I am trying to find the best bike for my 12 year old son. He is just under 5′ and has been riding a 24″ Trek for a couple of years, but it’s time to size him up. I would like a bike that will grow with him; especially as he shoots ups 3-4 inches over the next few years. I would also prefer a bike that has a 1x drive train just for simplification. I like the Trek brand and am thinking about a Trek Caliber 8 15.5″ frame and 27.5″ wheels. It has a 2x drive train, but perhaps an upgrade down the road. Any advice is appreciated.
Sounds like a good approach. When my son outgrew his 24″ KHS, I put him on a Trek Fuel (pre-27.5 days, so it was a 26). But he did grow through that pretty fast as well Knowing this might happen, I saved the interim $$ and bought the Fuel used. Afterwards, I splurged on his most recent bike.
The Cal 8 still has a coil spring fork. An full air fork would be better, especially on a growing teen where weight can also change drastically. Cal 9 has full air, or the Giant Fathom (both 27.5 versions) have air fork, they are Suntour instead of RockShox, but full air none the less. The Cannondale Cujo 2 is 27.5+ and has full air fork. I don’t know of any others in that price range with air forks.
Man the 1x may be great for him but coming from a teen, I wish I had better suspension on my first “real” mtb. It is something that I appreciate now on my full sus, good air suspension. He will benefit greatly from having an air fork because it will help on comfort and also cut fatigue a bit. Will he be able to ride with 1×10 or maybe 1×11? Are the trails near you pretty steep? If they are then maybe the 1x may not be the best route…. just some thoughts… Cheers! 😀
Have you ever thought of specialized? They have a good bike called the Camber. They have camber comp, and the camber comp carbon. These both are 1×11 or 12 not sure in the new ones. These bikes are fairly priced. Then if you want a bit more suspension travel, you could always go to the Stumpjumper fsr. This is my 2 cents, just because I like specialized.
When I was that age I had a Trek hardtail, a 4900 I think, which now resides with my brother in college. It was a great bike and took a beating. Yep, it was a Trek 4900. It doesn’t have the most travel, but it’s an alright bike for the price ($1300).