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2013-08-12 12:57 PM

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Subject: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Hey everyone I was wanting to get some opinions on a good bike choice for my 13 y/o cousin who says he wants to follow in my footsteps and start doing triathlons. I'm not entirely sure of his conviction to sticking with the sport so I'm looking at very cheap options for him. His parents know nothing of biking so I will be picking it out and buying it for him for his B-day.

My first thought was finding a good used older road bike like a trek/cannondale/schwiin with downtube shifters. I have a few friends that are willing to part with theirs for under $100 but wanted to hear your thoughts first. I'm pretty mechanically inclined so I'm not worried if an older bike like that needs a little work from time to time. Its a cheap option so if he doesn't stick with it not much of a financial loss. But if he sticks with it I figure we could buy him a better bike down the road.

Your thouhgts??


2013-08-12 2:22 PM
in reply to: #4827082

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
I bought my daughter a Gmc Denali kids road bike a year and a half ago. She was about 4'4" at the time and she fit fine on it. It runs around $200 and for another $50 I upgraded it to race tires (25 mm slicks) as it comes with hybrids. She hit a growth spurt and outgrew it in a year by the time she was 4'9". She did about 4 kid tris and 2 adult sprints with it. It was a good bike. I bought it off Amazon. All in all I think I'd buy a Fuji kids road bike for about $400 if I had to do it over. But that is using he hindsight that my kid did, and still does, tris. If you're not sure, go cheap.

I since upgraded her to a C-dale CAAD 10 last winter. It's Overkill for a 12 y/o but my wife also fits on it, too so it's actually 2 for 1, so to speak.
2013-08-12 2:32 PM
in reply to: Maniton

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
One problem is he may be 13 but he is 6'1" and 165lbs so he definitely is going to need an adult bike. I doubt he will outgrow it anytime soon unless he hits another growth spurt, can't imagine he would though.
2013-08-12 11:34 PM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
In my opinion, a bike that gets him from point a to point b and that he likes will be good. If he sticks with it, upgrade later.
2013-08-12 11:34 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
double post

Edited by The Chupacabra 2013-08-12 11:42 PM
2013-08-13 9:20 AM
in reply to: fubar44


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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Originally posted by fubar44

Hey everyone I was wanting to get some opinions on a good bike choice for my 13 y/o cousin who says he wants to follow in my footsteps and start doing triathlons. I'm not entirely sure of his conviction to sticking with the sport so I'm looking at very cheap options for him. His parents know nothing of biking so I will be picking it out and buying it for him for his B-day.

My first thought was finding a good used older road bike like a trek/cannondale/schwiin with downtube shifters. I have a few friends that are willing to part with theirs for under $100 but wanted to hear your thoughts first. I'm pretty mechanically inclined so I'm not worried if an older bike like that needs a little work from time to time. Its a cheap option so if he doesn't stick with it not much of a financial loss. But if he sticks with it I figure we could buy him a better bike down the road.

Your thouhgts??


I totally agree with the older road bike with downtube shifters. If you found a screaming deal on a more recent group with 9 or 10 speed and brake hood shifters, it might give him a bit more longevity, but if you don't, the <$100 bikes you mention sound ideal. If he sticks with it, he can use this bike as a beater / commuter or even take it to college with him.


2013-08-13 9:25 AM
in reply to: nickwisconsin

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
The best bike for a 13 year old is the one they love to ride.  Let them pick it.
2013-08-13 9:45 AM
in reply to: Left Brain


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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Originally posted by Left Brain

The best bike for a 13 year old is the one they love to ride.  Let them pick it.


Hmmmm. I am pretty laid back about such things, but sometimes adults need to lend some guidance, especially if his Uncle is going to be buying it for him . His Uncle has experience and sounds like he is going to end up doing the wrenching. If the kid falls in love with a department store bike that has a cool paint job, but has brakes that cannot be adjusted and wheels that bolt on vs. quick release, you gotta intervene. My stepkids inherited a bike from their mom and we bought a 43 cm WSD Trek for the 11 year old boy (then 9 years old). They love them and they are both race worthy. Would I have let them pick their bike? Sure, when they have enough experience and knowledge to know what they should get.
2013-08-13 10:31 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin

Originally posted by nickwisconsin
Originally posted by Left Brain The best bike for a 13 year old is the one they love to ride.  Let them pick it.
Hmmmm. I am pretty laid back about such things, but sometimes adults need to lend some guidance, especially if his Uncle is going to be buying it for him . His Uncle has experience and sounds like he is going to end up doing the wrenching. If the kid falls in love with a department store bike that has a cool paint job, but has brakes that cannot be adjusted and wheels that bolt on vs. quick release, you gotta intervene. My stepkids inherited a bike from their mom and we bought a 43 cm WSD Trek for the 11 year old boy (then 9 years old). They love them and they are both race worthy. Would I have let them pick their bike? Sure, when they have enough experience and knowledge to know what they should get.

Nope.  I don't agree.

My daughter picked and rode a Target "my little pony" bike until the wheels were ready to fall off.  My son learned to do front wheel "wheelies" and track stand on a motocross bike that I couldn't get him off of at the end of the day....in my book it was useless.

First you let them love riding.....then they tell you when they want something else. 

I never intervened in my kid's decisions on things that don't matter.  If they don't learn to love it you're out of the game anyway, at any price.

Besides.....what ever you buy them at 13 is outgrown within 2 years anyway.  Let him pick what he wants to ride.

 



Edited by Left Brain 2013-08-13 10:49 PM
2013-08-13 11:52 PM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin

I think a bike that fits that is in a budget you can afford will be a great gift.  Teaching him some wrenching would be helpful and pretty cool Uncle time.

I sometimes see a bike similar to my 10 sp Schwinn at a local store and have very fond memories of that bike.

2013-08-14 7:31 AM
in reply to: #4827082

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
I think Fuji makes good entry level bikes that aren't too expensive and look pretty cool.


2013-08-14 7:53 AM
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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Originally posted by Left Brain

Originally posted by nickwisconsin
Originally posted by Left Brain The best bike for a 13 year old is the one they love to ride.  Let them pick it.
Hmmmm. I am pretty laid back about such things, but sometimes adults need to lend some guidance, especially if his Uncle is going to be buying it for him . His Uncle has experience and sounds like he is going to end up doing the wrenching. If the kid falls in love with a department store bike that has a cool paint job, but has brakes that cannot be adjusted and wheels that bolt on vs. quick release, you gotta intervene. My stepkids inherited a bike from their mom and we bought a 43 cm WSD Trek for the 11 year old boy (then 9 years old). They love them and they are both race worthy. Would I have let them pick their bike? Sure, when they have enough experience and knowledge to know what they should get.

Nope.  I don't agree.

My daughter picked and rode a Target "my little pony" bike until the wheels were ready to fall off.  My son learned to do front wheel "wheelies" and track stand on a motocross bike that I couldn't get him off of at the end of the day....in my book it was useless.

First you let them love riding.....then they tell you when they want something else. 

I never intervened in my kid's decisions on things that don't matter.  If they don't learn to love it you're out of the game anyway, at any price.

Besides.....what ever you buy them at 13 is outgrown within 2 years anyway.  Let him pick what he wants to ride.

 

 

Fully agree with Left Brain here.  If the kid does not like it or thinks he does not look cool in his eyes then forget about them riding it.  If they like the bike then they will be much more inclined to want to ride it and show it off.



Edited by TriGuy05 2013-08-14 7:54 AM
2013-08-14 8:14 AM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Originally posted by fubar44

One problem is he may be 13 but he is 6'1" and 165lbs so he definitely is going to need an adult bike. I doubt he will outgrow it anytime soon unless he hits another growth spurt, can't imagine he would though.


sarcasm? If he's 13, he's not done growing. Go cheap and see if he likes the sport in general. Triathlon is a lot of work and dedication for a teenager with all they have going on.
2013-08-14 8:33 AM
in reply to: Dominion

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
When I was 13 I was pretty savvy on such things and would take the gently used Cannondale hands down over the shiny POS bike from wallyworld. But that is me, don't know what your cousin might think.
2013-08-14 8:49 AM
in reply to: nickwisconsin

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Originally posted by nickwisconsin

Originally posted by fubar44

Hey everyone I was wanting to get some opinions on a good bike choice for my 13 y/o cousin who says he wants to follow in my footsteps and start doing triathlons. I'm not entirely sure of his conviction to sticking with the sport so I'm looking at very cheap options for him. His parents know nothing of biking so I will be picking it out and buying it for him for his B-day.

My first thought was finding a good used older road bike like a trek/cannondale/schwiin with downtube shifters. I have a few friends that are willing to part with theirs for under $100 but wanted to hear your thoughts first. I'm pretty mechanically inclined so I'm not worried if an older bike like that needs a little work from time to time. Its a cheap option so if he doesn't stick with it not much of a financial loss. But if he sticks with it I figure we could buy him a better bike down the road.

Your thouhgts??


I totally agree with the older road bike with downtube shifters. If you found a screaming deal on a more recent group with 9 or 10 speed and brake hood shifters, it might give him a bit more longevity, but if you don't, the <$100 bikes you mention sound ideal. If he sticks with it, he can use this bike as a beater / commuter or even take it to college with him.

I agree too. If he falls in love with triathlon, or at least cycling, he can get a new bike for next season and you're still ahead of the game financially.

Although, if you gave him your bike, you would have justification for purchasing a new one for yourself. This was the logic I used to get my Cervelo when my son wanted a bike.
2013-08-14 12:13 PM
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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
There is a lot of good ideas being thrown out here. I fully heartedly agree with all of you who said that he has to like and enjoy riding whatever it is he ultimately gets. On that same note in order to ensure that he gets what he likes I guess he would need to choose what he wants. However I think I need to guide his choice somewhat. I took him to Eagleman and he got to see all of the professional bikes and the first thing he said is that he wanted a P5 with di2. I laughed and said dont we all. At least he has good taste! So if I let him choose his own bike without limits or without guidance I would have to end up selling a kidney to be able to afford it lol.

So I may try to pick out 4-5 bikes and let him choose from those which he likes best. I just want to come out of this being the fun cool cousin since I'm the one he is going to be training with. I want him to enjoy riding and ultimately sticking with this awesome sport, because isn't the reason why many of us do this is to have fun.



Edited by fubar44 2013-08-14 12:17 PM


2013-08-14 12:22 PM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Absolutely agree with looking at older 10-speeds.  At 6'11" it will be a challenge to find a bike on the used market that fits, but it might be fun to look through Craigslist and plan an outing.
2013-08-14 12:28 PM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
BTW is 13 too young to start doing triathlons and should he wait a couple years? Or is 13 an ok age to start? Any of you have kids that young or know anyone that age doing tris? I wonder if starting at an early age makes your better later on, much like learning a 2nd language. The earlier you learn the shorter the learning curve is and easier to pick up the tricks of the trade?
2013-08-14 4:58 PM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
We have done a number of kid tri's the last 2 years and it's growing like crazy. The Houston Kid's Tri had about 1,800 kids from 6 or 7 to 15. So, I don't think 13 is too early.

You know there are some good ideas bouncing out there. Why not set the budget and let the kid do some shopping himself on Craigslist or eBay or otherwise? It sounds like he's starting to learn about bikes. In Houston there are lots of tri clubs and it seems every other day someone is putting a bike on the facebook page for sale. That way, you get buy in and some adherance to a budget? Heck, it might be a good opportunity for the kid to work and earn money if they want to buy more bike.

Good luck!
2013-08-14 6:35 PM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin

Originally posted by fubar44 BTW is 13 too young to start doing triathlons and should he wait a couple years? Or is 13 an ok age to start? Any of you have kids that young or know anyone that age doing tris? I wonder if starting at an early age makes your better later on, much like learning a 2nd language. The earlier you learn the shorter the learning curve is and easier to pick up the tricks of the trade?

Not too young as long as you remember he's growing.  Very short version:

Tons of swimming, a fair amount of biking, and whatever you think he should be running....cut it by 60%...at least.

2014-05-21 9:45 AM
in reply to: Left Brain

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
My son is 10. He has a Giant mountain bike that he's loved riding and has done quite a few of the kids triathlons. For the past year, he's started to notice that he's riding a mtb and knows his bike is bike and heavy. He dreams of owning a tri bike or at least a roadie. I'm not about to invest in a road bike for him yet, as he's still growing, but had considered "converting" his mtb to a "roadie" by adding some slicker tires and some drop bars. If nothing else, it may be a fun project for him and I to do together.

I saw someone post about doing this last year, but can't find the post. The problem is, I have know idea how to convert his straight bars to drop bars, and convert the shifters. Can anyone give me a summary of what we need to do?

(I've looked at used road bike, but unfortunately he's still too small for even a 48 frame.


2014-05-21 3:59 PM
in reply to: dprocket

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Originally posted by dprocket

My son is 10. He has a Giant mountain bike that he's loved riding and has done quite a few of the kids triathlons. For the past year, he's started to notice that he's riding a mtb and knows his bike is bike and heavy. He dreams of owning a tri bike or at least a roadie. I'm not about to invest in a road bike for him yet, as he's still growing, but had considered "converting" his mtb to a "roadie" by adding some slicker tires and some drop bars. If nothing else, it may be a fun project for him and I to do together.

I saw someone post about doing this last year, but can't find the post. The problem is, I have know idea how to convert his straight bars to drop bars, and convert the shifters. Can anyone give me a summary of what we need to do?

(I've looked at used road bike, but unfortunately he's still too small for even a 48 frame.


I'm no expert, but I think at that level, you'd probably be better off getting a new bike than trying to convert a flat bar and MTB shifter setup to drop bars and index shifting/brakes. I don't think it's a job for an inexperienced mechanic, and between parts and labor, it probably wouldn't be worth it. I'm reasonably handy around my bike and my kid's, but I'm not about to go messing around with my kid's brakes unless I'm 100% sure of what I'm doing.
2014-05-21 4:24 PM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
Originally posted by fubar44
One problem is he may be 13 but he is 6'1" and 165lbs so he definitely is going to need an adult bike. I doubt he will outgrow it anytime soon unless he hits another growth spurt, can't imagine he would though.


I'm surprised that no one has called out the fact that this kid is only 13 & over 6 feet tall! I have a 7 year old who is growing by leaps & bounds, but I could not picture her being taller than me in only 6 years. Hell, I'm 38 & still hoping to get that last 1 inch growth spurt to put me at 6 feet!

These damn kids these days with their growth hormones & rBST milk & MyPads & iFace. Back in my day kids were small & easy to control with something as simple as a belt!

And we all rode crappy huffy bikes with wooden wheels and no brakes. And you stayed out until dusk & no one worried. And if you screwed up, you got a whoopin!
2014-05-21 4:49 PM
in reply to: fubar44

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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin

What riding would your cousin be doing outside of the race and training for the race?  Does he ride mountain bikes?  On trails?  Does he ride to friends houses?  Does he ride to the store?  Does he have a place to store it where it won't get damaged by weather nor get stolen?  

Road bikes are light weight (relatively speaking) and efficient, but if his friends make fun of it, he won't ride it unless he's with you...They're also prone to flats (again, relatively speaking compared to mountain or hybrid bikes).  

I bought my first road bike after I got my driver's license (over 30 years ago now).  It was great commuting back and forth to work as a high schooler and I set it up with a child carrier and rode it when the kids were small, but eventually tired of riding through the neighborhood "hunched over and looking for glass/gravel/wir" so I got a mountain bike.  The more upright riding position suited my 6 mph pace and I didn't have to constantly watch for things that would damage or trap road-bike tires.  (Plus, the kids were less embarrassed now that I was riding a "regular bike.")    I gave away my road bike.  After I got into triathlons (I did my first two races on my mountain bike), I got an old road bike, a tri-bike, and swapped the old roadie for a newer one.  I've put about 10,000 miles on bikes since I started triathlons in 2005.  

Some caveats with old road bikes.  Unless you're experienced, paying someone to inspect and refurbish an old bike is pretty expensive.  I've gotten lucky with the used bikes I've purchased.  None have required huge repairs, nor has anything failed catastrophically.  

2014-05-22 8:42 AM
in reply to: #4827082


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Subject: RE: Bike choice for my 13 y/o total newbie cousin
We bought our 14 yr old son and 12 yr old daughter Jamis Coda Sport bikes for Christmas. Bought a little big to allow for growing. The Coda Sport is basically a road bike with flat handle bars. It's an awesome bike.

My son did his first solo sprint Tri on it a month ago (he's swam for me on relay teams before). A bit more expensive than the options discussed so far, but my kids love them.
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