Found: Custom 14.3lb Skyde 246 youth mountain bike for builder’s daughter

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If you’re a parent and regular Bikerumor reader, there’s no doubt you’ve been vexed by youth bike offerings. Things are getting better thanks to lighter weight, impressively spec’d bikes from brands like Trailcraft, Culprit, Priority, Transition and Trek (among others) but it’s still few and far between.

But, what do you do if you’re a frame builder and want to take things to extremes? You build your own and enlist the help of your industry partners to make it wicked light, of course!

Here the story of this project, as told by Ronnie Calvet of Skyde Cycles in France…

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A few years, I designed and built a tricycle for my daughter when she was 3-4 years old. She was so proud riding along on her full titanium tricycle !

As she grew up, the tricycle became too small for her, so, for her 6th birthday we bought her a 16’ kid bike from a local store. It was heavy, clunky and ultimately she rode it less and less, but nevertheless she learned how to ride without training wheels, which is an important moment in every cycliste’s life.

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In time she outgrew her first 2wheeler, and it was time to look for the next one. Kids grow up so quickly. I started my search at our local sporting good stores such as Decathlon, Go Sport …etc, but quickly became frustrated by the weight of the bikes and how they were equipped. I then turned my attention to what major bike brands where offering, thinking that they may be better equipped to offer lighter and more efficient alternatives and again weight and equipment were still an issue.

I was amazed to notice that the majority of bicycle brands use front suspended forks on bikes for kids. I find that it does absolutely nothing for them, if not to add extra weight for nothing.

Weight is important to me and I do not understand why bikes for children are so heavy! They should be as light as possible as they have much less power than us grown ups. Riding on a “heavy” bike that doesn’t take in account their smaller bodies and power ratio just doesn’t make sense to me. Finally, as a bike designer, it also bothered me that my daughter rides a bike of another brand than mine!

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And that’s how I began to imagine what the ideal bike for an 8 year old child should be and what my daughter should ride on. So, I designed the geometry of this new bike myself based on my daughters’ postural study.

Because I wanted this bike to last as long as possible, I specifically designed a 24’ frame slightly larger than normal and made sure that it could be compatible with a 26’ wheel base. That way, when my daughter out grows the 24’ wheel base, all i had to do is change to 26’ wheels and add a longer stem all the while retaining a proper riding position on the bike.

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Today the bike is a single speed (hence the specific drop-outs) as at this age (she is 8 years old) children don’t fully master the concept of switching gears. As she learns the basics and when she is ready, we can evolve to the next step and equip the bike with the necessary cassette, derailleurs, etc.

As design and development took their natural course, we wanted to see just how light we could build this bike, so naturally we turned to our partners and discussed with then the nature of our project (ROTOR, WTB, TUNE, HOPE, CHRIS KING, HV Components). They all came onboard and were very excited to participate in such a project.

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Artisan wheel maker JPRACING also participated on the project and provided us with the very rare 24’ ZTR Crest rims, allowing us to mount tubeless wheels. Not only did JPRACING build the wheels, they went as far as customizing the colors of their stickers to match the bike’s color scheme.

Another important criteria for this project: I wanted her bike to have disc brakes. Because children have less strength in their hands than we do, equipping the bike with with disc brakes made sense and require less strength than pads, which are found on the majority of children’s bikes.

Then we had to find a rigid carbon fork that could mount a disc brake. Let me just say that it’s not easy to find!

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The result is unequivocal! 6.5kg (14.33lb) on the scale, flat pedals included! Objective achieved and it’s half the weight of her previous bike!

But for a girl, the most important on a bike is not the presence of a Rotor crankset or Tune hubs, it’s the color of the bike !!!! 😉 So we drew together, father and daughter, the designs on the computer. As my daughter’s name is Lily, painting lilies on the frame was an obvious choice.

The paint job was done by JUMPCYCLE, a local company with whom we are already work with on custom customer paint projects for our titanium bikes. They also paint all of our steel frames.

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Lily is very happy with her new bike, she in now able to accompany her father on the trails nearby and is quite a quick learner. She was very happy to have participated on this project with her Dad and especially TO HAVE A ONE OF A KIND BIKE!

We at SKYDE especially enjoy these kinds of projects which not only bounds our family and company life closer together, but they allow us to showcase of our expertise. As the tricycle, Lily’s SKYDE 246 will participate to promote SKYDE’s image at trade shows and events.

And here the specifities :

  • Frame : titanium SKYDE 24″ custom size, for 24″ and 26″ wheels. Singlespeed, but dérailleurs possible
  • Fork : SUKIDDO carbon 24″ disc
  • Headset : CHRISKING
  • Stem : HOPE 35mm, titanium bolts
  • Handlebar : Carbon
  • Seatpost : Carbon
  • Crank : ROTOR 160mm, QRing 34 teeths
  • BB : ROTOR
  • Chain : KCNC
  • Saddle : WTB Volt titanium
  • Wheels : TUNE King/Kong purple, Tune skewers carbon/titan
  • Rims : NoTubes ZTR Crest 24″
  • Spoke : SAPIM CX RAY Lacing JPRACING
  • Tyre : SCHWALBE RocketRon, montage Tubeless
  • Pedals : HT Components Evo Mag ME0T, titane/magnésium
  • Brakes : SHIMANO SLX
  • Rotors : Ashima, visserie titane
  • Painting : JUMPCYCLE
  • Weight : 6.5kg!

SkydeComp.fr

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14 Comments
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Rob
Rob
7 years ago

Very cool!

Forrest
Forrest
7 years ago

The bike is beautiful. I am confused though Why would an individual that has the capabilities to make such a bike (and a custom titanium tricycle) ever go to a sporting goods store for a bicycle in the first place.

Mike
Mike
7 years ago

I love this, and can’t wait for my boys to reach the age where I can nerd out on their cycling gear.

Bert Sawicki
Bert Sawicki
7 years ago

why do people think kids don’t need suspension? As X-fusion says…better living through suspension!

satisFACTORYrider
satisFACTORYrider
7 years ago

^maybe the trails she is being introduced to doesnt require her to have any at the moment. at a lighter rider weight and tubeless should be plenty smooth

WannaBeSTi
WannaBeSTi
7 years ago

Ok, let me just say: That’s a cool kids bike. Your daughter is Blessed.

It is okay to say you wanted to build your daughter a pimp mountain bike. However, don’t feed us the illusion that you were dissatisfied with the weight of kid’s bikes, but failed to notice the price differences between a nice kid’s mountain bike at a shop and custom Ti mountain bike.

“I then turned my attention to what major bike brands where offering, thinking that they may be better equipped to offer lighter and more efficient alternatives and again weight and equipment were still an issue.”

One reason the bikes are heavy is because they are competing against department store bikes…price wins first. Most (bike shop level) kids bikes have very low-end parts to keep the price down. The Scott Scale RC 24 Junior bike is about 25 lbs/ 11.2kg and is still a third to a quarter of the price of your daughter’s bike.

“I was amazed to notice that the majority of bicycle brands use front suspended forks on bikes for kids. I find that it does absolutely nothing for them, if not to add extra weight for nothing.”

They have suspension forks because “Dad’s bike has shocks so, that’s what I want!” (A quote by my son). For kids, the cooler looking toy wins over the handmade-niche toy.

“Weight is important to me and I do not understand why bikes for children are so heavy! They should be as light as possible as they have much less power than us grown ups. Riding on a “heavy” bike that doesn’t take in account their smaller bodies and power ratio just doesn’t make sense to me.”

See previous points.

“Finally, as a bike designer, it also bothered me that my daughter rides a bike of another brand than mine!”

Finally, an honest reason to build your daughter a pimp frame, at least.

Here’s an great business for you: Start a bike company making light mountain bikes for shops to sell at major brand prices.

I don’t mean to blast the guy, but I can’t stand when people gripe about something then go to an extreme length to one-up. Just own the fact that you wanted your daughter to have a wicked bike. I’m happy to say I’ve bought every Lego set my son asked for me to buy. He knows I like for him to play with Legos. He also has a perfectly built Fuji Dynamite 20.

raphael
raphael
7 years ago

I would make up any reasons to be able to build such an awesome bike for my kid. I hope she shreds on it.

Collin S
Collin S
7 years ago

One thing I’ve never understood is in road racing, juniors are limited to easier gearing in hopes to save their knees/force them to spin more. In MTB, that’s not a thing. I’m a single speeder, so I know what its like grinding up a hill at 35 rpm for 10 minutes at a time. I’m all for kids having cool bikes, but this is one thing I think road has done right. For MTB, I don’t think kids should be riding SS. (waits for BMX comment….)

Not trying to start anything, I was just wondering what other people think.

Kasper
Kasper
7 years ago

My son (11, but still a small boy) rides one of the smallest Monty trialbikes (20″). This bike weights 7.5kg. It is pretty much the same as a “adult” trialbike. Direct mount HS33, 6 pawls freewheel, mounted on the crankset. Rims with holes in between the spokes. To save some extra weight the fork with is 70 mm instead of the regular 100 mm. But then again Rick Koekoek’s (pro rider, 20″) lightest competition bike weights 7.5 kg too.

Ilya
Ilya
7 years ago

Depicted rotors are clearly KCNC Razor and not Ashima, as stated in the parts list.

Clark
Clark
7 years ago

As someone who rides almost daily with kids (mine are 9 and 8) and help a kids development club. Kids can do far more than most give them credit for. My daughter at age 7 was mountain and crit state champion and believe me she fully understands how to use gears!! I love any attempt to get kids on bikes and good ones at that! I ride SS but man get that kid some gears and let her learn

Robbo
7 years ago

Not that hard to find carbon forks with disc tabs – I picked up a set for less than $200 from the UK. Combined with an XS Giant alloy hardtail frame, XT wheels, bb7s and a SS set up, my 8yo has a sweet 8kg ride that looks cool (according to her), rides great and cost dad about $400 (hand me down parts not included). Yeah, it’s hard to find good gear for kids – but half the fun is looking!

Remco de Kock
Remco de Kock
7 years ago

Having configured several bikes myself for my now 7y old, I know I he is able to ride trails that could never be done on a single speeder. And he’s been able to shift gears since 4y old… Just skip the front derailleur and go 1×10. Same for good suspension (I can recommend RST F1RST AIR 24″)
Another thing that made a huge difference is proper crank length. 160mm is way too long, unless the rider is longer than 1,40m. I went with a beautiful 130mm 1x crankset from http://www.federleicht-bike.at and a 30t X01 chainring. Expensive, but worth it IMHO.
Paired with a 11-36 cassette.

Beautiful bike, though!

Tony
Tony
7 years ago

because, for a girl, the most important thing on a bike is the color

Yeesh

Not for my daughter. Oh plus, she rocks a full suspension. You should check out some used bikes next time.