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10 Year old wants to try CX

Old 09-04-12, 10:36 AM
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10 Year old wants to try CX

I have been racing CX for a few years. Now, my 10 year old daughter is interested in giving it a try. I am leary about spending a lot of money as she could do one race and get bored. I am considering a single speed mountain bike as an entry level bike and if she decides to stick with it, we can upgrade to something more appropriate. Does anyone have any practical experience getting a little one into the sport? I would love to hear what has worked and what hasn't.
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Old 09-04-12, 10:49 AM
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That's tough because kid's bikes are so ridiculously heavy. When my daughter wanted to try it, I got her an old Specialized Rockhopper. They came in sizes down to 13.5" which weighs about 25 pounds (about 20 less than her old full suspension Kent BSO). I wanted to put drop bars on it, but she wouldn't go for that. She ended up not liking CX, but she still rides the Rockhopper. I got it powder coated for her, and it looks pretty nice.

On the other hand, there seems to be decent demand for kid's CX bike (at least in this area), so if you got something like a 24" Kona Jake you could probably resell it without much trouble and recoup some of the money if she doesn't like it.
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Old 09-14-12, 12:25 PM
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I got my 9 year old son a trek MT400 24" mountain bike with a rigid fork, yes, it's heavy (24#'s or so) but without spending tons of money he's having a great time and he's able to podium with it... what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
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Old 09-14-12, 02:02 PM
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Red line has a Conquest 24" wheel Too.. maybe something like that as a single speed
so just not that much fitted on the frame will shave off weight.
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Old 09-14-12, 05:31 PM
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Yeah, the problem is that if you get her a heavy bike, she might be turned off by how hard it is. If you get her a light and she quits, you're stuck with a light bike.

Look for a Cannondale SuperX 44cm on eBay; you'll be able to resell it easily for what you paid.
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Old 10-31-12, 04:19 PM
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What bike(s) does she have now?
Out here we've got all kinds of kids on bmx, mtb and proper Cx bikes (can't remember, redline or ridley goes really small)
Let her run any of those kinds of bikes until she's hooked and wants a proper cx bike.
Check with other families racing CX, they always seem to be swapping/selling bikes as kids outgrow them.
Our local SoCal circuit rents bikes for $10 - not sure if they do kids. How about your promoter?
Demo a bike from a local shop for a race to see?
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Old 11-01-12, 08:59 AM
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It is definitely a tough situation. If the bike is too heavy to lift over a barrier, she is going to hate it. But if you spend $700 on a cross bike there are no guarantees she still wont hate it.

Are there any Juniors teams in the area? Our team has loaner bikes that the kids can use. It requires being a member ($25) and a $100 deposit (refundable an return of the bike) but that is certainly much cheaper than buying a bike. The added bonus being that the team will probably have a practice once a week where she can meet other kids and get comfortable on the bike. Even if the local team doesnt have a loaner program they may be able to set you up with a bike to borrow just to try a race.

I see a lot of kids in the 10-12 ages riding on BMX bikes, they seem to be lighter than the mountain bikes in the 24" range. Maybe you can find a deal on craigslist, or borrow something from a neighbor.

Is she interested in road riding? I see some teams around here that have put moderate knobbie tires on Felt F24 and similar road bikes. My son does the opposite, he puts slicks on his Redline Conquest 24 for road season. Either way its easier to stomach the $700 price tag when it serves both purposes.
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Old 11-01-12, 12:05 PM
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There just isn't a real justification for anyone to buy a dedicated cross bike in their first race. Ride whatever you have and/or you can borrow. Pretty much anyone will help you get something she can ride. CX is something that kids can do, but they have to want it. If she shows the 'want to', then spend the dough. If not, then you'll be happy you didn't.

Let her know that bikes so matter somewhat and having an old/heavy/whatever bike will slow her down a bit and make it hard to compete with the fastest riders. That will take some pressure off of her. Kids often think they should win their first race. It's not likely to happen.
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Old 11-04-12, 11:08 AM
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My 9 year old wants to race next year and I've been struggling with the same question. She has a small 26 inch mountain bike right now, but I'm thinking I might dig out the old 24 inch with rigid fork. It will be a bit lighter but it will smaller which should allow a little more control over barriers and up hills. Without dumping a ton of cash into her first season, this will probably be the best bet.

I hope you found something that works and she's enjoying racing.
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Old 11-05-12, 07:04 AM
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Originally Posted by UnsafeAlpine
My 9 year old wants to race next year and I've been struggling with the same question. She has a small 26 inch mountain bike right now, but I'm thinking I might dig out the old 24 inch with rigid fork. It will be a bit lighter but it will smaller which should allow a little more control over barriers and up hills.
Lightness ALWAYS trumps anything else for kids, unless it's really muddy so they need tire clearance. The slowest kids are always struggling with heavy dept-store bikes.
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Old 11-05-12, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by pmt
Lightness ALWAYS trumps anything else for kids, unless it's really muddy so they need tire clearance. The slowest kids are always struggling with heavy dept-store bikes.
Yeah. One recent race had a stair runup with some boggy mud on either side. Seeing kids struggle up that was tough to watch.
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Old 11-05-12, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pmt

Lightness ALWAYS trumps anything else for kids, unless it's really muddy so they need tire clearance. The slowest kids are always struggling with heavy dept-store bikes.
I work at a bike shop so she has a good bike but even good bikes can be nearly half the weight of the kid unless you're spending gobs of money.
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Old 11-05-12, 06:31 PM
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Sometimes you just have to put it together; my nine-yr-old is on a Specialized Hotrock frame ($30 CL), Chinese superlight canti fork ($40 eBay), pair of 540c wheels from a GMC Denali ($50 CL), and various other parts that were around. 1x7 simple drivetrain. It's just over 20lbs so he can manage it over the barriers pretty well. The great thing about 540c wheels is the vast array of tires available.
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Old 11-05-12, 06:34 PM
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Timely topic. My 8 year old is rapidly outgrowing his 20 in. REI mountain bike and announced he wants a road bike, but with bigger tires so he can still ride on trails with me. So, it sounds like a CX bike, right?

REI makes a 26" CX bike. Redline makes a 24" bike. I think 26" makes a lot more sense, but mostly because of the tire selection.
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Old 11-05-12, 07:47 PM
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Originally Posted by caloso
Timely topic. My 8 year old is rapidly outgrowing his 20 in. REI mountain bike and announced he wants a road bike, but with bigger tires so he can still ride on trails with me. So, it sounds like a CX bike, right?

REI makes a 26" CX bike. Redline makes a 24" bike. I think 26" makes a lot more sense, but mostly because of the tire selection.
There are certainly "good enough" tires in 24" that I would not make that a deciding factor in choosing a 24". I went from a 20" Gary Fisher 1x7 to 26" 1x8 for my son and regret it. He is nine and has a hard time up the steep run-ups. Not as much from the weight that from the frame size. It is harder for him to get the weight high enough by grabbing the top tube; he has to reach over and grab the down tube to get over barriers, even though the frame fits him fine while riding (with a slammed seatpost).

Kenda's small block 8 is available in 24".
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Old 11-06-12, 09:03 AM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads
I went from a 20" Gary Fisher 1x7 to 26" 1x8 for my son and regret it. He is nine and has a hard time up the steep run-ups. Not as much from the weight that from the frame size. It is harder for him to get the weight high enough by grabbing the top tube; he has to reach over and grab the down tube to get over barriers, even though the frame fits him fine while riding (with a slammed seatpost).
Sounds like he's doing it wrong; he should not be reaching over the bike at all.
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Old 11-06-12, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by pmt
Sounds like he's doing it wrong; he should not be reaching over the bike at all.
Yes, he is doing it wrong - he has to. That's how Eric Tonkin told him to do it; if he grabs the top tube and lifts his hand to chest level, he doesn't have enough clearance to get his tires over the barriers. That's how Eric Tonkin told him to do it;

How does your kid do it? Educate me, don't just tell me I'm doing it wrong.

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Old 11-06-12, 11:17 AM
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Seems to me more of the kids grab the downtube to lift a bike high enough over the barriers. Reach thru the frame and grab the downtube in front of the BB, don't reach over the toptube. Kind of a suitcase carry using the downtube. I guess that's what you are saying.
It really hurts to watch some of those 6-10 year old kids lifting one wheel at a time over the barriers.
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Old 11-06-12, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by Rumpled
Seems to me more of the kids grab the downtube to lift a bike high enough over the barriers. Reach thru the frame and grab the downtube in front of the BB, don't reach over the toptube. Kind of a suitcase carry using the downtube. I guess that's what you are saying.
It really hurts to watch some of those 6-10 year old kids lifting one wheel at a time over the barriers.
Yeah, the problem with grabbing the down tube without reaching over is that you are grabbing below the center of gravity. the bike either falls into the rider, or on top of the barrier on the expensive side of the bike.
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Old 11-06-12, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads
There are certainly "good enough" tires in 24" that I would not make that a deciding factor in choosing a 24". I went from a 20" Gary Fisher 1x7 to 26" 1x8 for my son and regret it. He is nine and has a hard time up the steep run-ups. Not as much from the weight that from the frame size. It is harder for him to get the weight high enough by grabbing the top tube; he has to reach over and grab the down tube to get over barriers, even though the frame fits him fine while riding (with a slammed seatpost).

Kenda's small block 8 is available in 24".
That is really good to know. Thanks!
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Old 11-06-12, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by aggiegrads
Yeah, the problem with grabbing the down tube without reaching over is that you are grabbing below the center of gravity. the bike either falls into the rider, or on top of the barrier on the expensive side of the bike.
I guess kinda grab the downtube without reaching over, and lean it on the shoulder a bit. It's not necessarily easy to learn, but practice every day after school will do it. That's what my 9-yr-old has done, and now he flies over the barriers, er, uh, well, he is pretty smooth anyway. I also have him doing lots of pull-ups; simply doing that has helped him get a lot stronger.
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Old 11-07-12, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by caloso
REI makes a 26" CX bike. Redline makes a 24" bike. I think 26" makes a lot more sense, but mostly because of the tire selection.
REI (Novarra) stopped making the Pulse 26" a few years ago. I talked to multiple people in the REI chain and no one could find one in any REI store nationwide. We wound up buying the Redline and my son loves it. A 26" or 650c wheeled bike would have been better, but they just aren't out there.
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Old 11-07-12, 09:10 PM
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My 11 year old daughter races CX. She started with a Surly Cross Check with a flat bar and MTB shifters added. even with very light wheels it was still very heavy for her to get over the barriers. She couldn't shoulder it when racing.

I just bought her a used Specialized Crux Elite frame that i am building up with drop bars. It is much lighter and will be her 1st drop bar bike.
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Old 11-08-12, 12:11 PM
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Both on my sons race CX. The youngest (10 years old) raced his first season on a steel Trek mountain bike. That thing had to weigh 28-30lbs. He lifted the bike over the barriers one end at a time.
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Old 11-08-12, 01:32 PM
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I believe it. I think my son's 20" mtb is heavier than my steel CX bike.
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