Too small for tricks?
November 29, 2012 6:05 AM   Subscribe

12" BMX bike for 12-year old? [NYcares Winter wishes filter]

My NYCares Winter Wishes requestor is a 12-year old boy and is, according to the contact on my letter, normal height to tall for his age and 'husky'. He has requested a "12-inch blue bmx bike". This seems realllllllly small. I know that kids like to have smaller bikes to do tricks and such with, but I want to make sure that even given that, this bike is a reasonable size. The letter contact seemed to think he had made a mistake and that he needs a 20-inch bike, but she also mentioned that more than one of kids has made the 12-inch 'mistake' and she had had other calls. So I'm concerned that maybe this a 'thing' among the kids, and that I shouldn't listen to the contact. I generally would lean to buying exactly what is requested, but again, the bike is soooo small when I looked at in the store (and they generally come with training wheels and streamers on the handle bars and those tricycle-type, no-air wheels).

If you think the 12-inch size is the right way to go, any recommendations for relatively good quality at ~$100 (and reasonable shipping for an online purchase -- I don't live in NYC).

BTW, this isn't so much an issue of cost -- I am able to spend a little more than the $40 recommended; I just want to make sure I am buying something good!!!
posted by Tandem Affinity to Shopping (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I work in a bike shop. Among other things, we sell 12", 16", and 20" kids bikes.

If your 12 year old is talking about a bike with 12" wheels, then yeah, that's pretty small for their size. My 7 year old is comfortable on her bike with 20" wheels. There's a chance that your kid is talking frame size of 12", but I doubt it.

Is it possible to contact the kid directly and ask them to confirm that a bike with 12" wheels is really what they want? If not, I would definitely find a place to buy that would accept a return, and save your receipt.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 7:11 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, I need to point out that 12" "BMX" bikes aren't reallyBMX bikes. They have the appearance of BMX bikes, but they're in no way meant to take the abuse given to them by a 12 year old riding street or trail. They're meant to be ridden gently by a 5 year old.

At least, that's true for any department-store bike that you're probably going to buy.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 8:52 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

he has to mean a 20" bike.
12" is sooo small. I've never seen anyone do tricks on them.
posted by gatsby died at 9:34 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

He might have just taken a ruler to a friend's bike and be referring to seat-tube length the way other bicycles are sized, but BMX bikes are generally sized by top-tube length.
posted by rhizome at 10:44 AM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

BMX bikes are sized by top tube or by wheel size. He will need at least an 18" wheel. It may not be doable for $100. If you're prepared to splash out the United RN18 2013 is awesome. I would start your online search at Dans Comp who have unbeatable prices and free shipping.
posted by roofus at 12:33 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

The 12" thing HAS to be a mistake. A 12 year old can't even sit on it and pedal.

I'd definitely go with a 20". FWIW, if the 20" ends up being a mistake, at least it has some barter value that a 12" will never have. He'll be able to trade down to a 12" easily, if that's what he really wanted, but he'd never be able to trade up.
posted by snsranch at 4:52 PM on November 29, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks all, for infinitely expanding my BMX knowledge. A bike, not as nice as what I'd like to buy but at least a reasonable size and match for the request, is on the way, and I would have been too paralyzed with indecision to get it there so very on-time without your help!
posted by Tandem Affinity at 6:29 PM on November 30, 2012

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