Home
Verdict: 
Enjoyable and lightweight road racer for younger kids, but gearing, brakes and shifting mark it down
Weight: 
8,540g
Hoy Bikes Cammo 24
6 10

Sir Chris Hoy's eponymously-named bike brand has extended its range down into children's bikes this year, and the Cammo 24 is their 24-inch-wheeled (natch) junior racer. It's light, and quick, and well put together, and our junior test pilot had a great time on it. There are some curious component choices though, and in terms of overall value there are more versatile bikes out there for the money.

The Cammo is built around a 6061 aluminium alloy frameset with a matching alloy fork. The tube profiles are fairly chunky and the finish, with HOY's signature velodrome lines complementing the white finish. Onto that is bolted a 2x8-speed drivetrain using short-reach Microshift shifters with twin paddles behind the brake lever for up and down shifts. You get a 145mm chainset with 46/34 chainrings and Shimano A070 front and rear mechs which are fairly basic but perfectly functional. Tektro calliper brakes do the stopping and the wheels are Alex 24 inch alloy box section rims built on to Joytech hubs with 32 plain gauge spokes apiece. HOY provide their own branded children's saddle, and the bars are 36cm Satori alloy shallow drops.

It's a nicely built machine and tips the scales at 8.54kg. That may seem like a lot to anyone used to the rarefied realms of sub-7kg super bikes, but it's the lightest 24-inch-wheeled bike we've tried by about half a kilo. It's designed for kids aged from 9–11. Joel, our main test pilot, was a bit younger than that but, thanks to being on the 99th percentile for height, just the right size. He really enjoyed riding the HOY, especially on the closed-road Odd Down circuit which Sir Chris himself had a go on before it opened. The ride position is good, and the narrow and shallow-drop bars are pretty good for small hands. The Kenda K191 tyres are nothing special but roll well, and the whole bike feels like a quality item.

Shifting and braking both caused Joel some problems, and those problems are mainly down to the Microshift levers. They're junior-sized units but still big, sufficiently so that braking from the hoods wasn't really an option. You'll see cross-top brake levers on many kids' bikes for this reason, but the Cammo doesn't have them. Braking from the drops was generally fine, although on some longer descents the force required was a bit much, leading to a bit of fade and some dragging back by a kindly parental hand.

I've had the same happen with cantilever brakes on different shift levers, so it's not an issue confined to this set-up. But cross-top levers help a lot, and with cantis there's the option of switching to Mini-Vs, which sacrifice some mud space for better power. If it were up to me, all kids' bikes would come with Mini-Vs. None do. Go figure. Fitting cross-top levers is an option for the HOY though.

The calliper brakes limit the mud clearance and tyre size such that you're restricted to road and light trail use. The HOY's not the only junior bike that uses callipers, but cantis give more versatility and some bikes, such as the Frog range, come with two sets of tyres for road and off-road use. Kids at age 11 and below are unlikely to be dyed-in-the-wool road racers already, and there's a good junior cyclocross scene in most parts of the country, so it makes sense to have a bike that'll do both.

Shifting was also problematic at times. The throw on the lower (upshift) lever is long, making shifts difficult. Also the two-paddle layout isn't the most intuitive; kids' bikes that have Shimano levers with the upshift on the brake lever and the downshift on the hood button tend to work better for juniors, I've found. There really is no junior shift lever that's properly compact enough for riders of this size, to be honest, every one is a compromise. That being said, the shifts are generally crisp when they're made and there was no problems with gears slipping.

Gearing on the HOY is, to be frank, wrong. For a start, there's no reason at all to spec a bike for this age group with a double chainset. It's just over-complicating matters. The 46/13 top gear of the Cammo yields a gear of about 85 inches, which is useless for a nine-year-old's little legs and not legal in competition until you're racing at U16 level, two bikes on from this. It's pointless. The 34T inner ring gives you a spread from 30 to 63 inches which is pretty good; a 36T, with a slightly wider cassette (say an 11-28, or even an 11-32) would be a better option. If you're competing, the maximum gear you'll ever need (U12) is 76 inches, which would mean locking out the 11 tooth on that setup.

As it was, I just wound in the mech limit screws so the bike stayed in the inner ring, which worked fine. Young riders don't need the complexity of two shifters, anyway.

If that all sounds a bit negative then Joel's experience of the bike has been the opposite: he's really enjoyed riding it. Kids adapt with alarming speed to whatever they're given to use and make the best of it. There's some things they can't overcome though and some of the spec on this bike isn't optimal for the users it's aimed at.

The component choices used here make more sense when you're moving into 26-inch and 700c territory and a bike needs to be more specialised, but they're less effective for a 24-inch-wheeled machine. The junior market is growing and there are other bikes in this price range – Islabikes, Frog, Forme – that feel more like the finished article. The HOY is sound, but could do with some tweaks.

Verdict

Enjoyable and lightweight road racer for younger kids, but gearing, brakes and shifting mark it down

road.cc test report

Make and model: Hoy Cammo 24

Size tested: n/a

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

HOY Cammo 24 Inch Road Bike. Based on the Cammo 650C junior road bike, the Cammo 24 is simply a scaled-down adult road bike with performance to match. The light 24" road wheels, weight-concious part list make this a very easy bike for a young rider to get up to speed and confident handling comes...

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Frame: HOY Alloy 6061, 24"

Fork: HOY Alloy 24", 1-1/8" alloy steerer

Front Derailleur: Shimano A070

Rear Derailleur: Shimano A070

Number of Gears: 16

Shifters: Microshift R072 Short-reach STI lever

Chainset: Lasco Alloy, 145mm

Chainrings: 46/34T

Bottom Bracket: Included with chainset

Cassette: Sun Race 13-28T, 7-Speed

Chain: KMC Z51, 114 LINK, 7-Speed

Pedals: VP W/ Reflector

Brakeset: Tektro, V-brake

Brakeset: Tektro R315, Dual Pivot Calliper Brake

Handlebars: Satori Alloy 6061, Drop:94mm, Reach:68mm, Width: 360

Stem: Satori alloy, 60mm

Headset: Prestine 1-1/8" integrated headset

Grips: Velo microfiber tape

Rims: Alex DA22 24 Inch, 32H

Front Hub: Joy Tech 821, 9mm, ball bearings

Rear Hub: Joy Tech 822, 32H, ball bearings

Spokes: 14G, Steel plain gauge

Front Tyre: Kenda K191, 24�–1

Rear Tyre: Kenda K191, 24�–1

Tubes: Kenda

Saddle: HOY, CR-MO rail with track stripe logo

Seatpost: HOY Alloy 27.2�–250mm

Seat Binder: Single bolt lightweight design

Weight: 8.5 KG

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Nicely built frame, good quality components, tidy build

Rate the product for performance:
 
6/10

Rides very well. The two-trigger shifting isn't quite as intuitive for small riders as some other options. Doesn't need a double chainset and would be better without one. Brakes limit use to on-road only.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Everything is good quality and will outlast the user being the right size.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

8.5kg is very light for a 24-inch-wheeled junior bike.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

Good ride position, levers are usable but shifting not the easiest.

Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

£400 puts it in direct competition with Islabikes and Forme. It's a good bike for the money but you can get a bit more elsewhere.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It performed well. There are some aspects that I'd probably change but it's a very usable kid's racer.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Build quality, good ride position.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Doesn't need a double chainset, brakes limit it to tarmac, shifting a bit cumbersome.

Did you enjoy using the product? Joel did, yes.

Would you consider buying the product? If I was going to spend £400, I'd probably get the Islabikes Luath 24 or the Forme Formeula.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? As above

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

It's a good bike and it's good to see the range of options for youngsters increasing. But if you're competing against an Islabike at whatever price point, you need to make sure it's at least as good a bike, if not better, and the HOY doesn't quite stack up against that, or some of the newer rivals.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 190cm  Weight: 100kg

I usually ride: whatever I'm testing...  My best bike is: Kinesis Tripster ATR

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

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track

 

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.

11 comments

Avatar
simondbarnes [52 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

If it were up to me, all kids' bikes would come with Mini-Vs. None do.

The Genesis Col du Glandon does this year. Ok, it's a little bit bigger (650b wheels) but it's still a kids bike.

Avatar
jmcolp [11 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

I have to say, alot of hate towards the build and especially not being a cross ready bike. Keep in mind, Triathlon and Road parents have children who want a bike like their parents. If mom and dad are on pure road bikes. They desire such as well. Also, A bike brand focusing on Junior bikes, has to work within the supply chain. At the moment, Neither shimano.Sram , microshift or others make a junior specific part. So we are left using whats available and work the best we can around that. As the designer for Culprit Junior. We also only offer rim brakes, not cantilever brakes. Also, regarding gear ratio- Not all kids will use the bike for road racing, so any extra go fast gears shouldn't be a problem(also no rules set for triathlon junior gearing).

I think at the end of the day, if our little ones want to be out there and they are loving it and they too love the look and feel of their bike, that is the ultimate goal. To share the love of the sport with our juniors.

Avatar
dave atkinson [6299 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

There's no hate directed at it at all: like I said, the bike is well put together and joel enjoyed riding it. but the reality is that there are better specced and more versatile bikes out there for kids in this age group, and there's little benefit in tying them down to one discipline so young when there's no downside to having a bike that can also fit a wider tyre and handle a bit of mud.

Avatar
othello [392 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
jmcolp wrote:

Also, regarding gear ratio- Not all kids will use the bike for road racing, so any extra go fast gears shouldn't be a problem(also no rules set for triathlon junior gearing).

The recommended max gear set by British Cycling isn't just for competition. It's to stop young riders pushing too big a gear and damaging their bodies. So you are saying it is OK for the U10 test rider to be able to select an U16 gear if they wanted to?

A single front ring and wide ratio gears are perfectly possible -- it just comes down to going the extra mile when speccing. Look at Islabikes. They have had a single front ring on their road/cross bikes up to 26" wheels for years. They buy in right hand shifters and a non-shifting left hand brake lever (and the cross-top levers). I imagine that takes a lot of extra leg-work, but it can be done.

Avatar
crazy-legs [866 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
jmcolp wrote:

Also, regarding gear ratio- Not all kids will use the bike for road racing, so any extra go fast gears shouldn't be a problem(also no rules set for triathlon junior gearing).

Conversely, if they DO want to race, you've just saddled the parents with a whole load of extra cost and hassle to get the bike sorted for competition.

Avatar
othello [392 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

The 46/13 top gear of the Cammo yields a gear of about 85 inches, which is useless for a nine-year-old's little legs and not legal in competition until you're racing at U16 level, two bikes on from this. It's pointless. The 34T inner ring gives you a spread from 30 to 63 inches which is pretty good; a 36T, with a slightly wider cassette (say an 11-28, or even an 11-32) would be a better option. If you're competing, the maximum gear you'll ever need (U12) is 76 inches, which would mean locking out the 11 tooth on that setup.

Rather than inches it's more useful to talk in gear rollout in meters, as that is what is used for gear checking at youth races.

Anyway, an U10, using the 34x13 would only rollout 4.6m (approx), which is way under. A switch to a cassette with an 11t would give 34x11 and a rollout of 5.4m, right on the limit. But most 7 speed cassettes don't give an 11t option...

In other words, potentially lots of fiddling to get the stock bike ready to race as crazy-legs said.

Avatar
Simon E [3020 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
othello wrote:

A single front ring and wide ratio gears are perfectly possible -- it just comes down to going the extra mile when speccing. Look at Islabikes. They have had a single front ring on their road/cross bikes up to 26" wheels for years.

That has always been the case since they began in 2006.

It's easier to slap in a cheap chainset and single-pivot brakes while 16 or 24 gears sounds more impressive than eight. Dave is pointing out that these choices have their disadvantages.

BC youth gear restrictions:
U16 - 6.93 metres
U14 - 6.45 metres
U12 - 6.05 metres
U10 - 5.40 metres
U8 - 5.10 metres
(Gear in metres = Diameter of rear wheel in metres × π (3.14) × No of teeth on chainring ÷ No of teeth on sprocket.)
I can't help wondering why a bike called 'Cammo' is painted white.  39

Avatar
othello [392 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:
othello wrote:

A single front ring and wide ratio gears are perfectly possible -- it just comes down to going the extra mile when speccing. Look at Islabikes. They have had a single front ring on their road/cross bikes up to 26" wheels for years.

BC youth gear restrictions:
U16 - 6.93 metres
U14 - 6.45 metres
U12 - 6.05 metres
U10 - 5.40 metres
U8 - 5.10 metres
(Gear in metres = Diameter of rear wheel in metres × π (3.14) × No of teeth on chainring ÷ No of teeth on sprocket.)

I've always made use of the Sheldon Brown gear calculator http://sheldonbrown.com/gears/ which does the math for you.  1

Though I still double check with a tape measure and rolling the bike out, as calculating only gets you close. There are still slight variations with tyre choice, tyre pressure, temperature etc, especially if the bike is on the limit.

Avatar
james-o [235 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
Quote:

I can't help wondering why a bike called 'Cammo' is painted white.

Cammo is a place name. A camo Cammo would be cool and the idea's come up a few times ..

Quote:

It's easier to slap in a cheap chainset and single-pivot brakes

On the spec, it's not any easier or cheaper to do it this way, there's enough things we do that are the opposite if it's the right thing to do. But it wasn't specced to meet BC regs or for CX, it's a light road bike in the same format as the 650C Cammo junior road bike. That's been popular and there were requests for a smaller version. There's Hoy CX models on the way with mini-vs and a more club-rider focus.
I'll be honest, club cycling needs weren't as high up the agenda when the Cammos were put together as maybe it should have been or is now. The time mainly went into fitting and keeping it light for the RRP. The feedback from parents of riders on the pre-production bikes was that the gears were good. But I don't need any persuading of the merits of single rings either, they're used on the Hoy Bonaly 24 as well as some of the Hoy adult bikes.

Quote:

there's no downside to having a bike that can also fit a wider tyre and handle a bit of mud.

Totally agree Dave, you know me and 'cross' bikes.. The Hoy junior CX bikes will do that (with mini-vs). They came about after similar conversations about spec and use that your review raises, after the Cammo series were put together.

Avatar
Simon E [3020 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes
james-o wrote:

Cammo is a place name. A camo Cammo would be cool and the idea's come up a few times ..

Ah, that makes sense now.

james-o wrote:
Quote:

It's easier to slap in a cheap chainset and single-pivot brakes

On the spec, it's not any easier or cheaper to do it this way, there's enough things we do that are the opposite if it's the right thing to do.

Surprised you still went for a double and it seems a little odd not to consider BC gearing regs, regardless of whether the child ends up racing or not. Thanks for taking the time to contribute here.

Avatar
DrJDog [407 posts] 2 years ago
0 likes

"eponymously-named" is tautology, why not just use "eponymous"