Feedback on converting a mountain bike or XO-2 for a child's cross bike
I'm looking for a 'cross worthy bike for my 11 year-old daughter. I posted a wanted to buy ad on local Craiglist and got a response from a great guy, self-confessed bike pack rat. Anyhow, he has a couple bikes that could work, but I'm wondering a couple of things and thought I'd ask here.
One is a 14.5" mountain bike (Univega Alpina 5.3, double butted cromoly, mid-90's, no suspension, slightly smaller, so slightly better fit for now). The other is a Bridgestone XO-2 (I think also double butted cromoly). He understandably wants $100 more for the XO-2, so I'm kinda leaning to the Univega! But I'm concerned that putting drops on a mountain bike and racing 'cross on it could have some problems, like the geometry of the mtn bike wasn't intended for drops, or something like that. And yes, the final bike has to have drops because my daughter likes them (I don't blame her).
They're both 26 inch wheels, both would wind up 1 X 7, both would run ghetto tubeless 26 inch cross tries of some sort. So the decision seems to me to be mostly about geometry (and price, all else being equal, I'll buy the $100 cheaper bike!).
Any thoughts on the geometry or otherwise about these bikes??
Take care, Curt