Tire Size for 11-year-old

Tire Size for 11-year-old

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Discussion Starter · #1 · Apr 9, 2017

Long time forum staker here, first time poster… But I need some advice from those who have gone before.

I have an 11-year-old that is loving mountain biking. He was just on his 24” for the first time since winter and I noticed that he has completely out grown it. I took him to a bike shop this morning and he can stand over a 15” without a problem… and has an inch or two to spare, so that’s the direction I’m leaning. Logically I thought a 26” tire would make the most sense as the next step, but I found out that there aren’t any 26” new bikes down there (I haven’t shopped for bikes for a while!) They kept selling me on the 27.5. He rode it and seemed a bit unsteady on it, but it’s also the first time he’s been on a bike that size, so some of that makes sense.

I want a decent bike that will last him pounding the trails on it. I’m not opposed to doing a used 26”, as I have a few more kids behind him, so I’m okay adding that to my inventory for them to grow into someday, if that is the best next step. I also have a hook up for a good deal on a new bike, but those are all 27.5”…

So the question is this, is my drive to put him on a 26” tire my holding onto the past? Or is that the best next step for him? What will help him succeed, 26” or 27.5”?

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My significant other’s son is almost 10 (but he’s tall 9 year old at 4′ 8″ tall). We got him a Trek kid’s bike in 26″ and it fit him very well. I think he’s going to be good on it until he’s about 5′ tall. Then he can get on a 27.5″.

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Let go of the 26″ My Son is 11yrs old and has been on a Giant Anthem SX for about 6 months. It’s a size small and he handles it just fine. Here is a link to the bike he is on:

https://www.giant-bicycles.com/us/anthem-sx-27dot5-2016

I hung onto my 26″ wheels till the bitter end then reluctantly went to 27.5. I can say without question the 27.5 rolls faster and smoother over the terrain. An 11yr old will see the same benefits as an adult.

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Read more: Tire Construction

First thing really is that a 27.5er is designed around 27.5 wheels so any given “make/model” an adult 26er doesn’t change that part. It’s not like 26ers are intrinsically smaller … if anything the frame is larger to have the same standover …

However a 27.5 XS vs vs 27.5 XL is self evidently a different thing.

Whether it’s “like a 29er” or something else …

It also forcibly changes the rest of the geometry… chainstays need to be a certain length (they might be bigger but they obviously can’t be smaller)

Ultimately if you’re riding where you need your ass in the space occupied by tire/wheel that’s what you need. Dropping the saddle won’t make any difference when it’s the tire rubbing their ass.

Just as a comparison current 7yr old is on a 24er but..

a) With his cranks cut to the correct length for him the pedal barely overlaps the rear wheel. You really notice this trying to fit a speed/cadence sensor!

b) He can only drop his weight till he hits the tire…

I guess the point is you could say that 24″ for him is “like” a 29er … but its not really as the axle is relatively further forwards hence his centre of balance is further forwards

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Discussion Starter · #5 · Apr 10, 2017

Thanks everyone… I guess that’s kind of what I was looking for, just confirmation that the 27.5″ isn’t biting off too much for him. Will probably start shopping hard for that 27.5″. Randy, that’s a killer bike for a kid!

Any other opinions/thoughts out there?

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Any other opinions/thoughts out there?

As with anything, you will gets lots of opinions here. For instance I can’t disagree more with the above “I can say without question the 27.5 rolls faster and smoother over the terrain. An 11yr old will see the same benefits as an adult.” -but that is just my opinion.

At 11, the most important thing is #1 proper fit and #2 bike weight – don’t focus the wheel size as priority. It’s pretty demoralizing to have to pedal a TOO BIG 29-30 pound full suspension bike uphill when you are just 85 pounds and 5 feet tall!

Most bike shops are going to try to sell you what they have on the floor and in stock. If he is unsteady on it in the parking lot, think of what he’ll be like on a super technical trail. I think it comes down to size and what type of rider your kid is on the bike. 27.5 will always be slightly longer in the wheelbase, with heavier wheels/tires coming as stock items for the most part.

XS/S 27.5″ bikes are way easier to locate out of the box currently with a major shift away from 26 at a bike shop, but most come with a wheelbase length and weight penalty.

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We put my 4’9″ 9 year old daughter on a 27″ XS Giant Trance.

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At 11, the most important thing is #1 proper fit and #2 bike weight – don’t focus the wheel size as priority. It’s pretty demoralizing to have to pedal a TOO BIG 29-30 pound full suspension bike uphill when you are just 85 pounds and 5 feet tall!

I have to agree.

Read more: A guide to cycle tyre sizes

To the OP, you know your boy and how he rides better than us internet trolls, so these are all opinions. But there is also some great baseline info here too. Ultimately, you need to find something that fits.

If you find a 27.5″ bike in your price range that fits good, you can always run some 26″ inch wheels and that could help a bit. But I wouldn’t get too hung up on frame wheel size. I don’t think he would succeed any more on a 27.5 vs 26. It would probably hurt him more than help. The overall wheel / tire package will be heavier (all else being equal) and harder for him to control. But yes, roll over will be better. I am 5’11” and up until 5 years ago, I was completely happy riding 26″ wheels.

Depending on your budget, I would probably lean towards a higher end, light weight used 26″ over a new heavier 27.5 with better roll over. What is your budget for this bike and what do you have for spare parts? This might help us offer up some advice or deals.

I just skipped the 24″ wheel size with my daughter and went straight to an XS 26″ bike. Once she is on the bike and riding, it fits her exceptionally well. Crank length is at 150mm and the stem is 40mm long. However, it is a bit tall for her when she gets started or has to dismount in a hurry. But so far, she hasn’t bailed or dropped the bike due to size. She is pretty athletic and absolutely loves the bike, so she has been fine. Here is a link to the build thread.

http://forums.mtbr.com/families-riding-kids/tideace-fm-m+61404532026er-carbon-ht-build-1028372.html

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I have to agree that weight is a massive factor at that age, l guess (didnt read the whole thread) that your kid weighs ~30kgs, now a quality 26er will weigh around 10kgs (from experience with my son), but the bike l wanted to get him (27.5) weighed in at 13kg, that is 10% of his weight differance. I sat down and asked myself, would l want to ride a bike with an extra 10% of my weight (at the time 9.5kgs).

So he got the 10kg bike, only problem is the little fv€ker is too bloody fast now

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At 11, the most important thing is #1 proper fit and #2 bike weight – don’t focus the wheel size as priority. It’s pretty demoralizing to have to pedal a TOO BIG 29-30 pound full suspension bike uphill when you are just 85 pounds and 5 feet tall!

Most bike shops are going to try to sell you what they have on the floor and in stock.

There’s a boy on my sons mtb team that went to his LBS. They put him on a Trek Marlin. Now this boy has short limbs and arms and at 5′, a 15.5″ 27.5 bike is seriously pushing it. Add in the bike weight of 33lbs, and man… talk about fighting the bike. I feel for the kid, but there’s nothing to do about it at this point. His parents seem to think he’s going grow into it, but his parents are on the short side too. I want to say something but… its none of my business. I just keep thinking back to that LBS, smh.

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Discussion Starter · #11 · Apr 13, 2017

Okay, there’s a lot to respond to here, I’ll try to cover it all.

My son is kinda lanky, meaning longer limbs. He weighs 80 lbs and is fairly athletic. He stands over a 15″ with no trouble, and keeps growing. He had the He’s not racing, so I’m okay if he has to grow into it a little… he’s loving the sport so kind of want this bike to last him a bit. I’m not excited about swapping bikes ever year or two. His 24″ Hotrock he rides now weighs in about 30 pounds.

Ideal budget is $500-600, can go a little more. I don’t have a bunch of spare parts to build something or adjust something to fit him better… it needs to work, or be close to work for him as it comes. I have access to some new builds at 30-40% off through a proform deal, but very limited on brands, so those are intriguing, but they are all 27.5″. I have 3 more kids behind him, so I envision that they will all ride this bike at some point, and I want to be sure parts are available for a long time to come. I’m not seeing many used 26″ options on my local craigslist, or even pinkbike. I have no idea what things weigh, or what will be lighter than others… and not sure the benefit of one crank or stem length over the other.

That’s a bunch of random information all thrown together… Sure appreciate the thoughts and feedback.

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Category: Bike Tires