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2021 Commencal Ramones 20 Bike

Vital Rating: (Spectacular)
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2021 Commencal Ramones 20 (Pearl White/Chrome)
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An Excellent Value on a Solid Kids Mountain Bike - 2021 Commencal Ramones 20 Review

Thoughtful spec, quality finish and durability where it counts for just over $400

Rating: Vital Review
An Excellent Value on a Solid Kids Mountain Bike - 2021 Commencal Ramones 20 Review

Long gone are the days when kids had to deal with the not-so-great bike offerings from big box stores like Walmart. Cycling brands like Commencal now have an extensive lineup of youth bicycle options. From push bikes to full suspension bikes, and even e-bikes, the next generation of shredders and their parents are pretty darn spoiled with first-time bike buying choices.

The 20-inch-wheeled Ramones is a first-time kids mountain bike sized for riders 115-135cm tall or 3’9" to 4’5". An alloy frame, mechanical disk brakes, 7-speed drivetrain, and beefy 2.6-inch-wide Vee tires are just some of the highlights. All the components are built to handle the rigors of youngsters who are sure to give these bikes a good thrashing over the years.

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Commencal is a direct-to-consumer bike brand, so bikes are ordered via the internet, and they are shipped to your door. There is no local bike shop involved in the process, so bike assembly must be handled by the buyer. Out of the box, one of the first things to stand out is the build and finish of the Ramones alloy frame. Taking cues from their line of adult bikes, the Ramones has the same look and feel as its full-size counterparts. Assembly was straight-forward and there wasn’t much to adjust aside from the reach of the brake levers. This is often a main point of frustration with kids bikes because the brake levers spec'd are usually made for adult hands, meaning little fingers can't always reach and pull the lever to stop. The Tektro Aires mechanical disc brakes on the Ramones offer easier adjustability than a V-brake option and come with kid-specific levers; a huge bonus.

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Getting proper lever position for our tiny tester was a breeze. The seatpost was also trimmed down slightly since our little ripper was technically at the short end of the height range for this bike. We all know excitable parents want to get their kids out as early as possible, and a 20-inch wheeled bike is the smallest size that can use traditional mountain bike gearing and shifting with a derailleur. Kids bikes with 16-inch or 14-inch wheels are most often single-speed, so if a climb is encountered on the trail, the pint-sized pedalers probably end up walking and pushing. It was nice to know that with the shortened seatpost on the Ramones, our future flyer could get on to the trails safely with the option for shifting gears.

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Our tester was making the leap from his prior bike, a 16-inch-wheeled Ramones. The jump was a noticeable at first, mainly just due to bike weight (bigger wheels, tires and a full drivetrain) and increased standover height of 551mm compared to 443mm. Thankfully, Commencal was able to save not only cost, but equally important weight, by not spec’ing a front suspension fork. Unless a parent is willing to spend four-digit figures on a youth MTB, the suspension forks seen on other kids mountain bikes are excessively heavy without providing any real performance benefit. There is a spring in the fork, but no rebound or damping control, rendering the forks borderline useless . Coming stock with 2.6 Vee tires, the Ramones 20 allows a bit of ride control and comfort on the trail through tire volume and pressure without the weight penalties of a pointless suspension fork. At 40 pounds fully geared up, our mini tester was able to maneuver the bike with ease, both on and off the shiny steed. If a kid struggles to lift and push the bike, they may not be stoked to ride it.

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The Tektro Aires mechanical disk brakes have proven powerful for a bike this size, and with the lever adjust, kids can grow into the bike. It would be nice to have the stopping power of hydraulic disc brakes as our tester gets bigger and heavier, but this would increase cost of the bike and add significant maintenance complications down the road. Adjust a cable and keep on truckin', no need to have to deal with bleeding a system.

And speaking of small hands, the use of Shimano's Revoshift twist system allows riders to keep their hands on the bars at all times. Despite being our tester's first time using a geared bike, he was able to shift with minimal effort and reap the benefits of a granny gear when the trail points up. In the past, we've encountered adult trigger shifters spec'd on kids bikes. Little hands couldn't activate a shift due to long levers and extended shifter throw. The grip-style shifter is the best option for small riders. The rear hub is a low-level, however, and performed as such. As adults who loves the sweet, sweet buzz of high-engagement hubs, the gappy engagement of the rear hub results in a loud clunk every time the rider on the Ramones goes from coasting to pedaling hard. Does it ruin the ride? No. Is it a paltry complaint by bike nerd parents? Yes.

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If you’re a parent, you know how kids beat on most any toy they have, especially bikes. But despite the abuse thrown at it, this Ramones 20 has held up great against dirt trails, the pumptrack, and daily cruises around the neighborhood with zero issues and no major signs of wear. We haven’t had any loose components or bolts on the bike and have only adjusted the cables on the brakes after the initial cable stretch. And with a very positive experience regarding the durability of his 16-inch Ramones, we believe that the 20-inch version will perform just as well and will still have plenty of life as a hand-me-down for our tester's younger brother when the time comes.

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Overall, we have been very impressed with the 2021 Commencal Ramones 20. It's a fantastic option as a child's first geared mountain bike with its quality components, stylish looks and kid-proof durability. Parents should feel confident that this bike will provide their children all the benefits of a modern mountain bike at a price that won’t break the bank.

For more information, visit commencalusa.com

Specifications

Product Commencal Ramones 20 Bike
Model Year 2021
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail
Rider Kids
Sizes and Geometry
One Size View Geometry
Size One Size
Top Tube Length 444mm
Head Tube Angle 69°
Head Tube Length 105mm
Seat Tube Angle 73°
Seat Tube Length 240mm
Bottom Bracket Height 10mm drop
Chainstay Length 375mm
Wheelbase 895mm
Standover 551mm
Reach 315mm
Stack 428mm
* Additional Info Recommended for riders roughly 115-135cm in height
Wheel Size Other (20")
Frame Material Aluminum
Frame Material Details 6061 T6 alloy
Rear Travel Hardtail
Rear Shock N/A
Fork Commencal Ramones, 6061 alloy
Fork Travel None (rigid)
Head Tube Diameter Straight, 1.125"
Headset External cups, loose ball bearings
Handlebar RIDE ALPHA Prodigy, 6061 alloy, 1" rise, 560mm width, 25.4mm clamp diameter
Stem Commencal Alloy, 25.4mm bar clamp, 30mm length
Grips Commencal, 110mm length
Brakes Tektro Aries, 2-piston mechanical disc, Tektro 160mm 6-bolt rotors
Brake Levers Tektro Aries, kids-specific
Drivetrain 1x
Shifters Shimano Tourney, 7-speed, Revo
Front Derailleur N/A
Rear Derailleur Shimano Tourney, 7-speed
ISCG Tabs No
Chainguide N/A
Cranks Commencal Kids, 145mm length
Chainrings 32 tooth, with double chainguard
Bottom Bracket Neco, ball retainer, 68mm BSA threaded
Pedals Platform
Chain Shimano HG40, 7-speed
Cassette Shimano Tourney, 7-speed, 14-34 tooth, with spoke protector
Rims Commencal, 6061 alloy, 36 hole, 30mm inner width
Hubs Commencal, 36 hole, loose ball bearings, 6-bolt rotor mounts
Spokes 2.0mm, ED black
Tires VEE Tire Co. Crown Gem, MPC compound, custom "Send It" patch, 20" x 2.6"
Saddle Commencal Kids, soft padding
Seatpost Commencal Alloy
Seatpost Diameter 27.2mm
Seatpost Clamp Quick release, 31.8mm
Rear Dropout / Hub Dimensions 9x135mm
Max. Tire Size 65mm (2.56")
Bottle Cage Mounts No
Colors Pearl White/Chrome, Pearl White/Electroplate Lagoon, Heritage Green, Black/White
Warranty 5 years frame; 2 years Commencal/RIDE ALPHA components; 6 months paint/decals
Weight 22 lb 4.3 oz (10,100 g)
Miscellaneous External cable routing
Includes bell and lights
Recommended for riders roughly 115-135cm in height
Price $419
More Info

commencalusa.com

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