Join Date: May 2003
Location: Ohio's Cycling Capital, America's North Coast.
If you have not made your purchase (its been a week):
13 year olds can be very hard on a bike, I know I was and have the scars to prove it (and to think it took us a hundred years to figure out we should put helmets in kids :confused
. I would not expect any bike to last more than 2 seasons, either by growth, theft, abuse, or just use (I would guess the later). So, I would not spend too much because in a couple of years he'll need another, before the "driving" bug hits him.
Anyhow, I went to a Dick's Sporting Good store (I hope you have one in your area) and they had a bunch of "entry level mountain bikes" from $149.00 on up. Most had very nice features that would have brought the price into the $500.00 range a few years ago. Such as suspension, grip shifting, eyelets, and pretty decent rims with lots of spokes. The "Moongoose" and "GT" Brand (I've always liked "GT" bikes with that hip triple triangle designed frame) market their products to folks wanting something more than the Walmart and K-Mart offerings. At least when something breaks on these bikes it is worth fixing, and in some cases, upgrading. On the bargain brands its almost as cheap just to buy a new one. I also think these bikes are comparable to the mid level brand's (TREK, Schwinn, Raliegh, and the like) low end products, but for $50.00 to $100.00 less.
You will also need to plan to change the tires as blwyn suggest. Not to mention the repair kit, tube, helmet, pump, and other gizmos. I would also consider bottle and a cage so he stays hydrated this summer (its important).
I will caution you in making sure you get the right sized bike for your Son. An ill-fitted bike can make the whole experience of cycling horrible. At the very least make sure he has the clearance when he stands over the top tube.
Hope this helps,