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LAST UPDATED: November 27, 2019

Best Kids’ Mountain Bikes: Choose the Right Wheels for Your Child

Get your children out and about on the trails with these top kids’ mountain bikes

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PUBLISHED ON November 27, 2019

There comes a time in every parent’s life when they have to choose a bike on behalf of their child. With wide wheels and proper suspension, a dedicated mountain bike might be the most suitable choice, even if your child currently has no interest in heading out on the trails. On the other hand, if they’re going to be flying down mountains, it’s even more important that you make an informed decision. Check out our top picks and advice on getting the best kids’ mountain bikes below.

  • Best Overall
    Schwinn Koen Bike with SmartStart Frame
    Summary
    Summary
    Durable steel-framed bike designed specifically with children in mind and kid-size proportions for comfort and ease of use. Includes a fully covered chain for increased safety and is available in a range of fully-adjustable sizes to fit all ages and heights. Includes a lifetime warranty.
    Pros
    Pros
    It comes in three different neutral colors (black, blue, and red) to suit all tastes. Features both rear coaster and front caliper brakes for additional stopping power and increased peace of mind.
    Cons
    Cons
    Package does not include the allen wrench required to complete assembly. Also, the bike is relatively heavy for its size.
  • Best Overall
    Schwinn Koen Bike with SmartStart Frame
  • Best Value
    Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike
    Summary
    Summary
    A hardtail mountain bike with six-speed Shimano gears, linear-pull hand brakes and a durable 13-inch steel frame designed for children aged five to nine. Handlebar shape encourages upright riding to reduce back strain, and Kolo 1200 suspension fork provides a smoother ride. Includes lifetime warranty.
    Pros
    Pros
    Available in two different colors (solar flare gloss pink and metallic cyan) to suit both boys and girls. Its 1.95-inch wide tires are suitable for aggressive riding on both pavement and more rugged terrain.
    Cons
    Cons
    Instructions in the owner’s manual cover several different bicycles, which can make assembly difficult. Also, the bike’s saddle is particularly uncomfortable. 
  • Best Value
    Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike
  • Honorable Mention
    Diamondback Cobra Youth Mountain Bike
    Summary
    Summary
    Steel-framed mountain bike in orange with Hl Zoom 40mm travel fork for improved suspension, six-speed Shimano drivetrain for helping on hills, and fat tires for high performance on all types of terrains. The 20-inch wheels make this an ideal fit for kids aged four to nine or those between 44 and 55 inches tall.
    Pros
    Pros
    Easy to assemble with RideReady status, which means brakes and tires are all sorted. The only assembly required is attaching the front wheel, seat, and pedals. Brake levers are adjustable for each individual child.
    Cons
    Cons
    The bike frame is much smaller than wheel size and the product description suggests, and it’s unlikely to fit kids who are taller than average. The tires that come with the bike reportedly wear down very quickly.
  • Honorable Mention
    Diamondback Cobra Youth Mountain Bike

    There comes a time in every parent’s life when they have to choose a bike on behalf of their child. With wide wheels and proper suspension, a dedicated mountain bike might be the most suitable choice, even if your child currently has no interest in heading out on the trails. On the other hand, if they’re going to be flying down mountains, it’s even more important that you make an informed decision. Check out our top picks and advice on getting the best kids’ mountain bikes below.

    Best Kids’ Mountain Bikes Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    Built to match your child's body type, this bike with a steel frame is available in different fully-adjustable sizes to fit all heights and ages. It has kid-size proportions—like smaller grip diameters and a narrower pedal position—for a more comfortable riding experience. 


    To enhance control, the durable frame is lightweight. The bike is equipped with front caliper brakes and a rear coaster brake for additional braking power. The training wheels included will help your child quickly learn to cycle. 


    Schwinn gives a lifetime warranty for the bike, so you can be confident about your purchase. You will love the fully-covered chain that ensures your child stays safe as they ride. 


    However, the bike has a few downsides. It is quite heavy and the Allen wrench you need to assemble it is not included in the package.

    Best Value

    Equipped with six-speed Shimano gears, this hardtail mountain bike is designed for children aged 5-9. It has a long-lasting, 13-inch steel frame and its handlebar design decreases back and shoulder strain by supporting upright riding. 


    The linear-pull hand brakes deliver dependable, consistent performance when needed. The bike efficiently transfers pedal power, resulting in better acceleration on both straight and raised surfaces. The wide tires offer good traction in both dry and wet conditions. Krayton grips make longer rides enjoyable and the ATB-type resin pedals are very responsive.


    The front suspension easily handles uneven terrain, while the Kolo 1200 fork absorbs shocks for a smoother ride. The bike comes with a limited lifetime warranty. 


    However, its saddle can be quite uncomfortable. Also, the manual covers numerous bicycles, and this can make assembly challenging.

    Honorable Mention

    Featuring a durable steel frame, this Diamondback mountain bike is perfect for young, inexperienced riders. It comes with a six-speed Shimano drivetrain with a trigger shifter for hilly terrain. It is designed to change as your child grows, adjusting to more adventurous rides. Its 40mm HL Zoom travel fork improves comfort, control, and traction on rooty or rocky terrain. 


    The bike is ideal for children whose height is between 44 and 55 inches (approximately aged 4-9). Its 20-inch wheels and fat tires enhance performance on all kinds of terrain. It’s a great bike for a child who loves to explore beyond the neighborhood.


    This is a RideReady bike, which means it’s easy to assemble. You only need to attach the seat, wheels, and pedals. If more than one kid uses the bike, you can effortlessly adjust the brake levers for each child.


    However, the bike’s frame is a lot smaller than the wheel size, so it may not be ideal for tall kids. Also, the tires tend to wear out very quickly.

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    Benefits of Kids’ Mountain Bikes

    • Boosts confidence. Mountain biking can enhance a kid’s riding skills and build their self-confidence. Overcoming the challenges in the sport encourages children to try out new things and believe they can do anything.
    • Optimized physical fitness. Mountain biking helps kids to burn extra calories, increase muscular strength, and improve their balance and agility. It’s a good physical activity that exercises all core muscle groups without stressing the bones and joints. 
    • Improves mood. Cycling is one of the best ways to improve mood. Cycling outdoors in natural surroundings is good for kids, as it reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Spending time in nature lowers stress and reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression.

    Types of Kids’ Mountain Bikes 

    Full Suspension

    These are perfect for rugged terrain and off-road adventures as they offer greater control and extra comfort. They reduce fatigue on joints and muscles—even when you’re riding at a high speed. Full suspension bikes feature a suspension fork with 100-180 mm of travel. They provide more traction, resulting in a better ride. The bikes are equipped with both front and rear suspensions and are costlier than hardtail mountain bikes. 

    Hardtail

    Also known as semi-rigid bikes, they have suspension only at the front to decrease upper limb fatigue. They are built to refine a kid’s riding skills, no matter their riding level. The bikes are lighter, more durable, and feature simple designs. Hardtail mountain bikes are a great choice if you are on a limited budget, purchasing your kid’s first bike, or looking for a multipurpose bike.

    Rigid

    These are the simplest mountain bikes as they have no suspension. They are easy to maintain because they don’t need regular servicing. The bikes don't compress under load, and their rigid front-end fork offers accurate and more predictable steering, enhancing a kid’s riding skills. Rigid bikes are best for kids who love riding in any weather and those concerned about their weight. They are ideal for very smooth trails and wide-open terrain.

    Top Brands

    Schwinn

    Ignaz Schwinn, a mechanical engineer, established the Schwinn Bicycle Company in Chicago, Illinois, back in 1895. Its mission was to create bicycles that encouraged people to attain the freedom and confidence that came with a bike ride. Schwinn considers learning to ride a bike an adventurous rite of passage. One of its best-selling bikes is the Schwinn Elm Girl's Bike

    Diamondback

    This company was founded by Western States Imports in 1977 as a BMX brand in Newbury Park, California. Now a huge bicycle brand, it’s located in Kent, Washington, and makes bikes for people of all ages. The company is passionate about cycling and cycling products. It focuses on continuous innovation and strives to offer the best biking experience. The Tess Mountain Bike is one of its popular products. 

    Raleigh

    Raleigh was founded in 1887 when Sir Frank Bowden bought shares in a small bicycle company located on Raleigh Street. He wanted everyone to discover the simple happiness that came with riding a bike. The Raleigh Bicycle Company was founded in 1890 and is among the oldest bicycle companies in the world. Its bicycles are created with one purpose: to make riding fun. One of its best bikes is the Raleigh Bikes Rowdy Kids Bike

    Mongoose

    Mongoose bicycles were originally manufactured and sold by BMX Products LLC. Skip Hess formed the company in 1974 in Simi Valley, California. It is currently owned by Pacific Cycle and has specialized in manufacturing mountain bikes. Mongoose makes two different types of bikes: entry-level bikes (for those who are just getting started) and high-end bikes. One popular Mongoose bike is the Mongoose Exlipse Mountain Bike for Kids.

    Kids’ Mountain Bikes Pricing

    • $50-$100: These are simple bikes with a little cushioning. They are not very durable and their bearings don’t roll smoothly. They are difficult for kids to ride.
    • $100-$200: These bikes are made of steel, aluminum, or aluminum alloy. They are of good quality and have all the basic features. However, because of their material, they tend to be heavy.
    • $200 and above: The bikes in this category are typically made of aluminum and have a unique design. They come in a variety of colors. They are highly durable and have high-quality parts, like rear derailleurs and branded brakes.

    Key Features

    Frame Material

    The material used to make a bike’s frame determines its price. It has an impact on the weight, durability, strength, and aesthetics of the bike. The best kids’ mountain bikes are made from aluminum or steel. Aluminum bikes are durable, lighter, and almost rustproof. They are also more expensive. Steel bikes are inexpensive, strong, and also durable. 

    Gears

    There are different types of bike gears: old school (3×9), the more popular 2×10, and SRAM’s revolutionary XX1 1×11. A single-speed gear is best for a kid who is beginning to cycle, as it simplifies the biking experience. It has a good pedal ratio and allows your kid to pedal effortlessly. As your kid’s riding proficiency improves, you can increase the gears to seven or eight. A 20-inch bike can have as many as 21 gears. 

    Brakes

    There are two main types of brakes found on kids’ bikes: coaster brakes (pedal brakes) and hand brakes. The coaster brake is activated when the rider pedals backwards. Hand brakes are a lot easier for kids to control and enhance the riding experience. Coaster brakes can be frustrating as most kids pedal backwards when learning.

    Other Considerations

    • Tires. Kids’ mountain bike tires come in three types: clincher, tubeless, and tubular. Clincher tires have beads that hook onto the wheels with clincher-type rims. Tubeless tires don’t have a traditional inner tube, they attach themselves directly to the wheel rim. Tubular tires have no inner tube and are often glued to the rim.
    • Weight. This is determined by the bike’s size, the tire type, and the material used to make the frame. The heavier a bike is, the harder it is for a child to control, which means they won’t enjoy the experience. Bike weight is increased by large tires and additions such as suspensions and gears. A good kid’s mountain bike should not weigh more than 22 pounds.
    • Seat Height. Confirm the bike’s lowest and highest seat height and the standover height before purchasing it. The minimum seat height for kids’ bikes is 25 cm (or 10 inches) while the maximum is 100 cm (40 inches). To check whether your child can comfortably fit on the bike, let them stand over it. When they sit on the bike, their feet should slightly touch the ground.

    Best Kids’ Mountain Bikes Reviews & Recommendations 2020

    Best Overall

    Built to match your child's body type, this bike with a steel frame is available in different fully-adjustable sizes to fit all heights and ages. It has kid-size proportions—like smaller grip diameters and a narrower pedal position—for a more comfortable riding experience. 


    To enhance control, the durable frame is lightweight. The bike is equipped with front caliper brakes and a rear coaster brake for additional braking power. The training wheels included will help your child quickly learn to cycle. 


    Schwinn gives a lifetime warranty for the bike, so you can be confident about your purchase. You will love the fully-covered chain that ensures your child stays safe as they ride. 


    However, the bike has a few downsides. It is quite heavy and the Allen wrench you need to assemble it is not included in the package.

    Schwinn Koen Bike with SmartStart Frame}
    Amazon

    Built to match your child's body type, this bike with a steel frame is available in different fully-adjustable sizes to fit all heights and ages. It has kid-size proportions—like smaller grip diameters and a narrower pedal position—for a more comfortable riding experience. 


    To enhance control, the durable frame is lightweight. The bike is equipped with front caliper brakes and a rear coaster brake for additional braking power. The training wheels included will help your child quickly learn to cycle. 


    Schwinn gives a lifetime warranty for the bike, so you can be confident about your purchase. You will love the fully-covered chain that ensures your child stays safe as they ride. 


    However, the bike has a few downsides. It is quite heavy and the Allen wrench you need to assemble it is not included in the package.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Best Value

    Equipped with six-speed Shimano gears, this hardtail mountain bike is designed for children aged 5-9. It has a long-lasting, 13-inch steel frame and its handlebar design decreases back and shoulder strain by supporting upright riding. 


    The linear-pull hand brakes deliver dependable, consistent performance when needed. The bike efficiently transfers pedal power, resulting in better acceleration on both straight and raised surfaces. The wide tires offer good traction in both dry and wet conditions. Krayton grips make longer rides enjoyable and the ATB-type resin pedals are very responsive.


    The front suspension easily handles uneven terrain, while the Kolo 1200 fork absorbs shocks for a smoother ride. The bike comes with a limited lifetime warranty. 


    However, its saddle can be quite uncomfortable. Also, the manual covers numerous bicycles, and this can make assembly challenging.

    <strong>Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike</strong>}
    Amazon

    Equipped with six-speed Shimano gears, this hardtail mountain bike is designed for children aged 5-9. It has a long-lasting, 13-inch steel frame and its handlebar design decreases back and shoulder strain by supporting upright riding. 


    The linear-pull hand brakes deliver dependable, consistent performance when needed. The bike efficiently transfers pedal power, resulting in better acceleration on both straight and raised surfaces. The wide tires offer good traction in both dry and wet conditions. Krayton grips make longer rides enjoyable and the ATB-type resin pedals are very responsive.


    The front suspension easily handles uneven terrain, while the Kolo 1200 fork absorbs shocks for a smoother ride. The bike comes with a limited lifetime warranty. 


    However, its saddle can be quite uncomfortable. Also, the manual covers numerous bicycles, and this can make assembly challenging.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

    Honorable Mention

    Featuring a durable steel frame, this Diamondback mountain bike is perfect for young, inexperienced riders. It comes with a six-speed Shimano drivetrain with a trigger shifter for hilly terrain. It is designed to change as your child grows, adjusting to more adventurous rides. Its 40mm HL Zoom travel fork improves comfort, control, and traction on rooty or rocky terrain. 


    The bike is ideal for children whose height is between 44 and 55 inches (approximately aged 4-9). Its 20-inch wheels and fat tires enhance performance on all kinds of terrain. It’s a great bike for a child who loves to explore beyond the neighborhood.


    This is a RideReady bike, which means it’s easy to assemble. You only need to attach the seat, wheels, and pedals. If more than one kid uses the bike, you can effortlessly adjust the brake levers for each child.


    However, the bike’s frame is a lot smaller than the wheel size, so it may not be ideal for tall kids. Also, the tires tend to wear out very quickly.

    <strong>Diamondback Cobra Youth Mountain Bike</strong>}
    Amazon

    Featuring a durable steel frame, this Diamondback mountain bike is perfect for young, inexperienced riders. It comes with a six-speed Shimano drivetrain with a trigger shifter for hilly terrain. It is designed to change as your child grows, adjusting to more adventurous rides. Its 40mm HL Zoom travel fork improves comfort, control, and traction on rooty or rocky terrain. 


    The bike is ideal for children whose height is between 44 and 55 inches (approximately aged 4-9). Its 20-inch wheels and fat tires enhance performance on all kinds of terrain. It’s a great bike for a child who loves to explore beyond the neighborhood.


    This is a RideReady bike, which means it’s easy to assemble. You only need to attach the seat, wheels, and pedals. If more than one kid uses the bike, you can effortlessly adjust the brake levers for each child.


    However, the bike’s frame is a lot smaller than the wheel size, so it may not be ideal for tall kids. Also, the tires tend to wear out very quickly.

    Click Here to See Prices on Amazon

     Tips

    • Measure your kid’s inseam to ensure you get a proper fit. Anything too big is dangerous, and anything too small will quickly become unusable. Pick a bicycle at the lower end of the recommended size range so that it’s comfortable but can be adjusted up as they grow.
    • When it comes to mountain bikes, suspension and quality are key. A good air spring and high-quality damping, for example, is preferable to extra travel. We recommend checking the specifications of the forks and shock absorbers. You can get exact model numbers from the bike manufacturer’s website. 
    • If you know your child will be using the bike for mountain trails, then make sure you’ve got them fully outfitted. Mountain bike helmets are stronger and provide more head coverage than standard all-purpose helmets and usually offer a peak which, combined with glasses, will help protect the eyes and face from debris and flying rocks. A backpack is always useful, and you might also want dedicated shoes and/or pedals.

    FAQs

    Q: What’s the best wheel size for children’s mountain bikes?

    A: In general, larger wheels are more stable because they handle bumps better than small wheels. They are also more efficient because less pedaling is required to keep the bike moving. Choose a bike with the biggest wheels available for your kid’s height.

    Q: Will I need tools to adjust my child’s bike?

    A: A basic bike tool kit is always handy for tightening bolts that may come loose after an epic, bouncy ride across the trails, but it’s not absolutely necessary. Height adjustments usually just involve the seat, which is affixed to the bike by a clamp and can be moved by hand.

    Q: At what age can my child start mountain biking?

    A: This depends more on how big your kid is rather than how old he or she is. Based on average heights, a child between the ages of 10 and 13 should be fine on a mountain bike. However, as long as they have a suitably designed and properly fitted bike, there shouldn’t be a problem with younger children joining in as well. 

    Final Thoughts

    The well-proportioned Schwinn Koen Bike with SmartStart Frame is our best overall kid’s mountain bike. The Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike, available in blue and pink, is our best value pick.