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20" wheeled bike - help please!

philguyphilguy Posts: 20
Hi to all

I'm really hoping someone out there can help me find a good quality bike (Ridgeback MX20, Specialized Hotrock etc) for a single parent struggling to match a tight budget with the above aspiration..!

My daughter is 8, going on 9 - about 128cm tall, quite slim and light for her age. She's had a succession of cheap, secondhand, pretty heavy, no gear bikes that have all served a purpose but she's now at the point where she ideally needs a lighter bike with gears that she can really enjoy with unalloyed fun.

I've tried ebay, Gumtree, local bike shops and local ads - all to no avail so far. Does anyone have any suggestions or ideas or perhaps even have a bike themselves their child(ren) no longer need that would fit the bill...?

All suggestions/ideas/bike offers very gratefully received.

Many many thanks to all who respond...

PS. I'm based in SW London but am also often in West Yorkshire


  • othelloothello Posts: 577
    Really, it is just a case of keeping an eye on eBay for when one comes up. When I looked for one I set up an eBay search to email me when one was listed.
    Blogging about junior road bikes
  • merkinmerkin Posts: 452
    Are you sure 20" is the right size? I ask because my daughter has a hotrock 20 and at 132cm seems to be a bit too big for it. We will probably be handing it down to her brother. Would she fit a 24"?
  • I've also wondered about that very same thing. On the one hand, I don't want to fall into the trap of getting her a bike that she'll 'grow into' but which she initially might find difficult to handle and lack confidence in. On the other hand, perhaps a 20" wheeled bike may not last her too long at all, and may in fact either be already too small or 'the right size' for only a very short space of time.

    I looked at the size chart on the Islabike website - - which seems to indicate by height that a 20" is in fact too small. However, by her inside leg measurement (it's c52cm), a 20" looks to be more or less right. She has been on friend's 20" and it looks "about right" to me but I'm no expert.

    Thankyou very much for your input - it's made me review my initial thoughts and perhaps I should be looking at 20" - 24" wheeled bikes for her. Now, all I have to do is find the right one at the right price...!! :roll:
  • merkinmerkin Posts: 452
    I have just got my daughter a 24" islabike for Christmas. I was tempted to "stretch" her to the 26"small as she fitted fine on the height guide but was a bit too small on the inside leg (which is probably the more relevant measurement), despite seeming quite long in the leg to me. I reasoned that even if she grows out of it quite quickly I would hand it down to my son as he is only 16 months behind her.
    Unfortunately for you some second hand bike prices seem really high on ebay right now. I have been watching them recently and figured brand new was probably better value taking resale value into account.
    Good luck
  • Totally agree that the inside leg measurement is the most relevant one - both for standover clearance and reach to the pedals at the bottom of their travel. I've been in conversation with another forum user who gave me the following bits of advice:
    it is worth just checking how you measure her inside leg - for trousers it is from the crotch to the ankle, but for a bike you should extend the measurement not only down to the foot, but to the bottom of the sole on her shoes and with the back of her foot raised up a little as they don't pedal with the foot level at its lowest point

    the height from top of saddle at lowest setting to top of pedal at lowest probably the most important

    The standover...measure it from the top tube just in front of the saddle, where someone would actaully be if they stood over the bike. Again, they would usually be expected to be on tiptoe if doing so, although not straining right at the top of tiptoe.
    It now appears that my daughter is at the top end of a 20" wheeled bike and the bottom end of a 24". I'm going to try to get her to try out a 24" over the weekend hopefully to better assess best fit but it may be that I'll have to bite the bullet and get her a 20" which will likely only last her for a short while.

    And I'm still looking for one! So if anyone either has or knows of a decent 20" wheeled bike that's available, please please do let me know.

    Many thanks
  • merkinmerkin Posts: 452
    I will probably be selling a yellow and black Specialized Hotrock 20 but not until the new year.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    To give you a bit of a steer on height my twins have just turned 10 last week - boy maybe 136cm girl maybe 140cm.

    Boy rides a 24" Scott MTB and an Isla Luath 26 with the post reversed to cut the reach down a bit - though he could manage with it turned back round now. He's had these since the Summer (both 2nd hand) and I reckon they'll see him through to the end of Primary school - another year and a half.

    Girl rides a Kona Jake 2-4 but with a shorter stem and smaller bars than came with it (it's the older model not the new mega expensive one) and a Decathlon 24" wheel MTB style thing (again both 2nd hand). She could probably do with a bigger cyclocross bike for the next cross season and the Decathlon would do her fine til the end of Primary.

    If you are after a flat bar bike then my son was still on a Beinn 20 (original - think it's between the small/large they make now) up until this Summer. OK it was too small for him but with the seat up not ridiculously so. On that basis I reckon a Beinn 24 would give her several years riding but finding one cheap is not going to be easy !

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • This may be fairly obvious, but I'm reasonably new to e-bay. Ask plenty of questions. Two bikes I saw had the wrong wheel sizes quoted and the wrong number of gears. One of them I won the auction and thankfully it was only up the road from my house as when I got there it was a 24" wheel with 18 gears not the 20 inch and 6 speed that was advertised.
    I found looking at new bikes was a help as the spec was better explained - then I could compare with ones on e-bay.
  • bompingtonbompington Posts: 7,674
    Philguy wrote:
    I looked at the size chart on the Islabike website -
    Careful with that, islabikes are designed to fit smaller kids at bigger wheel sizes, i.e. a kid who would fit on a Beinn 26 might fit on a 24" bike of another make.

    If you can find an islabike at a reasonable price (they are still pricey second hand) get one.

    I should point out that Bomp jr, who is about 140cm, prefers my bike to any other in the house: it's a medium size Edinburgh MTB. I keep on telling him it doesn't fit him, but he actually handles it fine.
    On the other hand I covet Bompette's Beinn 24 which is definitely a much nicer bike than mine.
  • Tom ButcherTom Butcher Posts: 3,830
    Geoff Giddings has a Beinn 24 for sale on the notts and derby cyclocross league website forum if that's local. He's asking £175 with two sets of tyres - road/off road.

    it's a hard life if you don't weaken.
  • simbob3simbob3 Posts: 12
    Just posted this elsewhere but may be of use to you... as i am in the same situation, been looking at a Beinn 20 small for my son.

    Been trawling the net for alternatives and from what i can see the Ridgeback and Specialized Hotrock seem to be the obvious contenders (felt 'look' good to - substance? Dawes do cheaper alu framed ones, depends on your snobbery level!). I did come across a bike called Adventure 200 (120 smaller version), which looks like a similar spec to the others mentioned but 30-40 quid cheaper, but i can't find any info about Adventure, other than they seem to be known for the bike trailers and the ZoooooM balance bike. They are sold via some bike shops and the likes of Blacks, John Lewis, Amazon. Anyone know any more or had one? Link below... ... _50680.htm
  • simon_esimon_e Posts: 1,706
    The MX20 is noticeably taller than the Beinn 20 small (I have both in the garage). Keep looking on ebay. Sort the results by distance (you will need to enter a different postcode for Yorkshire, of course). You may have to be patient but someone will eventually be selling what you want.

    Has anyone used ?

    If you could manage it (make a few sacrifices elsewhere, perhaps) a Beinn 24 would be best. It's lighter, with better design and components and you'll always get more for it when you sell.
    Aspire not to have more, but to be more.
  • madtammadtam Posts: 141
    I think I might have just the solution.

    I have both a 20 inch and 24 inch bikes now surplus to requirements. The 20 inch is actually Reebox branded but is the same as a Saracen bike (I had one of these so know they were the same) and has twin chainring shimano gearing and tektro brakes. My 2 boys rode these for quite a while and as they have bmx wheels they continued riding them even when they had replacement larger frames. I have to admit that I have ridden them around just for the hell of it and they work pretty well. The only thing I didn't like was the gripshifters but they seemed to be just about impossible to avoid in kids sizes.

    The 24 inch bike is a Kona Hula and a small framed 26 inch wheeled bike has now rendered this surplus to requirements. This is a tremendous bike with shimano gear and even has indexed shifters.
    I still have the touch up paint with this one although I have never had too use it so as it's a couple of years old I don't know what condition it is in (possibly dried up).

    Handily I am in West Yorkshire so maybe you could send a PM and we could sort out a meeting to see whats best.

    I want to move these bikes on but as they are both proper bikes I wanted to make sure they went to a good home rather than just anywhere on ebay where they would be treated like any old £50 scoffolding pole monster.
    I am not looking for big money so get in touch.
  • philguyphilguy Posts: 20
    PM sent. Thanks for replying :)
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