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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 9yro is getting closer to making the jump in size. I'm guessing by next year he'll be close. Tested some a bit lately in the neighborhood and was still too small but getting there. Figured I'd start my search sooner than later and start building a list.

Ideally I'd like something with 150mm-ish of travel in the rear, around 400mm of reach and chainstays 430mm or shorter (ideally 425mm max but hard to find those).

Seems like the last generation Rocky Mtn Altitude was pretty close, but hard to find one anymore. Also the XS has pretty short [email protected] (in the 65d HTA configuration) but the Small is a bit long (might be fine) but the TTL and STL are getting too long.

Transition Scout is an option...wish it had shorter stays and a bit less reach I think but probably just getting into the margins there and it'd work. I know a couple kids shredding the hell out of those. I like the brand and they have a lot of ties to the area. Bergemann is super rad and her parents help out in the MTB scene a lot around town.

Anything else that comes to mind?
 

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Custom frame from Marino?

I've been tempted to try them out for a number of odd projects (36er / aggressive 29+ / kids size XXXS 29er), but haven't pulled the trigger yet.

There's a FB group that I follow and their work looks pretty impressive:
 

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My kid is a few years out from an adult-component-size bike. A few years ago, however, I recall they were blowing out oddball sizes of the Instigator 2.0 frame, and I've been thinking of hunting down someone who bought one XS and has been hoarding it. I could do him a build with my Timberjack parts and justify a new bike, maybe. Some of them came with the 26+ rims but they do 27.5 just fine
 

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These all seem like crazy expensive bikes for a kid, but that's just me.

Kids really don't give a toss about 'correct' geo or bike use-case even, the local ratbags thrash 10 year old dad sized bikes with wreckless abandon way better than any over 30 joey or covid kook running the most optimised and bestest geo.

Anyway, with that out the way I'd suggest the polygon T8. Cheap, small wheeled, shortish reach, done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 · (Edited)
@fuzz_muffin Do you have kids going big and useful experience? I'm just trying to get a proper fit so its easier to progress and build his base of skills and minimize the number of crashes. I can get hookups on bikes and components and have a line on a Sight Youth that's used. There are ways to minimize the cost, especially with kids bikes reselling really really well. I've got 2 kids and we ride a lot, its cheaper than other sports. Love, love that T8, too long for the little guy tho.

On any given Wed stuff like this is part of their 12m lap, its a good 25ft to the sweet spot of that landing in pic below (not him doing the superman but his coach). The next jump in the line is 40ft+ but he's not there. Plenty of other fun stuff in-between natural and wood and climbs too. When you're a little 70lb 3rd grader, you damn well be able to maneuver the bike in the air...wind can be gnarly. Dad's old beater bike isn't going to cut it. We sure as hell don't want a giant sled of a bike either, in our experience that just leads to kids with limited skillsets. I think one of the reasons my son was able to progress quickly (a smaller part) is because we've tried to get a proper fitted bike that isn't too big. That's helped him build a significantly wide skill base, not just bump down the trail on a big bike with big wheels...we ain't in to that. Maybe I'm wrong, were still figuring it out....but the cheap, big bike crowd isn't exactly riding what he's riding...



 

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Easy bud, I didn't mean this to be a 'my kid is way cooler then your kid', thing.
Seems like your little 'un has a very very good life, what a lucky lad. Good for him.

No I don't have kids. The local DJ spot I dig at has heaps of the annoying things anyway, yes they SEND on beater 'wrong-sized' bikes all day, XC-29ers through to dads DH bike from 2010, it really doesn't seem to phase them. Same goes for big hits on DH flow tracks, yes I've seem groms shred them on 'wrong' bikes as well. 30ft+ sender gaps on a 29er Giant trance from who-knows-when and a stem longer than the travel? no problem. But I'd still agree with you that small folks would always be better on bikes that actually fit them, no arguments.

Either way, I suggested a small polygon T8 with 27.5 wheels if you want to buy new. I rode one everywhere in medium as a stop-gap bike when my big bike was stolen, DH to DJ to XC, it did it all and loved it. The biggest issue for your kid is long reach which the industry is obsessed with. It's actually become a massive hindrance to a lot of shorter folk like the missus who cannot find a new bike with her preferred reach (long legs short torso).

Another choice could be something with low standover and small wheels from ~5 years ago that you could fix up with an angleset from Works. Why not an old 26 DH bike with some gearing mods?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
My kids a solid rider but far from the best around here, but its moreso just that the kids scene in general is pretty damn wild today, good to support them as many are riding as hard or harder than most adults and certainly benefit from proper suspension/bike geo. Nevertheless hard to find a nice 26" anymore in my searches and are pretty clapped out. Not sure an older DH bike would work well. Commencal Jr has solid geometry...but its like 34-35lbs and not cheap. He rides the Clash 24" today and its a sick ride but yeah hoping to keep the weight manageable. Its hard to find decent fitting stuff when buying an adult bike for a kid. Agreed on the reach...tho I don't have a ton of experience with long bikes. I'm trying to keep the reach, TTL, STL and chainstays manageable if possible.

@rton20s that Esker is an interesting bike! Those builds are on the cheaper side too. An angle set would slack it out and that Orion suspension is really cool
 

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Apologies if I came across as combative, I'm probably just jealous that my childhood was way less fun.

Another suggestion: 2nd hand Julianas?
They usually come with a 'girls bike' discount and there are more smaller sizes due to female height distributions in the population.
Also they were always in better colours relative to the Santa models and usually had an extra XS frame size.
 

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We went with a Pivot Mach 6 XS. It has been great. We bought 2nd hand off Pinkbike. We looked at the Norco Youth. We rode one in person. The Pivot was more expensive but about 9 lbs lighter and better components by a ways. We will just buy new frames (as they are available) and move most of the parts over for the larger bikes as he grows.
 

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My 9yo little heathen is on a XS Mach 6. We looked at the Commencal and the Rocky. But couldn't find one. The only challenge we have had with the Mach 6 is getting the seat post (100mm Fox transfer) down far enough. It's only ~145mm from the clamp to where the suspension obstructs the seat post tube. If I could spin the mechanism around on the seat post it would buy 20-25mm
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
9lbs lighter!!!?? Damn...that's sweet. How heavy is yours?? What's making it so light?

they revamped the Mach 6 recently and now it's pretty long. A viable option but longer and hella expensive. I'm guessing you guys are on the lastGen options
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I know you mentioned the RM Altitude above, so you have probably looked at the 2022 RM Instinct too, but thought I would mention it. It is 150/140 with 408mm reach in XS 27.5 set in Ride9 position 1 (slack). Good luck in your search!
ha, I forget about that one. oddly I ride a 2018 Instint in that 140/150 setup. I'll check it out.
 

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We had a difficult time finding the Norco actual weight. The bike shop owner said 34.It's the 2018 XO1. It wasn't cheap. Haha. Sweet bike tho. We decided to go with a bike with nice components so we could use what transfers and then just change out the frame as he grows.
 

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My son outgrew his Islabike Creig 24 late last summer when he was 9. Not much was available at the time in kids specific bikes except Trailcraft. I ended up getting him an XS Salsa Timberjack and then I made a few changes. He's 10 in this picture and will be 11 in October. The Timberjack is a 27.5+, so I addressed the heavy tires by changing to Schwalbe Rocket Ron 2.6 setup as tubeless. These tires saved some weight and are very supple; can't recall how much weight was saved but is was significant. I also installed a Trailcraft 152mm direct mount crankset. The length is more appropriate and shaved some more weight. We found some thinner, softer grips, and slammed the stem. The bike was a touch to big last year but he's confident riding it this year.

1946622


My investment:
Timberjack: $1600
Rocket Ron Tires: $150
Trailcraft Crankset: $85
Grips: Had them in the toolbox
Total: $1835
That is a lot of dough for a kid's bike, but.....the resale on these small bikes is pretty good. I recovered 60% on the Islabike when I sold it. I'd be closer to $3000 had I bought a Trailcraft, although it might be a few pounds lighter. He's plenty strong and the Salsa has some room for him to grow. The spec is decent: 130mm air fork, dropper post, Shimano SLX drivetrain.
 
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