Hayes JUNIT Offers Performance Mountain Bike Components For Kids

by 4

Hayes (who you’ll remember for brakes, but which is part of the whole Manitou/ProTaper/Sun-Ringle group) has just launched a full range of performance mountain bike components designed specifically for young riders. While we’ve seen smaller brake levers and smaller bikes for years, Hayes reckoned that there wasn’t anything out there for the new generation of bike park-riding, head-high hucking youngsters who are so all annoyingly good. There are small helmets and small pads available, but few suspension forks set up for lighter weight and smaller wheels. Generally, kids have to wait until they’re at least big enough for cast-off 26in wheeled frames.

sea otter 2019, hayes junit, manitou
One of the Commencal team bikes. Yes, there’s a team…
hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
Just do the comparative head-height maths and think if you’d ride that
hayes, manitou, sea otter 2019
20in kids’ fork with 15mm thru-axle. Don’t see that every day
manitou, junit, sea otter 2019
No cheapo hubs here either. This is all top drawer stuff


Now, though, Hayes has produced what it calls ‘JUNIT’ – or J-Unit, for its Junior-specific range of components. It consists of suspension forks (in 20in and 24in, wheels, hydraulic brakes and a clever handlebar/grip system. All designed for lighter riders and shorter hand reach.

manitou, junit, sea otter 2019
Luckily, there’s already a pretty good range of 20in and 24in tyre treads

Manitou JUNIT Machete
A key component of the JUNIT system is that the Manitou Machete 20in and 24in suspension forks offer complete adult functionality and adjustability, yet specifically tuned for kids. Manitou has tuned the fork for lighter riders – so that it actually moves – but still kept grownup features like the 15mm thru-axles and damping controls.

manitou junit seaotter
It’s a Manitou Machete, but just shorter and for lighter riders

Dominion Brake with SFL (Short Finger Lever)
Building off the award-winning Dominion A4 hydraulic brake, Hayes’ product development team set out to design a brake system specifically for any rider with smaller hands. Dominion SFL (Short Finger Lever) maintains all the power and feel of the A4 design, fitted with a specifically smaller designed and narrower brake lever optimized for small hands.

hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
Grown up hand for scale
hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
Life can be tough with short fingers…

Another component of the JUNIT system is the new SUNringlé Düroc wheels. Offered in both 20in and 24in, JUNIT Düroc are high-quality, tubeless ready wheels for kids.

Sun Ringle makes tubeless wheels to suit too.
hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
Teeny brake, but it’s also holding the grip on. And wait, that’s not a normal handlebar…

JUNIT ProTaper Handlebar system

hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
The handlebar tapers down to 15mm, making the 23mm grip grippable

JUNIT ProTaper MTB handlebar and grip is the final part of this system. Engineering began by researching anthropometric data from a NASA database. Hayes determined the average hand size of a 6-10 year old which set the team into motion. Normally, grip diameter is a result of adding material to a standard handlebar size. For the JUNIT ProTaper handlebar system, Hayes began by determining the ideal grip diameter and worked inward. The result is a handlebar and grip with a 23mm outside diameter that’s ideal for a smaller hand. The JUNIT ProTaper handlebar and grip are specifically designed to be used together. By comparison, a normal adult grip measures around 31-33mm in diameter.

hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
The grip and shim are one-unit, with a single end cap.

We’ve seen smaller grips and tapered bars in the past (Juliana was one of the first) but it’s usually just in the final grip bit of the bar, otherwise you can’t find brake and shift levers that’ll fit round the smaller bar. In a bit of ingenious thinking, Hayes has made its ProTaper bar 15mm all the way down, but the 23mm grip extends inwards, giving a normal width for components to bolt on to. And even more cleverly, the clamp of the components also serves to tighten down and secure the (split) grip so that it stays in place. A ‘normal’ ish outer collar adds the final piece of security.

hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
720mm bars should be wide enough for most. That was wide in 2005…
hayes dominion
We do love the Hayes ‘Crosshair’ system of grub screw for aligning calipers

Dominion Brake, not just for kids

The Dominion brake used in the JUNIT setup is the same hydraulic brake in its grown up line, only with a specific shorter finger lever. Hayes is aware that this might also appeal to adults with shorter fingers, so it’s not specifically a JUNIT brake. There’s a new colour for the regular Dominion brake too, this dark copper colour.

hayes dominion brakes
The Dominion Short Finger Lever can be used with either the 2 or 4 pot calipers
The regular Dominion
hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
The brake clamp is the inner securing anchor

So, is this just the preserve of pushy parents and competitive dads? Only time will tell, but it should fit the ‘high-price but high-resale-value’ model that makes Islabikes so appealing for parents willing to invest initially. The quality and regular serviceability should mean that the components should keep working long into the secondhand market.

hayes junit, kids mountain bike components, sea otter 2019
“Hey kids, can you teach me some tricks please?” Action photos by Alan Davis. 

To learn more about the JUNIT collection, visit www.HayesDiscBrake.com.

hayes junit, manitou, sea otter 2019
And there are stickers!
Thanks for popping by - why not stay a while?IT'S FREE

Sign up as a Singletrack Member and you can leave comments on stories, use the classified ads, and post in our forums, do quizzes and more.

Join us, join in, it’s free, and fun.

Comments (4)

Leave Reply