Do you remember your first serious mountain bike? If you were lucky, you might have had something half decent, but the majority of us likely started off on something a bit more, ahem, rustic. And if you were a fortunate youngin who had parents to help out, there's a good chance that said bike was at least one size too large for you... you know, so it'd be the last bike they ever had to buy. Now that it's 2017, there's an entire segment of second or third generation little rippers, many of whom with parents that ride and know the performance difference between a junker and a bike designed to let someone excel.
There are only a few options to choose from if you're looking for a high-end kids bike, and these three from Meekboyz are probably the only option if you'd like to see your little guy or girl on a carbon fiber machine that's exotic enough to make adults wish they were three or four feet tall. All three feature carbon fiber front and rear triangles, a dual-link suspension layout designed to work well with low shock pressures that kids require, and dream-worthy builds that include carbon fiber rims, titanium spokes, Hope and SRAM running gear, and suspension from Fox.
The price? Well, it's a lot, as you'd expect. The 20'' wheeled MiniBeast (100mm/120mm) retails for $6,800 USD; the 24'' wheeled Beast (180mm/180mm) sells for $7,500 USD; and the 26'' wheeled MegaBeast (185mm/200mm) costs $8,400 USD. You're going to really have to like your kid to pick up one of these things, and while there's no denying that most of us are going to scoff at those numbers, don't forget that a high-end adult bike with a carbon fiber frame, carbon wheels, and the best of the best component spec will easily eclipse the price of the Meekboyz machines. Then again, while adults are going to go through a bike every two or three years, at least you won't be growing out of them.
Meekboyz says that they sell about one hundred complete bikes per year, which is, admittedly, more than I would have guessed. They're expecting sales numbers to increase, too, with 2017 being just their second year in production. I've never wanted to be four feet tall more than I do right now.
The Meekboyz Beast, pictured above, is a 24'' wheeled bike with 180mm of rear wheel travel and a 180mm stroke Fox 36 up front. Like the other two machines, the Beast is built up around a carbon fiber frame manufactured in Asia, and it employs the same dual-link suspension layout that's designed for light riders and off the shelf shocks. And while the frame certainly looks wild, you'll find "standard" 12 x 142mm rear hub spacing, a normal seat post size, and an 83mm wide threaded bottom bracket shell. Sure, the Hope crankset is short to better suit little legs, but the rest of the build is relatively normal, even if it makes most full-sized bikes look like budget builds.
The Beast's claimed weight is right around 26.5lbs, and it has a $7,500 USD price tag. That's a hell of a lot of chores.
A lot of grom bikes on the market feature some variation of a single pivot suspension layout, likely to help keep costs as low as possible but, as you can probably tell, that's not really the Meekboyz M.O., is it? The bikes' carbon fiber swingarms are molded in two separate pieces before being joined together about halfway up the chain and seat stays, and the aluminum links are machined in New Zealand and then shipped to Meekboyz's Honk Kong HQ to be assembled.
Want your little person's name machined into the link? No problem, dad. All of the pivots rotate on sealed cartridge bearings, and all three models come with needle bearings installed in both shock eyelets.
The wildest looking of the three has to be the MiniBeast, a 20'' wheeled bike with 100mm of rear wheel travel that's paired with a 120mm stroke fork. The littlest bike's build is just as Gucci as its bigger brothers, with 20'' carbon rims, titanium spokes, and fancy running gear from SRAM and Hope, all of which adds up to a $6,800 USD MSRP. Could 26'' wheels make a comeback on in-betweener sized bikes? The MegaBeast rolls on 26'' wheels, carbon fiber, of course, has 185mm of rear wheel travel, a 200mm fork, and a $8,400 USD price tag.