Mountain Bikes for NICA Racers – Your little mountain biker isn’t going to be so little much longer. If those years of waiting for her or him to keep up with you have not already gone by, don’t blink. It will happen fast.
As your kids get older they will continue to enjoy outdoor adventures and learning new skills on their mountain bikes with your family. However, since friends will become increasingly important in your pre-teen/teen’s life, you’ll want to be sure that your mountain biking activities include friends.
You may have already heard about the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). Founded in 2009, NICA develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. American kids in grades 7-12 may have the opportunity to join a NICA mountain biking team. Participating on a NICA team leads to making new mountain biking friends and having even more fun on bikes.
Since 2009, participation in NICA has grown 30 to 40 percent each year. There is an element of competition and racing. However, the purpose of NICA is to support student-athletes in the development of strong body, mind, and character through their efforts on the bike. NICA is a great experience for young riders. Here are 10 bikes that may work for your young rider as they become a NICA racer.
Hardtail/Front-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders
Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star Hardtail Mountain Bike
The Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star Bike is a lightweight and efficient hardtail mountain bike. Your NICA rider will enjoy cruising the trails and shredding the single-track on the Niner Air 9 RDO 2-Star. and. The RDO carbon fiber frame has internal cable routing. The 2-Star Niner Air 9 RDO comes with a SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. This includes a cassette that has a hill-crushing 11-50T gear range that makes climbing and pedaling through rough terrain much easier. SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power so your NICA rider can descend with confidence. With the Niner Alloy wheels and Schwalbe tires, you’ll be able to set everything up tubeless for a smoother ride, better traction, and fewer flats. This hard-tail carbon mountain bike is fast and light and may get your motivated racer on the podium.
Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 Mountain Bike
REI’s Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 hard-tail mountain bike is an excellent trail machine for your NICA racer. Firstly, the 27.5+ tires provide great traction on the roughest of terrain. Secondly, a 1×12 SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain enables quick shifting and reduces weight. Thirdly, the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes deliver reliable control and stopping power. Finally, the X-Fusion Manic dropper seatpost and 120mm of travel delivers quick, smooth ups and downs so your NICA rider is ready to handle whatever the trail brings.
GT Zaskar LT AL Elite Mountain Bike
Your NICA rider will love this high-performing hardtail. The GT Zaskar LT AL Elite features GT’s iconic triple triangle frame construction. This trail bike is equipped with an SR Suntour Zeron 35 suspension fork which provides 130mm of travel. The SRAM SX Eagle 1×12 provides an excellent range of gears. The Shimano MT400 hydraulic disc brakes will control your racer’s momentum in the most demanding conditions. The WTB ST i30 rims are wrapped in Schwalbe Nobby Nic Tubeless Ready tires for outstanding grip and traction anywhere.
Diamondback Overdrive 29 1 Hardtail Mountain Bike
The Diamondback Overdrive 29 1 is a hardtail trail bike. The lightweight aluminum frame provides a smooth, efficient ride feel. The 29″ wheels will roll easily over obstacles. Tektro mechanical disc brakes will provide your NICA rider with plenty of stopping power. The 2×8 Shimano drivetrain provides ample gearing.
Vitus Sentier 27 VRW Hardtail Mountain Bike
This hardtail bike offers your NICA rider the feel of control and confidence on the toughest mountain bike trails. First, the Sentier 27 VRW features a light aluminum frame. Second, this heard-tail mountain bike is equipped with 140mm travel Marzocchi Bomber to eat up any rough terrain. Third, the Shimano MT410 brakes provide ample stopping power. Fourth, the reliable Shimano 1×11 drivetrain gives your NICA racer all the gear range they’ll need to enjoy racing and training.
Orbea Oiz H30 2021 Full Suspension Mountain Bike
The Orbea OIZ H30 2021 is an ultra-light full suspension mountain bike that can handle the most technical trails with ease. Firstly, the Orbea Oiz H30 has a hydroformed aluminum frame that is designed for increased strength and stiffness. Secondly, the H30 Oiz comes with a Shimano Deore/XT 1×12-speed drivetrain. Thirdly, the hill-crushing 10-51T gear range facilitates climbing and riding in rough terrain. Fourthly, the Shimano M6100 hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power for confidence and control. Importantly, the Fox suspension on the front and rear creates a smooth and efficient ride.
Salsa Blackthorn Deore Full Suspension Mountain Bike
Treat your NICA racer well with this cross-country machine. The Salsa Blackthorn Deore Mountain Bike features a lightweight aluminum frame with progressive geometry prepared for the techiest of trails. The Shimano Deore 1 x 12-speed drivetrain can handle the toughest of climbs. The 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes will keep your NICA rider in control when they ride downhill. The progressive suspension creates a smooth and safe ride. This mountain bike features some great additions for your high school racer. First, downtube mounts accommodate a large water bottle and a pump. Second, this bike comes with the Salsa EXP Series Tube Strap and an integrated frame mount for your tube and tools. Importantly, the TranzX YSI05 dropper post is height-adjustable by 30mm—total travel varies by frame size—and includes a Shimano remote lever
Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 FS MTB
The Cannondale Jekyll Carbon 29 3 Bike is a long-reach trail bike with progressive geometry providing both descending control and climbing power. Notably, the BallisTec Carbon frame is strong and light. The Fox Float Performance 36 Fork and Float Performance DPX2 EVOL shock will smooth out the bumps. The SRAM GX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain provides a huge gear range for continuous power. Your NICA rider will appreciate the stopping power and control provided by Guide RE hydro disc brakes. The Jekyll Carbon 29 3 rolls on Stan’s NoTubes Flow S1 rims with Maxxis Assegai tires. This capable trail bike Includes Cannondale DownLow dropper seat-post with a sweet cable remote.
Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy C XT Complete Mountain Bike
The Santa Cruz Bicycles Tallboy C XT Complete Mountain Bike is fast and maneuverable. Santa Cruz’s super light carbon XC bike has lots of things to make your NICA rider happy. Firstly, The Fox 34 Float Performance Elite boasts 120mm travel. Secondly, the Tallboy C XT has a 1×12 Shimano XT drivetrain. Thirdly, plenty of stopping power is provided by a Shimano Deore XT Trail Brake set. This Tallboy will definitely pedal all day, but it’s down for some shenanigans too.
Norco Revolver FS 2 120 29″ Mountain Bike
The Norco Revolver FS 2 120 29″ Bike is an endurance race machine. This cross-country mountain bike has a stiff carbon frame that boasts 120mm of travel on the front and rear. Your NICA ride will appreciate the frame’s bottle cage mount, internal cable routing, and integrated chain-stay protector.
The FS 2 version of the Norco Revolver comes with a SRAM NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. This includes a cassette that has a huge 11-50T gear range that makes climbing and pedaling through rough terrain a breeze. SRAM G2 R hydraulic disc brakes provide confidence-inspiring stopping power so you can descend under control. With the X-Fusion Manic dropper post, you’ll be able to quickly lift and lower your saddle with the press of a lever. Whether your high schooler is descending steep and technical terrain or climbing steep hills, they will love this bike.