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Trailcraft Timber 26 vs XS Chisel 29er

1957 Views 8 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  brentos
There are a few posts dancing around this but thought I'd solicit any feedback I haven't gotten or thought of yet.

4'7" 11 yr old 6th grader currently on a Cujo LTD 24+ looking for something to race NICA next fall.
Also have 5 year old twins, so we do pump track, bmx, easy trails all together.

Looking at an XS Specialized Chisel and a Trailcraft Timber 26.
Price is similar enough to be a wash (Chisel cheaper but needs smaller cranks for at least year 1)

My thoughts:
Trailcraft would fit better now/next year + better for jumps, pump track, lighter. Outgrow in 2 years.
Chisel yields a lot more rollover, probably lasts 3 years.

I've seen how much weight makes a difference. I've also seen some pics on here recently that show similar sized kids not drowning on a xs 29 and benefitting greatly from large wheels. (moving to 26", looking for xs 27.5 threads).

Timber 26
152mm crank
Reba 26 (100mm)
10 spd Deore

165mm crank (need a 160mm brood or 152mm trailcraft)
80mm Judy Silver
12 spd SX
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This is a great comparison, I didn't realize the geometry numbers would be so similar on the 29er. The major issue I see is stand over height but maybe that's not a concern for racing. It would be a concern for my kids for normal bike play (bike park, trail riding, pump track, neighborhood).

The minimum inseam for the Spawn is listed as 24" so I would assume to be the same or similar to the Trailcraft listing standover at 24". The Chisel is 29".
My son is about the same age and height. He's also approaching the limit of his Woom 24" bike.

If he really rides a lot, I would go for a better fit for the next two years (rather than selecting a too-large bike which will eventually fit him later)

He would be able to maneuver and control the Trailcraft better. If you don't want to go with the old standard of 26", maybe you can look for a XS 27.5" bike. Probably the rims will be wider, and tire selection will be better.
The problem is the 29er is going to have a longer wheelbase, longer chainstay length, MUCH taller front end, and taller standover height. So basic things kids will be learning are going to be much harder on a bike that is too big for them. As bikes get bigger, the wheels, tires, forks, frames, etc. all use more material, so naturally they will be heavier....unless you throw a lot of money at it.
My son was small for his age, but we went from a 24'' bike to a XS Felt FS 29er and he dealt with it just fine.
But I got lucky, it was an high end bike that a 65 year old women had bought, barely rode and decided to get an EBike, so I got it cheap $1200, which made the decision easier.
I swapped the spawn geo for his current ride, the cujo chainstays and wheelbase are odd when you look at it and the numbers are surprising. I put his 24+ bike next to my 26" dj and the tires are really not much bigger. It seems like the 26" is the better/safer option, but it's really not much different the what he is on I need to measure his inseam/current saddle height. Wish I could put him on one for 10 seconds...

Two Tone do you remember the height of your son when you switched?
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Unfortunately not, he's in college now, that was a long time ago. But he was on a 24 longer than most. As I said small for his age, didn't have his growth spurt until HS.
He rode the Felt until he was tall enough for a large frame, at that point I just handed down my bike and bought myself a new one.
Kep in mind it was a 2013 XC race bike, so the geo was much more conservative than what you're going to find today. So that may play into why it fit.

You could look for a used XC bike from that era and compare the numbers
In regards to the small kids and big wheels discussion, I feel that although bigger wheels roll faster, getting those bigger and heavier wheels started rolling is much harder and are too much work on the uphills. I'm seeing this with mine on 27.5 and his short cranks aren't helping. We're about to go from 140 to 155 cranks so it will be interesting to observe. He's been on 27.5 bikes with 165 cranks and commented on how much easier it is to climb. Those numbers for the Pineridge seem perfect, light and short chainstays sound like a much funner ride.
That age is tough. TLDR: I wouldn't recommend a 29er because of potential saddle and bar height issues. You could go that route and retrofit shorter cranks and 27.5" wheels though.

My son is going through the same phase. He's 11, and 4'8". The two things that seem to work against him when going to an XS/S adult bike are Handlebar Stack Height for encouraging a forward riding position, and Bottom Bracket height for getting on an off the bike. Short cranks enable a lower BB, and lower overall saddle height.

He's currently on the Trailcraft Timber 26, and it's awesome but not perfect. The bottom bracket is really low and the cranks are appropriately size. However, because of the low BB the stack height is fairly high. It's OK, but I wouldn't want it any higher. The bike is very light and he enjoys riding it, he's become increasingly brave on the downhills too, which is awesome. I do think he'll outgrow it a little bit before he reaches 5'0". That's still a 6mo to a year out, but I've started looking because I don't want to be caught with only expensive options when he gets there.

I firmly believe stack height will be the biggest challenge on his next bike, and going to a 29er would increase the stack height to the point where it would compromise his riding.

Options I've explored for his next bike (which will be a light full suspension bike):

  • XS/S 29er: Fit shorter cranks (higher seat height vs bars), and fit 27.5" wheels: But when he grows, longer cranks and 29" wheels could be fitted instead of needing a new bike. This was the most appealing option. It really had no downside apart from cost, I just couldn't build a light, high quality, bike for less than $3,500. I can send over all the marketplace/PB classifieds/ closeout frame list if you'd like.

  • Kids specific F/S 26 or 27.5" bike: There are a few Scott Spark 600's floating around for sale out there. But they were 29lb. Otherwise very appealing. There was even a carbon spark 700 for kids, but I couldn't find on, and even if I did I'm guessing the price would have been astronomical. The Trailcraft F/S was also appealing, but very expensive. Rocky makes some as well, but heavy...

  • Old school F/S 26", size small: Definitely the best option from a cost/performance ratio if you can find one that had more forward thinking geometry for its time. This is the route I chose and it boiled down to two options, a 120mm bike with shorter cranks/reduced stroke shock / reduced travel fork...make it a lower 100mm bike. OR a XC bike that had a slacker head angle and lower BB for its time. I ended up going with a 2011 Yeti ASR-C I found a deal on. It looks brand new and even has XTR 12 speed 1x drivetrain. It should be about the same weight as the trail craft, but be a bit bigger and F/S.
Also, if you're looking for shorter cranks. SRAM SX and Canfield cranks are both options.
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