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My son has been showing alot of interest in Road Biking lately and I wanted to suprise him with a bike next month for his birthday... He has been very active in Vert riding and Freestyle but he has said he wants to ride and race (possibly) Road Bikes.. Now I know the proper thing to to would be to take him to a shop and have him sized but I would really like to make this a surprise for him.. He is 5'2 and about 115lbs. He is only turning 12 so he is still growing... So my question is, do I buy him a road bike that is truly his size now? Which is probably a 48-50cm or do I buy him a little bigger bike say like a 52cm that will probably be a little big but will last him for a few years? I am just afraid that if I get him a 48-50cm that he will out grow it in less than a year. I know that a 52cm would be bigger than he really needs but will last him at least 2 maybe 3 years. But on the other hand I don't want to buy something that he cannot be safe on... What's your opinion?

Also I am planning on buying used. Budget of around $1000-1200 max.. Found lots of great deals on Craigslist in this price range with full Ultegra or 105 groups. Even a few had some Dura ace mixed in...
 

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from an economical standpoint, i'd get him 1 size up. He'll grow into it within a year. I've ridden a bike 1 size too large for me for 2 years with no problems, other than learning to get off the bike slower. I fixed that after a week of practice.

Others will probably say get him what he fits now, then sell it and get him a new bike later. But its easy to spend someone else's money.

Many people can fit 2 sizes of bikes with minor seat/stem adjustments. Go with the larger of the 2.

For $1200, check out the 2010 Cannondale CAAD9 5. A little more expensive, but you get arguably the best aluminum frame, and 105 drivetrain & 18 lbs.
 

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I'd knock down the budget and get a bike that fits. Probably one that fits with a shorter stem allowing you to up-size it next year.
I'd agree it doesn't make sense to spend a grand on a bike he can use for only a year or two.....so don't.

I got a road bike that was too big when I was around 12 (probably 13 or 14). That's the reason I never got into riding road bikes until 20 years later.
 

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Hank Stamper said:
I'd knock down the budget and get a bike that fits. Probably one that fits with a shorter stem allowing you to up-size it next year.
I'd agree it doesn't make sense to spend a grand on a bike he can use for only a year or two.....so don't.


I got a road bike that was too big when I was around 12 (probably 13 or 14). That's the reason I never got into riding road bikes until 20 years later.
+1. With all due respect, most 12 yr olds don't need higher end components, and there's an element of safety in getting your son a bike that fits.

Similar to what Hank touched on, you can get a bike sized to run a shorter stem and as he grows raise the saddle height and extend stem length. But JMO, drop the budget some.
 

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PJ352 said:
+1. With all due respect, most 12 yr olds don't need higher end components, and there's an element of safety in getting your son a bike that fits.

Similar to what Hank touched on, you can get a bike sized to run a shorter stem and as he grows raise the saddle height and extend stem length. But JMO, drop the budget some.

Thinking of getting him a Bottecchia off of ebay for $699. That will come with Shimano 105 and they have a 50cm. That should work shouldn't it? I think the size would be good also.. Doesn't a 50cm sound about right for his size? Thanks
 

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lacofdfireman said:
Doesn't a 50cm sound about right for his size? Thanks
It's tough to say with any certainty for two reasons.

1. We know your son is 5 2 but for sizing bike purposes what matters more is where that 5 2 is coming from. In other words a 5 2 person who's all legs will take a differnet size from a person of the same height with proportionately short legs.

2. There's no real standard in the bike industry. What one company says is a 50cm might be bigger or smaller in reach than what another company calls a 50cm.

But speaking very very generally, yes, 50 for a 5 2 person is normal.
 

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lacofdfireman said:
Thinking of getting him a Bottecchia off of ebay for $699. That will come with Shimano 105 and they have a 50cm. That should work shouldn't it? I think the size would be good also.. Doesn't a 50cm sound about right for his size? Thanks
As Hank mentioned, frame size designations between manufacturers can vary, and proportions matter more than height. In this price range (IMO) you'd be better served to shift priorities from components to fit, working with a reputable LBS/ fitter that can see your son on a bike and size/ fit him from there.

Buying online if fine when someone has an understanding of geo and knows their requirements, but in this case there's an element of guesswork that (again, IMO) isn't worth the risk.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
PJ352 said:
As Hank mentioned, frame size designations between manufacturers can vary, and proportions matter more than height. In this price range (IMO) you'd be better served to shift priorities from components to fit, working with a reputable LBS/ fitter that can see your son on a bike and size/ fit him from there.

Buying online if fine when someone has an understanding of geo and knows their requirements, but in this case there's an element of guesswork that (again, IMO) isn't worth the risk.
Thanks for all the replies... I guess I am just going to have to take him to a shop and get him sized.. For the price range he will probably have to get something with Tiagra components but that should probably be fine for someone his age.. I was really hoping to find him something with a Double up front instead of a Triple.. I don't know why I don't like triples but for me they just seem like extra weight and more adjusting of the derailleurs. Thinking I will look into the Scott's, Specializes, Trek and Giant's and see what they have in the Under $1k range that will work for him....
 

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lacofdfireman said:
Thanks for all the replies... I guess I am just going to have to take him to a shop and get him sized.. For the price range he will probably have to get something with Tiagra components but that should probably be fine for someone his age.. I was really hoping to find him something with a Double up front instead of a Triple.. I don't know why I don't like triples but for me they just seem like extra weight and more adjusting of the derailleurs. Thinking I will look into the Scott's, Specializes, Trek and Giant's and see what they have in the Under $1k range that will work for him....
Obviously, I think that's a good plan. :)

Assuming a need for one, I wouldn't fret over a triple. The weight gain is minimal as is the mechanical complexity. IME once properly set up/ tuned, they perform well. But compacts are a good compromise.

Tiagra is a solid group (as is Sora), and with a triple you're son will have ample gears to choose from. Specialized Allez's, Scott Speedsters and Trek 1 series are some good choices in race geo, and in a more relaxed geo there's the Specialized Secteur and Giant Defy, among others.
 

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Check out the lower end Giant Defy lines. size XS or S. I bought the lowest end OCR (I believe this is the predecessor to the current Defy?) for my 5-2 daughter a few years ago. It is a very nice looking, well built, nicely painted, and reasonably light frame, has a Sora group, and it shifts and brakes very well when adjusted right. It looks very nice and feels very sporty.

At the time, it was only about $600 local retail price, which I considered a very good price for the decent frame, wheels and functional group. I imagine for $1000 you could get a Tiagra or 105 group, which is as high as I'd go personally for a first road bike for a 12 year old.

Like someone else said, you might consider going with lower end bike that fits NOW. Get a shiny new one, and make sure it's adjusted to function perfectly and keep track of it every ride for the first few weeks to tweak it for cable stretch. That's all he'll notice: the shininess, color and how well it actually works. He don't know from 105, Ultegra, etc. and won't care as long as he likes the looks, it fits and it works well.

Since you've spent 1/2 of your budget, give him a easy-to-achieve 1 year mileage goal (of course put a computer on it!) and tell him you'll buy him a new shiny bike next year if he makes it. He doesn't know that you know he'll probably need a larger one anyway and ha've already got the money hidden away (from your original budget!) and by selling the old one, adding the left over money and understanding he needs a new bike anyway for growth, it will be win-win this year and next. Then, get him Tiagra or better if he seems to have taken to the sport.
 

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Choose a frame with a seriously sloped top tube. This way you get sufficient standover clearance by keeping the top tube long enough to adjust the frame to your son's growth for a while. You will have to use a very short stem in the beginning though.

Do your son a favor and buy the bike together with him. Nothing is better than a test ride when it comes to buying a (sports) bike.
 

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You can buy a right-sized bike with good components now. When he overgrows it, move the components to the next frame. Good quality chinese CF frames on ebay or direct from the manufacturer are getting only cheaper, so you're looking at $300-400 (minus the current frame that you will sell) upgrade in the future.
 

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that's good money! watch out for craigslist!
1000-1200... that would get a nice one from you local bike shop.

check out http://www.fezzari.com/products/index/Catania/93/19
I saw a Fezzari doing the Davis DC... it was a very nice bike!

http://www.rscycle.com/Tommaso-Imola-with-Carbon-Fork-Road-Bike?sc=11&category=110


lacofdfireman said:
My son has been showing alot of interest in Road Biking lately and I wanted to suprise him with a bike next month for his birthday... He has been very active in Vert riding and Freestyle but he has said he wants to ride and race (possibly) Road Bikes.. Now I know the proper thing to to would be to take him to a shop and have him sized but I would really like to make this a surprise for him.. He is 5'2 and about 115lbs. He is only turning 12 so he is still growing... So my question is, do I buy him a road bike that is truly his size now? Which is probably a 48-50cm or do I buy him a little bigger bike say like a 52cm that will probably be a little big but will last him for a few years? I am just afraid that if I get him a 48-50cm that he will out grow it in less than a year. I know that a 52cm would be bigger than he really needs but will last him at least 2 maybe 3 years. But on the other hand I don't want to buy something that he cannot be safe on... What's your opinion?

Also I am planning on buying used. Budget of around $1000-1200 max.. Found lots of great deals on Craigslist in this price range with full Ultegra or 105 groups. Even a few had some Dura ace mixed in...
 
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