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Trek 720 on double black diamonds? With a kid on the front? Looking for a bike

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Trek 720 on double black diamonds? With a kid on the front? Looking for a bike

Old 07-31-20, 06:13 AM
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phogi
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Trek 720 on double black diamonds? With a kid on the front? Looking for a bike

Hi all,

I started riding again to spend time outdoors with my 3 year old. Bought a vintage Trek 720 for tooling around town and gravel trails. He rides on a shotgun seat between myself and the handlebars. I live in Chicago so Palos Hills eventually grabbed my attention. Took a wrong turn and ended up on some of the most difficult trails they had...and it was AWESOME!!!! I last rode technical trails 25 years ago and the core skills are all still there. Walked down the drops but otherwise had a great ride.

But he did complain that the trail was bumpy, so I thought I'd get a bike with some suspension. Thinking hard tail because I've never ridden a full-suspension bike (or even a bike with any suspension) and want to be conservative so that I don't make mistakes adapting to a new type of bike (kid being on the bike and all). I don't ride fast in general, and if I get back into racing it'll be some time down the road. Mainly, I'm looking to have fun, take my son on technical trails, and use a bike that will be a little safer than the one I've got.

I combed through the posts in this forum and found the following recommendations:
  • Dropper post
  • Tubeless compatible rims
  • Hydro brakes (avoid avids)
  • Clutch derailleur
  • Tapered head tube
  • Full air fork
Bike recommendations included:
  • Giant: Talon, Fathom, Stance
  • Specialized Rockhopper Comp, Stumpjumper ST, Fuse Comp 6 Fattie
  • Rockrider AM100
  • Santa Cruz Chameleon D
  • Norco Fluid Hit 2
  • Daimondback Carbon Pro 29
I'll be checking these out. Looking to spend no more than $1500, this isn't something that is urgently needed so I'm not worried about the current bike boom. Buying used is fine with me. What considerations should I be thinking about?
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Old 07-31-20, 06:10 PM
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trailangel
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You should be considering how much shaking a 3 year olds brain can take before causing brain damage. Apparently the boys mother also has brain damage.
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Old 07-31-20, 07:49 PM
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Good lord, what exactly are you envisioning? We go through the trail pretty darn slow.

Last edited by StanSeven; 07-31-20 at 09:30 PM. Reason: Removed insult
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Old 08-01-20, 07:50 AM
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Kapusta
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Whatever bike recs you are seeing out there are probably not envisioning a 3-year-old on the top tube.
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Old 08-01-20, 08:10 AM
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I just assumed this was a troll thread from the title, but now I think it is real, and concur that what you are doing is unsafe for your kid. At the very least, get something like the Burley bike trailer. I agree Palos Hills and the Forest Preserve isn't that technical, and it is a nice place to ride, but you can injure your kid going over a curb, especially when riding with the kid on the front of the bike. Does your kid have a good helmet?
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Old 08-01-20, 08:40 AM
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Tough crowd...

As the prior owner of a 3yo and the current owner of 3yo twins, they’re not unbreakable but there’s a lot of difference between them and a lot of difference from just-3 to almost-4. I’d also worry about crashing more than about “shaking”

I chose the MTB I have because it was good for towing a trailer but could be easily upgraded into a much better bike later if I want to. I expect to buy full suspension again someday.

Added on edit: if you do decide to try it, you will really benefit from a dropper post. 150 is good. This is not the usual dropper post advice, it's a different situation, but I speak from experience with a Thule kid seat on a city bike. The kid seat is right in your standover. Front seats without a dropper require you to lower the seat completely so you can flat foot the bike or do cowboy starts and stops every single time.

Last edited by Darth Lefty; 08-01-20 at 09:55 AM.
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Old 08-01-20, 01:46 PM
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Trailer might be the ticket:
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Old 08-01-20, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
Tough crowd...

As the prior owner of a 3yo and the current owner of 3yo twins, they’re not unbreakable but there’s a lot of difference between them and a lot of difference from just-3 to almost-4. I’d also worry about crashing more than about “shaking”

I chose the MTB I have because it was good for towing a trailer but could be easily upgraded into a much better bike later if I want to. I expect to buy full suspension again someday.

Added on edit: if you do decide to try it, you will really benefit from a dropper post. 150 is good. This is not the usual dropper post advice, it's a different situation, but I speak from experience with a Thule kid seat on a city bike. The kid seat is right in your standover. Front seats without a dropper require you to lower the seat completely so you can flat foot the bike or do cowboy starts and stops every single time.
Thanks for the reply. I didn't like the Thule seats either, but I think you are right a dropper post is a good idea. Also, I'm thinking to run 26" wheels so that I'm lower to the ground (and easier to put a foot out when stopped. I might consider an older bike for this reason.

Similarly I'm far more worried about a crash than bumps at 7 mph. Pretty much looks like the videos (
). Before I got the shotgun seat (which we love), I used a rear seat on a Specialized Singlecross, but it didn't feel safe because the bike would twitch too easily on account of the short wheelbase road-style handlebars. Even pointing something out to him took some close attention on my part. Also, if he fell asleep in the rear seat, he'd slump over forward resting his head on my back (even with the straps tight), and that didn't seem safe either.

Comparing the two, the shotgun seat feels far safer. It doesn't much alter the center of gravity of the bike, whereas rear seats make a bike incredibly tippy even just getting on and off the bike. The only difference ride-wise for the kind of riding I do (gravel, road, slow on occasional trails) is the weight of your kid. I love the thing. One downside: kid gets cold when riding on the road or gravel, even when it is fairly warm out. Rear seats have a wind blocker (you) that helps them stay warm.

As for the two detractors, I'd think they are invested in the image of mountain biking as an extreme sport or are imagining that I'm rocking washboards at 20 mph. As for protection, he's got boots, jeans, jean jacket, gloves, and a MIPS helmet. Got all this before even considering MTB trails.
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Old 08-01-20, 05:03 PM
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26” bike does not put you closer to the ground.
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Old 08-01-20, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
26” bike does not put you closer to the ground.
Tell me more?

Maybe I should be thinking in terms of frame geometry rather than wheel size. Main thing is I need to be able to flat foot without tilting the bike over too far.
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Old 08-01-20, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by phogi View Post
Tell me more?

Maybe I should be thinking in terms of frame geometry rather than wheel size. Main thing is I need to be able to flat foot without tilting the bike over too far.
Frames are designed with wheel size in mind. So the bottom bracket can be height whatever the designer wants is to be.

Two things to look at to know how easy it will be to put a foot down while in the saddle are bottom braket height (lower is better) and seat tube angle (slacker is better). The latter can be achieved also by sliding your saddle back as much as you can.

The reason a slack seat angle helps is that as the saddle moves back, you need to lower it to keep the same leg extension.
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Old 08-01-20, 07:28 PM
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phogi
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You know I was thinking along those lines and had moved my seat back (though my rationale was that I wanted to try to simulate 'relaxed geometry'), and on another bike shifted the seat forward to support a semi-standing position. Thanks for the tip!
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