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  1. #1
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Kid's touring bike with 700c wheels?

    We have now offically started our search for bikes for our upcoming journey - and pretty much came up empty-handed today. I think we've decided we want to go with 700c wheels on this trip (we've always used 26", but are going to be radical here...). However, we are having trouble finding a good bike for the kids with the 700c wheels - it seems like as soon as the frame size decreases, they switch to 26" wheels. Anybody know of anything we can look at?
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  2. #2
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    We have now offically started our search for bikes for our upcoming journey - and pretty much came up empty-handed today. I think we've decided we want to go with 700c wheels on this trip (we've always used 26", but are going to be radical here...). However, we are having trouble finding a good bike for the kids with the 700c wheels - it seems like as soon as the frame size decreases, they switch to 26" wheels. Anybody know of anything we can look at?
    If you absolutely have to have 700c, you may have to go custom. There's a reason for that. Putting big tires on small bikes will make your toes inevitably hit your front tire. Go with 26" They are easier to find on tour, and won't require anything bizarre as far as frame geometry.

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    Nancy, how tall are your kids? There's some hybrids on the market built around 700c tires that are 13-15" frames, but your kids will have a tough time reaching the brake levers unless they're close to adult height (like over 5 foot tall). You might have a look at REI's bikes with butterfly bars and grip-shifters, it's a setup that allows you to put the brakes and shifters very close to the torso. -B

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    I've got three kids with the tallest being 4'9". I'm building all their touring bikes off of 20" wheels, I certainly wouldn't go anywhere near 700c. My concept is to build with the best components I can, particularly the wheels, and then just keep swaping out the frames. That way when they take off for university they will still have a rocking city or touring bike that could probably be a folder even, if they want it. They could keep the bike a lifetime. And certainly while they are small and need the most help the smaller wheels will give it to them. When they are bigger those 20" wheels may be convenient for certain uses, or they can buy their own bikes for whatever given specialty.

  5. #5
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. We had planned to go with 26", but then went out looking nad it seemed like everything for me is 700c - so thought maybe we would switch over. I'm not sure exactly how tall the boys are, but I think the shortest is around 4' 8" or so, and the taller one is around 5'.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  6. #6
    Senior Member CyKKlist's Avatar
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    I was all ready to talk about the "junior" touring bike I got for my teenager last spring -- and then I realized it was Nancy asking the question! LOL Anything I bought for local riding and mini tours will not suffice. (Just in case you're curious, I bought him a very basic Schwinn Super Sport that was fitted for fenders and racks. $329 at Performance a year ago.)

    Regarding scalability, I've often admired the various models on the Bike Friday site, but those can be pricey. I thought of them immediately with all this talk about different wheel sizes.

    Getting ready to watch the best reality show on the Web this summer -- FamilyOnBikes!

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    Latest bike tour journal now posted -- PALM ride across Michigan!
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/palm2009

    Also -- NC Courthouse Tour, using Amtrak to Charlotte
    http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/nccourthousetour

    Trek 520 for commuting, touring, family rides and smiling at life.

  7. #7
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CyKKlist View Post

    Getting ready to watch the best reality show on the Web this summer -- FamilyOnBikes!

    Ken
    Yeah right - we'll see about that one!

    Actually Ken - we might end up with a cheaper bike for the kids after all. We figure they are pretty light and won't be carrying tons of weight, so they could probably get away with a cheaper bike. Ideally we would like a "good" bike for them, but it probably isn't critical for their bike.

    I would love a Bike Friday - but those things cost a fortune!!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  8. #8
    Slowpoach
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    700c wheels will be heavier, less strong, more prone to front wheel-toe overlap, harder to find tyres for in south america, and harder to achieve good bike geometry with for a short rider.

    On the other hand if the kids are going to be riding at 30-45km/h in a pace line on smooth roads, the wind resistance will be less with 23mm or thinner tyres on 700c !

    Sure the bike shops will tell you that 700c wheels are faster and most touring bikes are set up with them, but I'm not sure they're any real advantage loaded up on rough country roads for me (at 5'10", not 4'8") and I'm pretty sure there are better options for the kids.

    If you're not looking at a top end bike, can I suggest you have a look at the Kona Smoke? It comes in both 26" and 700c versions, and is a no-frills but practical hybrid-style bike. You can compare the two wheel sizes on a readily-available bike that is very suitable for touring.

    It is not a very attractive or exciting bike, the kids might want to spray-paint the frame or something (in which case tell the bike shop and do it before the bike is assembled!)

  9. #9
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cave View Post
    Sure the bike shops will tell you that 700c wheels are faster and most touring bikes are set up with them, but I'm not sure they're any real advantage loaded up on rough country roads for me (at 5'10", not 4'8") and I'm pretty sure there are better options for the kids.
    We've always used 26" wheels for our tours because of the strength issues. But on our last trip I developed some pretty serious hand problems (we actually thought we were going to have to call off the trip for a while), so comfort has taken on a whole new level of importance. As we looked around at bikes, it seemed like all the touring bikes that would be more comfortable than a mountain bike had 700c wheels. For obvious reasons, we want all our wheels to be the same size - so either I have to go with 26" or the kids have to go with 700c. I guess we'll look around a bit more before making a decision...
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

  10. #10
    Senior Mumbler m5nardi's Avatar
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    I've been considering women's specific frames for my youngest, in particular the Dawes Sheila on bikesdirect.com. They seem to have a geometry more forgiving to kids, usually with smaller bars and some of them have smaller frames still on 700's. The Sheila appears to have even it's smallest frame on the larger wheels with a nice low standover.

    http://www.bikesdirect.com/primalstuff.htm

    As a note, however, some women's designs are on 650c wheels. You'll want to avoid those, the parts are hard enough to come by when you aren't riding from one end of the Earth to the other!

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    I really don't think you will find much difference in the roughness of ride of the 700C. I feel a bit of a hypocrite saying it as I am building a 69, which has a rear wheel from a 26", and a front from a 700C. That said, there are a lot of ways of dealing with the front end shocks, and you probably know them all but...

    1) good cycling gloves, I like ones with top grain leather pads on the palms, I find the gel ones aren't as good

    2) Drops allow better pronation than flats.

    3) Fatter tires, which on a smaller wheel will roll as nice as 700C in a size smaller. You could go with a fatter tire only where you need it on the front. I like 2" slick for city riding, since my town is rough.

    4) Shock absorber: shock stems; there is a high quality hub that has shock travel built in; custom forks can make an amazing difference, "the fork is the frame" as they say; I personally avoid front end MTB shock because they are really designed to deal with a different problem than vibe, though there is a point where it makes sense.

    5) when I find I am suffering from carpal tunnel, I wear Velcro watch bands around the affected wrist.

  12. #12
    Just ride it. MrPolak's Avatar
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    I ended up buying a Cannondale M900 MTB, which has a very light frame, with a solid fork in a 14'' size for my 9 year old son. This works well for him as virtual top tube length is about right. He's a little stretched out, but for longer rides I can put on the touring butterfly bars.

  13. #13
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Thanks for your input! It appears as though we have a number of options, so we'll check them all out more thoroughly and then make a decision.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    height

    Quote Originally Posted by MrPolak View Post
    I ended up buying a Cannondale M900 MTB, which has a very light frame, with a solid fork in a 14'' size for my 9 year old son. This works well for him as virtual top tube length is about right. He's a little stretched out, but for longer rides I can put on the touring butterfly bars.
    could you tell me how tall your son is? i'm shopping for something my grandson can use on tour.thx

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    kids touing bikes

    Hi, you are have already made your decision, but we had the same challenge and ended up getting our 11year old daughter a bike Friday, new world tourist, which has worked great!!! Small wheels, easy on and off, rides loaded really well! and will grow with her! I would reccommend if for any one that is small in statue but big on ride! Barb

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    You miught find something at islabikes
    I dont think that 700c wheels can be comfortably fitted into any frame for a rider below about 5'3". The only way is to bodge the steering geometry and lengthen the top tube. 26" wheels are just better for small riders in every way.

  17. #17
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    I would'nt be the expert here, but I would definantly want all the bikes using the same size wheels. To change the subject- how does turning the stem (say a short stem) around backwards affect the handling of the bike? I have seen custom cruisers with this setup, would this work for a short rider? I dont see why not. I'm building a mountain bike for my son now and im putting a bmx stem on as it is very short

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    BMX stem

    BMX stem won't work on a MTB, they're 21.1 diameter and MTB are 22.2 or larger. Turning the stem around isn't stable for a couple of reasons. You're better off using a kid's bike with 20" wheels (Giant has some quality kid bikes with this wheel size) and using a longer seatpost and stem if needed to get a decent fit.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stronglight99 View Post
    BMX stem won't work on a MTB, they're 21.1 diameter and MTB are 22.2 or larger.
    Yes i know that was the case but I assumed because they are buying now it would be inch and an eight threadless

  20. #20
    DRF aka Thrifty Bill wrk101's Avatar
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    My wife has a Giant Cypress in a 15 1/2 inch frame with 700 wheels. Frankly, even that size bike may well be too big for your kids. I would go with 26 wheels. My wife's Novara has 26 inch wheels, as does my rigid Trek MTB which I have converted to a tourer. I see no advantage to a 700cm wheel. 26 inch tires and tubes are readily available.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    I think we've decided we want to go with 700c wheels on this trip (we've always used 26", but are going to be radical here...). However, we are having trouble finding a good bike for the kids with the 700c wheels
    which wheel size is best aside, I think there is definite advantages of having all one wheel size

    small frames do exist - http://www.bikeradar.com/beginners/g...uath-700-31980

    how is the op going any decisions?

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    You should be glad you can't find any. There is no bike that is truly smaller than 50 cm when the wheels are 700c. It can't be any smaller, because that's as short as the head tube can be. Sure, they can and do make bikes with shorter seat tubes. But the bike can only be so short both horizontally and vertically with the given wheel size, and so even if the bike has been shrunken vertically by making the seat tube shorter and the top tube sloping down to it, it's still really a 50 cm bike. If the bike is made shorter horizontally, you get overlap of the feet with the front wheel. Not considered a problem for an experienced cyclist, but it would be for a child who make not always be riding fast or paying attention.

    Even 26 inch wheels are not optimal for a child who is the size of a child. 24 inch wheels are more like it if you want a properly proportioned bike.

    But what difference does it make? Are you afraid you won't be able to find tires? I would think that neither 24 or 26 inch would be a problem (even less a problem than 700c).

  23. #23
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    Our original idea was that we all wanted the same size tire - much easier for spares. I've always used 26" before and was OK with that, but on our last tour I developed pretty serious hand problems (we seriously considered calling off the trip two months in because I was in extreme pain). As I looked around for a new bike, but became pretty obvious that I really needed the larger wheels in order to get a bike that truly fit me - and fit/comfort has taken on a whole new level of importance in light of my hands.

    So - since I had to go with 700c, we wanted all three bikes with 700c. However, we couldn't find one for my son, so we ended up with a Novara Safari for him. At that point, we had both wheel sizes, so my husband decided to get 26" on his tandem too. Now I'm the odd man out with 700c.

    My son's bike fits him very well. We really wanted a bike that both boys could ride so they could take turns on the single/back of tandem, but we couldn't get a good bike that was small enough for the smaller boy. He can ride the single, but it's hard for him to control, so he doesn't ride it very long at all. The good news in all this, though, is that Davy has risen to the challenge and is doing an AWESOME job on the single - he ride 61 miles yesterday and 50 today!! He's having a blast!
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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    Quote Originally Posted by nancy sv View Post
    ... As I looked around for a new bike, but became pretty obvious that I really needed the larger wheels in order to get a bike that truly fit me - and fit/comfort has taken on a whole new level of importance in light of my hands.
    ...
    Fit is about the relative position of pedals, saddle and bars. As longs as wheels dont interfere with this arrangement (ie by being too big) then wheel size has nothing to do with bike fit. There are lots of small-wheeled bikes for big people, eg Moulton, Canondale Hooliogan, any number of folding bikes from Dahon, Friday etc etc.

  25. #25
    family on bikes nancy sv's Avatar
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    That's true. I should also add that I wanted a steel bike so that we could get it welded if something happened - which narrowed the scope considerably. I ended up narrowing it down to either the Surly LHT or the Novara Randonee. I went with the Randonee only because of cost - it was a couple hundred dollars cheaper with my member discount.
    WE DID IT! Our little family of four cycled 17,300 miles from Alaska to Argentina! The trip of a lifetime for sure. www.familyonbikes.org

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