A couple years ago, proud parent Ginger Rosenbauer launched Trailcraft Cycles to fill the void in the youth cycling market. Specifically, the near void of really well designed, lightweight mountain bikes that could hold their own on the trail with mom and dad’s bikes. The Pineridge 24 was born, and since then we’ve seen a number of high end options follow from major brands. But, what’s a kid to do when they outgrow a 24″ wheeled bike?
Hop on a 26″ bike, of course. But most 26″ bikes remaining in shops are low-end, entry level models that are likely to be a serious downgrade in spec and performance and be heavier than the Pineridge. That, and they were originally designed for adults, not kids. That’s where the new Trailcraft Timber 26 comes in…
We reached out to Ginger to get the scoop on her new bike. After all, there are still 26″ bikes to be found on Craigslist and eBay. And chances are most parents still have one laying around. Normally, we’d paraphrase, but she responded with solid answers, so here’s what she had to say:
BIKERUMOR: What’s different about a 26” bike specifically for kids and a normal XS or S sized 26” bike?
GINGER: Well, to be honest it is super tough to even find a 26″ bike in a XS or S size any more, or even a fun and playful 26″ frame geometry designed around a 4’9-5’2 kid in mind. The whole reason we ended up going 26″ is because the industry went all-in on 27.5″ wheels and the people who got left behind were the little people, kids primarily. Trailcraft Cycles launched as a company building high end 24″ bikes (Bikerumor/Trailcraft launch introduction here) and families started emailing us asking for our 26″ or 27.5″ recommendations because as their kids grew out of their 24″ wheel size. Overwhelming feedback came to me stating “we had our kid demo an XS size 27.5 and it was too long, too tall, and way too heavy” coming off of their high performance 24″ wheel Trailcraft Pineridge 24 they had purchased from us earlier. Families wanted the equivalent bike they had purchased earlier in a 26″ size, essentially. We had been working on something, and our own son Elijah was the tester for almost 2 seasons on many prototypes. The main difference is wheelbase, top tube length, front end height, chainstay length, and overall bike weight while finding the optimum blend that would fit riders in the 4’9-5’2″ height.
BIKERUMOR: What’s the age or height range this is recommended for?
GINGER: “Ideally this bike is going to be for kids coming off of a 24″ bike and in the height range of 4’9″ to about 5’2”. “Age range” is a hard part to nail down depending on what part of the world you are from and/or your genetics, but typically 9-13 years old. Our son graduated the 24″ wheel size at 10, but he has kids in his class now at 12 who would still be on the 24″ wheel. I’ve sold many 24″ bikes to super petite women, so this would work for women as well or anyone with a standover height of about 26 inches or more who will benefit from a super lightweight mountain bike.”
BIKERUMOR: Frame and bike details? Weight, material, shaping, key features, bike spec, etc.
GINGER: “First and super important, the Timber 26 starts at just 21.5 pounds with a suspension fork and tubes installed. This is a super high performance bike for those who want to dominate the trails and take their riding to the next level, hence the price tag. We are constantly reminded though that this bike is still less than a pair of popular high end carbon wheels!
“21.5 pounds is a real world out of the box weight including everything – pedals, lock on grips and even our Lizard skin chainstay protector. The bike frame, component spec and overall bike weight is where this gets really fun as parents ourselves and being able to watch our own son progress as a young rider through building these Timber 26 prototypes. First, we are firm believers through this whole process of starting Trailcraft Cycles is that a super lightweight bike with a fun geometry can literally add hours to rides and seal the deal on an awesome day on the bike. Knowing and learning this early on with our own Pineridge 24 bikes, with the Timber 26 we started with a similar 7005 series aluminum frame and added a “new school geometry to an old school wheel size” as we like to call it. The Timber 26 features a nice and super playful 419mm chainstay length, 525mm top tube, and a 69 degree head tube angle. We designed these frames to be ridden super hard and jumped like many kids in the 9-13 year old range like to do, so they are tested to adult mountain bike standards, with no rider weight limit in mind. Kids are kids and if they want to jump it off the roof of your house to flat with no transition, they will do that. The frame passes stringent ISO/ASTM standards.
“To keep rotational weight and overall bike weight low, careful attention to the build spec detail came next. The first important spec is reduction of mass from the typical wheel. Stans NoTubes Podium rims laced to ultralight hubs create our 1,290g wheelset. 450 gram Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires and 85 gram Ashima ultralight rotors creates the lightest rotating weight 26″ package available (that we know of) on an 26” XS sized mountain bike. This is a HUGE confidence builder for kids starting out, or the next step up on the podium in many cases for the more experienced kids.
“The build-a-bike configurator on our website allows two suspension fork choices, Shimano XT or Shimano Deore components depending on budget, and all bikes feature our own ultralight 150 gram handlebar and 160 gram seatpost. The Timber 26 in the 1x option features our new Trailcraft Cycles direct mount crank with 30t direct mount chainring. Live in a super hilly area? No problem we can swap it out for a 28t or even a 26t chainring or is available for purchase at a later date. Just let us know how you want your kids next dream bike built!”
The Timber will ship in December starting at $1,949 with Shimano Deore group and Rockshox 30 fork. All models come with Trailcraft’s own 152mm cranks and new direct mount narrow-wide single chainring. Frame is 7005 aluminum with hydroformed downtube.