Fantastic: “Real” Mtb for kids
Bought this for my 5yr old daughter, and she loves it: and so does her 7yrvold brother. High quality, simple and relatively light for a kids bike. Decent tyres allow low pressures and good grip on loose surfaces. Great brakes and shifting. Love the light rigid fork instead of a low quality suspension fork. Kids can’t get enough trail time at the moment: they love it. I like that the parts are all standard Mtb sizes: headset, bottom bracket, axle widths etc all allow easy replacement down the road.
Scott Scale Junior 20 Plus
The Scott Scale 20 Junior Plus is a new-school kid's mountain bike embracing the plus-sized tyre trend. Now, before I go any further, they may be "plus-sized" relative to a typical kid's bike but these are not the true three inch tyres mountain bikers usually mean when they say "plus-sized". More on that shortly...
So, the Scott Scale Junior 20 plus is a mouthful of a name for a beast of a bike (I'll just call it the "bike" from here). It veers from the usual trend of throwing on a cheap, heavy and ineffective suspension fork to wow your chi...ld and sports a full rigid frame, with a very beefy looking bladed alloy fork. The idea, I'm guessing, is that the tyres will do the cushioning duties, it's an approach I applaud for many reasons. The frame has mountain-bike like geometry (the bars still sit pretty high like most kid's bikes) and conforms to common industry "standards"; 100/135mm front and rear axles, 1 1/8" integrated headset, IS disc mounts, 68mm BSA bottom bracket, 25.4mm bars and 26.8mm seatpost, replaceable dropout with a traditional rear derailleur mount (no cheapy axle mounts here). Upgrading this bike should be a breeze from a mountain biker's spare parts collection. As it is though, the bike is reported to weigh a little over 10kgs, which is surprisingly light and certainly much lighter than most kid's mountain bikes. The wheels on the Australian retail edition are not what the spec sheet lists. The rims are 24mm external width with no obvious branding. They have a silver rim brake surface which is entirely obsolete and detracts a little from the look, so they feel like a down-spec. The generic 6 bolt disc hubs, however, come with quick release axles which are a great up-spec from the original bolt-up axles, so I guess that makes it even. The tyres are Kenda Slant Six 20 x 2.6". They measure the same width as my Maxxis Ardent 2.4" tyres on the same width rim, so take the quoted 2.6" with a pinch of salt, but they are even taller so they provide a LOT of cushioning. These tyres do a fantastic job of gripping the trail and absorbing bumps if run at around 25 psi or less. Ignore the sidewall recommendation of 30 -- 50 psi that would completely negate the advantage of the fat tyre. I can't see any reason why some Gorilla tape and Stan's fluid wouldn't have you successfully running these tubeless, but I haven't tried yet. The drivetrain consists of a 140mm alloy square-taper crank with a single 36 tooth chainring (that cannot be changed) driving a 7 speed 14-28 tooth Shimano screw-on freewheel (not the more expensive freehub cassette we usually see on decent adult mountain bikes). The rear derailleur is a cheap Shimano Tourney number which works well (while new at least) but it's a puzzlingly huge long-cage version which sits lower than the rim and will inevitably get taken out by a rock at some stage, a short-cage mech from my parts bin will be going on soon I'm sure. The derailleur is moved by a Shimano Revo-shift, twist-grip style shifter. Some people have criticized this style for kids but my son has taken to it without problems and it's easy enough to shift in both directions, if it gets harder to move as it gets older I'll replace it with a trigger shifter (which are surprisingly cheap). The gear spread is actually a bit lower than I expected. My son climbs all but the steepest inclines in the 28 tooth, but he spins out on the descents in the 14 tooth, so this bike is geared to climb and cruise the flats. If you want to achieve warp speed downhill I'd suggest a new rear freehub style hub and a normal mountain bike cassette with an 11 tooth cog, but I won't pay for your child's medical bills. The cockpit is decent enough stuff. A generic 50mm alloy stem attaches to a generic alloy 25.4mm flat bar which has a little more sweep than usual and feels very comfortable.It sits a bit higher than the saddle which is typical for kids bikes but not by so much that you can't change it with a few tweaks. The Syncros branded saddle is almost the same size as an adult saddle but looks decent enough and seems to do the job. The generic micro-adjustable alloy seatpost is an annoying 26.8mm size which is much harder to find than a 27.2 should you wish to change it, but you probably won't as it's an appropriate length to take growth into account. The bike is recommended for riders 120 - 130 cm in height, but I reckon it will last well into 140cm after seeing our 125cm pilot on board. The pedals are the usual disappointing plastic rubbish we find on kids bikes and I recommend changing them immediately for some alloy jobbies.
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