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  1. #1
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    Oct 2012
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    Grip shift or trigger for kid's first geared bike?

    I'm expecting it to be a pretty painful process. Does it vary from kid to kid, or is one clearly better for the majority of kids?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    2,653
    Two years ago I bought a Canondale Cujo for my 6yo. It had gripshift and he struggled with it a little bit. He is a strong kid, though, and he adapted to the strength needed to twist the grip to easier gears.

    I am just about to graduate him to a new bike and his sister (just about 6yo) is going to take this one over. She's struggling with the strength needed, so I ordered a trigger. I'm planning on installing this week, but everything I've read so far suggests that most kids do better with the trigger due to strength needed. Getting kids in the mindset of shifting frequently is a whole different ballgame, but I don't think that varies between the two types.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    988
    How old?

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    Quote Originally Posted by splat View Post
    Nothing in the ski industry is ever as it seems or is being made out to be - unless you were just buried in an avalanche.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Banff
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    trigger:

    I'm a bike mechanic (so just see what doesn't work) and its common to replace twist to trigger and not see the kids again .

    if the bike you want COMES with twist, its $15ish to buy trigger, so easy/cheap


  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    Carbondale
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    Good to know. a year later and my daughter still can't get the bike into first gear by herself, which then in turn makes her not shift. She's 7 and otherwise killing it on the bike.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Agrestic
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    My 8 year old has trigger. Never heard a word about it. It took her a couple rides to figure out when to shift though.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Driggs
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    Yeah, I coach a bunch of kiddos in the 6-11 range, and from what I've seen, it's WAY easier for small hands to do trigger shifts. It's way more of a struggle to get the kids with grip shift to even want to shift, let alone to do it consistently. Strong riders are totally fine with gripshift but if you have the choice, trigger every time.

    And last year we had a mom with no bike mechanic experience who bought her kid one of the $20 trigger shift kits on Amazon and installed it with no problems. Kid shifted like a champ all summer.

  8. #8
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    Nov 2004
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    YetiMan
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    Plus, kids or not, grip shift always sucks.

  9. #9
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    Oct 2012
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    Thanks for all of the quick feedback. Sounds like the collective is saying trigger. My daughter is 9, but a late bloomer due to some developmental delays. I worry about the coordination required to keep track of her thumb and index finger. But if grip shifts are a path to suck then I'll go trigger. Great info, people, thank you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    slc
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    Quote Originally Posted by concretejungle View Post
    It took her a couple rides to figure out when to shift though.
    Hell, my kid has had gears for 4 years now and still usually forgets to shift until he can barely turn the cranks. Thankfully he's still too light to break chains or cog teeth. I've stopped reminding him he needs to remember to shift before it gets steep.

    Back to the original question, trigger all the way. Some kids do fine with gripshift but the majority seem to struggle.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
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    Elmore, VT
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    999
    Making sure the brakes aren't hard to pull is more important, at least from my experience teaching two kids to ride. Mech brakes are tough for the little ones' grip strength, and will turn a kid off riding real quick.

  12. #12
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    Oct 2003
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    ^^^Hydro discs are awesome for kids for that reason. V-brakes suck, and the short-reach versions suck even worse.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    1,939
    Quote Originally Posted by mntlion View Post
    trigger:

    I'm a bike mechanic (so just see what doesn't work) and its common to replace twist to trigger and not see the kids again .

    if the bike you want COMES with twist, its $15ish to buy trigger, so easy/cheap
    this, 1000x this
    what's orange and looks good on hippies?
    fire

    rails are for trains
    If I had a dollar for every time capitalism was blamed for problems caused by the government I'd be a rich fat film maker in a baseball hat.

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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
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    Edgewater, CO
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    666
    Dead horse has been beaten...but trigger trigger trigger


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    Corner store junkies giving advice

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    Park City
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    3,379
    Trigger, hydraulic discs.


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    I rip the groomed on tele gear

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Too far from the snow
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    458
    What trigger do you usually switch to? 7 speed drive trains across the board for my little rippers.

  17. #17
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by powking12 View Post
    What trigger do you usually switch to? 7 speed drive trains across the board for my little rippers.
    doesn't usually matter much. Sram or shimano. Both should work with either brand rear der.

    I try to keep same brand, mostly for looks


  18. #18
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Calgary
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    Timely thread as I started working at a shop a month ago and know little about kids bikes except that most are embarrassingly bad (and most of our stock comes with useless front suspension fork which does FUCK ALL and adds weight). The one trigger 20" we sell is the Norco Fluid 2.3 but to me playing with it (especially after reading this thread yesterday), the thumb shift seems like it would be much more difficult than any of the Gripshifts (although I get for little hands the ROM required to twist is quite a lot).

    I'm just glad we've had a bunch of Scott Roxters (rigid fork, cable disc, + tires) on sale to direct peeps towards, except that I'm down to my last one today. I'm shocked too how many parents let their kids decide, even a buddy who has his little one competing in snowboarding and going to mtb camp at the bike park couldn't be swayed to go with a disc brake 20" and instead opted for a POS Trek Precaliber despite my pleading. WTF is this style of parenting?!?

  19. #19
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    Oct 2012
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    Bend
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    58
    All kinds of good stuff here. Thanks, everyone.

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