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Ripcord versus Norco Fluid 4.3

July 1, 2015, 9:01 p.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Aug. 7, 2008

Looking for advice.

Narrowed it down to these two bikes for my 7 year old boy. Fluid 4.2 and Ripcord
Probably will change gear ratios to improve climbing.

We ride and build in Squamish and that other place south of town.
Boy is seven and been riding a Norco Charger. Gear ratio is wacky on that bike and I have not been impressed by the Spinner fork.

Boy wants to ride technical trails - he loves the plunge, loves long rock slabs, and loves roots. He likes half nelson, but prefers other trails. So jumping is not as important as pedalling up then pointing it down.

I think bikes run on spinny things and magic, so while I pretend to understand geometry, gear ratios, and other things - I am actually clueless (bike shops love me).

Already read the NSMB review on the ripcord, and trust Omar. He understands spinny things.

Oh, and looking at the bikes - tell me what I should immediately swap out, while walking to the bike till.

I dont have much to offer other than reps but promise to build more hiking trails (cough).

July 2, 2015, 12:08 a.m.
Posts: 5738
Joined: May 28, 2005

you know my thoughts on the ripcord. the one mod i'd make to it right away for a 7 yr old is to sub in some shorter cranks. i used a pair of these with a 30t n/w ring and it really seemed to help with climbing. i don't think a bike shop will be able to find a set of cranks that short, let alone for that price

the fluid looks like a great kids bike. wheelbase is ~ the same as the ripcord, so it should be as stable. i think the wheels and tires (the spinny things) will be noticeably lighter than what comes stock on the transition, but the 2.0 maxxis snypers are not terribly root and tech friendly tires so that's one thing you could look at swapping over immediately if that's the kind of riding he's into, though there aren't a lot of options to be had. otherwise the spec looks solid

hope that helps. i think you'll be happy with either option. and thanks for the kind words :)

"Nobody really gives a shit that you don't like the thing that you have no firsthand experience with." Dave

Nov. 16, 2015, 8:42 a.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan. 11, 2013

Doing the same research right now. Was also looking at the commencal, specialized (larger, more expensive) and trek (26 inch) options.
I was told the ripcord is more on the dh side of things and the fluid a better climber. I have yet to try the ripcord with my boy. It has a lower standover so might be a better fit since he is still a bit short for the bigger wheels…

Nov. 16, 2015, 9:21 a.m.
Posts: 1485
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

The age is a tricky thing too. 7 is a time when they can just rocket up in size and ability. Maybe he's already there I don't know. I know I've gone through 2 bikes over the past 12 months with my boy.

My (albeit very large) 6 year old turns 7 next week and I'm thinking, like an el cheapo dad, that he may be able to just stretch himself over the XS Juliana with a 35mm stem I have under the house.

Probably the worst idea ever, but maybe your boy can sort of fit onto an xs size adult's bike until he grows into a bit? Tradeoff I suppose is he'd be on a bike with some real components, that he could continue riding for a while…hopefully until he gets his own job lol. It is amazing the ill fitting bikes that kids are able to adapt to and rip on.

Nov. 16, 2015, 10:16 a.m.
Posts: 5
Joined: July 12, 2009

One option I saw this summer which seems to work really well, and as previously suggested is getting him on a XS "Ladies" rig. Several of the boys I coached this past summer were on Intrigues and Specialized Saphire. New or second hand you can get him into a bike at a good deal with some decent components.

Another trick I saw was the XS frame but starting off with a set of 24" wheels then as he grows swapping over to the 26" set

Mountain Bike Rentals | Service & Repair Shop

Nov. 16, 2015, 10:59 a.m.
Posts: 222
Joined: Aug. 7, 2008

Thanks everyone,

Went to the Republic sale the other night and sized the little gaffer up on a Fluid 6.2 (26er) and the 4.2 (24er). 26 is definitely not dead, for kids.

Going to get him the 4.2 for his bday (he is paying half with money from grandma). Tough fitting a kid with a long torso, massive head, and short arms, and legs.

It was a tough choice - he could ride the 26er - but it does not fit him at the moment. Best fit is still the little bike. However, I imagine that mid summer I will be throwing down on a 26er if he sprouts again.

Pretty fun seeing the evolution and stoke.
Oh! and those older Juliana's are perfect. Friend has one for his 9 year old and it works perfectly.

Nov. 16, 2015, 12:19 p.m.
Posts: 5738
Joined: May 28, 2005

props for getting him the bike that fits him better, rather than the one that likely fits your budget better :)

i seem to be raising the "climb height" of my son's saddle on every ride. we're getting perilously close to the minimum insertion line, so i'll likely be looking for a 26er next spring/summer, too

"Nobody really gives a shit that you don't like the thing that you have no firsthand experience with." Dave

Nov. 17, 2015, 9:30 a.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan. 11, 2013

Tell me about it. He got the 20 inch spawn cycle for last Christmas and now I am thinking about the 24 upgrade… This is were the little brother comes in handy though… poor guy always gets the beat up stuff.. is still super excited about it though :)

Nov. 17, 2015, 9:40 a.m.
Posts: 5717
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

The Fluid 4.3 is an awesome bike, one thing I found though is that the head angle is a little steep for the bike park (not bad, but not perfect). I found a used Fox Talas 34 (32 would have been better, but I had to go with what I could find) and had it lowered. Now in the short travel settings the geo is the same as the OEM form, but in the long travel setting he's got a comfortable DH-centric head angle. This change wasn't cheap (though not nearly as expensive as you might think) but it's had a surprisingly positive affect on his riding and the variety of trails that he can handle (and therefore a lowering of Dad's boredom doing the same trails again and again and again).

The Maxxis Snypers were much more competent that I expected, until it got really muddy. A little bit of mud wasn't too bad, but mucky trails in Squamish in the winter probably won't respond well to them. Consider some High Rollers (if you can find them) or source out some old stock 24" tires collecting dust from back in the day when we all had 24" rear wheels. The Fluid has a surprising amount of clearance so you're not too limited in width.

Nov. 23, 2015, 8:37 a.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan. 11, 2013

Does anybody here have any experience with the camber grom? It has a pretty low standover and the ability to grow to 26 inch wheels. I read that the longer chain stay might be a concern, and obviously the higher price tag. Would love to have my boy three a leg over one before purchase, but they are hard to find..

Nov. 23, 2015, 2:29 p.m.
Posts: 5738
Joined: May 28, 2005

Does anybody here have any experience with the camber grom?

no. but it looks to have the longest chainstays, tallest stack, steepest hta and highest pricetag in its class. what's the attraction?

"Nobody really gives a shit that you don't like the thing that you have no firsthand experience with." Dave

Nov. 23, 2015, 2:33 p.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan. 11, 2013

no. but it looks to have the longest chainstays, tallest stack, steepest hta and highest pricetag in its class. what's the attraction?

Mostly because it's a brand that "my" store carries, thus I should be able to get a better deal…
Also just discovered Propaine. They look pretty decent. Could pick one of those up when I travel home to see family…

can't wait what the little guy will do on his next bike :)

Nov. 23, 2015, 6:01 p.m.
Posts: 287
Joined: May 16, 2010

a short friend of mine will have an xsmall giant cypher for sale soon if anyone is interested, 5 inch travel bike which would be good for a kids dh bike

March 20, 2016, 6:21 p.m.
Posts: 4
Joined: Jan. 11, 2013

Got my little guys the commencal 20 and 24 respectively. More on the dh side but still pedals and they love them. Now we just need whistler to open.

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