Demon United Hyper X Knee Pads For Kids Review

Demon United knee pads for mtb kids

It’s important to send your kids out on the trails with a complete set of pads and safety equipment. They may not want to wear them, unless, of course, those knee pads are the Demon United Hyper X knee pads. These pads are both comfortable and stylish, and they’ll help protect your child’s knees from the rough stuff when they fall off of their bike.

Comfort Is As Important As Safety

The Demon United Hyper X knee pads are gear that’s comfortable to wear, thanks to the perforated neoprene fabric that allows your child’s skin to breathe. At the same time, the knee guard is highly protective, due to the D30 (which is also reflected in the name of the knee guard, by the way) foam padding. It’s designed to absorb the shock of falling on any surface. The exterior portion of the guard is made of Kevlar, the same thing that bulletproof vests are made from, ensuring that the protection won’t break down due to a fall. It’s sturdy, so you won’t have to worry about cracks forming in the surface.

On top of this, sweat is no match for the interior of this knee guard, which consists of terry cloth material designed to wick away moisture. When you combine this with the mesh panel on the inner section of the knee, you end up with a very well-built protective device that really takes a number of different things into consideration.

Demon United knee pads for kids
Best MTB knee pads for kids - side view
Comfortable mtb knee pads for kids

MTB Pads For Kids Designed To Stay In Place

A big issue with most knee pads is the fact that they tend to slip. No matter how tight you make them (without cutting off blood flow, of course), they still might move around as your child pedals up and down the hills.

This has not happened with our Demon United knee pads. They fasten into place with high-quality Velcro. The straps are wide – and that makes them both comfortable and durable. Overall, the stitching on the pads, which holds the Velcro segments into place, is sturdy. There aren’t any loops or uneven sections.

mtb knee pads for kids

Demon United Knee Pads Are Sized To Fit

The Demon United Hyper X knee pads come in four different sizes. In order to determine which one fits best, you’ll need to measure your child’s leg both above and below the knee. We received a size small to test out.

Our test “model” has an upper knee measurement of 12.5 inches, and the guard fit fine. According to the specifications, this size is designed for a 16.5-inch upper knee/leg and a 14.5-inch lower knee/leg. Since the Velcro straps are adjustable, it makes plenty of sense to have some wiggle room in there. However, you don’t want to go too small, because the pad might begin to slip. It’s best to measure first and then check with the manufacturer, just to be on the safe side.

Speaking of the safe side, your child will certainly be there thanks to these knee pads. They are high quality, comfortable, and sized to fit. You can’t ask for much more.

Demon United knee pads for mtb kids
DH knee pads for kids - washing instructions
D30 foam - mtb knee pads for kids

We Have Used These Kids’ Knee Pads For Months And They Have Held Up Very Well

We received these pads in the late spring and have used them hard for over four months. Our travels have included multi-day stops in Winter Park, Park City, Bellingham, Whistler, and BC’s Sunshine Coast.

Our kid took his first rough tumble in these a couple of weeks ago. We were storming down a trail and he clipped a tree with his bar. The result was a nice little over-the-bars experience where the pads certainly limited the damage. They protect the entire knee and the sides of the knees. That makes a big difference when doing a high speed dirt inspection.

Demon United knee pads
Cornering with the Demon United knee pads for kids

The pads have also been washed more than a couple of times. Their stitching has not failed or become loose. The Velcro still functions as if the pads are brand new. And, the graphics have not deteriorated.

Overall, these knee pads for kids from Demon United have been among the best protective gear we have owned. We are excited to have them be a part of our most used equipment as we enter Utah’s second season of winter desert riding.

Best mtb knee pads for kids
Best kids mountain bikes

Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

Whistler's Lord Of The Squirrels

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Commencal Clash Jr. Review

Commencal Clash Jr review

Attention parents! Are you looking for an all-around bike that will help your child build confidence on the up and shred on the down? One that won’t blow your budget in one sitting? Look no further than the 2019 Commencal Clash Jr. – one of the sickest kids bikes on the market to date.

Commencal Clash Jr review

This bike embodies everything a solid built kids bike should be. Touted as a “mini enduro” the Commencal Clash Jr. checks all the boxes with 27.5 wheels, a junior cockpit and frame, and 160 mm of rear travel with 160mm fork to balance it all out. Commencal has put a lot of thought into this build, specifically for kids that weigh maybe 80lbs wet. The suspension is purposely set at a higher ratio to counter for the weight of a lighter rider ripping down the mountain and tackling climbs.

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Commencal Clash Jr. at dusk

Commencal bikes goes into its 20th year of production, and have taken the reins in offering well-built bikes for kids. Over the past few years, we have noticed a shift in the way bike companies market and build, specifically for the big kid/ tween sizes. Even just a few years ago, there were very limited options for this age group. Commencal bikes realized there was a missing link, and proceeded to design and built solid junior bikes to fill that void. Coming out gangbusters with their Jr. Cartel, and Commencal CoFactory riders, snapping up some of the best jr. riders world-wide to push their bikes to the max, they are now at the forefront of big kid/tween technology.

No Dealers, No Problem. You Buy Direct From Commencal.

Providing factory-direct pricing is yet another way this progressive company had made their mark on the industry. Offering brand-new, well – made bikes at a fraction of what you would find at your local bike shop. They also understand that kids grow, so to accommodate this – they have a “second hand” section right on their website, making it easier to keep it all in the family.

Rear linkage
Head tube - Commencal Clash Jr

The bike’s linkage, absence of a front derailleur, and internal cable routing make the Commencal Clash Jr. an apt machine for enduro and gravity riders.

Crankset - kids mountain bike review
Rear cassette Commencal Clash Jr

A 1 x 12 drive train slims down the equipment on the bars and allows the bike to save some ounces in the weight department.

After market brake calipers
Rockshox fork - junior mountain bike

Our demo is shown with aftermarket pedals, brakes, wheels and tires. Take a look at the build chart below to see the stock make up on the Commencal Clash Jr. 650b.

Stock Build On The Commencal Clash Jr. 650b

Our demo has several after market parts as seen in our photos. The picture below is from the Commencal website.

Commencal Clash Jr. 650b review
Frame2019 CLASH JR, 650b , 160 mm travel
ShockROCKSHOX DELUXE SELECT + RT, 210 X 55, rebound, 2 positions
ForkROCKSHOX 35 GOLD RL, 160 mm travel, rebound, compression
HeadsetACROS Fiber ZS44 / ZS56, sealed bearings, IPS Technology
StemRIDE ALPHA FREERIDE, 40 mm, 31,8 mm, 0° angle
BarRIDE ALPHA, Alloy 7050, double butted, 15 mm rise, 760 mm, 31,8 mm
GripsRIDE ALPHA, DH Grips, ultra soft compound, single clamp
BrakesSRAM GUIDE T, 200 mm / 180 mm
ShiftersSRAM NX EAGLE, 1 x 12 speed
Rear MechSRAM NX EAGLE, 1 x 12 speed
Bottom BracketSRAM DUB, Press Fit BB 92
CranksetSRAM DESCENDANT 6K EAGLE 6K, 34 t, 165 mm
ChainSRAM NX EAGLE, 1 x 12 speed
CassetteSRAM NX EAGLE, 10 - 50, 12 speed
RimsWTB ST i29, 32 holes, tubeless ready, 29 mm inner width
HubsFORMULA, 32 holes, sealed bearings
Spokes / NipplesSAPIM LEADER spokes, stainless steel, 2.0 mm
TiresVEE TIRE CO FLOW SNAP, 27.5 x 2.35, tackee compound, skinwall, tubeless ready
SeatpostKS Ragei, 31.6 mm, 100 mm travel
Weight15,5 kg / 34,17 lbs
Pedals IncludedYes
AccessoriesDown tube protector, chainstay protector, seatstay protector

Geometry For The Commencal Clash Jr.

Not ready for a 27.5 inch wheel? Take a look at the other options for the Commencal Clash Jr.

20 inch24 inch650b*
(1) SEAT TUBE LENGTH260320370
(2) SEAT TUBE ANGLE7275.575.8
(4) HEAD TUBE LENGTH105.0105.0105.0
(5) WHEELBASE929.51034.41136
(6) TOP TUBE LENGTH469490530
(7) CHAIN STAY LENGTH345390434
(9) FORK LENGTH436506558
(11) REACH320350380
(12) STACK457543593

*The 650b is featured in our review

Commencal Clash Jr Geometry - 650b

Click the image above to enlarge it.

Riding The Commencal Clash Jr.

The Commencal Clash Jr. is designed to get roughed up – in the air and on the rocks. It’s suspension, geometry and wheel size are dialed-in for those who are ready to take their skills to the steeps, and jumps.

Elevated ladder - Commencal Clash Jr. review

The Commencal Clash Jr. is not a XC bike. It is built for the bike parks, jump sessions, and rowdy trails.

Taking a tight corner in Deer Valley, Utah

Our riders enjoy the Commencal Clash Jr. because even though it’s designed for the gravity minded, it remains versatile.

The Mallen twins
MTB kid headed to the top of the jump line

“I like the Commencal Clash Jr. because it’s the mountain bike that lets me ride how I like to ride. And, what I like to ride.”

Mountain Biking With Kids Test Rider

Commencal Clash Jr. in Keystone, Colorado
Commencal Clash Jr. review - technical terrain
Getting air with the Commencal Clash Jr.

Final Words On The Commencal Clash Jr.

My boys have both progressed insanely on the Commencal Clash Jr., as it has the strength, structure and sizing to accommodate their type and style of riding. They feel safe and stable in all aspects of climbing and riding the technical trails up in the PNW, the flow trails in Colorado and Whistler or desert and high alpine trail riding in our home state of Utah. Commencal is leaps-and-bounds ahead of the game on junior tech, creating “mini” versions of adult bikes. For kids that range in height from 4’7” – 4’11 the Clash Jr is the perfect fit. For smaller riders looking to progress, there is the Clash 20 and the Clash 24 – just miniaturized to accommodate smaller rippers.

Launching the Commencal Clash Jr. into the sunset
Best kids mountain bikes

Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

Whistler's Lord Of The Squirrels

Go On A Family Bike Ride
What’s on your bucket list for family mountain bike rides? How about Whistler’s Lord Of The Squirrels?

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Shotgun Kids MTB Seat Review

Kids Ride Shotgun MTB Seat Review - youth on bike

Biking has been a huge part of my life- I spent much of my youth riding the trails of Park City, and continue to ride as much as life will allow. Accordingly, I have been (im)patiently awaiting introducing my sons to riding so they too can take part. Our three year old has really taken to his strider, and rips around the neighborhood and on pump tracks. But, he has not yet adjusted to his pedal machine, and while his little legs can power him around at a pretty good clip, there is a real limit on distance and on actual trail riding. I have been eyeing the Shotgun Kids Mountain Bike Seat for a while now as a tool to incorporate my son into longer rides and begin to teach him bike skills, and was thrilled when we were offered the chance to test and review the Shotgun seat. I decided to set the seat up on our second mountain bike, a full suspension Salsa Horsethief.

Shotgun Kids MTB Seat

The seat arrived in a small box along with the handlebar. I had previously watched videos regarding install, so I had some idea of what to do, but reviewed the instructions before launching into getting it set up. The seat includes some actual useable tools (two wrenches and an allen key) for install, which was greatly appreciated, as most of my tools were stashed somewhere by my kids. The instructions are straight forward- loosen a few bolts, set the seat on the frame, and re-tighten everything.

Kids Ride Shotgun kids seat and handle bar
Shotgun Kids MTB seat - parts on display
Installing the Shotgun Kids MTB Seat

Advice For Setting Up The Shotgun Kids MTB Seat

After the seat is mostly set-up, gently tighten the bolts and put the rider on to adjust the distance between the seat and the handlebar. I took a guess at how far back the seat should be and went ahead and tightened everything down, only to find I needed to move back a few cm so my son wasn’t too close to the bar.

Loosen all the bolts before you start set-up, as it is much easier to move everything around with all the bolts loose (including the two small bolts that set seat post angle. The seat went on easily- the hardest part of getting the seat on the bike was trying to recover the wrenches, which kept walking away with my two kids! I then moved onto the handlebar, which comes with several inserts for differing bar sizes. Again, this went on easily. Getting everything on was uneventful, which is exactly how it should be.

Install Video And Ride Video From Kids Ride Shotgun

Riding With The Shotgun Kids Seat

We took a short spin around the neighborhood to make sure everything was where it should be- my son was stoked! A few days later we took the kids out for a longer ride to a nearby farmers market. Riding with my 40lb three year old on the bike was super easy- no change in steering or ride characteristics. He absolutely loved it – front facing so he was right in the action; his own set of handlebars to feel like he was involved, and we could talk and interact. We rode home on dirt roads, which again was a blast. That afternoon we took the bike to a nearby school with a big parking lot so I could play around with tight turns, curb drops, and hard braking to really explore how the seat worked before taking to the trails. While you are certainly aware there is a child in front of you, the seat didn’t change how my bike rode, and I was only limited in really tight turns due to the bars hitting my son. The seat didn’t alter suspension whatsoever, and the bike was really only limited by what I was willing to undertake. After this, it was time to take the bike to some actual rough road and trail riding!

Kids Ride Shotgun MTB Seat Review - youth on bike

Over the 4th of July we took the caravan up to Sun Valley, Idaho for a weekend of parades, fireworks, and of course riding. My son and I took the bike out for several long rides into town (about an hour of riding each way on mixed gravel and pavement), a few forays on rough washboard dirt roads, and some mellow-ish single track. The rig performed so well every time. The only limitation was in how long my son was interested in riding. Note that I like all-day mountain bike suffer-fests. My son apparently does not! On local singletrack, the bike was a blast, and my son was giggling and laughing the whole way.

Shotgun Kids Seat – A Few Observations

First – there is a kid in front of you, and you will have to splay your knees a bit to rub on said kid every pedal stroke. This isn’t a major issue at all, but I could imagine if you were trying to ride on a very small frame, the effect could be more pronounced as the child would be closer to the seat.

Second – pedaling standing up is harder with a child on the bike. It is still possible, but is just different than without a child in front of you. For the most part I just geared down and chugged in the saddle, but on one occasion came into a steeper rocky section slower than ideal, and with my son in front of me getting over the top was tough. As the trail was steep, standing meant that I was pushed against my son and couldn’t comfortably get out of the saddle.

Third – this should be obvious, but I failed to actually take this into account – you will need to adjust suspension settings. With my son coming in around 40 lbs, the added weight meant I was pretty deep into the rear suspension, and the front fork dove more on braking. Once I increased air pressure in both front and rear suspension, we were back to normal.

Fourth – your child will be holding on to your bars – either directly, or through the really nice accessory bars from Shotgun. They can provide steering input and my son is a bit of a wild animal. He made it clear when he was done riding by shaking the bar. He isn’t strong enough to actually cause issue when both of my hands were on the bars – but it does mean you need to pay attention, as he is strong enough to cause problems if you only have one hand on the bar. On our first outings, I was using a water bottle. And on one occasion when I had one hand on the bar while reaching for the bottle, my son decided to pilot us toward a canal. He likes ducks. What can I say? Lesson learned. Use a hydration pack!

Cruising along with the Kids Ride Shotgun seat
Young family mountain biking with kids
Mountain biking with the Kids Ride Shotgun saddle accessory

The Final Lap

Overall, the Shotgun Kids Mountain Bike Seat is phenomenal, and I wish that I had pulled the trigger on one last year. Of the options out there for getting your kid involved in riding, this is hands down the best. We have tried pretty much everything else, and this is as close to perfect as it comes. I think this is a great tool to teach riding, and to get out there and enjoy our bikes with our kids. As soon as your child is capable of holding on and paying attention – I would guess two years, depending on child. And until they take off on their own or grow too big to manage (for my son, I would say 4 or 5), look no further than the Shotgun Kids Mountain Bike Seat.

MTB Stuff We Love – Summer 2019


Here Are Some Smaller MTB Items That Can Make A Good Ride Great

This mountain bike season is well underway and we’d like to let you know about some of the smaller things we have been using over the last couple of months. Although not as cool as a new bike, these items can help you enjoy your next family bike ride.

Cush Core MTB tire suspension system

CushCore MTB Tire Suspension System

Think of CushCore inserts as an insurance policy that you get to use right away. Our oldest is pretty tough on wheels. Last year, we traveled from Salt Lake City to Angel Fire for an enduro race. The likely combination of incorrect tire pressure (tubeless set-up) and terrain resulted in a flat, damaged wheel on stage 2 and a DNF. This really sucked. Fast forward to 2019 MTB nats in Winter Park and five days of aggressive park riding with CushCore inserts; we have a pleasant success story. The expense, time and effort it takes to get these installed is well-worth the peace-of-mind. Yes – there is a bit of weight gain, but the performance and durability is noticeable. CushCore is available in 26-inch 27.5-inch and 29-inch wheel sizes.

SKS Anywhere Water Bottle Cage Hanger

This simple accessory allows you to attach a full-size water bottle on the underside of your bike’s down tube. Our youngest rides an adult-sized small mountain bike and this inexpensive accoutrement works like a charm. A lot of full-suspension mountain bikes prohibit using a traditional water bottle cage on the inside of the front triangle and the SKS Germany Water Bottle Mount eliminates the problem. Its velcro attachments and no skid rubber contact points ensure a sturdy, no slip solution. You can even use it if you bike can hold a water bottle cage (or two) in the front triangle. Use is for carrying a tool kit, banana, light saber, whatever.

MyMedic MyFAK fist aid kit for mountain bikers

MyMedic – MyFAK First Aid Kit

Unlike the Cush Core inserts, a first aid kit is an insurance item you carry with you that you hope you never need. But alas, the inherent risk of mountain biking dictates that injuries are an issue of “when” and not “if”. We have only had this first aid kit for a few weeks and have unexpectedly used it a handful of times. We even used the scissors to assist with a bike repair. The MyFAK is a bit on the large size, but open and unfolded, it fits in an adult-sized hydration pack very well. We can’t list all of the items it comes with here, but it does come with the basics as well as over-the-counter pain relief meds, burn ointments, large gauze pads and med tape. Be sure to check this out as it’s very useful to have in the car on road trips without the bikes.

Portable tri-pod for mobile phone

Joby GripTight Tripod For Mobile Phones

We often try to get a family photo on rides. In the past we’ve done the thing where you prop a smartphone up against an arrangement of rocks, stuff a phone in a bike’s spokes, stick it in a tree and hope it doesn’t fall – you get the idea. If you’re up for carrying “just one more thing” with you, we recommend the Joby GripTight. It’s a small flexible tripod with smartphone grip you can use on flat surfaces or attach to a suitable tree, bike or rock. Now, you can set up your shots with confidence your phone won’t take a crash on the next family bike ride.

FiveTen MTB Shoes And Flat Pedals

Broken-record time. If you ride flats, FiveTen makes the best mountain biking shoes in the world. They are durable, comfortable and functional. Be sure to pair them with pedals that have pins extending from the surface. This allows FiveTen’s Stealth® rubber to grip like stink on a monkey. Be warned though. Slip happens and you can get some deep cuts from the pedal pins.

Trailforks MTB trail app

Trailforks MTB App

I recommended this app earlier in the week to a family who was on Galbraith Mountain for the first time. Trailforks is a mountain biking specific trail app for your smartphone and we have used it for years. If you’re an experienced #mtbfamily – you already have this or something similar on your phone. But if your family is new to the sport, this app will save you buckets of tears and countless hours. The app uses GPS technology to pinpoint your location so when you get to that fork in the trail – you can stay on the correct route. Trail ratings for difficulty and popularity, elevations, and distances are the features we use the most. And, this is just scratching the surface of the Trailfork’s capabilities. States and/or provinces need to be loaded while you have an Internet connection – so when you’re on a trip, be sure to do this before you travel into the woods and under the radar.

Best kids mountain bikes

Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

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What’s on your bucket list for family mountain bike rides? How about Whistler’s Lord Of The Squirrels?

Real cost bike calculator

Have A Good Laugh – Or Cry
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Pivot LES 27.5 Review


High School Usable

The Pivot LES 27.5 was engineered with cross country riding in mind and it was designed to get you across the finish line. It is perfect for someone entering into NICA’s junior development program or a high schooler who is already deep into their racing career. Honestly, it would be good for a weekend rider too! This is an excellent bike for kids starting to race because of its lightweight build and accommodating sizes. On top of that, many MTB experts claim hardtails are the best for learning valuable techniques.

The setup we got to demo was an extra-small Pivot LES 27.5 Team XTR. Kitted with a Fox Factory Stepcast 32 fork, Shimano XTR rear derailleur, shifter, and brakes. Along with that, a Race Face Next SL 34T Crankset, Pivot’s Phoenix Team Flat Carbon handlebars (30.75 in), an 11-speed cassette with a 46t big ring, center lock disc brakes. Lastly, we had a WTB saddle, DT Swiss XMC 1200 Wheels, and Maxxis Ardent Race tires 27.5 x 2.35. As you can tell, this thing was built to rip.

VISIT PIVOT CYCLES: Website | Instagram | Facebook

Our test rider was only 12 years old, 60 inches tall, and 80lbs with all his gear on. According to Pivot, the bike fits riders between 4’10’’ (58 inches) and 6’1’’ (73 inches). Based on average heights, the LES 27.5 would be great for some 11 year old kids but mostly kids who are 12 and up. This paired with the lightweight nature of a hardtail makes for easy climbing and tight handling. Making it perfect for a new or experienced rider.

Your state level NICA league may have a partnership in place with Pivot so registered athletes and coaches can get discounts on Pivot bikes. We suggest contacting your league to see if you qualify.


One of the main features of Pivot’s LES 27.5 that makes it so exciting is the short chainstays. No matter which size you are riding, the bike rocks a 16.77 inch chainstay. This allows riders to move with agility through a XC course or through a short track course. The bike also houses an oversized, box-section downtube and bottom bracket area. Paired with its Boost 110mm and 148mm front and rear spacing and the chainstay, the LES 27.5 provides a stiff yet forgiving ride quality.

Both of the smaller sizes feature shorter head tubes to create more stand-over height. With stand-over heights of 25.5in and 27in on the XS and SM frame sizes, smaller riders have great opportunity. This allows for young riders to center themselves in athletic positions without fear of the top tube. Making the LES 27.5 great for young racers as it gives them all they need to rip around a corner or descend steep drops.

Pivot LES 27.5 getometry
Pivot LES 27.5 geometry data

Click the image above to enlarge it

What The Pros Say About The Pivot LES 27.5

Our family’s experience with this bike was great, but just don’t take our word for it. We were lucky enough to communicate with a couple of Pivot’s sponsored pro riders and here is what they told us about one of their favorite mountain bikes.

Kait Boyle - Pivot rider

Kait Boyle

“Getting on a 27.5 hardtail gave me the opportunity to feel like I could ride a bike that had the efficiency of a hardtail, but also the maneuverability of a 27.5 trail bike.”

Chloe Woodruff

Chloe Woodruff

Just prior to her UCI XC Short Track win in the Czech Republic, Chloe Woodruff said, “The LES 27.5 is a fantastic bike and the XS is a great option for younger riders.”

Chloe Woodruff’s Pivot LES 27.5 From 2018’s Albstadt World Cup

Chloe Woodruff's Pivot LES 27.5

Cockpit, Suspension and Wheels

The LES 27.5 has a simple and clean cockpit. With beautiful full-length, internal cable routing, young riders don’t have to worry about cables getting in the way. This also presents an additional DIY learning opportunity for how to route and thread internal housing when the need arises.

Pivot LES 27.5 review

Learning to ride in a racing situation is optimal with this bike’s setup. The exclusion of a front derailleur allows a clean handlebar situation. This helps a young rider to focus on the trail – keeping their hands ready when needed.

Pivot LES 27.5 rear brake mount
Carbon wheels on Pivot LES 27.5

Our demo came kitted with Shimano XTR M9100 brakes which continues the lightweight, nimble, and responsive theme that this bike screams. Young riders can learn the best techniques with these stoppers such as one finger braking and the different situations that call for rear or front braking.

Kashima coated fork on Pivot LES 27.5

The Pivot LES 27.5 comes ready for the tough XC terrain. We tested in a desert landscape fully stocked with sharp rocks and pointy plants. One fear of riding on a hardtail is that the wheels and tires get put under immense pressure. Our LES 27.5 didn’t buckle under the pressure. Instead, it rose to the occasion to provide an amazing ride! With the DT Swiss XMC 1200 wheels, you can rest assured that you have some of the lightest, yet most reliable wheels available. Shaving almost a pound off from DT Swiss’ entry level M1700 wheels, the XMC 1200’s are among the best around. Coupled with a set of Maxxis Ardent Race 27.5 x 2.35 tires, any rider will be ready to climb or descend.

Pivot LES 27.5 Carbon Sizes For Your MTB Kid

This chart is just a general overview. You should always get assistance from a professional who can perform a proper bike fit.

Approx. Rider Height4’10" – 5’5”5’4” – 5’9”5’8” – 5’11”5’10” – 6’1”

Riding the Pivot LES 27.5

Coming in at 12 years old and 80 pounds with his gear, our rider looked experienced and fast on the LES 27.5. To test the bike, we took it out in St. George, Utah which is a typical desert riding environment. This type of terrain can be very difficult. Steep drops, sharp rocks, and sandy corners are frequent, yet our rider and bike handled it very well.

Pedaling this bike seems to be more fun and less of a chore. In fact, the thing our test rider loved the most was how well the bike climbed. If you are used to a heavy full-suspension bike, your first time on this bike will almost feel like the bike is propelling you up the trail. This is one of the reasons this bike would be ideal for a new cross country racer. It is great for building strength while also allowing the rider to climb technical ascents without getting discouraged.

Attributing to the great ability to climb, the LES 27.5 is stiff and extremely efficient. Every ounce of energy you put into this bike comes back in the wheels turning. Opposed to a full-suspension bike where a rider’s energy can go into the rear suspension, this bike helps young riders finish longer cross-country rides.

Kid riding XS Pivot LEX 27.5
Pivot LES 27.5 review - it's a climber

“This bike only weighed about 20lbs and the gearing made it super easy to pedal and climb steep hills.”

Mountain Biking With Kids Test Rider

Now the fun part, the descent! With a bike like the LES 27.5, young riders can drop in with confidence. Starting with the short chainstay, riders are not over encumbered by a long bike. This allows smaller riders to get their butt behind the saddle when needed. This makes descending technical and steep drops more comfortable and plausible.

Descending stairs with the Pivot LES 27.5
Climbing tough terrain on the Pivot LES 27.5

Summing Up The Pivot LES 27.5

After all is said and done, this bike is versatile and ready to be ripped. With options for young and adult riders, the LES 27.5 can fit most rider’s needs. Our demo found that this would be an amazing bike for either new riders who want to pursue racing in high school or current NICA cross country racers.

Whether a high school or middle school racer, this bike features short chainstays and head tubes giving young riders the ability to ride steep and technical terrain. Where many bikes steal your energy output in the suspension, the LES 27.5 puts all your energy to good use. Getting you up and down the mountain again and again… and again. In the end, although this is a great bike in general, it is definitely tuned for XC riders. Be sure to do your research before purchasing and even see if your local shop will allow you to test ride. Just pick the bike that best fits you and your riding style.

Racking up the Pivot LES 27.5
Best kids mountain bikes

Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

Whistler's Lord Of The Squirrels

Go On A Family Bike Ride
What’s on your bucket list for family mountain bike rides? How about Whistler’s Lord Of The Squirrels?

Real cost bike calculator

Have A Good Laugh – Or Cry
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Father’s Day 2019 – Dad Bike Checks

Father's Day bike checks - 2019

A lot of you enjoyed our Mother’s Day Bike Checks post last month so we thought we’d follow it up with one ferda-dads. We reached out to several father’s across the mtb plains and we’d like to say thanks to all those who took the time to brag about their bikes and kids.

Kris “Krispy” Baughman And His Pivot Firebird

Pivot Firebird - Kris Baughman

I’ve been a fan of Pivot ever since the company was founded. My son and I have been riding Pivot’s bikes for years. The DW-Link suspension and amount of engineering that has gone into the brand is among the best in the business. Because of this, my Firebird 29er has a good look to it and it fits me nicely.

After some additional modifications, this bike works very well for me and my style of riding. After throwing on a 27.5 rear wheel that gives me a little more tire clearance in the rear end I’ve noticed improved handling in tight turns.

My soon-to-be wife, Leslie and I have founded the RaceKraft MTB team. It is a gravity focused group of teenagers. Along with the trail and park riding, we also cover off-bike training and mental preparation. It’s great to be riding with this group of kids. Our season finale will be participating at the 2019 MTB Nationals in Winter Park next month.

Jeff Burgner And The Rocky Mountain Instinct

Rocky Mountain Instinct - Bike check

It’s Father’s day, so let’s talk bikes. If your family is like ours, then you have groms that love to shred the gnar. In order for dad to shred just as hard (or at least try to), you’ll need a bike that’s capable of a lot of things. For me it is a long travel 29er. A bike that you can take to the bike park with the kids, or go on an extended adventure ride, and get out there. The Rocky Mountain Instinct bc edition was the choice for me.

The Instinct bc comes in two models. The Alloy 50, and the race ready Carbon 90. The Alloy 50 is the obvious choice for me, as it is what I consider a fairly priced mountain bike with a solid build, and great suspension. It’s an aluminum framed machine that comes with some burly fox suspension. A Fox float 36, with 160 mm travel, and grip damper in front. Bring up the rear is a Fox Float dpx2 with 155 mm travel. This my first bike with a piggy back shock, and man are they nice. Sealed cartridge bearings are the norm on all the pivots. With this bike, I’ve upgraded to the Sram Eagle 12spd, gx build which is just a great advance in bike technology. The dropper is Fox, branded as a Raceface turbine. It’s a well engineered piece of equipment that’s a pleasure to sit on. All of this radness gets you going and feeling loose. That usually means slow down! In order to do so 4 piston Sram Guide RE brakes with some monster truck 200 mm rotors do the trick. Some other bling on the Instinct bc I think is coo, are the DT Swiss rear hub, and the WTB race saddle. Details, details they can get boring, I get it. So then, how does it ride?

For me the Instinct bc rides freaking awesome. It climbs like you think a 29er should, has a bottle cage inside the frame, descends like a boss, and can hit jumps with the groms. The suspension is plush, and gloss metal flake brown color of the Alloy 50 rocks. It’s something I can pedal the extensive single track in the high mountains of northern Utah, and rally on some of the more chunky terrain in Southern Utah, but that will have to wait for winter. I’m really stoked on the Rocky Mountain Instinct bc Edition Alloy 50 so far, can’t wait to pile on the miles this summer. Hopefully the @huck_it_cru will see you on the trails. The @huck_it_cru would like to thanks Slim and Knobbys bike shop, (@slimandknobbys) our local bike shop for being rad and supporting mountain biking in Heber, Utah.

Rocky Mountain Instinct - Father's Day bike check 2019
Old car and Rocky Mountain Instinct
The trail ahead of a Rocky Mountain Instinct

Follow Jeff and his family: @huck_it_cru | @carson_shreds  | @hurricane_cam_  | @freeformpix

Jeff would like to thank his local bike shop: @slimandknobbys

Dre Hestler And His Rocky Mountain Instinct

Dre Hestler - Father's Day Bike Checks

I have two kids both boys, age 6 and 9, it’s awesome to see what is available now compared to 5 years ago – we finally have some great choices out there for kids. I’m running my daily rider here. It’s more of a team build than stock, but what the heck – it’s just the way I like it. My son’s bike check on his Rocky Mountain Reaper will be published soon.

  • Rocky Mountain Instinct BC large, 155mm rear and 160mm front
  • New Coil Fox DHX2 Coil: Hmmm will this make me faster, cause I have to keep up to the kids? Plus the Fox 36 Grip 2, yes harder to dial in, but well worth the effort.
  • New XTR: Drive train and brakes. Wow is all I have to say. Yes things do get better, arguably since my 6/7 speed XT and full rigid bike with toe clips circa 1987.
  • Race Face: Grips, bars and stem – fatter grips for my dad hands and just cut down my bars to 780. Ran 800 for the last 2 years, but hit too many trees. 50mm stem, keeping things tight and inline.
  • Maxxis Tires: Nothing but the best for grip and traction – EXO always and 2.5 WT Minion DHF 3C up front and 2.4 DHR II EXO 3C rear. Grip and traction all day long.
  • Fox Transfer Post: Just moved to a 175 because I could and haven’t really found the steeps that are needed. But it’s only been a week, eh!
  • Outfit: 7 Mesh Eldorado Top and Glidepath shorts. Love the style and functionality. These guys are dialed. All their products ring with authenticity.
  • Smith Session Helmet and Ryder’s Anti-Fog Roam eyewear sitting in a super dorky dad position.
  • Shimano AM9 shoes: They’re a little bit soft, but great contact with the pedals – clipped in for sure. Year round comfort – race or ride!!
  • Pedals: XTR, again. Yes things get better and better, lucky-us mountain bikers!
  • One Up: This is what you can’t see. The EDS tool in the head tube and Tube strap keeping things tight-n-ready on my EveryDay Carry (EDC). Still haven’t plugged the pump in yet. Still thinking fashion, but I carry it in my pocket.

Dan Klein And Evil Bikes

I’ve always loved riding bikes, my parents drove me all over Wisconsin to race cross-country in the WORS series when I was a teen. I had the coolest bike ever, a 1997 carbon-fiber Trek 9800 with an ultralight RockShox SID fork! Fast forwards 20 years, and I live near Seattle, WA with my lovely wife (Judy) and we have two amazing kids (Nory and Elo). Our family is 100% bike crazy.

It all started with the kids were tiny, like age 2. At first, Judy and I would run behind the kids to help push them up the hills on Boot Camp at Duthie. When they got too fast to chase, I needed a bike to keep up. I had been away from biking for a while during school, and was totally shocked to see that the local stores didn’t have even one carbon fiber hard tail for sale – hah! All the bikes were full suspension nonsense with long, low, and slack geometry – looked slow to me, but I figured I’d give it a try. I started on a Transition Scout, thinking I wouldn’t need much bike to ride with the fam. It was great, but the kids quickly started going bigger and faster, and got heavy into downhill racing through Sweetlines.

Now that Elo is 8 and Nory 10, they’re crazy good and I struggle to keep up. To compensate, I upgraded to an Evil Insurgent LB and also built an Evil Faction 2 dirt jumper, although Judy will quickly point out that we technically share the DJ. The Insurgent is a special bike, the back end is super light and stiff, I can float through rock gardens or just pop over them – wow! It sends jumps like a dream too, however not quite as well as the dirt jumper. The Faction 2 is the first bike I’ve ever built from the frame up, including the wheels, fun!

Riding bikes has become our family passion, we spend every free second on the trails and even got a giant van to allow us to spend more time out in the woods. We still love local trails such as Redmond Bike Park, Duthie, Tokul, Raging River, and Tiger Mountain, but our favorite place to ride is Whistler. You can follow our adventures on Instagram @djklein, and maybe we’ll see you out on the trails soon!

Steve Lloyd And Norco Bikes

Steve Lloyd and his sons

Our family has chosen biking to be our bonding time. Ever since I become a dad I knew I wanted to teach my kids to ride bikes and enjoy the outdoors through biking. There has been learning curves to figure out what works and what is best for us as a family as far as bikes go. When I was searching as to what bikes were available for kids and at a price range I could afford I started looking at Norco.

The Fluid lineup was fairly new but looked like it would be a good fit for Weston. We anded up getting him the Norco Fluid 24 inch full suspension bike. From the moment he got on it things changed. He knew he was on a big boy bike now. He had always been hesitant on jumping bigger jumps with his hard tail he had been riding before, but it was full send time to him now. The bike has real working suspension and a pedaling platform that also worked really well. I was stoked to say the least. West could pedal anything I could. Trails like the crest were possible for my 8 year old to shred now. Me being a huge fan of Norco because of these little bikes opened a door way for us to start working with Norco as a family. I ended up getting a Norco Range 29 which I love. The bike not only pedals and shreds trail well, but it jumps extremely well. It has become my new bike for shredding I street.

Last year we had a goal as a family to do bike packing. We created a video about our experience. It was an amazing time to be biking the backcountry with family and sharing the outdoors with my kids. The experiences of spending time with your kids in the outdoors is irreplaceable and I am so stoked to have it as a tool to parent.

Although biking is not cheap and getting kids nice bikes is something hard to justify sometimes, I am a huge believer that the experiences you have riding as a family will create strong bonds that can’t be broken. Our family is super close. Its because we have chosen to spend our time in the outdoors together.

Steve Lloyd and son - Father's Day bike checks 2019

Follow Steve and his boys: @lloydboys

Steve would like to thank: @norcobicycles | @sweetwoodsmokehouse  | @peakrefuel  | @envecomposites  | @demonddirt

Brett Thompson And The Santa Cruz Megatower

Father's Day bike checks -Santa Cruz Megatower

I got my first mountain bike in 1989 during my senior year of high school. It was a Trek 820 and the word “Antelope” was on it somewhere. Other things I remember about the bike include its rigid frame, cantilever brakes, straight-up geometry, pink plastic water bottle cage, infinite gears and yes- even a Blackburn Mtn. Rack. I believe I picked it up for around $800. A quick inflation rate check makes that about $1,600 in modern USD. Shortly after I got my bike, I got to go over the bars on Moab’s Slickrock trail. It was wonderful. That trail was the Studio 54 of 1980’s mountain biking.

Fast forward a few decades and it’s amazing how much bikes have changed. Materials and components have resulted in high-performance machines that cost thousands of dollars more than a suitable car. Don’t get me wrong – I’m thankful for these modern two-wheeled accoutrements. They’re all on display with the 2019 Santa Cruz Megatower.

This bike is way beyond my abilities but I can still enjoy it. The geometry is comfortable and that makes for suitable pedaling. My 12 year old just said “It’s magical an looks good”. I agree. The magic is in the suspension and dropper. The Eagle drive train makes the 29inch wheels go round. The Megatower’s brakes are pretty cool, too.

Santa Cruz Megatower - rear shock
Santa Cruz Megatower - rear brake
Santa Cruz Megatower - dropper lever

Ben Webster And Pivot Cycles

Ben Webster and Family - Father's Day bike checks, Pivot Cycles

The mountain bike has been a big part of my life for over 20 years. When my wife and I started a family we wanted a big family and I wanted the mountain bike to be a part of our lifestyle. So since they could saddle up on a strider they have been riding some kind of 2 wheel magic. Building a fleet of bikes for my kids has been a moving target for the past couple years, trying to adapt to growth spurts and phases. Until a certain height, with a growing family it was hard to find extra money for more than department store bikes, but they have always had a bike to ride. A few years ago as the market shifted verily quick from 26” inch to 27.5 inch wheels, I was able to get 26” product on closeout just as our oldest son was getting into the XS 26” sizing.

The line up now consists of a Pivot Mach 5.7 alloy 26” in XS(fits my 11 YO son), Pivot Mach 5.7 Carbon 26” in Small(15 YO just grew out of it, will be passed onto the next one), Comencal Meta HT 24” (Fits my 10 YO son), and the latest add is a Pivot Mach 4 Carbon 27.5 for my 15 year son. He just completed his first full season of XC racing and really enjoyed it and wanted a bike geared more towards that end to pursue it further.

I am currently riding a Pivot Mach 5.5 Carbon with Fox Live. With so many bikes in the house already, I want to have one mountain bike that is fun while riding with my kids on greens but can turn around and rally with friends on the more technical black trails of South Mountain. The M5.5C does all of it, and does it with a smile on its face and mine. With the Fox Live suspension, its capabilities are further expanded in both directions, with even more XC pedaling capabilities and a plusher feeling from the constantly active rear shock. I chose Shimano XT for the drivetrain and Reynolds carbon/Industry 9 wheels with Maxxis Minion F&R for tires.

Ben Webster's son - Pivot bikes
Webster boys mountain biking in the desert
Best kids mountain bikes

Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

Whistler's Lord Of The Squirrels

Go On A Family Bike Ride
What’s on your bucket list for family mountain bike rides? How about Whistler’s Lord Of The Squirrels?

Real cost bike calculator

Have A Good Laugh – Or Cry
Find out how much that mountain bike really cost you with our mountain bike real cost calculator

We Choose The Best Locks For Mountain Bikes

Best bike locks for mountain bikes
Best bike locks for mountain bikes

Mountain Bike Theft Happens

According to the National Bike Registry, 1.5 million bicycles are stolen each year. Bike locks are the only deterrent to thieves on the lookout for mountain bikes. Sometimes, would-be thieves only decide to strike when they see an poorly bike. After your see which three locks we have selected, read on to learn about our best practices for keeping your mountain bikes safe and sound.

The best u lock for mountain bikes

Best U Lock For Mountain Bikes: Kryptonite Evolution Lite Mini-6 U-Lock

The Kryptonite Evolution Lite Mini-6 U-Lock is the best U lock on the market today. This tiny black and orange beauty weighs 39% less than its parent, the Mini-5. Keep this key lock in your bag, or throw it in your pocket if you are traveling light. Use the Evolution Lite Mini-6 on your travels on transportation, metro areas, and public bike racks.

U Lock Materials

The Mini-6 is made out of max-performance steel. This means all 6 x 2.75 inches are created out of high-quality, long-lasting materials. Not to mention the substance of the stuff only weighs 1.95 pounds! There are also 3 keys made of stainless steel, as well as 1 LED key fob replacement.

U Lock Durability

The thickness of this U lock is 11 millimeters of hardened steel. That means a drop or a fall won’t destroy it. For even more durability, this mountain bike lock has a rotating dust cover and stopper plug to prevent the lock from failing due to debris.

U Lock Level of Protection

Kryptonite rates their locks on a 10-point system. The number 1 is the most basic level of protection, and 10 the most secure. The Evolution Lite Mini-6 rates as a 7.

The high-security cylinder is resistant to both drills and picks. Not to mention there is a reinforced cuff over the crossbar and cylinder. Twist attacks? Not anymore. This bike lock boasts protection in the form of a double-deadbolt, bent-foot design.

As an added safety precaution, this lock is eligible for the Key Safe Program. This program allows you to register your key number to make replacement simple. There is an additional fee, but it allows you to use this U lock for a very long time to come.

Finally, you can register for optional, $2500 anti-theft protection on the official Kryptonite website.

The best chain lock for mountain bikes

Best Chain Lock For Mountain Bikes: Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 Integrated Chain Lock

In terms of chain locks, the Kryptonite Evolution Series 4 1090 Integrated Chain Lock is the best in the business. Black and orange are the colors, 35.5 inches is the length, and 6.1 pounds is the weight. Although heavier than U locks, the chain lock is longer, more durable, and can withstand more malicious treatment.

Chain Lock Materials

The chain links and 3 included keys are made from 3T manganese steel, and the sleeve on the outside is made from water-resistant nylon. The purpose of this accessory is to protect your mountain bike from the tough lock chains underneath. As an added bonus, the sleeve also protects the chain from nasty weather!

Chain Lock Durability

The 1090 integrated chain lock boasts 6-sided links, 10-millimeters apiece. It is also able to withstand quite a bit of mistreatment, whether from the climate or those with cruel intent. Furthermore, a sliding dust cover is included to protect the lock cylinder from dust, rocks, and other debris.

Chain Lock Level of Protection

Since the Series 4 1090 Integrated Chain Lock is a Kryptonite, it follows the same security point system as the first product on our list. However, this lock received an 8 and there are plenty of reasons why. Not the least of which is the oval crossbar headlock that works to double the strength of the mechanism!

The Series 4 1090 also eliminates the usual vulnerability at the end of chain links. How? By using a hardened deadbolt to secure the chain at each of the ends. Kryptonite calls this the End Link Design. Additionally, this bike lock features a cylinder resistant to drills and picks.

The $2500 anti-theft protection is optional, and it is available on the official Kryptonite website. Additionally, this bike lock qualifies for the Key Safe Program. Simply register your key numbers, and if your keys are lost or stolen you pay a small fee to receive replacements.

Thule cable lock for mountain bikes

Best Cable Lock: Thule Cable Lock 6ft One-Key System

One of the best cable locks to keep your mountain bike safe is the Thule Cable Lock 6ft One-Key System. At 6 feet long, there is no bike size you cannot wrap this black lock around. In fact, you can secure up to 4! Whether on your hitch rack, cargo carrier, or roof rack, you won’t have to worry about the safety of your bicycle.

Cable Lock Materials

The Thule Cable Lock is made of braided steel, and double coated with plastic. This helps protect your bike, rack, and vehicle from scratches. Additionally, the whole thing is self-coiling which comes in handy when trying to store it. That goes double for storing in small spaces such as a backpack or beach bag!

Cable Lock Durability

The hefty plastic coating protects the steel from bad weather, and the hinged cap protects the cylinder from dust and dirt. Hefty braided steel forms a strong 10mm diameter underneath the polyethylene, meaning you can give this product the business without fear!

Cable Lock Level of Protection

Thule does not include a system to rate the level of protection offered by its products. However, there is ample information online that would place the safety rating at a 5 out of 10. You can trust it for many situations such as travel, but professional bike thieves can break through with with inexpensive cable cutters.

The cable lock is a one-key cylinder, and you can have the cylinders to all of your Thule products keyed the same. That makes it easier for you. However, that also makes it much easier for a thief to steal all of your Thule items.

There is also a lifetime manufacturers warranty available from Thule on the lock itself.

Best kids mountain bikes

Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

Whistler's Lord Of The Squirrels

Go On A Family Bike Ride
What’s on your bucket list for family mountain bike rides? How about Whistler’s Lord Of The Squirrels?

Real cost bike calculator

Have A Good Laugh – Or Cry
Find out how much that mountain bike really cost you with our mountain bike real cost calculator

Our 3 Best Practices To Protect Your Mountain Bikes

Tip 1: Inside Is The Safest Storage Place

Even mountain bikes stored in the garage or out on a balcony should be locked. Once when traveling in California, we visited an aquarium and took great care to take the front wheels off the bikes and store all four of them in the van as opposed to locking them on the bike rack.

Tip 2: Use Multiple Locks

All locks do is buy you time and help deter theft. We have four bikes to keep safe and we often use a combination of all the types of locks mentioned in this article when camping.

Tip 3: Keep Your Locked Bikes Within Eyesight

Even if we have multiple locks on our mountain bikes, I always keep them in eyesight. When we stop a restaurant after a ride, my wife knows I will not sit at a table where we cannot see the bikes. We always leave someone in the car if we go to a grocery store.

Mother’s Day 2019 – Mom Bike Checks

Mother's Day bike checks 2019

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there who enjoy mountain biking and/or encourage their kids to ride. Let’s take a look at what some of the moms are riding this season. Many thanks to each of you for taking time to share the photos and words for this post. We hope you enjoy your ride today!

Kaylee Gibb And The Pivot Mach 6

Kaylee with her kids

Kaylee Gibb and her three children. Photo by Ryan Gibb.

Some tragedies have happy endings. With the first child we decided to drop some coin on a little Giant strider – knowing more kids would get to use it! Well the drunk lady who drove through the yard and ran it over had different ideas… pulling it out of the ground un-bending a few parts and adding some trike handle bars to it fixed it. It has now been passed on to the third kid! Worth EVERY penny. The moment they can glide – they can pretty much pedal with a few tries on a pedal bike… in comes the Spawn. Same thing; cost a ton of coin but they hold their value, have decent brakes, and are quite light which was the most important thing on our list. This bike has gone through 2 and will soon be passed on to the third child (plus still sell it when we’re done for a decent amount).

My feeling on bikes is you put into it what the kid’s going to get out of it, not what your money says you can buy. Sure there are $2000 bikes out there for my 6 year old, but she’s not into it that much… yet. She likes to ride occasionally with me and push herself with her peers around, so we opted for a well priced Norco that has good disc brakes and a little bit of travel to keep her from fatiguing too quickly. She also has plenty of gears that she still isn’t super sure what to do with!

My Mach 6 is next level. Definitely the smallest bike I’ve owned minus the DJ. It’s an XS and feels pint sized! I LOVE IT! Its built a bit tough for most because of the style of riding we do, but it could be built up extremely light and be an XC killer and handle some seriously technical steeps no problema! It is a good family bike as well for growing kids. I’m 5’3″, 115lb..and not growing! It can fit the older siblings and be passed down for sure! It’s a bit of an investment, but for the person who loves to ride, ride comfortably, ride aggressively, and likes to progress… it’s a sure fit!

Kaylee riding with chlldren

Riding in the Utah desert. Photo by Ryan Gibb.

Kaylee with kids and caterpillars

Stopping to investigate the caterpillars. Photo by Ryan Gibb.

Courtney Nash And The Transition Sentinel

Courtney and her daughter

Courtney Nash and her daughter. Photo by Eric Brown.

I can’t wait to get back in the bike park with my 7 year old daughter! Her little brother is progressing with the bike stuff as well, but skiing may be his true sport. Cleo got a 20 inch Norco Fluid and she really likes that thing. She’s learning the reality of having a full-suspension kid bike with the squish, but having to pay for the weight on the climbs.

My new bike day was just a over a couple of weeks ago and I ended up with a 2019 Transition Sentinel Carbon GX. At first I didn’t want a 29er, but after I demo’d it for a few hours, this was a quick upgrade from my Patrol. I can’t get over how well my bike corners – even at high speed. Every moment where my brain screams, “You’re going to slide out!”, I mentally and physically prepare to adjust my body position and weight, but the bike never lets go. Even through long, big, loose corners. I keep pushing it and pushing it, but the bike won’t give up. All the normal attributes of a 29er are prevalent, but the Sentinel’s performance on technical terrain and jumping were initially surprising. It took me a few rides to dial in the suspension and now I’m pretty much in love.

Photos by Eric Brown.

Courtney would like to thank: @transitionbikes and encourage everyone to donate what you can to the WMBC (Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition). They’re the trail organization in Bellingham responsible for tracks including Unemployment Line, Evolution, and several more.

Sarah Paxson And The Kona Hei Hei

Sarah Paxson and the Kona Hei Hei

Sarah Paxson is expecting a bike ride – and a second child. Photo by Spencer Paxson.

I’ve been riding the Kona Hei Hei since 2013, and really enjoy the current iteration that I am on, the 2016 Hei Hei Race DL. For me, the bike suits my needs because it is a cross-country, endurance-oriented bike, but is also confident and playful on the trail. I stated riding mountain bikes in 2010, and there was a time when I enjoyed a bigger bike for hitting jumps, steep lines and pushing my skill limits. But these days I feel fulfilled with a “low air diet” and really value getting out for longer missions or short and fast outings between work and family obligations. Here is a bit more detail on the setup:

The frame is a size medium, with 120mm travel up front and 100mm in the rear. The wheels are 29” diameter, and since the bike is already so light (carbon frame and nice components), I like to run heavier tires so that I feel more confident on the trails. It makes for a fun combo – a zippy little bike with good grip. For gearing, I run a 32-tooth chainring up front with a 11-46 cassette, which gives me plenty of gear range for most climbs. Finally, I have a dropper post that gets the seat out of the way for riding downhill or across rough terrain.

We are expecting our second child in August, so I’m currently using this bike as my so called “gravel commuter” to continue to enjoy time in the woods. As with baby #1, my bike serves as a motivator for getting back in shape to enjoy all the fun trails in Bellingham.

Photos by Spencer Paxson.

Sarah would like to thank: @konabikes

Sarah Rheuban And The Canyon Spectral

Sarah Rheuban and the Canyon Spectra

I ride a Canyon Spectral AL 6.0. It’s pretty perfect for me. The geometry and setup is versatile and can handle everything from single track to chasing my crazy boys at the downhill park. The bike worked well for me right out of the box. I haven’t really done anything to it other than swap out the saddle for a Terry saddle. The bike can go anywhere I want it to go – it’s a jack of all trades. And it’s got a sweet blacked out paint job. It’s like my little black dress, if I could wear my little black dress in the mud. I love it!

Sarah and family
At the bike park with the kids

Sarah and her family run Prevelo Bikes. Please visit their website. You can also follow Prevelo Bikes through Instagram @prevelobikes.

Ginger Rosenbauer And The Trailcraft Cycles Big Mesa, Trailcraft Cycles Maxwell 26 Plus

Ginger and daughter of Trailcraft Cycles

The best thing about riding a bike is getting to be outside and enjoying time with people I love most. The bikes I ride and enjoy the most are the Trailcraft Cycles Big Mesa and new Trailcraft Cycles Maxwell 26 Plus. The Big Mesa is a hard tail its light and with its 1x 28T on the front and 11-42 on the rear this allows me to tackle most the mountains around here in Colorado. Mostly I just try to keep up with our kids that are getting faster and faster every year! I enjoy the versatility the Big Mesa which can be ridden with 27.5 or 26 Plus tires. I prefer the 26 Plus wheels for the extra stability and traction they provide cornering on the loose granite or dry blown out trails that happen end of season. I’m not an expert rider and the bigger tires give me more confidence on the trails.

Th Maxwell 26 Plus full suspension is awesome and a lot of fun to ride – it’s going to be my new Moab bike for sure! I ride this bike in a size small and love the Maxxis DHF and DHL tires for extra grip, MRP Ribbon 140mm fork and it has a Fox Transfer dropper. Its super sweet and very plush to ride.

Best wishes for a fun Mothers Day and Happy Trails Ladies!

Ginger and kids riding mountain bikes in the desert
Summer bike ride

Ginger and her family run Trailcraft Cycles. I thought she’d be riding a different brand of bike because we’ve done reviews for the Maxwell line. When I saw her on one of her bikes for this post, I needed a little more detail. Ginger said she is 5’4″ tall and added “Our small size Big Mesa and growing Maxwell line fits riders up to 5’6” so it’s a perfect bike for growing teens and Moms”. Please follow Trailcraft Cycles through Instagram @trailcraftcycles.

Traci Thompson And The Yeti SB100

MTB mom and kids model the Yeti SB100

Mountain biking has allowed my family to go to spectacular places over the last several years. From red rock deserts of the American southwest to the loam of the BC, we have been able to ride together a lot as the kids have been growing up.

I like the Yeti SB100 because its climbing ability isn’t compromised by its suspension set up. That being said, it’s still a capable bike on mildly aggressive downhill terrain. This 29 inch wheeled mountain bike allows me to ride how I want. I enjoy undulating desert single track and challenging climbs – so this bike’s carbon frame and 1x GX Eagle drive train fit my style very well. If you were to place this bike on a spectrum ranging from hard tail XC racer to all-mountain thriller, it would definitely lean towards the latter, but if the terrain gets a bit technical, the dropper post lets me easily put my weight over the rear of the bike. The stock Maxxis DHF tire on the front is a little more burly than XC rubber, so it helps maintain traction and steering control on loose trails. For a full-suspension bike, I think the weight is reasonable. The medium sized 2019 Yeti SB100 weighs in at 29lbs with pedals and a water bottle cage.

Traci mountain biking with the Yeti SB100
Rolling in on the Yeti SB100

Traci’s family runs the Mountain Biking With Kids website. She would like everyone to get out on bikes with their families and support your local trail organization through dig days and/or financial contributions.

LittleBig Bike Review

LittleBig Bike Review - Featured Image

Long gone are the days of starting your child off with a tricycle or some other single-use bicycle. Now, they need to begin working on their balance and their riding skills with a bicycle that will grow with them. This is where the LittleBig Bike comes into play.

This bike starts out as a simple balance bike – no training wheels needed. And then, as your child matures and is able to handle a bike with more advanced features – you can add the drivetrain. We had three different sized riders with different abilities get on the bike and take it for a spin.

Designed For Kids Aged Two to Seven

In the past, kids started out with the aforementioned tricycles and then progressed to small two-wheeled bikes with stabilizers or training wheels on them. As their balance got better, those training wheels were raised up slightly, and then more so, until they could be taken off. Thanks to the LittleBig Bike, these introductory stages are skipped over. Kids learn to balance on two wheels right away.

Mom and dad look on...

What Comes With The Bike

The bike comes with all the tools you will need to assemble the bike and convert it from a balance bike to a pedal bike. There is a wrench for the rear bolt-on axle and properly sized hex keys. When in its balance bike configuration, a plastic dust cover can be placed over the rear chain ring.

It’s Not Just A Kids’ Bike – It’s A Transformer!

These helpful videos were created by LittleBig Bikes. They take you though the assembly of the bike and how to go through its configurations.

Little Balance Bike

Big Balance Bike

Adding The Pedals

The First Stage – The Little Balance Bike

The LittleBig Bike comes already set up for kids ages two and three. This is the balance bike stage. There are no pedals and there are no stabilizers either. Instead, your child uses their feet, which should be flat on the ground when they are in the bicycle’s seat, in order to propel themselves forward. While it’s common for kids of this age to use their feet as the brakes, which works just fine, because they won’t be able to move at a high rate of speed, the LittleBig Balance Bike actually comes with front and rear hand brakes. The creator of the bike, the LittleBig Company, believes that kids this age can learn to use hand brakes fairly easily. And, it’s true! One of our test riders had never used hand brakes before. With a little instruction from his dad, the little ripper was braking safely and evenly.

Comfy on a descent while riding the LittleBig Bike
Powering along the dirt on the LittleBig Balance Bike
So much fashion and function with the LittleBig Bike

The Second Stage – The Big Balance Bike

Once your child gets taller, it’s time for the second stage of the bike. This is also a balance bike stage, but it’s set up for slightly older kids, usually those age four and five. The back section of the frame is one of the ingenious ways in which the bike grows with your child. All that you need to do is flip that back part of the frame and move the seat to the (new) top section. This provides more vertical height and pushes the seat back slightly so that there’s a longer reach for the handlebars.

The Third Stage – The Big Pedal Bike

Finally, when your child is ready for something even more advanced, pedals, the bike easily converts to accommodate them. There’s a separate pedal and crank assembly that can be attached to the bike. You don’t even need to break the chain! Since the hand brakes are already included, you just have to add this one section and then your child has a mini mountain bike that they can use to cruise along the trails.

Standing up on the pedals with the LittleBig Pedal Bike
Posing with the LittleBig Bike in pedal bike configuration
Simon Evans - Founder of LittleBig Bikes

Simon Evans – Engineer, Inventor, And Founder Of Little Big Bikes

Simon was kind enough to spend a few minutes on the phone with us and talk about his invention. When asked about the inception of what lead to the LittleBig Bike, he said:

“I used to work in a bike shop and I remember one day very specifically. On our sales floor there was a balance bike, then a 14-inch bike, and a 16, and an 18, and a 20. And they were all lined up. I thought, ‘Why do you have to buy all these different bikes?’ Why couldn’t you just have one bike that adapts?

This was the ‘light bulb’ moment that went off in my head. I knew what I had to do. I didn’t know exactly how I was going to do it, but I knew what I wanted to do.”

Specifications And Features

Because the LittleBig Bike changes sizes with your child, there are three different sets of specs for it. Starting with the minimum saddle (seat) height, at stage one, it’s at 14 inches, then it moves up to 18 inches and 19.5 inches at stages two and three.

The maximum saddle height is at 18 inches in stage one, and then 22 inches for stages two and three. Another important measurement is the wheelbase. It’s at 27.5 inches in stage one. Stages two and three are the same here – 26.8 inches.

Wheels on the bike are sized at 14″ and the bike weighs 11.25lbs as a balance bike and 14.55lbs set-up as a pedal bike.

LittleBig Bike Size Chart

Little Balance BikeBig Balance BikeBig Pedal Bike
Min Saddle Height (inches)141819.5 (or 18" with optional short seatpost fitted)
Max Saddle Height (inches)182222
Top Tube Length (inches)13.515.515.5
Head Angle (degrees)667070
Seat Angle (degrees)787070
Wheelbase (inches)27.526.826.8

The LittleBig Bike is available with or without the additional pedal and crank attachment. You can also buy that attachment separately. You also have your choice of bright colors, including flame red, apple green, electric blue, and sparkle pink. The company even sells helmets on their website to match (or not match) your kid’s next bike.

Lovingly designed and hand-assembled in Ireland, the LittleBig Bike company does their part to ensure your young riders get off on the right foot when they become a part of your #mtbfamily.

Quick release seat collar for the LittleBig Bike

The bike features a quick-release seat collar.

This is where the drive train is secured on the LittleBig Bike

The pedals are fastened to the seat tube with these 2 bolts

Hand brake for LittleBig Bike

Front and rear hand brakes.

LittleBig Bike Review - adjustable frame

The front/rear portion of the frame is fastened here.

Getting Around On The LittleBig Bike

All our riders enjoyed the bike because it put them in control right from the start. Each mode of the bike was suited to each riders’ abilities.

We did our best to get one young lad to pedal on his own for the first time, but the pedaling was just not happening during this show-and-go impromptu session. There is absolutely no pressure with this bike though! We just converted it back to a balance bike and the young ‘un enjoyed riding the bike up and down the sidewalk.

Almost the first time pedaling solo on the LittleBig Bike

Your Child Could Use A Bike That Can Actually Grow Along With Them

If you want to pass your love of mountain biking on to your children, do your best to start them off at an early age. The LittleBig Bike is an excellent option for learning the initial skill-set that a child will build on for years to come. You won’t have to worry about buying a new bicycle every year since this one will grow along with them. These bikes are designed to last, too. When your children outgrow the Big Pedal bike, it can easily stay in the eco-system via resale or being handed off to another young rider.

When WIRED labels your invention as “genius”, you’re in pretty good shape. Ireland’s Simon Evans has come up with a kid’s bike that that is superbly functional, and good looking. It would make Artemis Fowl green with envy. The design of the bike allows it to be enjoyed for multiple years by the same rider who will grow several inches. As a parent of a growing pre-teen and high schooler we hope Mr. Evans’ next endeavor will be applying his learnings to larger bikes.

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Little Rider Co Jersey Review

Little Rider Co jersey review

Mountain bikers of all ages wear long-sleeved jerseys in order to protect their arms and upper bodies while on the trails. That way, in case of a fall, they don’t end up with severe road rash. The jersey provides some sun coverage as well, helping prevent sunburn. With that said, it’s important that the jersey be lightweight enough to be comfortable and easy to movie in. The Little Rider Co. ‘Classic’ Jersey fits the bill quite nicely.

A Great Jersey for Young Mountain Bikers And BMX Kids

The Little Rider Co. ‘Classic’ Jersey in Stealth is dark gray with black markings and a white logo. It’s designed for very young mountain bikers and comes in sizes two through five. The jersey is machine washable (a must, since it’s made for performance) since it’s made of lightweight polyester. It must be hung or laid flat to dry. One of the best things about it is the fact that it provides full coverage. The long sleeves and high neckline provide plenty of protection while allowing the rider to comfortably wear a helmet. Our review is centered on an item from the ‘Classic’ series. Little Rider Co also offers a ‘Balance’ series and a ‘Signature’ series. Be sure to check them all out.

Little Rider Co MTB jersey for kids
Life Behind Bars graphic - Little Rider Co jersey

This Is Good Stuff

The jerseys are not flimsy or hastily constructed. My wife and I have owned mtb jerseys that are outdone by the quality of the Little Rider Co. kids’ jerseys. Just by running the fabric through my forefinger and thumb, I could tell that this falls into the category of Quality Goods. The stitching on the inside of the jerseys is even and smooth. The dye-sublimation for the graphics is sharp and bright. The elasti-cuff sleeves will help keep the cuffs in place on the rider’s wrists. The color range for this jersey is shown below.

Little Rider Co, Classic jersey colors

Model Time!

We had the opportunity to run into fellow #mtbfamily @pedaladventures in St. George recently. Their youngest son was taking a break from international traveling but was still for up slipping on one of these sweet looking jerseys. Now, you wish there was a Big Rider Co, right?

Little Rider Co - jersey model
Little Rider Co Jersey Review - St. George
Little Rider MTB jersey review - wood feature
Little Rider Co sleeve detail

Little Rider Co Size Guide

Little Rider Co jersey size guide

Click the size chart to enlarge it

About The Little Rider Company

The Little Rider Company is a UK-based business that specializes in mountain biking products for kids between the ages of one and five. They were founded due to the lack of equipment available for children in that age range, especially the ones who want to ride their mountain bikes alongside their parents or older siblings. They make jerseys, like the ‘Classic’ one reviewed here, as well as helmet bags, balance bike accessories, and other clothing.

As this endeavor is rather new, your little one may be a candidate for the company’s Little Rider Co Army. Take a look at their site and read the ‘Little Rider Army’ page to see if your womp rat is up for the job.

Will Little Rider Co ship to your corner of the world? Chances are pretty good. As per their website: We aim to ship to ALL international locations. Shipping times will vary depending on location. We will aim to package and ship your order within 1-3 days.

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Kids’ Mountain Bikes
Start at this page to find the best mountain bikes for kids for two year olds through teenagers

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Go On A Family Bike Ride
What’s on your bucket list for family mountain bike rides? How about Whistler’s Lord Of The Squirrels?

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Have A Good Laugh – Or Cry
Find out how much that mountain bike really cost you with our mountain bike real cost calculator