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Pimping a 20" isla bike

Walls82Walls82 Posts: 126
So its my sons 6th Birthday in a months time and after riding his cnoc 14 since he was 3 he is moving onto a Beinn 20" small in red.

I'm going to get his bike second hand and when I sell on his cnoc 14 it should only cost about £50-60 so I was going to spend a few £ on pimping his new bike.

So what realistically can I do without going silly?

I found a thread from 2012 on the mtbr forums and have nicked a load of ideas from him but he was mainly after weight saving.

I guess saving weight would be ideal as he isn't particularly big but as with most bike upgrades making it look cool will be the other one!

I think I'm going to change the pedals seeing as the bike will take a standard size thread I was thinking welgo 111 pedals as you can get them in red.

Some red Aest brake levers or is it likely they will be too far away from the bar to pull with little fingers?

Any advice on saddles, so far I've only seen black ideally i'd like to get him a red and black saddle but can't really find anything?

Wheel upgrade - the premium Beinn has stans crest but I can't find them anywhere online so I presume they are only made for that range, I have a feeling I'd have to spend a lot of money so its not worth it, though someone here may know different? Reflective rim stickers might be an idea and very cheap to do.

Tyres - reading online tyres seem like an easy way to save weight, we mainly ride on roads and tow paths so he doesn't need anything super grippy. Does anyone know the max width tyre the wheels would take I know they would take 1.85 but there seems to be a lot more choice for 2.0? The Schwalbe little Joe is the lightest 20" tyre around that i can find but I can hardly find any info on other tyres.

Carbon seat post - I presume I can use any seat post (there looks to be two post sizes depending on year 25.4 or 27)or do I need to worry about the saddle rail width?

Carbon bar - I'm guessing I could cut down a set of mountain bike bars, does anyone know the clamp size or I could just buy a new stem? My sons usual method of getting off his bike is just to jump off and drop it but I presume a mountain bike bar is designed for that? The plus side of changing the bar is that there would be more choice of grips.

Name stickers seem to be cheap, the stuff I can find is a tad boring with the name and flag but he might like it anyway.

Most stuff i'd be looking to get second hand and probably wouldn't do everything, it would be interesting to hear what other people have done and whats actually possible.


  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 11,003
    Walls82 wrote:

    So what realistically can I do without going silly?

    First thing you need to decide, is whether you are pimping it for his benefit - or for yours?

    If I'm completely honest, I wouldn't bother. Perhaps change the tyres for some of the 20" Reidh Pro folding, from the Isla website as that's likely to make the biggest difference. Other than that, I'd just let him ride it. He will have outgrown it in a year or so anyway, and none of the stuff you are suggesting is likely to add any re-sale value to the bike either way.
  • My daughter has this bike and I could put all kind of things on it but I have not as she loves riding it as it is. Thats good enough for me. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • I wouldn't bother . It's light enough as it is. save your money for when they are getting older around 9 to 11 when the decision about what to buy them becomes much more serious (i.e. a "proper bike" of road or mtb flavour depending on what you do... or even both!)

    Change the tyres to suit your riding conditions, thats it. I put the isla-then-recomnended conti explorers for more grip in the woburn woods on mine, that was all.

    beinn 20 large (not small) for sale soon if of interest.. just about to be outgrown. orbea mx 24 trail likely to replace it (hence what I mean about needing money for more serious bike!)
    MTB: Giant Trance X2 2009 (yes, its a 26er. For twisty singletrack in woburn woods, it still rocks)
    road: specialized tricross elite 2011
    hybrid: giant roam 0 2014
    garaged project: gt tempest 1998
    borrowed: whoosh sirocco cdl e-bike
  • I have a different take on this than the above:

    While I agree with the sentiment that my 6-yr old son would love riding his bike whether it's been pimped or not, it's hard not to upgrade when the bike as stock weighs more than half what he does. Okay, it's a GT Aggressor, not an Isla, so there's a lot more opportunity for weight savings -- So far, I've shaved off about 4-lbs and improved his fit on the bike:

    - I've replaced the stock steel bar, stem and seatpost with items (mostly) from the spare parts bin. And, yes, carbon fiber does feature.

    - I also have an old XT shifter and derailleur to replace the already discarded stock gripshift-style shifter and Tourney derailleur. (The bike is currently being run as a singlespeed with a chain tensioner. I let him figure out hand-brakes before expecting him to use multiple gears too.)

    - Regarding handlebar grips, I couldn't find any thin enough that let him comfortably reach the brake levers, so instead used cork handlebar tape doubled-up at the pressure points.

    - The stock tires are heavy, draggy and will be replaced with Maxxis DTH Folding BMX tires for next summer. The DTHs don't have knobs but their tread pattern should be plenty grippy for the hard-pack trails around here, they'll roll better on the road than knobbies and will save another lb or so of weight from stock.

    - I'm also keen to replace the brake levers as they're mostly plastic and flex a lot when pulled. I'm liking the look of those Aest levers -- They do seem to have enough reach-adjust to work too.

    Am I pimping the bike for myself? Yes - and enjoying every minute of it. However, my son is also enjoying the process and gets to enjoy its residual benefits - whether he really notices them while out riding or not.
  • The isla bennin is about 6kg though and saving weight is not a priority for a 5 years bike. functionality is. -wheel building and other stuff.
  • Walls82Walls82 Posts: 126
    Gosh your all very sensible!

    My main concern was weight as his cnoc 14 is 5.7kg and the Beinn small is 8kg, and he isn't particularly strong for his age, but he will get used to it eventually. He really likes those gimmicky bikes you see in Halfords so I wanted to make his bike be more appealing than them but sensible-ish at the same time.

    I was thinking this bike will last him at least 2 years so didn't mind spending £100 extra that I'm not going to get back, it would be a bit hypocritical of me to waste money on my bikes and not spend any money on his! :)

    Obviously I wouldn't change anything that will make the functionality worse so instead of making changes before he gets the bike I think it will be the case of making some changes after he has the bike to see how he likes it and change it back if he doesn't. I really like the idea of making the changes with him so he learns a bit about bike maintenance as well.

    The tyres seem to be a given to change, I read somewhere that the stock tyres have a high rolling resistance and aren't grippy either. I was planning on taking him to a local trail a couple of days after his birthday so having decent tyres makes sense.

    I've read about the twist shift on the beinn being hard to get on with but I won't bother changing that unless he really struggles with it.

    The bar tape is a great suggestion, the grips on his current bike aren't particularly great and I read the same of the beinn as well, and that's something he can choose and do as well.
  • The 'pre-pimped' Pro Beinn 20 is 'only' a grand!!!! ... o-series-5

  • Walls82Walls82 Posts: 126
    Yep thats what got me thinking how much weight could you save without spending a grand!

    I imagine all the weight is saved on the wheels.
  • Yeah the wheels, and the carbon forks, and the carbon seat post, and the Ti axle pedles, and the tyres, etc, etc..

    I know its great, but a grand for a 5YO's bike!!!!
  • Walls82Walls82 Posts: 126
    I agree its mental but I'm sure there is demand otherwise they wouldn't bother. Shame they don't do an inbetween bike thats quite a jump from £390 to £999 for 1.5kg.

    I bet there are a lot of parents who wouldn't think twice about buying their child a ps4 or xbox for their 6th or 7th birthday which I personally think is twice as mental

    Just seen there is a carbon fibre balance bike for £999.99 for sale at John lewis Kiddimoto The Karbon Balance Bike - wonder if you can get a cheap chinese knock off! :)
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,490
    !!! £1k for a balance bike!
    Mind u - 350g to 4Kg is quite a difference in weight.
  • the pro at at a grand for a 5-6yo is just madness. 1x10 , no way they will make best use of that. plus, its going to get crashed, left in fields unattended , all sorts - - you want to do that with a 1k bike? no, your going to want them to treat it with care (unless you are made of money?) in which case you aren't letting them use it as a kids bike. really don't know who the market is for that thing.

    stock 8kg really is light enough (the halfords nasties will be 13-14kg) so its still a massive gain. if he asks for a nasty rear coil like the one on his mates halfords/tesco bike - challenge them to a) pick it up b) get the front wheel up at your loca trail..

    keep the weight saving money for when you need it on the next bike on. I'm going through that pain at the moment - at 9, a "proper MTB" becomes something they can actually use so spending the money for hydro discs, 1x10 / 1x11, weight tunable air forks etc becomes worthwhile.
    MTB: Giant Trance X2 2009 (yes, its a 26er. For twisty singletrack in woburn woods, it still rocks)
    road: specialized tricross elite 2011
    hybrid: giant roam 0 2014
    garaged project: gt tempest 1998
    borrowed: whoosh sirocco cdl e-bike
  • apreadingapreading Posts: 4,533
    Only thing I would maybe replace is the tyres, the saddle if he finds it uncomfortable (comfort is more important than weight here) and maybe the gears because some dont like the grip shifters.

    Not worth doing anything else.

    Seatpost could be considered but the 25.4mm seatpost is not common so you might struggle to find anything better.

    Bars and stem could be done and could be reused on a later bike probably so if you are desparate, that is an option.

    Wheels would be a good upgrade but you probably wont find anything amazing in 20". I didnt think they made Crest rims in that size but obviously they do but then again they are disk brake only.

    But before you know it, he will have outgrown it and it will have been a waste of effort.

    Better to spend the money on experiences - cake/ice cream etc at the stops when out on the bike or even a bike holiday: ... tion/UK/29
  • natrixnatrix Posts: 1,111
    Lots of pimping advice on this thread ... 24-rebuild

    You can buy the stans crest rims but then you'll need to build wheels around them.
    ~~~~~~Sustrans - Join the Movement~~~~~~
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