Do you want the VERY BEST
While many parents will read this review and scoff at the pricetag, there’s another group of parents that will read this review knowing that you can’t put a price tag on the joy of maximizing your child’s development and enjoyment of mountain biking.
As a kids bike reviewer and avid mountain biker, I know firsthand how important it is to buy your child a good bike. That said, even I had a bit of heartburn over the cost of this bike.
Day 1 on the trail, however, was like a big dose of Zantac. It was immediately obvious that the investment was worthwhile when our son’s riding improved overnight. The light weight and high-quality components allowed him to climb faster, ride further, and tackle more challenging terrain than ever before.
Review in a Nutshell
THElightest 20″ mountain bike available (with suspension and disc brakes)
- Tubeless-ready Stans wheelset
- Top-shelf components
- Air sprung 80mm suspension fork
- Highly customizable, several build options
- Pedals require upgrading
- No thru-axles
- No routing for a dropper post
- Expensive for a 20″ bike
Price & Where to Buy:
- $1,449-$1,699 at TrailcraftCycles.com
Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 Detailed Review
Choose Your Own Build
We chose the more expensive Pro Deore model, and that’s what this review is based off of. Why did we pick the insanely spendy option? Because we wanted to go as light as we could, and a bike this light is worth every penny, in our opinion.
Should you want to save a little dough, Trailcraft also offers a slightly cheaper “TCZ” build ($1,449) that only costs you around a pound. Still a super light bike and a nice build.
If you think a
If you live in a part of the country without much climbing, the extra cost for a lighter bike might not be justified. But if, like us, you live in the Rocky Mountains or somewhere else with big climbs, every half pound makes a big difference.
Stans Crest MK3 Tubeless Wheelset
After weight, the tubeless wheelset was the next biggest draw for me. Like I’m sure you have, I’ve been riding tubeless for the last decade and can’t imagine ever going back to tubes. Dealing with flats on my son’s bikes over the past few years has been such a pain.
No more! The Blue Sky 20 comes with tubeless ready rims and tires, and upon the request, they’ll send the bike to you setup tubeless already.
The Stans rims are seriously
The only minor drawback about this wheelset is the lack of a thru-axle. Several other
80mm of Air Sprung Front Suspension
Chances are, you’ll be upgrading your child to their first ever bike with suspension. Let me tell you what a game changer that is! Your child will instantly be able to ride more challenging terrain with less arm fatigue and hand numbness. After switching to bikes with front suspension, we went from LOTS of breaks on trail rides to almost none. (Well there are still breaks, but they are to play in creeks and eat snacks rather than to shake out arm pump).
The TC30 fork is the lightest 20″ fork available. (So claims Trailcraft, we didn’t weigh it
It has carbon/alloy lowers, a lockout switch for big climbs, and the ability to adjust the preload.
Setup was the same as any other high-end adult air fork. It took a couple of minutes with the shock pump, and the kiddo was off and rollin’.
Powerful Hydraulic Disc Brakes
Just like upgrading from a rigid fork to a suspension fork can make a difference in your child’s riding, so too can upgrading from v-brakes to disc brakes. Expect another big over night improvement in riding just as a result of having better braking power and modulation.
The Shimano Deore M6000
We really appreciate the short-reach levers with easy adjustment. They are easier to reach and to operate than the Tektro brake levers. For little hands, these levers rock.
The stopping power and modulation of the system also
While we haven’t had to bleed the brakes yet, I’ve been told from reputable sources that they are super simple to bleed via Shimano’s One-Way Bleed system and some mineral oil.
Shimano 1×10 Drivetrain
Like everything else on the bike, the Blue Sky’s drivetrain is top-notch.
The Shimano ZEE rear derraileur is pretty rad. It features a clutch (I didn’t have one of those until I was 30), and a short-cage to compensate for small wheels and less ground clearance.
The shifter is Shimano Deore (M6000 I-Spec
As far as gearing goes, you have plenty of options thanks to the ability to choose from either a 28T or 30T front chainring. We chose the 28T chainring due to the fact that we have lots of climbing here in Utah, and are super happy by that choice. On our son’s bikes with a 30T front chainring, we’ve found that we have to hook up the TowWhee a lot sooner than with the 28T chainring.
The rear cassette ranges from 11 to 36 teeth, and the crankarms measure at 127mm. With a 30T front chainring, that gives you a gain ratio between 1.87 – 6.14. With the 28T front chainring, you have a gain ratio between 1.75 and 5.73. (All you tech nerds can double check my math there).
Beefy 20×2.25 Vee Crown Gem Tires
We already mentioned the awesome-sauce-ness of the tubeless setup on the Trailcraft Blue Sky 20, but we didn’t mention yet just how great the tires are.
The 20 inch tire du jour right now is the Vee Crown Gem. And for good reason. It’s tubeless compatible, has great traction and high volume. In fact, for a 20 inch wheel a 2.25 tire is essentially the equivalent of a plus-sized tire on an adult bike.
The high volume and lack of tubes, means that you can run the tire at a super low psi. This adds additional traction, less rolling resistance, and additional bump absorption.
Plan on Upgrading the Pedals
For a bike that’s pretty much perfect in every way, the pedals are a bit of a letdown. The platform is tiny and slippery. On his inaugural ride, my son’s feet must have slipped off 10 times, even with his grippy FiveTen Freeriders.
All I can figure is that Trailcraft assumes that each customer will want to upgrade to a pedal of their preference. While this is true on an adult-bike, I’m not sure it’s quite as true on a kids bike. It would be rad if the bike came standard with a nice-quality platform pedal.
No Routing for a Dropper
While this might be a bit knit-picky, the only thing we don’t love about the Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 is that it doesn’t have routing for a dropper post. I mean this bike has everything else, why not give us the option to add a dropper as well?
We’re probably still going to add a dropper, but it won’t be as clean. If you want internal routing for a dropper, consider the Spawn Yama Jama 20 instead.
Slack, Yet Nimble Geometry
Trailcraft has hit a bit of a sweet spot with the Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 as far as geometry goes. Nearly identical to the front triangle geometry on the Prevelo Zulu and the Spawn Yama Jama, the Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 sports modern mountain bike geometry that is slack enough to tackle technical downhills but agressive enough that the bike can be used for cross-country racing as well.
The bike does have shorter wheelbase and chainstays than it’s competitors. While theoretically this means that it’s less stable, it also means that it’s more nimble and playful.
I can’t say we noticed a stability issue but it is certainly playful, so we’re declaring the design a winner!
Trailcraft advertises the bike as appropriate for kids ages 5 to 8. This is obviously going to be very dependent on how tall your child is, how long their legs are, and their physique. (More muscular kids are going to be able to handle a bigger bike sooner than more petite children).
As for our son, he is 6.5 years old, slender and wears a size 6 pant. He is riding with the seat lowered nearly all the way and the bike is still a tad bit big for him. I still think he’s ready for the bike, but I certainly wouldn’t have wanted to push it on him any sooner.
The minimum inseam length for the bike is 21 inches.
Other Things Worth Mentioning
- Internal cable routing keeps things looking spiffy and clean.
- The bike comes with a quick-release seatpost collar which we always appreciate.
- Trailcraft lock-on grips and saddle get the job done. Nothing super special to say about either but they seem good enough.
|Geometry – Blue Sky 20||(millimeters)|
|Seat Tube Length-Center to Top||270|
|Top Tube Length (Horizontal)||445|
|Top Tube Length (Actual)||443|
|Seat Tube Angle (Actual)||73 Degrees|
|Head Tube Angle||68 Degrees|
|Standover Height||508mm or 20 inches|
|MODEL||Blue Sky 20 Stans Crest MK3 Pro Deore||Blue Sky 20 TCZ|
|FRAME||Blue Sky 20 ||Blue Sky 20 |
|FORK||Trailcraft TC30 1500 grams, carbon lowers||Trailcraft TC30 1500 grams, carbon lowers|
|HEADSET||Trailcraft Precision Sealed Cartridge||Trailcraft Precision Sealed Cartridge|
|REAR DERAILLEUR||Shimano Zee 10 Speed ||Shimano Zee 10 Speed |
|SHIFTER||Shimano Deore M6000 I-Spec||Shimano Zee 10 Speed|
|BRAKES||Shimano Deore M6000 Hydro||Shimano M396 Hydro|
|CRANKS||Trailcraft Direct Mount 127mm, 28 or 30t option||Trailcraft Direct Mount 127mm, 28 or 30t option|
|BAR||Trailcraft Alloy ||Trailcraft Alloy |
|GRIPS||Trailcraft Lock-On||Trailcraft Lock-On|
|STEM||Trailcraft, Length: 40mm||Trailcraft, Length: 40mm|
|POST||Trailcraft 27.2||Trailcraft 27.2|
|Sunrace 11-36 Ultralight|
|WHEELSET||Stans Crest MK3 20″, Superlight alloy hubs||Trailcraft 20″, Superlight alloy hubs|
|TIRES||Vee Crown Gem 20×2.25″ Tubeless Ready||Vee Crown Gem 20×2.25″ Tubeless Ready|
|Estimated Weight||19 pounds tubeless||19.9 pounds tubeless|
Comparison Chart: Trailfcraft Blue Sky 20 vs The Competition
Still, there are a couple of other really nice 20-inch mountain bikes you should consider as well. These include the
For even more options, check out our article on the best 20″ mountain bikes for kids.
|Bike||Price (MSRP)||Weight||Frame||Fork||Brakes||Drivetrain||Rear Shock|
|Flow 16"/20" Carbon (All Mountain Build)||$1,600 (Carbon build)||Alloy||Flow, 80mm||Hydraulic disk brakes (Hayes Prime Comp)||SRAM X-7, 1x10||N/A|
|Trailcraft Blue Sky 20||$1,699 (Pro Deore build)||19 lbs||Alloy||Trailcraft TC30,||Hydraulic disk brakes (Shimano Deore)||Shimano Deore, 10 speed||N/A|
|Spawn Yama Jama 20||$1,050||21.5 lbs||Alloy||BROOD ELDORADO, 80mm||Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Tektro)||Sram GX 1x10||N/A|
|Prevelo Zulu Three HEIR*||$1,199||22.2 lbs||Alloy||HEIR 80mm travel||Hydraulic Disc Brakes (Tektro)||Shimano ZEE 10-speed drivetrain.||N/A|
|Early Rider Trail 20"||$899||20.5 lbs||Alloy||Spinner Grind, 50 mm||Hydaulic disc brakes (Avid Level T)||SRAM X5 trigger, 9-speed||N/A|
Is There Anybody I Wouldn’t Recommend the Bike For?
If your child does a bunch of lift-served or downhill riding, they will be better served by a full-suspension
On the other side of the spectrum, if your kiddo is mostly looking for a bike for around town riding with a little dirt and gravel mixed in, the Trailfcraft is probably overkill. Opt for a bike like the Cleary Owl instead.
Bottom-Line: A High-Quality 20 Inch Mountain Bike That’s Worth Every Penny
No, the Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 isn’t cheap, but this isn’t a cheaply made bike. The price reflects the high-quality of the bike’s build and the quality of the ride.
If you value mountain biking and want your children to value mountain biking as well, this is the bike for your family. The sub-20 pound build, in and of itself, makes this bike a worthwhile purchase. Add in the tubeless wheels, suspension fork, hydro disc brakes, and other assorted high-quality components, and you’ve got a bike that’s worth every penny.
Doubtful? Beg, borrow, or demo one of these babies and see how much better your child rides. Can’t get your hands on one? You’ll just have to trust me: my son improved literally overnight.
Do More Research
Shopping for a 20″ mountain bike? Here are some other posts that might help you.