Review: Trailcraft Cycles Pineridge 24 kids mountain bike

A true kids-specific mountain bike with real components and real gearing

Cross Country Kids
The Pineridge 24 from Trailcraft Cycles will have your kids smiling for miles on all your rides.

The Pineridge 24 from Trailcraft Cycles will have your kids smiling for miles on all your rides (click to enlarge).

Lowdown: Trailcraft Cycles Pineridge 24

Trailcraft Cycles is a fairly new mountain bike company started by a couple of mountain biking parents who were not happy with the current offerings for kid’s mountain bikes. Why couldn’t somebody build a bike that didn’t weigh a ton with quality parts and proper mountain bike geometry and climbing ability? Ginger Rosenbauer decided to answer this question herself by creating her own kids bike brand out of Fort Collins, CO. Some of you may recognize the last name, Ginger is married to Brett Rosenbauer who is the International Sales Manager of Niner Bikes and has been in the bike industry for many years. In fact, Trailcraft really is a family run business as all of the Rosenbauer kids have a task to do to help out. They help out by building boxes, building packets, doing shipping labels, foam-wrapping bikes, counting inventory and even wiping the bikes down bikes so they are smudge-free for their new owners.

Trailcraft’s first model is the Pineridge 24 which they offer in both aluminum and titanium. We reviewed the more affordable aluminum version and found it to be everything that they set out to build and more.

Stat Box
Intended Use: cross country Wheel Size: 24-inches
Front Fork Travel: 60mm Wheelset: Custom hubs/Stans Crest rims
Suspension: RST FIRST air fork Frame Material: double-butted 7005 aluminum
Drivetrain: Shimano Deore 2×10 MSRP: $1,725
Weight: 21.38 pounds (no pedals) Rating: 5 Flamin' Chili Peppers 5 Chilis-out-of-5

In the same league: Specialized Hotrock 24 XC Pro, IslaBikes Creig 24

Pluses
Minuses
  • Real mountain bike parts
  • Real mountain bike price
  • Real mountain bike gearing
     
  • Lightweight
     
  • Quality fit and finish
     
  • Great wheels/tires
     

Direct to consumer – a growing business model

Ordering bikes directly from the manufacturer is a growing business model and works well for the educated buyer that knows what they want and knows how to size a bike. This is even more important when buying a bike for your children. Fortunately, interested buyers can call or email Trailcraft Cycles directly and they will help determine if your child will fit on this bike.

The bikes all come shipped with one of the best and safest wrapping jobs I’ve even seen (and I’ve received dozens and dozens of test bikes over the years). The bikes are fully built and tuned in Fort Collins, CO before being shipped. For shipping purposes, Trailcraft removes the handlebars, turns the stem, and wraps the brake/shift levers in packing wrap. It then all gets wrapped in cellophane stretch wrap to protect everything and is shipped in a 2-ply box for super safe shipping.

A shot of the Pineridge 24 as it is shipped, perhaps the safest packing job we've ever seen.

A shot of the Pineridge 24 as it is shipped, perhaps the safest packing job we’ve ever seen (click to enlarge).

At this price point, the majority of Pineridge 24 buyers will probably be experienced mountain biker parents, so assembling the bike will take less than 10 minutes.

Check out this video of Trailcraft Cycles founder Ginger Rosenbauer going over the highlights of the Pineridge 24.

Review: Trailcraft Cycles Pineridge 24

During our time testing the Pineridge 24, we found it to be a highly capable bike that made riding real trails and climbing real mountains much easier and more fun. The combination of the light weight and able gearing allowed our young tester to climb farther and easier than on any other bike.

The frame itself is lightweight 7005 double butted aluminum with clean welds and clearance to fit a real size water bottle. The Pineridge 24 is now available in five colors (orange, teal, green, blue and purple) and the paint quality and finish are top notch. The frame geometry features short chainstays (390mm) and a 70 degree head tube angle that combine to keep the handling nimble without being twitchy to help inspire confidence for the budding trail rider.

Plenty of water bottle clearance and clean cable routing here.

Plenty of water bottle clearance and clean cable routing here (click to enlarge).

The fork is often one of the main weaknesses of kids bikes since the majority of them are way too stiff and often barely move even under the weight of an adult. Not so with the Trailcraft Pineridge 24. The RST First is an air sprung suspension fork with 60mm of travel and weighs just 1600 grams. It has alloy lowers and includes a lockout and preload adjustment. The air is easy to adjust and our 63 pound tester was able to push down on the fork and compress it. Of course, the benefit of a good fork means better control and better comfort. Of course, like any real mountain bike, the Pineridge 24 has disc brakes front and back (Shimano Deore M615 with light weight Ashima 85 gram rotors). The reach adjust on the Deore brake levers also make fitting the controls to small hands a breeze.

The drivetrain features Shimano Deore 2×10 derailleurs matched with Deore shifters (trigger shifters, not twist grip). The cassette is a Sunrace 11/36 and the 32/22 front rings allow plenty of real climbing power. There is also a 1x drivetrain option with a 30T ring for no price difference.

The wheels and tires are definitely a standout part of this bike’s spec. Reducing weight is most important when it comes to rotating mass and Trailcraft uses a very smart selection of parts to achieve this. The hubs are custom super light alloy (370 grams) laced to 24″ 28-spoke Stans Crest rims (310 grams) for a total wheelset weight of approximately 1300 grams. The aforementioned lightweight Ashima rotors help reduce rotating mass. The Schwalbe Rocket Ron 24″ Performance series tires also keep the weight down, but provide plenty of grip for most situations. Even in our current muddy, winter conditions the Rocket Rons performed well (even through creek crossings). The wheels are also tubeless ready, which will lighten the bike even further.

Our young tester enjoyed riding the Trailcraft Cycles Pineridge 24 so much; he rode this small creek crossing about 5 times.

Our young tester enjoyed riding the Trailcraft Cycles Pineridge 24 so much; he rode this small creek crossing about 5 times (click to enlarge).

The only part of the spec we would change would be the metal pedals that come included with the bike. They seem heavy with teeth that look like they could do some damage to young flesh. We would swap these out for a lightweight set of nylon platforms. Also, the foam grips that come with the bike are definitely lightweight but you may want to install a set of lock-ons. Fortunately, changing grips and pedals is very easy.

Continue to page 2 for more on the Trailcraft Pineridge 24 and full photo gallery ยป

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.


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