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Pros and Cons of an adult road/gravel bike for a 10 year old?

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Pros and Cons of an adult road/gravel bike for a 10 year old?

Old 10-26-21, 04:46 PM
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Pros and Cons of an adult road/gravel bike for a 10 year old?

My daughter (10) is currently riding a 24” Public cruiser. She loves riding with me, both to get around (eating out, shopping, parks etc) and just to ride. I think the farthest we’ve done together is around 15 miles. She thinks she wants to join for some of my longer road ride routes, get out of the city, climb some hills, etc, so I’m thinking about a better, lighter, more adult type bike. Something like a 44cm aluminum diverge or similar gravel type bike. She’s 4’10 or so, long legs, obviously getting bigger by the day.

Any pros and cons of a kid riding a grown-up bike? We’ll go test ride one but the geometry seems OK, and she’s a strong/athletic kid for her size. Definitely no carbon fiber but a quality aluminum frame in a small size with decent components and a wider range of gears than a cruiser.
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Old 10-26-21, 05:03 PM
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The only reason I'd see for not buying that is if the money it cost is more than just pocket change to you. If she has a growth spurt, then it could be really small for her before the new wears off.
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Old 10-26-21, 05:12 PM
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The gearing might be a little tough for her, depending on the terrain. You could always just fit a bigger range cassette or smaller chainrings.
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Old 10-26-21, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Iride01 View Post
The only reason I'd see for not buying that is if the money it cost is more than just pocket change to you. If she has a growth spurt, then it could be really small for her before the new wears off.
yeah, the prices for an aluminum one are reasonable enough. and she has a little sister….
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Old 10-26-21, 07:05 PM
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Cons might be reach. If 700c there could be toe overlap, not generally an issue for adults but a kid would need to be aware of it.

Brake/shifter reach needs to be considered. Might want to install interrupters, but those have pros and cons.

Used is your best option. A used 44cm road bike can be found, but gravel might be tougher to find used. Tire size is obviously a consideration.

If you can find a bike a few years old with a triple crank, you can run inner and middle positions, even block off outer if necessary.

John
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Old 10-26-21, 08:05 PM
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My youngest is almost 11 and 4'7. She rides a 24' rigid mtb and a 650c 42cm trek road bike.

The road bike is used the least by far due to it still being too much reach. She is stable and safe on it, and has used it a couple dozen times this season, but its easily the secondary bike due to fit.
Not just fit, but shifting too- STI road shifters are tough to use with small hands. It takes both power and stretch to manipulate the levers enough to shift in some gear ratios. She can't consistently move the front shifter from the small ring to the big ring due to the amount of lever throw and force required.


If your daughter has large enough hands and enough strength, then it's maybe worth trying a drop bar bike.
A 650b frame may be best for size and fit. A flat bar 650b bike may be even better.
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Old 10-26-21, 08:11 PM
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I just picked up a used Felt 24 for about $300 in near mint condition for my 10 year old son of similar height. It took a lot of searching on Facebook Marketplace (they go fast so set up alerts to your phone) but I knew what I wanted and was able to find it within a few weeks. I like the bike because it has brake levers on the top of the handlebar as well as the traditional shift levers so young riders always have quick access. The frame is aluminum and came with Shimano Claris components. I'm not sure Felt has produced the bike for a few years now but they grow so fast I suggest going used. My son seems to enjoy it but he looks a bit more unstable than I thought he would considering how much he rides his other bikes. The narrowness of the handlebar has affected his handling somewhat which I suspect he'll figure out with a little more time on the saddle. My advice, if your daughter is asking then get her a road bike. I think some of us cyclist enthusiasts push children out of our own excitement and it turns some off. The Felt bikes for kids seem like a good option for a young child.
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Old 10-26-21, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by 70sSanO View Post
Cons might be reach. If 700c there could be toe overlap, not generally an issue for adults but a kid would need to be aware of it.

Brake/shifter reach needs to be considered. Might want to install interrupters, but those have pros and cons.

Used is your best option. A used 44cm road bike can be found, but gravel might be tougher to find used. Tire size is obviously a consideration.

If you can find a bike a few years old with a triple crank, you can run inner and middle positions, even block off outer if necessary.

John
Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
My youngest is almost 11 and 4'7. She rides a 24' rigid mtb and a 650c 42cm trek road bike.

The road bike is used the least by far due to it still being too much reach. She is stable and safe on it, and has used it a couple dozen times this season, but its easily the secondary bike due to fit.
Not just fit, but shifting too- STI road shifters are tough to use with small hands. It takes both power and stretch to manipulate the levers enough to shift in some gear ratios. She can't consistently move the front shifter from the small ring to the big ring due to the amount of lever throw and force required.


If your daughter has large enough hands and enough strength, then it's maybe worth trying a drop bar bike.
A 650b frame may be best for size and fit. A flat bar 650b bike may be even better.
really good points, thank you both. interestingly, specialized's 44 diverge (drop bar, 700c) with a really short stem wouldn't be that different in reach than a 650 flat bar like the salsa journeyman (reach is 56mm less before bars taken into account). i think a pretty short crank would also be a good idea, minimizing toe overlap and pedal strikes

hadn't thought about the shifters being hard to operate. will have to find some shops that actually have these bikes in stock to check out. i saw a 44cm diverge at a local shop but i'm pretty sure it was a carbon one.
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Old 10-26-21, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Love2Ram View Post
I just picked up a used Felt 24 for about $300 in near mint condition for my 10 year old son of similar height. It took a lot of searching on Facebook Marketplace (they go fast so set up alerts to your phone) but I knew what I wanted and was able to find it within a few weeks. I like the bike because it has brake levers on the top of the handlebar as well as the traditional shift levers so young riders always have quick access. The frame is aluminum and came with Shimano Claris components. I'm not sure Felt has produced the bike for a few years now but they grow so fast I suggest going used. My son seems to enjoy it but he looks a bit more unstable than I thought he would considering how much he rides his other bikes. The narrowness of the handlebar has affected his handling somewhat which I suspect he'll figure out with a little more time on the saddle. My advice, if your daughter is asking then get her a road bike. I think some of us cyclist enthusiasts push children out of our own excitement and it turns some off. The Felt bikes for kids seem like a good option for a young child.
that's a very nice bike! it's too bad more of the big brands don't make smaller bikes with good quality components.

she seems to really want one (is always ogling mine and asking questions and begging to try and ride it!) but you know how they are at that age, everything seems like the most important coolest must have thing in the world for ... a little while.
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Old 10-26-21, 09:24 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
My daughter (10) is currently riding a 24” Public cruiser. She loves riding with me, both to get around (eating out, shopping, parks etc) and just to ride. I think the farthest we’ve done together is around 15 miles. She thinks she wants to join for some of my longer road ride routes, get out of the city, climb some hills, etc, so I’m thinking about a better, lighter, more adult type bike. Something like a 44cm aluminum diverge or similar gravel type bike. She’s 4’10 or so, long legs, obviously getting bigger by the day.

Any pros and cons of a kid riding a grown-up bike? We’ll go test ride one but the geometry seems OK, and she’s a strong/athletic kid for her size. Definitely no carbon fiber but a quality aluminum frame in a small size with decent components and a wider range of gears than a cruiser.
At the age of 12, I became a roadie using an early 90's Raleigh adult 700c CX dropbar bike with frame size of 54cm, crank length of 170mm. I was only around 5'2" at that time.

The bike is definitely oversized for me. I rode around 30 km / day with it more than one hour. The only complaint I ever had was saddle soreness due to using wrong saddle type (what I needed was a cutout saddle but didn't now it existed when I was 12). Standover height wasn't a problem or probably can't remember if I ever had incident hitting my family jewels on the top tube.

But the oversized bike didn't matter and I was on the drops most of the time, I only went to the tops from time to time to avoid getting numb hands. I never used the hoods position. When climbing, I was on the tops in and out of the saddle.

What useful advice I might have if the bike is still too big, consider having dual brake levers, so she'll have access on the brakes while on the tops. Also get a short stem or even "zero length" stem that are usually designed for MTBs. They are cheap anyway so it doesn't hurt to try. They're good as long as it doesn't ruin handling. Use soft inner wrap for the bar tape, important for kids to avoid having numb hands early on. Choice of saddle will also be quite important probably the most important part of the setup. Women are predisposed towards cutout or twin nose saddles. It's worth the try. And finally, saddle height. Avoid the temptation of setting it too high. You'll be sorry if you do even just by a few mm. I remember I can still reach the ground with both feet (tip toed) in my old CX bike setup when I was 12 and there's fair amount of climbs in my route which wasn't a problem at all. Kids will adapt very easily to a bit lower saddle. But getting it too high even by a tiny bit can have permanent harm (the knees and reproductive organs) and that's one thing you shouldn't take any risks when still very young.

Either way, gravel bike is a great choice. I rode a CX bike which also served as gravel bike of the early 90's. Skinny wheels is just too risky for younsters, it can easily be affected by any imperfections in the road and cause accidents. Young roadies here also train with either gravel bike or XC MTB. More train with XC MTB due to easier reach but not a big deal at that age.

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Old 10-26-21, 09:57 PM
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Not a road bike and certainly not a gravel but here's my 4'7" daughter on a 47cm 700c wheeled track bike, so yes you can. I also have her on a 44cm felt with 650c wheels. Suggestions I have
skip anything 650c, the size just doesn't exist any more and never did for wider tires. Never found a 650c gravel or cross bike and no one makes a decent tire in this size any more.
At her height, anything in the 46-49cm range should do fine, just check that top tube, you want something with a 50-51cm top tube.
The cranks will be wrong, at nearly 5' getting away with a 165 crank will be ok but still long for what it should be, most bikes still will have longer. Especially on smaller bikes the shorter length prevents toe overlap. Kids also don't like seats at their proper height, while a shorter crank does mean that the seat should be a touch higher still for proper leg extension, it becomes less important as the leg will still bend less when the crank is at the top of the pedal stroke helping the kid to be more comfortable. Also realize if the kid heads to a race with you, roll out becomes an issue. With kids a 1x10 or 11 is more reasonable and bmx cranks are plentiful. Figure out what chainring with an 11t cog is needed for proper rollout and put a wide range cassette on there.
Handlebars, unless you find an womens specific bike will also probably be too wide, even a 36cm can be a touch wide for a young girl, don't go wider than 38cm plan to change this.
Microshift are easier for kids to change, my daughter's bike has advent X on it and she can shift it fine. Again, 1x is better. Kids are really not the best at shifting and need constant reminding to do so, front chainrings just compound the problem at this age though at 11 and a half my daughter is starting to get the hang of it after a couple years of use.
Saddle, after every other ride as your kid how it is for the first dozen rides. Kids are terrible at telling you what's good or bad about their bike and will suffer on an uncomfortable saddle until they decide its not worth riding the bike.
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Old 10-26-21, 10:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mschwett View Post
really good points, thank you both. interestingly, specialized's 44 diverge (drop bar, 700c) with a really short stem wouldn't be that different in reach than a 650 flat bar like the salsa journeyman (reach is 56mm less before bars taken into account). i think a pretty short crank would also be a good idea, minimizing toe overlap and pedal strikes

hadn't thought about the shifters being hard to operate. will have to find some shops that actually have these bikes in stock to check out. i saw a 44cm diverge at a local shop but i'm pretty sure it was a carbon one.
One to consider- Jamis Renegade has 4 models that come with 650b wheels in the smallest size(44).

I assume this is the model you are looking at?
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/wo...p/128856/specs
The size 44 has 553mm of stack height and 357mm of reach. Thats a crazy high amount of stack for the smallest size.

The Renegade 44 comes in all the aluminum and steel models and they have a shorter wheelbase, lower stack height, and shorter reach, plus 650b wheels which will be a bit lighter and smaller.

It's a big jump from what she has to what you are proposing. Totally different position, different shifting and braking, different handling, etc. Hope you can find a bike that works!
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Old 10-27-21, 10:46 AM
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Not an adult bike but Salsa makes a Journeyman 24 gravel bike. If you have a younger kid to pass it down, It might make a good comprise.

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Old 10-27-21, 11:18 AM
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If this is for road riding, then I would recommend a 650c tire road bike. Both Cannondale and Trek made a bunch of these 650c bikes from the mid 1990's to the mid 2000's. Another choice is the Felt F95 Jr which was made in the 2010's. This is my son's Felt F95 Jr:


Jamis, Bianchi, Diamondback and Specialized also made some 650c wheeled bikes but they are rarer. The Fuji Ace is another option but it does have low level components and paddle shifters (which might come in handy for some younger kids who have trouble operating brifters)
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Old 10-27-21, 12:27 PM
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Originally Posted by icemilkcoffee View Post
If this is for road riding, then I would recommend a 650c tire road bike. Both Cannondale and Trek made a bunch of these 650c bikes from the mid 1990's to the mid 2000's.
The road bike my youngest uses is a 650c. It's a Trek from '09ish that is quite nice- carbon fork and sestpost, tiagra shifters, 105 derailleurs.

If I were looking to buy new right now, I would go 24", 26", or 650b in a heartbeat over 650c. 650c is just dead tech. There are 2 quality tires for that wheel size. 2.
I would absolutely look into how to buy one of those British kids road bike brands or a 650b xxs bike.
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Old 10-27-21, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
650c is just dead tech. There are 2 quality tires for that wheel size. 2.
Yeah the tire choices are pretty skimpy for 650c. BUT you have to keep in mind that a <80 lb kid does not need fat tires. 650x23c tire at 50psi is totally fine for somebody this light.
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Old 10-27-21, 11:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
One to consider- Jamis Renegade has 4 models that come with 650b wheels in the smallest size(44).

I assume this is the model you are looking at?
https://www.specialized.com/us/en/wo...p/128856/specs
The size 44 has 553mm of stack height and 357mm of reach. Thats a crazy high amount of stack for the smallest size.

The Renegade 44 comes in all the aluminum and steel models and they have a shorter wheelbase, lower stack height, and shorter reach, plus 650b wheels which will be a bit lighter and smaller.

It's a big jump from what she has to what you are proposing. Totally different position, different shifting and braking, different handling, etc. Hope you can find a bike that works!
i was actually looking at the unisex diverge, didn’t even realize they had a women’s one. https://www.specialized.com/us/en/di...ext=95422-4244

the A1 renegade in 44 looks interesting. I’m guessing it’s going to be very hard to find something like this in an LBS to test ride, looks like all the close dealers only have 58s
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Old 10-27-21, 11:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Russ Roth View Post

Not a road bike and certainly not a gravel but here's my 4'7" daughter on a 47cm 700c wheeled track bike, so yes you can. I also have her on a 44cm felt with 650c wheels. Suggestions I have
skip anything 650c, the size just doesn't exist any more and never did for wider tires. Never found a 650c gravel or cross bike and no one makes a decent tire in this size any more.
At her height, anything in the 46-49cm range should do fine, just check that top tube, you want something with a 50-51cm top tube.
The cranks will be wrong, at nearly 5' getting away with a 165 crank will be ok but still long for what it should be, most bikes still will have longer. Especially on smaller bikes the shorter length prevents toe overlap. Kids also don't like seats at their proper height, while a shorter crank does mean that the seat should be a touch higher still for proper leg extension, it becomes less important as the leg will still bend less when the crank is at the top of the pedal stroke helping the kid to be more comfortable. Also realize if the kid heads to a race with you, roll out becomes an issue. With kids a 1x10 or 11 is more reasonable and bmx cranks are plentiful. Figure out what chainring with an 11t cog is needed for proper rollout and put a wide range cassette on there.
Handlebars, unless you find an womens specific bike will also probably be too wide, even a 36cm can be a touch wide for a young girl, don't go wider than 38cm plan to change this.
Microshift are easier for kids to change, my daughter's bike has advent X on it and she can shift it fine. Again, 1x is better. Kids are really not the best at shifting and need constant reminding to do so, front chainrings just compound the problem at this age though at 11 and a half my daughter is starting to get the hang of it after a couple years of use.
Saddle, after every other ride as your kid how it is for the first dozen rides. Kids are terrible at telling you what's good or bad about their bike and will suffer on an uncomfortable saddle until they decide its not worth riding the bike.
that’s awesome. she looks pretty comfortable on the bike, 700c and all! we won’t be racing and I don’t mind her spinning out, totally agree on 2x though. I’m always reminding her to shift with her current bike when she falls way behind on a hill I know she can do. I don’t mind changing bars and cranks and chainring and cassette if the geometry is right and the components are decent. thanks for the advice!
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Old 10-28-21, 06:50 AM
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I'm looking at the Crockett 5 disc frameset but I already have a nearly new set of wheels to go on it. The downside to kids bikes is that with kids needing different crank lengths, handlebars, shorter stems, and my preferring the microshift for them it gets cheaper to buy a decent frameset or a used bike. But, even without the wheelset, an AdventX group, bmx crank, and basic wheels from any one of several online shops as well as the trim out parts and tires from Merlin cycles will have a bike as light for the same price as the specialized if you can do the work.
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