Dirt Merchant Bikes has a Cleary Meerkat bike available for demo in the Seattle area.
Contact us at 425.429.0865 for details and to reserve a demo.
Our full review of the Cleary Meerkat is at: http://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/special-events/2015/12/23/24-kids-mountain
We got our first look at the new 24” Cleary Meerkat bike. Designed with short chainstays and a compact wheelbase, the bike has a fast handling geometry that is ready for trail riding. We’ve explored the impact of wheelbase on handling and have concluded that for kids with trail riding experience, short wheelbase bikes will feel more responsive and intuitive in their handling. More details on this are located on the Dirt Merchant Bikes website at: http://www.dirtmerchantbikes.com/special-events/2015/9/17/impact-of-wheelbase-on-the-handling-of-kids-bikes
Although the bike will be launched with a suspension-corrected rigid fork at launch, Jeff Cleary said that they are investigating air-oil suspension fork options. In any case, it won’t be a problem at all to switch out the rigid fork for a suspension fork such as the ones we carry from SR Suntour. Other great features on the new Meerkat are the hydraulic disc brakes and a 1x9 drivetrain with a Microshift derailleur and shifters providing a 28 x 32 low gear. Pricing will be just under $650 which is competitive with similar bikes with hydraulic disc brakes such as the Specialized Hotrock 24 XC Disc or the Trek Superfly 24 Disc
The weight is claimed to be 22 lbs.
My evaluation versus these bikes is as follows:
Specialized Hotrock 24 XC Disc -
- Has an air fork and hydraulic disc brakes
- Long-wheelbase frame is stable but slow-handling
- Kids may learn to use the Cleary's 1x9 gearing more quickly with only one shifter to manage than the Specialized's 2x9 gearing which has both front and rear shifters.
Trek Superfly 24 Disc -
- Has hydraulic brakes
- Coil-based fork will not be as responsive for light riders as an air-oil fork
- Less responsive than the new 24" Cleary which will have a 900mm wheelbase
With a range of simple, beautiful colors including a new green, blue, pink and the ever-popular orange, the new Cleary looks like a winner!