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If you’re a parent that rides bikes, you want to share that passion with your children. And if you’ve discovered the joys of gravel riding – the absence of cars, the abundance of nature, the varied terrain – you’re probably counting down the days until your children can join you out there.
Salsa, one of the originators of the entire gravel category, gets it. They’ve just come out with a 24” gravel bike designed for sharing the stoke with your pre-teens/tweens.
This little shredder is basically a scaled-down version of the brand’s Journeyman all-road bike, based around 24” wheels. It has generous tyre clearance, coming stock with 24×1.85” Terravail Sparwood tyres but with space for up to two inch rubber front and rear.
Gearing is courtesy of Microshift’s Advent range, complete with a clutched rear derailleur to keep the 1x system quiet. Microshift, I hear you ask? Yes, not the flashiest name perhaps, but as well as keeping the price down the ergonomics of the levers are especially friendly for little hands. Equally friendly is the gear range, with an 11-42 tooth cassette paired to a 36 tooth chainring.
Salsa have worked on creating a geometry that is suitable for a height range of 140-157cm (that’s 4’7”–5’2” in Freedom Units) with an effective top tube length of 455mm (do your own conversion) and a seat-tube length of 350mm (ditto). That gives a compact frame geometry with a reasonably accessible standover height of 609mm.
If we’re really getting into the weeds on the geometry, stack is 436.9mm and reach is 342.0mm, although good luck finding comparable measurements on a chart for whatever your kid’s riding currently to compare fit.
In addition to the phat tyre clearance and unbridled shreddability of this weapon of a thing, there’s room for a 700ml drink bottle in the front triangle, rear rack mounts, as well as mounts on the underside of the downtube and fork legs for extra cargo. Family bikepacking adventures are firmly within reach.
While Salsa’s fun-sized adventure bike is a rare offering, there are some adjacent models out there (albeit less versatile). Giant’s TCX Espoir is a kid’s CX bike based around a 26” wheel, and there are a number of other small-wheeled ‘cross bikes from brands scattered around the world, such as By-K, Frog and Islabikes.
However, these tend to lean closer to road bikes than full-blown adventure rigs. They’re also often set up with mini v-brakes or even – shudder – cantis. The Journeyman 24, with its mechanical disc brakes, is one of the most contemporary drop-bar kids bikes on the market – plus you can strap a tent onto it.
At risk of editorialising, I’ll stick my hand up to say that I really like it and can’t wait until my kids are big enough for something similar. I would also be remiss to not point out that it is one of the most cheerful-looking little bikes I’ve ever had the joy of right-clicking a jpeg of. But you have eyes. You can see that.
The Salsa Journeyman 24 is available from November in the US and Canada, and my ardent hope is that other markets will follow suit. It’ll set you back US$899, with priceless memories generously included for the duration of ownership. Find out more at Salsacycles.com.