kids love them. I may have mentioned elsewhere my opinion that most
BMX bikes for small riders are evil-handling pieces of basura. Go to
the track, watch the riders age five to eight or ten. .. Watch them
I build a mini/junior/expert size bike with a slacker steering angle, so the bike will straighten out when a kid gets a little squirrely. I use a lower bottom bracket height for easier standups in the gate, more stability on the track, and because the kids are using shorter cranks. I build them for the individual rider's size, skill level and riding style.
bikes even get a new model name.... "Fallen Angel." You
race cruiser, you have to work your way through a raging pack of manic
children to get to the gate. The noise is deafening! Fallen angels indeed!
Here is an example, in mini size...
I've been building these one-at-a-time, custom. The process involves watching the kid on the track, riding his or her own bike. Talking to them a little. The most common thing I've seen is a child gets a bike that feels unstable, she'll slow down, making the bike even more wobbly. And fall off or go off the track.
Here's a typical build for a seven-year-old: 20” with 72 degree steering angle, 71 degree seat tube, 18” top tube C-C, 13 ¾ “ chainstay and 11 1/2” bottom bracket height. I used lightweight Reynolds 525 for this bike, .8-.5-.8 for the main tubes and .9-.6 for the seat tube. Stays were ¾” x .035” chainstays and 5/8” x .035” seatstays. Used .100” chrome moly plate for the dropouts. Fork was a SuperX mini, heat treated chrome moly. This was a lot stronger than your typical mini, and only a little heavier.
Having a bike she could control, the rider went from an also ran to a winner in what was left of the season. Next two years she won practically every race she entered and took at least one state championship. Not bad. Now she's outgrown the bike and looks like she's moved on from BMX as well. I'm sure she'll be a winner whatever she does.
Well that's part of getting old. Grandchildren! All the fun of parenting but none of the soul-crushing work. So they say! I got a couple granddaughters and a great-nephew
all getting to that age - 3 to 4 years old - where they are ready to ride. They are too short to ride a 20" bike but they got the hearts of lions. S0 I started building
really small BMX bikes. Real ones, with race-quality equipment and light, chrome-moly frames. Here are a few:
They have a 16" top tube, center-to-center and 11.5" chainstay, 9" BB height. They are about the size of the kick bikes the kids started on, but with real pedals,
driveline, sealed-bearing alloy wheels and brakeas. The 16" forks available are pretty junky, so I make my own, styled like those gorgeous 531 segmented forks
you used to see on GT BMX bikes.
Pricing: Thursday prices the mini somewhat lower than the pro-sized Vida Loca, $620 as of 2016. However, when the rider outgrows the frame, you may turn it in for a 50% credit on a new frame. That is, if you can get the kid to give it up!
The 16" bikes are a special thing. I am making them as a complete bike and giving them away. If I sold it to a client, it would NOT come cheap, but I do take trade-ins: old master prints, first edition books, "oriental" rugs, jewellry with real stones ...