General Cycling Discussion Have a cycling related question or comment that doesn't fit in one of the other specialty forums? Drop on in and post in here! When possible, please select the forum above that most fits your post!

Recommend a bike for a "tween"

Old 06-03-19, 07:57 AM
  #1  
PGHNeil
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Pittsburgh, PA US
Posts: 91

Bikes: 2003 Trek 4900, 2019 Trek Marlin 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Recommend a bike for a "tween"

Summer is here and my 12yo son needs a new bike. He's a "tween" so he's not quite physically a teen but too big for his kid's bike. As you'd expect, his old bike is a little department store single speeder with a coaster brake that is small, heavy and slow. I was hoping he'd be able to ride my old hardtail with 26" rims and 17.5" frame but he's only about 4'8" and 85 pounds so it's still too big. Maybe in a couple of years, but I have a feeling he's going to continue track on the low side of the growth curve and top out at 5'10" in at least 3 years at which point it will probably be perfect.

My hope is to take him for 10-15 mile rides on packed and paved multi-use trails with one section that has a moderate uphill grade. He's not adventurous so something like a hybrid would be sufficient. I'd like to teach him how to work the gears and feather the brakes and go out on some evening/weekend rides with us and not fall behind.

Can anybody recommend a make/model and/or a general rim/frame size? I'm thinking a 1x7 with 24" rims is about ballpark. All I see on Craig's list are 16"-20" kiddie bikes which is what he already has.
PGHNeil is offline  
Old 06-03-19, 08:21 AM
  #2  
DHPflaumer
Senior Member
 
DHPflaumer's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2019
Location: Providence, RI
Posts: 89

Bikes: Norther Klickitat Pass, Soma Grand Randonneur, Surly Cross Check

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 34 Post(s)
Liked 32 Times in 18 Posts
If you've got a non-profit bike shop around I'd check out a smaller vintage mountain bike, even if the wheels are a little tall. There isn't a whole lot of sense in springing on one of the performance oriented youth bikes unless you imagine he'll ride the hell out of it. For what it's worth, I topped out at 5'7" at like 15 (I'm 29 now so I don't see that changing!). I'd be more interested/concerned about the distribution of the height- I'm all limbs so I generally ride a bike 1-2 sizes "above" what is recommended based purely on height while my brother (6'4") would need to ride a bike 2-3 sizes "below" the recommendation because he is all torso.
DHPflaumer is offline  
Old 06-03-19, 08:42 AM
  #3  
fietsbob 
coprolite
 
fietsbob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 41,928

Bikes: 8

Mentioned: 188 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 6833 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 212 Times in 177 Posts
13"* frame 26" wheel like a steel frame Trek 820?

*short seat tube length... seat post can be longer ..
fietsbob is offline  
Old 06-03-19, 11:16 AM
  #4  
TrojanHorse
SuperGimp
 
TrojanHorse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Whittier, CA
Posts: 13,138

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1007 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 18 Posts
I got a small women's bike when my son was in that situation, I think it was a 44 cm Fuji or something, but it had an adjustable stem, which proved to be helpful. It was dark blue, not girly in the least.
TrojanHorse is offline  
Likes For TrojanHorse:
Old 06-03-19, 11:58 AM
  #5  
BlazingPedals
Senior Member
 
BlazingPedals's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Middle of da Mitten
Posts: 10,943

Bikes: Trek 7500, RANS V-Rex, Optima Baron, Velokraft NoCom, M-5 Carbon Highracer, homebuilt recumbent

Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 908 Post(s)
Liked 25 Times in 20 Posts
Ask a shop. When my son was in that situation, the LBS found a Raleigh with 24" wheels that fit him. It was only little more expensive than a BSO.
BlazingPedals is offline  
Old 06-03-19, 12:43 PM
  #6  
PGHNeil
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Pittsburgh, PA US
Posts: 91

Bikes: 2003 Trek 4900, 2019 Trek Marlin 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
I was actually looking at the Specialized Hotrocker 24 which has an 11" frame:

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/hotrock-24/p/154371

I found an older one locally on Craig's List for $75 but it looks like it's a 3X7, not a 1X - but that shouldn't be an issue.
PGHNeil is offline  
Old 06-03-19, 02:46 PM
  #7  
mstateglfr 
Sunshine
 
mstateglfr's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Des Moines, IA
Posts: 8,289

Bikes: '87 Schwinn Prelude, Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross V4, '89 Novara/Centurion Ironman, '18 Diamondback Syncr, '18 handmade steel roadbike

Mentioned: 76 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2959 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 142 Times in 101 Posts
My 12yo daughter has a 13"mtb with 26" wheels and a 44cm 650c road bike.

Both fit her well and she is about 4'9".

She used to have a 24" rigid hotrock and could still ride it, but it's obviously small.
Her current mtb fits well to the point thst she has control on the river bottom singletrack around us, so it definitely isnt too big.


My 8yo just started riding the 24" hotrock after we built it up with some better components. It fits her for paved riding and is too big for her on singletrack. She is 50" tall.

A suspension fork on a 24" entry level mtb is just unnecessary weight. It won't work well and will be heavy.





Just some general comments on frame size and bike options.
Good luck
mstateglfr is offline  
Old 06-04-19, 10:58 PM
  #8  
Teamprovicycle
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Providence
Posts: 723

Bikes: Specialized tarmac sl2 giant tcx zero

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 314 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
my advice would be to star him off right and teach him to choose his bike based on the need ,
guide him to understanding why bikes are made they way they are ,
show him the different styles of bike ,
and try to let him see the pros and cons of each choice ,
and maybe find a recycle a bike so he can build the bike up from a frame or non working bike so he understand what does what and why !!!!!!!
Teamprovicycle is offline  
Old 06-05-19, 08:25 AM
  #9  
Just Mark
Member
 
Just Mark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 46
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 3 Posts
At 12, I would expect he would be telling you what he wants based on what is socially acceptable in his peer group.
Just Mark is offline  
Old 06-05-19, 11:35 AM
  #10  
TrojanHorse
SuperGimp
 
TrojanHorse's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Whittier, CA
Posts: 13,138

Bikes: Specialized Roubaix

Mentioned: 134 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1007 Post(s)
Liked 23 Times in 18 Posts
Originally Posted by Just Mark View Post
At 12, I would expect he would be telling you what he wants based on what is socially acceptable in his peer group.
So... nintendo switch.
TrojanHorse is offline  
Old 06-05-19, 11:45 AM
  #11  
Just Mark
Member
 
Just Mark's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2016
Posts: 46
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 23 Post(s)
Liked 5 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
So... nintendo switch.
Your probably right. I don't see kids on bikes in the neighborhood anymore.
Just Mark is offline  
Old 06-05-19, 12:38 PM
  #12  
wipekitty
vespertine member
 
wipekitty's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: from sea to shining sea!
Posts: 2,102

Bikes: Yes

Mentioned: 19 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 565 Post(s)
Liked 62 Times in 50 Posts
+1 on looking into bikes with a 24" wheel size. I'd keep poking around Craigslist for something decent; many will come with knobby tires, but you could easily change them out for wide slick/hybrid tires that might be more appropriate for your intended use.

If you're willing to spend $300-$400, you can easily get into an entry-level bike of that size at a local bike shop, which is more likely to have 1x gearing rather than 3x.
wipekitty is offline  
Old 06-05-19, 12:51 PM
  #13  
Phamilton
Gone
 
Join Date: Oct 2014
Location: Ft Wayne, IN
Posts: 1,026
Mentioned: 34 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 354 Post(s)
Liked 15 Times in 12 Posts
A 24" wheeled bike will likely be outgrown quickly. I recommend a smaller framed 26" wheeled bike, my daughter is 12 and fits a 15" frame fine at 5'1" and enough seatpost exposed for a rider 3-4" shorter.
Phamilton is offline  
Old 06-06-19, 10:24 AM
  #14  
PGHNeil
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Pittsburgh, PA US
Posts: 91

Bikes: 2003 Trek 4900, 2019 Trek Marlin 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
My 12yo daughter has a 13"mtb with 26" wheels and a 44cm 650c road bike.

Both fit her well and she is about 4'9".

She used to have a 24" rigid hotrock and could still ride it, but it's obviously small.
Her current mtb fits well to the point thst she has control on the river bottom singletrack around us, so it definitely isnt too big.


My 8yo just started riding the 24" hotrock after we built it up with some better components. It fits her for paved riding and is too big for her on singletrack. She is 50" tall.

A suspension fork on a 24" entry level mtb is just unnecessary weight. It won't work well and will be heavy.





Just some general comments on frame size and bike options.
Good luck
I tend to agree. We don't really need suspension, just sufficient gearing for climbing and good brakes from descending the hilly streets in the neighborhood to and from the trail head. My 5'3" wife has a Trek FX2 dual sport. It's sufficient but the 3X gives even her trouble. I'm about 5'11" and the only reason I have a hardtail is because I want to get off the packed trails and ride solo.

I'm giving the owner of the $75 bike a call. In a couple of years he'll be big enough for my old bike with its 17.5" frame and 26" tires. We're not tinkerers but a trip to a co-op downtown and about $100 (new cassette and BB, drop the front derailleur and 22 and 42 tooth cogs) it should turn it into a decent (but still heavy) 1x8.
PGHNeil is offline  
Old 06-06-19, 10:26 AM
  #15  
panthersnw
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2019
Posts: 6
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by PGHNeil View Post
I tend to agree. We don't really need suspension, just sufficient gearing for climbing and good brakes from descending the hilly streets in the neighborhood to and from the trail head. My 5'3" wife has a Trek FX2 dual sport. It's sufficient but the 3X gives even her trouble. I'm about 5'11" and the only reason I have a hardtail is because I want to get off the packed trails and ride solo.

I'm giving the owner of the $75 bike a call. In a couple of years he'll be big enough for my old bike with its 17.5" frame and 26" tires. We're not tinkerers but a trip to a co-op downtown and about $100 (new cassette and BB, drop the front derailleur and 22 and 42 tooth cogs) it should turn it into a decent (but still heavy) 1x8.
That sounds like exactly what I would do!
panthersnw is offline  
Old 06-06-19, 10:26 AM
  #16  
PGHNeil
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Pittsburgh, PA US
Posts: 91

Bikes: 2003 Trek 4900, 2019 Trek Marlin 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Just Mark View Post
At 12, I would expect he would be telling you what he wants based on what is socially acceptable in his peer group.
Originally Posted by TrojanHorse View Post
So... nintendo switch.
Originally Posted by Just Mark View Post
Your probably right. I don't see kids on bikes in the neighborhood anymore.
LOL. Actually he has a Switch which is why I want to buy him a bike. FWIW I'm also trading in the XBOX One and wiiU for $$$.
PGHNeil is offline  
Old 06-06-19, 10:31 AM
  #17  
PGHNeil
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Pittsburgh, PA US
Posts: 91

Bikes: 2003 Trek 4900, 2019 Trek Marlin 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by Phamilton View Post
A 24" wheeled bike will likely be outgrown quickly. I recommend a smaller framed 26" wheeled bike, my daughter is 12 and fits a 15" frame fine at 5'1" and enough seatpost exposed for a rider 3-4" shorter.
A 26" suited me fine until I realized that I was slightly too big for it. I'd have him ride my old bike but I feel like he needs an intermediary step from a single speed with 20" tires and a coaster brake. In fact, my old bike is probably a little too agile for him; it threw me OTB last September and I need to get it overhauled. See my previous comments on what my plans for it and my son are.
PGHNeil is offline  
Old 06-15-19, 11:39 AM
  #18  
PGHNeil
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Pittsburgh, PA US
Posts: 91

Bikes: 2003 Trek 4900, 2019 Trek Marlin 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Well, the Craig's List guy never replied to my email. Tomorrow is father's day so I get to choose what we want to do. Guess where we're going? If you said to a LBS you'd have answered correctly!
PGHNeil is offline  
Old 06-15-19, 03:01 PM
  #19  
Gresp15C
Senior Member
 
Gresp15C's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2014
Posts: 2,661
Mentioned: 16 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 629 Post(s)
Liked 29 Times in 25 Posts
My kids went through what seems like a gap in bike sizes, where they were too big for kids' bikes, but not big enough for adult sized bikes. A lot of parents I've talked to report the same problem. Some solutions carried a price premium, such as sizes tailored for women from specialty brands. It hardly made sense to pay a lot for bikes that would be outgrown in a few years. Or out of style as tastes change. We came up with a couple of solutions worth looking into:

1. Both of them had 24" wheel mountain bikes, but had run out of seat post. Amazingly, these bikes had both come with very short posts. We got roughly an extra year of use out of each bike by finding longer posts on eBay. And the bikes had come to us second-hand in the first place.

2. Keep a constant eye out for the small number of mainstream brands that make smaller frames. My spouse had a Fuji hybrid that she didn't really like but had a tiny frame, so it became a kids bike for a few years as each kid used it in succession. Also, there are some bikes in the "mountain bike" category that look surprisingly like hybrids if you put smooth tires on them, but have shorter frames.

3. The penalty of not getting to ride their first choice of bike was compensated by an assurance that they could get nice bikes when they got close enough to their adult stature.

4. I got them involved in the mechanical work required to provision their bikes. Getting familiar with a wrench will pay them back forever. And as an odd benefit, as they got older, they both realized that they would be heading to college eventually, and fancy bikes would be a liability. Plus they developed "hipster" sensibilities, and decided that they wanted cool bikes thrown together from old parts. Cross my fingers, but maybe our days of buying fancy new bikes are over.
Gresp15C is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 06:32 AM
  #20  
Viich
Hack
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 760

Bikes: 88 Bianchi Strada (currently Sturmey'd), 90's Giant Innova (now with drop bars), FMF Race BMX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 192 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by PGHNeil View Post
I was actually looking at the Specialized Hotrocker 24 which has an 11" frame:

https://www.specialized.com/us/en/hotrock-24/p/154371

I found an older one locally on Craig's List for $75 but it looks like it's a 3X7, not a 1X - but that shouldn't be an issue.
My 8yo rides the hot rock street ( no front suspension), he's a little tall for his age, but shorter than your son. My mother rode it and he rode his BMX to go on a ride when my parents came to visit. She's 5'4", and it wasn't poorly fitting. He'll be able to use that bike for a while, and it's good enough that it's worth putting some money into fixing if necessary.

Jump on that deal, $75 is terrific.
Viich is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 06:35 AM
  #21  
Viich
Hack
 
Join Date: Sep 2015
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 760

Bikes: 88 Bianchi Strada (currently Sturmey'd), 90's Giant Innova (now with drop bars), FMF Race BMX

Mentioned: 4 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 192 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 11 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by PGHNeil View Post
Well, the Craig's List guy never replied to my email. Tomorrow is father's day so I get to choose what we want to do. Guess where we're going? If you said to a LBS you'd have answered correctly!
Sorry, missed this one. Have a good time!
Viich is offline  
Old 06-16-19, 07:55 AM
  #22  
sdmc530
Heft On Wheels
 
sdmc530's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 1,983

Bikes: Specialized,Cannondale

Mentioned: 8 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 534 Post(s)
Liked 57 Times in 45 Posts
Not sure if my opinion helps but my son size is having this issue. Budged wasn't really an issue but we went with a Spec Hotrock. I know he will out grow it and we can just trade in. I am not thrilled to have him out grow and lose the value of the bike so fast but its important to have a bike he will enjoy riding and not fight to ride so I would rather drop the $$$ when he out grows. A good lbs is your friend for these type situations.
sdmc530 is offline  
Old 06-26-19, 04:11 PM
  #23  
PGHNeil
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Sep 2018
Location: Pittsburgh, PA US
Posts: 91

Bikes: 2003 Trek 4900, 2019 Trek Marlin 7

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 20 Post(s)
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by sdmc530 View Post
Not sure if my opinion helps but my son size is having this issue. Budged wasn't really an issue but we went with a Spec Hotrock. I know he will out grow it and we can just trade in. I am not thrilled to have him out grow and lose the value of the bike so fast but its important to have a bike he will enjoy riding and not fight to ride so I would rather drop the $$$ when he out grows. A good lbs is your friend for these type situations.
I took my son to two LBSs today and had him measured. He's in an adult small size now, so he's too big for that bike on Craig's List anyway. The Trek shop had him try a new Trek FX2 disc in an adult small. He liked the bike but he was extremely skittish to test drive it in a busy parking lot and needed to familiarize himself with the hand brakes and 3X groupset.

Budget is an issue here though. I don't want to drop good money after bad. Two years ago my wife used her American Express point to buy herself a medium sized 2017 Trek FX2 with a men's frame and the old style brakes but she's barely ridden it 10 times. At the time she felt its $500 price tag was still steep but since it was on credit card perks she justified it. When it came time for me to replace a 15 year old bike that I rode until the groupset wore out with another that cost $775 she thought it was "ridiculous."

Anyway, my son is just 3" shorter than she is at the moment. He's 12 and I'm expecting a growth spurt soon, so I'm thinking that he'll ride her bike next year. I'm hoping a little practice with less pressure on the local MUP will allow him to adjust from a single speed with a coaster brake.

My wife will essentially be out of a bike but as I said, we won't be dropping good money after bad. At the risk of sounding greedy, I'll be using the money saved to upgrade components on my new bike as they wear out instead. If our son builds his confidence and wants to try riding on trails with me, we'll take my old 26" MTB (which is also a medium that was ultimately too small for me) to a co-op and convert it to a 1x9.
PGHNeil is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
Shutter
Framebuilders
5
03-02-12 04:27 PM
Mattie
Mountain Biking
5
04-04-09 09:44 AM
turtlebird
Bicycle Mechanics
2
07-15-08 04:26 PM
MattP.
Mountain Biking
15
09-16-06 09:37 PM
genericbikedude
Bicycle Mechanics
10
05-13-05 05:34 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service

Copyright 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.