Specialized Jett Review: A Better LBS Kids Bike!

Specialized lovers, rejoice! The Specialized Jett is here.

The newest Specialized kids bike is lightweight, has child-appropriate geometry, and is designed to grow with your child. The “neighborhood” bike is perfect for riding to school and tackling bike path rides with friends.

While we’ve always been big fans of Specialized for adult bikes, it’s been tough to recommend Specialized kids bikes before now. They were often really heavy and came with coaster brakes. We’re happy to have a big bike brand kids bike we actually feel comfortable recommending.

Learn more about what we like about the Specialized Jett (and the few things we didn’t) below.

specialized jett

Review In A Nutshell

Pros:

  • Best kids offering we’ve seen from a big bike brand
  • Will grow with your child
  • Trigger shifters are easy to operate
  • Internal cable routing
  • Ergonomic saddle and grips

Cons:

  • Expensive even when compared with other high end kids bikes
  • Lacks quick releases

Price:

  • Jett 16 SS: $450
  • Jett 20 SS: $475
  • Jett 20” MS: $520
  • Jett 24”: $580

Video Review


Comes In 16″, 20″, and 24″ Models

The Specialized Jett comes in several different models: a 16″ singlespeed, 20″ singlespeed, 20″ multispeed, and 24″ multispeed. In addition to the gearing, the biggest difference between the models is that the 20″ and 24″ versions have dual crank holes while the 16″ does not. (More on that in a moment).

Designed to grow with your child

The biggest differentiating feature of the Jett is that it’s designed to grow with your child. Specialized designed the line with the goal of creating a bike that would last for your child for 30 months (or 3 summers).

All models of the bike have an adjustable handlebar and a longer than average seatpost. The 20″ and 24″ versions also have dual holes in the crank arm to effectively increase the crank length as your child grows. This is a unique feature and something we haven’t seen in other bikes.

Specialized also used Retül technology to design the bike. This resulted in a narrower Q-factor than their previous bikes, as well as appropriately sized handlebars, grips, and cranks.

The one thing we did find odd about the Jett is the long seat tube. Although the stand over height is quite low, the higher seat tube means that the seat can’t be lowered as far as one might like. This negates some of the potential of the bike for shorter kids.

Helpful online fit tool

We thought the Jett fit tool was really cool. For parents who don’t know how to properly fit a bike for their child, this tool shows you exactly how to do it.

There are three adjustment points: crank length, handlebar rotation, and seat height. We measured our son and plugged our numbers into the tool.

The result? The seat height was a little lower than I would have set it at, but it’s certainly a good starting point.

specialized jett kids bike

Dual Handbrakes And No Coaster

The idea that a kids bike should have dual handbrakes and no coaster isn’t new–but it is new to Specialized in the 16 inch wheel size. We are huge proponents of choosing a bike without a coaster. For more information on that, read our article on hand brakes vs coaster brakes.

The Specialized Jett has easy-to-pull, easy-to-reach brake levers and powerful v-brakes. They aren’t disc brakes, but they are plenty for neighborhood riding

Good Entry Level Drivetrain With Trigger Shifters

A lot of kids bikes come with grip shifters, and we’re not a fan. So we were glad to see the Microshift trigger shifters on the Specialized Jett. While they might take a bit more effort to learn than grip shifters, the trigger shifters are easier to operate and make nice clean shifts.

The drivetrain on the 20″ multi-speed has 7 gears while the 24″ has 8. The bike has a good range of gears well suited for around town riding.

The Microshift derailleur and shifter and Sunrace cassette are decidedly entry-level components but are good quality and for the most part make nice clean shifts. The derailleur lacks the clutch of higher-end derailleurs, for instance, but isn’t necessarily needed for a “neighborhood” bike.

Works Well As A “Neighborhood Bike”

The Specialized Jett is designed to serve as a “neighborhood bike.” This means that it is best suited to paved roads and bike paths, but can handle a bit of dirt and gravel as well.

The bike has slick (though high volume) Specialized Pathfinder 2.0″ tires. These are fast rolling on pavement but still offer good traction on hardpacked dirt or gravel. They are not well suited for the bike parks or dirt singletracks.

The other notable feature is that the bike has a rigid fork (not a suspension fork). As a neighborhood bike, this is a positive thing. All too many big bike brands offer kids bikes with heavy suspension forks.

A suspension fork should only be used for true mountain biking, and if choosing a bike with a suspension fork you need to make sure it is a high-quality fork (read expensive). For kids biking around town or to school, a suspension fork only adds weight and expense.

The Specialized Jett is an ideal choice for biking to school, riding with mom and dad on the greenbelt, or playing with friends in the cul-de-sac.

specialized jett kids bike in action

Lightweight

The biggest gripe we have had in the past with Specialized and other big bike brands making kids bikes is that they are HEAVY.

The Specialized Jett is one of the first offereings from a big bike brand that can compete on weight with kids bike brands like Woom, Prevelo, and Cleary. The claimed weights for the Specialized Jett are as follows:

  • Jett 16 SS: 15.2 lbs
  • Jett 20 SS: 17.6 lbs
  • Jett 20” MS: 19.3lbs
  • Jett 24”: 20.5 lbs

We put the claimed weight of the Specialized Jett 24″ to the test. On our scale (which generally seems to be pretty accurate), the weight came in at 22.4 lbs (with pedals and kickstand)–higher than the claimed weight but still pretty respectable.

Available online or at your local Specialized dealer

There are lots of great kids bike brands available online. But if you want to buy locally from your local bike shop (LBS), the options narrow significantly. Most LBS kids bikes are heavy, have coaster brakes, and are otherwise sub-par.

The Specialized Jett is a great option for parents who would like to buy a bike from their local bike shop, but still want a high-quality kids bike.

And if you do want to buy online–you have that option too. We found that the bike was easy to unbox and assemble. All the needed tools were included, and there’s an assembly video to help if needed as well.

specialized jett in box

Internal cable routing

Bikes have come a long way over the past few decades with technology from mountain bikes trickling over into road bikes and the recreational market. The UCI has allowed disc brakes in road racing providing safer braking and a whole new product to sell.

Well, kids all-terrain bikes are following suit also. Internal cable routing has made bikes look cleaner and keeps cables and housing performing longer. The Jett has internal cables for both the rear brake and derailleur.

The rear brake is still a v-brake so the cable inserts at the front of the top tube and exits at the back of the top tube near the junction with the seat tube. This cleans up the cable routing and keeps things fairly simple.

The derailleur cable enters into the downtube and exits a sort of sleeve that Specialized has incorporated into the downtube and near the bottom bracket on several of their bikes. My hard tail Fuse has the same internal routing. This lower access makes changing the cables much easier than some other internally routed designs if ever needed.

One of the few cons with the routing in this design is that there are no rubber grommets at the entry or exit points (disregarding the lower downtube opening) of the frame routing and that can allow for additional wear on the cable housing. These rubber fittings might add a bit of weight, but if you have internal routing then you want the optimum life out of the cables and housing too.

Ergonomic Saddle and Grips

As with the general redesign of their kid’s bikes, Specialized included well thought out grips, saddles and other components. The grips have an ergonomic mold design with a small platform for the palm to rest on.

There is an interior lock ring and there is not an end cap, but a nice thick bit of rubber molded into the grip providing safety and durability. More than anything, the ergonomics of the grip design provide relief and help to prolong riding while enjoying the moment.

The saddle is Specialized’s Bridge model scaled down for smaller people (This is the same model of seat on my Fuse as well).

There is a “Body Geometry” channel down the middle of the saddle offering some relief in the seated position by allowing blood flow to sensitive areas. The padding is quite comfortable but not overly padded and cumbersome.

From personal experience, I have enjoyed this saddle, while my son has kept his saddle in the lower descending position on the bike. He hasn’t mentioned it being painful and seemed to enjoy riding the bike without any discomfort from the saddle.

No quick releases on the wheels or seat post collar

Here at Rascal Rides we are starting to sound like a broken record. I am sure most companies don’t stock quick release components because it is a big cost savings. While the Jett has been designed from the ground up to provide absolute performance for our kiddos, the parents were not considered. We often get neglected when bike companies choose to stock bolt axles and fixed seat collars.

Quick release components would be fantastic for the parent that has to change the punctured tube or help figure out the right seat height for the little buddy. The seat collar is pretty easy to adjust as it just requires an allen key, but I doubt most parents are adding a dropper post to this bike and a quick release seat post collar would be a nice addition.

Also, if anyone is concerned about weight…. I am pretty sure quick release axles and clamps are lighter than the cumbersome bolt axles of old. Specialized isn’t the only one doing it, but kids (and their parents) deserve a little reprieve. We’d expect better at this price point.

bolts

Expensive

Ranging from $520 for the 20” to $580 for the 24”, the Jett is certainly not the cheapest all-terrain kids bike out there. It’s also expensive comapred to other Specialized kids bikes.

For example, the Specialized Riprock mountain bikes equipped with suspension forks, disc brakes and plus tires come in at the same price. The trade-off is a lower weight than Specialized’s kid’s mountain bikes, but at a greater expense than competitors.

At $580 for the 24″ version, Specialized has created one of the more expensive neighborhood bikes out there. For comparison, our two favorite neighborhood 24″ bikes, the Woom 5 and Prevelo Alpha Four are $529 and $549 respectively. In my opinion the Woom and Prevelo bikes are also nicer with higher-end components and features like quick-release skewers.

If you want to buy a bike from a LBS, or your a die-hard Specialized supporter, this is a great bike. Otherwise, I’d save a few bucks and go with the Woom or Prevelo instead.

Bottom-Line: An Excellent Kids Bike That’s Actually Available At Your Local Bike Shop

We constantly hear families that want to support their LBS, but struggle to find decent kids bikes locally. The Specialized Jett is the answer to this dilemna, as it’s available at your local Specialized dealer (as well as online).

The Jett is a bit pricey (even when compared with other high-end kids bikes), but if price isn’t a differentiating factor for you, you’ll be very happy with the Specialized Jett. The fact that it can grow with your child and has high quality parts that will last also helps make the price tag less painful.

Do More Research Before You Buy

2 thoughts on “Specialized Jett Review: A Better LBS Kids Bike!”

  1. Good to see some slight progress from Specialized in kids bikes. Definitely not super impressed though. What’s the weight on these bikes?

    Reply

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