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Spawn Yama Jama 22 Kids Mountain Bike Review

Author: Blair Burton

Updated:

Do you ever wish there was a mountain bike that fit your 6- to 8-year-old better? 20” Wheels seem too small and 24” wheels are definitely too big? If so, the Spawn Yama Jama 22” is the answer to your problems.

The Spawn Yama Jama 22” is the only 22-inch hard tail mountain bike on the market. Spawn is known for stocking their house-branded Brood parts wherever they can. 130mm cranks keep those little legs spinning and a Sram GX 10 speed drive train serves the pedaling duties well.

Spawn Yama Jama 22 Profile

At $1,400 USD, the Spawn Yama Jama is competitive with the very few similar brands out there making high end hardtails for kids. No one else is building bikes with 22” wheels other than Cruiser Class BMX manufacturers.

This bike is ready to fill that gap in size for your kiddo. If they are ready for a 20-inch frame, then this bike is ready to grow with them for a few years.

If you are an off-road riding family, then the Spawn Yama Jama might just be for you. With loads of features and technology poured into this mix of mountain and adventure bike, you will not be disappointed.

Read on to learn more.

SYJ Profile Dos

Review in a Nutshell

Pros:

  • Carbon lowers on fork – Reduced weight
  • Kid specific Brood components
  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Durable frame
  • Unique 22” Wheels

Cons:

  • Dropper Post requires a new seat
  • Expensive
  • Difficulty finding 22″ tires

SCORING:

  • Frame – 10/10
  • Componentry – 9/10
  • Ride Quality – 10/10
  • Weight – 8/10
  • Geometry – 10/10
  • Customer Service – 8/10
  • Aesthetics – 10/10

OVERALL RANKING:  65/70 or 93%

Price: $1,400


Video Review

The Frame and How it Rides

The Spawn Yama Jama 22 comes in three different frame colors: neon green, black, and blue. Kid-specific Brood components cover the build except for the drivetrain and brakes. The custom 100mm Brood Eldorado fork is tuned for kids and comes with a carbon lower to keep bike weight low and nimble.

Our brave little tester is 7 years old and fit perfectly on the Yama Jama 22. By next season he will be ready for a 24-inch frame. Having a bike that fits has renewed his motivation to get out and shred with mom and dad.

The Frame

The aluminum frame is sturdy and light. Pump tracks and loamy singletracks are definitively fun on this cruisy little hardtail. Our tester enjoyed several varying rides involving sand, rocks, hero dirt and everything in between.

 Although there is routing for a dropper post, the Yama Jama is sold with a rigid post and seat. However, there is a Brood quick release seat collar that allows for quick changes from uphill mode to downhill and pump mode.

Our tester was apprehensive to try riding with his seat down too far, and that’s OK too. Most of the testing grounds were cross country rides near our home and in McCall, ID.

spawn yama jama Loam

How it Rides

The Yama Jama rides fairly light at almost 24 lbs with a sweet hamburger bell and some dirt attached. Our tester was able to hold his own over a thousand feet of climbing in about 4 miles each ride.

Downhills are what make mountain biking the bee’s knees. Our tester was serious, but also had some serious fun. He even tried out a few jumps and tricky, fast berms.

The drivetrain and other components did their jobs flawlessly. This bike was made for a summer of fun adventures and that is exactly what has happened with it.

Frame geometry is spot on and allows a comfortable position both seated and standing. It has been a great frame for our tester to learn and grow on.

Spawn has built a reliable hard tail that fits an age group which has been overlooked and relegated to either a bike that is too small or one too big…. until now.

Brood 22” Tubeless Wheelset

The star of the component build is the aforementioned 22-inch wheelset. Mountain biking is rough and having durable wheels that fit and function well is imperative. If you are sizing your kiddo up in wheel size, you will immediately notice their increase in speed and rollability.

22-inch wheelsets are used for the Cruiser Class category in BMX racing, but not in many other applications. It’s pretty cool to see a kids-only company put in time and research, develop something new for the kid’s mountain bike community, and ultimately provide an outstanding option.

The black Brood rims paired with Spawn’s own Brood hubs and Brood Maxtion 2.3 tires look and ride stout. These durable components have through axles and 28 spokes each.

The wheelset is ready to carry the bike and rider anywhere they can pedal. These wheels are standard spacing and not Boost spaced.

The only issue we can think of with this wheelset is the challenge of finding 22 inch tires. If you need to replace the tires, you’ll likely need to order another set of Brood tires from Spawn, as they are not easy to find.

100mm of Eldorado Suspension

Suspension is a game changer for little ones. Not many smaller bikes come equipped with suspension components. When your kiddo is ready to move up in size the 20-inch and 22-inch bikes from Spawn will be ready to help them move.

Spawn Brood Eldorado fork

The custom Brood Eldorado fork has carbon lowers that keep weight to a minimum. Moreover, a 100mm of travel and a damper tuned to kid’s body weight provides a stable platform that is ready to soak all the bumps.

The Eldorado has a rebound switch and a compression lockout knob as well.

The setup of the fork was quick and easy. We found 20% sag with our shock pump and then set the rebound at the middle.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

If your kiddo has been mountain biking on a rigid kid’s cruiser, then you will notice a drastic change when they have quality disc brakes to stop them. The hardest part will be teaching a 7-year-old how to feather their braking over a technical rock garden.

The Spawn Yama Jama 22 comes equipped with Tektro hydraulic brakes like many other kid’s brands. These two-piston brakes function well, use mineral oil like Shimano brakes, and offer adequate modulation.

Our tester never had any issues with the brakes. They functioned as needed and provided plenty of stopping power. Both the front and rear rotors measure 160mm.

The brake levers do have some adjustment and are plenty light to pull for small hands. The brakes are cheaper than the big brands, so Spawn did well to keep costs down while providing a quality braking component.

Sram GX 1×10 Drivetrain

Smaller bikes are unable to run modern drivetrains. They are simply too big for the frames. Luckily, 1×10 has a fairly wide range and is readily available.

The Sram GX drivetrain found on the Yama Jama is functional and fits well. The range of gears changes from a 36-tooth climb ring to an 11-tooth DH ring on the cassette. These items are paired with a 30 tooth Brood front chain ring.

Sram GX Drivetrain

The GX shifter pod is easy for little hands to operate. I am typically more of a Shimano fan when it comes to brakes and drivetrains, but Sram works well and offers reliable shifting. Our tester never had his chain hang up and all shifts seemed smooth even when he would shift down under load on a climb.

The Brood cranks measure 130mm and remain stout and reliable. Spawn has found the sweet spot for the Yama Jama 22 with a comfortable crank length paired to a durable drivetrain.

Stock Pedals

We have had issues with other stock pedals on past bikes. That is not the case with Spawn. They offer a decent Wellgo platform pedal that has adequate pins that provide reliable grip.

There are not many small clipless shoes out there so having a reliable platform pedal is a key touchpoint. Our tester never exhibited any pedal slips or strikes out on the trail.

Routing for a Dropper

It has only been a few years since brands like PNW Components released their Pine dropper. In this day and age, I wouldn’t want my kiddo riding without one. I know it’s an added expense, but having a dropper makes riding so much more fluid and enjoyable.

The Spawn Yama Jama 22 has routing for a dropper post and although we did not stock one for our tester, I appreciate that those fine details were included in the build. Most kids only frames didn’t include dropper routing just a few years ago.

Now, they all have it. If upgrading to a dropper post, you will also have to buy a new seat as the Spawn seat is proprietary and mounts differently than most seat posts.

Sizing

Spawn lists the bike as appropriate for kids aged 5 to 9. Sizing is most certainly dependent on how big your 5-year-old is though.

In most cases, a 20-inch bike is going to fit them well from about 5 to 7. Once most kids are somewhere between 6 and 7, they are typically big enough to fit the 22-inch wheeled bike better.

Our tester is 7. He is plenty tall for the bike at 49 inches and may ride it again next season, but by next summer he will be tall enough for a 24” bike.

This bike covers a relatively short window but is definitely worth a season or two of riding. Once your kiddo is ready to move up, the resale of the Yama Jama holds its value.

The minimum inseam length for the Yama Jama is 19 inches. To put this new size in perspective, the minimum inseam for the YJ 20 is 18.5 inches and the minimum inseam for the YJ 24 is 22 inches.

Other Things Worth Mentioning

  • The bike comes with water bottle cage bosses. Not many kids bikes this size can carry their own water.
  • The Spawn grips and saddle get the job done. Touchpoints are comfortable and durable.

Comparison and Scoring

The Spawn Yama Jama 22 doesn’t necessarily have any competitors because there are no other 22-inch mountain bikes out there.

The closest competition is a handful of 20-inch bikes. These include the Prevelo Zulu Three HEIR, the Woom Off, and the Trailcraft Blue Sky. Each of these other brands builds a competitive, quality hard tail that can compare to Spawn, but none of them have a 22-inch wheeled bike.

For even more options, check out our article on the best 20″ mountain bikes for kids.

As for the scoring of the Yama Jama 22, we awarded it a 93%! That is a great score!

We docked a few points for weight (it’s heavier than the Trailcraft for instance) and for customer service. While we’ve had great experiences with Spawn, we do frequently hear from y’all that they can be slow to respond.

Overall, it deserved a solid A grade. Not only does the bike cover an overlooked age group, but the quality of the build is on point and deserves every percentage point earned. The component selection and ride quality stand out on this bike and make riding with little testers a lot of fun.

Is There Anybody I Wouldn’t Recommend the Bike For?

If your child loves lift-served or downhill riding, they will be better served by a full-suspension bike like the Spawn Rokk or the Commencal Clash.

On the other end of everything, if your child is mostly into town riding with a little dirt and gravel mixed in, the Yama Jama is probably too much bike. Choose another bike like the Cleary Owl instead.

The Runout: The Only 22” Mountain Bike Out There

Spawn Yama Jama Loam Turn

None of the bikes mentioned here are cheap. They are built with quality and durability in mind.

The Spawn Yama Jama can take a pounding and keep on chugging. Quality components ranging from the wheels, brakes, and drivetrain all the way to the house Brood parts keep the bike rolling smooth.

The value of mountain biking can change from one family to another. If it is your main adventure activity, then I don’t have to persuade you to invest in quality equipment for your kiddos too. Spawn is one of a handful of companies building quality mountain bikes for kids.

If you want to see your 6- or 7-year-old improve overnight, buy them the Yama Jama 22. This bike meets a need that no one else provides and will allow you to create memories and adventures.

The experiences that we encounter in life are worth more than anything else and the Yama Jama 22 helps our kids get there more easily.

Spawn YJ22 SpecONE
Spawn YJ22 SPECtwo
SpawnYJ22 Geo

Do More Research

Shopping for a 20″ mountain bike? Here are some other posts that might help you.

About The Rascals

The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.

Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.

If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!

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