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Verdict: 
Proper adult spec road race bike, just shrunk
Weight: 
8,600g
Scott Speedster JR 24
9 10

Scott take kids' cycling seriously. There are no cartoon characters, fluffy colours, or slacking on the technical backstory for each of their 'youth' models. The Scott Speedster Jnr 24 is as serious about the business of going fast as Scott's top end carbon fibre Foil models. Just like adults, kids respond to fast bikes, riding them more, push their limits. Ultimately, falling even deeper in love with cycling.

At £649 the Speedster Jnr 24 isn't cheap. Plenty of the dads won't have spent this on their own bikes. As with any of the upscale kids bikes we test, the real value is in their lasting appeal and comparatively high resale value. Looked after, it will serve your kid(s) well and then make back much of the money it cost when it finally makes way for a 650b or 700c model. Think of it as an investment in the future, not a wad of cash lost to a one hit wonder.

Scott obsess over their frames and this is a small work of alloy art. Proportional frame tube sizes ensure the bike looks like a scaled adult race machine, not a puppy with dog's paws. It also goes a long way to helping keep weight low, an element even more critical for the limited strength and power of kids than it is for gram counting adults. The designers at Scott removed the unnecessary chainstay brigde. Saving every precious gram. Paint durability on previous Scott frames has proven excellent and the Speedster is coping well with life under a busy kid.

The feel for what junior riders need to make the bike go as fast as possible extends to the cockpit. The Speedster Jnr 24 comes with a snubby 50mm stem and narrow, very shallow drop bars. Kids want to be able to use the drops, like they see pro riders do on the telly. Aided by their great flexibility, they're able to do so here. While the bars are suitably narrow to match young shoulders, Scott opt to give some bar space over to a pair of cross top secondary brake levers. For smaller hands the option to brake from the bar top adds safety and security. As a parent they're hard to dislike. Which brings us neatly to braking and shifting.

The Speedster is a genuine road bike, fitted with proper road caliper brakes, rather than the common practice of using cantilevers on junior frames. While calipers can limit the ability to run cross ready tyres with mud room, they are are easier to set up and adjust. Scott use Shimano ST2300 9 speed brake/shifter levers. Ergonomically great for adults, for kids, they're often still a stretch. On the Speedster Jnr, braking from the hooks is ok, but from the hoods it's sometimes touch and go on whether fingertips have the power and leverage to haul the bike to a halt. So, as we've said, the cross top, as fitted, are a good move by Scott. On shifting, kids love the swing lever/button gear shifting and they have no issues figuring out which bit does what. Which is why we get them to program the PVR.

That said their small hands do have trouble with the lever throw distances. Occasionally out testers ran out of finger length before the gear engaged. Not only did this mean gear changes sometimes were not achieved, but worse their attention was diverted from the road to looking at the lever. Shimano would do well to address this issue for kids and adults who find the current throw distances a pain and minor danger.

Actual gear shift quality was very good at the rear, as you'd expect from slick Shimano transmission. A faster front shift would be nice to alleviate the long, ponderous affair that it is. It's details that matter.

Likewise the gear ratios. Generally good, though we'd have preferred a 32/42 at the front. This would allow tired legs to still get over the hills and spend more time tapping away an even cadence on the big ring and reducing the need for more gear changes. Crank length is 145mm which is a fraction longer than most.

The wheels on the Scott Speedster Jnr 24 are lovely. Tight, light and shod with fast rubber. Rims are Syncros, a famous and well regarded mountain bike brand that Scott acquired a couple of years ago to be their in house component wing. The wheels have With 20 spokes front and 24 in the rear, fewer than most others on test. They're the lightest of any kids 24in road bike we've tested. The fact that Kids have limited power, but an enhanced sense of joy from the sensation of speed, is not lost on Scott.

Spokes are anodised black, as are the no-name sealed bearing hubs. No issues encountered or expected from either. The slick 1 inch wide Kenda tyres look fast and roll accordingly. Lots of grip, though, in our experience, juniors posess an uncanny ability to run into potholes , drain covers and cracks in the tarmac, could use a wider, more comfortable and rim forgiving 1.25in tread, with little or no loss of speed.

The lightly padded saddle is proportional to the size of the bike and none of the testers mentioned it. With saddles, no news is good news. We like the seatpost QR lever. Kids grow like weeds and being able to add a millimetre on the fly to keep up is handy.

The ride

Each tester was able to jump on The Speedster Jnr and immediately find a position that was both comfortable and enticing and ride to their physical limits. "I just feel like I can really go on this" was a comment that stuck. I think we've all felt that same surge of enthusiasm when the position clicks on a really racy bike, it translates even to kids.

The bike holds a line well, at slow speed steering off the bar with accuracy and stability. As speed increases the balance, light weight and fast tyres allow a flowing leaning style, encouraging instinctive tipping in to sweeping corners. With the stability comes the confidence to get up close behind Dad for a draft, while still responding to last minute, unseen road hazards.

The Scott is not without faults, though to be fair, none are of Scott's design or making, but those shared by other kids' bikes and focus upon brake shift geometry and gear ratios. Style shifts and growth will see off both in time.

Verdict

Proper adult spec road race bike, just shrunk

road.cc test report

Make and model: Scott Speedster JR 24

Size tested: 24 inch

About the bike

State the frame and fork material and method of construction. List the components used to build up the bike.

Material Alloy 6061 alloy

Cable Routing External

Bottle Cage Mounts down tube

Dropouts Replaceable forged aluminium rear dropout and derailleur hanger

Fork Alloy with eyelets and security dropouts

Wheelset Alexa DA-22 24in alloy rims with QR sealed bearing hubs. Stainless spokes, brass nipples

Groupset

Speed 18

Brake Levers Shifters Shimano Sora

Chainset Lasco square taper alloy 36/44t

Bottom Bracket Sealed square taper

Front Derailleur Shimano FD2303

Rear Derailleur Shimano Sora

Brake Calipers Scott Comp alloy callipers

Chain KMC-Z50

Cassette Shimano HG50 8 speed 13-28t

Finishing Kit

Handlebar Scott Road Pilot Jr 25.4mm x 36cm

Seat Post Scott alloy micro adjust 27.2mm

Saddle Scott Jr Racing

Tyres Kenda 1inch slicks

Tell us what the bike is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about the bike?

This is a full bore road racing bike shrunk to suit kids. Scott have pulled as few punches as possible to retain the balance and feel of a genuine race-bred road bike.

Frame and fork

Overall rating for frame and fork
 
9/10

Tell us about the build quality and finish of the frame and fork?

Really neatly built with lots of detail like bridgeless chainstays to enhance ride and reduce weight.

Tell us about the materials used in the frame and fork?

6061 T6 alloy. Sized and proportional for children.

Tell us about the geometry of the frame and fork?

As per their adult road models the JR speedster is pin sharp on the road.

How was the bike in terms of height and reach? How did it compare to other bikes of the same stated size?

Perfect for the intended age group.

Riding the bike

Was the bike comfortable to ride? Tell us how you felt about the ride quality.

Yes the bike had a nice smooth road feel.

Did the bike feel stiff in the right places? Did any part of the bike feel too stiff or too flexible?

it was stiff enough without battering the rider.

How did the bike transfer power? Did it feel efficient?

It felt perfect.

Was there any toe-clip overlap with the front wheel? If so, was it a problem?

None.

How would you describe the steering? Was it lively, neutral or unresponsive? Neutral.

Tell us some more about the handling. How did the bike feel overall? Did it do particular things well or badly?

It changes direction beautifully, yet holds a line without asking you to make constant adjustments.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's comfort? would you recommend any changes?

The saddle was nice.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's stiffness? would you recommend any changes?

No, none that come to mind.

Which components had the most effect (good or bad) on the bike's efficiency? would you recommend any changes?

The light weight of the frame and fast light wheels and tyres helped most.

Rate the bike for efficiency of power transfer:
 
8/10

Acceptable.

Rate the bike for acceleration:
 
9/10

It goes when you ask it to go.

Rate the bike for sprinting:
 
9/10

Riders felt able to launch sprints with ease.

Rate the bike for high speed stability:
 
8/10

The Speedster felt nailed at speed, our testers said.

Rate the bike for cruising speed stability:
 
8/10

Acceptable.

Rate the bike for low speed stability:
 
8/10

Acceptable.

Rate the bike for flat cornering:
 
8/10

Grippy tyres helped.

Rate the bike for cornering on descents:
 
8/10
Rate the bike for climbing:
 
8/10

The drivetrain

Acceptable.

Rate the drivetrain for weight:
 
8/10

Acceptable.

Rate the drivetrain for value:
 
8/10

The bike isn't cheap, the component spec is on par.

Tell us some more about the drivetrain. Anything you particularly did or didn't like? Any components which didn't work well together?

The chainrings are a bit too large. The riders loved the lower, fast spinning gears of some other bikes tested alongside the Scott.

Wheels and tyres

Rate the wheels and tyres for performance:
 
9/10

Really good.

Rate the wheels and tyres for durability:
 
8/10

No issues, even though they got pounded.

Rate the wheels and tyres for weight:
 
8/10

Very good for a kids' bike.

Rate the wheels and tyres for comfort:
 
7/10

Could have used a wider slick for more comfort, grip and rim protection.

Rate the wheels and tyres for value:
 
8/10

Great wheels for a kids' bike, even a quite expensive one.

Tell us some more about the wheels and tyres.Did they work well in the conditions you encountered? Would you change the wheels or tyres? If so, what for?

Might have used a wider tyre for increased grip, comfort and rim protection.

Controls

Rate the controls for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for weight:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for comfort:
 
8/10
Rate the controls for value:
 
8/10

Tell us some more about the controls. Any particularly good or bad components? How would the controls work for larger or smaller riders?

As per all the bikes we tested the reach to the integrated gear levers was on the long side for small hands.

Anything else you want to say about the componentry? Comment on any other components (good or bad)

All components are good. Would have fitted a lighter seatpost, easier reach gears and smaller gears.

Your summary

Did you enjoy riding the bike? Yes.

Would you consider buying the bike? Yes.

Would you recommend the bike to a friend? Have done.

Rate the bike overall for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the bike overall for value:
 
8/10

Anything further to say about the bike in conclusion?

A blindingly good proper road racer for a kid. The sort of bike all adult riders wish they'd had when they were kids.

Needs a lower bail out gear.

Very good, slick and never went out of adjustment.

Tip it in, look forward and hold on.

Rate the drivetrain for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the drivetrain for performance:
 
8/10

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 41  Height: 5'9  Weight:

I usually ride: My seven titanium  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, club rides, sportives, mtb, A bit of everything

 

5 comments

Avatar
matheson [54 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I really wish Shimano et al would sort their sh!t out and offer brakes/shifters for juniors. Every bike we've looked at so far for my son have the same problem, frame sizes & bike quality have been good but I have little to no confidence he could operate the brakes, nevermind change gear.

The fact that the review acknowledges this makes me think the score is too high.

Avatar
matthewn5 [1032 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Small shifters for women too. My wife has tiny hands, could use tiny levers. But didn't Shimano make a small shifter a few years ago? R650 or something?

Avatar
zauron [12 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

Plenty of the dads won't have spent this on their own bikes.

And the mums?

Avatar
Aapje [242 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
zauron wrote:
Quote:

Plenty of the dads won't have spent this on their own bikes.

And the mums?

The dads will have spent more than this on the mums.

Avatar
jonb [39 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

Details count with kids bikes.. so this is a bit of a mini rant I'm afraid.

Quote:

Scott use Shimano ST2300 9 speed brake/shifter levers.

No, I think those are Claris ST2400 8 speed STIs. So 16 speeds, not 18 speeds.

Quote:

Crank length is 145mm which is a fraction longer than most.

Or it could be exactly the same as virtually every 24" wheel road/cross bike on the market.

Quote:

...could use a wider, more comfortable and rim forgiving 1.25in tread, with little or no loss of speed

...but with noticeably more weight. More of an opinion but light wheels are really important. Kids riding bikes like this don't weight much and you can drop pressures for comfort without much fear of pinch flats whilst keeping the wheels sprightly.

Quote:

The Scott is not without faults, though to be fair, none are of Scott's design or making, but those shared by other kids' bikes and focus upon brake shift geometry and gear ratios. Style shifts and growth will see off both in time.

Actually other manufacturers are trying not to share these issues by speccing with a bit more care and thought (eg Islabike with reach adjustable Shimano or Moda using Microshift levers). I'd have thought a manufacturer of Scott's size should be leading the way on this rather than lagging behind and simply speccing whatever from the Shimano catalogue best fits the price point. It maybe more of a British thing but other manufacturers are also speccing gear ratios to match age restrictions.

So really this review is letting Scott off the hook a bit really. I'm sure lots of people will buy it but a lot will end up swapping chainrings about to meet gear restrictions and bodging reach adjusters so little hands can brake - which is a shame when you've spent 650 quid.

And 8/10 for value? Really? Have you looked at the competition? It's over 60% more expensive than the equivalent Islabike and over 30% more than the equivalent Moda, which are both at least comparable in weight.

Sorry.. I feel a bit bad dissing any review of kids stuff because it's great to see it taken seriously. But the details really do matter, even more so than with big bikes.