Here are the factors to consider when buying a front suspension mountain bike for your child:
- Kids' age and weight: kids who are 4.5-5 years old can reap some benefit from having a front suspension fork IF they weigh enough to compress it. Not all 20" forks are created equal and even the most high-end 20" forks out there won't give you much travel if the kiddo weighs less than 45lbs. That's why we don't make 16" bikes with front suspension - the added weight of the fork counteracts any potential benefits for really lightweight riders
- Terrain and riding ability
For beginner riders who are still working on figuring out shifting and don't do much downhill riding a rigid fork is typically plenty! More advanced kids who do green/blue runs at downhill bike parks will benefit from having a squishy front fork.
How to choose a 20" suspension fork?
We recommend going with a lightweight, air-sprung fork that's tuned for lighter riders and is easily serviceable (this is key as if it is not possible to source components like seal kits and damper cartridges, the fork is basically a throwaway).
Brood Eldorado Forks - 80mm and 100mm travel options:
Back in 2016, we developed our own line of components - Brood Bike Co. that started with the Brood Eldorado Fork that we used on our 20" trail, Dirt jumper and now full suspension 20" and 22" bikes. These premium 20" kids' forks feature carbon fibre lowers, a sealed damper with a replaceable cartridge, adjustable rebound and lockout. With 30mm stanchions, the fork is supple and smooth for light riders and keeps stiction to a minimum all at only 1450g weight. Seal kits and dampers are available for maintenance of the fork when it is necessary, so it'll last!
The newly redesigned Eldorado comes in the following options:
80mm travel + thru-axle
100mm travel + thru-axle (great for full suspension bikes)
80mm travel with 9mm Quick Release
For kids whose weight is less than 50lbs, rebound damping should be turned all the way down (open) as too much damping will impede the fork's return since there is not enough spring force to counteract it.
- set sag to about 15-20% to start
- using a shock pump, set the pressure to about 1lb per each lb of the rider's weight, the absolute minimum being about 45PSI.
- For kids whose weight is less than 50lbs, turn the rebound damping OFF. If you are looking at the bike from the bottom, the red knob should be turned all the way COUNTER-CLOCKWISE.