When I was about 4 years old I was still saddled with a tricycle while my 6-year-old sis got her first bike. It was a source of endless torment for me. One day, I announced to my dad, I can ride a bike, ran out, grabbed my sister’s bike, hopped on, and went easily down the drive and back. No, the bike didn’t have stabilizers. My dad’s tongue fell out. I got my first bike a couple of days later.
It is an exhilarating feeling when you are on a trail with your little one in tow and that beatific smile that lights up his or her face when you finally make it to the bottom of a technical descent.
Kids bike need particular attention where design and the arrangement is concerned. Weight is of paramount concern. Kids can get winded easily. The bike has to lightweight, fit properly, and work well. Things to look for are child-appropriate geometry, easy to use shifters and brake levers, and decent components.
Over the years, we’ve noticed that the best kids mountain bikes are manufactured by kid-specific companies. They have put in the investment, time, and engineering into producing top-class youth mountain bikes. Our Top 10 Product List reflects this.
Best Mountain Bikes For Kids : Comparison Chart
|Pick Name||Thumbnail||Product Name||Price|
|Editor’s choice||Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike||Check Price|
|Best for Boys||Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike||Check Price|
|Best for Girls||Diamondback Bicycles Lustre 20||Check Price|
|4th||Mongoose Exlipse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike||Check Price|
|5th||Diamondback Bicycles Cobra 20 Youth||Check Price|
|6th||Merax FT323 Mountain Bike||Check Price|
|7th||Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Boys’ Mountain Bike||Check Price|
|8th||Diamondback Bicycles Octane Youth||Check Price|
|9th||Raleigh Bikes Lily 16 Kids Mountain Bike||Check Price|
|10th||Raleigh Bikes Eva 24 Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike||Check Price|
Best Kids Mountain Bike Reviews
01 Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike (Editor’s choice)
The Schwinn High Timber MTB for kids is a neat bike for trail followers. It is a 24-inch bicycle for kids in the age group 8-12. The High Timber has front suspension and a host of features that make it great value for its price tag. The steel frame is low, nearly a step-through that results in a rather low standover height.
The front suspension fork smoothens the ride even on the roughest surfaces. The seat is athletic and yet comfortable. The tires sport an all-terrain profile that provides ample traction.
The gears have 21 speeds. The high-end SRAM gear shifter makes gear shifting through such large numbers, smooth and easy because of the rear derailleur.
Both the seat and the wheels are adjustable rapidly for height on the go and without tools. The same goes for varying pedal positions. The brakes, front and rear are linear pull alloy brakes that can stop the bike at a short distance. The High Timber comes in a wide range of styles, frames, and colors.
Kids can enjoy the Schwinn High timber riding to school, on trials, mud, gravel, and pavement adventures with one of the top MTBs.
- The gear mechanism is really suitable for a child
- The seat we feel could do with a little more cushioning
- It was heavier than we imagined
- The assembly of this bike was easy
- We also found that the gears are not so smooth as promised
- The handlebars were placed a bit low
We compared the Schwinn High Timber and the Diamondback Lustre 20. The former boasts 21 speeds to the Lustres 6. The trigger shifter on the Lustre makes it a lot easier to use. The frame is made of aluminum alloy whereas the High Timber has a steel frame making it heavier than the Lustre 20.
- Size: 24 inches
- Weight: 29 lbs
- Best for ages: 8-12
- Frame & Fork: Steel frame, suspension fork
- Tires: 24” x 1.95” all-terrain profile
- Gears: 21 speed (3×7), Shimano cassette, SRAM shifter
- Brake: Alloy rim
- Easy maneuverability
- Can take on any type of terrain
- Great entry-level bike
- 21 speed Shimano derailleur
- Though of steel, surprisingly light
- Instruction manual unclear
The Schwinn High Timber will make your kid so happy. We believe this is the best mountain bike for kids because of its extraordinary performance, kid-friendly design, durability and good pricing. Give it a try and thank us later!
02 Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike (Best for Boys)
Huffy holds a great reputation as a prominent and trusted manufacturer of kids’ bikes. Their pricing too is quite reasonable. The standard size is 20”. It features a slanted frame of aluminum alloy which is meant for riders from ages 5-9.
Having suspension forks, the Huffy is excellent on rocky terrain and bumpy trails. With 6 gears, the options are many when you need to pedal uphill or speeding downhill. All the parts are from Shimano and trusted not to fail.
With standard tires of 1.95”, this bike is suited for all terrains. the V-brakes on this bike will enable your kid to stop fast. The 6-speed mechanism is a simple and uncomplicated setup. It provides the range for almost all riding scenarios.
The Huffy comes in many colors that appeal to kids. What’s more- it comes semi-assembled. All you need to do is connect up the stem, front wheel, pedals, and seat post.
A lifetime warranty on the frame and on parts, a one-year limited warranty is the offer.
- The assembly is easy that might take about 20 minutes. The makers provide all the required tools. Some fine-tuning adjustments of the brakes and gear shifter are all that is needed.
- We are impressed with the sturdiness of this bike. It is a great value for the price.
- We, yet, take a star out as the gear shifting may be a bit difficult for young riders. The 6-speed shifter is tight at the ends though it is alright between 2-5.
- The paint job seems to us to be of a thin coating.
- We were mighty impressed with this hardtail. It is lightweight, efficient, improves your skills, and gives more control. The Huffy is fun and inexpensive. We recommend the Huffy Kids Hardtail mountain bike. It is worth the price for its performance.
- Size: 20 inches
- Weight: 35 lbs
- Best for ages: 5-9
- Frame & Fork: Alloy 6061 frame, 20” alloy suspension fork
- Tires: 20” x 1.95” Innova
- Gears: 6 speed (1×6), Shimano TZ-31 drivetrain
- Brake: Artek M207DG rim brakes
- Shimano micro-twist shift gear system
- Steel frame
- Upright handlebars
- Lots of color options
- Bike chain comes off easily
There you have it. The Huffy is an incredible bike for young boys. We endorse cycling and you will be not just gifting a bike to your child. You are presenting him or her with a fitness style. And an opportunity to embrace nature, and a green alternative to getting around. Mountain biking can be great fun. What could be better; you and your little one rambling off-road together. Soaking in the pleasure of a scenic outing is a mood lifter.
03 Diamondback Bicycles Lustre 20 (Best for Girls)
The Diamondback Lustre is a great choice for your little missy who is eager to conquer that next mountain trail. The Lustre is a fair bit heavier than other bikes of the same size. Yet, it is durable. It can endure rough rides until your grand-daughter or daughter outgrows it.
Minimal assembly is required including customizing the V-brakes. The linear-pull brakes can be adjusted suitably for small hands. It has a 6-gear system which can take on uphill and downhill riding easily. The gear shifting is by a trigger shifter that is simple and easy to use.
The wide knobby tires and the squishy fork has a 40mm travel. This will keep your little princess comfortable and in full control. The Lustre is a good fit for riders who are 44” to 54” tall. The aluminum alloy body can absorb all the abuse that is dished out by kids.
- We found that V-brakes fine-tuning is not a difficult task. It could be a bit challenging if you are unfamiliar with the process. Since it ultimately involves safety, if you are unsure, our suggestion is that you take it to a bike shop.
- Also, we would like to point out that the gear shifting could initially be a bit tricky for those not used to gears. But with practice, riders will get used to them and will be able to shift gears without any problems.
- A wonderful feature of the Lustre we find is the brake levers that have adjustable reach.
- Another innovative feature is that the stem and seat combination allows the room to grow
- Size: 20 inches
- Weight: 25 lbs
- Best for ages: 4-9
- Frame & Fork: 6061 heat-treated Aluminum alloy frame, 20” suspension fork
- Tires: Jr. ATB Knobby, 20”
- Gears: 6 speed (1×6), Shimano TZ-50, 6-speed
- Brake: Alloy linear-pull rim brakes
- Lightweight and strong aluminum alloy frame
- Only for girls so they can choose their preferred type
- Easy to pull handbrake and wide tires for smooth ride
- 6-speed gears help increase your speed control
- Gives the rider the surety of staying in control on bumpy trails and off-road
- No training wheel
- Available in one color only
The Diamondback Lustre 20’s unique design makes controlling the bike superior. This bike is of heat-treated aluminum alloy. The construction and replaceable derailleur hanger make this bike supremely hardy. The fit is ideal and will keep your little girl smiling all through her rides. The Lustre is definitely one of the best kid’s mountain bike out there. Happy riding Miss.
04 Mongoose Exlipse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike
The Exlipse is a budget girls’ MTB. Despite its low price point, it has full suspension and rear shock absorbers. This bike is for kids aged 8-11. The Exlipse is made for first off-road ventures, light trails, and general cruising. The steel frame is sturdy and the bike is on the heavier side. It has a low standover height. A total of 21 gears ensures that you have one for any situation.
An outer chain guard allows protection for the front crankset. The provision for smooth shifting is by the Shimano cassette in the rear. The grip shifters are SRAM, are straightforward and easy for kids to use. The linear side-pull brakes have plenty of stopping power.
The eclipse girl’s mountain bike is a champion and a great everyday ride. The price tag is astonishing as to how low it is. The steel frame makes the bike somewhat heavy. The dual suspension needs more maintenance than a rigid frame.
- We find the Exlipse to be a bike out of the ordinary. Robust, handlebars set low enough for a good fit and a smooth ride that is extraordinary.
- The assembly is super-fast and can be done in 20-30 minutes.
- We are very happy with the geometry of this bike. It makes for a great fit and hence offers great cycling comfort without any aches or fatigue showing up
- We did find a weak spot, the pedals. They come detached after being threaded in
The Raleigh Lily 24 and the Mongoose Exlipse are pretty much identical. The Lily 24 is a hardtail and hence much lighter. The Exlipse has dual suspension and a 21- speed system as compared to the Eva’s 7-speed Shimano Revo gear system. The Raleigh Lily 24 has mechanical disc brakes and the Explise has rim brakes. It is available in one color and the Lily 24 gives you an option of two.
- Size: 24 inches
- Weight: 30 lbs
- Best for ages: 8-11
- Frame & Fork: Steel frame with shock absorber, suspension fork
- Tires: 24”x 1.95”
- Gears: 21 speed (3×7), SRAM shifter, Shimano cassette
- Brake: Rim brakes
- Equipped with gears of high quality
The brakes are powerful
Can be used for off-road riding
- A bit on the heavier side
Available only in pink
The Mongoose Exlipse is every young girls’ delight once she has a ride on it. Why are we not surprised? It has all the appealing features. We did find that they are what they claim to be. The Exlipse is a perfect match that you could entrust your kid with. Why don’t you take it for a test ride? You will be amazed.
05 Diamondback Bicycles Cobra 20 Youth
The Diamondback Cobra is for kids. Ths mountain bike design has young riders, mostly boys in mind. It is ideal for ages 4-9. It features a simple but effective 6-speed drivetrain. In effect, this can take on inclines and flat trails alike. Its large tires are best for dirt trails and sidewalks. You can explore the neighborhood and venture afield.
It has a standover height of 19.5” with the upper tube being only 16”. Shorter riders can grasp the handlebars in comfort. The Cobra has a frame of steel making it able to take abuse but it is heavy. At 2” the tires are slightly wider. They have a knobby profile that can take any terrain and offers great traction. 40 mm is the travel of the suspension fork.
With a double chainguard and only a single crank wheel, shifting is straightforward. All the parts are Shimano and seven gears are enough for almost all hills and speeds.
- We find this back not so suitable for tall riders.
- The handlebars need maintenance by tightening them occasionally.
- We find it convenient that the Cora is shipped almost 85% assembled. The front wheel, seat, and pedals are for you and of course pumping in the air into the tires.
- What was disappointing for us was the handset. It was threaded. Not exactly a deal-breaker but somewhat cheap quality and heavy.
- The tires are, we feel inferior. They are hard and wear down fast. Kids love to skid and the tread gets worn down more than is normal.
- Size: 20 inches
- Weight: 28 lbs
- Best for ages: 4-9, 44” to 54” tall
- Frame & Fork: Hi-Ten Junior Boy’s 20” frame, HL Zoom 20” suspension fork
- Tires: 20”x 2” Jr. ATB Knobby
- Gears: 7 speed (1×7), Shimano drivetrain
- Brake: Alloy rim brakes
- Well build quality
- Not so tricky assembly
- Great tires that can tackle obstacles easily
- The riding style is great for growing kids
- Comparatively inexpensive bike with top-class components
- Excellent Shimano drivetrain for smooth gear shifting
- Trail XC 30mm front suspension fork
- On the heavier side because of the steel frame
- Handle grips and pedal inferior
- No kickstand
After going through what the Cora 20 Youth has to offer, we did come away with much amazement. Having said that, the Cobra comes with its small failings. But once you are aware of the shortcomings, they don’t figure anymore. This bike is tremendous in its own right. We are convinced that given all that this versatile bike has to offer, you will be on a roll should you opt for one. So go ahead and make the kid beam ear to ear.
06 Merax FT323 Mountain Bike
Merax has a singular goal- to design high-quality bikes that give you value for your bucks. The Merax FT323 is an entry-level bike constructed of heat-treated aluminum alloy frame. Hence it is light in weight. The FT323 comes with a dual-suspension build so you can enjoy a comfortable ride on any type of surface. All dips and bumps are smoothened out.
A 21-speed derailleur is added to this bike. Along with the reliable and easily usable shifter, gear shifting is rendered easy as you ride along. The model can support a maximum of 330 pounds. The linear pull-up brakes respond great and you are in full control of speed in case you need to slow down or come to an emergency stop.
The brakes are mechanical disc brakes. Incredible, considering it’s a budget bike. The fork is of an advanced aluminum mechanical lock. The fork travel is 80mm. The warranty is for 1-year.
- We are pretty happy with the overall performance of the Merax FT323. It is amazing at all the top-quality features that they have thrown in for the price.
- The seat is not so comfy. Even after wearing high-end padded shorts, it hurts after a while.
- We observed that when assembling the bike (it comes 85% assembled), there is a tendency to make the bars straight. They should be aiming down a bit or else changing gears becomes difficult, even impossible to shift gears
- We were delighted with the gear system which operated smoothly without a hitch
- Size: 17 inches
- Weight: 33 lbs
- Best for ages: 4-8
- Frame & Fork: 6061 heat-treated aluminum, alloy suspension fork 80mm travel
- Tires: 17”x 1.95”
- Gears: 21-speed, Front Shimano FD-TZ30, Rear Shimano RD-TZ30
- Brake: Mechanical disc
- L lightweight, fast and comes affordable
- Made of 6061 heat-treated aluminum for robustness and durability
- Disc brakes impart higher security on mountain trails
- The maximum weight capacity is 330 pounds
- The assembly is super easy
- Sensitive disc brakes that may need regular care
- Pedal quality isn’t so great
Mountain bikes for kids are a delicate matter which needs the guardian to carefully weigh the merits and demerits of each component before allowing their child to mount it. The Merax FT323 takes the burden out of your hands. It’s a wonderful package of great features that are perfect for a new kid taking off on a bike. You want to check this one out.
07 Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Boys’ Mountain Bike
The Mongoose Ledge is one of the best kid’s mountain bikes. Though officially it is for boys, this versatile bicycle is equally perfect for girls. Equipped with a suspension fork of full steel, this bike can transform rough terrain to an amazingly smooth ride. The Mongoose Ledge features 7 gears which make it a breeze whether you are traveling uphill or downhill.
The Shimano derailleur renders gear shifting fluid and easy. The brakes are powerful. They are the linear pull-type and of alloy, that can stop the bike in a short distance. The 24” wheels of alloy are strong yet lightweight.
The seat is adjustable and sufficiently padded allowing your kid to travel longer distances without getting uncomfortable. The Mongoose Ledge has great looks and is great value for money. The distinctive red and silver color combination, your child can be spotted easily on the road allowing extra safety.
- We observed that the rear suspension does not perform well and cannot be adjusted. It hardly has any give.
- Another disappointment was the kickstand which was too tight to put down even for an adult.
- The seat was a bit disappointing. It may be uncomfortable for long rides.
We also found that the front and rear brakes rub the rims a bit. When you hold the bike off the ground and spin the wheels you can see the contact. It does not make pedaling difficult and in time, will rub down. It is not a big deal.
- Size: 24 inches
- Weight: 35 lbs
- Best for ages: 9-12
- Frame & Fork: Aluminum suspension frame, aluminum suspension fork
- Tires: 20” knobby
- Gears: 21-speed (3 x 7), Shimano cassette
- Brake: Alloy rim bikes
- Offers control, comfort, and traction
- The gears are easy to change
- The brake design is powerful
- Comes with knobby tread, lightweight tires
- Suitable for younger and shorter riders than most bikes of this quality
- Available in many colors
- Comes in only one design
- Fewer gear options than other bikes featured on this list
- Not suitable for taller kids
The Mongoose Ledge 2.1 comes at a surprisingly low cost and this might make one assume that the quality of the bike has been compromised with. The fact, however, is that this bike meets all the requirements of an off-road enthusiast. It has amazing features that one would want of a bike- it is durable, lightweight, a great braking system, and awesome gear shifting. This is one of the best entry-level mountain bikes you can lay your hands on for the price.
08 Diamondback Bicycles Octane Youth
The Octane Youth is another cool bike from Diamondback. You can be confident that you are getting unbeatable quality. The aluminum frame of this bike is the last word in durability. The Octane Youth is lightweight and strong and is good for many years of use. It derives its immense strength from the heat-treated aluminum
A much-loved feature of the Octane is the suspension fork. The 40mm travel soaks up jarring shocks ensuring a smooth ride whatever be the terrain. Bumps and dips are handled with great ease. Your kids will enjoy the comfortable rides.
Kids will be thrilled by the wide gear range provided by the Shimano Tourney 6-speed drivetrain. There is a gear option irrespective of whether you are going uphill, coasting downhill, or are on a smooth or a rough surface. The linear-pull brakes provide reliable stopping power. They are not as advanced as those to be found on adult bikes but are pretty decent and above all simple to use.
The wheelset is of top-quality and like the other components will withstand years of use.
- We quite loved this well built, good looking bike. It has durable components, is a lightweight and great value.
- We found the twist grip a little weak. It is a little difficult for small hands to handle it.
- We feel this is a first-rate bike for entry-level. It is easy for a beginner but also allows the rider ‘to grow’ as his skills improve.
- The derailleur protection bar is a clever idea considering that the derailleur will be exposed to damage considering the inevitable falls in the hands of a kid.
- Brake pads adjustment proved fussy.
- Size: 20 inches
- Weight: 25.7 lbs
- Best for ages: 4-9, 44” to 54” tall
- Frame & Fork: 60616T Aluminum alloy frame, 30mm suspension fork
- Tires: 20” x 2” Jr. ATB Knobby
- Gears: 6-speed (1 x 6), Shimano Tourney
- Brake: Alloy linear-pull
- Durable suspension
- Great Frame
- Simple braking system
- Extra-wide tires
- No kickstand
- No water bottle holder
The Octane Youth is a workhorse. A product of Diamondback, it is verified and a guaranteed buy. The Shimano drivetrain and the extra-wide tires make off-road riding a thrilling pleasure. It is especially suited for those kids starting and offers all safety features so that the little one is not in harm’s way. We recommend this bike as a great buy.
09 Raleigh Bikes Lily 16 Kids Mountain Bike
The Raleigh Lily 16 brings with it total satisfaction for the money spent. This is the girl version of the well-known Raleigh Rowdy. The Lily 16 is mid-priced, is awesome in its built and made to order for the adventurous kids moving up from a 12” or a 14” bike. There are no high-end brand name components but nothing can away from it being a sturdy workhorse and a dream ride for your girl.
The handlebars on the Lily 16 are wide and pretty low. The wide handlebars are not suited for long rides, but can easily be swapped by Lily’s threadless headset. The brakes are V-pull. The drivetrain is a single speed as the age group is around 5 years. The upside is that the child can focus on her cycling and hone her skills. It has a low standover for easy off and on the bike.
The Raleigh Junior mountain saddle and the PVC grips have grown-up style but are proportioned for kids.
Raleigh offers a limited lifetime warranty on the frame. The Company backs its products.
- We were taken aback somewhat at the absence of a coaster brake which is quite unheard of at its price point.
- We observe that the wide straight handlebars though excellent for neighborhood runs can cause fatigue on long rides. Of course, we don’t think you are going to pit your little girl with a 10-mile off-road trip.
- We love the kid-sized levers and that they are so easy to reach
- We are unhappy with the tires. They are wide but the tread is somewhat lame for mountain biking.
- Size: 16 inches
- Weight: 19.7 lbs
- Best for ages: 3-6, 38” to 45” tall
- Frame & Fork: 16” low standover 6061 Aluminum, 16” 6061 aluminum rigid V-mounts
- Tires: 20” x 2.125”
- Gears: Single drive
- Brake: Alloy V-brakes
- Lightweight for the price
- Responsive dual handbrakes
- Available in a wide range of colors
- Great mountain saddle and comfortable handgrips
- No coaster brake
- Wide handlebars
Raleigh is a world-wide brand for cycles. There is little doubt on the guarantee of their bikes, The Eva 16 is no different. It comes with a great choice of useful features which are aimed at ensuring the safety of your child. The Lily 16 assures that your kid will make biking a passion as it is comfortable, with close attention to detail and fitting. Pamper your loved child and get her an Eva 16 fast.
10 Raleigh Bikes Eva 24 Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike
Raleigh needs little introduction. They have been around since Adam and are pioneers in the cycle domain. The aluminum frame makes this a lot lighter than the competition offers. This makes a great deal easier for kids to handle.
The frame design is ideal for mounting and dismounting for 8 to 12-year-olds, their average height having been taken into consideration.
The sturdy fork system can handle almost any surface thrown at it. This can be exploring the neighborhood or hitting gravel and dirt. It has a 50 mm travel that is abundant to ride over all those rocks, roots, and irregular pavements. It has 7 speeds powered by a Shimano Revo shifter, the ideal number for kids to get familiar with using more complex gear systems. It is simple to operate and requires only a twist of the wrist.
The mechanical disc brakes have great power and offer an impressive stopping distance. This keeps youngsters in good control easily. It is available in two colors.
- We’re truly happy with the performance of this bike. It is lightweight, strong, and so easy to operate.
- We much appreciated the ergonomic seat design and the soft grips that further comfort and stability.
- The assembly of the bike is easy. Parts are labeled correctly.
- But we noticed a unique problem. If the pedals are at their maximum height and you make a sharp turn, your shoe will hit the tire. This is because the tire is a bit too close to the pedals. This is a design fault we consider.
- We agree that this bike is a sharp-looking one and is a pride for a girl to own.
- Size: 24 inches
- Weight: 28 lbs
- Best for ages: 8-12, 53” to 61”
- Frame & Fork: Low standover 6061 aluminum fork with SR XCT Suntour suspension fork with 50mm travel
- Tires: 24”x 1.95”
- Gears: 7 speed (1×7), Shimano Revo shifter, Shimano drivetrain
- Brake: Promax mechanical disc brakes
- Rust-resistant and durable aluminum body frame
- A fashionable design for a young girl
- The wheels are a large size which helps maintain balance
- Low standover
- The mechanic brakes give effective safety
- 7-speed Shimano Revo gear shifters give a good shifting system
- More maintenance needs for a dual suspension than a rigid frame model
The Raleigh Eva 24 is a splendid mountain bike for girls. It is a hardtail with all the advantages of one. It is light, inexpensive, and low maintenance. But it has a downside. It can only soak up moderate bumps with the front suspension fork. The Eva 24 is a well turned out mountain bike with a bunch of features. Your little princess will be over the moon.
Best Kids Mountain Bike: Buying Guide
1. Frame material
The frame being the largest part of a kid’s mountain bike makes up the bulk of the overall mass. In the case of children, it is a significant percentage of their body weight. A heavy bike becomes unwieldy, hard to push, and clumsy when riding. Manufacturers strike a balance between sturdiness and weight by using aluminum or aluminum alloys as they are light yet strong materials. The flexibility is good and it can dampen bumps. It is lightweight, resistant to corrosion, and affordable. Steel is stronger but heavy and is seldom the choice of construction material for kid’s bikes.
The best geometry is defined by what type of riding your child will be doing as well as the terrain that will be tackled.
a) XC- For flat trails and XC, which is cross-country biking, you should look for steeper heads and seat angles, say around 65° to 67°. This will help with longer climbs and make them feel more stable and planted as they cruise the trail.
b) Downhill- When the terrain starts dipping shaping into a steep descent, you want to look for lower numbers in the head angle, something in the low sixties. Shorter chainstays, the height of the lower bottom bracket, and lower standover numbers are also in the reckoning. This will boost your kids’ confidence by helping them to maneuver the bike easily on jumps, steeps, and the rougher sections of the trail.
c) Bar Width and Stem Length- One more thing you would want to look at is the stem length and bar width. Shorter stems and wider bars will give your kid greater control and steering feedback. As your child goes you can get a longer stem and save some of those greenbacks instead of going in for a new bike.
Wheel size is how kids’ bikes are marketed. In general, guidance for age ranges and wheel size are given in the table below.
|Wheel Size||Age Range|
Before making a but, the child’s inseam should be measured. Use this number to match the manufacturer’s inseam recommendation for each bike.
The right frame size is paramount for an MTB. If you are in-between sizes and plan on doing some rough riding, choose the smaller size instead of the larger size so you can bail out if the situation so requires. You should not be too high stretched up or humped too low and cramped. You should be able to place your foot on the ground. Going for a test ride would be the best.
To arrive at the right seat tube length, take your inseam and multiply it by 0.67. Then you subtract 4”. The number you get is the correct frame size.
Top Tube Length = (Inseam X 0.67) – 4
Before hitting the trail, you want to make sure that the tires have an extra grip on them. For those whose bike has a rigid fork or if need more cushioning, choose a high-volume tire. The so-called ‘mid-fat’ tires are wider than the conventional tires, they 2.5 inches or so wide.
With more air between the rim and the tread, they have ‘squish’ or the capability to smooth out your ride. If your favorite trail has an abundance of thorns or obstacles that cause a tire puncture. tubeless or tubeless-ready mountain bikes are a good bet. With the tubeless-ready rims, you can easily convert it to tubeless. A tubeless tire will prevent flats and you don’t need too much air pressure.
6. Suspension Fork
Rigid- A rigid fork is unconventional but is not unheard of in a kids’ bike. For kids who are beginning on mountain bikes who would probably be on a gentle flowing trail, the minimal damping that fork provides is negated by the fork’s weight itself. Kids, being light, do not get the same amount of advantages of the suspension fork. Rigid forks can be of help by teaching kids how to get a feel of the trail and rectify mistakes quickly.
Fork Internals- Suspension forks are either air-sprung or coil sprung. The latter are cheaper and are found on low to mid-range bikes. An air-sprung fork is a heap better. You can adjust the pressure depending on your kids’weight. They have more rebound and damping capability. Usually, the impart a plush feel. Hence air-sprung suspensions are ideal for downhill or aggressive riding.
Getting your kid the right MTB depends on one important factor – weight. The less heavy the bike, the better. More so if sustained uphill pedaling is what you expect your kid to be doing. The lightest are hardtail bikes. On the heavier side are full suspension bikes more so with extended travel on downhill-type mountain bikes. Based on the nature of the terrain, your choice of a bike should be arrived at.
Many think a full suspension is a route to take for the best results. A full-suspension works wonders for confidence building but they are weighty. A couple of pounds can make a great difference to a kid of 65 lbs. The truth is kids are light in weight and don’t require as much suspension as heavier and older riders. Lightweight kids will float through it all, so the consideration of a hardtail or even a bike without any suspension is a possible consideration. The skill level comes into place here.
Shifting can be puzzling for a little kid. If this process was to be simplified, the young ones could have a better time on the trail. For kids on a 16” or 20” who are learning the ropes, and will be doing flat trails, it may be a good idea to skip gears and go with a rigid bike having a single speed. When they are ripe for gears it is best to stick to a rear-set gear.
Grip shifters work well for smaller hands but for more aggressive riders, trigger shifters are a must.
Trigger shifters are perfect as they permit kids to shift without placing additional torque on the handlebar. If there is a lot of climbing they would be doing, then you could look for something with a front derailleur. Ix transmissions are much improved and boast a pretty wide range of gearing.
a) V-Pull- Especially on 16 in. and 20 in. bikes, the little ones will be okay with Mini-V brakes. Most mountain bikes come with good Mini-V brakes that sport adjustable reach and have small levers for small fingers. So you need to pick a bike with adjustable reach and small brake levers. It won’t work out if the kid is at full reach and using all four fingers at full extension to get at the levers. Mini-V brakes are inexpensive.
b) Mechanical Disc Brakes- These are a stage higher in functioning efficiency offering easier brake pull and extra stopping power than the Mini-V brakes.
c) Hydraulic Disc Brakes- These are the best performing but on the expensive side. They are easy to pull and have good stopping power. Kids who are more aggressive doing downhill runs will love these brakes. Hydraulic disc brakes are less demanding on the hands and one can ride longer. Kids will ride faster confidently knowing that they can slow down easier and faster.
How does color matter? If that is how you feel about your kids’ bike, dump it quickly. Kids have their viewpoints too and care about what their bike looks like, no different from you. When you do close in on the right bike, let the kid pick his choice. Will pump him up to get out on the trail and ride away to his heart’s content.
When you are aiming to invest in the best kids mountain bike, first figure out which is the best bike for you. Weigh the options and decide what is important to you. High quality, low prices, or overall value for your money.
The options you need to consider are your riding style, your riding preferences, and above all, your riding experience. If you are a new entrant to the world of mountain biking, spending thousands of dollars on an MTB makes little sense as you will not be pushing into tough terrain. Your kid will outgrow it anyway. We recommend keeping it under $500.
- 50-$100: Simple bikes with less cushioning. They are not very sturdy and the bearings are not smooth. Kids would find them difficult rides.
- $100-$200: These are aluminum alloy, aluminum, or steel. They have basic features of high quality. However, the material, steel, makes them heavy.
- $200 and above: Bikes in this category have ideal designs and are mostly made of aluminum. They are available in a range of colors. Being durable, they come with top-quality parts like branded brakes and rear derailleurs.
The price range in Our Top 10 Product List varies between $290 to $700 which encompasses the ‘under $500 principle’.
Care & Maintenance Tips
Kids’ bikes are expensive. Their longevity can be enhanced by regular maintenance. They can be passed down from sibling to sibling once your kid outgrows their MTB. Basic bike maintenance is pretty easy and you and your kid should do it together ideally so that he can learn.
Before each ride
- Brakes- Give them a good squeeze to make sure they in order. In an idle condition, there should be no contact with the rims.
- Tires- They should be topped up. It makes for easier riding. The recommended pressure is mentioned on the side of the tire.
- Quick releases- A quick-release is a mechanism that permits unshipping the wheels swiftly. If your child’s bike has these, make sure that they are securely tightened.
- Bolts- Check for looseness of bolts and other parts.
- Horn or bell- Check for proper working and that it is loud enough.
- Lights- Check for proper functioning and that the batteries are charged.
After each ride
- After riding in rain or mud, give the bike a complete rubdown.
- If it is sand you have been running through, give the axles a cleaning to keep them spinning smoothly.
- Lube the chain with good chain oil to prevent rust and keep it moving smoothly. Don’t dunk it with oil, just a coating, or else it will accumulate more dust and grime.
Every Few Months
- Give the bike a good wash down. Use a toothbrush to get the gunk off the chain and gears.
- Once the washing is done, lubricate all the moving parts with bike lubricant to keep them ticking along. Don’t miss out to re-oil the chain.
- The bike needs a thorough close-up inspection. Check the brake pads, the frames for cracks, and smooth gear shifting. The handlebars should align with the front forks, the seat should be secure and of the correct height. A good idea is to take it to a bike shop for a complete professional check-up.
Mountain Bike Riding & Safety Tips for Kids
Freedom is one thing that kids get most out or their bikes. They are the navigators cruising around town or going off-road on mountain trails. Bikes are not all about fun alone. They teach the kid reflexes, tune their motor skills, learn to be independent, and keep them physically active. Most parents tend to view mountain biking as a dangerous pastime but it is a great deal safer than city roads with all that motor traffic. Here are some tips for you to pass on your child for a safe ride.
- Buy the right bike for your kid
The bike should fit well. Do not make the mistake of buying a bigger size with the idea that he will grow into it. Riding an oversized bike is uncomfortable and is likely to cause injury. The child should be able to stand over the bike without touching the frame.
Your child does not require a fancy 21-speed bike. A single-speed bike will more than suffice. Elaborate gear systems can follow at a later stage. A bike with both coaster and hand brakes is a great addition for kids to get used to both and choose accordingly.
- Be familiar with the mountain trail before taking out your kid on it
The mountain trail you intend to take with your kid should be suitable. You don’t want your kid to come upon unexpected and potentially dangerous situations. Best the trail is cleared of debris and is relatively flat.
- Frequent bike checks should be conducted
Whenever your child is about to take off on a ride, check:
- Air pressure is enough
- The brakes function well
- The chain is in good condition
Involve the child in these ‘before use’ checks so he gets to learn the basics.
- Bike rides with your kid are the best way to train him
One, you get to spend active time with your child and two, you can keep an eye on his safety. On these outings pass on important tips to your child like donning a helmet, checking both sides of a road before crossing, and exercising care in choosing bicycle paths. The kid will pick on.
- No matter what, wear a helmet
A helmet is the most important gear for your child to don. The law requires anybody under the age of 16 to wear one. The head is a sensitive part and head injuries don’t bode well. Of course, it starts with you as an example for the child. Let him pick his own helmet so that he is more pliant to wearing it.
- The 4 Core Riding Basics
- Without swerving, your child should be able to maintain a straight line.
- You should be able to look back for oncoming traffic without losing balance
- Your kid should know the use of brakes to stop
- Your child should have speed control especially going downhill
- Planning ahead is an important lesson
It is easy to get lost in your surroundings on a bike outing. Kids should be aware of their surroundings at all times. Teach the kid to look ahead, plan on where they are going, and before embarking on a route, maneuvering it should be foremost in their minds.
Wrapping It Up
Only the best kids mountain bikes can let the little guys and gals savor the great outdoors in style and comfort. The bikes we reviewed here deliver exceptional performance, the best bang for the buck. Most parents will arrive at a decision based on the price but this should not be the case. At the end of the day, you will only be robbing your kid of a memorable and comfortable ride.
In this discussion, we have tried to address a wide range of topics aimed at making it pretty easy for you to narrow down your selection to something that fits the bill. Walking into a bike shop and picking a bike randomly off the shelf will spell disaster. Please do go through our review and other options on the net before you jump to any conclusion. Your kid is precious. So, do take the trouble of an educated choice. Good luck.
1. Should I put training wheels on a kid’s mountain bike?
Ans: It is a bad idea to put training wheels on a mountain bike. A young mountain bike aspirant must be capable of steering and balancing without training wheels before moving on to a mountain bike. A new bike brings along its challenges such as changing gears. It can prove daunting for a child who is as yet unsure of riding with two wheels.
2. Are girls and boys bikes different?
Ans: This is determined by the manufacturer. Many kid’s bikes are unisex except that those designed for girls have a step-through frame. This is mainly for handling skirts. It makes mounting the bike easier which is a great boon for kids regardless of gender. For children, purchasing a gender-specific bike is not necessary; their bodies have not developed to such a stage. Of course, color is a different matter. Girls go for pinks, and boys, black or blue.
3. What size of a kid’s mountain bike do I get?
Ans: Going by wheel dia., it is simple to match your child’s age to a MTB. As their age increases, they will need to have their bike also replaced. Coming to standover height first comes the inseam measurement, then and add one inch. An inch over the upper bar will allow your kid to stand with ease over the bike.
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4. Are gears necessary for a kid’s mountain bike?
Ans: Speaking generally, yes. As a thumb rule, children are ready to tackle gears at the age of 8-10. Your child is ready for gears when he is ready to take to off-road routes. Tackling different inclines and surfaces calls for different gear settings, so they are pretty much key in an off-road bike. Balancing properly, steering effectively, and being comfortable with the brakes are prerequisites. The basics must be mastered before trying them with gears.
5. How long does it take for a child to outgrow their bike?
Ans: Depending on the structure and metabolism, growth spurts, and size, children lean towards outgrowing their bicycles every year to maybe two and a half years on average. The two variables being bike and age size, you really can’t foretell.
6. Is a larger size advisable to allow for growing room?
Ans: It’s like clothes and shoes. Children outgrow things faster than you would like. When it comes to something expensive as a mountain bike, it pinches. A child is uncomfortable in oversized clothes. Getting him an oversized bike is first of all unsafe. Secondly, you will be denting his confidence. Especially in the case of an MTB, it should be a perfect fit so that he can ride and handle it well.
7. What type of bike is better for my child – suspension or rigid fork?
Ans: Suspension forks are the preferred choice. Unlike rigid forks, they are allowed to travel a few inches up and down as the bike rolls absorbing shocks from the terrain. Your child’s body is protected thus. Suspension forks also have control over the topography. Rigid forks do have their advantages. They have no moving parts, are reliable, lighter and replacement is easier.