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  1. #1
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    Trail bike for 7+ year old. 20 or 24 inch? What's out there?

    I'm trying to hold back my natural tendency to overequip my kids. My 7.5 year old is ready to graduate from the 16" BMX bike (Spawn Yoji 16) to something more MTB oriented. This summer we're going to try our hand at some lift served singletrack and I want them to have a decent ride, within reason.

    The first question is, what wheel size? 20 or 24? Kid is 4'2".

    I've been eyeballing:

    Trailcraft Blue Sky 20" ($1400)
    Commencal Meta HT 20" ($1300)
    Prevelo Zulu Three ($1000)

    Then I come to my senses and think "this is fucking retarded, stop projecting." Ok, let's yard this in and look for something more reasonable. The Spawns were expensive for little kid's bikes but I've been very happy with them quality-wise.

    Closeout Norco Fluid HT 20" ($550)
    Closeout Rocky Mountain Vertex Jr 20" ($690)

    These all come with pretty wide tire setups and hydraulic discs out of the box. I'm sure the fork and drivetrain are shit. Commencal has a "Ramones 24" that's a fully rigid 24" for like $450 with mechanical discs.

    Lot to dump here but as for the sizing...ok to go a little large on the wheel diameter as long as standover clearance is ok? I like my kids on the BMX style frames as they're learning to stand and control fore/aft balance better. As they move into trail bikes I'd prefer they're on more modern frames that accommodate a more aggressive posture and ability to work the chain stays. Seems like a lot of your REI type kids' bikes aren't that.

  2. #2
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    At 4’2” I would strongly advise 24” based on my experience.


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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by VTskibum View Post
    At 4’2” I would strongly advise 24” based on my experience.
    Yeah? Do tell. Is it a wheelbase thing?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    more a general sizing thing, a 20" wheeled bike is likely just going to be too small.

    we keep these in stock and they seem pretty decent

    https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bik...-trail-plus-24

  5. #5
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    Dec 2008
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    Trail bike for 7+ year old. 20 or 24 inch? What's out there?

    My 7 year old LOVES his Specialized Riprock. Since most kids mountain bike suspension forks are really heavy, and really crappy, I don't think they're worth the money unless your want to spend bank.

    Also, check out the Woom bikes. They're about as light as they get for this size bike.

  6. #6
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    Sep 2010
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathleenturneroverdrive View Post
    My 7 year old LOVES his Specialized Riprock. Since most kids mountain bike suspension forks are really heavy, and really crappy, I don't think they're worth the money unless your want to spend bank.

    Also, check out the Woom bikes. They're about as light as they get for this size bike.
    My son has the 20 in Woom Off (rigid) and it's been awesome. He's about to turn 7 and is maybe just a touch shorter than your son, bio-smear. It still fits pretty well, but he's had it for over a year and it certainly doesn't look big on him anymore. I'd want to see if he could ride the 24 if I was buying another now. It's not BMX geo, so it doesn't lend itself quite as well to riding small, but I might try raising the bars a bit in a few months. Barring a crazy growth spurt, he should make next winter/two years on it.

    Before the Woom, we had a Prevelo Zulu One, which was a 14 in bike. Also a great bike, but for my kid specifically I prefer the woom. The prevelo was awesome, but built like a tank. I'm pretty sure I could have rode it. In Rampage. There is just no real need foe that heavy duty of a bike that size. I probably could ride the Woom too, but it seems to make more intelligent choices to save weight on a kids bike. I also find the brakes less fussy.

    Obviously as kids get older, how heavy duty of a bike they need starts to vary more. A big 8-9 year old who loves jumping off stuff is getting closer to being able to put a hurting on equipment and then maybe overbuilding starts to make more sense.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    304
    My kids have been moving through the Norco Fluid 20" and 24" FS bikes after a 20" Giant STP and before getting into larger FS units in the stable. We peddle for everything, mostly more modern style trails around VT. People are fond of saying how bad shocks and forks are in these sizes but my kids really seem to appreciate them on the downhills we do. I'm sure they would be OK without the rear suspension. Lighter would be nice as well. I definitely wouldn't get a kid trying to keep up with faster kids or adults on a bike without hydraulic discs. I remember watching my middle kid blow right through a beautiful berm they had ridden dozens of times one day chasing their older Sister. They were riding a Cleary with rim brakes and said they just couldn't keep pulling on the brakes so couldn't slow down.

    Those Giant STPs come in 20" and 24", with or without front suspension. If I were starting over I might just go that route. On the other hand, good FS bikes in those sizes will have strong resale value (I know, since I buy mine used) so if you can afford the initial outlay don't let the overall price scare you away.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2007
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    My 2 cents. It is worth the money. My kid is no ripper on their bike but they’ve been on. Yama Jama for a little over a year and it has really uped their game. Turning 12 in two weeks and 4’7” so different size. On the 26”.

    I like their bike a lot. Living in Singapore for a year and I bought a cheap bike to bring over for myself. Humidity is killer here. Things just rust standing in the covered car park. But I enjoy riding their bike around after I clean and tune it. Feels so smooth. It does have a quality air fork that I was able to tune nicely for their weight and riding. Not heavy either. Bike is perhaps overbuilt for how hard they ride, but that has not really been an issue.

    What ever you end up getting your kid, good equipment makes everything easier. Figure out where they need help and find a bike for that. My kid needs something that is stable on down hills and grippy for technical climbs and the Yama Jasa is great. Not the lightest bike, but they can climb it fine.

    I also installed a lab inexpensive dropper post (paid about $100 for the post) and that has stoked them out and really helped their riding. The YJ has internal routing which was a plus found it used in decent shape for $650 and I cleaned, tuned and replaced some inexpensive stuff like the chain and grips. Best investment for my kid ever.

    They just finally nailed this technical rock garden climb on the Bukit Timah trail in SG and they were super stoked on the accomplishment. Would have never happed for them on a cheapo bike.


    I’d go 24” depending on frame size for your size kid. Kids seem fine on slightly large bikes and when they grow into then it’s like it’s perfect and they know the bike well.

    My kid started on an old, slack Sprcialized. Rim brakes and 21 gears. Fully rigid - and that park and dealing with all the weight made them a much better rider for when they got their first real bike. And that first bike was free. Although I did get them some tea tires for it.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ottime View Post
    Yama Jama for a little over a year .
    For some reason I forgot to include the Yama Jama on my short list, but it definitely is. Both my kids have Spawn Yojis and I really like them, they are high quality rides and I think I'll be able to get most of my money back since prices have gone up.

    Thanks for the thoughts. Thinking I'll go with a 24" now. As long as there's good standover clearance I think it's ok.

    Growing out of the bike is not the biggest deal because younger sibling (-2 years) is always ready to inherit the gear.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kathleenturneroverdrive View Post
    My 7 year old LOVES his Specialized Riprock. Since most kids mountain bike suspension forks are really heavy, and really crappy, I don't think they're worth the money unless your want to spend bank.

    Also, check out the Woom bikes. They're about as light as they get for this size bike.
    That Riprock actually looks like a decent frame. And it comes with hydros. Maybe needs a little higher rise bar on it.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MarcusBrody View Post
    Before the Woom, we had a Prevelo Zulu One, which was a 14 in bike. Also a great bike, but for my kid specifically I prefer the woom. The prevelo was awesome, but built like a tank. I'm pretty sure I could have rode it. In Rampage. There is just no real need foe that heavy duty of a bike that size. I probably could ride the Woom too, but it seems to make more intelligent choices to save weight on a kids bike. I also find the brakes less fussy.
    Good thoughts. We had a Woom for their balance bike and it was great. Sold it for $100, nice to have something that keeps some value.

    Now that you mention it, the Prevelo does look a little overbuilt. I don't want to make them climb something that's too heavy, and they are not crushing drops or dirt jumps.

  12. #12
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    My 8 yo son also has a riprock and loves it - he tried a rocky mountain and something else as well, liked this one the most. It's really well put together in my opinion.
    Also yes - 24" as long as the standover is ok.

  13. #13
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    Aug 2002
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    I think the trail craft, spawns etc are top notch. Second tier down would be Spec RipRock, C-dale Cujo, Vitus, or Giant/Liv. I would have gone Spec RipRock would have got one of those for my kids if they were available.

    I went LIV STP24+, but ended up upgrading drivetrain and suspension fork on hers.

    Bought my son a Vitus 24+ when bikes were impossible to find in Sep 2020 which is a great bike and good bit lower stack than the LIV, plus w better hydro brakes.


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  14. #14
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    Sep 2008
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamal View Post
    more a general sizing thing, a 20" wheeled bike is likely just going to be too small.

    we keep these in stock and they seem pretty decent

    https://www.cannondale.com/en-us/bik...-trail-plus-24
    The trail plus is on sale for $430. Seems like a decent price. Is it modestly trail worthy for a kid who will be mostly urban riding?


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  15. #15
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    We picked the trek 24" Roscoe, the 24" riprock is probably lighter but Roscoe was $80 cheaper even when the Rirock was on sale. Fatter tires on the Roscoe also swayed me.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bio-smear View Post
    Then I come to my senses and think "this is fucking retarded, stop projecting." Ok, let's yard this in and look for something more reasonable.
    If they are even mildly adept at riding the Yoji the nicer bikes are justified and you absolutely will not regret it. Buying my kid nice bikes is the best money I have ever spent. Another to keep in mind, and this is perpetual soapbox item for me, is that resale is way better on nicer bikes. Total cost of ownership isn't much more or can even end up being a wash, and the nicer bikes really do make a difference in helping kids progress and have fun.

    At 4-2 absolutely go with a low standover 24", especially if you're going to be riding lifts. They're at the high end of the size charts for all those 20" bikes and will have outgrown them halfway through the season. I highly recommend checking out the Nukeproof Cub Scout 24: https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod202633

    Maybe throw in a cheap Brand X dropper while you're on CRC and you're fully styled: https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/.../rp-prod159176

  17. #17
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    My 10 year old is on the hot rock 24" bike (I think, from 2 years ago) and probably about ready for the upgrade. The two things I don't like about her eras bike was the mechanical disc brake, and the small knobs on the fat tires. The thing is also very heavy

    I'm thinking of upgrading the brakes and tires and giving that to my 7 year old (he's on a scott 20" bike with canti brakes and it's holding him back) and looking for a 26" bike for her.
    www.dpsskis.com
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    formerly an ambassador for a few others, but the ski industry is... interesting.
    Fukt: a very small amount of snow.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by muted reborn View Post
    We picked the trek 24" Roscoe, the 24" riprock is probably lighter but Roscoe was $80 cheaper even when the Rirock was on sale. Fatter tires on the Roscoe also swayed me.
    Nice! Looks like a nice ride. Did you go with the sweet powder blue? My kid chose all flat black instead of the nice olive green.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bio-smear View Post
    I'm trying to hold back my natural tendency to overequip my kids. My 7.5 year old is ready to graduate from the 16" BMX bike (Spawn Yoji 16) to something more MTB oriented.


    Then I come to my senses and think "this is fucking retarded, stop projecting." Ok, let's yard this in and look for something more reasonable. The Spawns were expensive for little kid's bikes but I've been very happy with them quality-wise.
    t.
    a buddy found a used spawn for his kid and from what i seen the kid really likes riding it and just rides better and farther yeah it was a lot of $$$ but i think it might be worth it
    Lee Lau - xxx-er is the laziest Asian canuck I know

  20. #20
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    Apr 2009
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    Just went down this road a couple of weeks ago. The boy was on a Giant STP with 20 inch wheels, we had picked it up used for somewhere around $200. If I could go back I'd have skipped the 20 inch, and went right to the 24. It just felt like he outgrew the 20 in a year or so.

    Here's what we were looking at.

    https://us.yt-industries.com/products/bikes/jeffsy-primus/


    https://konaworld.com/honzo_24.cfm


    https://bikes.com/products/growler-jr24-22

    We ended up on the Fezzari Lone Peak. As much as I fucking hate that brand, I couldn't beat the parts spec.

    https://fezzari.com/collections/moun...ducts/lonepeak



  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touring_Sedan View Post
    Holy shit, currently on sale for $1599. That's a screaming deal.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    Holy shit, currently on sale for $1599. That's a screaming deal.
    It was down to $1K about a month ago.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Touring_Sedan View Post
    It was down to $1K about a month ago.
    For a complete? Wow, I wonder what was driving that, they had to be taking a huge loss at that price.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    For a complete? Wow, I wonder what was driving that, they had to be taking a huge loss at that price.
    Complete. I was pissed I couldn't pull the trigger, but we were trying to buy a car at the time.

  25. #25
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    Nov 2008
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    Maine
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    I scored a Transition Ripcord 24 last year for the kiddo for $750…screaming deal. Perfect all around bike for trail rides as well as light duty bike park laps. He was initially a little short to straddle it so I threw on a 20” rear wheel and he rocked the “baby mullet” all year. Finally put the big wheel back on.

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