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Advice on a Bike Purchase for 10 Year Old: 24 in. or 26 in. Wheel?

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Advice on a Bike Purchase for 10 Year Old: 24 in. or 26 in. Wheel?

Old 10-11-15, 04:45 PM
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Advice on a Bike Purchase for 10 Year Old: 24 in. or 26 in. Wheel?

My 9 year old boy turns 10 next month. I'm going to get him a bike for birthday or Christmas. He's currently riding a 20 in wheel Mongoose that he has all but outgrown. He's 4 foot 8 inches tall.

I'm deciding on whether to get a 24 inch bike that I would then hope he wouldn't outgrow by this time next year, or
get a 26 inch bike that he would be less likely to outgrow by next year. Two years is probably the max I could expect for even the 26 inch bike.

Also, not many manufacturer's make a 26 inch wheel anymore. Seems like 24 is the largest 'kids' bike. Any other options past the 24 in?

Here are the bike's that I am looking at:

24
Specialized Bicycle Components
Specialized Bicycle Components
Specialized Bicycle Components

26
x26


I'll need to have him try out some bikes in both sizes, but with his height, generally, do you think he will fit comfortably/safely on the 26, or is it too big for a 4 ft 8 kid?

Thanks,
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Old 10-11-15, 06:50 PM
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Depends upon what fits him better.
when one of our sons was 10, we got him a specialized vita, xs size. It fit him well, he rode it for two years - including a 650 km supported tour. He's 16 now, once in a while mentions the red specialized.
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Old 10-11-15, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by martianone

Depends upon what fits him better.
when one of our sons was 10, we got him a specialized vita, xs size. It fit him well, he rode it for two years - including a 650 km supported tour. He's 16 now, once in a while mentions the red specialized.

Is XS equivalent to a 15" frame?

EDIT: Actually, the Vita is a women's bike iirc so could be as small as a 13" frame right?

Last edited by Calder Benson; 10-12-15 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 10-11-15, 09:56 PM
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I have a daughter roughly the same age and height, and she's just about outgrown her 24" wheeled mountain bike. She's moving up to a '91 Cannondale with 26" wheels and 15" frame. It fits well and there's some room to grow. It seems a number of bike companies have dropped 26" in favor of 650b (aka 27.5"), but that Jamis x26 you linked could be an option.
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Old 10-11-15, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Calder Benson View Post
My 9 year old boy turns 10 next month. I'm going to get him a bike for birthday or Christmas. He's currently riding a 20 in wheel Mongoose that he has all but outgrown. He's 4 foot 8 inches tall.

I'm deciding on whether to get a 24 inch bike that I would then hope he wouldn't outgrow by this time next year, or
get a 26 inch bike that he would be less likely to outgrow by next year. Two years is probably the max I could expect for even the 26 inch bike.

Also, not many manufacturer's make a 26 inch wheel anymore. Seems like 24 is the largest 'kids' bike. Any other options past the 24 in?

Here are the bike's that I am looking at:

24
Specialized Bicycle Components
Specialized Bicycle Components
Specialized Bicycle Components

26
x26


I'll need to have him try out some bikes in both sizes, but with his height, generally, do you think he will fit comfortably/safely on the 26, or is it too big for a 4 ft 8 kid?

Thanks,
As someone who sells bikes, I would say go to your local shop specifically one that does sell kids bikes and have him try some bikes out. I know Fuji makes a 650c bike (the Ace) which is going to be a little bigger than a 24" but it may or may not fit him. He might also have some luck on smaller women's frames which I have done plenty of times to great success. Though again the most important thing is heading to a shop and getting him fitted.
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Old 10-11-15, 10:20 PM
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A lot of people could buy a mini velo and simply raise the seatpost as the child grows up.

The bike would still be rideable when the child is an adult.
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Old 10-12-15, 05:14 AM
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Folders are another option. I have a friend that has a Dahon folder that he uses for commuting, but his 9 year old daughter can ride it also. They are going to be getting one specifically for her.

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Old 10-12-15, 02:19 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes

As someone who sells bikes, I would say go to your local shop specifically one that does sell kids bikes and have him try some bikes out. I know Fuji makes a 650c bike (the Ace) which is going to be a little bigger than a 24" but it may or may not fit him. He might also have some luck on smaller women's frames which I have done plenty of times to great success. Though again the most important thing is heading to a shop and getting him fitted.
I've had my eye on that Fuji Ace. I think it looks good but my boy has his eyes on a Specialized bike of some sort. He also likes my Jamis Coda Sport but I don't think a 15" frame is safe for him yet.

I'll add the Ace to the list of tryout bikes.
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Old 10-12-15, 02:49 PM
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Have you looked at the Islabike Beinn 26 Small? It's a more compact frame 26" wheel bike that can be ridden by relatively short kids. The approximate minimum recommended height is 53" (you don't mention what your son's inseam is, which is more relevant than height). He should be able to ride it long enough to get into a small adult frame bike.
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Old 10-12-15, 02:51 PM
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Also, Trek has the Dual Sport and Neko 26" kids bikes.
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Old 10-12-15, 03:04 PM
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Felt has a 24" wheel Jr Road bike, F24 - Felt Bicycles
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Old 10-12-15, 03:14 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Felt has a 24" wheel Jr Road bike,
Fuji Ace has both a 24" and a 650 size road bikes. I'd probably lean towards the 650 as the kid would outgrow the 24 within a year.

For an MTB....
How many kids? One? Several expecting to hand down bikes?

Personally I wouldn't pay $300 to $400 for a 24" MTB that will be ridden for a year then junked.

There is a place for bike shop quality bikes, and a place for dept store quality bikes.

In this case, I'd probably get the kid a used or very cheap 24" Dept Store bike. Let him ride it for a year or two, then upgrade to 26" at age 12 or so.

But, like you suggested... best to let him try it out.

You could even give him $300 in CASH (for a bike), then ask him if he wants to spend $20 on a bike from Goodwill, $100 to $150 for a bike from Walmart, or the whole $300 for a bike from the LBS.
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Old 10-12-15, 03:24 PM
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Shopping for this age has got to be frustrating. You know it won't last and don't want to pay.

Subjective Internet opinion: If he's just too big on his 20 then he's probably just about perfect today on a 24 and it won't last.

Since you were shopping Specialized, they still make several 26er Hardrock models. An extra-small frame is about one size bigger than a Hotrock 24.

Or if you really want to shell out Specialized Bicycle Components
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Old 10-12-15, 04:58 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75

I have a daughter roughly the same age and height, and she's just about outgrown her 24" wheeled mountain bike. She's moving up to a '91 Cannondale with 26" wheels and 15" frame. It fits well and there's some room to grow. It seems a number of bike companies have dropped 26" in favor of 650b (aka 27.5"), but that Jamis x26 you linked could be an option.
With this info, I suppose I should put 15" XS mens bikes on the itinerary. Will check his inseam first tho. I was hoping to get him on one of these but thought it maybe to big for him yet. We shall see.
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Old 10-12-15, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes

I know Fuji makes a 650c bike (the Ace) which is going to be a little bigger than a 24" but it may or may not fit him. He might also have some luck on smaller women's frames which I have done plenty of times to great success. Though again the most important thing is heading to a shop and getting him fitted.
Originally Posted by Calder Benson

I've had my eye on that Fuji Ace. I think it looks good but my boy has his eyes on a Specialized bike of some sort. He also likes my Jamis Coda Sport but I don't think a 15" frame is safe for him yet.

I'll add the Ace to the list of tryout bikes.
Actually, it was the Fuji Absolute 24 that I was referring to earlier. The Ace I'm not looking into because I want flat bars for my son. I wish Fuji made a 26 inch Absolute. I wonder if Fuji makes something in the frame size that comes with the average 26 in wheel bike with drop bars, and then I can have Performance bike shop swap the drops out for flat bars.
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Old 10-12-15, 05:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Calder Benson View Post
Is XS equivalent to a 15" frame?

EDIT: Actually, the Vita is a women's bike iirc so could be as small as a 13" frame right?
no idea what the "size" was, we took the body to a bike shop and tried several bikes until one fit optimally plus some room for growth. He liked the bike, rode it well - over 1500 km the first year. It had 28 mm tires, which we inflated to the min pressure, my untall partner did a couple short demo rides - said it was very comfortable. We did swap out the seat for a better fitting unit. After couple summers, he out grew it; we took it to a spring time bike shop sale - got over half what we paid for it and rolled that amount into his next bike.
he is 16 now, still rides with us.
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Old 10-12-15, 06:13 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Shopping for this age has got to be frustrating. You know it won't last and don't want to pay.
Used bikes FTW. By the time I'm done overhauling the bikes I pick up for my daughter, they don't seem so used anymore. Here's her road bike, an '81 Fuji SJ-10:



Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Since you were shopping Specialized, they still make several 26er Hardrock models. An extra-small frame is about one size bigger than a Hotrock 24.
Does Specialized still sell any 26ers except the Expedition hybrid? Glancing at the Specialized web site, I thought the smaller Hardrock models have all been switched to 650b.

Anyway, along with the Jamis x26 mentioned above, it looks like there's at least one Fuji model with 26" wheels, small frame options, and a kid-friendly price tag:

Fuji Nevada 2.1 on the Fuji web site
Fuji Nevada 2.1 at Performance Bike
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Old 10-12-15, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75 View Post
Does Specialized still sell any 26ers except the Expedition hybrid? Glancing at the Specialized web site, I thought the smaller Hardrock models have all been switched to 650b.
Looks like you are right for 2016 models, I guess I was looking at the 2015 page. It's that strange time of year when the "current" is turning into the "archive" on the bike websites. Still, the extra-small size MTB's are always going to be 13" frames, the stack just gets higher with the bigger tires.
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Old 10-12-15, 06:33 PM
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So it's time to head to your local Specialized dealer to see if you can get a deal on one of those "obsolete" Hardrocks with 26" wheels. ;-)
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Old 10-12-15, 06:35 PM
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Go to the shop, get him the bike that for him fits and rides (tools too, where for those is your choice). You may even be in for three!!! *as in over the years*

Skimp now = sucks for him.

Wait: buy him a shyte 9-speed off BD. To your door and they don't die too easily
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Old 10-12-15, 07:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Calder Benson View Post
Actually, it was the Fuji Absolute 24 that I was referring to earlier. The Ace I'm not looking into because I want flat bars for my son. I wish Fuji made a 26 inch Absolute. I wonder if Fuji makes something in the frame size that comes with the average 26 in wheel bike with drop bars, and then I can have Performance bike shop swap the drops out for flat bars.
There is a Fuji Ace 650, Drop Bars, $300 and a Fuji Ace 24, FLAT BARS $160 on Craigslist here in Eugene.

I assume the flat bars are a conversion.

I was in the Performance shop a while ago (spring?) and they had good prices on the Ace at that time. Keep an eye out for sales.

I don't see why a kid can't learn to ride drops early. One could give them interrupter brakes if one wishes, although the Fuji Ace has funky shifers that might not work with interrupters.
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Old 10-12-15, 08:35 PM
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Originally Posted by SkyDog75

Does Specialized still sell any 26ers except the Expedition hybrid? Glancing at the Specialized web site, I thought the smaller Hardrock models have all been switched to 650b.

Anyway, along with the Jamis x26 mentioned above, it looks like there's at least one Fuji model with 26" wheels, small frame options, and a kid-friendly price tag:

Fuji Nevada 2.1 on the Fuji web site
Fuji Nevada 2.1 at Performance Bike
You guys are reading my mind. I forgot I had looked into the Specialized 650 MTBs, but thought they would be too big- I didn't know they started at 13" frames, 12.5" to be exact. But since the wheels are bigger I don't know about the inseam/ top tube issue. So I will check these out in person. If the HardRock 650 fits, this may be right. I also like the 2016 Fuji Nevada 2.1, black/red. In addition to an adequately fitting bike, aesthetics and approval from the little guy are important too, as it will probably be ridden more if he likes the way it looks.

Btw, what's the "b" in 650b?
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Old 10-12-15, 09:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Calder Benson View Post
Btw, what's the "b" in 650b?
In the archaic French tire sizing system, tires & rims came in "a", "b", and "c" designations for a given diameter -- such as 650a, 650b, and 650c. All tires of the same numeric size (650) would have a roughly equivalent outside diameter, not bead or rim diameter. "A" tires were the skinny ones, "b" tires were a bit fatter, and "c" tires were fatter still. To achieve the same outside tread diameter, rims had to be different sizes for the a, b, and c designations. 650a rims have a bead seat diameter of 590 mm. 650b is 584 mm. 650c is 571 mm.

Fast-forward a number of decades and we no longer associate "fat" and "skinny" tires with specific rim sizes. For example, 650b has become a common mountain bike size while 650c, which was originally intended for even fatter tires, has become a standard for skinny tires on triathletes' bikes and kids' road bikes.

To add to the confusion even more, some makers have started giving different names to French sizes in different contexts. For example, a 700c rim is referred to as 29" in the mountain bike world. 650b is often called 27.5" on mountain bikes.

And all this is why some people advocate using the ETRTO (European Tire & Rim Technical Organization) method of identifying tire sizes by the tire's width and the rim's bead seat diameter. No more confusion. 700c and 29" would both be known as 622. 650b and 27.5" would be 584.

Sheldon Brown's site has more detail on the subject than most people would care to read. ;-)
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Old 10-14-15, 06:13 AM
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Originally Posted by Calder Benson View Post
Actually, it was the Fuji Absolute 24 that I was referring to earlier. The Ace I'm not looking into because I want flat bars for my son. I wish Fuji made a 26 inch Absolute. I wonder if Fuji makes something in the frame size that comes with the average 26 in wheel bike with drop bars, and then I can have Performance bike shop swap the drops out for flat bars.
I think Fuji does a kids Absolute but I don't know what the largest kids size is, I have a feeling it probably only went to a 24 but it has been a while since we carried it.

The ace could be converted to flat bar but that is usually not a super cheap process.
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Old 10-14-15, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by veganbikes

I think Fuji does a kids Absolute but I don't know what the largest kids size is, I have a feeling it probably only went to a 24 but it has been a while since we carried it.
No 26" per Fuji website.

Originally Posted by veganbikes

The ace could be converted to flat bar but that is usually not a super cheap process.
Yes, I forgot about that. Possibly shifters would need to be swapped out and is more intensive than it's worth probably.
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