Being a cross-country/trail rider, there is no question in my mind that the 29er is the superior choice for a wheel size. The unfortunate side effect of the 29er is that good 26er’s are getting hard to find. 26 is a great size for the pre-teen kid. Last year, a fellow Dad on Dirt was upgrading his ride and wanted to get rid of his small full-suspension 26er. Even though it was a few years old, this would be a perfect upgrade for my oldest son from his Trek MT-220 24”. So we got it and he absolutely loves it. I’ve always noticed large increases in my boys’ abilities whenever they’ve bumped up to the next wheel size. And going from 24” to 26” was pretty significant.
But there’s a problem ….
Younger brother is now at the age and height where HIS Trek MT-220 is too small. And guess who ALSO wants a full-suspension bike? Well … it’s only fair right?
Yes, there are some new bikes that are custom built for kids. Trek has a version of the Fuel in the 26 for kids. I think it’s great that there are some good quality builds for kids bikes, but where did all of the used bikes go? In an effort to spend the same amount that we did for the other bike, new is out of the question.
When I was debating 26 for my boys I thought it would be simple to find 26 stuff. I’d love to upgrade the fork on my older boy’s bike from coil spring to air … but there doesn’t seem to be used stuff out there. I really expected to find more.
In the end, I posted up a topic on the MMBA (Michigan Mountain Bike Association) forum that I was looking for a bike. I was contacted by a guy looking to get rid of a Specialized Camber FSR in a small. It was a bit more than I wanted to spend, but was a really good deal and had everything I was looking for in a bike for my son. It’s funny how once you start spending money on bikes, it gets easier and easier to spend more and more!
With this addition to stable, the whole family is now on full suspension bikes. Looks like my off season will be spent doing fork and shock maintenance.
So for the time being, we should be good on bikes for a while. Well … unless we start doing family winter rides … then we’ll need fat bikes. Or the boys want to dirt jump, or cyclocross, or road, or downhill …..