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My son is about to turn 10 and is rapidly outgrowing his 24in bike and will need a bigger bike soon. Should I get him an 26 “youth” bike or an XS or S 27.5 “adult“ bike. one of the bikes I was looking at is the vitus nucleus 26.
 

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I'm in a similar position (see my post above yours). I kept my daughter on the 24 longer even though she was getting a little big for it. That way we could skip the 26 and go straight to 27.5. I'm not sure how tall your son is, but if I went 26 I'd probably have to get her a bigger bike within a year. I'm hoping the 27.5 I'm looking at now will last a few years at least. One of the benefits to keeping her on the smaller bike was her confidence increased a lot and she felt comfortable trying harder stuff.
 

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My son is about to turn 10 and is rapidly outgrowing his 24in bike and will need a bigger bike soon. Should I get him an 26 "youth" bike or an XS or S 27.5 "adult" bike. one of the bikes I was looking at is the vitus nucleus 26.
There are quite a few lengthy discussions on this is previous threads that were beneficial to me. We were in the same boat. Ultimately there are numerous factors other than size of the bike and kid. There are some of the top riders in the country that stayed on 24"s for longer than the bike makers "recommended." Jumping was much more difficult on the bigger bike. There are arguments to HT's make the kid have to choose the best line and thus learn how to be a better rider. A lot of truth to that. There is the money factor. Buying a FS 27.5 entry level bike and the bike can be 33 lbs pretty easily. That's crazy heavy for a kid.

1. How strong of a rider is your son?
2. What will he be riding?
3. What do you need or want the bike to do?

My son went from a Spawn YJ HT 24" to a Pivot Mach 6 27.5 XS rt when he turned 10. He is 10 now. Those are totally different bikes. He races Enduro and hits some pretty big stuff (15' drops etc) he couldn't hit on his 24" HT. The downs are faster. The ups are easier and the big stuff is more forgiving. It took him a few months to clear some of the bigger jumps on his bigger bike that he was clearing on his 24" YJ. The 24" was like a DJ downhill.

He does have a BMX bike for pump tracks and racing and a DJ for a place we have here called the Railyard (check it out its amazing!) That is where he practices his jumping. He tried his 27.5" bike at the Railyard for like 2 mins and then ditched it. Long answer is don't rush it unless he is needing the bike to do something it currently won't.
 

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Just went through this with my almost 11 y.o daughter. Her Woom Off 5 was just barely still fitting, but she was really ready for something with a bit more downhill oriented geometry. Also, little sis was ready to move up from her 20".

Was looking new and used, 26 and 27.5. Ended up going used as I found a used small Canfield Yelli Screamy - dropped top tube, 29er but set up with 27.5, modern geometry, and easily upgradable down the road. Also, tipped the scales at 26.5 (woom was 19). Was the right choice. She can handle it fine although taking time to get used to so much bike on the front end. only time she complains is at the pump track, wanted the smaller lighter woom.
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There's a LOAD of 26er frames out there. It's all we used to ride. With a little bit of time you can find some really nice frames for not a lot. My daughter is on an old steel Kona and I have the next size up Rock Lobster frame to swap the components over to when needed. I paid $50 for the Kona frame and some sus forks.
 

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Our plan is to keep my kid (oldest) on the 24" and then jump to a light-ish 27.5 directly. Most likely with some carbon wheels, something from WAO perhaps with their lifetime free crash replacement warranty...its an investment but that's a sweet warranty from a sweet company. I've been told that if you can go to 27.5 with light wheels that it negates much of the need for 26". We'll see.

My son is like 4'9" and has tried out a few of the Junior/XS 27.5 bikes from groms in the neighborhood. XS Carbon Transition Scout, Giant Stance XS, Norco Sight Junior. He immediately was still too small for them and really didn't like it. I spoke with Harry Schofield's parents online one day and they said Harry didn't move to the 26" Primus until he was 4'11"-ish despite having the bike in the garage for a year.

My backup plan is to just get the 27.5 at some point and then worst case...get some 26" wheels built up if its a big problem. I'm guessing it wont be.
 

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Older kid chose a Small 29x2.6 over an Xs B+ when she was 10. 4'8". She's now 5' and still likes the Sm. Probably even a couple years yet before a medium.

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Her little sister just hit 4'9" and is requesting a jump from her Xs (14") B+/26+ mullet to a small (16") 29er. She started on the Xs at 4'5". Here she is at 54" on her mullet. 125mm dropper.

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Here's a 12" frame 29x2.25. No dropper.

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They can ride without droppers. Just wears em down quicker. And some of the techier bits of our ride they wouldn't want to do.

Neither kid will ride draggy tires. And they don't like too much chunk or tech. Luckily we have a decent network of buff trails. Even luckier one trail is a black. And while I'm sure it would be blue up on the Shore, or whatever, it is tricky enough the girls have gotten a taste of tech. And we do it often enough they can handle a bit of chunk when we go exploring in the mountains. But even into the unknown, they'd rather take fast rollers and sacrifice traction than push overly gripped tires.
 

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I had this same debate about a month ago. My son is 9 and wanted to try a mtn bike. He was coming from a 24 inch bmx. We went to the bike shop to get fitted and to see the options. The bike shop recommended a 27.5 in an xs size(trek Marlin). He took a ride on a couple of them... Small, XS, etc. He liked the fit of the XS. So, after thinking about it and hearing him ask to go mtn biking several times... we decided to buy the 27.5 as an early birthday gift. We have now been to the trails 4 times and he cant get enough of it. As for weight, it doesnt bother him one bit and he hasnt said anything about how heavy the bike is.

At this point, I feel like I made the right decision. I am trying to let him have fun and just enjoy the experience. Each trip, I give him helpful tips, but I dont hound him or give information overload. As we ride more and he gets more serious, it will be obvious when I need to start giving more info.
 

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I just bought my 11 yr old a size small Rocky Mountain Instinct 29". We debated between the 27.5" XS and 29" Small for a while. I finally pulled out the tape measure and found that the Small was only 5mm longer reach than his 26" Spawn Yama Jama while the XS was 30mm LESS reach than the Yama Jama. After a day on the. XC trails and a day at the bike park, we made the correct choice. I do need to grab a set of 165 cranks for it though. Stupid manufacturers putting 170s on XS and S bikes....

My youngest will be jumping straight from a 24" bike to an XS 27.5 with that new knowledge.

If you ride rocky, rooty trails a lot or ride downhill bike parks with your kids a lot, I found that the smaller wheels get tripped up on the dark blue and black trails MUCH easier than a 27.5 or 29" wheels does. Just my experience.
 

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One thing I would say about putting kids on XS and S adult bikes is that those bikes have adult sized components, bars, brake levers, cranks etc... A kids specific MTB has everything sized for kids, narrower bars, shorter cranks, smaller saddle, kids specific brake levers etc...

Also the kids bikes tend to have suspension that has been tuned for lighter riders.

Given that the residuals on a good quality kids bike are so high I can't see any reason to jump them to a small adult bike, I guess the only caveat to this is availability at the moment.
 

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One thing I would say about putting kids on XS and S adult bikes is that those bikes have adult sized components, bars, brake levers, cranks etc... A kids specific MTB has everything sized for kids, narrower bars, shorter cranks, smaller saddle, kids specific brake levers etc...

Also the kids bikes tend to have suspension that has been tuned for lighter riders.

Given that the residuals on a good quality kids bike are so high I can't see any reason to jump them to a small adult bike, I guess the only caveat to this is availability at the moment.
While that may be the case on some bikes, bars are easy to cut down and I have found that even with the "kids specific" brake levers used on the Spawn and Trailcraft bikes, the 2 finger SLX style levers are easier for them to use. I swapped the kid size Textros on my kid's 26" Spawn to SLX and he noticed an immediate significant difference in ease of use. Suspension may be tuned lighter on some, but a lot of the 26" bikes are coming with normal forks anyway. Even the high end stuff.

Cranks are a definite minus. But you can swap that out for about $150.

I think (and my plan for kid #2) that you can keep them on a 24" for an extra year and then make the jump to XS 27.5. Looking back, that's what I should have done with kid #1. Where I lived in the country at that time, I had to mail order so didn't have that opportunity to ride test. I think that's a real issue for almost all of us, frankly.
 
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