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20 inch vs 26 inch

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Old 09-20-17, 03:55 AM
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welhemina
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20 inch vs 26 inch

my son had a 26 inch bicycle and it was stolen from our garage. The bike was a bit bigger for him. can I buy him a 20 inch one? he is 11 years old now.
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Old 09-20-17, 02:01 PM
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You are in the recumbent bike and trike section of Bikeforums. Is this where you wanted to be? Does your son ride a recumbent? If not, ask one of the moderators to move your post to the Recreational-Family section Recreational & Family - Bike Forums You can find RonH here: http://www.bikeforums.net/members/ronh-915.html He is one of three current moderators.
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Old 09-20-17, 06:39 PM
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I'll move it. Moving to Recreational & Family - Bike Forums
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Old 09-20-17, 06:58 PM
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What type of riding do you and your son do?

20" wheel bikes are generally BMX style bikes. Sometimes multi-speed, but often single-speed. They are even ridden by teenagers who like to do jumps and tricks.

Another size would be 24" wheel bikes, which would be small MTB style bikes. Generally multi-speed. This might be a good size for a smaller, but growing kid.

There should also be some small frame 26" wheel MTBs available for growing kids.

Also small frame 650c and 700c road bikes.

Sorry, lots of choices, and no single answers.
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Old 09-29-17, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by welhemina View Post
my son had a 26 inch bicycle and it was stolen from our garage. The bike was a bit bigger for him. can I buy him a 20 inch one? he is 11 years old now.
How about taking him to a bike shop, letting him see what fits, and deciding then.
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Old 09-29-17, 11:20 AM
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Kids bikes go by wheel size, since they only make one frame size.. 20" is commonly BMX, those are pedaled standing up.

seat low because BMX track racing is fast and short, over rough ground (remember the Olympics, they had BMX races)
and sitting is for when the race is over.


Skate (board) Bowl and X games type stunts is the other application, again the seat is low and out of the way.





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Last edited by fietsbob; 09-29-17 at 11:24 AM.
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Old 09-30-17, 01:48 AM
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I see 40 year olds on 20" bikes so I groan at that, but if your child is taller than 5' 2" it's really time to get another 26" and get him to lock it better.


And BMX bikes are as likely to be stolen, if not more. Lock it.
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Old 10-01-17, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by welhemina View Post
my son had a 26 inch bicycle and it was stolen from our garage. The bike was a bit bigger for him. can I buy him a 20 inch one? he is 11 years old now.
I rode BMX bikes (20") exclusively until I was about 13 when I bought a 24" 18 speed 'mountain bike' - they still had caliper brakes.

It depends on type of riding. I was doing more trail and attempting trick riding than riding on the road, so BMX wasn't too bad for the lot of it.

Last edited by Viich; 10-01-17 at 11:55 AM. Reason: Autocorrect thought I meant box, not BMX
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Old 10-01-17, 07:26 AM
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Originally Posted by tds101 View Post
How about taking him to a bike shop, letting him see what fits, and deciding then.
Agreed. I'd expect an 11 year old to have his own preferences on the type of bike he'd like and would be most likely to use.
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Old 02-01-18, 02:08 PM
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  • my kids rode bikes w 20" wheels, but the bikes were not BMX style bikes. they were young & the bikes were small. this is what they learned to ride on
  • when they outgrew those, we got them bikes w 24" wheels
  • then they moved up to bikes w 26" wheels
  • now they ride bikes w 700c wheels
  • I'd guess an 11 yr old would be using a bike w 24" wheels or 26" w/ a small frame, then they can move up to a larger frame as their growth dictates

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Old 02-02-18, 09:31 AM
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It is not about age. It is about fit. Get a frame that fits.

What size wheels it has you have to choose. Many discussions out there on the pros and cons of big vs small wheels.

Take note that because of physical size limitation:

1. The head tube (stack height) would have to be higher in 26" than 20" simlly because it is taller.

2. The front centre should be longer to clear the front wheel the pedals in 26" than 20".

3. The chain stay length (rear centre) has to be longer in 26" than 20" simply because it is longer.

Otherwise, seat tube and standover height is independent of wheel size.
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Old 02-02-18, 06:01 PM
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Best take him into a bike shop so the professionals there can help fit him. You'll also want to consider if he's on the verge of being ready for the next size up and going with that one instead. Kids would be so much cheaper if they just did all their growing over two or three summers a few years apart.
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Old 02-03-18, 12:26 AM
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If he's not going to lock it, wheel size won't matter. But maybe if you get him a bike he really loves, he will be more inclined to take care of it.
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Old 02-03-18, 07:11 AM
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don't waste your money on new. wait 'till they are done growing
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Old 02-08-18, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by welhemina View Post
my son had a 26 inch bicycle and it was stolen from our garage. The bike was a bit bigger for him. can I buy him a 20 inch one? he is 11 years old now.
A folding bike is one type that can grow with them, by being adjustable..

but if they abuse it like a BMX bike it wont last long.
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Old 02-15-18, 10:39 AM
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Wheel

I was going to say that fit to inseam size is more important than just wheel size.

IMOP larger thinner tires roll easier than smaller fatter ones, but the bikes I have that use BMX parts
are too fun not to keep around.

A body needs multiple bikes, with different sized wheels for "home" comparison. If wanted.

Not everyone can or wants to do so, but if you compare the cost of keeping 10 bikes or 10 cars,
extra bikes looks to be a better choice.

Last edited by bkentr; 02-16-18 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 02-24-18, 12:38 AM
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My daughter who's 9 fits just fine on a 26" MTB with a smaller frame made for young riders (the geometry is a bit different than a 26" MTB made for adults). Not really made for genuine offroading.

I actually borrowed her bike a few times around town, and it can sort of fit me, too (I'd need a bit longer stem to be really comfortable, and I have to of course raise the seat way up, but it sort of fits), so she should be fine with it growing up. 20"-24" bikes can't keep up so well as they grow.
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Old 02-25-18, 12:58 PM
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FWIW, difference .. Math..

53:16 x 20 =66.25 the gearing on my bike friday, 20" wheel
38:16 X 26 = 61.75.. on my Trekking bike..

I use the same IGH for both.. So gear range is pretty similar.. (but the hubs are expensive)

[Basic idea; smaller wheel. bigger chainring ]


Track Moto, like, the Olympics did, favors the lighter thinner tire/wheel there were even sew-up tire wheels made for Motocross bicycles..


(a 451 rim with a thin tire , is nominally about as big in diameter as a 406 rim with a fat tire)





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Last edited by fietsbob; 02-25-18 at 03:08 PM.
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