If you’re a cyclist with kids in tow, chances are you don’t want to leave them behind when you hit the trails. Luckily, bike manufacturers have you covered – whatever your child’s age or height, there’s a children’s mountain bike to suit them.
To help you work out which bike is best for your kid, we’ve compiled this handy buying guide. We run through the best youth mountain bikes on the market, so you can make an informed buying decision.
The Best Kids Mountain Bikes
Kicking off our list of the best kids mountain bikes is this tough geared option by Mongoose. Equipped with full steel fork suspension, the bike can turn rough terrain into a smooth ride. It also features 21 gears, helping your kid to keep up on hills and flats alike. Thanks to its Shimano rear derailleur, gear shifts are easy and fluid, too.
Even more importantly, the bike features powerful brakes. Made from alloy, these linear pull brakes offer a short stopping distance. With 24-inch alloy wheels, it’s strong yet lightweight, too. The adjustable seat is padded for comfort, allowing your child to ride for longer distances without getting uncomfortable. Users say it’s a great value for the money and looks stylish, too. Although it’s officially designed for boys, this versatile bike is perfect for girls as well. Thanks to its distinctive red and silver color scheme, your child is sure to be seen on the road for extra safety.
- Youth mountain bike featuring 24” alloy wheels
- 21 speeds
- Steel fork suspension can cope with even rough terrain
- Features easy and fluid gear shifts
- Powerful linear pull brakes
- Padded, adjustable seat for comfort
- Great value for money
- Distinctive, attractive appearance
- Brand Mongoose
- Weight 46.6 pounds
Schwinn also earned a spot on our list with its versatile Timber mountain bike. Available in a range of sizes, colors, and frame styles, the bike is the perfect option for kids of all ages, sizes, and tastes. Featuring a fork suspension system, the bike can tackle almost any terrain thrown at it, while an easy-to-use twist mechanism allows easy access to 21 gears. Thanks to a rear derailleur, shifts are smooth and secure.
With front and rear alloy linear pull brakes, the bike can stop quickly and safely. Thanks to alloy wheel rims, it’s lightweight without compromising on strength and durability. The bike also features a no-tool, adjustable seat, extending its lifetime as your child grows. With so many size options available, it’s suitable for many adults, too!
- Mountain bike available in a range of styles, colors, and frame styles
- Fork suspension system for comfort on rough terrain
- 21 gears
- Rear derailleur makes for smooth and easy gear shifts
- Front and rear alloy linear pull brakes for a short stopping distance
- Alloy wheel rims are strong and lightweight
- Features a no-tool adjustable seat
- Brand Schwinn
- Model S2449C
- Weight 40 pounds
Diamondback also earned a spot on our list with its Corba bike. This sturdy 20-inch boys mountain bike is a great choice. It’s the ideal size for four to nine year olds. Featuring a simple but effective six-speed drivetrain, it’s easy to ride on inclines and flat surfaces alike. Its large tires are perfect for both sidewalks and dirt tracks, so it’s ideal for exploring the neighborhood, and going further afield.
To make rough terrain a little easier for young cyclists to handle, the bike also features a sturdy fork suspension system. To keep kids safe, strong linear pull brakes bring them to a halt in no time at all. The brakes can be repositioned on the handlebars, ensuring that small hands can reach them easily.
To make things easier for parents, the bike comes fully assembled and ready to ride in just a few easy steps. It’s made from light and durable Hi-Ten steel, too, keeping things sturdy without any extraneous weight. Each bike features a distinctive orange color scheme, making for easy visibility on the road. Customers agree that the bike looks great, and offers parents excellent value for money without compromising on safety features.
- 20” mountain bike for ages 4 – 9
- Features six gears, with an easy changing mechanism
- Larger tires can handle paved and dirt surfaces alike
- Features a fork suspension system for rough terrain
- Powerful linear brakes are adjustable for an easy grip
- Hi-Ten steel frame
- Bright color scheme for easy visibility
- Brand Diamondback Bicycles
- Model 02-0500030
- Weight 34.6 pounds
Perhaps the single best-known name in the world of cycling, Raleigh channeled its expertise towards this 24-inch mountain bike with great success. Thanks to its aluminum frame, the bike is a little lighter than many others on the market, making it easier for kids to handle. The frame is also designed for easy mounting and dismounting, at a height that’s perfect for ages eight to 12.
Thanks to its sturdy fork suspension system, the bike can handle almost any surface thrown at it, whether you’re exploring the local neighborhood or biking over gravel and dirt. It also features seven speeds – just the right amount to get young cyclists used to riding with gears without leaving them overwhelmed. With its powerful mechanical disc brakes, the bike also offers impressive stopping power, helping young riders to stay in control with ease. Known for their sturdy, durable, and high-quality bikes, Raleigh is the perfect starting point for new cyclists.
- 24” mountain bike suitable for ages 8 – 12
- Lightweight but strong aluminum frame
- Standover frame designed for easy mounting and dismounting
- Sturdy fork suspension system
- Seven gears
- Powerful mechanical disc brakes
- Brand Raleigh
- Model 14-17-5060
- Weight 27 pounds
Mongoose earned a second spot on our list, thanks to its 24-inch Maxim model. Designed around an aluminum frame, the bike is strong and lightweight for easy handling. Meanwhile, its suspension fork helps to keep riders comfortable over rough terrain, absorbing bumps and shocks with ease. Featuring 21 speeds, the bike is great for more experienced young riders. Gears can be shifted with a simple twisting motion for speed and convenience.
To help riders come to a safe and steady halt, the bike also features alloy linear pull brakes. Designed for girls with a passion for biking, this sturdy and comfortable option is the perfect companion when it’s time to hit the trails. Users say the bike is easy to assemble and perfect for ages 10 to 13. Its subtle and attractive color scheme lends itself well to almost any taste, too.
- 24” girls’ mountain bike
- Aluminum frame makes for lightweight durability
- Suspension fork helps riders stay comfortable on rough terrain
- Features 21 speeds
- Smooth and simple gear change mechanism
- Designed with alloy linear pull brakes
- Ideal for ages 10 – 13
- Attractive and subtle color scheme for a more mature feel
- Brand Mongoose
- Model R3577
- Weight 37.4 pounds
Next on our list of kid’s mountain bikes is this elegant but study model by Roadmaster. Its 24-inch wheels are perfect for older children, and its front suspension fork keeps riders comfortable even over bumpy terrain. Built around a steel frame, the bike is both sturdy and durable. Thanks to its knobbly tire tread, the bike also offers plenty of grip wherever you roam.
Meanwhile, alloy rims help tires to keep their shape, resisting the impact of debris on the trails. With 18 gears to choose from, surmounting any terrain is possible – be it uphill, downhill, gradual inclines, or flat stretches. It’s easy to switch gears, too, thanks to a simple twist shift mechanism. Roadmaster certainly put its decades of experience to good use as far as this design is concerned. With its sleek baby blue color scheme, the bike also appeals to a broad range of tastes. Overall, this bike is a sound investment for any young cycling enthusiast.
- 24” girls’ mountain bike
- Ideal for older children
- Features fork front suspension for rough terrain
- Built with a sturdy and durable stainless steel frame
- Alloy rims are strong and lightweight
- Features 18 gears, switched by a simple twist mechanism
- Excellent value for money
- Brand Roadmaster
- Weight 79 pounds
Diamondback earns a spot on our list with its tough and ready-for-action 24-inch mountain bike. It’s a scaled-down version of the popular hardtail bike, which performs just as well in tough conditions. Its low-slung geometry offers optimal handling for young riders, and it’s made from the same high-quality materials as Diamondback’s adult bikes.
With grippy, 2.35-inch tires, the bike provides ample traction and stability even on trickier surfaces. It’s also a great introduction to gears with 11 speeds for aspiring shredders to choose from. With a limited lifetime warranty, it’s easy to see the faith that Diamondback placed in this product. Users agree it’s the ultimate mountain bike for kids – if you know a child who lives to ride, investing in this bike will give them all the advantages that their adult counterparts enjoy.
- 24 inch mountain bike for kids
- Scaled down version of the popular Diamondback Hardtail
- Low slung geometry for optimal handling by young riders
- Wide tires for ample traction anywhere
- 11 gears for efficient climbing
- Includes a limited lifetime warranty
- Brand Diamondback Bicycles
- Model 02-17-5060
- Weight 33.1 pounds
The penultimate bike to make our list is this 24-inch option by Dynacraft. With 21 speeds, smooth handlebar grips, and a padded seat, the bike is well equipped for a very comfortable ride. It also features full suspension, including a front shock fork, to keep things smooth and in control over bumpy surfaces.
Thanks to its quick-release seat post, it’s also easy to adjust the seat as riders grow without the need for complicated tools. For quick and smooth stopping, the bike is equipped with front and rear V-brakes, featuring alloy levers. Users are impressed with the bike’s quality for its price point and find it easy to assemble at home.
- 24” kids’ mountain bike
- Smooth yet grippy handlebards
- Padded seat for extra comfort
- Full suspension including a front shock fork
- Quick release seat post for easy adjustment
- Equipped with front and rear V-brakes with alloy levers
- Smooth experience for lengthy rides
- Excellent quality at its price point
- Easy to assemble at home
- Brand Dynacraft
- Model 8152-52TJD
- Weight 27.5 pounds
Last but not least is this lightweight aluminum bike by Guardian. Available in 16, 20, and 24-inch versions, it’s the perfect bike for kids of all ages when it comes to hitting the trails. Guardian bikes are on a mission to keep kids as safe as possible as they bike. With its patented SureStop brakes, security and reliability are at the heart of everything Guardian does. Its sturdy mountain bike is engineered for an easy ride with a low center of gravity that optimises balance for young riders. The bike is equipped with six speeds, introducing kids to gearing without overwhelming them with options.
It’s also lightweight enough for excellent control and manoeuvrability with a hand-welded frame made from aircraft-grade aluminum. All this adds up to a bike that can keep up with the demands of the trails. It’s easy to assemble, too – you can be put together in 10 minutes or less even if you don’t have any DIY experience. As well as being safe, the bike features a fun pattern – in fact, the pattern was picked out by kids!
- Kids’ mountain bike available in a variety of sizes
- Patented StopSure braking system provides excellent control
- Equipped with six gears to tackle hills and inclines
- Lightweight for ease of use and control
- Hand-welded from aircraft grade aluminum
- Easy to assemble in as little as 10 minutes
- Features a kid-approved pattern
- Brand Guardian Bikes
- Model ONLINE-GB1-20-6-BG
- Weight 32.9 pounds
With so many great bikes to choose from, we’re confident that there’s something on our list for almost any young rider. To help you work out which option is right for you, we’ve put together this handy buying guide. Below, we run through what to look out for in a good kids’ mountain bike, how to choose the right size, and more.
What to Look for in a Mountain Bike for Kids
When it’s time to choose a mountain bike for the young rider in your life, look out for the following features:
- Correct Sizing
First and foremost, it’s vital that you choose a bike that’s properly sized for the young rider you have in mind. Riding a bike that’s too big or too small can be dangerous, not to mention needlessly difficult. We’ll run through how to choose the correct size for your child later on.
- Good Suspension
Just like their adult counterparts, kids’ mountain bikes require some impressive suspension to keep their ride as smooth as possible on rough ground. Look out for fork suspension, which is capable of handling rough and uneven surfaces. Ideally, this suspension should be paired with a relatively thick pair of tires, improving traction on loose surfaces such as dirt and gravel.
- Sturdy Brakes
It probably goes without saying, but brakes are a vital component on any bike. If your new bike is in for some rough treatment regularly, it could be worth investing in disc brakes. Otherwise, look out for linear pull brakes.
- Appropriate Gears
Trekking up steep hills can be hard work – even harder without appropriate gears to help you out. Using the proper gear can also help riders remain stable on shifting surfaces, so having a few gearing options at your fingertips is vital for any keen mountain biker. That being said, if this will be your child’s first geared bike, choosing an option with too many speeds could prove a little overwhelming. In this case, it’s usually best to look out for a bike with six to eight gears to be getting on with.
- Alloy Rims
Alloy rims aren’t just for cars – they can also support your bike tires from the taxing conditions of tracks and trails. These rims are also lightweight, keeping wheels stable without compromising on handling.
Select the Correct Kids Mountain Bike Size
Kids invariably have the annoying habit of growing, so choosing a correctly sized bike can be something of a challenge.
Since children grow at different rates, using their height, rather than their age, is the best way to pick the correct size.
Hopefully, this brief guide will help you work out which size you need:
- Children measuring 3’7” – 3’8” require a wheel size of 16”
- Children measuring 3’8” – 4’0” require a wheel size of 18”
- Children measuring 4’0” – 4’5” require a wheel size of 20”
- Children measuring 4’4” – 4’9” require a wheel size od 24”
- Children measuring 5’0” + require a wheel size of 26”
If your child is at the top end of one bracket, and the bottom of another, opt for the larger size to accommodate future growth.
Best Kids Mountain Bikes FAQ:
Q: Does a kids mountain bike need gears?
A: Generally speaking, yes.
If your child is ready to go off-road, they’re probably ready for gears. Different surfaces and inclines can be tackled using different gear settings, so they’re pretty important in an off-road bike.
Be sure that your young cyclist has mastered the basics before trying them out with gears, though – they should be able to properly balance without the help of training wheels, steer effectively, and be comfortable using hand brakes. All children are different, and will master these skills at different ages. As a rule of thumb, most children are ready to ride a bike with gears between the ages of eight and 10.
Teaching your child to ride a bike with gears is a great way to promote their coordination. If this is your child’s first encounter with a geared bike, it’s a good idea to go for an option with a maximum of 10 speeds.
Q: Are boys and girls bikes different?
A: This depends on the manufacturer. Today, many kids bikes are unisex, but those designed specifically for girls tend to have a step-through frame – traditionally used to accommodate skirts. Today, it just makes the bike a little easier to mount, which could be a boon for many children regardless of gender.
For kids, purchasing a gender specific bike isn’t necessary – they haven’t yet developed to the point where their bodies are different enough to warrant special modifications. A few companies will still insist on selling pretty pink bikes for girls, and rugged blue bikes for boys, but there’s no physical reason to choose one over the other – it all boils down to your child’s personal preference.
In adulthood, things are a little more complicated. Because women tend to be shorter and lighter than men, bikes designed specifically for women often feature a shorter stack and reach length, for a more comfortable riding position. Many women find a better fit with unisex or men’s bikes, though – it all depends on an individual’s build.
Q: Is a suspension or rigid fork better for children?
A: As a rule, suspension forks are the better option.
Unlike rigid forks, they’re built to travel up and down a few inches as the bike rolls along, better absorbing shocks from the terrain, hence protecting your child’s body. Suspension forks also increase control over rough terrain.
That being said, rigid forks do have their advantages – without moving parts, they’re more reliable, lighter, and easier to replace.
Q: Should I put training wheels on a kids mountain bike?
A: No – it’s not a good idea to fit a mountain bike with training wheels.
A young cyclist should be able to balance and steer without training wheels before they move on to a mountain bike. This is because the new bike comes with its own challenges – such as gear changes – and is a little too advanced for children who haven’t yet got the knack of riding with only two wheels.
Our Top Pick
For us, the best kids MTB has to be this sturdy, versatile, and great value option by Mongoose. The well-known manufacturer have channeled all their usual care into this bike, fitting it with tough and lightweight alloy wheels, a powerful braking system, and 21 gears.
To help your child stay comfortable on longer journeys, the adjustable seat features plenty of padding, too. With its steel fork suspension, the bike is just as at home on the trails as it is on the road. All this adds up to a smooth ride, supporting your kid on those trickier hikes. With its distinctive design, excellent quality, and budget-friendly price point, this bike is the perfect starter option for any kid who wants to hit the trails.
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