It’s been hard finding bikes that are suitable for the boys to ride, especially now they’re heading down steeper, more technical runs. Luckily for us, although they’re only seven and six years old they’re both tall for their age, which means we’ve been able to look at bigger bikes that are better for the tracks they want to ride.
Until recently, Ali and Cailean have been riding their 24″ and 20″ Ridgebacks on and off road, and the bikes have proven to be great all-rounders. Problem is, the boys tend to gravitate towards the downhill trails at the Nevis Range in Fort William (or any available slope when Nevis isn’t an option), and the technical aspects of these trails leave the Ridgebacks looking a little out of place. They needed a ride that was designed for rugged downhill routes, but finding dedicated downhill bikes for their age group isn’t as easy as you might think.
A long hunt on the internet and through local stores finally brought us to the conclusion that the best (and almost only) available bike on the market was the Commencal DH Supreme, which starts at a 24″ and rocks in at an impressive £1500 each (2015 season bike).
We picked up a couple of these bright yellow downhill Commencal’s from Chain Reaction Cycles over in Ireland (fantastic customer service, by the way guys :D) and had them shipped over in time for the weekend. Two enormous parcels and some handlebar fitting later, and the boys came home from school to find their new bikes ready to roll.
The Commencal DH Supreme 24s might be the same wheel size as their Ridgebacks, but the powerful disc brakes and X-Fusion air shocks and forks give these bikes a real edge. They’re not 100% perfect for the boys yet, because neither Ali nor Cailean are heavy enough for the shock’s minimum air settings, but they’ll grow into them eventually. Even so, they still offer enough compression and rebound (up and down motion for those of us who aren’t too technical) to tackle tricker trails than the rigid frames could cope with.
The only other issue with the Commencal was Cailean’s height – at 6 years old he’s tall for his age but not quite tall enough to reach either side of a 24″ yet – so daddy had to chop the seat post a little to get his feet closer to the ground.
The verdict? All in all, probably the best (if not only) downhill mountain bike on the market for kids.
It didn’t take long for the boys to hit out a few descents of the Nevis Range Jump Lines course (graded orange/extreme) with a far quicker pace, and far fewer accidents, than they were used to on their old bikes. Guess the payout on these higher spec bikes was worth it after all? #justifyingthemoney #nomorelimitations