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Old 07-21-09, 03:56 PM   #1
ummbnb
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Geared Bike for Small 8yo Who Loves to Ride Far

My son is 8 and on the small side. He is an avid cyclist and can comfortably do 20 miles with me at a good 12mph pace (give or take) on his heavy, old one-speed Schwinn. I really want to get him on something geared and more light weight so he can go even further - he desperately wants to! I'd love to find a kids road bike in my budget but also think it would be best to get him in gears on a familiar mtb style first before moving to a road bike. And there's the budget issue....I'd like to not spend over $200 - $250 new, and will always look for any recommended bikes used first.

Thoughts? Exprience?
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Old 07-21-09, 06:55 PM   #2
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Visit a few bike shops. You may be pleasantly surprised. Here are a few that we sell at the shop I work at.
20 inch:
Jamis X20, MSRP: $310 --> http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...th/09_x20.html
Raleigh Rowdy, MSRP: $200-$400 --> http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/youth/rowdy/

24 inch:
Jamis X24, MSRP: $350 --> http://www.jamisbikes.com/usa/thebik...th/09_x24.html
Raleigh Scout XC, MSRP: $200-$400 --> http://www.raleighusa.com/bikes/youth/scout-xc/
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Old 07-21-09, 10:26 PM   #3
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Craigslist is your best bet for being on a budget. Know what size bike you need, 20" or 24". Most 8 year olds will be on 20" but some are big enough for 24". If you can find a bike without a shock, I'd go for that. To make the bike more efficient for road riding, change the wide knobbies for narrower, higher pressure tires.
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Old 07-21-09, 10:45 PM   #4
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My smallish 9 year old daughter rides an older model steel "Rowdy" and just loves it... I have clocked her at 22 mph and she says she wants more gears.

It's a rugged little bike that I have upgraded with better brakes (Avids and Kool stops) as the stock brakes (pressed steel v brakes) were lacking for my little monster. It looks like the new model has improved brakes which is nice

Her older sister has a 24 inch Raleigh 15 speed and I won't mind doing some upgrades to it as my younger daughter will inherit it next year.

These have been good bikes.
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Old 07-21-09, 10:59 PM   #5
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There are indeed lots of choices out there - and some of them will definitely give you sticker shock...

I'm on the other end of your situation now: My kids are all adult-sized teens. However they put me through the same issues as they were growing up. If your son loves riding with you, I'd spend whatever I needed to keep him happily doing it. You'll never regret the time you two spend together - or the relationship that gets built from it.

Today my children are all skilled, responsible riders - and great people who've caused me no lost sleep. I chalk much of that up to the TIME we had together doing things we enjoyed. Some families camp, boat, fish or hunt - others ride.

Don't go overboard, but spend what you need to make riding fun and not frustrating. Neither you or your son will ever regret it.
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Old 07-21-09, 11:21 PM   #6
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As soon as my 9 year old can ride one I will be getting her a nice folder for her urban riding as it will be a bike that will grow and travel with her... her sister, who is rather tall, rides a Saffron which is actually a ladies 20 inch wheeled bike with no fold.
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Old 07-22-09, 06:46 PM   #7
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I really, really like this bike! So does he. I'm a CL junkie so I always look every. single. day. If nothing shows up though, I think I might end up going with this bike for him.

I am on the board of a bike advocacy org and we have a shop to help support our programs. I can get wholesale on most anything so I suppose I could do that, however, I try not to take advantage too often.

Thanks for all the input! He is excited about getting gears! Ultimately, my dream with him is to tandem when he's older, we'll see. I've done RAGBRAI several times and he's dying to do some of that with me. Now if I could only get my daughter as excited about cycling, we'd be gold. She is nearly 5 and refuses to ride, refuses! We have a shiny pink Trek with a basket and bell and lots of shiny things for her as a carrot and so far, no luck.


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My smallish 9 year old daughter rides an older model steel "Rowdy" and just loves it... I have clocked her at 22 mph and she says she wants more gears.

It's a rugged little bike that I have upgraded with better brakes (Avids and Kool stops) as the stock brakes (pressed steel v brakes) were lacking for my little monster. It looks like the new model has improved brakes which is nice

Her older sister has a 24 inch Raleigh 15 speed and I won't mind doing some upgrades to it as my younger daughter will inherit it next year.

These have been good bikes.
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Old 07-25-09, 01:01 PM   #8
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hi there, i have a soon to be 6 year old that loves to ride also. but right now we put him on a cheap wlamart bike to get him to learn on , and now it is time to move up. i am torn though between a geared bike or a single speed though. whatever i get is gonna carry him till he is 9 or so. I am likeing the gear option myself right now.
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Old 07-25-09, 08:02 PM   #9
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http://www.giant-bicycles.com/en-us/...ds/2302/32237/ If he can fit the model with 24" wheels it costs another $50 but will last a lot longer. It would roll faster with smoothe tires.
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Old 07-26-09, 01:31 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tclong03 View Post
hi there, i have a soon to be 6 year old that loves to ride also. but right now we put him on a cheap wlamart bike to get him to learn on , and now it is time to move up. i am torn though between a geared bike or a single speed though. whatever i get is gonna carry him till he is 9 or so. I am likeing the gear option myself right now.
We've got 6yr olds with single speed and gears (usually 5 - 7 gears). Bear in mind that he may well struggle to understand how to use them/ use them instinctively for a year or two.

Another thing to take into account is that many shifters, particularly grip shifter types, are very hard to use simply because they are very stiff to move.

Of course, if you have a hilly route you can take him on, the learning curve steepens pretty smartly. If the geography round your way is pretty flat, go for single speed and, above all, no suspension. It's almost always inadequate, too heavy and leads to money being saved in component quality unless you spend silly amounts.

By the way, he may rebel, as a 5' tall 9 year old, at riding with his knees round his ears
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Old 07-26-09, 08:14 PM   #11
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My seven-year-old son has a single speed 20 inch bike right now, which has been good, and he does pretty long distances (up to 30 miles). He is almost a year away from getting a new bike, but I have already been eyeing one: the 24 inch Trek KDR FX 7.2: http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes..._9_12/kdr72fx/

At about $400 (depending on the LBS), it is outside the OP price range. It's basically a smaller version of the 7.2 FX. Almost all bikes you see for kids, even at the 24 inch size, are mountain bikes with fat knobby tires, and mostly with suspension forks. My son doesn't need that kind of bike at all for the type of riding he does, and I don't think a suspension fork is the best idea for a young rider anyway. There are a couple of true road bikes for kids (with 26 inch wheels) out there, but I think a road bike (w/ drop bars, etc) is not necessary either, since they are even pricier and it's not like he's racing, he does ride on well-maintained dirt trails sometimes, and he's used to flat bars/upright riding anyways.

So really there are limited options in kids sizes for a simple bike with gears made to go pretty far and fast primarily on the roads. The KDS 7.3 FX is the only one I saw in America that makes sense to me, but there may be others. There's a company in the UK called Islabikes that has many more options.

In general, I would say $400 is a lot to spend on a kids bike. Buying used is basically not an option if you want this type of bike because it is so rare. But biking has become my son's favorite activity. He wants to go on significant rides every day. In that is still the case when it comes time for the new bike, the money will be easily justified for me. I made the mistake of buying a too cheap bike for my son once. Since I eventually just bought a better bike in the same size, I obviously didn't save anything.

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Old 07-27-09, 10:28 AM   #12
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+1, my 8 yr old has logged 30 mile days on his.
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Old 07-29-09, 07:10 AM   #13
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Random thoughts:

I've seen kids pass through a time when they could master shifting gears but were unreliable with hand brakes.

There's the Electra Townie 7D in 20" wheel (no front suspension).

Probably still too big, but years ago, Schiwnn, Raleigh, Gitane and others built small (24" wheel) kids' road bikes. Rare today, but they do occasionally show up on CL & ebay.

You could add a three- or five-speed hub gear to his present bicycle. Easy to shift, option to stay with a coaster brake, much less expensive than any other suggestion on this thread.

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Old 08-07-09, 12:37 PM   #14
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My son has a Marin Hidden Canyon. It has been a great bike and he is about to turn 8. He is tall for his age. I would not go to 24".

The positive on the Marin is that it is small and light and well-built. The negatives are common for all this range of bikes:
1. Useless fork - All 20" suspension forks I have seen are purely for aesthetics. They are not tuned for 60# kids and they don't move.
2. Grip shifters - The marin is 14speed. The right grip is easy to operate, and the left is nearly impossible for a small kid. I hate grip shifters for kids. Front derailleurs are tricky and the grip shifter does not have enough leverage. I switched it out and put in a trigger. My son was ecstatic.

We also had a Giant 7-speed 20" that I bought used. It was fine but it was really a tank.
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Old 08-08-09, 07:29 PM   #15
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I would keep an eye out on CL for a Specialized Hotrock with 6 speeds. Or a Trek (I believe Mountain Lion or ML60). We own one of each for both of my daughters and they are solid bikes. If you find an older one in good shape, it may not have the suspension fork.
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Old 08-08-09, 07:35 PM   #16
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The Trek is an MT 60 not ML 60.
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Old 08-11-09, 05:30 AM   #17
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Check out Fuji's entry level road bikes for kids. They have a 20x1/1/8, 24" and 650 sized road bikes. Sometimes you can get them on sale at Performance bike retial stores.
http://www.fujibikes.com/Kids/Road.aspx
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Old 08-14-09, 12:32 PM   #18
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REI Novara also lists a kids size road bike for those interested in a smaller road bike.

As someone else mentioned it is relatively easy too to convert almost any single speed bike to an IGH bike merely by changing the rear wheel. The SRAM P5 and T3 hubs should be narrow enough to fit many kids frames at about 120mm width. I would go with the P5 for it's wider overall gear range of 250%.
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Old 08-15-09, 02:18 PM   #19
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I have bought a specialized 20 hotrock single speed off of craigslist for 1/4 the cost and in good condition. Still have a little bit of a problem he wants to go further, but gets tired out cause he is pedaling like mad. We are going a slow pace for him. I almost want to say a 20inch single speed is pretty much a ride around the house with other kids kinda of bike. I am sure I will be buying one with gears real soon. Been looking at the specialized hotrock 7 speed and he fits on it really well.
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Old 08-18-09, 11:09 AM   #20
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Check out Fuji's entry level road bikes for kids. http://www.fujibikes.com/Kids/Road.aspx
Saw a couple of the 20"ers at an LBS over the weekend. Whoa, great little straight bar road bikes!

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Old 08-24-09, 10:33 AM   #21
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We went to look this weekend and we had one salesman say you might want to look at putting him on a 24" bike. To get more years out of the bike. He said our boy was taller than average and he squeeks into the 24" size. Have any of you been told this?
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Old 09-10-09, 06:50 AM   #22
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I got a Fuji Ace 20 yesterday and I'm thinking of putting drop bars on them. I've seen a video of the Piedrahita on youtube with drop bars. Does anyone have any idea how I can accomplish this? I guess the challenge is in finding brifters smaller than WSD ones that'll fit little hands.
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Old 09-12-09, 10:52 PM   #23
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Our daughter had a 7 speed Specialized that worked great. We bought it used (aye, another craigslist advocate), and sold it when she outgrew it. Because it was a good quality bike the 2-3 years only cost us $20 (if memory serves) plus normal maintenance. Because she learned on geared bikes she has much better tempo and candence than most of her friends. Although she still won't stand up (never had to).
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Old 09-14-09, 12:59 PM   #24
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I have been looking for one on craigslist but haven't found one yet. Sunflowerflyer a fellow kansasan I am located in Wichita. Nice to see a local on here.
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Old 09-21-09, 01:44 PM   #25
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We just found a used Trek MT60 in a LBS for $75. The rest of the family was outfit with bikes via Craigslist. Got the whole family workable used bikes from reputable makers (Trek, Specialized, Kona) for less than $400 for 4 bikes. Each needed varying degrees of cleanup and mine could use a new seat and grips (in addition to a troublesome front derailleur), but it's a good way to get started if you don't know if everyone is really going to enjoy it. Sounds like you know about the enjoyment part, but a used bike might still be a great deal particularly while your son is growing.
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