The Best Girls' Bikes (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021
From princesses to daredevils, these girls' bikes will fit riders of all ages and abilities
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BY Brian Smyth / LAST UPDATED ON December 8, 2020
Learning to ride a bike is a rite of passage, an essential step to every girl’s growth as an individual. While bike riding is no longer as ubiquitous among American adults, kids from sea to shining sea roam their neighborhoods, local trails, and empty plots of land in bikes of all shapes and sizes, and plenty of girls make a point to give the boys a run for their money. To do so, every girl should be equipped with the right bike to do the job. Whether she plans to cruise downtown with friends and family, tackle tough mountain trails, or master freestyling at the local bike park, finding a girl’s perfect bike is far from impossible. So, get her set to show off that girl power!
The single-speed Schwinn Jasmine uses a flexible BMX frame, attractive styling, and durable parts to offer girls a bike capable of taking them wherever their dreams inspire them.
- Versatile BMX frame
- Attractive styling and accessories
- Two colors
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Lacks model-specific instructions
- No kickstand or reflectors
- Occasional fit and finish issues
The single-speed Schwinn Jasmine uses a kid-friendly design and removable training wheels to make any young girl’s growth as a rider easy and rewarding.
- Schwinn’s SmartStart uses child-specific proportions
- Removable training wheels
- Quick-release seat
- Limited lifetime warranty
- No kickstand or reflectors
- No instructions specific to the model
- Occasional fit and finish issues
This single-speed Guardian Ethos was designed with safety in mind, incorporating the company’s unique SureStop braking system, and its BMX/mountain bike hybrid frame lets girls go almost anywhere.
- SureStop brake design reduces braking distance
- Versatile, step-through hybrid frame
- Guardian offers excellent customer service
- Relatively expensive
- Lacks reflectors
- Some may be disappointed in the lack of coaster brakes
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Benefits of Girls' Bikes
- Feminine styling. A girl uses her bike for more than mere transportation. Her bike is an expression of her personality, an extension of herself, and with so many different colors and styles from which to choose, finding the perfect form of expression takes little to no customization.
- Theft deterrent. Let’s be real for a moment. Boys will ride just about any bike they can get their hands on, which can be a challenge and frustration for the girl around him. On the other hand, no boy in his right mind would be caught dead riding a girl’s bike, especially not a pink one decked with “Flower Power” decals!
- Explore the world. As with anyone else, girls love their bikes, relying on their trusty two-wheelers to learn, see, and try new things. With a bike of her own, a girl can venture around the park, meet some friends for ice cream, or tear up the trail all without the need for a driver’s license.
Types of Girls' Bikes
BMX and BMX style bikes are the most common design on the kids bike market. They feature a single-speed drivetrain and are available with coaster brakes, hand brakes, or both. These tough, versatile bikes are great for learning how to ride, casual cruising, trail riding, and performing jumps and tricks.
Cruiser bikes are a throwback to yesteryear, as this design was most prevalent throughout most of the 20th century both at home and abroad. These bikes most often use a single-speed drivetrain, although a few models for older girls and teens may be available in multi-speed variants. Cruisers traditionally rely on coaster brakes, but some modern takes may leverage hand brakes. These bikes tend to be a little heavy and feature an upright riding position. They often include under-seat springs for added comfort and wider tires for use on smooth, flat surfaces, such as pavement, boardwalks, and sandy beaches.
Mountain bikes are the off-road rigs of the bike world. This design almost always uses a multi-speed drivetrain and dual hand brakes to maximize speed control on rough, uneven terrain. Mountain bikes often include some kind of suspension system with shocks integrated into the fork and/or springs built into the frame itself. Mountain bikes use a fairly versatile design, but like a truck-based four-wheeler, it is not the most comfortable setup available.
Firmstrong was born in Hermosa Beach, Calif. to provide people with a new, easy-going way to see and explore the world around them. The company operates out of its original hometown, and today sells bikes, electric bikes, and countless bike accessories. The Firmstrong 16-Inch Mini Bella is reminiscent of the company’s original commitment to building cruisers.
Huffy saw its start in 1892 when George Huffman began retooling the Davis Sewing Machine Company to help fuel America’s new bicycle obsession. Today, the Ohio-based company produces bicycles for all ages and activities, like the Huffy 20-Inch Go Girl, electric bicycles, ride-on toys, and bike accessories, including helmets, tools, saddles, and more.
Mongoose first saw the light of day when in 1974, Skip Hess dreamed up a durable, cast magnesium wheel for hardcore BMX riding. Today, the Southern California biking powerhouse (originally named BMX Products, Inc.) produces bikes of all kinds, like the Mongoose 24-Inch Girls Exlipse, scooters, and helmets, although BMX and freestyling still make up the company's heart and soul.
In 1895, German immigrant Ignaz Schwinn partnered with Adolf Arnold to begin producing bicycles in Chicago under the name “World Bicycles.” Throughout its history, Schwinn has powered champions and record holders with its dedication to innovation and quality. Today, the company specializes in producing bicycles for all ages and activities, such as the Schwinn 16-Inch Jasmine, and electric bikes.
Girls' Bikes Pricing
- Under $100: Bikes in this price range tend to be small, lack extras, or lack quality. For extremely young riders or those who like bare-bones options, this is where to look.
- $100 to $200: These bikes tend to hit the sweet spot. They offer decent quality alongside plenty of desirable extras and the occasional (usually minor) innovation.
- $200 and up: These bikes offer top-tier quality, plenty of options, and, on occasion, their fair shares of unique designs or innovations.
A bike’s braking system matters more than any other part of the two-wheeled contraption, and when buying a bike for your little princess, compromising is not an option. When shopping, be sure to learn if a particular bicycle uses coaster brakes, hand brakes, or a combination of the two. Matching this information with the knowledge and skills of the bike’s future rider can save you the drama and cost of a broken arm.
A bicycle’s drivetrain is one of its most important features. Without it, a bike turns into a tangle of tubing with some wheels attached. Single-speed drivetrains often appear on BMX and cruiser bikes, common choices for young and old riders alike. Multi-speed drivetrains usually appear on mountain bikes and rely on grip or trigger shifters for gear changes. While uncommon, some cruisers for older girls and teens do use drivetrains with more than one gear.
Safety features tend to be smaller details that can be easy to miss yet too important not to miss. Features like reflectors, chainguards, and handlebar pads should take top priority on kids for younger girls, while bikes for older girls and teenagers will benefit more from reflectors than either of the other two options.
- Bike Size. Bike size may be the most critical consideration when purchasing a girl’s new bike. Like clothes, bikes come in standard sizes which are measured according to the diameter of its wheels. While there may be some slight variations in the frame sizes, overall bike sizes are fairly uniform. Just like when choosing shirt sizes, picking the correct bike size depends much more on the rider’s height than on their age.
- Skill Level and Intended Use. Girls bikes come in a variety of types, and at first blush, sorting through them all can be a bit overwhelming. Before closing your eyes and picking one at random, take a moment to consider the skill level of the intended rider and how she is likely to ride it. A single-speed cruiser with training wheels would fit a young, apprehensive rider, while a multi-speed mountain bike would better fit a teenaged off-road explorer.
- Support System. While easy to take for granted, buyers should make sure not to overlook kickstands and training wheels. Both components keep bikes upright when not in use, extending the bike’s lifespan. Most bikes with training wheels and a few bikes designed for older girls and teenagers lack kickstands. That said, aftermarket kickstands are quite inexpensive and often are easy to install.
Best Girls' Bikes Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- Select a bike size based on the rider’s height rather than her age.
- Choose a bike frame based on the rider’s skill and intended use.
- Unless the rider absolutely will never ride a bike without its training wheels, make sure to purchase a bike with a kickstand or pick up an aftermarket one if the bike does not include one.
Q: What is the easiest bike to wheelie?
Popping a wheelie is a trick riders can do on virtually any bike, although BMX bikes may be the easiest to use. Just make sure your bike of choice includes a hand-activated rear brake.
Q: Are there different types of bikes for little girls?
For little girls, there are two main types of bikes. BMX style bikes, the most common, look like BMX bikes but lack pegs and BMX aesthetics. Cruisers are miniature versions of the bikes used in the early to mid 20th century. They are much less common than BMX style bikes.
Q: What is the best bike for a teenage girl?
This depends on how she plans to ride. Adventurous girls likely will prefer a mountain bike, while those with a daredevil streak might like a BMX bike. Girls who plan to bike casually probably will prefer a single-speed cruiser or a multi-speed version being better for hilly terrain.
The Huffy 20-Inch Go Girl is an ideal choice for most young bike riders. It features a flexible BMX-style design, coaster and hand brakes, and a limited lifetime warranty. The more cost-effective Schwinn 16-Inch Jasmine is another excellent choice thanks to its ergonomic design, safety features, and lifetime limited warranty.