Specialized Announces New Riprock Kids' Bikes

Oct 26, 2021
by Mike Kazimer  
Riprock Expert 24

The first batch of kids to grow up without training wheels are nearing adulthood, a generation of mountain bikers that possess a mind-boggling level of talent. It turns out that a few extra years of practice and bikes that actually works makes a big difference when it comes to developing riding skills.

To help ensure today's pint sized shredders have equipment that's up to the task, Specialized has launched a new Riprock lineup. There are three models designed for riders age 4-12, or from 42" - 56": the Riprock 20, Riprock 24, and the Riprock Expert 24”.

Riprock 24

Narrow grips and disc brakes make it easier for smaller riders to slow down.

The Riprock 20” and 24” retail for $650 and $700 and weigh in at 22.5 and 24.7 lb, respectively. Both come with rigid forks – according to Eric Fischer, Product Manager for Specialized Kids’ Bikes, “Most young riders don’t need suspension forks, and by offering a rigid fork, we’re able to dramatically reduce the bike weight, which ultimately results in a more positive experience for smaller, less powerful riders.”

There's an 8-speed cassette on the Riprock 20, 9-speeds on the 24, and 10 on the Riprock Expert.

When it comes to geometry, the new Riprocks are slacker than the previous versions by 1-degree, the chainstay lengths have been reduced, and the stack heights have been dropped to help riders keep weight on their hands.

The Expert 24” retails for $1,500 USD, and has a claimed weight of 26.4 pounds. That extra weight comes from the addition of a Manitou J-Unit Comp fork with 100mm of travel. The Expert also has SRAM hydraulic disc brakes and a SRAM NX 11-speed drivetrain.

All of the bikes in the line have components designed specifically for kids, things like smaller diameter grips, narrower saddles, and cranks with a narrower Q-factor to help ensure a comfortable fit. They also have 42-tooth cassettes on all models in order to make it a little easier for groms to get up those hills before dusting their parents on the way back down.




86 Comments

  • 34 3
 I'm going to have to wait until my daughter fully outgrows the carbon balance bike, 22-23 should be about right, then I can justify picking this one up.
  • 25 5
 I had high hopes for Specialized's next kids bike but aside from the JUnit fork this is a very expensive, heavy dud. Check out the difference between the Nukeproof cub scout race. JUnit Expert fork, Minion tires, wide-range 11-46 Deore, decent Tektro brakes with shorty levers, kids cockpit/pedals, dialed geo and 24.6lbs.

nukeproof.com/products/2021-cub-scout-24

Its cheaper and lighter than there damn rigid model here with a better spec. And it has the expert version of the JUnit fork (the comp here is nice too...everything JUnit/Hayes/Sunringle/protaper is sick...but hell it should be a cost savings with it, not a cost increase).

Specialized should have done something like that. 700$ for rigid bike is lame. Rocky, Norco etc have all done pretty solid airfork hardtails of about the same weight for around 780$ so this is pretty lame for the money. Hell Vitus does a better spec'd bike for 600$ with an airfork, hydro brakes, rocket ron tires, decent geo and like 25lbs. 600$. Woom Off is around 850$ if you want a super light airfork XC hardtail that's pretty dialed.

Good stuff: Cranklength is likely nice, Manitou JUnit forks are sick, brakes look good and tires look like they have proper tread.

I just don't get this. Weirdly real heavy and expensive!? It just doesn't match up to anything else the other good brands are doing.
  • 2 0
 I was just about to mention the NP Cub Scout 24! My daughter has one... very cool bike! 24lbs which isn't the lightest out there... nicer build too for a bit less $$. I am quite curious why the bike brands feel they need to put hydroformed tubes on these bikes... just use straight tubing and reduce the weight. It should be cheaper to make and lighter for the lil' whipper-snappers. Early Rider seems to be the only brand "right-sizing" frame tubing at least from what I've seen. Just remember, 100 grams saved is like you saving 300-400 grams on your own bike!
  • 3 3
 Those brakes are the most heinously garbage safety hazard ali-express dumpster-fires ever. A pair of Shimano v-brakes work infinitely better, trust me.
  • 3 0
 'Earlyrider' kids bikes are exactly what I was looking for when I had young kids. I had to adapt bikes to compensate for lower spring rates etc, when bike companies just didn't think of these things
  • 3 0
 as someone who has ridden base level tektro brakes, they win the arm pump world championships and are not nice
  • 4 2
 Good stuff you missed: NO GRIPSHIT that tiny hands can't even operate in both directions. Otherwise you nailed it.
  • 2 0
 @mior: they aren’t all the same, I think the Nukeproof bike were Aurigas. We had those on a Spawn bike and they were fine for a 50-60lb kid and thankfully the levers were pretty short. Most nice kids bikes still come with crap brakes without small levers unfortunately so hard to fault too bad for a less than idea brake. Hayes makes the only kids specific brakes in their Dominions with the SFL kids lever. When we switched to those, all hand pain went away for my 6yro on 8-10mile DH shuttles. Those things are insane but not specd on complete bikes yet.
  • 2 0
 @laksboy: honestly my 5y old have 1 bike with grip ship and one with trigger shifter - much easier with gip shift for him;
  • 2 1
 @nickmalysh: he must have big hands and you must be well endowed. I've never seen a 5yo kid able to get their small hand around a grip shifter and reliably shift in both directions. I've also never seen a "kid-sized" grip shifter that wasn't the same diameter as an adult shifter. Which would be the equivalent of you and I trying to hold onto a grip the size of a 12oz beverage while riding. Imagine the arm pump? Anyways glad it works for your kid. perfect world is trigger shifter with gear indicators. I still have to tell my 7&8 YO "big button"... "Little button"... And they ride a lot.
  • 1 0
 @laksboy: MicroShift 3X7 Speed Compatible for Shimano Bicycle Twist Grip Shift Gear Shifters… www.amazon.com/dp/B01GX1S2JK/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glt_fabc_VSA04BR69Q8ZRWJSWKST?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

You do not need to fully grab grip shift, it should be light enough to switch once in a while
  • 2 0
 One thing that transcends the parts is what it looks like Spec is doing with the fit/geo - check out how short/tall the Nukeproof is vs. the Spec. The Spec is a lot lower/longer and appears to be slacker as well when the sagged HT angle of the Nukeproof it compared. If this were an adult bike we'd be all over the geo as much as the parts selection. I'm not a kid so I don't know if the longer/lower/slacker trend translates to bikes this size, but maybe it might be something to consider. I know that I like my bikes more now than 10 years ago when they were short and steep.

My daughter is almost 5 and on a Cleary 16" so I'm keeping an eye on the whole package when it comes time for her next bike - parts spec as well as fit/geo. Oh and color, she loves pink.
  • 3 0
 @bicycle019: You should look at the geo charts as your off base a bit.

The Nukeproof geometry and this are about the same for the hardtail version except this still has a 67d HTA (68d on rigid). That's not exactly modern, especially for a general use hardtail where the HTA isn't static underload like a FS will be. Nukeproof is better there by a small bit. Chainstay lengths are much tighter in this version and I think that they nailed it there. Nukeproof also has a slightly lower standover as well, so it wins there too. Geometry is important, when we slacked out my youngest sons Spawn Yama Jama 20 with a more supportive JUnit fork (stock is divey), the OTB's on rowdy/steeper stuff immediately disappeared.

Regardless, its an easy comparison: Nukeproof has similar geometry, much better spec, is about 300$ cheaper and freaking 2lbs lighter. No contest winner by a lot, I don't get why people would be enamored with this Spec bike unless they just need something from a LBS and have money to burn on needlessly heavy childs bike. And the Nukeproof isn't even the best out there. Go look at what Orbea has with their Lafuery 20/24" JUnit bikes.

Geo chart here:
bikerumor.com/2021/10/26/specialized-riprock-kids-mountain-bikes-offer-proportional-sizing-suspension-for-those-who-need-it
  • 4 0
 @nickmalysh: Meh. Still fat and sized for 22.2 mm bars and 7 speed... Check out SDG's jr pro kit for bars. sdgcomponents.com/products/jr-pro-kit?variant=32333056409705
19mm bars allowing much smaller diameter grips which require much less hand strength to hold on. These (or the similar small diameter 15.5 OD J-unit bars) should be STOCK on all kids bikes. Specialized with all their expertise in ergonomics should know this... My little kids stopped complaining about sore tired hands when we made the SDG switch (duh arm/hand pump from adult size grips). My now 13 yo didn't upsize to adult bars until age 11, but he still annihilates grips because his hands are small and he has to hold them so much tighter. And FYIW, I had high end gripshift on a Pinion gearbox Zerode enduro bike. Long rolling descents where I kept my hand on the shifter to shift would bruise the hell out of my right palm. Gripshift is stupid for 90% of riders but especially people with small hands which includes ALL children.
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: On my 500, the hdm 275, 276, and 285's hurt my hands and im 13
  • 1 0
 @bicycle019: To piggyback off of what @Svinyard said, you can do a pretty good comparison of the bikes on 99 spokes. Check the link below.
99spokes.com/compare?bikes=specialized-riprock-expert-24-2022,specialized-riprock-24-2022,nukeproof-cub-scout-24-race-2021;*z.24%22|w.24|bb.45
  • 2 0
 @laksboy: small diameter grips and narrow Q factor is a nice touch imo
  • 2 0
 @laksboy: what you said!
  • 1 1
 That's fine that Nukeproof makes a cooler kid's bike, but usually you won't be seeing NP on your average bike shop sales floor. I applaud Specialized for making a move towards a more capable bike for kids who want to rip.
  • 3 0
 @seraph: There's lots of kids bikes brands out there other than Nukeproof that offer much better spec for the money (ie Prevelo, Early Rider, Woom, Propain, Trailcraft), but as you say, you just don't see these in shops. You do, however, see Commencal and Spawn in shops now which offer FAR more value than this boat anchor! So for one of the largest mtb brands in the world with one of the highest R&D budgets in the industry to come out with this heavy overpriced kids bike, I would actually call this a feeble effort!
  • 1 0
 @Svinyard: availability in stock plays huge factor , i went with giant stp 20/24 couple month ago because that the only available in stock was, not because top of components
  • 1 0
 @derekr: We don't see Commencal or Spawn (never heard of them) in the US though.
  • 2 1
 @seraph: look harder. use google. Or PB buy/sell.
  • 1 0
 @laksboy: you didn't read my original comment. I'm talking about kids bikes we see in stores in the US.
  • 2 1
 Commencal has a store in golden CO at their USA headquarters. derekr is canadian so he's probably seen Spawns in shops in Canadia or maybe PNW. The whole point of the argument that it's weak sauce that the big 3, Specialized, Trek, & Giant, refuses to use their massive resources to make a decent bike for a decent price at a decent weight. Kudo's to the little guys I guess. But feeble on Specialized's behalf in this case. They took baby steps and charged a premium for them.
  • 9 1
 Really appreciate the choice of going with a rigid fork versus a coil sprung brick from Suntour, but surprised the price is $650/$700 for a rigid fork. At that price or less you can get an ok air sprung fork bike.

In terms of the 24" Expert, if I was spending that money, I'd just drop the extra coin to get a Trailcraft Pineridge 24, which will also hold its resale value way better than this.
  • 3 0
 Yeah. Plus their rigid bike is the same price as most other's hardtails. I don't get it. Expensive and Heavy...pick two?
  • 18 10
 "Most young riders don’t need suspension forks"

utter nonsense.
  • 4 2
 "to save weight"...while making their rigid option heavier than most cheaper hardtails. Nonsense indeed.
  • 2 0
 @Svinyard: My thoughts exactly
  • 4 11
flag Chonky13 (Oct 26, 2021 at 10:53) (Below Threshold)
 You didn't learn to ride on a b.m.x.?
Skill advances when people learn techniques on their own rather than relying on suspension to save them from mistakes. Plus, they will appreciate it so much more if they earn it instead of just being given a super bike as a youngster.
  • 3 1
 @Chonky13: yes I learned to ride on a BMX in the 80's but I didn't ride off road on it. Having seen how much my own kids progress when I put decent forks on their bikes I'm sticking with my original statement.
  • 1 2
 @Chonky13: The point is they are rigid bikes that are the same price and heavier then other brands bikes with a suspension fork.
  • 3 3
 Fixed it for you:

"A lot of young riders don't need suspension forks, but mtb-scotland's kids slay trail like kelpies drown people, so his models will have a 200mm Boxxer option."
  • 3 0
 Most does not mean all of them, majority kids rides flow trails at the lover speeds, which could be easily done on rigid fork;
  • 7 3
 A plus tire on a kids hardtail makes more sense than a 1.5kg 100mm fork.
  • 2 0
 I bought and old hotrock 20" and put a spinner 300 air fork on. My kid rode the shit out of it.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-scotland: The best time I had as a teenager was riding my BMX on trails. Rigid is tot fine for kids.
  • 1 0
 @mookie83: well off road is not the same as riding a BMX on a track or the street.
  • 4 0
 This is an overpriced, poorly conceived, piece of junk aimed SQUARELY at parents with more money than awareness regarding the 20" kids market.

Essentially, this is not a bike for the Pinkbike crowd. Waste of ad money.

$1500 for that "expert" bike is insulting.

/rant
  • 4 0
 the only thing better than spoiling myself with great a bike is spoiling the kids. cost to family fun ratio too good to not justify the expense
  • 1 0
 I think this definitely is going to appeal to most families, however; with more and more groms getting into riding, I'm surprised to see that companies such as specialized have not made a high end kids bike. Even Chromag makes a full suspension kids bike... A company famous for hardtails.
The market is there.
  • 2 0
 I don't doubt there are people out there willing/wanting to shell out for a high-spec kids' bikes, but considering the cost and how quickly kids will outgrow bikes, I bet the bigger slice of the market is just looking for smartly spec'd kids' bikes that are comfortable to ride, have good fit and ergonomics (i.e. components that make sense for small people), are reasonably priced and DON"T WEIGH A TON. I think that last one is one if not the biggest factor for parents. I've gone through that myself over the last 5+ years with 20", 24" and 27.5" wheel bikes, researching for a long time before settling on a bike and still ending up changing many components to drop pounds or improve ergonomics. Many of those things are finally being considered and improved on in current kids' bikes, including these Specialized bikes.
  • 1 0
 @arek: The weight issue is real for kids' bikes. Imagine riding on a bike that is 1/2 to 1/3 your body weight.

As far as a market for better spec'd kids bikes, for sure there is. And the LBS model of trade in to save on the next purchase (at least thats what mine offers) takes a big bite out of the cost when you know you can flip it to upgrade when they grow without dealing wth the pain of a private sale.
  • 1 0
 I think the global market for high end kids bikes is limited compared to other stuff and perhaps doesn't justify the return on investment for the "big 3" (Spesh, Trek, Giant). We're likely biased in Canada to seeing 8 - 10 year olds ripping but I bet that's a small market and there's a lot of competition already. Higher volume and higher margins in the more generic kids bikes that sell everywhere.....
  • 1 0
 @sweaman2: it doesn't need to be a global market. They can target specific markets. Again, the market is growing. Yes the market already has a group of players, bit they are limited, and again they do t have the buying power of the "Big 3". This is not to say that specialized shouldn't be marketing their current offerings. I'm simply speaking as an addition. I don't believe DH bikes take up a large portion of the market, but there is enough demand there to continue to produce and sell them. You can argue the economics all you want, but in all reality, even if specialized break even, they are gaining more market share, and therefore are likely going to encourage parents to purchase from the same brand.
  • 1 0
 @arek: I agree, with you; however, I I'm speaking as an addition. Why limit your potential market share?
  • 1 0
 Marin and others listened. 24 26 and xs 27.5 squish bikes available.
  • 1 0
 @sweaman2: Not really. I live 1000 miles south and love ripping with my son. I made the decision to get him equipment that is capable of riding the same terrain my buddies and I ride. It’s made a difference and at 10 he is a little ripper, plus it’s a ton of fun watching him progress. I consider it an investment in his development as a rider.
  • 1 0
 I'm highly considering the 20" and doing the geo math of adding a RST SPEX 15 AIR fork that is 383mm long. Other bikes considered in the same price range, but the wife can't get past the colors:

#1 Rocky Mountain Growler JR. 20- Modern frame and geo. Hate the coil fork but would upgrade down the road (worst kids color ever!) LBS weight 25lbs w/pedals. $779
#2 Rocky Mountain Vertex JR 20. Older 5 year design... lbs weight 24lbs w/pedals. $779
#3 Woom OFF AIR 4. Screams i'm still in the Woom. 22lbs claimed without pedals. Lame geo. $950

Next jump up in price point is out of scope for 5 year old:
Nukeproof Cub Scout Race, Spawn, Prevelo, TrailCraft, Early Rider, Commencal...etc.
  • 1 0
 Look for a spinner 300 20" fork.
  • 1 0
 Riprock should be renamed into Ripoff or R.I.P.Rock. Get a 24“ Woomb bike for the same money and 20lbs. Specialized, it is a shame how ignorant you are about what the next gen needs. Stop making overweight and overpriced kids bikes!
  • 1 0
 I just used my own old 26er for bits, and used a Carbon 26er frame off Ali, shortened some 175mm cranks to 150mm for the bb92 press fit bb that was needed for the frame, shortened handlebars short stem, 1x9 XT drive train 120mm psylo race fork XT 160mm brakes tubeless XT on Mavic, racing ray/Ralph tyres, and it weighed in at 10.3 kg (22.7 pounds.) My 8 year old girl rips it and loves what 26 inch quality parts add to a kids setup. So glad to get out of the 24inch junk for kids, the 26 inch hardware should last her another 6 years. Seems like a better investment than hobbling my kid with 24 inch heavy stuff.
  • 7 5
 same price as a Commencal META 24HT just without the hassle of a suspension fork and dropper post. specialized knocking it out of the park as usual!
  • 5 3
 Same price for less bike and you see that as good? In that case let me sell you a rigid, SS bike for the same price as a new Enduro - how's that for knocking it out of the park! Big Grin
  • 7 1
 @Joebohobo: I think it was sarcasm?
  • 1 0
 @Tristanssid: ding ding ding!

For kids bikes commencal has it going on

Specialized missed the mark with this one.
  • 1 0
 No mention of dropper post compatibility?
Just hacked some holes in my son’s Trek Roscoe to fit him a internally routed dropper and now he’s all over it like we were on our first droppers
  • 3 0
 I guess Woom and others will send a million thanks to specialized for not being able to compete
  • 2 0
 Hmm. I could get a 17lb Woom Off for $799 or a 22lb Riprock for $650. Not to mention that the Woom Off will re-sell for $500+. Tough call.
  • 1 0
 My daughter has been riding a similar Trek Roscoe 24 for a couple years and it's been amazing. She can ride quite a bit of chunk with it due to the big tires.
  • 1 0
 yeap!! order one now ,by the time it get delivered to you, your kid will be married and will give it to your grandson!! still waiting for my demo ! thanks specialized
  • 2 0
 $1,500 for a hardtail kids bike. Ah, we've truly hit levels of prestige pricing absurdity.
  • 1 0
 Marin rift zone blows these away.
  • 3 0
 Woom bikes for the kiddie win.
  • 1 0
 How have none of the other suspension companies bothered to release a fork to compete with the J-Unit? They’ve pretty much got a monopoly on the kids bike market
  • 2 0
 nice, I like the price and component spec, I would agree that majority of 20' bikes do not need suspension fork
  • 2 0
 Even as a Specialized fanboi, their 20”-24” offerings have been shit for sometime now.
  • 5 7
 hot take ...but balance bikes are overrated....just get the kid on anything that'll fit them as soon as possible. Took the training wheels off my 4 year old's bike this weekend (16") and he figured it out within an hour, only one crash.
  • 2 0
 most bikes with training wheels are heavy and low quality garb
  • 1 0
 @isaac22: true....just don't buy the crappy ones. Both of my kids started off on 12" Giants with all aluminum frames and training wheels (starting at 2 1/2 for daughter and at 3 for my son). Couldn't have been happier with the quality....neighbor (who had originally bought balance bikes for his kids) agreed and bought the same for all 3 of his kids as well. Not cheap but weight savings with the aluminum is worth it. Got 1.5 years out of the 12" with my son before switching him to a 16" Cannondale.
  • 2 0
 Both my boys started racing striders at 4. Then race bmx at5. Then flow trails. Then lift days. At 7.
  • 1 0
 Balance bikes are for younger kids. My kids started on balance bikes at 2 and both pedaled with no training wheels at 3.
  • 1 0
 i'm surprised they didn't one up their carbon balance bike and priced this at 2k
  • 2 1
 So if you get Specialized you pay the same like at others and you get 2,5kg more of a bike, what a deal!
  • 1 0
 My first kinda real bike was a 40lb diamondback that I had when I was 8 years old idk how i rode the think being 60lbs.
  • 1 0
 Love more solid options for our kiddos! Good geo, and long lasting spec.
  • 1 0
 I'll wait for the carbon S-works Turbo version
  • 1 0
 Enough of the HT kids bikes . They need more FS
  • 1 0
 RickRock?
  • 1 0
 Never gonna give you up.
  • 2 3
 Hard. No. Hard no!
  • 2 0
 Waiting for the full carbon version?
  • 2 0
 2 hard nos?? You against kids having bikes??
  • 2 0
 I'm not going to shit on your opinion, as you are entitled to it. I am however curious as to what is the motive behind your opinion?
I for one would not purchase this bike for one of my kids, because I personally am after something much more high end for them. Spending our summers at whistler bike park, and racing in between, my kids need it.
  • 2 0
 I'm not against kids having bikes, Im just against MY kids having bikes

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