/ What MTB features for an 11 year old?

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Bingers - on 21 Apr 2012
My son is now growing out of his child size mountain bike,so we need to make the decision on what could be his last bike before he starts choosing (and hopefully buying) his own. He is a tall 11 years old and is expected to grow to be 6 foot plus.

What sort of features would he need? We go along the canal towpath - mainly cinder, but some mud/grass. We do roads a bit but not much. There is scope round here to go onto the moor if he felt that way inclined as he gets older. Biking isn't his main pasttime, but we've had a reasonable use out of his previous bikes.

Front and back suspension?
V-brakes or disk?
18 or 21 gears or more?
16 inch frame or more?
Anything else?

What bikes can anyone recommend and roughly how much to pay?

JLS on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to Bingers:

I have thought this was the sort of thing you are looking at...
andy - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to Bingers: If he's going to have it til he's 15/16 then i wonder whether you need to think whether he'll use it more for getting around to his mates' houses etc in years to come - so perhaps a bit more road use than to date.

I'm no MTB rider, but I do see a lot of people boinging along roads, tracks and towpaths on full suss bikes when a hardtail (maybe with lockable forks) would be way better.

Our eldest girl got her first adult bike recently and we found the quality and weight was a lot better by going one up from the bottom of the range. We ended up with a Giant from All-Terrain and they price-matched Edinburgh Bike who were cheapest.
Bingers - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to andy:

Thanks to you both.

Andy which model was the Giant? The cheapest is still £295. I can pop down to All Terrain tomorrow, but if I know the model and can quote prices elsewhere it would help.

At Aire Valley Cycles they were pushing a dual suspension, disk braked, quick release Saracen jobbie at £299, but it seemed over the top for what (I think) he needs.

Andrew Lodge - on 21 Apr 2012
In reply to Bingers: Got a Giant Revel 3 for my 9 year old from All Terrian last year and he is delighted with it.
We really wanted a bike with a 26" wheel and they did it with an XXS frame, about 11"!
List price was £295 but they did 10% discount just for asking for the best price
andy - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Bingers: I think we got the Reveal 2 for £295 (I think they get better as the numbers get smaller?). This was about a year ago.
MHutch - on 24 Apr 2012
In reply to Bingers:

I can't see him getting any benefit from a full suspension bike unless he's regularly riding rocky/droppy stuff. The fact that Aire Valley Cycles is pushing one would make me wary of any other advice they're dishing out.

Ultimately, though, at 11, one of the biggest factors is what his mates have. Does he definately want a MTB, not a BMX?

A 16" hardtail will last him well, if you pick a decent, strong frame. The key thing may be to make sure you can upgrade it if necessary - ie if you go for v-brakes, make sure the wheelset can take disc rotors should you want to move on to these.
lpretro1 on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to Bingers: Kid's bikes tedn to be way too heavy and poor components. I'd recommend Isla bikes
bryntwrog on 25 Apr 2012
In reply to Bingers:

The weight of the bike is probably one of the most important factors to consider, followed by the quality of components. Forget rear suspension, for the average kid all it does is add weight and complication, without any gains in performance. If you are only riding tow paths and lanes, then even front suspension is not essential, but a reasonable set of suspension forks helps a lot once you go onto rougher terrain.

My son had an Islabike Creig - cost nearly £600 three years ago, but sold for £300 before Christmas, so only really cost us £300. A £200 bike would probably not have lasted three years!

When looking at a bike, try picking it up. If you struggle, its too heavy! Are the components made of plastic or good quality metal from recognised brands?

(I'm a MTB coach and Bikeability Instructor and spend loads of time with kids who struggle with cheap, poor quality,over weight bikes)
Bingers - on 28 Apr 2012
In reply to Bingers:

Thanks everyone. We ended up with a Barracuda from Keith Lamberts.

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