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Framed Mini-Sota Kid’s Fat-Bike Review – by Andy Amstutz

 

Notice that the swings are empty and not moving?  That’s because my kids have been on these two FRAMED Mini-Sota kids fat bikes for the past 8 weeks and don’t care about their old best friend, Mr. SwingSet, anymore.  They let their friends borrow them and now their friends’ swing sets have filed for neglect as well.  Heck, maybe I should sell the swing set and invest in two FRAMED Mini-Sota 24 in kids fat bikes?

In case you missed the product preview that contains all the measurements and such, check it out here.  I was pretty stoked for my kids to swing a leg over a kids fat bike just to see what they thought of riding fat and try to suss out any benefits of riding one vs a traditional mountain bike. I also was curious about the quality, specs, and frame material.  Sometimes kids bikes get the shaft.  My own kids have their major S brand mountain bikes, but how would a fatty treat them on their home trails and would it allow them to ride the Lake Michigan beach, just three blocks to the west?

The beach proved to be a huge success.  Adjusting air pressure is hard enough for adults to get the hang of, let alone a 12 and 10-year-old, but when your dad is the clueless guy on a technical fat bike podcast, the adjustment happens lickety split.  FRAMED geared the bikes with a 9-speed 11-34t cassette and 32t crankset.  On the beach, the gearing was plenty low.  Although the product preview pics were taken in the snow, that snow lasted only two more days and unfortunately, no kids got out in it, and we were unable to test gearing in snow conditions.  My gut tells me that 32-34 might not be too kid friendly in snow.  I would probably be on the hunt for wider range 9 speed cassette when winter rolled around or make sure conditions were darn near perfect before we headed out for a ride.  FRAMED specs the Mini-Sota with a pretty decent tire/rim set up.  The 24×4 in 120 TPI tires measured true and my kids fought over who would get to ride the bike with the red rims.  The rims are FRAMED 24″ aluminum alloy single walled that are 80mm wide, 30h, with weight reducing cut-outs, double pinned for weight savings/max strength.  Imagine your kid taking this bike to show and tell and rattling that off during their turn.  Proud parents, proud, proud parents.  

I was super impressed with what FRAMED spec’d for the shifter/brake lever combo.  The Avid FR-5 levers are made of aluminum and have a flat rate pull reach adjustment as well as a “qwik-adjust” barrel adjuster.  We could dial in reach for different size “small people” fingers and the barrel adjuster made mom and dad much happier when trying to get things just perfect for our angels.  Like previously stated, kids bikes so often lack in adjustability, but not with the FRAMED Mini-Sota.  

I really liked the overall aesthetics of the bikes as well.  I don’t think FRAMED threw this bike together just to have a kids bike to sell.  They are sharp looking bikes and the function was impeccable.  A tiny brake adjustment to the Avid BB5s (mechanical disc, inboard knob pad adjustment, G2 CleanSweep 160mm rotors, Tri-Align Caliper Positioning System) was the only thing that was necessary out of the box.  The Sram X5 rear mech was flawless.

But here’s what I really wanted to find out:  could this frame double as a 24 inch fat bike in the winter and a 26 inch pizza cutter bike the other three seasons?  The answer is yes!  Although I didn’t have 26 inch wheels with the correct hub spacing, careful measurements of the wheels provided enough evidence to infer that this is totally possible.  Not sure my kids would want or need to have two seasonal wheels sets, but good to know that it’s possible.  

With adjustments in the right spot, a solid choice of frame material, the possibility of seasonal wheel sets, specs way above normal a kids bike, a bling factor and a price point that won’t take away too much from their college savings (MSRP = $649.95), the FRAMED Mini-Sota fat bike is a rock solid, trippendicular fat bike for the youngsters.  You might just have more room in the back yard after they start riding it.

For more information visit www.framedbikes.com

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