Ten Great Mountain Bikes For NICA Kids

Mountain Bikes For NICA Kids

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Best 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.

Hardtail Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders | Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders

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.

Best Bikes for NICA Racers – AYour 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.

Hardtail Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders | Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Riders

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

Santa Cruz Chameleon 29 D hardtail mountain bike for NICA

Santa Cruz Bicycles Chameleon 29 D Hardtail Mountain Bike

The Chameleon is an amazingly adaptable bike for high school mountain bikers. Your NICA rider can hit the trails, dirt jumps, or commute to school on this versatile hardtail. There are lots of things to love about this bike! First, the Chameleon 29 D has a slack 65-degree head tube and a low-slung top tube to help your high school-aged racer carry speed with confidence. Second, the short chainstays to maintain agility. Third, the 1×12-speed SRAM Eagle drivetrain offers a massive 11-50t cassette providing plenty of gearing for the steepest hills. Fourth, SRAM’s  Level brakes provide speed moderation and stopping power. Finally, the Chameleon boasts a RockShox Recon RL fork, tubeless-ready rim,s and top tier 29×2.5” Maxxis Minion DHF and Maxxis Agressor tires. Don’t forget, buying a Santa Cruz means you get their industry-leading lifetime warranty!

Buy this mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Salsa Rangefinder hardtail mountain bike

Salsa Rangefinder Deore 12-Speed 27.5+ Mountain Bike

Your NICA rider will have a lot of fun on this bike! The Rangefinder Deore 12 27.5+ has many features list that make it a good 27.5 hardtail bike for a decent price. First, the stable trail geometry will put your teen in a comfortable, confident position to take on new terrain and experiences. Second, the 120 mm suspension fork will help with the bumps. Third, the included dropper post will keep your NICA racer in the perfect position for climbing and descending. Fourth, the 2.8”-wide tires deliver awesome grip. Finally, Shimano’s Deore 12-speed build kit gives plenty of range for taking on steep climbs and speedy flats.

Buy this hardtail mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Niner 2-Star hardtail mountain bike for NICA

Niner Air 9 2-Star Mountain Bike

If your NICA rider is hoping for a super-light aluminum hardtail mountain bike, they will love the Niner Air 2-Star. The Niner Air 9 2-Star Bike is a light aluminum hardtail.  The frame features integrated frame protection and tire clearance for up to 29 x 2.4″ or 27.5 x 3.0″ tires. The 2-Star version of the Niner Air 9 RDO comes with a SRAM SX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain. The hill-crushing 11-50T gear range will make climbing and negotiating rocky mountain terrain much easier. SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes provide excellent stopping power so your NICA teen can descend with confidence.

Buy this mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 Bike NICA

Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 Hardtail Mountain Bike

REI’s Co-op Cycles DRT 2.2 is a bike that will take your NICA rider wherever they want to pedal. This hardtail includes many great features for any high-school-aged racer. First, th front suspension features 120mm of travel on XS–S and 140mm on M–XL. Second, the 1×12 SRAM NX Eagle drivetrain enables swift, streamlined shifting. Thir, the  Shimano hydraulic disc brakes deliver reliable stopping power. Fourth, the wheels are tubeless-ready for fewer flats and more fun. Finally, the DRT 2.2 includes an X-Fusion Manic dropper seat post so your NICA rider is ready to handle whatever the trail throws at them.

Buy this cross country mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Orbea Alma hardtail mountain bike for NICA

Orbea Alma M25 Hardtail Carbon Mountain Bike

If your NICA racer is focused on getting on the podium, the Orbea Alma M25 might be the bike they’re dreaming of. The Alma M25 is ultra-light and stiff so your teen can climb as fast as possible and sprint when needed.  To start, the Alma M25 has an OMR carbon frame with 100mm of travel on the front. The frame also features internal cable routing, a chainstay protector, and Boost spacing. Importantly, the M25 version of the Orbea Alma comes with a Shimano XT 12-speed drivetrain. The cassette has a  10-51T gear range that will tackle any terrain. The Orbea Alma M25 boasts Shimano M6100 hydraulic disc brakes that provide excellent stopping power. Finally, DT Swiss X-1900 Spline 25c tubeless-ready wheels are paired with Maxxis Ikon tires for fewer flats and more fun!

Buy this hardtail mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes for NICA Kids

Orbea Oiz 2022 hardtail mountain bike

Orbea Oiz H30 2022 Full Suspension Mountain Bike

The Orbea OIZ H30 2022 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.

Buy this full suspension mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Ghost SLAMR full suspension mountain bike for NICA

Ghost SLAMR 2.9 29″ Full Suspension Mountain Bike

Treat your NICA racer well with this fun full-suspension machine. The ghost SLAMR 2.9 has many great components and features. First, the stiff and strong hydroformed aluminum frame features progressive geometry for control on descents and a steep seat tube angle for an efficient riding position on climbs. Second, the 29 in. wheels provide a smooth ride and maximum speed over rough terrain. Third, the RockShox® Judy Silver fork provides 130mm of tunable travel with a lockout option for climbing. Fourth, RockShox Deluxe Select+ rear shock smooths out the trail with 130mm of rear-wheel travel and 3 firmness settings. Of course, the SRAM SX Eagle 1 x 12 drivetrain optimizes shifting performance. Finally, the JD dropper seat post provides on-the-fly adjustment for gnarly descents!

Buy this full suspension mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Santa Cruz Carbon Blur full suspension mountain bike for NICA

Santa Cruz Blur Carbon S Mountain Bike

The Santa Cruz Blur Carbon S Mountain Bike is a hyper-focused cross-country machine that promises to help your NICA rider leave it all out there on the racecourse. The progressive geometry and 19-inch tires will keep your young rider rolling over trail obstacles. The specs on this full-suspension mountain bike Blur don’t miss a beat. First, top-of-the-line RockShox components support season after season of hits. Next, the bike is decked out with the SID fork and rear SidLuxe shock to support the descents and climbs. Additionally, the drivetrain is fully kitted in SRAM Eagle GX components. Where the rubber hits the trail, Maxxis Aspen tires in the 2.4in width allow for superior grip and less rolling resistance. The Santa Cruz Blur Carbon is a mountain bike any NICA racer would covet.

Buy this full suspension mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Juliana Wilder Carbon full suspension mountain bike

Juliana Wilder Carbon R Mountain Bike

Ther Juliana Wilder Carbon R is a short travel 29er optimized for cross country racing. Juliana bikes are tuned for lighter-weight riders. The Wilder Carbon R has so many things that make it a great choice for your NICA racer. First, the carbon frame is built to be stiff yet not uncomfortable. As a bonus, the frame has room for two water bottles in the main triangle. Second, this full suspension mountain bike provides 115mm of rear travel driven by efficient Superlight suspension. Third, the NX Eagle 12-speed drivetrain will provide plenty of range to get your NICA rider up and over the climbs. Importantly, the SDG Tellis dropper post gets the seat out of the way on descents to improve speed and comfort.

Buy this full suspension mountain bike for NICA riders from:

Co-op DRT 3.1 full suspension mountain bike for NICA

Co-op Cycles DRT 3.1 Mountain Bike

The DRT 3.1 is an entry-level full suspension mountain bike made by REI. This MTB has a 1 x 12 drive train. Suspension is provided by  RockShox Recon Gold RL front suspension and RockShox Monarch R Solo Air in the rear. Both have external rebound adjust to keep the ride smooth and wheels glued to the trail. Size XS and S bikes have 26 x 2.8 in. wheels and 120 mm of travel front and rear; size M–XL bikes have 27.5 x 2.8 in. wheels, 140 mm of front travel, and 130 mm of rear travel. The DRT 3.1 comes outfitted with a remote-control X-Fusion Manic dropper seatpost to let your NICA rider adjust to terrain on the fly. Tires and rims are ready for tubeless setup.

Buy this full suspension mountain bike for NICA riders from:

For more lists of the best kids bikes, check out our Kids Mountain Bikes page

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