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Best 20" Mountain Bike

Janbo25Janbo25 Posts: 68
edited November 2009 in Family & kids cycling forum
We are looking at changing our son's current bike (Trek Jet 16) for a 20" for 2 reasons, the first being size as he is very tall so needs a 20" now and secondly because of the rides we do he's covering many hills and trails already and coping the best he possibly can with a single gear bike, but it would certainly be advantagious for him to have gears, as he already understands the concept of them. Budget wise we would be looking to pay upton around the £250 mark and the current bike we are thinking of would be the:

Giant XtC Jnr Team 20 because of the features including the 14 speed gears on a single chainset.

But interested in other opinions???


  • thelawnetthelawnet Posts: 719
    how old is he?

    I've a feeling this may be the best buy
  • Mike HealeyMike Healey Posts: 1,023
    Islabikes. Light, simple, beautifully specc'd and child proportioned and no suspension.

    I say the latter, because riding rigid in the earlier days develops skill at speeds that they can cope with. Most kids' bikes (not referring to the Giant, here - have no knowledge) suspension is pile of cat poo, but does encourage them to ride faster and probably beyond their skill level, so when they crash - and they will - it hurts more.

    Islabikes also have excellent resale value c/w most others.

    They're the most popular choice by parents/kids at our club once they move on from the one they come to us with.
    Organising the Bradford Kids Saturday Bike Club at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre since 1998
  • Janbo25Janbo25 Posts: 68
    Looking to buy the bike now for a xmas present so would be interested ina anyone else's opinion?
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,706
    Janbo25 wrote:
    interested ina anyone else's opinion?
    Unashamed fan of Islabikes here, unbeatable design and build quality. They sell two sizes of Beinn 20, same again for the 24" wheel model. Check the size chart and give them a ring. Both times we've been to the shop and they've been very helpful.

    Most young kids struggle to use half a dozen gears properly so double chainrings and 14 gears just confuse matters - I've seen it at the local Saturday morning sessions. I also don't understand why bikes this small need suspension, it adds weight and I'd second Mike Healey's comment re. the quality. IMHO many products are sold by promoting unnecessary 'features' and this is one of them.

    I'm not saying no-one should buy the Giant and I've read favourable things about Ridgeback kids bikes, but you can't go wrong with an Islabike.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • SnellySnelly Posts: 140
    Islabikes are very good. I nearly bought my 5 year old son one but instead went for a Marin Hidden Canyon instead as it has two rings on the front crankset and this has proved very useful as he climbs plenty of hills with me.

    It is a terrific kids bike and he has done plenty of good (tough for a little lad) routes in the South Downs - up to 12 miles on the flat and up to 8 miles with climbs to the top of the South Downs.

    This is the boys version that he has. Both I and my son can wholeheartedly recommend them. :D They are a bit more than you want to pay - £285 ish - but worth it in my view. Only difficulty we had was getting hold of one as they don't import many.

    Fortes fortuna adiuvat.
  • Janbo25Janbo25 Posts: 68
    what is the weight like on the marin??
  • SnellySnelly Posts: 140
    Not exactly sure of the weight as I have never weighed it properly. However, light is what I would say it is. The frame is all aluminium and it is the lightest kids bike I have ever picked up. If I was to guess, I would say between 22 and 25lb. It is about 40% lighter than the previous bke he had which was a cheap and nasty MTB that I bought for £25 second-hand.

    My little boy flies around on it and my experience of having two front rings on a kids bike is not the same as another poster. My son picked it up very quickly and makes a point of telling me when he is switching to his uphill ring on climbs!

    The spec is here... ... 10HCB#spec
    Fortes fortuna adiuvat.
  • I second the Marin. My son has just outgrown his Hidden Canyon. He completed a lap of Cwm Carn in 2 1/2 hours on his, only having to push on the really steep/rooty parts of the climb. He also got 31.5 mph on a tarmac descent too!
    My son had his from when he was 5, he's just turned 8, so he got 3 years of good off-road use out of it.
    £385 for 3 years use = £1.82 per week, a bargain!

    (Selling my sons one for £125 o.n.o. if anybody knows somebody who's after a second hand one. Lots of upgrades: Easton Havoc Stem/EA50 bars, Shimano DXR V-brakes and levers, Shimano 105 rear mech, Maxxis Max Daddy tyres, Odyssey mini BMX grips, alloy platform pedals, UN54 bottom bracket, Shimano Alivio 8speed STI shifters. 2007 grey model, various battle scars but mechanically sound. Crud catchers front and rear thrown in too!)
  • The blender, check your pms
  • PhiconPhicon Posts: 29
    wish i read this before going trigger happy with the wallet on a Specialized Hotrock 20". My son is into woodland bmx park and xc with me so i wanted one bike to do all.
    Great build quality but weighs in at 10.7kg! Proportionally that's more than 50% his body weight - or the equivalent of me riding a 40kg bike...practically useless for decent xc.

    So...i'm now stripping it down and weighing every part and looking for replacements to shave off at least 2kg. Changing seatpost, saddle and ripping off the cheap reflectors has saved 0.5kg tonight without much effort. The rest will be more expensive, although the seat and carbon post probably cost a ton.

    What i would love to find is
    1) lightweight 20" wheels! can i just swap out the heavy ones for something like this? ... elID=42461

    2) changing the 6 speed for a 7 speed cassette with rapidfire shifter, instead of the bulky it a straight swap? Any other tips for weight saving?!

    I would have preferred to start with the 8.8kg of the islabikes and saved another £200+ on upgrades!

    Someone design 5kg 7 speed mountain/jump bike and it'll be a hit.
    current whips
    ** Ibis Mojo sl ** Giant XTC **
    ex bikes
    **Trek Top Fuel 9.9SSL** Trek Fuel Ex 8 ** Scott Genius LTD **
  • Try Alans BMX website for lightweight 20" BMX race wheels, tyres, seatposts, bars, stems, brakes etc, I'm sure you'll find some pimpin' parts on there! Post some pics when your project is complete!
  • PhiconPhicon Posts: 29
    Thanks for the link, will be sure to post some pics when i'm done! Anodised colour rims will go down a treat with my son!

    Anyone want a kidney, one careful owner, so i can afford it :)
    current whips
    ** Ibis Mojo sl ** Giant XTC **
    ex bikes
    **Trek Top Fuel 9.9SSL** Trek Fuel Ex 8 ** Scott Genius LTD **
  • my son had a spesh hotrock
    found it to be a great bike and he loved it
    now been handed down to a friend's kid who also loves it. Well built and has the cool factor amongst the other kids
    Enough bikes to open a bike shop but always room for one more...
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