Mountain Bike Reviews Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
pronounced may-duh
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I need to replace the shift and brake levers on my son's bike. It's a Specialized hot rock 3x7 speed with v-brakes. The original brake levers are small for kids hands and the shifters are low end shimano grip shifters. They are totally smashed from many crashes and need to be replaced.

I'm thinking trigger shifters may be easier to operate. There are some atlas or alivio level 7 speed combo brake/shift sets that look good. It needs to be durable and easy to use with small hands. What do you think?
 

·
turtles make me hot
Joined
·
11,597 Posts
I recently replaced the crappy no name V brakes and levers on my son's Gary Fisher Precaliber with XT brakes and Avid levers. The levers are reach adjustable, so I was able to tailor them to his hands. I'm also in the process of converting his twist shift 6 speed setup into 8 speed trigger. I used an XT shifter, derailler and hub I had in my parts bin.
 

·
pronounced may-duh
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
NYrr496 said:
I recently replaced the crappy no name V brakes and levers on my son's Gary Fisher Precaliber with XT brakes and Avid levers. The levers are reach adjustable, so I was able to tailor them to his hands. I'm also in the process of converting his twist shift 6 speed setup into 8 speed trigger. I used an XT shifter, derailler and hub I had in my parts bin.
How old is your son? And does he have any problems working the triggers? How would you compare a kids ability with the triggers VS twist shifters.

My oldest son had no major issues with the twist shifters other than a small problem with the longer twist it takes to up shift the front derailleur. He has since graduated to a bigger bike (26" wheels) with triggers. His younger brother has all sorts of issues with the twist shifters. He tends to twist them by accident when he's gripping the bars to steer or get extra leverage on the climbs. He only seems to rotate them in one direction. So after any time riding he's in the smallest cog on the front and rear.
 

·
turtles make me hot
Joined
·
11,597 Posts
Honestly, this is happening now. It was a winter project. I had him operate the shifter back and forth without a chain on the bike so he'd understand how it works. I happened to have an XT shifter with a gear indicator on it, so he likes that he can see what gear he's in. He hasn't ridden the bike like this yet, but I think he gets it. We'll see in a week or so. BTW, he's six. He got the bike for Christmas when he was 5 and started riding it the following March. It took a while, but now he shifts to suit the conditions. This bike only has a single chainring up front. No point in confusing him.

For the record, he's ridden the bike with the XT brakes and Avid levers. It completely changed his braking abilities.

My stepson, who's 20 (!!) rides like your younger one. Small ring up front and small cog. No idea why he does that.
 

·
Hi.
Joined
·
3,865 Posts
NYrr496 said:
My stepson, who's 20 (!!) rides like your younger one. Small ring up front and small cog. No idea why he does that.
Tell him that he's wearing out the gears prematurely by crossing up the drivetrain, and he'll have to pay for the replacement. Maybe then he'll realize he should figure out how to ride properly :D

Maida, the only problem I've seen with kids and trigger-style shifters is that they sometimes don't have the thumb strength or reach to shift properly. Make sure your kid can shift on those style of shifters before installing them.
 

·
turtles make me hot
Joined
·
11,597 Posts
jtmartino said:
Tell him that he's wearing out the gears prematurely by crossing up the drivetrain, and he'll have to pay for the replacement. Maybe then he'll realize he should figure out how to ride properly :D

Maida, the only problem I've seen with kids and trigger-style shifters is that they sometimes don't have the thumb strength or reach to shift properly. Make sure your kid can shift on those style of shifters before installing them.
My wife and I have been together for ten years. EVERYTHING I tell my stepson goes in one ear and out the other. It's too bad, because I used to own a diesel generator repair shop and try to teach him basic man skills like wrenching and BASIC electricity. The fact that he can't figure out bicycle gearing is just one more thing I've wasted my breath on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,602 Posts
Maida7 said:
I need to replace the shift and brake levers on my son's bike. It's a Specialized hot rock 3x7 speed with v-brakes. The original brake levers are small for kids hands and the shifters are low end shimano grip shifters. They are totally smashed from many crashes and need to be replaced.

I'm thinking trigger shifters may be easier to operate. There are some atlas or alivio level 7 speed combo brake/shift sets that look good. It needs to be durable and easy to use with small hands. What do you think?
The best thing you can do for easy shifting with trigger shifting is switch the rear derailler to a low normal style ( spring tension is reversed). We ride alot of technical tight up & down terrain, on some hills my son wouldn't make the next climb because the thumb pressure was to high & to slow to shift & he would be caught in to high a gear.With a low normal he can dump a bunch of shifts/gears with the finger shifter & without pedaling say coming down a steep hill right into a climb, as soon as the cranks make about 1/2 a revolution it will go the selected gear instanly.This made a major difference in his riding & it was the difference between making a climb or not.
 

·
Toadfather
Joined
·
115 Posts
I built a 20" wheel bike for my 7 year old daughter. It uses Avid SD7 brakes/levers which are very smooth, adjustable and cheap. I also changed it around to be a 1x9 instead of 2x7 and used a sram X7 short cage deraileur with an X9 shifter. It all works so smooth and easy that my daughter loves it. Trouble is, so does my 4 year old son ... he won't get off of it and now I need to build him one like it. Yes he shifts through the gears and uses both brakes...even with his small hands.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
I am going to replace the standard brakes and shifters on the Hot Rock 20 by Avid Speed Dial SL grips and Avid Single Digit 7 V-brakes.

My son seems quite pleased with the grip shifter and I prefer grip shifters myself too. I haven't heard him about accidentally changing gears.

Kind regards,

Clemens
 

·
turtles make me hot
Joined
·
11,597 Posts
Ok. My six year old rode his bike Saturday for the first time with the new 1 X 8 XT setup. He loves the trigger shifting. Shifting out to the smaller cogs with his index finger was lots of fun, so he did that a lot. Bringing it back up to the larger cogs with his thumb did prove difficult at first, then I realized he was trying to shift without pedaling. Once we got that covered, he did better. It'll get easier as he gets bigger.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
165 Posts
I finally received the stuff I ordered today. I immediately took half a day off to install everything: bottom bracket, pedals, Odi Rogue grips, Schwalbe Mow Joe tires and of course the Avid Speed Dial grips and Single Digit V-brakes. I adjusted the reach to the same as it was on the old grips (Tektro).

Since I forgot to order new brake cables, I had to make a quick stop at the LBS and I had the bike ready just in time for his MTB lesson this afternoon.

My son was very surprised since he didn't know the parts had arrived. I brought some tools to be able to make adjustments on site but everything was just perfect.

He is very happy with the new braking performance and explained that with these bikes, you can actually dose the braking power!

An added bonus is that the tires seem to have a much lower rolling resistance and have nice knobs for good grip too.

The next project will probably be converting the 6 speed shifter to something more modern.

Kind regards,

Clemens
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
413 Posts
So converting from grip shifters to levers isn't a big deal? Can the same derailers be used?My daughter accidently twists the shifters often just riding around the neighborhood. Can't imagine what she'll do on the trail.
I'm also trying to figure out what to replace the crank assembly with, The plastic pant leg gaurd broke off, and I want to remove the big ring and replace with a bashgaurd. Alas, the chaing rings are rivited, I drille out the rivits and removed the big ring, because it looked liek the 4 hole pattern was the same as mine. I tried installing my bashgaurd, but the hole pattern is just a tad bigger.
I wouldn't mind finding a cheap bolted together crank assembly, but am not sure if 170 or 175mm crank arms would be too much for her bike and legs.
 

·
pronounced may-duh
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Upgrading shifters should be fairly easy. Make sure they are compatible with your rear derailleur and cassette / freewheel. 8-speed goes with 8-speed. 7 with 7, etc... Some of the sram stuff is1:1 ratio for the rear derailleur. Shimano and everything else is 2:1 ratio

You may need new cables and grips.

The crank will depend on the bottom bracket. A decent kids bike will have a square taper BB. I'd stick with the length that came with the bike. 165 or 170 are popular for smaller kids bikes. Here is a workable crankset and BB for 36.00 Unless you go used, you will have a hard time finding any less expensive then that.
 

·
turtles make me hot
Joined
·
11,597 Posts
I bought a used set of Sinz cranks off E bay. I think I got em for 30 bucks. Like brand new. 110 mm bolt circle, so chainrings and bash guards are easy to come by. I used a 34 tooth. I think that was as small as I could go. I think they're 155mm long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
91 Posts
I swapped the cheapo tecktros on my daughters hotrock for Magura hs33. The reach is easily adjstable. the levers fit a childs hand well. The brakes also work great,
pretty easy to find on Ebay
 

·
turtles make me hot
Joined
·
11,597 Posts
All my work paid off. My son climbed two sandy hills he was never able to climb before. We were both so happy, we high fived at the top of the second hill.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Top