Bike size for my 10 y/o and 9 y/o

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Bike size for my 10 y/o and 9 y/o
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Posted: Oct 17, 2020 at 21:30 Quote
Hello everyone. Like the title says I’m looking for some advice on sizing for my son and daughter. I used to do some mountain biking about 15 yrs ago riding a Gary Fisher Tassajara so I’ve been out of the game for quite some time. My kids have shown interest in getting into mountain biking so I took them to my local bike shop today to see what was available and do some test rides. The guy at the bike shop kept recommending this 24” Trek bike for both of my kids. That bike was at the upper limits for my daughter and looked way too small for my son.

My son is 10 y/o, about 4’11” and weighs about 104 pounds. My daughter is around 4’7” and 92 pounds. I really want them to be able to get bikes with some growing room. Am I wrong in thinking to get them something with 27.5” wheels in an XS frame for my daughter and a S frame for my son?

I did some searching and I have read good things on the Vitus Nucleus VR for entry level bikes that don’t break the bank. I’m completely open to all advice. Actually I’m seeking all the advice I can get. I do know that I don’t want to get bikes from my local bike shop. I just don’t trust their advice.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 at 14:58 Quote
My daughter is also 9 years old, but 4' 5" and a fair amount lighter. Her 24" wheel bike fits her well. Assuming your looking for basic trail bikes, a 24" bike is definitely too small for your son. Right now I'd say an adult XS would likely fit him the best. For your daughter, a 24" bike would probably fit the best right now, most of my daughter's friends are a couple inches taller than her, but they all ride 24" bikes.

I imagine Vitus bikes are fine. Direct to consumer brands or bikes sold though Chain Reaction and similar outlets are usually a better value than what you'll be able to get in the local shops.

Like with anything, there are compromises and trade-offs for any decision you make. If your kids aren't riding anything technical and they're fairly strong riders they might be fine with bikes that are too large for them now. If they're not particularly strong riders, it would be a shame to turn them off from the sport because they crashed one too may times not being able to handle their clearly too large bikes. In my experience decent quality kids bikes (500ish dollar range) hold their value well so you might be able to recoup a fair amount of your investment if they outgrow them quickly and you have to sell after a year or two.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 at 15:38 Quote
I can't give a definitive size recommendation, but I can give a general piece of advice: get them on largest wheels possible. Small wheel size is a major factor in the lack of stability in kids' bikes. If they'll be riding off road, the poor roll-over of small wheels will also be a problem.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 at 15:56 Quote
Thanks for the replies. It’s so hard to find bikes right now I don’t think I have the luxury of being overly picky. I see that the Vitus also offers a Nucleus VRW which is a women’s bike and its available in XS which might work better for my daughter. Is there any downside to going with a women’s bike? They also offer the Nucleus in 26” wheels which might be a better option for her. Regardless I have to keep checking daily for restocks because they will go fast once stocked.

I had considered some other brands also but have been told by the LBS that they won’t be available until next year

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 at 16:38 Quote
Groundpounder17 wrote:
Is there any downside to going with a women’s bike?

"Men's" and "women's" are just words. If the fit works, it works.

Some companies make modifications like smaller grips, short-reach brake levers, wider saddles, and - rarely - lighter tunes on the dampers. Most just relabel the size - ex. men's small = women's medium - and paint 'em in Easter colours.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 at 16:46 Quote
R-M-R wrote:
Groundpounder17 wrote:
Is there any downside to going with a women’s bike?

"Men's" and "women's" are just words. If the fit works, it works.

Some companies make modifications like smaller grips, short-reach brake levers, wider saddles, and - rarely - lighter tunes on the dampers. Most just relabel the size - ex. men's small = women's medium - and paint 'em in Easter colours.

+1 what he said.

Posted: Oct 19, 2020 at 18:56 Quote
Groundpounder17 wrote:
They also offer the Nucleus in 26” wheels

Purchased one in April for my then 10 year old then about 4'9". Rides it on trails with me and around neighborhood with friends. I think it is a very good value for the build. Daughter's friend same age and size has a Frog MTB 69, would not recommend, not in same class as the Vitus but MSRP at 300 more.

Current 2021 26" at CRC https://www.chainreactioncycles.com/us/en/vitus-nucleus-26-youth-hardtail-bike-2021/rp-prod195902 .. if you can find it in stock I think you would be pretty happy.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 at 3:40 Quote
I'd recommend buying the bikes that fit now or just slightly oversized if they are on the edge of the next size up. Bikes that don't fit aren't as fun to ride on the trails. Maybe 24" or xs for the girl and s for the boy? If budget is a concern, buy used. Either way, plan on bikes not fitting in a year or 2. Its not hard to get a good chunk of your money back out of a good kids mtb. You never know, they can hit a growth spurt and skip a whole size or just plain hate mtb. I have 4 ages 7 to 15. All 4 ride. 2 of them went 2 sizes up in 1 year. One will need 1 size up next year at some point, and the 4th is fine on what hes got going on 3 years. I just sold a used xs hardtail for more than I paid 2 years ago and damn near recovered the cost of a M hardtail. My 2 cents as a budget conscious dad.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 at 4:36 Quote
My 2 boys (7 and 10) are both pretty tall for age.

They are both on GT Stompers now one 24" and one 26" we kitted them out with SDG seat/Grips/Bar/Pedals - since having them they have got much more confident on the trails.

Previous to these they both had Orbea MX20 / MX24 - the little one outgrew the MX20 before the big one outgrew the MX24 otherwise likley the MX24 would still be with the younger one.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 at 6:56 Quote
Thanks everyone. I’m going to keep looking and hopefully bikes will be restocking soon

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 at 7:03 Quote
Get something that is the correct size with room to lift the seatpost. I bought second hand once my kids were up at those sorts of sizes. Much better value, particularly if you can service them yourself.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 at 14:45 Quote
mark-p wrote:
Get something that is the correct size with room to lift the seatpost. I bought second hand once my kids were up at those sorts of sizes. Much better value, particularly if you can service them yourself.

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 at 14:45 Quote
That’s good advice mark and I’ve looked for used but can’t find anything nearby

Posted: Oct 20, 2020 at 15:04 Quote
Although I’m not a specialized fan, I have found a shop about 150 miles away that has the Rockhopper available in xs frame and 27.5 wheels. I think they also have one 26” in xs available. Should I consider them or wait for something better.

Posted: Oct 22, 2020 at 11:09 Quote
The rockhopper is a decent bike, my preference would be the 26" wheel on the XS frame if the rider is at the bottom limit of the size. It all depends on how they are able to handle the bike.

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