Advice needed for kids mountain bikes

My daughters love it when I go bicycle ride with them. I take them to a dirt trail quite a lot and they seem to enjoy that more than the road.

I am now looking for some good mountain bikes for them in the $100-$200 range so that I can take them to the next level.

Right now their bikes are retro-brakers with no gear, $40 from Wally World. Even came with the crap hanging from the handle bar tips, if you see what I mean...

They are 8 years old (twins, yes), but are already taller and stronger than most kids their age (the only bigger girl on their soft ball team is one year older).

My goal would be eventually to try the motorized version, but if they just get into mountain biking that would just be cool anyway. I want them to try as many sports as they can (and don't tell me girls should do gymnastics, they tried).

Mongoose sounds affordable but looks like a little bit cheap. The bikes also need to have some brighter colors. They don't need Disney bikes but they're girls...

Thanks for the help!

How tall are they? (20" wheels or 24" wheels?)

do you think they can handle shifting gears?

Performance Bike has a great selection for around 200 ea.

http://www.performancebike.com/shop/sub_cat.cfm?subcategory_id=3030

(on that page I would reccomend the Schwinn Mesa 24" if they fit on it)

Go to a local bike shop and ask them.

I want them to learn changing gear.

Eventually I would love for them to try the version with an engine, but that will come... or not.

There are a bunch of smaller bikes that can be good first "real" bikes with gears etc. The mongoose's you're talking about can be good but you definitely get what you pay for. The good thing about learning gears on a bicycle is you then understand the concept for shifting gears on a dirt bike. It's a good comparison I think.

+1 on visiting your LBS. That's what they're there for. They do a great job at fitting and instruction.

I MTB a lot and find my LBS a valuable resource.

Going to look at a few local bike shops is definitely a good idea. In my opinion you should focus on getting something with decent derailer(s) and v-brakes.

A cheap derailer won't stay tuned well and when your in the dirt with the bumps shifting will be a pain. They are also super annoying to adjust.

I prefer rapid-fire shifters over grip-shift because the grip shifts are the only ones I've ever seen broken... they seem to crack the plastic case and 'unscrew'. It's hard to explain but it happens.

If you can get v-brakes over cheapo u-brakes they will work a lot better and be 10x easier to adjust. I would also avoid all plastic levers...

Most frames, rims, and forks (or 'shocks') will be the same for the type of bike you are looking for so I would advise to look more at the components.

And even after you put all this effort into getting them nice quality bikes, just remember in a few years you will be doing it all over again when they go through another growing spurt! :thumbsup:

Best of luck bike shopping!

These bikes are nice for the money and fit kids real good.http://www.trekbikes.com/us/en/bikes/2008/kids/ages_9_12/mt220/

Also when you buy a bike buy one that fits your kids a little big so they can grow into them. If not you'll be buying bikes every year. I know I have three kids. Mountain biking is a great pure sport for kids, Good luck

visit a local bike shop that doesnt promote one brand solely.

*best people to know what is needed are the ones that work with it every day*

myself, i've had great luck with specialized and haro mtn bikes.

chris<pixelmonkey>:thumbsup:

That's great that you are taking your eight year old daughters mountain biking. I think that any kid should have substantial bicycling experience, and be able to do a good amount of push-ups and sit-ups, before riding a dirtbike. If you don't have the aerobics, endurance, and strength to ride a dirtbike, you are bound to get hurt.

But I am afraid that you are in for a little sticker shock. One kids bike I have had experience with and can recommend is the Specialized Hotrock. http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?sid=08HotrockGirls

but they are going for around $300 depending on the size.

http://s68.photobucket.com/albums/i23/Woodsrat1/?action=view&current=Feb2008LosJobosride016.jpg

I have property in Honduras, and I have been taking the neighborhood kids for bicycle rides. This is a photo of my eight year old neighbor Julia on an older Specialized Hotrock that I brought down from the states. Her father and other neighborhood kids are riding in the background. I think this was about a nine mile ride, I have taken Julia's twelve year old sister and cousins for 20mile rides.

The Honduran girls are pretty tough, Julia feels no pain. One time we hiked for hours in the pouring rain, starting with a climb of 600 feet in elevation. Indian girl, she prefers to hike barefoot, she was jumping into literally every puddle in the trail and having a blast. I think most kids in the U.S. would have been crying for mommy.

That's great that you are taking your eight year old daughters mountain biking. I think that any kid should have substantial bicycling experience, and be able to do a good amount of push-ups and sit-ups, before riding a dirtbike. If you don't have the aerobics, endurance, and strength to ride a dirtbike, you are bound to get hurt.

But I am afraid that you are in for a little sticker shock. One kids bike I have had experience with and can recommend is the Specialized Hotrock. http://www.specialized.com/bc/SBCBkModel.jsp?sid=08HotrockGirls

but they are going for around $300 depending on the size.

Yes, they are a bit expensive, I was thinking more around $200, but if I get the promotion I am working on, who knows.

I may be able to find some used. After all, kids do grow, and I guess most are barely used.

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