Mini Geometron - is this the world's nicest kids' bike?
One lucky lad
Words and Photos: Jack Slade
High performance kids bikes with modern, adult geometry is not something the bike industry offers in abundance. Finding the perfect bike for your little ripper requires hours of planning, measurements and patience; the chances of it staying a perfect fit for anything over a year? Very slim and very expensive.
For South Wales' bike-obsessed 12-year-old Mackenzie James, and his father Alex, this was the exact problem. With regular trips to Spain, France and the Alps, a natural talent and budding interest in competing, the standard of regular kids bikes was just not good enough. Every 18 months a fully custom bike had to be built to keep Kenzie’s riding limitless. Odd sizes, mix and match components and a lot of emails.
Their local trails are enough to take a heavy toll on ANY bike and rider so Alex set out to achieve a bike that would ride, fit, handle, climb, descend and perform like an adult bike. It would need to have slack angles, 650b wheels and weigh-in as light as a feather. Something to tackle the wide and fast trail centres around Europe but nimble enough to handle the steep, techy Welsh tracks; but who to turn to?
Being a Pontypool native, it was a direct drive down the valley to stumble across his answer. A company notorious for its focus on racing and individuality. Somewhere that prides itself on pushing boundaries in all aspects of mountain bikes, no matter the social opinion, Chris Porter's Mojo Suspension. Mojo's exclusive partnership with Nicolai was the cauldron in which to stir the idea of a never before seen mini enduro rig.
It was late 2015 when an exciting Mojo/Nicolai relationship surfaced. Chris needed a brand to get behind his 'Longer, Lower, Slacker' philosophy and build him the ultimate frame to utilise Fox suspension. Nicolai responded with the Geometron range and it’s safe to say it’s been successful launch. The Geometron is an exclusive club - a full day of testing is included in any full bike build! This was the personal touch needed to make Nicolai the brand of choice.
Along with Leisure Lakes Bikes and Mojo, Alex got in contact directly with Nicolai. A frame Mckenzie’s size wasn't available with the right adult geometry or aggressive attributes he was after. Nicolai were straight on-board. The frame needed the same geometry, and dimensions as the standard Geometrons but be proportionately smaller.
Originally there were doubts linked to the top tube clearance of the Float X shock and whether the stand over height would be compatible with the slack head angle. In general it was unclear whether the frame could accommodate many of the components such as chain set and seat post. But regular feedback from Germany confirmed that the dream could become a reality.
"The wheelbase is larger than an XL Spesh Enduro - no kidding"
After a few various set backs the frame finally arrived. With it's red decals and titanium-magnesium paint job, Nicolai shipped it to Mojo's HQ and from there it was driven to Leisure Lakes Bikes in Newport. A late night ensued in the Leisure Lakes workshop assembling the full build!
The numbers almost defy belief. Wheelbase 1249mm (that's bigger than an XL Spesh Enduro... no kidding), reach 463mm, seat tube 350mm, head angle 63° seat tube angle 77° - a "proper little bike" as Chris would say!
Custom tuned Fox 34s (which miraculously turned out lighter than 32s), Stan's rims, XTR brakes, SRAM Eagle gearing, Renthal cockpit, Kashima coated Transfer post and one very excited 12 year old!
Along with Nicolai's trademark welding, the spacing between the top tube and shock is a sight to behold! Mackenzie will have no problem as the boys from Mojo set him up with a custom tune.
It is fair to say it was mission accomplished, both Mackenzie and Alex are over the moon. The world's first custom kid's bike with adult geometry is now live and active shredding trails near you!
It also sparked the start of some huge news. After an interview with Chris, I can confirm this bike (and/or a variation) will be going into full production sometime in the near future. Mojo and Nicolai were so happy with the result and everything that a frame like this entails they will be offering full builds to the public. The sizing is perfect for kids aged 9 all the way through to 16! It also opens doors for anyone sub 5'10" that couldn't ride the smallest current model.
Chris is hoping to have the bikes out in summer but with variations in specs and frames still to work out we're going to be waiting for a little longer until we get a finalised price. Chris said: "The plan is to bring this bike into full production, offering a full build that can last kids all the way through their early teens or anyone not quite tall enough for the standard Geometron. Adjustable reach headsets, short stems and a 26" wheel option! We want these to be 4 year bikes"
Now that Nicolai are making the first move, hopefully more and more manufactures will catch on and begin putting these kinds of dimensions and sizes into production. It will only encourage the younger riders to get into racing and give them the tools to ride the more technical descents! For now we just cross our fingers and wait!