Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Central Coast, CA
Bikes: Surly LHT, Specialized Rockhopper, Nashbar Touring (old), Specialized Stumpjumper (older), Nishiki Tourer (model unknown)
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Don't buy a bike at Walmart, K-Mart, Toy's-R-Us, Costco, etc. Their bikes are cheap, but they're heavy and the components are usually crap, even if they say Shimano.
Go to a bike shop that sells some of the national brands - Specialized, Trek, Giant, etc. Ask for their advice. You'll pay more than at a department store, but it will be a better bike, and will have a much better resale value when your son outgrows it.
Another thing to consider is Ebay, Craigslist, or garage sales. There are plenty of kids who have outgrown their nice bikes. However, don't do that unless you know what to look for.