Written By Nikola Petrovski
Published Dec. 28, 2020

The time has come for a new bike, and boy, do you dread bike shopping. Part of it is the prices, but that’s not all. Now that a 20-inch bike is in your sights, you hate the process even more because of the plethora of choices. Sorting through 20-inch kids bikes, you stumble across cruisers, BMX-style bikes, and mountain bikes. Not only can you choose from virtually any kids bike style on the market, someone thought it might be fun to throw in some bikes for bigger people too, adding real BMX and folding designs into the mix. That said, once you find that perfect bike, you will be glad you persevered, and with our guide, you are off to a pain-free start.

The Best 20-Inch Bikes

Kids wanting a bit of flash and color on their next bike will be thrilled to receive a RoyalBaby 20-Inch Freestyle Kids Bicycle. This bike comes in a variety of bright, fun colors sure to win any kid’s heart. The bike’s tough steel frame is built to outlast multiple kids, and the adjustable saddle (via the quick release lever) and handlebars allow parents to get the most out of this two-wheeled wonder. It comes with dual hand brakes to allow quick, controlled stops, perfect for kids ready to reach the next level of bike riding mastery. This bike arrives with 95 percent of it preassembled, creating minimal work for parents upon arrival. The RoyalBaby 20 Inch Freestyle Kids Bicycle includes a kickstand, chainguard, and fenders.

The biggest issues with this bike are its heavy weight and lack of coaster brakes.

Key Features
  • 20-inch kids freestyle bike
  • Steel frame with adjustable saddle and handlebars
  • Dual hand brakes
  • Minimal assembly
Specification
  • Brand RoyalBaby
  • Model B07D4ZT13Y
  • Weight 34.6 pounds
PROS

Available in multiple colors

95 percent preassembled

Quick-release saddle post

Includes kickstand, chainguard, and fenders

CONS

Heavy

No coaster brakes

A new bike need not break the bank, and with the Huffy 20-Inch Ignyte Kids Bike (or its Go Girl clone), that growing young rider will have one of the coolest bikes on the block. This bike comes with BMX styling and multiple color options, and the girls variant even includes handlebar streamers. The steel frame will outlast virtually any kiddo, and the adjustable handlebars and quick release saddle quickly adapt to both growth spurts and new riders. This design uses both rear coaster brakes and a front hand brake. This inexpensive option requires minimal assembly upon arrival, making it a gift to parents as well. The Huffy 20-Inch Ignyte Kids Bike features a kickstand, chainguard, and front BMX pegs.

Unfortunately, this bike’s single hand brake is only for the front wheel, and a few owners have reported occasional build quality issues.

Key Features
  • 20-inch kids BMX bike
  • Steel frame with adjustable saddle and handlebars
  • Hand and coaster brakes
  • Minimal assembly
Specification
  • Brand Huffy
  • Model 73088
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Inexpensive

Available in multiple colors

Quick-release saddle post

Includes kickstand, chainguard, and front BMX pegs

CONS

The hand brake is for the front wheel only

Occasional build quality issues

Looking for the best kids bike money can buy? Then take a long, hard look at the Guardian Bikes Kids Ethos 20-Inch. Available with multiple color options, it was designed with kids in mind. Originally featured on Shark Tank, this bike takes biking safety in a new direction with its unique, single-lever braking system which activates both front and rear brakes with a single pull. This design eliminates concerns of accidentally flying over the handlebars while simultaneously shortening braking distances. The durable lifetime steel frame and adjustable saddle (with a quick-release lever) and handlebars are kid-friendly, and its quick assembly will put a smile on parents’ faces as well. The lightweight Guardian Bikes Kids Ethos 20-Inch also comes with a kickstand.

This brake is a bit pricey, and unfortunately, it lacks both coaster brakes and a chainguard.

Key Features
  • 20-inch kids bike
  • Steel frame with adjustable saddle and handlebars
  • Single-lever, dual-wheel hand brake
  • Quick assembly
Specification
  • Brand Guardian Bikes
  • Model B07GFCRMVG
  • Weight 20.7 pounds
PROS

Available in multiple colors

Quick-release saddle post

Includes kickstand

Lifetime frame

Lightweight

CONS

Expensive

No coaster brakes

No chainguard

Looking for the perfect gift for the girl who loves to go? Pick up a Schwinn Elm with 20-Inch Wheels, and watch her take on the world. This purpose-built girls’ bike includes a front-mounted basket and comes in three different colors: teal, purple, and pink. The durable steel frame is sure to endure years of use even with a few rough-and-tumble tomboys thrown into the mix. The quick-release saddle post and adjustable handlebars will fit any size rider, and the dual hand brakes provide safe, quick stops. The SmartStart design makes this bike extremely child-friendly with component proportions engineered to optimize both comfort and performance. The Schwinn Elm with 20-Inch Wheels requires minimal assembly and features a kickstand, a chainguard, and a limited lifetime warranty.

The only knock against this bike is the occasional report of build quality issues.

Key Features
  • 20-inch girls bike
  • Steel frame with adjustable saddle and handlebars
  • Dual hand brakes
  • Minimal assembly
Specification
  • Brand Schwinn
  • Model B07KD63FNS
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Available in multiple colors

Quick-release saddle post

SmartStart child-friendly design and proportions

Includes kickstand, chainguard, and basket

Limited lifetime warranty

CONS

Occasional build quality issues

There’s nothing quite like a casual cruise on the beach on a brand-new Huffy Panama Jack Beach Cruiser Bike. This bike exudes old school vibes with its comfortable seat, upright riding position, and front-mounted wicker basket. It uses an aluminum frame to provide the perfect balance between strength and rust prevention, ideal for use in coastal regions. The adjustable handlebars and quick-adjust saddle easily adjust to match any rider, and the rear coaster brakes keep things simple and relaxed. The Perfect Fit Frame uses a kid-friendly design with child-specific proportions, and the pale blue color will remind everyone that the beach is nearby. The Huffy Panama Jack Beach Cruiser Bike comes with a kickstand, a chainguard, and a 10-year limited warranty, all for peace of mind.

The biggest hurdles for this bike are its price tag and lack of hand brakes.

Key Features
  • 20-inch girls cruiser bike
  • Aluminum frame with adjustable saddle and handlebars
  • Comfortable seat with upright riding position
  • Rear coaster brakes
  • Best for riders between 44 and 56 inches tall
Specification
  • Brand Huffy
  • Model 73578
  • Weight 33.2 pounds
PROS

Quick-release saddle post

Perfect Fit Frame child-friendly design and proportions

Includes kickstand, chainguard, fenders, and basket

Limited 10-year warranty

CONS

Expensive

No hand brakes

Rush hour can be a real pain, especially for those living in urban space, but with the Schwinn Loop, the dreams of skipping traffic and cutting pollution become an instant reality. This adult folding bike is perfect for a wide range of riders, from large kids to tallish adults, thanks to its easily adjustable size. Not only does this bike come in three (basic) colors, it comes with an affordable price tag for a folding design. The step-through aluminum frame helps decrease the overall weight. The grip shifter allows riders to switch easily between the seven gears, and the dual brake levers activate the front and rear V-brakes. The Schwinn Loop features 

This model is heavy and can be difficult to fold sometimes. Also, every folding bike will be slower and pricier than full-size competitors.

Key Features
  • 20-inch, seven-speed adult folding bike
  • Aluminum frame with adjustable saddle and handlebars
  • Grip shifter and dual hand brakes
  • Best for riders between 56 and 74 inches tall
Specification
  • Brand Schwinn
  • Model S2280B
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Affordable for a folding bike

Available in multiple colors

Fits a diverse range of rider sizes

Front and rear V-brakes

Quick-release saddle post

Includes smooth street tires, kickstand, front and rear fenders, rear luggage rack, and heavy gauge nylon storage bag

Limited lifetime warranty

CONS

Expensive

Heavy

Difficult to fold sometimes

Slower than full-size bikes

Looking to give an aspiring daredevil the tool he needs to learn some skills? The Mongoose Legion L20 Freestyle BMX Bike is the perfect bike for the job. This red kids BMX bike features Mongoose’s Hi-Ten steel frame and fork to withstand the impacts of hard use and hard knocks while the aluminum wheels strike the perfect balance between strength and weight. This single-speed design includes only a single hand brake for the rear wheels, yet the brake assembly at the handlebar consists of aluminum components to further increase the bike’s overall durability. The brake mounts can be removed for easy upgrades and customization. Finally, Mongoose rounds things out by giving the Mongoose Legion L20 Freestyle BMX Bike four BMX pegs, two per tire.

One complication with this bike is the sometimes difficult brake line assembly, courtesy of the non-specific instruction manual.

Key Features
  • 20-inch kids BMX bike
  • Steel frame with adjustable saddle
  • Single hand brake
  • Best for riders between 56 and 64 inches tall
Specification
  • Brand Mongoose
  • Model M41509M50OS-PC
  • Weight 34.4 pounds
PROS

Hi-Ten steel frame and fork with aluminum wheels

The aluminum hand brake requires assembly

Removable brake mounts

Includes front and rear BMX pegs

CONS

The brake cable assembly can be difficult

The instruction manual is too general

When saving money is critical to buying a bigger kids’ bike, the Pacific Cycle Kids Vortax will swoop in and save the day. This black and silver bike features a tough, durable steel frame designed to withstand the rigors of both new and experienced BMX riders, and the quick-release saddle post allows for quick yet secure seat height adjustments. Young riders will appreciate the presence of familiar coaster brakes, while the front hand brake provides extra help for faster stops. This bike will put a smile on parents’ faces thanks to its quick, easy assembly, low price, and protective chainguard. The Pacific Cycle Kids Vortax was designed primarily for riders between four and five feet tall and was built to last without breaking the bank.

This bike’s only flaws are the front-only hand brake and the occasional fit and finish issue.

Key Features
  • 20-inch kids BMX bike
  • Steel frame with adjustable saddle
  • Coaster and hand brakes
  • Easy assembly
  • Best for riders between 48 and 60 inches tall
Specification
  • Brand Pacific Cycle
  • Model B088PQ27CM
  • Weight N/A
PROS

Inexpensive

Quick-release saddle post

Includes chainguard

CONS

The hand brake is for the front wheel only

Occasional fit and finish issues

The ideal all-weather kids’ mountain bike may seem impossible to find, but the Mongoose Kong 20 Fat Tire Mountain Bike is here to surprise even the toughest of skeptics. This blue and yellow fat tire mountain bike is an excellent choice for the young adventurer who likes to explore all terrain types and in any weather. The seven-speed design also allows him or her to tackle inclines with ease, and the Shimano rear derailleur keeps gear shifts smooth. The steel frame will easily handle the bumps and lumps on almost any trail, while the hand-controlled front and rear disc brakes provide reliable stopping power. The Mongoose Kong 20 Fat Tire Mountain Bike also includes a quick-release saddle post, alloy wheels, and knobby 4.25-inch all-terrain tires.

A burly frame and big tires contribute to this bike’s weight. Its price tag is a bit beefy also.

Key Features
  • 20-inch, seven-speed kids fat tire mountain bike
  • Steel frame with adjustable saddle
  • Grip shifter and dual hand brakes
  • Minimal assembly
  • Best for riders between 48 and 60 inches tall
Specification
  • Brand Mongoose
  • Model R1760WM
  • Weight 45.5 pounds
PROS

Shimano rear derailleur

Steel frame with alloy wheels

Front and rear disc brakes

Quick-release saddle post

Includes 4.25-inch knobby, all-terrain tires

CONS

Expensive

Heavy

Whoever said that girls can only be cute or sassy but not both has never met the Dynacraft Air Zone Aftershock. This black bike with dark pink accents exudes both aggression and girliness for the perfect combination for an adventurous girl. The durable steel frame is designed to handle the rigors of rough mountain trails, and the six-speed drivetrain is ideal for tackling tough inclines. As with any well-built mountain bike, this machine uses grip shifters for convenient gear changes, and the dual hand brakes provide positive brake engagement on uneven surfaces. The quick-release lever on the saddle post allows for quick and easy seat adjustments, while the rear frame suspension spring provides extra cushion. The Dynacraft Air Zone Aftershock also includes a kickstand and a front gear guard.

This bike’s hand brake only controls the front wheel. Some owners have reported occasional build quality concerns.

Key Features
  • 20-inch girls six-speed mountain bike
  • Steel frame with adjustable saddle
  • Grip shifter and dual hand brakes
Specification
  • Brand Dynacraft
  • Model B08511G8DB
  • Weight 31.1 pounds
PROS

Good price

Quick-release saddle post

Features rear frame suspension spring

Includes kickstand and front gear guard

CONS

The hand brake is for the front wheel

Occasional build quality issues

Best 20-Inch Bikes Buying Guide & FAQ

With the single exception of full-size adult bicycles, the realm of 20-inch bikes features the widest variety of bicycle types known to man. Big people and little people. On-road and off-road. One gear or many gears. Select any combination of these variables, and the likelihood is high that a 20-inch version of your chosen bike already exists.

Of course, with all the variety, you may need to do a bit of research so you can buy once and cry once. So, use this guide to maximize both your time and your dollars in your quest for the perfect 20-inch bicycle.

Do You Need a 20-Inch Bike?

While a 20 inch bike may not fit every rider out there, more people will find themselves at home here than one might initially imagine. While it may come as a surprise to some, these bikes can fit the bill for virtually any group, from elementary school kids to working professionals. Skeptical? Consider this.

Of course, most 20 inch bikes are best for the kiddos. Kids are constantly growing, and even with the adjustable features on kids’ bikes, they always end up needing a new, bigger bike. On the flip side, this increase in size can be a great opportunity to teach some new bike skills, particularly with multi-gear bikes.

On the flip side, adults can get a lot out of 20-inch wheels, particularly in the daredevil department. BMX bikes are significantly smaller than most adult bikes, and while small for an adult freestyler, 20 inch BMX bikes are the perfect fit for fun-sized adrenaline junkies. For more conservative, urban office types, a folding bike is just the ticket. Not only do these 20-inch bikes help save on gas, but their compact size also makes them an ideal commuting option for desk jockeys with a small budget and even smaller storage space.

  • Keep up with growing kids.
  • Introduce your kids to new bike skills.
  • Invest in a new hobby.
  • Take a new tack through rush hour traffic.

Different Kinds of 20-Inch Bikes

Girl helping her friend pass the river with his 20-inch bike

Due to the unusual, gap-filling nature of 20-inch bikes, they come in a variety of shapes, styles, and drivetrains. The traditional BMX-style bike suddenly finds itself alongside an unfamiliar, multi-gear machine that can tackle roads and trails in the form of the kids’ mountain bike. That said, the single-gear design still holds its own in this bicycle category.

Single-Gear Bike

As children grow, so do their skills as a bike rider. That said, oftentimes, a child large enough to handle a 20 inch bike is not yet ready to handle a bike with multiple gears. Thankfully, most bikes with 20-inch wheels come with only a single gear, giving young riders and their parents peace of mind when the time comes for an upgrade in the bicycle department.

Some teens and small adults can also benefit from this size range of single-gear bikes when BMX and freestyling are their thing. The last thing a BMX rider wants or needs is a bike that can switch gears in the middle of some intense jumps and flips.

Multi-Gear Bike

Smaller bikes rarely, if ever, feature a drivetrain with more than one gear, as these designs are usually stepping stones for children as they grow in size and continue adding to their store of bike riding experience. On the other hand, 20 inch bikes with multiple gears introduce young riders to an entirely new and different world of riding, something they were unable to do safely at a younger age. These bikes help lay the foundation for budding mountain bikers and bike racers.

That said, some adult bikes also come in diminutive 20-inch wheel size. Usually, these bikes are adult-focused folding bikes.

What to Consider When Buying a 20-Inch Bike

Buying a 20 inch bike can be a bit trickier than purchasing your average two-wheeled joy ride, so it’s wise to consider a few things. With a little bit of forethought, you can make a smart purchase.

For kids, sifting through 20-inchers can be a little bit of a challenge. Is the new bike simply a size upgrade, or is it intended to get young riders onto the trails near home? Is it time for the youngster to learn how to handle bike gears? When picking up a mountain bike, be sure to find one with multiple gears and other appropriate accouterments.

For adults, these bikes are a bit simpler to navigate with diminutive BMX bikes and folding bikes being the two main options. That said, their intended uses, X Games and commuting, are opposed.

Care and Maintenance for 20-Inch Bikes

Keeping your bike in top shape takes little time and effort, and the results are worth it. Our friends at REI know how to clean their bikes clean, so take some of this advice to treat yourself to smooth sailing.

Before riding, always check your ABCs: Air, Brakes, and Chain. Check your tires for proper inflation, and make sure your brakes are working. Then, inspect your bike’s chain to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Kids riding their 20-inch bikes alongside their parents

Keep your bike clean to prevent dirt from gumming and foil critical parts. After washing your bike, make sure it has the proper amount of clean lubrication.

  • Inspect before you ride.
  • Keep it clean.
  • Check the oil.

Best 20-Inch Bikes FAQ:

20-inch bikes are most commonly used by riders in between their late childhood and early teenage years. While adult bikes fall neatly into clear categories and bikes for younger children include certain features by default, neither can be said for 20 inch bikes. This brings to mind a few questions that one would never think to ask about other size bikes.

Q: What age is a 20-inch bike for?

Usually, 20 inch bikes are best for children between 6 and 13 years old, while 20 inch BMX bikes can work for young teens. Folding bikes are geared toward adults.

Q: Do 20 inch bikes have gears?

Sometimes, 20-inch bikes do feature multi-speed gears, but frequently, this feature is reserved for larger bikes and more mature riders.

Q: Can you get training wheels for a 20-inch bike?

Training wheels are available for 20 inch bikes, but they are exclusive to the aftermarket.

Our Top Pick

Since most 20 inch bikes are designed for kids, our top overall choice in this competition is the RoyalBaby 20 Inch Freestyle Kids Bicycle. With its steel frame and adjustable saddle and handlebars, kickstand, and other features, this bike is perfect for any kid looking for a “big kid” bike. On the flip side, parents will appreciate its reasonable price tag and ease of assembly.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the RoyalBaby 20 Inch Freestyle Kids Bicycle takes the cake with its kid-friendly, parent-friendly design and features. When it comes to budget options, the Huffy 20 Inch Ignyte Kids Bike also stands out with several fun and helpful features.

Sources:

  1. Size a Bike for a Child – WikiHow

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