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  1. #1
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    24 inch wheel or small 26 inch wheel for a 9-yr old girl.

    My girl is riding a 20-inch bike with the seat post up to the limit.

    I hate to spend $200 for a 24 inch wheeled road bike if she is going to grow out of it in a year. Is there a brand of 26 inch wheeled hybrid that comes in very small women sizes?

    Any advice? Craig's list sucks in my area so that probably won't work out.

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member DieselDan's Avatar
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    I had a 13" framed Trek 3500 for my son when he was 7. That bike had 26" wheels and was more of a comfort bike then an MTB. He then went to a larger 16" framed bike, and is now riding a 54cm single speed road bike that is just a bit too big. Raleigh has a 15" framed Venture that may fit your needs, unless you are set on a road bike.
    Bikes use brakes to stop.

    If your bike has breaks, don't ride it.

  3. #3
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    It depends on how tall she is and what are her proportions. It also depends on her riding skills and the amount of riding she dies. Depending on where you live and the amount of cold-weather cycling she does, you may have to wonder whether she'll use it much this year.

    My oldest daughter is a bit smaller than average and is all legs. At 10, I was able to fit her on a Marin Muirhead (13" frame). The key point was not the height, but rather finding a short top tube and the shortest stem around. It's a bit of a nice bike for a child, but she uses it much more than the average child, though this year, she only rode about 400 km on her own steam.

    Other solutions? If her 20"-wheel bike fits her fairly well except for the seatpost, I would suggest you visit a shop to find a very long seatpost. Chances are that you'll be able to find a 300-mm seatpost that will add 1-2 years to the bike. If that's the case (and maybe with a longer stem a bit later), you will be able to wait until she starts growing up in her teens.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

  4. #4
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    Nobody can give you any meaningful advice without more information about her size.

  5. #5
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob View Post
    Is there a brand of 26 inch wheeled hybrid that comes in very small women sizes?
    Yes. All major brands (Jamis, Trek, Specialized, Kona, etc.) put out 26-inch-tire bikes in quite small frame sizes. For example, the Jamis Explorer 1 and the Specialized HRXC can both be had in 13-inch frame sizes.

    My experience though, is that dealers do not like to stock those very small frame sizes. The market for them is small, and I guess the inventory turnover isn't all that good. So you may have to visit a few shops just to find one to look at. (Also in my experience, some dealers are rather less than helpful when you begin asking about extra small frame sizes. Be persistent in getting a good fit for your daughter).

    I am leery of the advice to buy a longer seatpost. She's your daughter. She deserves better than to just have her butt hoisted higher into the air. Drastically changing one dimension -- the seat height -- without also changing other dimensions in proportion is usually a recipe for a poor fit.

    Kids do grow, that's for sure. I put my son on a 24-inch Specialized Hotrock (12-inch frame size) when he was eight years old. At 10, he surprised me by fitting nicely onto a 14-inch Giant Yukon with 26-inch tires. But, doggone it(!), he grew again over the winter and at 11 I bumped him up to a 15-inch Specialized Rockhopper. He grew again. This year (at 12) I bought a 17-inch Rockhopper frame on eBay, and I moved all his parts over to the newer, larger frame. For his next bike, he wants a bump up to 29-inch wheels. He can already ride my 17.5-inch Gary Fisher with 29er wheels, but it wouldn't surprise me to find that I have to move him to a 19-inch frame in a year or two.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the input.

    I am glad to learn that there are smaller framed 26 inch wheeled bikes out there. I will properly measure my daughter's inseam to size her.

    I like the idea of moving straight to a 26 inch bike so I can buy frames in the future and move the parts which won't wear out nearly as fast as she grows.

    My local LBSs don't carry muich in the way of kids bikes so I will start looking at the manufacturer web sites.

  7. #7
    Senior Member JonathanGennick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob View Post
    I am glad to learn that there are smaller framed 26 inch wheeled bikes out there. I will properly measure my daughter's inseam to size her.
    I, and many others, would argue that having a comfortable reach from seat to handlebar is the most important part of bike fit. Of course, you do want your daughter to be able to stand up when she stops the bike. The thing is, don't make inseam and stand-over clearance your one-and-only concern. Having a comfortable reach to the bars is important. You don't want her to be cramped in the cockpit, and always bumping her knees on the bars and her toes on the tires. It's a bummer that you don't have a nearby bike shop with at least a few, small frames to try out.

    Quote Originally Posted by BillyBob View Post
    I like the idea of moving straight to a 26 inch bike so I can buy frames in the future and move the parts which won't wear out nearly as fast as she grows.
    It cost me a bit over $360, all told, to move my son to a larger frame. That was after transferring the existing parts. Unless you are into working on bikes as a hobby, or have high-end parts, it may actually be more economically feasible to just sell off the old bike and buy a new one. But the option is certainly there to do a frame transfer. It never hurts to have options.
    Last edited by JonathanGennick; 08-25-08 at 10:37 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member deraltekluge's Avatar
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    There are also 700c bikes available in small sizes, so you don't have to be restricted to 26". For example, http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes...eries/7000wsd/ Note that it's a step-through frame, so stand-over height is not a factor.

  9. #9
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    24"

    We bought our 9yo daughter a 24", and glad we did. She is now 10 and tallish for her age (95th percentile, don't know were she got that). I was looking at $300-500 bikes, and my wife said no way, she will outgrow it too fast. She previously had a $400 Specialized 7sp 20" Hot Rocks that I found used for $100.

    We tried her on some small framed larger wheeled bikes. I simply didn't like the fit, mainly she was stretched out too far, and the bikes were heavier and hard for her to handle.

    So we bought her a 24" GMC road bike from Amazon for about $150. Are the components great? Nope, but serviceable for a couple years. This size 24" (At least 4 on the market, see metric size) will also take skinnier road tires, but comes with almost perfect mid width tires for our local gravel rail trail. It's not unusual for her to ride 10-15 mile rides with me, but most are 4-6.

    Accept she didn't like the road handlebars, so swapped them for a simple alloy riser bar, and bought brake levers (the stock shifters are straight bar type anyway). A regret is not splurging $35 for combined trigger shifter / brake levers. We have about $175 in the bike as it sits in the garage.

    My advise is to get the 24" if you can, or make sure she fits on a small framed larger wheeled bike properly. I also regret selling my wife's xtra small framed Trek 7.3fx 700c bike we special ordered. She could physically ride it when we purchased the 24", and would have actually fit in 1-2 more years.

    I attached a pic of her stopped off a rail trail earlier this spring very close to her 10th birthday. Don't notice the highly customized Townie beside it, we have more in mods than the bike cost =**~
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