Any parents able to help? 6 year old MTB'ers - How far is too far?

MartinYorkshire

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So much good information here that its hard to respond properly to the individual points. Seems like we all agree that keeping the weight down is a priority which obviously makes sense.

@2manyoranges I think we need a picture of that 2kg chain device, if you were being literal! Also, 170mm of travel on a kids bike is...wow!
 

jonboy

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10.5kg, thats more like it. Still, I think kids deserve a factory 24" under 10kg from somewhere.

My lad just turned 6 and weights probably 25kg wet through if that, he's just tall hence the 24". At factory spec for most 24" bikes, say 12-13kg, its the equivalent of asking an average male adult to ride a bike weighing what, 40kg+? It's crazy, literally crazy. We're asking them to ride those bikes for miles on end. Makes the Raleigh Activator II almost acceptable as an MTB!

The kids frames are so small they should be light, but I suppose the parts, being adult size, weigh the same as on any other bike and therein lies the problem.

Can I ask, did you change the tyres? My sons bike also came with crown gems and they are so heavy/fat as to really only be useful for park/downhill use. It saved over 1kg rotating mass just by changing those for some 2.1's and as I mostly ride XC with him, it didn't matter.

The stans crest rims on the isla are nice and I'm considering them for an upgrade, but choice of hubs is a bit limited so I'm procrastinating a bit. I wonder if Islabikes are using Novatech hubs with a different label.

I feel like a wheel upgrade will shave another 1kg off too, especially if I go 24/24 spoke and I can't see any reason not to. Trouble is for a Hope Pro 4 build (which arent' the absolute lightest but should be decent quality), I'm looking at circa £500. I'm sure I'd see some of it back if not most of it, but it's a bit ouch, wallet wise.

I'm pretty focused on rotating mass, especially with the 1x11 setup. Stuff like seatpost and bars can wait I think.

Roll on 26", then at least we can get some super light retro bits on there!
Hmm, now i've weighed it, i'm tempted to try and get it sub-10kg... lol ;)

No, not changed the tyres. I quite like the feel of the 2.25 crown gem tyres, but hadn't appreciated they weighed 755g each. I have taken the tubes out and made it tubeless. Not sure that really achieved much - the inner tubes were 75g each but as I added about 70ml of sealant it worked out a net saving of nothing.

The Stans rims seem decent, as is the hollow axle 140mm arm crankset. Not convinced the hubs are great. For the price it's a shame it's not got a better drive train. 8 speed Sram X4 is functional but basic. The gear range is perfect although the cassette looks heavy.

I decided to spend a bit more than I really wanted to because i want her to have the best chance of enjoying going cycling. i figure once it's been used by my younger one too i'd get enough back selling it that the effective cost per child for a decent bike would be less than £50 per year.

The move up to a 26" wheel won't be until next year but i'm excited by the better options that will offer....

Interested to know if anyone has their kids wearing any body armour - elbow pads or knee pads? I wonder if a set of elbow pads might aid confidence as well as protecting in the event of a fall?
 

MartinYorkshire

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Hmm, now i've weighed it, i'm tempted to try and get it sub-10kg... lol ;)

No, not changed the tyres. I quite like the feel of the 2.25 crown gem tyres, but hadn't appreciated they weighed 755g each. I have taken the tubes out and made it tubeless. Not sure that really achieved much - the inner tubes were 75g each but as I added about 70ml of sealant it worked out a net saving of nothing.

The Stans rims seem decent, as is the hollow axle 140mm arm crankset. Not convinced the hubs are great. For the price it's a shame it's not got a better drive train. 8 speed Sram X4 is functional but basic. The gear range is perfect although the cassette looks heavy.

I decided to spend a bit more than I really wanted to because i want her to have the best chance of enjoying going cycling. i figure once it's been used by my younger one too i'd get enough back selling it that the effective cost per child for a decent bike would be less than £50 per year.

The move up to a 26" wheel won't be until next year but i'm excited by the better options that will offer....

Interested to know if anyone has their kids wearing any body armour - elbow pads or knee pads? I wonder if a set of elbow pads might aid confidence as well as protecting in the event of a fall?

If it's the radials then theres ~600g to save right there by switching to rocket rons for example. Also it's rotating mass which will make a huge difference.

Same as you, I'm not sure tubeless does much in terms of weight saving, its more about tyre conformity to a given surface and I think does have value, as long as you dont believe the hype.

For wheels, I was looking at Stans Crest with Hope Pro 4, the idea being to transfer the Pro 4's to his next bike in 3 years time or so, but if I do that I should probably go 28h rather than 24. The annoying thing is the rear is 135mm (front is boost), and shimano don't do a 135mm MTB rear hub as far as I know. It's also kinda an odd size, so perhaps its unlikely his next bike will be 135mm too. All that considered, maybe I'll plump for the "budget" ahem £370 option and go for novatech. At least these are disc rims, so providing he doesn't wreck them, we might get a few quid back unlike on the retro's.

I figure if I'm going to splurge money into a kids bike like this, it might as well be as early as possible, so he gets maximum benefit from it.

Body armour wise, I've considered it but it restricts movement, itches and will probably cause rashes, annoyance, tears, moaning, complaining, minor rebellions and so on. Thats my experience from skiing with young ones with just a back protector. It's one of those strange subjects where I find there are all manner of opinions and none of them are invalid if thought about. I'm on the lookout for a pair of cheap shin pads at the moment, just to help with the gnarly pedals I plan to install, as the plastic fantastics aren't giving him much grip.
 

MartinYorkshire

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135mm rear has been the standard mtb rear up until all this boost malarkey, since the turn of the 90s.

Aye, I meant odd from the perspective of specifying it on a 2021 bike set up as 1x11+ when shimano don't make a 135mm hub anymore from SLX up. Best I could find was the older Deore 10s. Limits upgrade options, but 135 seems to still be a fairly common size on Deore level spec hard tails from new.

Unless shimano are just being slow releasing it, or I've missed that size somehow, which is also a possibility. :D
 

FluffyChicken

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different level of bike you're building than most would. Mainly as most 6 years old would still struggle with 3 gears ;-)

and they pootle and look dangerous with 7 or 8 gears, which is why you see the lower end being used. It's functional well beyond the life of the child using the bike.


But do remember you're on a retrobike site, so 135mm is here to stay and 130mm has dropped out of favour only recently.. You don't need the latest gear, 9 speed is in the future and through axle is something for quirky bikes and disc are still being debated.
 

MartinYorkshire

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different level of bike you're building than most would. Mainly as most 6 years old would still struggle with 3 gears ;-)

and they pootle and look dangerous with 7 or 8 gears, which is why you see the lower end being used. It's functional well beyond the life of the child using the bike.


But do remember you're on a retrobike site, so 135mm is here to stay and 130mm has dropped out of favour only recently.. You don't need the latest gear, 9 speed is in the future and through axle is something for quirky bikes and disc are still being debated.

Oh we struggle at times, my cries of "big button twice", "small button, small button lets go" can be heard in forests across Yorkshire. 😂

Whilst the above is true, he's actually getting along pretty well with it so far. The trick I've found that works with him is to try to show him that his legs shouldn't be going around too quickly or too slowly, just a consistent speed. It seems to working but all kids learn differently. Like everything, it just takes time, although the lack of a front derailleur really helps with the process. He's been on bikes since he was 2 so he's not currently having to learn too much new stuff at once, just gears for now. It will come with time.

The most difficult thing so far has been trying to get him to anticipate inclines and variance in terrain and also getting him to shift down before coming to a stop to make it easier to set off again.

He will probably have this bike for about 4 years if he keeps growing at the same rate, so I figured it's worth putting some money into it especially if we're doing some reasonable mileage.

Speaking of three gears, I remember those plastic shifters on the grifter. Wow that was a long time ago.
 

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