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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello!

Looking for help picking a new bike for my 10 year old. He currently has a Specialized Riprock 24 and doesn’t love it. It’s the entry model. We ride up to 10 miles, very hilly California fire roads and now sometimes single track. He loves biking SO MUCH and says it’s his passion in life!

Increasingly he likes doing tricks, jumps, drop offs, aggressive fun riding.

He knows more about bikes than I do so... I’ll list his issues with the Riprock:

Front fork suspension barely works

Chain constantly pops off when landing jumps

Doesn’t like the plus tires

Shifting is not smooth, it’s glitchy

Questions:

Is it worth swapping things out to make the Riprock better for him?

Or should we sell it and get a new bike?

If we get a new bike, he says he wants rear suspension. Is there a real benefit to this, or will it just add weight? He’s about 65 lbs.

Bike recommendations from $500-1000?

Any recommendations for places to buy higher end used kid bikes in LA area?


Thank you! He’s getting me into the sport, and I’m trying to figure it out as I go! I’ve been a long distance trail runner for years, and I love being out there but the bike stuff is new to me :)
 

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I would be hesitant to get a 10 year old a new bike when the bike they have still fits them.
Suntour makes a 24 inch air fork with 80 millimeters of travel that could solve his front fork issues, and depending on which chainring the chain is dropping off of a chain guide for the front or a clutch derailleur for the rear could solve that and likely also his shifting problems.

If he doesn't like a plus tires put some narrower tires on.

All of that is definitely going to be well under $500.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I would be hesitant to get a 10 year old a new bike when the bike they have still fits them.
Suntour makes a 24 inch air fork with 80 millimeters of travel that could solve his front fork issues, and depending on which chainring the chain is dropping off of a chain guide for the front or a clutch derailleur for the rear could solve that and likely also his shifting problems.

If he doesn't like a plus tires put some narrower tires on.

All of that is definitely going to be well under $500.
Thanks for your reply. This was my first thought, get a couple of years out this bike with better components, then move to a 26" when he grows. He's really hoping for rear suspension too, but I don't know if that's a realistic option. He says at this point he mostly loves freestyle, but we do cover distance as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The bike looks like it fits good. Address his issues on that bike, he will be super happy. Upgrades are also a fun way to spend time together in the shop!
I love the idea of spending time working with him on this! I'm so happy to be able to ride together. I had built my own road bike back when I was a young lass, but that was with lots of help from proper mechanics.
 

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One of the kids in our local youth riding program was having chain drop issues as well, same bike. You can throw $500.00 at it to upgrade, or you can get him a lighter used bike possibly? Check Pinkbike.com classifieds, tons of stuff. The full suspension used 24" bikes seem like they are in the $1300+ range or so.
 

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I wouldn't upgrade that bike, even the geometry is awful. He could fit on a 26" bike it looks like. Sell it for 350$ and find an air fork hardtail. Vitus Nuclues 26" is really affordable option. Its not perfect but for the price it's great. He might fit an XS 27.5 too.

On the riding side. More Mom shuttles to avoid longer climbs is great. The kids usually get more miles, more jumps, more berms and more experience.
 

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Check out Pinkbike buy and sell kids bikes
https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/list/?category=4
The Diamondback Sync'r 24 in Carlsbad is a good deal but not full suspension. Seller knows what he's doing so good person to reach out to.
Transition Ripcord is a good 24" fully to watch for.
XS 26" wheel bikes are common but definitely ask for opinions before committing.

Looks like 24 is a good fit for his size and riding style but probably be ready for bigger soon. Bigger wheels roll faster but smaller is more maneuverable, since he likes freestyle he will probably want a smaller trick bike, maybe bmx, and then a fast trail bike. He's got the passion so multiple bikes is what happens.
 

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I wouldn't upgrade that bike, even the geometry is awful. He could fit on a 26" bike it looks like. Sell it for 350$ and find an air fork hardtail. Vitus Nuclues 26" is really affordable option. Its not perfect but for the price it's great. He might fit an XS 27.5 too.

On the riding side. More Mom shuttles to avoid longer climbs is great. The kids usually get more miles, more jumps, more berms and more experience.
I am with svinyard. You will spend at least $500 to upgrade a bike that has limits in its geo. And no one is going to buy a custom riprock for what you paid for it. My son is 8 and rides a 24" Spawn YJ. There are a few bikes like this that he will LOVE! You can get a really nice HT in that $1000 range. He has some friends who even ride 27.5" and can shred. He won't need a FS unless he is a REALLY good rider and riding on some gnarly stuff.

You can get a decent new 18" BMX for $350 and a used one $200. You could get a HT Vitus and a BMX bike for less than $1000. He will see his riding take off with some park/pump track time.
 

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I have a thread in this forum on upgrading the Riprock 24 if you search my threads. Short answer is no, it’s not worth it unless you have a good fork and wheels laying around.

At his age, id be looking for an xs-s (13-14.5”) 27.5” wheel bike. You can get a decently equipped hardtail or very cheaply appointed full suspension at 1,000

If you’re ever out towards Corona let me know and he can check out a XS 27.5 hardtail and a Commencal Jr. 27.5. From your picture he’s probably like the Commencal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
One of the kids in our local youth riding program was having chain drop issues as well, same bike. You can throw $500.00 at it to upgrade, or you can get him a lighter used bike possibly? Check Pinkbike.com classifieds, tons of stuff. The full suspension used 24" bikes seem like they are in the $1300+ range or so.
Interesting to know that someone else was having the same chain drop issues. I like the idea of a used bike, and selling this Riprock. Thanks for the link to Pinkbike, I hadn't heard of this before. It looks like a great resource!
 

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Interesting to know that someone else was having the same chain drop issues. I like the idea of a used bike, and selling this Riprock. Thanks for the link to Pinkbike, I hadn't heard of this before. It looks like a great resource!
To solve the chain drop, you can go with a narrow wide chainring style, new chain, and a derailleur with a tension spring on it which will retain the chain better. On those entry level Specialized bikes as I recall it is just a generic lower end derailluer with no spring tension built in.

In our group sad to say the kids on these bikes are the ones typically off the back, and it is primarily due to bike weight. They are like 29 pound bikes, with most of the weight in the wheels and fork. The plus wheels are nice for beginners and kids maybe new to riding, but if he is climbing and doing jumping - he will notch up a few levels with a better bike with more traditional tires and lower rotational weight. This better bike could be saved for the 26" later, replacing the drivetrain might be a nice step for now. Dropped chains are a buzz kill for sure. Buy the best bike you can afford, the more money you spend the lighter they get is the trend. Vitus as mentioned here makes some great bikes and a super nice performance to value.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I wouldn't upgrade that bike, even the geometry is awful. He could fit on a 26" bike it looks like. Sell it for 350$ and find an air fork hardtail. Vitus Nuclues 26" is really affordable option. Its not perfect but for the price it's great. He might fit an XS 27.5 too.

On the riding side. More Mom shuttles to avoid longer climbs is great. The kids usually get more miles, more jumps, more berms and more experience.
Thanks for the suggestions, I'm really considering the Vitus. One question, some of these bikes are not available in any LBS near me. Should I have him try a few 26" in the store from other brands just to see how that size fits, and then order and hope for the best?

He is doing a weeklong camp at Woodward and absolutely does not want to bring the Riprock, it's in 3 weeks 
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Check out Pinkbike buy and sell kids bikes
https://www.pinkbike.com/buysell/list/?category=4
The Diamondback Sync'r 24 in Carlsbad is a good deal but not full suspension. Seller knows what he's doing so good person to reach out to.
Transition Ripcord is a good 24" fully to watch for.
XS 26" wheel bikes are common but definitely ask for opinions before committing.

Looks like 24 is a good fit for his size and riding style but probably be ready for bigger soon. Bigger wheels roll faster but smaller is more maneuverable, since he likes freestyle he will probably want a smaller trick bike, maybe bmx, and then a fast trail bike. He's got the passion so multiple bikes is what happens.
Thank you for the link! And yes I'm beginning to see the multiple bike thing happening already. He also has a really basic Giant that was his first MB bike before the Riprock, a BMX a neighbor gave him (still a bit too long) a Haro, and this little toddler bike that he won't get rid of because he does wacky tricks on it! Then I've got two bikes, plus my husband and daughter's... it's starting to look a bit crazy in our garage :D

Much rather spend the time and $ on this stuff then on more screens, games and devices tho!
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I am with svinyard. You will spend at least $500 to upgrade a bike that has limits in its geo. And no one is going to buy a custom riprock for what you paid for it. My son is 8 and rides a 24" Spawn YJ. There are a few bikes like this that he will LOVE! You can get a really nice HT in that $1000 range. He has some friends who even ride 27.5" and can shred. He won't need a FS unless he is a REALLY good rider and riding on some gnarly stuff.

You can get a decent new 18" BMX for $350 and a used one $200. You could get a HT Vitus and a BMX bike for less than $1000. He will see his riding take off with some park/pump track time.
Spawn looks really interesting, I keep looking over their website. Glad to hear your son loves his YJ!

Thanks for your thoughts on suspension. I'm not sure why but I feel really hesitant to buy a FS right now. Sure some of that is the $, I just want to get him a high performing hard tail for now. That alone will seem like such a vast improvement for him, then we can consider FS further down the line.

A neighbor gave us a 20" BMX, but it's not the right fit. I know I can get a good deal on a 18" though, I'm sure he would love it. Brings back good memories of when I was in my twenties, we all rode around a lot, I had street bikes, even a sweet vintage Maserati cruiser, but a lot of my guy friends rode BMX. All hours of the night, riding through Boston...those were good times. I know it's a totally different type of biking, but the passion is the same- so stoked my kid loves biking!
 

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Don't throw money at the Riprock. Maybe tires, nothing else. Fork upgrade will be spendy. Absolute cheapest option will be a RST F1RST 24 which will cost you $200ish. Chain drops could be mostly fixed with a Microshift Advent group which is $125, but without replacing the cranks with something that will take a NW chainring drops will probably still happen. The current whacky shifting could probably be fixed pretty easily. Since you're a runner I assume you don't know how shifters/derailleurs work, but a $50 tune up at a bike shop should fix this, assuming the RD and/or hanger isn't bent.

If you are riding terrain that justifies it (from what I've seen on the internetz, most SoCal fire roads and singletrack counts), rear suspension has HUGE benefits. Not cheap, but resale tends to be good so your long-term net cost will be considerably less. Same goes for good hardtails. Nice kids bikes are money in the bank.
 
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