Choosing a Big BMX for the 40+ Crowd? 24/26/29" Bikes?

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12/21/2014 4:51 PM

So, what do you ride when you realize that you’re a bit too old to be truly happy on a 20” anymore? If you rode a BMX bike in the 80’s and early 90’s you will find that some things have changed and that there is no longer simply BMX bikes but specific genera of bikes for different uses all kind of lumped together by many people. I looked around all to forums and blogs and stopped by several shops to ride a few bikes before buying a one to fit my needs and what I found is that I really need three more bikes. That’s a bit scary to most people but the reality is that none of the modern bikes are truly do-it-all kind of bikes for everybody. If you are looking for a bike to do one thing on, it’s easy. If you need a bike that will work nicely for many things the choices expand quickly and you find that multiple bikes may be needed or you are making a big compromise somewhere.

About me: I was born in ’74 so I’m no spring chicken on a bike. I’m 6’-4”, 230lbs so most people think I look like a circus bear on a 20” bike. I have two young kids that are finally starting to come with to some paved or crushed gravel trails and ride under their own power. My son in particular is really starting to like jumping his bike on a cheapo set of ramps we have.
I want a bike that does it all. Long path rides with the family; mess around on the jumps with the kids, bunny hops, wheelies, etc.

So, here is what I’ve got right now and why.

I have a ridged tail Mongoose mountain bike that I’ve had for about 13 years but in all that time I’ve never really liked riding that bike. I hate having gears to mess with, you can’t really do anything fun on it unless you go to the trails, and it sucks to commute anywhere on due to the knobby tires and front suspension. This is the bike I’m finally trying to free myself from by getting a new big wheel BMX. No pics because it doesn't matter.

So...

Mid School Powerlite P61 XL. I picked this bike up as a complete when I was 19 after being run over by a Suburban aboard my ~1990 ELF Pro. I wish I had the ELF because it was much nicer than the Powerlite but almost everything was bent or hurt on it after this and I needed a bike. My local shop had this on the floor so I took it.

I have ridden this bike for almost 22 years, sometimes often while other times it has sat while I did other things. It’s been a great bike for me and I still get a chuckle when I ride up to the school with my son and all of the moms out there comment on how I’m riding his bike. I don’t get out and do much actual BMX riding anymore.

My kids are now 5 and 8 so I’ve spent the last couple years riding this at the park and around the neighborhood with them and my son still love’s that I can do “tricks” on it. My tricks are very limited: simple jumps, bunny hops, 180’s, etc so it’s funny to me how much he likes it when I mess around with him.






The first bike that I recently picked up was an SE Big Ripper. I chose this mostly because after riding one I found that it can be ridden all day and still be comfortable. You can stand up and ride, sit down and cruise, bunny hop, wheelie, and go fast on this thing. Plus, it has a ton of cool factor that seems to draw plenty of looks.

This thing is mostly just a great commuter that feels right and can be treated like a giant BMX. My 5’-7” wife has actually stolen this bike from me because it’s so easy to ride, stable and fast. For her, it’s 100% better than her mountain bike and better for long rides than my 20” that she likes to ride around with the kids. So, it’s a wonderful bike and I’m surprised to say that I would suggest it to a lot of women riders who just want a comfy cruiser that is easy to ride.

The Big Ripper is not a small maneuverable bike that you want to jump hard or mess around on too much. Think beach cruiser for the old school BMX’er…or a bike your wife will fall in love with for it’s comfort on a paved or gravel path and it’s relaxed seating position compared to a mountain or hybrid bike. I love the big ol’ thing for what it is but something else is needed to fill the jackass in my blood.





With the Big Ripper being taken over by the wife I started looking around again and SE once again came through. I stopped by a local shop that had a new school OM Flyer 26” in stock and took it for a quick spin. Literally 100’ on the bike and I had to have it. It’s just small enough to be more comfortable bunny hopping and messing around a bit on but it’s big enough to sit down and cruise for a while. This thing reminds me of BMX riding but in a grown up way. I suppose “OM” is a good fit considering my age and needs from this bike.

I’ve ridden more than I can believe and absolutely love it. I jump it with the kids, can do 180’s and rock walk back to straight pretty easily, wheelie and bunny hope anything I need on it and never feel like any of that is wrong on this bike. On a path out for a ride you can cruise at a good pace and ride all day on the big 26’s. This is a wonderful bike for me.





So that’s two, what’s the third bike I need? Well, I have not actually got one yet but I’m thinking of picking up a Sunday Model C. I’ve ridden one at the local shop and it’s definitely not a commuter bike for me but it’s much more comfy for my size than the 20” I have and the new geometry makes it a great bike to mess around on. You can bunny hop HUGE on this thing with it’s high BB and it feels super stable with the long TT and 24” wheels. I could comfortably replace my 20” with this as my hooligan bike and don’t think it would hurt me one bit at my limited skill level and age.

There are plenty of comparable bikes but the Model C is what I have ridden and believe that it will be my next bike purchase. It will fill in the gap between my 20” and the OM Flyer so that I can have some fun with the kids in the neighborhood; maybe hit some dirt jumps on it too.

Once I have a Model C I believe that bike and the OM Flyer would be my goto bikes for almost any ride. So, why do I need the Big Ripper and the 20”? Because you can’t be more comfortable on a long haul than the Big Ripper and every kid in America should own a 20” bike.

Last shot with the Big Ripper, OM Flyer, my son’s Felt Sector Expert, and my daughters DK Fury.





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WTP Atlas 24"
Specialized P3
SE OM Flyer 26"
SE Big Ripper 29"
DK Pro Elite XXL 20"
Powerlite P61 XL 20"

12/22/2014 8:15 AM

How about a 22'' bike? That will be my next build. Either the InDust 22 or ATF with 22'' wheel set.

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12/28/2014 8:54 PM

Don't know if I for in this thread but I'm try. I was born in 73 I currently race xc mtn bike on a local team. Decided I wanted to have something cool to mess around on in the street so I ended up with a haro downtown 24 and love it.

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8/26/2015 6:05 PM

Hello all... I'm 44 years old and have been in love with BMX since my 83 Diamond Back Silver Streak. I'm currently building a S&M ATF 24. Just need to get my wheelset back from being built by my LBS. will post her when she's done. Hopefully Saturday. I'm very excited. Haha

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8/27/2015 7:40 AM

heavyhoody wrote:

Hello all... I'm 44 years old and have been in love with BMX since my 83 Diamond Back Silver Streak. I'm currently building a S&M ATF 24. Just need to get my wheelset back from being built by my LBS. will post her when she's done. Hopefully Saturday. I'm very excited. Haha

Post up a picture when you get it! 24's can be awesome.

Since my original post I've also picked up a WTP Atlas 24 that I've been using mostly at Ray's in Milwaukee and to mess around with the kids by the house. I put taller bars on it to make it a bit more comfy for me and I've been really loving that bike.

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WTP Atlas 24"
Specialized P3
SE OM Flyer 26"
SE Big Ripper 29"
DK Pro Elite XXL 20"
Powerlite P61 XL 20"

8/29/2015 8:15 PM

heavyhoody wrote:

Hello all... I'm 44 years old and have been in love with BMX since my 83 Diamond Back Silver Streak. I'm currently building a S&M ATF 24. Just need to get my wheelset back from being built by my LBS. will post her when she's done. Hopefully Saturday. I'm very excited. Haha

Troy Carter wrote:

Post up a picture when you get it! 24's can be awesome.

Since my original post I've also picked up a WTP Atlas 24 that I've been using mostly at Ray's in Milwaukee and to mess around with the kids by the house. I put taller bars on it to make it a bit more comfy for me and I've been really loving that bike.

Here she is.... Can't wait to ride it some more tomorrow.





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8/29/2015 10:24 PM
Edited Date/Time: 8/29/2015 11:45 PM

EDIT: Didn't see how old this was...

Sweet looking 22"r mate, I really want to give one of those a try. I just got myself a 2013 Stolen Saint and I'm flat out in LOVE with the "new school" Cruiser thing. Even with a barn full of bikes ranging from my old 80's BMX's to a top of the line built 27.5 Enduro Race rig and Full-sus Freeride/DH bikes (Not a 29" fan) the Stolen is THE bike I get on to just "have fun".

Cheers

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I don't know who this "Jesus" dude's supposed to be... Cru Jones is MY co-pilot.

2013 Stolen Saint soon to be modded, late 80's Dyno VFR Resto in progress, 2005 Specialized P2 SS converted and a whole heap of other bikes...

9/10/2015 4:21 PM

Holly F!!! That ATF looks like all kinds of sexy. Seriously salivating over it. Epic build

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9/10/2015 4:41 PM

subrosa luver wrote:

Holly F!!! That ATF looks like all kinds of sexy. Seriously salivating over it. Epic build

Thanks man! Just added S&M Fathead bars to it.... The taller bars are real nice on it.

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9/24/2015 12:40 PM

subrosa luver wrote:

Holly F!!! That ATF looks like all kinds of sexy. Seriously salivating over it. Epic build

heavyhoody wrote:

Thanks man! Just added S&M Fathead bars to it.... The taller bars are real nice on it.

Man that ATF is really nice looking!! Well done for sure.

I put taller bars on my WTP and love them (I'm 6'-4") because I don't like to be hunched over and they make these things super comfy to ride.

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WTP Atlas 24"
Specialized P3
SE OM Flyer 26"
SE Big Ripper 29"
DK Pro Elite XXL 20"
Powerlite P61 XL 20"

10/9/2015 11:04 PM

heavyhoody wrote:

Hello all... I'm 44 years old and have been in love with BMX since my 83 Diamond Back Silver Streak. I'm currently building a S&M ATF 24. Just need to get my wheelset back from being built by my LBS. will post her when she's done. Hopefully Saturday. I'm very excited. Haha

Troy Carter wrote:

Post up a picture when you get it! 24's can be awesome.

Since my original post I've also picked up a WTP Atlas 24 that I've been using mostly at Ray's in Milwaukee and to mess around with the kids by the house. I put taller bars on it to make it a bit more comfy for me and I've been really loving that bike.

I love this bike! I plan on getting this one, or the 2016 version!

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Ride Until The Day I Die

11/19/2015 9:36 PM

heavyhoody wrote:

Hello all... I'm 44 years old and have been in love with BMX since my 83 Diamond Back Silver Streak. I'm currently building a S&M ATF 24. Just need to get my wheelset back from being built by my LBS. will post her when she's done. Hopefully Saturday. I'm very excited. Haha

Troy Carter wrote:

Post up a picture when you get it! 24's can be awesome.

Since my original post I've also picked up a WTP Atlas 24 that I've been using mostly at Ray's in Milwaukee and to mess around with the kids by the house. I put taller bars on it to make it a bit more comfy for me and I've been really loving that bike.

NotoriousBKN wrote:

I love this bike! I plan on getting this one, or the 2016 version!

Did you get one yet?

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WTP Atlas 24"
Specialized P3
SE OM Flyer 26"
SE Big Ripper 29"
DK Pro Elite XXL 20"
Powerlite P61 XL 20"

11/20/2015 9:06 AM

I was born in '79, rode in the late 90's, took 15 years off and now just got back to it in the beginning of summer 15. I'm 6' and 250lbs. I kept my S&M Holmes from that era and tried riding that. I felt like I was going to flip right over the handlebars. I was at a LBS actually looking for a mtn bike and saw the Cult Duff cruiser. I asked to ride it for nostalgia and fell in love. It is the most comfortable bike I have ever ridden, thanks to it's unorthodox geometry. I started riding at the race track again and what I could at the local dirt trails. Now, it's the end of the summer and I realized, jumping a cruiser is difficult. The local trails are built much different from back in the day. Things are steep and technical. You cannot maneuver a cruiser like you can a 20". It's harder to bail, and the speed is difficult to manage. And the parts are severely limited, especially at a LBS. So, now I am building a 20" frame and am going to ride that for the 2016 season. I will see how it goes. If you find yourself in my shoes, morale is, don't give up on the 20" and feel you need a cruiser just because you are old and big. We will see how it goes, I might end up eating my words and returning to the cruiser in 2017.

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11/20/2015 9:07 AM

love that Atlas. And the tires which I could not find for purchase anywhere. My new ride will be all black, so this gives me ideas on color combos. I think I like black with red accents. Thinking white accents too.

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1/4/2018 2:04 PM

Sorry for replying to an older post but I wanted to thank Troy for starting this thread with all the information and pics as well as everyone else who added to it. I recently moved to a neighborhood with close proximity to a park with paved & dirt trails. I wanted something to rip around on with my wife while she rode her non-BMX cruiser.

I'm 42 and 6'2" and was trying to decide between the Big Ripper, OM Flyer, Fit Aitken, Cult Devotion, and a STLN Zeke XLT. I ended up pulling the trigger on the '18 Zeke and replaced the 6.5" bars with 9.25" STLN Cell bars.

I haven't touched a BMX since '94 ('91 Robinson Pro Team) and I'm really impressed with the modern bikes. I decided on the Zeke because of the modern geometry and all that it had to offer for the price. The 74.5 head angle and 300mm seat post were a plus. Plus, the gunmetal looks rad as heck.

My only gripe is I get some creaking when I take off with hard pedaling. I can't tell yet if it's a bearing in the pedal or the bracket. Overall, I'm really happy with it for what my needs are at the moment. I'm looking forward to picking up a Tree Fat Ergo when they're release again in a few months I just wanted to share in case anyone else was considering one. I searched high and low for reviews and videos but couldn't find any.

Here's the Zeke with the OG bars.



Here it is with the 9.25" bars.







Cheers,
Steve

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1/12/2018 3:40 PM

Tweezer wrote:

Sorry for replying to an older post but I wanted to thank Troy for starting this thread with all the information and pics as well as everyone else who added to it. I recently moved to a neighborhood with close proximity to a park with paved & dirt trails. I wanted something to rip around on with my wife while she rode her non-BMX cruiser.

I'm 42 and 6'2" and was trying to decide between the Big Ripper, OM Flyer, Fit Aitken, Cult Devotion, and a STLN Zeke XLT. I ended up pulling the trigger on the '18 Zeke and replaced the 6.5" bars with 9.25" STLN Cell bars.

I haven't touched a BMX since '94 ('91 Robinson Pro Team) and I'm really impressed with the modern bikes. I decided on the Zeke because of the modern geometry and all that it had to offer for the price. The 74.5 head angle and 300mm seat post were a plus. Plus, the gunmetal looks rad as heck.

My only gripe is I get some creaking when I take off with hard pedaling. I can't tell yet if it's a bearing in the pedal or the bracket. Overall, I'm really happy with it for what my needs are at the moment. I'm looking forward to picking up a Tree Fat Ergo when they're release again in a few months I just wanted to share in case anyone else was considering one. I searched high and low for reviews and videos but couldn't find any.

Here's the Zeke with the OG bars.



Here it is with the 9.25" bars.







Cheers,
Steve

Nice! If I had money and space I'd buy a Zeke in a second. They look awesome and the geometry makes me think it would ride a lot smaller than it is.

I was in the same boat as you last fall and I went wtih a 24" WeThePeople Atlas. Stolen doesn't really have a Canadian distributor(or didn't at the time) and I got a great deal on the Atlas locally.



I put a WTP Fat Pivotal seat, Demolition Rig bars, Kenda K-RADS, and ODI/Vans grips on it and I love it.

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1/14/2018 6:21 AM

Tweezer wrote:

Sorry for replying to an older post but I wanted to thank Troy for starting this thread with all the information and pics as well as everyone else who added to it. I recently moved to a neighborhood with close proximity to a park with paved & dirt trails. I wanted something to rip around on with my wife while she rode her non-BMX cruiser.

I'm 42 and 6'2" and was trying to decide between the Big Ripper, OM Flyer, Fit Aitken, Cult Devotion, and a STLN Zeke XLT. I ended up pulling the trigger on the '18 Zeke and replaced the 6.5" bars with 9.25" STLN Cell bars.

I haven't touched a BMX since '94 ('91 Robinson Pro Team) and I'm really impressed with the modern bikes. I decided on the Zeke because of the modern geometry and all that it had to offer for the price. The 74.5 head angle and 300mm seat post were a plus. Plus, the gunmetal looks rad as heck.

My only gripe is I get some creaking when I take off with hard pedaling. I can't tell yet if it's a bearing in the pedal or the bracket. Overall, I'm really happy with it for what my needs are at the moment. I'm looking forward to picking up a Tree Fat Ergo when they're release again in a few months I just wanted to share in case anyone else was considering one. I searched high and low for reviews and videos but couldn't find any.

Here's the Zeke with the OG bars.



Here it is with the 9.25" bars.







Cheers,
Steve

I have kind of a similar story as yours. I’ve been thinking of picking up the Fit Aitken. Why did you choose the Zeke over the Fit?

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1/14/2018 7:32 AM

CHILDISHGAMBINO, That Atlas looks great. I love the seat with the green frame. I was seriously considering the Atlas as well.

Craig_Davis, The small quibbles I had were that it was the first year made, it has a 72 HA vs 74.5, 200mm seat post vs 300mm, and it was $60 more. All rather minor. Oddly, I searched high and low for the BB height but couldn't find it but the pics show the BB is the same height as the rear hub which is what I was interested in. Either bike has double walled rims front and back, cassette rear hub and sealed alloy in the front. I would have pulled the trigger on the Aitken if I couldn't find the Zeke in gunmetal.

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1/14/2018 9:29 AM

Tweezer wrote:

CHILDISHGAMBINO, That Atlas looks great. I love the seat with the green frame. I was seriously considering the Atlas as well.

Craig_Davis, The small quibbles I had were that it was the first year made, it has a 72 HA vs 74.5, 200mm seat post vs 300mm, and it was $60 more. All rather minor. Oddly, I searched high and low for the BB height but couldn't find it but the pics show the BB is the same height as the rear hub which is what I was interested in. Either bike has double walled rims front and back, cassette rear hub and sealed alloy in the front. I would have pulled the trigger on the Aitken if I couldn't find the Zeke in gunmetal.

Did you try a 24” bike as well? I’m currently debating between a 26”, 24”, and 22”? Can’t make up my mind lol.

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1/14/2018 9:52 AM

Tweezer wrote:

CHILDISHGAMBINO, That Atlas looks great. I love the seat with the green frame. I was seriously considering the Atlas as well.

Craig_Davis, The small quibbles I had were that it was the first year made, it has a 72 HA vs 74.5, 200mm seat post vs 300mm, and it was $60 more. All rather minor. Oddly, I searched high and low for the BB height but couldn't find it but the pics show the BB is the same height as the rear hub which is what I was interested in. Either bike has double walled rims front and back, cassette rear hub and sealed alloy in the front. I would have pulled the trigger on the Aitken if I couldn't find the Zeke in gunmetal.

Thanks!

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1/15/2018 11:44 AM

Craig_Davis wrote:

Did you try a 24” bike as well? I’m currently debating between a 26”, 24”, and 22”? Can’t make up my mind lol.

Heh, I know the feeling. No, my local shop only had a 26" Cult Devotion to ride. Good luck with your decision!

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4/14/2018 10:58 PM

I turned 40 his year and decided to start riding again. It had been nearly 25yrs since I last rode. I am 5’8’ and 290! Yeah, now you know why I am riding again. I picked up a DK General Lee 22” from a LBS. It is the best bike I’ve ever had! It doesn’t groan under my weight and I am addicted to riding again. I’ve lost nearly 10lbs in 10 days just riding this beast. I can still hop and wheelie. To all you big “old” guys out there... just do tha thing and buy a bike. Fall in love with your lungs burning again. It’s worth it! My next bike will be an SE 26.

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4/16/2018 1:03 PM

gudbrander wrote:

I turned 40 his year and decided to start riding again. It had been nearly 25yrs since I last rode. I am 5’8’ and 290! Yeah, now you know why I am riding again. I picked up a DK General Lee 22” from a LBS. It is the best bike I’ve ever had! It doesn’t groan under my weight and I am addicted to riding again. I’ve lost nearly 10lbs in 10 days just riding this beast. I can still hop and wheelie. To all you big “old” guys out there... just do tha thing and buy a bike. Fall in love with your lungs burning again. It’s worth it! My next bike will be an SE 26.

That's awesome. The 22" General Lee looks amazing.

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5/21/2018 10:08 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/21/2018 10:12 PM

Just hit 46, and a crazy idea popped into my head. I'd been wanting to get back into bicycling for a few years, but wasn't really feeling mountain or road bikes, like I did in my 20s. Last mountain bike I bought was in '97, and it lasted until '03. Then I thought back to when I really enjoyed biking. I mean REALLY enjoyed it. BMX. Then all these memories of my middle-school, BMX days came rushing back.

With my birthday coming up, I said @#$# it, and after some great info. from The Old Guy's Guide To Re-Entering BMX (http://riderinblack.com/the-old-guys-guide-to-re-entering-bmx.html), I picked up a Sunday, 2018 Model C. I had my heart set on a Haro Downtown 24, but the Sunday just rode and felt better for me. It was exhilarating. Before my test ride last Monday, I hadn't ridden a BMX since '86. Muscle memory I guess. It's still stock, but I have a pivotal, stealth, Kink 330mm post and Smut II seat on order, from my friendly neighborhood bike shop.

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5/23/2018 10:58 AM

The Doctor wrote:

Just hit 46, and a crazy idea popped into my head. I'd been wanting to get back into bicycling for a few years, but wasn't really feeling mountain or road bikes, like I did in my 20s. Last mountain bike I bought was in '97, and it lasted until '03. Then I thought back to when I really enjoyed biking. I mean REALLY enjoyed it. BMX. Then all these memories of my middle-school, BMX days came rushing back.

With my birthday coming up, I said @#$# it, and after some great info. from The Old Guy's Guide To Re-Entering BMX (http://riderinblack.com/the-old-guys-guide-to-re-entering-bmx.html), I picked up a Sunday, 2018 Model C. I had my heart set on a Haro Downtown 24, but the Sunday just rode and felt better for me. It was exhilarating. Before my test ride last Monday, I hadn't ridden a BMX since '86. Muscle memory I guess. It's still stock, but I have a pivotal, stealth, Kink 330mm post and Smut II seat on order, from my friendly neighborhood bike shop.

im not in the 40+ club but 30+ and mr rossi man, i ended up with a 24" stolen saint and i bent the forks doing a smith grind. ended up back on a 20 inch, they make bigger frames now with taller standovers and taller bars

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Lessons not learned in blood are soon forgotten

5/26/2018 6:01 PM

30+, it's all good. As long as you're riding. After riding my 24" Model C today, I can see why 20" is still popular; more flexibility to pull off stuff. Obviously folks pull stuff off on 24"s all day long, but I can tell the difference in geometry, even with the little time I've had on the 24". I may just get a 20" or two or three , that I'll let my kids share. It was really awesome riding today. I haven't ridden like that since forever. Picked up my Kink 330mm post and Smut II seat today (it came earlier), and I'll put them on tonight or tomorrow morning.

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5/26/2018 8:11 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/26/2018 8:12 PM

It wasn’t too long after I got my WTP atlas that I got a 20” and now I’m in the middle of building another 20”
I still enjoy the 24” but mostly just for dirt track and cruising.

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8/16/2018 3:03 PM

Getting ready to grab a AtF 24" myself. Gonna post as soon as i get it all together. Yours look awesome! 30+ here too! Ride on my friends!

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8/24/2018 12:26 PM

I am a product of the 70's and 80's era BMX, I am 52 years old and yesterday purchase a 24" Se Floval Flyer and I am excited to get out on this thing at the local tracks!!

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10/18/2018 4:49 AM

FWIW, I rode a 22” Dk Vega and felt instantly “at home” on it. It had the best initial impression of any bike I had ridden. Ultimately I went 20” but there is no doubt now I will never question why someone is riding a 22 or 24” rather than a 20”. The geo felt so good and bike handled so easy compared to a 20”.

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