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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hiya. Just joined.

I've spent the last few weeks researching to buy my 11yo son a new bike. (He's had a Trek MTB since he was 8)

He wants to jump. He's a pretty good skater. So I think the thrill to push is strong. There's a nice BMX & Pump Track in Kensington, next to our local skatepark.

I don't know much about MTB's, but this is what I'm thinking:

Go for a dirt jumper. 90% of the time he'll use around home (Yarraville/Footscray). Parks. Skate Park. Pump tracks. (Been to Forrest a few times. And see my son & daughter (10yo) doing more bush MTB, but COVID, time, maybe it will be few and far between.

So if we do go bush, his dirt jumper will be cool for now. If we go regularly, then maybe he needs a 2nd MTB as well, that is if it's different tracks/trails.

So.. I'm looking at the Norco Rampage 2 via 99Bikes. It's $1150. After researching I didn't want a dirt jumper with coil forks, but air suspension will push the price to $1500 plus.

Marin San Quention 1 looks nice, and $1300, but with coil. Model up with air suspension is like $1600

Giant ST26 is $1500 with coil.

Commencal are $1700 with air.

So my conclusion is go; for the Norco Rampage 2 for $1150.
1. If the coils bung out down the track, replace with air
2. He's only 11, so will only be popping 50cm high or so for awhile, so can't imagine the coils won't be okay for awhile.
3. He also may not like the style and want a more XC/Enduro/Trail vibe, so why spend $1600 plus on a more expensive DJ?? (But I'm pretty confident Dirt Jumper is his vibe)

So.. I'm about to buy the Rampage 2 online, but wanted to run by someone. Maybe there's other bikes I haven't thought of? Maybe the Norco isn't good??

Anyhoo. What do you think?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Check out the Polygon Trid.

Thanks. This bike is $1700 in Australia. Unfortunately too much they do have a model down which is about $1400. So Polygon are good? Cheers
 

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Beyond being super fun on it's own a DJ will always (IMHO) be a great second bike. As long as your kid keeps riding having a DJ as a second, third, n+1 bike is awesome. With DJs the fork is a major component, since the rest of the bike is relatively simple. At 11 I think the coil will be fine for now. The tunability is just not there, but that will be more of a concern as he progresses. As long as the head tube is tapered you will have plenty of upgrade options.

For the Norco specifically, it looks like the Rampage 2 has a 9mm x 100 front hub and fork. That is a weak point for sure. If you do upgrade forks you will need to rebuild the front wheel around a 20x100 (or possibly 15x100) axle which is the standard. I would try to get a bike already running 20x100 up front. When it comes time to upgrade the fork it will be a simple swap.

Polygons seem like fine bikes. I have seen quite a few at the local pump tracks this year.

*EDIT: It seems I am old (well, I am old) and the new top-end DJ forks are all specced at 15x100 front axles so 20x100 may be moving to the fringes *
 

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IMO, as someone who spends a lot of time building/riding pump/jump stuff and who has raised a kid who rips on it as well as in skateparks, a BMX bike is a much better choice, as well as being a whole lot more affordable, and durable. MTB-based DJ bikes tend to overcomplicate (and overprice) things.
This in particular for an 11 y/o starting out.

If you're absolutely determined to by a bigger wheeled bike for whatever reason, and also IMO:
Those bikes cost more than you need to spend. DJ bikes are simple.
There's no need for suspension for park/pump riding. Personally, I find rigid works better.
Steel over aluminum, if possible.


 

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I would definitely get a BMX instead if he doesn't already have one. Not only are they cheap, bombproof and low maintenance, they are better in skateparks and on the street. For the price of a lame "dirt jumper" you can get an upper-range BMX bike, and do easy tailwhips.

There is really no benefit for front suspension on any groomed jumping track. It will only suck energy out of your pump and throw off your timing.
 

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There is really no benefit for front suspension on any groomed jumping track.
The doubles I was casing on the pump track Tuesday and my old man wrists say otherwise. A proper dirt jump fork should be run super stiff so power loss on the pump will be minimal, but it will exist.

That said, the use case here is an 11 year old not an old dude. Good points all on the BMX idea. If pedally trail riding is really not in the cards, or an edge case, then a BMX bike would definitely be cheaper, more durable, better suited for the skate park, and easier to handle for a smaller rider.

Heck, even if trail riding is something your son will want to do at some point a BMX now and a decent trail bike later will not be that much more expensive (well, depending on how deep into it he gets...), and that combo will be way better for each type of riding than a one bike solution focused on park/street/jumps primarily.
 

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If it has to be a DJ, the best by far is the Commencal Absolut 24". Its a near perfect DJ with a legit Manitou JUnit Circus kids air fork (a proper 24", not a 26") that's second to none. Its also freaky light with nice tires, bars, stem, geometry etc. Its the only complete DJ in a 24" that I'd buy. If your kid is 11, its likely just about the right size for it with room to grow. Unless your kid a monster in size, a 24" DJ will last him a long time...smaller wheels and a proper frame are actually really sick for adults too. A lot of people I know would snap at an adult 24" DJ, they are just better for skateparking stuff and tricks etc. For a kid, the 24" kids frame/wheels are a no brainer and its a way better value than everything else you listed for like 1150$. We have one and it's sweet for bigger, looser, not-smooth dirt jump lines where a BMX wouldn't be able to cut it.


That being said, it sounds like your primary riding for it definitely fits the bill for a BMX. There is no substitute for a BMX for a kid, especially a freestyle one. Nothing teaches a kid bike handle just by purely riding it like a BMX does. Also they are much much cheaper than a decent DJ, so you can save your money and dump the extra into a legit mountain bike. Giant makes a decent value XS 27.5 hardtail (don't get him a bike too big, its slows down skill development) in the Giant Fathom and their Crest fork is pretty dang nice, its leagues better than any value fork I've messed up. Beware tho, there have been some warranty issues with the new fork so I'm not sure what that status is.

BMX sizing will depend on how big your kid is. My 9yro son is like 4'10" and rides an 18" Fit Misfit. Its just about the perfect size for him at the moment for most stuff, tho its a bit hard for him to 360 it. If your kid is 5'+ or better...you might look for a smaller framed 20" wheeled bike. Something with no more than a 20" top-tube length. You want it to be small as they aren't meant to fit like a normal bike. A Cult Gateway 20" (20" wheel and 20" top tube) isn't bad but not a full Chromo frame if I recall. But its usually around 280$ and a decent option.

This is a super dope 20" top-tube bike from Fit (my fav BMX company). Its not cheap at 550$...he better be able to slay a bit if he gets that flashy gold :).
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Beyond being super fun on it's own a DJ will always (IMHO) be a great second bike. As long as your kid keeps riding having a DJ as a second, third, n+1 bike is awesome. With DJs the fork is a major component, since the rest of the bike is relatively simple. At 11 I think the coil will be fine for now. The tunability is just not there, but that will be more of a concern as he progresses. As long as the head tube is tapered you will have plenty of upgrade options.

For the Norco specifically, it looks like the Rampage 2 has a 9mm x 100 front hub and fork. That is a weak point for sure. If you do upgrade forks you will need to rebuild the front wheel around a 20x100 (or possibly 15x100) axle which is the standard. I would try to get a bike already running 20x100 up front. When it comes time to upgrade the fork it will be a simple swap.

Polygons seem like fine bikes. I have seen quite a few at the local pump tracks this year.

*EDIT: It seems I am old (well, I am old) and the new top-end DJ forks are all specced at 15x100 front axles so 20x100 may be moving to the fringes *
Hey thanks. Would never have picked up that. SO to clarify, the front hub, the bit in the centre of the wheel is 100mm wide and 9mm in diameter, so if I got new forks, and I looked at the Norco Rampage 1 (which it's more expensive and with air suspension) and it has a 100 x 15 hub. Might as well then get the model up in DJ then, I suppose
Cheers
 

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