We shared the 2015 Framed Bikes line with you back in August. Included in that line was something relatively new to the fat-bike landscape…..the kid’s fatty. The Framed Bikes Mini-sota is a 24″ wheeled – tiny replica of mom or dad’s entry level fat-bike. This is a bike that should sell on the floor of your Local Bike Shop…..not the floor of big box stores. I could see that, the moment that I took off all of the packaging and built the bike up. The Mini-sota that we got to test was an early sample that had a few cosmetic and component details that will be different from the production bikes. The production bikes will feature upgrades from our test bike, like SRAM X5 grip shift. The hubs will be blue anodized to match the rims and the brakes & crank will be SRAM. The accurate Spec’s are here – http://www.framedbikes.com/minisota2/. It’s not a bad little package and I witnessed both kids and parents who saw this little bike say that they thought it was cool and loved it! Now, from the standpoint of bike snobbery, the welds and spec are proletarian. We have to keep in mind that it’s an entry level kids bike that has entry level – (name brand) drive train components that you might find on your very own fat-bike – if you own an entry level McFatty…….and the price on this little beauty is a meer $599!
The standover height for the Minni-Sota is 25 1/2″, which puts it in a class that is smaller than an XS 9:Zero:7, but probably too tall for kids ages 5-9. Of course some kids grow faster, so better to follow the standover measurement over the age of the child to get the best fit. I let lots of kids ride this bike. I took a couple of them on single track most of them just tore around the hood on pavement. Every kid loved the fattness!
This is Julia. She’s a really outgoing kid from down the street. She was, by far, the best rider of all of the kids that tested the Mini-sota. When I told her that I wanted to take her picture for a story about the bike, she had to run home and change into this matching pink ensemble complete with matching shoes and helmet.
My best amigo in the world, Ernesto, met me out at Silver Lake with his daughter Anna (photo above) for some singletrack on the Mini-Sota. Anna told her poppa that she had a great time on the ride! She described the experience as Fun, Fast and Exciting! You may also notice……her shoes matched her helmet. Kids may totally get the rules of fashion, but they seem to have a real disconnect, when it comes to shifting. It’s a lot to think about and get used to, with obstacles, turns and pine trees all happening simultaneously. The 1 x 9 drive train on the M-S keeps things as simple as they can get and still offer the kind of gear range, that will allow the Mini-sota to handle off road or groomed snow riding. The kind of terrain that we covered was impressive considering the bike was powered by a kid sized motor. The Mini-sota weighs in at 31 pounds. That may seem like a lot, but I was impressed that it was that light. Most children’s bikes are super tubby. Not one of the kids that we let test out the Minni-sota asked how much it weighs or complained that the bike was heavy. They just got on and hammered.
Thanks for the first part of the report, Gomez!
Sven, here. I had the Mini-sota for a few days before we sent it back to home base and had my kids give it a go. Both Syd and Garrett were excited by the look of the Mini-sota and this comes from kids who see fat-bikes all the time. My impression, especially from 8-year old Garrett, was that he saw the Mini-sota as a bike made for kids, not adults and that he could actually ride it. The truth is, Syd – at 15 years old and 5’5″ is really better suited to ride an adult sized bicycle.
8-year old Garrett is at the other end of the target age/size range. Here he is demonstrating that he can stand over the top tube with his feet flat on the ground, however, he is basically sitting on the top tube.
4′-4″ Garrett had no problem getting the Mini-sota rolling and the seat post in its lowest stock position without cutting it was in a good spot for a nice pedal stroke. He really only had an issue riding the Mini-sota when it came to stopping. He still likes to sit on the seat when he stops and hasn’t mastered the “slide off the seat and stand” stop that becomes second nature for most bike riders. After tipping over a couple of times he was ready to go back to his 20″ bike. This is not the fault of the Mini-sota, just a reality of where he is in his journey to bike riding competence. I think that if we spent a bit more time on the Mini-sota he would get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Here is a parting shot of Garret on his 20″ bike. He’s getting big for it and a transition to a larger bike like the Mini-sota is really only a matter of months away. Just a bit more confidence and skill and he will be ready to roll some fat. When that time comes, the Mini-sota will be on the short list!
The Mini-Sota is scheduled to be available December 1st, just in time for the Holidays and at $599, it probably will sell out quickly. This little fatty is going to take some lucky kids winter break, up a few notches!
You can check out the full line of Framed Bikes at www.framedbikes.com