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I am a country boy with a truck. When I started mountain biking I would toss the bike in the bed. I quickly ended up getting mounts for the bed as my bike became too precious not to have safety stowed. Then my family started biking with me and I found the bed would fill up with 4 bikes and all the other stuff a family takes on an adventure. So I moved to a hitch rack and a locking bed cover which works well for us, however, I think a good sized off road capable SUV (with a hitch rack) would be a better fit for my weekender lifestyle. I like the enclosed/secure back of the SUV (for my precious bike). Not that this hayseed cowboy would buy a SUV… those SUVs are really just station wagons with a lift kit.
Now a minivan…. hmmm that is a thought.
I bought a used specialized Hotrock 20inch wheel for my son when he was 5. It was an upgrade from a bmx. He would ride trails with me in all over Dallas on the Hotrock. He also rode that little bike on trails in Bentonville – Slaughter pen and Coler bike preserve. He did not do any of the black trails cause dad would not let him. He would eat up smaller jump lines and any bit of flow. If your trails have any elevation change, gears will help. Blake took to them quickly and still calls them easy gears and fast gears. The fork on that bike was a heavy coil sprung 60mm travel. I disliked the fork, however, during rides he would frequently use all the travel.
I agree with bike nerd it is all about weight the ratio between the child and the bike weight. A suspension fork is meh unless you think they are going to shred hard. Otherwise a coil fork is just too heavy for what benefit you are getting (not sure about air forks for such a small rider). Tires are super important depending on what surface you are riding. I think you need to keep in mind the tire weight. I considered almost all on the bikes on your list before I went with a used option. I think they are all great options for young riders. One thing I would recommend is checking the stand over height with your sons measurements. Get one with a low stand over height and he will take to the bike much quicker.
My son rode the hot rock for 3 years I was sad to see him out grow it. It was a great investment. Used it cost $100 plus the upgrades I put into it and the memories are priceless.
Bicycles Inc in the DFW area is a good LBS. They also just posted a bike sale and have a rental fleet they sell used when retired.
The rain and the lake levels have really been a bummer. I am sure a lot of other riders in the metroplex are missing the trails. Thanks for the info about the trail.
I have never encountered any hogs on my rides. Hogs are much more unpredictable/mean. Have you encountered any? That gives me something to think about.
Riding with a young one warrants extra caution. We carry safety whistles that scare away most “animals” mostly this has been used on stray dogs, although it does nothing to scare away the snakes.
Thanks for the helpful PSA. My 8yr old and I were planning to ride Ranger and Redhawk Saturday morning in Frisco Northwest Park. I think we will select a different trail this weekend, assuming the rain skips us. The statement that it was following a jogger is disconcerting. One of the articles I read states the police believe it is the same animal. This is very unusual even from an urban coyote.
In my experience urban coyotes are “less” afraid of humans but that is a relative statement. They still keep their distance and spook if you raise your voice.
Unless it was not a coyote. It could be a feral dog being mistaken for a coyote. This could explain the familiarity the animal has around people.
I was in Bentonville 2 weeks ago and rode Coler 2 days after rain. 3 of the 4 downhill trails were open. The trails on Coler were clear of leaves. It was awesome. My son and I are already planning a return trip.
I did not ride any of the other trails in the Bentoville area (this time), leaves may be a problem on some of the trails. I believe coler has a maint crew that keeps the trails clear. It looked to me that the leaves on the trail had been cleared intentionally as opposed to by passing riders.