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Conquest 20

Review: Conquest 20

scottmares's picture

Right Out of the Box

5

The Redline's Conquest 20 looks to fill the gap between your child's first bike and the 24" drop bar CX bike that looks just like your bike, only smaller. Redline states that the Conquest 20 is fit for a seven year old. So we went out and found a few seven year old children to put the bike through its paces.

Both our bike testers are just over 7 years old and of slightly above average height, measuring over 49 inches each. Both weigh in the neighborhood of 50 pounds. Their previous bicycles include Specialized's Hotrock 20 (both a 2010 and 2005 model) and Trek's MT60 from 2011. During testing, all bicycles were available for the riders to swap back and forth for better comparisons.

Outfitted in Lime Green with a straight, sloping top tube, both boy and girl tester really like the color and style of the Conquest 20. However, it seems appearance does not always correlate with function, though. The angular frame inhibits shoe clearance and has a higher overall stand-over height at 565mm. This caused both testers to have considerable difficulty mounting and dismounting without assistance. (They are seasoned young riders who have ridden gravel, double track and competed in Kiddie Cross.) Both stumbled when dismounting when their shoes could not thread the gap on the Conquest.

A second hurdle was the saddle height of the stock bicycle's offerings. The stock 350mm seatpost was nearly 1.5 inches too long when it was lowered all the way and neither child could mount or pedal until the seatpost was altered and lowered farther.

Both children appreciated the slightly larger, more sturdy pedals of the Conquest 20.

We Liked

Advertised as 10 pounds lighter than your average kid's bike, I had to bring out the scale to appease my sense of curiosity. My daughter had struggled with previous clunky bikes including the Trek MT60 which weighs in at about 27.5 pounds. That equates to an average adult riding an 80 pound bicycle. We were able to switch her to a Specialized Hotrock and cut 2.7 pounds (~24.8 pounds). Her bike handling improved immediately on the lighter of the two bikes. Both the Specialized and Trek bikes are relative lightweights when compared to department store bikes, however the Redline Conquest 20 blows them both out of the water, tipping the scale at a mere 20.5 pounds w/o kickstand. This translated into noticeably quicker acceleration and when combined with the narrower tires also made handling much snappier. The Conquest has narrower CX specific 1 3/8 Kenda tires as opposed to the wider mountain bike tires on both the Trek and Specialized. Ideal for the rigors of Cyclocross barriers, the raised BB and decreased weight of the Redline allowed both 7 year olds to clear obstacles without assistance. A hand lifting on the top tube was usually sufficient whereas the Trek and Specialized bicycles required the awkward, two-part motion: lift the front wheel over, then shift to the rear and get the back end over the barrier. Both testers agreed that their regular bikes were "...way heavier!"

At low speeds with obstacles, both children were more stable on the Redline once they adjusted to its ride characteristics. The lack of front shock on the Conquest made the ride "a little more bumpy," but soon the children enjoyed the feeling. The lightweight front fork undoubtedly contributes to the improved response in low-speed corrections seen with both children.

However, one should note that the 20% weight reduction and narrower tires, when combined with a 1" rise in the BB height over the 2010 Specialized Hotrock, made one tester comment that the Redline was "a little more wobbly." With more time on the bike, she amended her evaluation, stating that it "gets easier the more you ride it." An older Hotrock and the Trek MT60 both have BB heights closer to the 10" clearance of the Redline so our boy tester transitioned slightly quicker to the center of gravity on the Redline.

We Didn't Like

Our girl tester struggled even to mount and start from a stop as she had to hop up to the seat on the Conquest, which was 1" higher than her Hotrock's. From this position, she stood barely on her tippy toes when standing still. Without a kick stand, the Conquest is race ready, but is considerably less kid friendly on a day to day basis. Children laying their bikes down will increase the wear on the pedals, saddle, paint and handlebar grips.

The Final Say

While Redline nailed several key points in their production of a 20" children's CX bike, in our experience it seems best suited for 8 year olds, very advanced riders, or aspiring racers. Average sized children or ones still building up their riding skills may struggle with aspects of this bike and that is not the confidence builder that most children need out of their bicycle. If your child is fearless on his big box store bike, going off curbs, rolling over everything, doing rolling dismounts at the barrier, then they are ready for Redline's Conquest 20.

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