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26" mountain bike


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My boys are wanting a new bicycle this year for Christmas. They are 11 almost 12. I am just wondering if this bike will be too big for them. They are too big for the 20" and the 24" is not on sale. :( I would like some opinions. Also, do you think that this bike will ride on grass? That is the problem they are having with their other bikes.



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The NEXT bikes at walmart are junk. They do not shift properly and weigh a ton. You are better off buying a used bike at a bike shop.

About the absolute truth.


Here's a little more info to help you decide.


The notion that the bikes at Walmart, Kmart, etc., are 24" or 26" is misguided. When you talk of those measurements, you're simply referring to the wheel size, which is irrelevant to the size of the frame.


The frame size is what really makes the bike its true size.


For example, the big box stores only sell one size of bike, typically a medium or around a 17" frame. While it's suitable for the "average" buyer, riders at the extremes of size---below 5' 8" or above 5' 10"---will find the bike to either feel too long/big or too short/small/cramped.


If you really want to see what "real" bikes look like, feel like, and ride, go to your local bike shop and look at their selection. In each model, you'll find a range of sizes, typically from around 13"/15" all the way to 19" or a little larger, staggered in 1-2" increments. All of them, though, will have 26" wheels, if referring to mountain bike style bicycles.


So, what's the difference? The difference is two fold. The seat tube, the tube that runs from where the pedals are to where the seat is, will get longer/taller as the bike gets larger. Second, the top tube, the tube that runs from the seat to the head tube where the handlebars connect to the bike, will also get longer as you move up in bike sizes.


This only makes sense, though, because someone 5' 5" will not have the same torso length or leg length as someone 5 10". But the big box stores would have you believe that one size fits all....and they don't. After all, do shoes come in a one-size-fits-all size? Of course not and neither do properly fitting bicycles.


Now, Then you move to construction quality. Bicycle shop bikes are typically built with higher quality materials....cromoly steel instead of mild steel frames, or better quality aluminum vs. the generic grade of aluminum in the "upper" end big box store bikes.


The shifters will be better quality, the pedals will use the standard 5/16" spindle instead of the "toy" 1/2" spindle, the seat post, handlebar and stem (the part that holds the handlebar) will usually be aluminum instead of the mild steel parts found in big box junkers.


The wheels will use aluminum rims instead of steel....and this makes such a big difference in stopping power it's not funny. The steel rims found on the cheapie big box bikes are flimsy, heavy, and if even get damp, act like ice against the brake pads instead of a surface for stopping the bike. Add to that that the brakes themselves will be better made with better pad material, and the big box toy bikes cannot compete in quality, durability, or safety to bike shop bikes.



The assembly will be professionally done instead of being bolted together as quickly as possible with air tools like WM, KM, etc. do.


Do yourself a favor. If you can ever find a big box store that'll let you test ride a bike, and they won't btw, ride it. Then go to a bike shop and ask to be fit to a bike. Test ride that properly fit bike......the difference in fit, assembly finish, frame quality, part quality, etc., will instantly be obvious and you'll not return to WM, KM, or wherever for the toy they try to sell as a bike.

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