Bike Dilemma

Ten year old son Ian is just about ready for a new bike. His current 24" wheel Specialized Hotrock is a tad small now. It's been a great bike that he's ridden for 2 years with many fun rides, two Indie Series, and a few 'cross races thrown in.

For the dough, around $350, we've gotten our use out of it. Plus, it's still worth something to sell used. Deduct that from the original cost and we're talking cheap fun and a lifetime of memories.

He's still riding it, but I need to score him something else in the next few months. Being the single paycheck family of four, money is tight - so I can't throw down big bucks for the replacement. There's also other non-bike items on the bill list at the moment - like the almost ready to explode CV joints on my car. Joy.

Getting a super trick bike also may be a waste, since he could outgrow it pretty quick. Still, considering he races and rides a little more then the average 10 year old, need something decent. I've had him straddle a few new 26" wheel bikes over the last few weeks. Bikes with 14" or 15" frames are still too big, partly due to 100 mm travel forks now being the norm. Jacks the front of the bike up a bit, increasing the stand over height. At this point, something with an 80 mm fork would be better.

I've been batting around a few ideas...

One idea is to get me a new bike (heh, heh), then pick up a frame (new or used) for Ian - then transfer my '04 Fox fork and 11 year old XTR parts over to him. That would be a sweet bike for a 10 year old, no?

For this to work, need a frame with v brake mounts, since that's what I'm running. Scoring me a new (cool frame, XT, XTR level) mountain bike is also out of the picture - just too expensive. I've been cruising eBay and Craigslist daily for something used. There's a huge amount of clean used bikes out there.

I've also considered grabbing something off Bikes Direct, since the prices are insane. If the frame sucked, the parts kit alone is worth the price. When it comes down to it, this probably won't fly - 'cause we're still talking $1500 - $1900 or so. Motobecane may not be on the what's cool list, but a full XTR bike with Rockshox SID for $1800 is an amazing deal.

On to some other ideas.....

Here's Ian's current steed. The stem is 3 cm longer then stock. Since this pic was taken, the seat post has been jacked up another inch or so. I measured Ian the other day and he's almost 4' 11", he'll be standing 5 feet tall in no time. This frame is labeled as 11", but measures 12" to the top of the seat clamp. It also has a pretty short top tube - under 20 inches.

As mentioned, I've been watching Craigslist and eBay daily. I've seen a few local 13" frame mountain bikes advertised, but all have been 30 pound lower end bikes. That's not gonna work. I did spot a new (in box) 14" 2008 Klein Attitude with Deore kit and Rockshox fork on eBay. This was a no bid sale, buy now at $799 (retail was $1500+), that would have been perfect. Explaining that $850 (with shipping) is a deal for this, didn't fly with non-riding wife when discussing a "kids bike". I agree, a little out the range, but damn - that would have been cool.

Time for more options......

This NOS 14" Klein frame is currently up for bid on eBay. I've been watching the bidding, lots of action, and price is still under $200 (with no reserve). A few days left on the action, I'll jump in at the end and try to score it - unless the price rises to stupid levels.

I'm also considering this frame from Performance. The smallest size looks good fit wise, under 4 pounds, disk and v brake mounts, all for $119. Not as trick as the little Klein, but a killer deal and totally cool for a 10 year old.

I've also considered the Carver Mini, a really cool frame. It can use 24" or 26" wheels, or a combo of both to create a mini 69'er. Amazingly, there was a new frame listed on eBay last week, with no bids. When I checked the sizing however, I think he'd outgrow this too fast. The seat tube is 12", the same size as his current bike. Too bad, this would have been fun to build up.

If I score Ian a frame, will look for a used suspension fork to pair it up with, pirate some parts from his current Specialized, then see what I have in the garage to build up a decent bike. I'll also keep my eye on eBay and Craigslist for other deals. I'll get something going for sure. Frame, complete bike - something.

During this process, I may sell off a few classics in the garage for some extra dough. My '88 Ibis Trials Comp will be put on the action block. My '91 Yo Eddy - maybe. It's cool having those bikes around, but I don't ride them - but do ride my more modern bikes. We'll see. If anyone out there in Internet Land has something that would suit Ian, let me know.

Maybe a Brinks truck will crash into the house while I'm waiting and weighing out the options. Then I'll march down to a local shop, like uBRDO, and order a new Yeti for Ian and I. In matching colors, of course. Yes, a trip to Dream Land can be entertaining at times.

Over and out.