm to be of any real value, except when he hits a real big bump.
    I think kids are just to light for spring forks to actually work properly.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by floating dutchy View Post
    Front suspension has a big cool factor, My boy is still on a 20" bike and the front forks are way to firm to be of any real value, except when he hits a real big bump.
    I think kids are just to light for spring forks to actually work properly.
    Interesting--yeah, I wasn't even thinking about how his weight affects things! (shows ya what I know....) He's about 74 lbs right now.
    I'm leaning towards the Trek--the price and the simplicity of it are very attractive...
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    I don't guess there is any chance he is tall enough for an XS 26er?

    Don't worry about the suspension fork on a 24". Unless you spend the bucks to get an air fork of which there aren't many in 24" he won't be heavy enough to compress the thing much anyway. Now the specialized is aluminum so it might be lighter than the steel trek. For some reason kid bikes are damn heavy.

    If you want to go crazy over on mtbr.com in their kid forum people convert older 26" air forks to fit 24" frames.

  5. #5
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    My boy is 49 lbs, I suggest you go in a bike shop, get him to sit on a bike and see much it takes to make the forks move with his weight on the bike.
    And don't forget the cool factor, important at 9!

    If I was shopping new for my kid I'd lean towards the Specialized, But for me and kids I figure that they grow out of bikes before the wear them out so I go 2nd hand.
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  6. #6
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    Getting him to a shop, and checking out several models for fit, is great advice. Between those two, I'd lean towards the Specialized. Fork has disk brake tabs, if you want to upgrade later. A longer stem & seat post could keep him on it through a pretty long growth period. You might be able to find a leftover 12' or 13' for quite a bit less than list.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by P7HVN View Post
    Getting him to a shop, and checking out several models for fit, is great advice. Between those two, I'd lean towards the Specialized. Fork has disk brake tabs, if you want to upgrade later. A longer stem & seat post could keep him on it through a pretty long growth period. You might be able to find a leftover 12' or 13' for quite a bit less than list.
    I just (like today) bought my wife a 13" 26er with cable disks for $600 NZ. My boy who has just turned 8 and is under average size for his age can almost ride it.
    You might want to look at the 26er if buying new, you'll get more years out of it. BUT if it is too big for him then riding will not be much fun. If you are keen for him to use the bike then it has to be fun.
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  8. #8
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    If there's any way possible to go straight to a small 26" do that. He's going to grow out that 24" bike really quick.

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    Thanks for the advice folks. I should have mentioned I DID in fact take him to a couple shops, and he sat on the Specialized, and took a good test ride on the Trek. Watching him ride the Trek, it looked to fit him just right, maybe a tad big, and he LOVED it. Of course, as I mention he's coming off something that's definitely too small, so maybe my perception is off. Both the LBS people who thought it looked like a good fit with some room for growth.
    It's a tough one--I can see how he'd outgrow it maybe sooner than I expect, but as you say, I want him to have something he loves to ride NOW, since his current bike is far from inspiring.
    The shop that sells the Trek has a trade-up program for kids too which might be a consideration. I could buy the cheaper(than the specialized) Trek now, get perhaps a couple years out of it, and then trade up.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member koolerb's Avatar
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    I put all three of my girls on 24" in spite of every one elses advice for the same reason. I wanted something that fit right, right away. The trade up program sounds like it could be a good deal. This is a great time of year to buy a bike. Shop around a little on line and at your local shops and you'll probably be able to find some super deals. My issue was the bikes for my daughters were all birthday presents purchased mid summer so I ended up paying close to top dollar on all of them. Right now though, bike are on sales everywhere.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by koolerb View Post
    I put all three of my girls on 24" in spite of every one elses advice for the same reason. I wanted something that fit right, right away. The trade up program sounds like it could be a good deal. This is a great time of year to buy a bike. Shop around a little on line and at your local shops and you'll probably be able to find some super deals. My issue was the bikes for my daughters were all birthday presents purchased mid summer so I ended up paying close to top dollar on all of them. Right now though, bike are on sales everywhere.
    Yeah, this Trek is on sale at my LBS until Christmas for $260 (down from $309). That could be 40 bucks I can put towards MY new bike

    That mindset as to the fit is kind of where I'm leaning, but I will try and take him to a shop and get him on a 26" just for comparison though.
    2013 Specialized Allez Comp

  12. #12
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    Check out Cannondale's Race 24 Boys' http://www.cannondale.com/24-m-race-l-gloss-black-28567 It's air-sprung fork is butter smooth and worth the extra money. It's a truly plush fork for a kids bike--no other spring or elastomer fork comes even close. My daughter moved up to this bike at age 8, she's 9 now and races kids' XC with it. Over summer, she got 8 firsts, 2 seconds and a fifth. This bike helped her make huge leaps in skill and confidence. It is a couple hundred $ above what you're already looking at though but worth it in my opinion. We got a previous year's model and saved a $100. I switched the tires for better trail-oriented ones.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikeme View Post
    Check out Cannondale's Race 24 Boys' http://www.cannondale.com/24-m-race-l-gloss-black-28567 It's air-sprung fork is butter smooth and worth the extra money. It's a truly plush fork for a kids bike--no other spring or elastomer fork comes even close. My daughter moved up to this bike at age 8, she's 9 now and races kids' XC with it. Over summer, she got 8 firsts, 2 seconds and a fifth. This bike helped her make huge leaps in skill and confidence. It is a couple hundred $ above what you're already looking at though but worth it in my opinion. We got a previous year's model and saved a $100. I switched the tires for better trail-oriented ones.
    That looks pretty sweet, but I could never convince the Missus to let me spend that much!
    Gonna shop around a bit more this week--fortunately we've got no shortage of LBS's in our area. I know it's hard to predict just what kind of riding he's gonna be doing, but I think the trail aspect of it will be of the "light" variety, and the majority will be pavement, so I'm thinking the suspension might not be necessary, especially considering other folks' comments about how at his size he won't compress it that much anyway.
    Also, if memory serves, the Trek, though steel, was lighter than the Specialized--perhaps due to the absence of the suspension? I'll go back and re-visit both bikes and see what else I find.
    2013 Specialized Allez Comp

  14. #14
    Senior Member BeginnerCycling's Avatar
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    To the OP, how tall is your son?

    My son will turn 9 on January, and at about 55 inches tall he's right in the height range between 24" and 26" wheels. He has a 24" bike with 13" frame, and just bought an old 26" bike with 12" frame to covert to SS MTB for him (I ride SS a decent bit, and he wants to try it).

    At 74 pounds, most kids forks probably won't compress too much for him, maybe with a big root or rock, but on "mellow" trails you mention it probably won't do much except weigh him down (most kids forks are very heavy). So, for your stated purpose I'd probably pick the Trek of the 2 you mentioned.

    If you were tackling even mildly challenging singletrack MTB trails, I'd say err on the side of 24" wheels. However, if you are sticking to pavement and really mellow trails (rail trails, crushed gravel, etc.) it could be o.k. to move him to a small 26" depending on his height.
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    Bpass, talk to your kid, he is going to be the one riding it. Asking here about what is best is good but if you want him to ride the bike it's going to have to be what he wants, even if it is not the best fit for his needs.
    Again, I'm talking about the bling factor of bouncy forks.

    FD
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by floating dutchy View Post
    Bpass, talk to your kid, he is going to be the one riding it. Asking here about what is best is good but if you want him to ride the bike it's going to have to be what he wants, even if it is not the best fit for his needs.
    Again, I'm talking about the bling factor of bouncy forks.

    FD
    I hear you. That's why this xmas gift is not gonna be a surprise We went back out and he rode 4 bikes, including the 2 above, and he decided on the Trek. He loves it. Fits him great with some room for growth, plus it's from the shop that offers the upgrade program--they'll give you 50% of what the bike originally cost toward his next bike when he grows outta this one. So, everybody's happy!
    Now he just wants some new pedals like mine (and so it begins....
    2013 Specialized Allez Comp

  17. #17
    Bandolero Bandrada's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pbass View Post
    Thanks for the advice folks. I should have mentioned I DID in fact take him to a couple shops, and he sat on the Specialized, and took a good test ride on the Trek. Watching him ride the Trek, it looked to fit him just right, maybe a tad big, and he LOVED it. Of course, as I mention he's coming off something that's definitely too small, so maybe my perception is off. Both the LBS people who thought it looked like a good fit with some room for growth.
    It's a tough one--I can see how he'd outgrow it maybe sooner than I expect, but as you say, I want him to have something he loves to ride NOW, since his current bike is far from inspiring.
    The shop that sells the Trek has a trade-up program for kids too which might be a consideration. I could buy the cheaper(than the specialized) Trek now, get perhaps a couple years out of it, and then trade up.
    Get him the bike that fits. Suspension isn't going to be all that useful at that age, IMO. Plus, both my kids started on fully rigid singlespeeds. I think they are much better for it. I guess what I'm saying is that developing handling skills at the basic level is never a bad thing.

    First pic is my 9 y/o on my B6'er FS and the second closest to the camera is my 5 y/o on the BMX Cruiser 46'er.

    boys on bikes.jpgboys on bikes(5).jpg
    Last edited by Bandrada; 12-11-13 at 09:17 PM.

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