Frame size for 4’8″ dude?

I need some help. My 11 year old son wants a new bike. He’s been saving his money and I pay half, so we are looking at bikes in the $1000 to $1500 range. The big question is what size to get?

He’s about 4’8″ tall and currently riding an old barricuda 15″ frame bike. He handles this bike very well and does ok on the downhill with it.

So we were in the bike shop looking at a medium fuel 17.5 frame size. If we cut the seat tube and put a tiny free ride type stem on it, it looks pretty good, or should i get him a small? I know that he will grow out of a small, but i don’t know if it will thrashed by then.

also what bikes do you recomend in this price range? my big S dealer said they were all prety much gone so don’t expect to find one.

Thanks for the help

The more you click, the more I can post. Lee Likes Groceries dot com!

Hi Jim,

First, how very cool that you’re subsidizing your dude’s new bike — but making him work for it too. So many kids get stuff for nothing, and they develop a sense of entitlement.

A medium is too long. Rock a small frame. It’ll serve him for a few years. An extra-small would feel great today, but would feel cramped by, like, next week.

At this price range, you can’t go wrong with any of the big manufacturers. Specialized, Trek, Giant, etc. Buy from your local shop. Make sure they include a short stem and set up the suspension.


— Lee

8 replies
  1. scott says:

    All sorts of options, some of which depend upon on what type of riding and type of bike. We started my youngest one on kona (stinky jr and stuff-24) with 24″ wheels. Weight is an issue, but not insurmountable. He’s now 4’10” and rocking a small 303 24″ rear/26″ front with substancial suspension work to drop the bottom bracket and get some more standover. He runs 24″ front and rear on his 4X, will probably end up doing the same on a cross country bike this fall.

  2. Chris says:

    So Scott, after Lee’s comment on ‘entitlement’, just what did your child do to help pay for a 303, a 4X bike and an XC bike?

    Drive the getaway car?

    Sorry Lee and everyone else, I couldn’t resist. The juxtaposition is perfect.

  3. leelikesbikes says:


    Scott’s kids are good young men — as is every member of Keith Darner’s Yeti-RPM team. He makes them work in a textile factory … nice jerseys!

  4. scott says:

    Textiles? Hell, that kid couldn’t sew to save his life, but he can shovel snow like a mother (pretty good form of cross-training). He’s praying for another winter like the last one so he can help pay off the XC rig. I thought about the getaway car thing, but that not being able to see over the dash or reach the pedals gets to be a little dicey:)

  5. Jim says:

    Thanks guys,

    We found a new small heckler on ebay and it was in the price range so we snaged it. I figured how can you go wrong with a heckler.

  6. tedster says:

    its good your making your son work, i had to do that. i spent a whole summer weeding and selling lemonade when i was 10 years old.

  7. Chad says:


    Congrad to your son. The heckler is a sweet ride. I’ve had mine for 2 seasons now and love it. The single pivot still rocks!! Don’t let anyone tell him different!!


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