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Seeking 20" bike recommendations

Dec. 10, 2016, 10:29 p.m.
Posts: 329
Joined: Nov. 25, 2013

My son needs a new bike. He loves his Spawn Banshee 16", but he has out grown it and needs something bigger that can handle some of the easier shore trails.

Top pics from the local shops:

- 2015 Norco Charger
- 2016 Norco Storm 2.1
- 2016 Kona Shred 2.0

I have yet to check out LVBS or Steed (will be calling tomorrow to see what they have).

I'm looking for some front suspension, and ideally disc brakes as I would like to take him into the bike park this summer. Gearing is required, but I'm on the fence for grip vs trigger.

Has anyone worked through this recently and where did you land?

Thanks,
Gord

Dec. 10, 2016, 11:40 p.m.
Posts: 260
Joined: Aug. 8, 2007

Picked this up in Squamish early October. It's amazing how much his riding has progressed with this bike. Charging downhill, jumping, he's even pedaled up hills that have surprised me.

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Dec. 11, 2016, 12:35 a.m.
Posts: 260
Joined: Aug. 8, 2007

Neighbor kid has the Shred and I haven't been able to adjust those brake levers so that he can stop. The Commencal's brakes are probably one of the reason our boy has been riding more aggressively.

We also had a Scott 20" before this one, it was grip shift, the new one is trigger and he's doing well with it. At first he was using the palm of his hand to push the lever, now he's using his thumb.

Almost 6.5 years old and small, 42 inches/107 cm. Under the suggested height for the bike but no problem.

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Dec. 11, 2016, 6:31 a.m.
Posts: 5738
Joined: May 28, 2005

http://nsmb.com/spawn-savage-2-0/

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

Dec. 11, 2016, 8:56 a.m.
Posts: 329
Joined: Nov. 25, 2013

Thanks for the responses.

Looks like the savage 2.0 is out of stock locally until a new frame design comes out (slated for March 2017).

The Commencal looks interesting. I emailed them to see if they had any demos or 2016s for sale. The 900$ price tag for the meta is a bit steep to justify.

I'm curious as to why the Shred brake adjustment is a challenge. Is it that the lever reach is not adjustable? Or are the pads contaminated and need to be cleaned/baked and re-bedded?

Closest to the Meta (spec-wise) is the Charger. I know the 2015 Charger uses Shimano hydraulics (w reach adjust). There are a few things I would want to do to the bike to tune it up a bit:
- The challenge with the charger is that it has both front and rear derailleurs - so I would likely remove the front derailleur and put on a NW chainring.
- it has a ~60/70mm stem, so the reach is quite long - i'd swap it for something shorter
- Handlebar is narrower, but I will only consider swapping that out after my son gives it a go
- The seat is a cruiser-type seat (super thick and wide) - will have to see if it impedes his getting on/off the bike.

It is also trigger vs grip…which I know is better in the long-run, but worry that my 5 yr old will struggle at first.

Aside from the hydraulics - the Shred ticks off all the boxes above, so the debate is ~$50 cheaper bike (Charger), but looking at around $100 in changes/upgrades.

-Gord

Dec. 11, 2016, 10:56 a.m.
Posts: 260
Joined: Aug. 8, 2007

The Shred's lever reach adjustment screw just doesn't do it. Maybe it's possible to ream it out and put a longer set screw in, or just get different brakes. Kids need all the help they can get braking, might as well have hydros.

We have looked closely at all the kids bikes and the Commencal geometry, 13" chainstays, low bb, weight, plus parts spec sold me. We will likely swap out the brakes and drivetrain for shimano stuff but for now it's good to experience the Tektro's and be happy with them. Fork upgrade too, no hurry. We also swapped out the tires immediately.

I do like the charger, fork and brakes, but it's too tall for him. The meta is the smallest of them all, and we'll get a taller fork when he grows.

Of course we will take a beating when it's time to unload it but the stoke it's instilled him is worth it.

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Dec. 11, 2016, 11:14 a.m.
Posts: 1132
Joined: Nov. 8, 2003

The Shred's lever reach adjustment screw just doesn't do it. Maybe it's possible to ream it out and put a longer set screw in, or just get different brakes…

Doesn't that just kill you?! Last couple of bikes I set up for my kids had brake leaver reach that felt too long even for my hands. Kid's couldn't reach the lever at all before modifications. Inexcusable

https://nsmba.ca/product-category/memberships/

Dec. 12, 2016, 9:02 a.m.
Posts: 278
Joined: Nov. 19, 2002

My kid had a Spawn Banshee 16" too and he absolutely loved that little bike. I did too.

He doesn't have a great passion for biking though and it's still hard for me to determine if he prefers riding mtb trails or a pump track, so I couldn't justify the price tag of the Savage, or decide to buy a BMX race bike. I eventually bought a Scott Scale Jr (20") Nino Schurter replica. It's a very nice looking bike and my kid loves it, but it is not the same quality as the Spawn Savage 2.0… and a good 3 lbs heavier. From your choices, I think the Scott is quite similar to the Norco Storm.

Apart from looking really good, I believe the fit is a strong point of the Scott compared to less expensive options. It is particularly striking when I compare the neibour kids on DCO, etc…their body position on the bike often seems awkward, but the Scott seems designed by someone who actually knows what he is doing.

Basically, If you are looking for a bike with the same quality as the Spawn Banshee and have the budget, go for a Spawn Savage 2.0. If you want a cheaper option, but still end up with a decent bike, the Scott or Norco Storm is a nice option at ~550$CAN MSRP. In your choices, the Norco Charger is also quite interesting. It's a nicer bike and would probably be a better option than the Storm if you kid does ride real mtb trails often.

Dec. 12, 2016, 4:56 p.m.
Posts: 329
Joined: Nov. 25, 2013

Yeah, the Charger is a close-out and on sale cheaper than this years Storm. Better parts spec and trigger. The downside is that its a bit longer and taller than this years geometry…but a shorter stem and lower profile seat can help mitigate that a bit if needed.

Realistically, its Charger vs Shred at this point.

Dec. 12, 2016, 8:05 p.m.
Posts: 255
Joined: Jan. 8, 2013

Opus Bolt 20" has been good. Spinner brand fork is functional [HTML_REMOVED] not heavy. Brakes are solid, reach has been good. 7sp grip shift and the lowest gear can get him up some steep stuff.

Dec. 16, 2016, 7:18 p.m.
Posts: 329
Joined: Nov. 25, 2013

Ended up getting the Charger from 2015. We did a few mods - went to 1x, shorter stem, wider handlebars all for a better than expected price - its pretty awesome…and makes me want to ride it.

Thanks for the input folks, I appreciate it!

-Gord

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