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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got my son his first MTB... He has been riding for a few years on BMX's on tarmac, but since I built my first proper bike in 10 years a couple of months ago & have started riding trails, he has been asking to come, but his BMX complete with pegs & skate park spec tyres would be torture & I didn't want to put him off :) So I found this one on Gumtree for $130...this is on his test ride & he loved it...
08 Model 24" Apollo Panther... 6061 Ally frame... Barely used & most of it seems to have been on tarmac...only downsides are perished seals on the top of the shocks (doesn't seem to be affecting the operation) and the derailleurs & rear cassette are only Tourney... But if he takes to it both the forks & the groupset are easy enough to upgrade... Especially as it has a standard 1 1/8 threadless steerer :) It is also noticeably lighter than mine and way lighter than his steel frame freestyle BMX...

Last night was the first night with it at home and the tweaking has already started :pReflectors removed & Orion 620mm ally bars & Avid brake levers left over from my build... In place of the steel bars & Promax levers...
We are taking it offroad for the first time when I go to pick him up from school tomorrow (the kids school is in the middle of a state park :) ) Really looking forward to being able to share this with him :)
 

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Good job getting him out there, but no offense, he looks too big for that bike!
I think he needs a small 26" bike.
My 11 year old daughter is on a 24" bike, but she needs a 26" also. She just doesn't wantto give up the bike she's used to.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
No offence taken :) I looked at a small 26, but it felt too big to him after his 20"...the pictures also seem to make it look smaller... Sounds strange I know, but after watching him on the bike it looks right... then looking @ the photos it looks small... He is standing on tiptoes when he is on the seat.
 

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Yeah!
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I agree, bike's too small. We are always hesitant to move kids to 26", the bikes just look too big, and they look unstable when piddling around a parking lot trying them out. Quite quicly they get used to the longer wheelbase, and that longer wheelbase provides more stability at the faster speeds they are attempting to ride. You might look at them on a small 26" and feel they are having to reach for the handlebars. The reality is they are in a more stable top-forward position that puts weight over the front wheel, providing better balance and traction. They've opened up their chest for better breathing, and the are going to be more willing to let you set proper pedal distance, as they feel more secure on their bike.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
But at the same time, if you push them into a bike that they don't feel comfortable with, it will be a challenge to get them to ride it (Have had this in the past) ... He is used to riding his BMX with the seat all the way down & being able to flat foot the ground from the seat, it is a big step to go from that straight to a 26... I guess I see this as a transition to keep him within his comfort zone while getting used to riding off the tarmac... One thing at a time :) If he keeps it up & I see a good priced XS 26 frame pop up on Gumtree, I will grab it & go from there...
 

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I agree, bike's too small. We are always hesitant to move kids to 26", the bikes just look too big, and they look unstable when piddling around a parking lot trying them out. Quite quicly they get used to the longer wheelbase, and that longer wheelbase provides more stability at the faster speeds they are attempting to ride. You might look at them on a small 26" and feel they are having to reach for the handlebars. The reality is they are in a more stable top-forward position that puts weight over the front wheel, providing better balance and traction. They've opened up their chest for better breathing, and the are going to be more willing to let you set proper pedal distance, as they feel more secure on their bike.
FWIW, this is good advice if your kids' riding tastes lean towards XC racing, but for most kids, smaller bikes help them to develop much better bike handling skills. My son also has a strong BMX background, and though he has a very nice 26" bike (carbon Ibis Mojo SL), he hates the way he's got no room to move around on it and says he feels like it makes him ride 'like an old man' and much prefers his 24" Big Hit Grom. Even though it weighs close to twice as much, he actually rides a lot better on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
FWIW, this is good advice if your kids' riding tastes lean towards XC racing, but for most kids, smaller bikes help them to develop much better bike handling skills. My son also has a strong BMX background, and though he has a very nice 26" bike (carbon Ibis Mojo SL), he hates the way he's got no room to move around on it and says he feels like it makes him ride 'like an old man' and much prefers his 24" Big Hit Grom. Even though it weighs close to twice as much, he actually rides a lot better on it.
I tend to agree, it seems almost like the 26 vs 29er debate on adult bikes...

Also, I persuaded him to let me lift his saddle... Big improvement in fit, just took a few rides to get used to the bike before he would let me :)


The saddle is a good 60mm higher than before and after being a bit shaky the first couple of times & learning how to mount & dismount properly he is loving it :)

Also, new saddle & grips... WTB Rocket V & Pro Silicone Foam Grips (Cut down to fit)...


 

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My boys didn't get a chance as I tossed the QR seatpost clamps for regular clamps. I initially set their "comfortable" height, then raised the seat 1/4 inch every day until they were at the correct height. They learned how to safely dismount without ever knowing what was going on. By the next trail ride they had two weeks riding the neighborhood at proper saddle height and position. They rode much faster and longer than on the smaller bikes, no issues of instability or confidence. The smaller wheels and shorter wheelbase of the old bikes provided a harsher ride that they no longer had to fight.

As for the 26vs29 debate... not really as much of a debate as some might have us believe... 29" tires have a longer contact patch and lower strike angle... physics dictates they are going to roll smoother and lose less energy than a smaller tire. 29'er frames tend to have longer wheelbases, again, less loss of momentum. The wheels are heavier and less maneuverable, thanks physics.

The only true debate is whether you want a faster or more maneuvarable ride, and how much that varies between the three wheel sizes (Did I just hear someone say "FLAME ON!"?).
 

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ilmfat
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Teaching my 3 year old on her 16" (spawn banshee) was a lot harder than teaching my (then) 4 year old on a 12" bike (which I realized was too small for her as soon as she was on it).

If I had known about spawn at the time, Ida put her on the banshee, and she'd still be Rollin 16" wheels. As it sits, she's now on a savage and loves it. Says lil sis's bike is "too small".

I definitely lean more towards XC, but want to try her on jumping tho. I don't think it'll take, as she is fairly timid.

Gonna start her on bmx racing and see if she likes it. (Btw, slaphead, found out its open track, so as soon as it's dry, ima take her up. I'll post a new thread w a ride report).

The kids def seem to be more confident on a smaller bike.

Not me, tho. 26" wheels feel super awkward now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey guys, it's 18 months on and he's still loving the bike... It's just undergone a 46er conversion, so I thought I'd put up a couple of pics :)







It's just running an old XCT V2 fork that I had lying around, but it is a step up from the one that was on there and let me put a front disc on... The combination of bigger front wheel, slacker head angle and better front brakes have been a big confidence boost on the downs and in the rough stuff :)

I'm going to keep an eye out for a better fork and am waiting for a 31.8 stem to arrive so I can fit my old 680mm bars on for him...
 
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