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  1. #76
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    Figure I'd throw this post here as well....

    Kid bike buying question. 10.5 yr old, riding in Santa Cruz (Wilder and UCSC). 25" inseam, 54 inches tall.

    Not hitting the steeps (yet) but hitting downhills. Wally World for this who know. I plan to take him on Mailboxes soon, taking the easier exit. I'd say he is XC and Trail style riding. His favorite days are about 700' climbing and then a 1500' descent.

    My kid has been riding MTB regularly for about 2 years now. He is on a fully rigid specialized hot rock from ages ago, but has amazingly modern slack trail geometry. It has been a great bike for him, especially once I put nice tires (Maxxis Recon and Schwalb Rocket Ron) on. It has a 10 on the frame, so assuming this is a ten inch frame.

    He is both growing out of the bike, and it is old and parts are starting to fail. It at least needs a new chain, if not new drive train.

    The fact that it is small is less of an issue than its aging self. I keep it well maintained, but it is an old bike that was used by at least three people before him, and when I got it, I cleaned it up a bunch. So not sure, but think most of the wear and tear happened a while back, and then my son has used it a bunch over the past two years. He put maybe 1000 miles on it himself.

    We are thinking of buying him a new bike and looking at 26" wheels and 13.5 - 14" frames. I think this site would fit him for 2 years, as he is on the low end of the sizing scale. Figure we could keep it in good shape and sell it used when he is sizing up next.

    Going from a caliper friction brake and 3x8 drivetrain to a hydraulic disc brake and 1x8 drive train.

    I've been looking at the Vitus Nucleus 26. It looks decent enough, and is in the right price range (we budgeted about $750). Any of you have feedback on this bike? It ticks all the boxes except for internal routing.

    But also wondering if it is smarter to go bigger (27.5 tires and 15" frame) and have him grow into a bike. My concern here is it will weight at least 4-8 pounds more, which is more work for climbing. And he will go from riding a bike he totally handles and controls to one that is cumbersome; and I worry this will slow his progress and tamper his confidence.

    So, what says the experts? What should we do. Make this 24" bike last through next spring and go for a 27.5" and slight larger frame OR get him into a 26" bike now.

    Any suggestions on a particular bike?

    And does anyone have a super sweet 26" carbon bike they want to sell used for my price range?

    Also read somewhere that the 2x8 drivetrains are better for kids due to the range. But he is using this bike 95% for dirt riding. He will use his old bike for school commutes.

  2. #77
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    Aug 2002
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    Don’t have any hands on experience w the Vitus 26, but I’ve been pleased with the 24+ bike I bought for my somewhat timid 10y/o. I think you can go a bit bigger, but wouldn’t push the boundary too far. My 8y/o is on a frame that just barely fits her (Giant/Liv STP 24+), but bigger wheels have definitely helped her confidence and riding ability off-road. I’m thinking of skipping 26 wheels. If I were going 27.5 for my 10y/o I’d definitely look at buying locally and having him ride it around the parking lot at least. If that’s not feasible don’t think you’d go wrong with the Vitus either.


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    Last edited by VTskibum; 10-13-2021 at 02:43 PM.

  3. #78
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    I had him on a Marin 5 in the shop and can take that for a street ride test. XXS comes with 26" wheel, but is just a 13.5" frame (Vitus is 14" so give him more room to grow). Marlin is a 2X8, coil spring fork vs Vitus 1X9, air fork. Vitus has i25 rims and Nobby Nic; Marlin i20 and XR2 (crappy xc tire, imo) Marlin is a little more upright (XC) and Vitus a little more Trail. Both have same Tektro short lever hydraulic brake.

    Local Trek dealer has a good free basic tune (brake, shifting, basic help like adding air to a shock - mostly thing you can do at home) with purchase of a new bike. Basic advantage is I can have my kid bike 5 minutes to the bike shop to have his brake or whatever looked at if not working properly. I just don't love the shape of the Marlin. And I think it is a few pounds heavier.

    Is there anything I could measure on his current bike and compare to these two that might help in a decision. I'm new at comparing geometry numbers. I figure Trail, Reach, Seat Post Angle are important. Wheelbase as well. But I'm just guessing.

    I do look at smaller 27.5 bikes, but they all weight quite a bit more (3-7 pours). Even going from XXS 26" to XS 27.5" Marlins adds a bunch of weight. His current bike is about 28#, and would like to stay there or go lighter. To do that in a 27.5" I think I need about $2000, instead of $750.

    The other hard part is my wife wants this to be a gift from Santa cause he still believes and that won't last long. I, OTOH, want to get him onto a bike that rips and do it now, in the fall, when the riding is good and his current bike has the chain hoping off, or some mishap happening every two rides. It is not terrible, but I know the feeling of going from an old tired bike to a new updated piece of machinery.

  4. #79
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    I'd avoid coil forks for kids. Usually they're cheap garbage that's mostly for looks and too stiff for their weight - might as well save the weight and use a rigid fork.

    The Vitus looks like a decent spec although I've heard it's hard to get the Spinner fork serviced. Maybe just ride it into the ground and then either pass the bike on or replace it with a Recon Silver or similar.

  5. #80
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    Also a 30x36 low gear seems a little high for riding around Santa Cruz. I might think about swapping for a 26 or even 24 chainring. He'll lose a bit on the top end but if he's mostly riding single track that's not a big deal.

  6. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by teledad View Post
    ...might as well save the weight and use a rigid fork.

    The Vitus looks like a decent spec although I've heard it's hard to get the Spinner fork serviced...
    I bought my oldest a Vitus Nucleus 24 last year when he was 8. The quality and build was good for the price with the exception of the Spinner fork. That thing is crap and I should have replaced it when I got it.

    He's going to get a new bike between now and next spring and the other two are going to be moving up. I'm planning on pulling the fork, replacing it with either a better suspension fork or a carbon fork and putting 24+ tires on there for his little sister. I'm sure it would drop some weight and perform a lot better.

    The Nucleus 24 used to have an option for getting one with a rigid fork. If I were to do it again, I would go that route as the Spinner is both heavy and terrible.

    Seth

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  7. #82
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    Feb 2005
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    Check out the rocky mtn soul 27.5 Really impressed with the geo, build spec for the price. Just upgraded my kid's 24 which was embarrassingly small for him to a medium! Soul 10. Its a little bit of a stretch but not at all unmanageable for him. He loves it. plenty slack, does well on trails, he's fine without full sus for what he likes to ride.

  8. #83
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    Vitus are gone. That was quick. Back to seeing what is available. Will look at the soul 10

    There is a used Timbercraft for $1200 on pinkie. gulp... It is purple and he digs purple. Nice looking bike but maybe more than he needs.

  9. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    Vitus are gone. That was quick. Back to seeing what is available. Will look at the soul 10

    There is a used Timbercraft for $1200 on pinkie. gulp... It is purple and he digs purple. Nice looking bike but maybe more than he needs.
    When I bought my son's Vitus last Sept, I put in the email alert and was able to very quickly react. Even if you're looking at others, would recommend doing the same and if it pops up and you haven't found anything pull the trigger. Took about a week to arrive.

  10. #85
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    FWIW, that Timber 26 would probably re-sell for a grand easy when he outgrows it.

    I'd also check out the Nukeproof Cub Scout 26. Not that much more than Vitus, but comes with a fork that is actually functional. Goes without saying, but setting up a stock alert and jumping on it immediately will be mandatory.

    I don't see an obvious reason why 27.5 will be 4-8 lbs more than 26 unless you go FS. I've known quite a few kids that went straight from 24 to XS 27.5 without problems and that's my plan. One dad went through the hassle of building up a second set of 26" wheels and they only got used for a few months, he said it wasn't worth the cost and hassle in the end.

    There's carbon 27.5 HT frames on Aliexpress that some folks on MTBR have had good success with. Off-brand carbon seems a lot less sketchy than it used to be.

  11. #86
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    My kid's 20 inch Specialized has a 32t rear cassette and I wanted to get him more range. I was looking at the MicroShift Advent 9 speed drivetrain for him. Clutch derailleur, shifter and 42t cassette can be had for short money and are actually in stock. Anyone have any feedback on a wide(r) range shifting for a 6 year old?

    Not many 9/10 speed derailleurs out that can clear anything more than a 34t.

  12. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by HankScorpio View Post
    My kid's 20 inch Specialized has a 32t rear cassette and I wanted to get him more range. I was looking at the MicroShift Advent 9 speed drivetrain for him. Clutch derailleur, shifter and 42t cassette can be had for short money and are actually in stock. Anyone have any feedback on a wide(r) range shifting for a 6 year old?
    Not many 9/10 speed derailleurs out that can clear anything more than a 34t.
    I look after a fleet of bikes, and a bunch of them have the Micro-Shift Advent 1 X 9, with 11-42t cassette. They have been good, and shift great, I've not had any issues with them.
    This drivetrain is on our LIV Tempt 27.5 hard tails ($800 ish bikes).

  13. #88
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    On the one hand, when kids are that age they are not that strong and, despite the inherent reduction in gear inches that comes with 20" wheels, it's basically impossible to have a lowest gear that's too low.

    On the other hand, the chainstays are really short, which can make the chainline really severe on wide-range cassettes. I ran a 42t on a 20" hardtail for a while and it worked, but barely (Sunrace cassette and SRAM GX RD). I had to use some washers to space the chainring inboard a bit and even then it easily shifted off the largest sprocket when backpedaling. Considering the price of the Microshift stuff I'd say give it a try, but expect to have to fiddle with it a bit and that you may never get it perfect.

  14. #89
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    I agree with Dan. Cheat your chainring as far inboard towards the 42t as possible.

    20" bike with a 11-42 matched to a 30T chainring gets you 13.84 gear inch for the lowest gear.
    Thats actually lower (easier to pedal) than an equivalent 29er 10-52 with 28T chainring. It equals 14.84 gear inch.

  15. #90
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    Jan 2015
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    113
    Another consideration with a 20" wheel is the clearance for anything but a short reach derailleur. That is why you see a lot of Shimano Zee R.Der's on 20" bike - the DH will do a 28tooth and the FR will do a 36T (although some stretch this to a 42T). Both have a short cage and give lots of clearance...

  16. #91
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    Fits here maybe. "Hold my juicebox"

    https://twitter.com/HldMyBeer/status...UuzYPqKTQ&s=19

  17. #92
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    Vitus are gone. That was quick. Back to seeing what is available. Will look at the soul 10

    There is a used Timbercraft for $1200 on pinkie. gulp... It is purple and he digs purple. Nice looking bike but maybe more than he needs.
    Trailcraft Timber FTW. Resale is crazy good. We have the pineridge24 and it’s really impressive.


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  18. #93
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    Sep 2005
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    I have never heard anyone who got a Trailcraft say they have regretted it. Even if they all cried over the impact to their wallets.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  19. #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danno View Post
    Even if they all cried over the impact to their wallets.
    Until they sold it, realized the net cost was less than a Walmart bike, and cried all the way to the bank.

  20. #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Hubbs View Post
    I look after a fleet of bikes, and a bunch of them have the Micro-Shift Advent 1 X 9, with 11-42t cassette. They have been good, and shift great, I've not had any issues with them.
    This drivetrain is on our LIV Tempt 27.5 hard tails ($800 ish bikes).
    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    On the one hand, when kids are that age they are not that strong and, despite the inherent reduction in gear inches that comes with 20" wheels, it's basically impossible to have a lowest gear that's too low.

    On the other hand, the chainstays are really short, which can make the chainline really severe on wide-range cassettes. I ran a 42t on a 20" hardtail for a while and it worked, but barely (Sunrace cassette and SRAM GX RD). I had to use some washers to space the chainring inboard a bit and even then it easily shifted off the largest sprocket when backpedaling. Considering the price of the Microshift stuff I'd say give it a try, but expect to have to fiddle with it a bit and that you may never get it perfect.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dee Hubbs View Post
    I agree with Dan. Cheat your chainring as far inboard towards the 42t as possible.

    20" bike with a 11-42 matched to a 30T chainring gets you 13.84 gear inch for the lowest gear.
    Thats actually lower (easier to pedal) than an equivalent 29er 10-52 with 28T chainring. It equals 14.84 gear inch.
    Thanks guys, all good info. Chain line never occured to me with a short stays and a wide range cassette. I don't mind a bit of fiddling here and there........

  21. #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    FWIW, that Timber 26 would probably re-sell for a grand easy when he outgrows it.

    I'd also check out the Nukeproof Cub Scout 26. Not that much more than Vitus, but comes with a fork that is actually functional. Goes without saying, but setting up a stock alert and jumping on it immediately will be mandatory.

    I don't see an obvious reason why 27.5 will be 4-8 lbs more than 26 unless you go FS. I've known quite a few kids that went straight from 24 to XS 27.5 without problems and that's my plan. One dad went through the hassle of building up a second set of 26" wheels and they only got used for a few months, he said it wasn't worth the cost and hassle in the end.
    You are right, I was looking at FS mostly. Forgot about that. But even in the 26" bike world, I see 32-34# bikes with similar build as the Vitus. The Nukeproof I do like and have it and the Nucleus on watch. Ready to buy if they become available. Saw a Rocky Mountain Growler 26" that was over 32#. At that point, I would rather get an XS 27."

    My son is a small ten year old. About 4'6", 70#, strong, lean. That is mostly why I am thinking of a smaller framed 26" bike for him. He is killing it on his 24" Hotrock rigid. He has not actually even fully outgrown that bike, but it is old, and failing and requires constant up keep. I think it is a 2008-2010 model perhaps. So it is time to replace the bike. I think a 26" model would fit him for two years, of course, unless he has a sudden growth spurt.

    Trailcraft was/is in CO. If I found one I could drive to look at and pick up, I would maybe splurge. I figure my son gets about 35+ trail rides a year, so at $10 a ride, that is $350 per year owned. I imagine a Trailcaraft would not cost me more than that. I take care of our bikes and tend to have good resale.

    After seeing nice kids bikes it is really hard to consider all the crappy ones.

  22. #97
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    quality single track bike for kid

    The Nukeproof is rad. Snagged one back in the ‘rona spring of 2020 for my then 11 year old and he loved it. Really helped him progress and become more confident on the trails. Modern geo, decent components, and pretty light. He’s now moved on to a Devinci Marshall (nice but heavy) and his brother is rocking the Nukeproof. If one magically becomes available, jump on it.


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  23. #98
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    Anyone have any experience with Frog bikes? The Frog 69 w air fork is in stock right now. It is their own air fork and hard to find information on. Frog is also not on 99 Spokes so looking at geometry is a bit harder. They are light, geared decently, tektro hydraulic short lever brakes, short cranks.... Looks good on paper, but would love to see if anyone has seen one in person.

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