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Need bike recommendations for 11-12 year old son-:)

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Need bike recommendations for 11-12 year old son-:)

Old 04-13-15, 07:57 PM
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Omeindun
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Need bike recommendations for 11-12 year old son-:)

My first post here! Just wondered what folks would recommend -new or used bike for my 11 year old (12 in three weeks) and what brands to look at? We live in Vancouver , so there's lots of stores out there. I don't really want to spend $500 unless I really have to. His last bike was used and we got it for $70. He is 5'3 and a regular build. He'll be using it for mainly riding to his pals homes , plus local trails/ ****s.Thanks for your help-
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Old 04-14-15, 12:00 PM
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What I got for our then-9 year old daughter is a 7-speed Dahon Curve folding bike. It is well made, and very adjustable in terms of rider height; as she has grown, it has just been a matter of raising the seat.

You may be able to find a used one for somewhat less than $500.
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Old 04-14-15, 01:08 PM
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If he's 5'3" he's ready for the smaller sizes of adult bikes. You can check craigslist for 14" or 16" (frame size) mtn bikes. 16" might be better since he's probably going to keep growing...
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Old 04-14-15, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Omeindun View Post
My first post here! Just wondered what folks would recommend -new or used bike for my 11 year old (12 in three weeks) and what brands to look at? We live in Vancouver , so there's lots of stores out there. I don't really want to spend $500 unless I really have to. His last bike was used and we got it for $70. He is 5'3 and a regular build. He'll be using it for mainly riding to his pals homes , plus local trails/ ****s.Thanks for your help-
The trouble with getting a bike for a kid this age is he's going to outgrow it quickly. I got a 24" mountain bike at age 10, I think, and it was pretty well done by age 14 when I got a 26". But the bike makers know this and they build 24" junior bikes with inexpensive parts; they know that the average customer will outgrow it before he wears it out.

My coworker just got his kid a 20" Giant XTC Jr Lite. This is mountain bike with a 1x7 drivetrain and no suspension. The 24" version is US$250. There's a $330 version with 3x7 and a suspension fork, and a much more expensive $650 version but it's a serious offroad machine with 3x8 drivetrain, hydraulic suspension fork, hydraulic disk brakes. They also sell a skinny tire road bike in a junior size, just one model for $700. I think you'll find similar choices from other brands.

At his height he might be able to get on a small or XS mountain bike with 26" tires. Then your choices are nearly limitless, new or used; the market has been churning out 26" mountain bikes by the millions at all quality levels for thirty years. And you could get something nice and change out the frame when he's older, if you're handy and it's still good.
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Old 04-14-15, 01:17 PM
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Get him a smaller adult size with a compact geometry so that as he grows the bike can be adapted to his size. Compact geometry typically allows great range of expansion by way of the seat post.

My son's bike was stolen about the same time he was your son's age. He was heartbroken and I was determined that the next bike I bought, wouldn't be as hard on the wallet as replacing this one.

I bought a Motobecane 650HT from bikesdirect. See if it doesn't look like a good bike for your son. Save up to 60% off Mountain Bikes - MTB - Motobecane Hydraulic Disc Brake Mountainbikes

BTW the current price is $100 less than I paid June 2013.
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Old 04-14-15, 08:50 PM
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Better to spend the money on a bike with no suspension and conventional brakes (mechanical disc or V) than to buy a bike equipped with cheap suspension and cheap hydraulic brakes. I've owned one with very expensive hydraulic brakes (Hope) and they work fantastically well for many miles. Look up the reviews on the Tektro Draco brakes on the Motobecane and you will find quite a few complaints. Conventional brakes are easy to work on even for a novice but hydraulic brakes and the need to bleed them if there is a problem adds a lot to the task. If you read the section on General Discussion, this advice comes up frequently: If you are buying an entry level bike ($500 or less USD) then it is better to avoid suspension as the cheap ones add weight without being much more comfortable to ride. Get something with road tires rather than MTB tires if he is going to ride roads and paved trails.

It would be nice if you could find a quality vintage bike at a decent price and in good condition but they are hard to come by. You don't have much invested and your son will have a bike that's fun to ride. I recently refurbished a 1993 Trek 830 for a kid in my Scout Troop and he rode it 50 miles this past Sunday to complete the Cycling Merit Badge. It was a lot better than any new bike he could afford.
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Old 04-15-15, 09:59 AM
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Thanks all for your kind responses. I've learned a lot from you. Things to ponder. I'll let you all know what bike we get-
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Old 04-15-15, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
Better to spend the money on a bike with no suspension and conventional brakes (mechanical disc or V) than to buy a bike equipped with cheap suspension and cheap hydraulic brakes. I've owned one with very expensive hydraulic brakes (Hope) and they work fantastically well for many miles. Look up the reviews on the Tektro Draco brakes on the Motobecane and you will find quite a few complaints. Conventional brakes are easy to work on even for a novice but hydraulic brakes and the need to bleed them if there is a problem adds a lot to the task. If you read the section on General Discussion, this advice comes up frequently: If you are buying an entry level bike ($500 or less USD) then it is better to avoid suspension as the cheap ones add weight without being much more comfortable to ride. Get something with road tires rather than MTB tires if he is going to ride roads and paved trails.

It would be nice if you could find a quality vintage bike at a decent price and in good condition but they are hard to come by. You don't have much invested and your son will have a bike that's fun to ride. I recently refurbished a 1993 Trek 830 for a kid in my Scout Troop and he rode it 50 miles this past Sunday to complete the Cycling Merit Badge. It was a lot better than any new bike he could afford.
Have you never had a son or are you just the grinch? Haha Seriously, my kid doesn't care about the "purity" of riding a bike. He wants something that stops fast, looks great, and takes him where he wants to go.

You haven't mentioned my post except in quoting my suggestion directly as generating "...quite a few complaints." Yet your suggestion, "... a nice vintage bike..." would leave most 11-12 year old kids rolling their eyes and calling you "stinky old man" behind your back. Believe me, I work in elementary education and I know exactly what goes on behind the adult back.

OP, be Santa. Not the Grinch. Kids will be out of childhood and saddled with all the responsibilities of adulthood soon enough. Let them go to sleep at night dreaming of shiny new bikes with awesome brakes and rugged details. The one I reference still resides in our basement. It goes out a few times a week and it has held up well. Get your kids to carry and use a lock and enjoy the ride.
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Old 04-15-15, 02:34 PM
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I admit to being an old man. I hope not stinky though. Old bikes don't have to look like a piece of coprolite (look that one up!). We figured it out last Sunday that I and a cardiologist friend and fellow Scout Leader have completed two decades of teaching cycling merit badge to kids 11 to 14 years old. Invariably the kids that have the hardest time completing the rides - two 10 mile, two 15 mile, two 25 mile, and one 50 mile ride completed in 8 hours - are the ones with the crappy mass merchandiser bikes. We started the 10 mile rides in November. The kid with the brand new WalMart bike stopped a couple times in the first two miles because the bike was so heavy it was hard for him to keep up with the rest of the kids. I checked the steering and brakes on the bike before starting so I knew at least he could steer and stop but not the pedals which fell off and stripped the crank less than three miles from the start. His dad had to come and pick up him and the bike. End of ride for him. He showed up for the second 10 mile ride on his third new WalMart bike (just as heavy!) but at least it was assembled well enough to make all 10 miles. We started out with four kids and three of them completed the badge. Not the one with the WalMart bike. He will try again next year as there was no way for him to complete 50 miles withing the allotted time.

Yes, kids are going to be attracted to a fancy, new, obese bike from WalMart or Target but if you let them try out a good bike they get the message. The boy who received the Trek 830 already had ridden the other rides on a good quality older bike that I found for him last year. He simply outgrew the first bike and needed a larger frame. The remaining two boys were riding entry level bike store bikes, not garbage but not something I would choose for them. They completed the 50 miles about 40 minutes after the boy on the Trek 830 even though I would judge the three to have about equal abilities. The boy on the Trek completed it within 6 hours, including about 45 minutes out for a rest and lunch break. I only wish I could educate the father of the boy with the WalMart bike but he knows everything and you can't teach him anything. Obstinate or dumb? I'm not sure which. He buys expensive toys for himself but not for his son. The kids who get the good used bikes really do appreciate them. Some go on to ride a lot more than we ever expected.
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Old 04-15-15, 05:57 PM
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What kind of riding do you do? Are you into riding 10 to 20 miles or more at a time?

If you're a MTB rider, or the kid likes MTBs, get a cheap 26" MTB (they can be very cheap).

If, on the other hand, you're a "roadie", find a small 650b or 700c road bike. "WSD"... yeah, but they make nice women's bikes in sizes that will fit a kid.

By the time I got to Middle School, I was easily riding that 8 miles or so to Middle School (alone), and the road bike was the thing for me. But, that was also before the MTB craze.

I never had a "new" bike... ever? The department store bikes are pretty, but you can get good deals used, and for some things, in thrift stores.
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Old 04-16-15, 08:09 PM
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Spend the money on the right bike for your kid. Get the best one you can afford. They will always remember such acts representing how much they mean to you.

My daughter rides the Huffy she won through the school but I've gone through that one as best I can. She doesn't ride too much but she's also of a strong mind. (That's her bike and she's going to ride it! she tells me)

My son rides the Giant Boulder I won but when the mood suits him he takes my Bianchi Milano. He doesn't like my OCR3 but he likes the liquid black color it is.

Believe it or not, kids have a pretty good idea what a certain bike is worth. If it's a good one or it isn't. Find a great bike. Whether it's new or it isn't should matter less than its overall quality.

Best to you,
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Old 04-17-15, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by VegasTriker View Post
I admit to being an old man. I hope not stinky though. Old bikes don't have to look like a piece of coprolite (look that one up!). We figured it out last Sunday that I and a cardiologist friend and fellow Scout Leader have completed two decades of teaching cycling merit badge to kids 11 to 14 years old. Invariably the kids that have the hardest time completing the rides - two 10 mile, two 15 mile, two 25 mile, and one 50 mile ride completed in 8 hours - are the ones with the crappy mass merchandiser bikes. We started the 10 mile rides in November. The kid with the brand new WalMart bike stopped a couple times in the first two miles because the bike was so heavy it was hard for him to keep up with the rest of the kids. I checked the steering and brakes on the bike before starting so I knew at least he could steer and stop but not the pedals which fell off and stripped the crank less than three miles from the start. His dad had to come and pick up him and the bike. End of ride for him. He showed up for the second 10 mile ride on his third new WalMart bike (just as heavy!) but at least it was assembled well enough to make all 10 miles. We started out with four kids and three of them completed the badge. Not the one with the WalMart bike. He will try again next year as there was no way for him to complete 50 miles withing the allotted time.

Yes, kids are going to be attracted to a fancy, new, obese bike from WalMart or Target but if you let them try out a good bike they get the message. The boy who received the Trek 830 already had ridden the other rides on a good quality older bike that I found for him last year. He simply outgrew the first bike and needed a larger frame. The remaining two boys were riding entry level bike store bikes, not garbage but not something I would choose for them. They completed the 50 miles about 40 minutes after the boy on the Trek 830 even though I would judge the three to have about equal abilities. The boy on the Trek completed it within 6 hours, including about 45 minutes out for a rest and lunch break. I only wish I could educate the father of the boy with the WalMart bike but he knows everything and you can't teach him anything. Obstinate or dumb? I'm not sure which. He buys expensive toys for himself but not for his son. The kids who get the good used bikes really do appreciate them. Some go on to ride a lot more than we ever expected.
+1

7 years old, 50 mile ride. Took about 6 hours. On a 1970's 20" Gitane Midget Racer. If you want to do distance, need to get a decent bike.

IIRC the bike was $100 on CL, plus tires and pads. Don't need to go broke if you buy used.

@cale: My kids think it's better to go fast than look fast. YMMV.






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Old 04-17-15, 12:38 PM
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Originally Posted by delcrossv View Post
+1

7 years old, 50 mile ride. Took about 6 hours. On a 1970's 20" Gitane Midget Racer. If you want to do distance, need to get a decent bike.

IIRC the bike was $100 on CL, plus tires and pads. Don't need to go broke if you buy used.

@cale: My kids think it's better to go fast than look fast. YMMV.
You know your kids best. Happy Trails!
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Old 04-19-15, 06:13 AM
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For my son`s 11th birthday he got a 26" Marin Muirwoods. The 15" frame fit him well enough then - and even better now that he is 12. He really loves the thing.

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Old 04-20-15, 11:26 AM
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We just went through the same thing with my 10 year old daughter. I looked for a used bike first but did not find any or missed out on a few on Craigslist. We also check bike shops for used bikes. We went to the local bike shop and ended up with a 16" Trek 820. Sounds like she is about the same size 5'-2" as your son. With my older son I lucked out and got a killer deal on a used bike. I like brand names because I can maintain them easier that department store bikes and they seem to take the rough of kids better. Hope that helps out.
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Old 04-21-15, 11:12 PM
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I needed to buy my daughter a new bike last year (she was 9 and a bit tall) and decided that instead of the mtb route, since we ride trails and paved surfaces that a childs road bike was in order. This is the one I bought her:
Fuji Bikes | ROAD | KIDS' SERIES | ACE 650
This bike can be purchased for about $325-350 USD

That being said at first she didn't like the idea of a road bike. Till she went on her first ride on it, then she was amazed that she could keep up with me much easier. She like the handling and lightness of the bike compared to the mtb style bikes. Then I upgraded the brakes and shifters to shimano tourney brifters for another $90. She absolutely loves it! and when she rides with the other kids in the family she easily outpaces them on their mtb and mbx style bikes. And when she outgrows it my son will use it next, but even if he doesn't use it I know I can sell it easily and get the majority of my money back.
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Old 04-22-15, 02:54 AM
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I wouldn't give my children heavy and poorly made bikes that I wouldn't ride myself. Where I live the chances for finding a good quality used kid's bike is slim to none, so I bought them new Hasa 20" and 24" MTBs and two 24" Vitus road bikes plus two 650C Pro Lite road bikes. They are 7 and 9 so I have the bigger bikes stashed in the garage ready for when the time comes. I'm pretty sure I'll be able to sell them on when they outgrow them.
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Old 04-22-15, 05:41 AM
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When my son was 10, I bought him a used Trek 800, no suspension. I took the aggressive knobbies off in favor of Geax Street Runners. He used that bike just about every day in the spring and summer months. He rode it until he outgrew it last year when he turned 13. Now he splits his time between a Schwinn Moab mountain bike with knobbies and front suspension, which he uses for local trails, and my old Bianchi Advantage 18" hybrid, which he uses for neighborhood rides and riding around with his friends.
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