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Feedback on converting a mountain bike or XO-2 for a child's cross bike

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Feedback on converting a mountain bike or XO-2 for a child's cross bike

Old 09-19-10, 06:58 PM
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Feedback on converting a mountain bike or XO-2 for a child's cross bike

I'm looking for a 'cross worthy bike for my 11 year-old daughter. I posted a wanted to buy ad on local Craiglist and got a response from a great guy, self-confessed bike pack rat. Anyhow, he has a couple bikes that could work, but I'm wondering a couple of things and thought I'd ask here.

One is a 14.5" mountain bike (Univega Alpina 5.3, double butted cromoly, mid-90's, no suspension, slightly smaller, so slightly better fit for now). The other is a Bridgestone XO-2 (I think also double butted cromoly). He understandably wants $100 more for the XO-2, so I'm kinda leaning to the Univega! But I'm concerned that putting drops on a mountain bike and racing 'cross on it could have some problems, like the geometry of the mtn bike wasn't intended for drops, or something like that. And yes, the final bike has to have drops because my daughter likes them (I don't blame her).

They're both 26 inch wheels, both would wind up 1 X 7, both would run ghetto tubeless 26 inch cross tries of some sort. So the decision seems to me to be mostly about geometry (and price, all else being equal, I'll buy the $100 cheaper bike!).

Any thoughts on the geometry or otherwise about these bikes??

Take care, Curt
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Old 09-19-10, 07:01 PM
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IMHO the Bridgestone is a MUCH nicer bike and the geometry would be more appropriate for drop bars. See if you can talk him down on the price?
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Old 09-23-10, 02:05 PM
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Just to follow up on this in case a similar question comes up for someone (looking for an affordable cross bike for a child), we wound up with the Univega with drops and "skinny" 26 inch tires (1.5 inch -- 35mm?). My daughter loves it. I do too, wish it fit me so I could play around with it. It's kind of heavy, but *way* better than her old dept store mountain bike. It's got bar-end shifting, which I'm not very happy with, but the man who built it up for us didn't have any STI stuff around. So that's the next move, but for now, it's a perfectly useable cyclocross / street bike for not a lot of money.

It's a great bike, a real beast, she'll kill in mud, be kinda slower in dry stuff.

BTW, I found some reviews that talked about the Bridgestone XO-2 as not cut out for racing. It seems there's a consensus from owners that it's a great bike for laid back rides -- not the thing for cross!!
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Old 09-23-10, 02:42 PM
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That review was when the bike was introduced and no one knew what to think about them. The XO-2 would be the better of the two to race cross due to the geo.
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