Singlespeed & Fixed Gear "I still feel that variable gears are only for people over forty-five. Isn't it better to triumph by the strength of your muscles than by the artifice of a derailer? We are getting soft...As for me, give me a fixed gear!"-- Henri Desgrange (31 January 1865 - 16 August 1940)

Single speed for a kid?

Old 11-20-11, 09:50 PM
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GS430
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Single speed for a kid?

Good evening. Not sure if this is a good idea, but my 9 year old (4'11-5ft) son wants a single speed bike. He LOVES to ride and currently is on a Staats BMX racing bike. He rides it everywhere but he wants a bike that would be better for the street. I am not sure what to look at but I thought it would be nice if I could find a track frame that would allow 650cc wheels. He and I both like the idea of a single speed and I don't really want him on a road bike. By the way, I ride a single speed but not fixed. Any thought?
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Old 11-20-11, 09:53 PM
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you dont want him on a road bike? but you would allow him on a track frame? Why?
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Old 11-20-11, 09:54 PM
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It's harder to limit speed on a road bike I'm guessing. As for small track frames, I'm at a loss. (too tall to have ever looked at any)
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Old 11-20-11, 09:56 PM
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I don't really want him dealing with gears. I want to keep it simple, reliable and fun. It will have brakes.
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Old 11-20-11, 09:58 PM
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the only frame that comes to mind is the IRO Mark V HD

http://www.irocycle.com/markvhdframeset.aspx
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Old 11-20-11, 10:01 PM
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there's this too.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:01 PM
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Those aren't even available though.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:02 PM
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i feel like nice buying bikes for kids is kind of a challenge if you are budget conscious at all. How tall are you? He will be growing out of the thing very soon if you are tallish.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:04 PM
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Thanks. Thats exactly what I had in mind but I didn't know if it existed. I am going to look into this.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:04 PM
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sounds like a job for a conversion.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:05 PM
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Well, apparently he drives a GS 430 so budget shouldn't be a big issue .
That is true though that you should only expect him to be comfortable on it for a few years. If you have any younger kids you could always hand it down though.
That said, I still don't think a $900 wabi is justifiable for a 9yo.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:06 PM
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I am 6'2. He will grow out of it in a year or two, but we have two more kids to get use out of it.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:07 PM
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I am glad you trust your 9 year old with a $900 bike. adopt me please
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Old 11-20-11, 10:09 PM
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Lexus is gone, I now drive a Suburban. Let the comments begin!
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Old 11-20-11, 10:09 PM
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I am 5'-3" and ride a Wabi Lightning 42cm c-c frame with 650c wheels, however, I suspect the cost would be more than you'd want to pay. I think your best bet would be something like the $300 Motobecane Messenger singlespeed from bikesdirect, which comes in a 43cm size with a sloping top tube and 700c wheels. This is what it looks like in mine, which is highly modified. I've got mine setup as fixed with no rear brake, however, stock it is setup as singlespeed with front and rear brakes. The only change you'll want to make is to swap out the 16T freewheel for a 18T or even larger.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:15 PM
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Thanks, Tejano Trackie. I am going to go check out the Messenger. That may be a really GOOD option!
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Old 11-20-11, 10:29 PM
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bikes direct is a probably a good vendor for this type of thing in general.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:30 PM
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My first fixed was a small Redline 925. Served me well.
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Old 11-20-11, 10:54 PM
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There's always 24" BMXers, just find a long zero setback seatpost for it.

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Old 11-20-11, 11:04 PM
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I had a ghetto single speed BMX / road bike hybrid (I unno what those are) when I was 9 yo.

I'd personally just chuck him a 24" BMXer for now (these are single speed) and he'll get some cool points from his buddies.
When he gets to 14-ish then blow $500 on a decent SS track frame bike...

For now I don't see the point in giving your kid a track frame. Those aren't forgiving if you bang it around / crash and your feet aren't long enough to hit the ground before your balls hit the top tube / won't know how to balance out fast enough. Which kids tend to do, and no offence to the riding skills of your child, but very prone. Just seems more economical and SAFER IMHO.

Also. Here's something to consider: When I was 9 and I saw a 9 yo kid riding a track frame with obviously no muscles to speak of, I'd have laughed. There's the social aspect to a bike for a kid, too, unless he's only going to ride it for training purposes or something (in which case a roadie or a fixed gear would suit him better)
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Old 11-21-11, 02:44 AM
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I'm an overindulgent father of a 9-year old, and my kid currently rides the following:

1) 20" Nitrous BMX


2) Fuji Ace 650c


3) Marin 24" Mountain Bike


Even if your kid is tall and growing, I'd be a little worried to put him in a small framed 700c bike just yet. I'd suggest you get him to stand over the bike and check on the likelyhood you might not be a grandparent before you bought one.

I can tell you my kid only sorta understands his geared bikes. Half the time, he's riding in some crazy-arse gear combo while I'm gritting my teeth and trying to explain to him how to cross shift, so I don't think your single speed plan is a bad one. Finally, though, when all is said and done, my kids favorite bike is his BMX. I don't yell at him for attempting world record skids, and he's getting pretty good at stoppies by jamming his foot between the front tire and fork.

All that being said, I have to agree that the 24" BMX is the best all-around bike. A 650c track bike would be really cool if you are trying to go on longer rides with him. I think you can get a good compromise gear if you live in an area that's not to hilly, but I don't see it being his "everyday" bike.

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Old 11-21-11, 04:29 AM
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Where's Kaz? As someone who rides a 43cm 650c bike, she should weigh in on this. In case she doesn't, she rides a Fuji Track Classic (I think) and it seems like it works well for her.
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Old 11-21-11, 05:56 AM
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A lot of SE's 43cm frames come with 650c wheels. The draft and draft lite included. Another idea is the fuji classic track 650 as well as a few other frames. A couple of places are clearing out the 2011 draft lite for $200 if you're not picky with colors. The 2012's are a bit more but i think are better.
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Old 11-21-11, 09:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jimmytango View Post
Where's Kaz? As someone who rides a 43cm 650c bike, she should weigh in on this. In case she doesn't, she rides a Fuji Track Classic (I think) and it seems like it works well for her.
Yep. I'm 5'1" and ride a 43cm Fuji Classic Track. It's got 650c wheels and is tiny and awesome. A little bit more expensive than the Motobecane version (I think I paid $450?) but I prefer the 650c wheels on tiny frames. My other bike which has 700c wheels has toe overlap, and it doesn't even have the tighter track geo. The Fuji came with front and rear brakes and the bike shop threw on a freewheel for me, although now I ride it fixed. It was hard finding an LBS that carried the 43cm size, but once I did they said they sell a lot to small women like me and to kids.


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Old 11-21-11, 10:23 AM
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Originally Posted by misskaz View Post
Yep. I'm 5'1" and ride a 43cm Fuji Classic Track. It's got 650c wheels and is tiny and awesome. A little bit more expensive than the Motobecane version (I think I paid $450?) but I prefer the 650c wheels on tiny frames. My other bike which has 700c wheels has toe overlap, and it doesn't even have the tighter track geo.
My 43cm Moto Messenger does not have any toe overlap with 700c wheels and stock tires, and just a tiny bit with 31mm tires. The reason is that the frame geometry is different between the two frames, the Moto fork having a bit more rake and longer fork legs (offset) to provide more clearance. Also, the Fuji has a lot less BB drop to compensate for the smaller wheels to prevent pedal strike when cornering. As a result, the standover height on your bike is about the same as mine. Look at the photos of our two bikes, and you'll notice that the top tube slope on mine is much more pronounced than on yours, due the 1" greater BB drop. Putting 650c wheels on the Moto would lead to major pedal strike on a FG setup, but would be fine on a SS, since you can coast through turns with the inside pedal up. BTW, this is one thing I don't like about the IRO Mark V "Heidi" 650c frame, since it has nearly the same BB drop as a 700c frame.
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