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20" kid bikes, MY2020

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20" kid bikes, MY2020

Old 01-27-20, 04:31 PM
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Darth Lefty 
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20" kid bikes, MY2020

I'm shopping for my oldest kid who will be six this year. So here's a review of what I've found.

I'm shopping MTB, plus tire, and hybrid. I'm not shopping dirt jump, BMX, coaster brake, or department store.

There's really a pretty good selection. There are bikes that are too cheap, some have nasty suspension forks, there are bikes that are premium and REALLY premium.

Lots of them come with freewheels. I don't think this is really a durability issue but it limits the gear range. Some of them have 7 speed freehubs, which I thought were extinct. Only a few have 8+ speeds and that really defines the boundary of the normal vs premium market. Tourney/Revo is the rule

I don't know what I think about plus tires. I love the ones on my bike and they're definitely an alternative to suspension. Some people call them unwieldy.

There's a category I've come to think of as mommy blogger bikes (especially Woom and Cleary) and they are different than the rest of the market. More expensive than the average bike store model and with some very different design choices. I don't find any of them appealing right now, at least not in this size/age.

There's a premium category where I'm not shopping - at least not for this kid. Trailcraft, Spawn, etc.

Standouts:
Vitus bikes from CRC look like a great value.
Trek Wahoo 20 is a lot better and a lot lighter than their Precaliber. But it seems like Scott Scale is competitive with it at lower price
Salsa Timberjack 20+ has bottle mounts on the fork, and available frame bag - and it's the same orange / yellow as my 2018 adult model. But it's $100 more than the pretty-similar Vitus 20+.
Several are selling lighter hybrids with skinnier tires - notably Giant and Cannondale.
If we wind up buying locally from REI or a bike shop I'd be satisfied with a Specialized Riprock or Cannondale Cujo or Salsa, or the Wahoo. The Trek Precaliber is just too dire.
Norco has an amazing range - they have some cheap bikes indistinguishable from the other brands but also very nice hard tails and premium full suspension trail bikes that are totally revised for 2020 and look like the latest adult bikes. I can't help thinking these are going to different sorts of bike shops.
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Old 01-28-20, 04:01 PM
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BTDT.

Avoid the seven speeds. Any that I have seen, have a "twist grip" shifter. Apparently no designer in Japan ever asked a kid for their opinion, because those things are unusable junk.

Overall Overview: What you pay now, is NOTHING compared to carbon 29ers and snowboards, and probably also wrecked cars and college.

Spend just a bit to get something nice, and your kid will not hate riding.
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Old 01-28-20, 04:12 PM
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There is a line of "updateable" kids MTB from England. I do not recall the name, but they are quite popular.
Send a email to GMBN?
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Old 01-28-20, 10:08 PM
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I remember seeing the one you are talking about but I am also blanking on the name. Definitely in the too-premium-for-this-kid category.

Replacing a shifter is NBD
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Old 01-30-20, 08:35 AM
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buy used cuz it won't be long before he needs the next size up ...
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Old 02-02-20, 12:41 AM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
buy used cuz it won't be long before he needs the next size up ...
I've got three of these monkeys, someone will be using it for five or six years. And it looks like the smallest one is going to be the speed demon so it still has to be good enough once it falls to her. Besides, have you looked? The used kid bike market is worse crap than the adult one.
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Old 02-02-20, 04:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Darth Lefty View Post
I've got three of these monkeys, someone will be using it for five or six years. And it looks like the smallest one is going to be the speed demon so it still has to be good enough once it falls to her. Besides, have you looked? The used kid bike market is worse crap than the adult one.
oh haha well alright then, good luck with that. guess every market is different especially seasonally. Havenít looked for used kids bikes since my two finally got to adult size. Currently in a grace period until they start producing new riders of their own
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Old 02-06-20, 03:53 PM
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I got my kid the Cannondale quick 20 and swapped out the twist shift with trigger shifter. He is on the smaller size and I really liked the 19lb weight compared to bikes with a front shock that put it in the 27-30lb . It has been a fine bike.
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Old 02-06-20, 04:32 PM
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Although I fixated on having a cassette wheel for the 24" bikes I'm not certain that a kid who is properly fit to a 20" bike can actually bend an axle on a 20" bike, the lack of gear selection becomes the biggest issue but I found my kids haven't shifted anywhere near as much as they should and having more gears wouldn't matter much. Critical is paying attention to crank length, the C-dale quick razorrock mentions comes with a 110mm crank and that is a good length. Swapping out a shifter cheaply isn't a big deal, getting a better crank length is not cheap by comparison. The 20" giant I bought for my son, who wouldn't let go of wanting the color, came with 150mm cranks; with seat height so he could touch the ground his knees came too high and he looked awkward when standing to pedal. A drill and tap solved the issue but not everyone can do that.
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Old 02-06-20, 04:50 PM
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The reason to want an 8-speed cassette hub is not the axle strength or number of shifts, it's the overall range. 11-36 is within reason and maybe more... depending on ground clearance in middle gears

The crank lengths seem pretty appropriate most of the time, 4" for preschoolers, 5" grade-schoolers, 6" for tweens, and 7" for grownups... give or take
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Old 02-06-20, 06:47 PM
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Looking at the trek or salsa they come equipped with 140mm which to me is too long for a 20" bike, you can watch the kids bobbing when they stand to pedal. The specialized has 127mm which is more appropriate though it goes to 7sp. This is the problem with kid's bikes is the balancing act you have to do for cheaper bikes. I will say with the chainring size that a 20" bike comes with having bigger then a 30t made no difference to my kids when it came to climbing. We don't have major climbs around here which might be part of the reason but for rolling XC they've got no trouble and usually when they walk a hill I discover they haven't actually used their easiest gear or two.
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Old 02-09-20, 10:42 PM
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Well, my wife surprised me. She's the one who got this kid his 16er, full bike store MSRP coaster brake training wheel Bianchi, against my advice and too early... and now she wants me to buy used for the next one. He'll see it as just sort of my project and not his big gift we want him to be excited and grateful about. So I've got time to shop and wrench instead of trying to find just the right thing for retail sale right on his bday. So I'm casting about again, and all this thought may be for naught.
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