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It wasn’t long ago that kids’ mountain bikes hardly existed. But nowadays, you can find full suspension MTBs, hardtails, 20″ MTB and 26″ MTB for kids with all the quality and features of an adult mountain bike.
In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the best kids’ mountain bikes, including 20″ mountain bikes, 24″ mountain bikes, and 26″ mountain bikes for kids.
Today’s mountain bikes for kids are specifically designed for trail riding, hops and jumps, singletrack, and more.
Our list of the best kids mountain bikes will cover MTB designed for kids, adolescents, and teenagers, with a variety of sizes and features to suit any MTB need.
First, we’re going to tell you more about kids’ mountain bikes and what they’re designed for. Next, we’ll run through our list of the best kids’ mountain bikes. At the end of this article, we will help you choose the best size mountain bike for kids.
When you put them side-by-side, a kids’ mountain bike and an adult mountain bike look nearly identical as long as the sizes match up. Take a 26″ kids mountain bike and an XS adult mountain bike, for example, and you can hardly tell which one is which. But once you take a closer look, there are a number of differences you can spot.
In general, kids’ mountain bikes are easier to ride and less aggressive. They are designed as an introduction to mountain biking, and not necessarily a fully certified shredder.
Mountain bikes for youth are typically lighter than an equivalent adult mountain bike, making them easier to carry and transport. However, this also makes them a bit less durable and confident on rocky trails or technical jumps.
Boys’ mountain bikes and girls’ mountain bikes tend to have a narrower q-factor, which is the horizontal distance between the pedals.
This feature is specifically designed for kids and their unique body shapes, especially those who have yet to go through puberty. A narrower q-factor makes for more efficient pedaling, and it is typically more comfortable for kids than adults.
Most mountain bikes for kids have a 1x drivetrain system, which means there is only one front chain ring. This simplifies the entire riding and shifting experience, though it does limit what you can accomplish on the bike.
Kids mountain bikes have a much harder time on steep or technical trails – though most kids won’t be tackling those trails yet anyway.
We have an entire section dedicated to mountain bike sizing at the end of this article. But for now, all you need to know is that kids’ mountain bikes are sized based on their wheels, whereas adult mountain bikes are sized based on their frame.
Co-op Cycles REV Kids Bike is an aluminum kids mountain bike with large tires and powerful disc brakes. It comes with a 6-speed drivetrain that is controlled by a Shimano RevoShift twist shifter specifically designed for kids.
The disc brakes are mechanical, and the tires are extra-wide 2.6″ all-terrain tires from Slant Six Sport. There is no suspension on the Co-op Cycles REV Kids Bike, which helps keep the cost down.
However, it does limit the types of terrain that 6-10 year-olds can tackle on this frame.
See more: Best Kids’ Bikes
Overall, this bike is designed for easy control and comfortable riding, perfect for younger kids who are exploring off-road riding for the first time.
Lighter and more capable than the Co-op Cycles REV, the Cannondale Trail is an aluminum mountain bike for kids with 40mm travel in its front suspension.
There are 7 gears and a Shimano Tourney Revo Twist Shifter that is easy to use, especially for 6-10 year-old kids.
What really stands out is the SunTour XCT-JR 20 fork with 40mm of travel. This gives the Cannondale Trail and wider range of off-road capabilities compared to suspension-less kids’ mountain bikes.
Made of aluminum alloy, the frame is lightweight and durable, and paired with lightweight alloy components which make the Cannondale Trail one of the lightest mountain bikes for kids.
The Cannondale Trail features kids-specific sizing and narrow spacing between the pedals, making for the most comfortable ride.
Even the rider position is optimized for kids, making the introduction to mountain biking easier than ever.
woom OFF 4 is designed to be a kid’s first-ever mountain bike, perfect for the pump track or cruises through the forest. The frame is specially designed for easy mounts and dismounts using a low-bend top tube. woom recommends ages 6-8 for the woom OFF 4, but an older child between 46″ and 51″ tall could also fit on this frame.
See more: Full Overview of woom Bikes
While there isn’t suspension on the woom OFF 4, there is a lightweight carbon fork that maximizes stability over all kinds of terrain. Brake levers are specifically designed for kids with a short reach and easy modulation in both dry and wet conditions.
The woom stem is specially designed and made of forged aluminum to maximize stiffness at the front end. You can also flip the stem to alter the handlebar’s position and height. The saddle on the woom OFF 4 is specifically designed for kids and is ideal for comfort.
woom OFF 4 has one of the more impressive drivetrains on a kids’ bike with a 9-speed setup in the SRAM X5 system. The tires are mountain bike-specific Schwalbe ADDIX SPEED rubber tires with low rolling resistance and high durability.
Getting into the larger kids mountain bikes, we have the Diamondback Sync’r 24″ designed for ages 8-12. The Sync’r comes with a hefty SR Suntour XCM Boost fork with 80mm travel, which is significantly more than you’ll find on 20″ kids mountain bikes.
Like many adult mountain bikes, the Diamondback Sync’r comes with a 12-speed SRAM SX Eagle 11-50 Drivetrain.
The brakes are upgraded from the smaller kids’ mountain bikes models, and the Sync’r comes with hydraulic disc brakes. The front rotor is 180mm while the rear is 160mm. The frame is made from 6061 aluminum alloy that is built to be simultaneously durable and reliable.
Vee Rubber Crown Gem 24 x 2.6″ tires offer a good balance of grip and low rolling resistance.
While it is recommended for ages 8-12, riders that are 53” to 62” tall can fit on the Diamondback Sync’r while making it suitable for shorter adults too.
woom UP 5 is a big upgrade from the woom OFF 4 while it is a more traditional kids mountain bike. The woom UP 5 is a kids’ electric mountain bike with 24″ wheels suitable for ages 7-11. Riders 50-57″ tall can also fit on the woom UP 5 whose frame weighs 35.6 lbs.
See more: Best Electric Bikes For Kids
One of the biggest reasons that the woom UP 5 is so heavy is that it comes with an electric motor.
Specifically, the woom UP 5 comes with a smooth FAUZA drive system that is integrated into the downtube and comes with a removable battery.
The motor comes with a 250W output and 55Nm of torque, as well as a 12mph assistance limit.
woom UP 5 is filled with fantastic features, which helps explain the high price. Made from 6061 aluminum alloy, the frame is durable and comfortable, just like most of the other frames on this list.
The motor has three support modes, and the drivetrain is the SRAM NX 11-speed system.
Around the woom OFF DISCO TEC wheels are 24 x 2.35″ Schwalbe Rocket Ron with ADDIX SPEED rubber tires with low rolling resistance and fantastic shock absorption. At the front of the bike is a hydraulic air suspension fork with 80mm travel and adjustable compression.
The seat and handlebars are specifically designed for kids, while the hydraulic disc brakes by Promax will provide lots of stopping power.
Co-op Cycles REV DRT is very similar to the Co-op Cycles REV kids bike, though there are a number of important differences.
First of all, the Co-op Cycles REV DRT is a 24″ kids bike designed for ages 8-12. There is also front suspension in the SR Suntour XCT JR24 fork that is common among kids’ mountain bikes.
See more: Full Overview of REV Series
There is an 8-speed Shimano Tourney drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes which provide lots of stopping power. REV DRT comes with extra-wide tires for a kid’s mountain bike in the Slant Six Sport 24 x 2.6″ tires.
The frame is a bit heavy at 31lbs which is hardly lighter than comparable kids’ electric mountain bikes. However, the frame and components are incredibly durable.
Co-op Cycles REV DRT can hold up to 120lbs including the rider and everything carried on the bike.
With 26″ tires, the woom OFF AIR 6 is suitable for ages 10-14, but it also fits riders 55-65″ tall. Without an electric motor, the woom OFF AIR 6 is much lighter than other woom electric bikes – the woom OFF AIR 6 weighs just 24.3lbs.
In fact, woom OFF AIR 6 is known for being one of the lightest kids’ mountain bikes on offer. Its lightweight aluminum frame is as durable as ever and features “sporty” geometry including a long wheelbase and flat steering angle.
Like other woom frames, the OFF AIR 6 has a kink in the top tube that makes mounting and dismounting much easier.
SRAM X5 shifting is high-quality for a kids’ mountain bike, and the OFF AIR 6 comes with 9 speeds and an SRAM trigger shifter. At the front of the bike is a hydraulic air suspension fork with 90mm travel and adjustable compression.
Like other woom kids mountain bikes, OFF AIR 6 comes with 26 x 2.35″ Schwalbe Rocket Ron tires with ADDIX SPEED rubber compounds. The saddle, handlebars, and grips are kids-specific.
For stopping power in all conditions, woom OFF AIR 6 has hydraulic disc brakes from PromaxDisc with 160mm (front) and 140mm (rear) rotors and levers specifically designed for children’s hands.
The first full-suspension kids’ mountain bike on our list is the Marin Rift Zone Jr. Built with Marin‘s Multi-Trac suspension system, this 26″ kids mountain bike is light, snappy, and versatile. Its frame features a threaded bottom bracket and internal cable routing, which is high-quality for a kids’ mountain bike.
One of the standout features of the Marin Rift Zone Jr is its dual suspension setup. X-Fusion powers both the front and rear suspension, with an X-Fusion Velvet RLC 26″ fork with 120mm travel, and an X-Fusion O2 Pro R rear shock with 51mm travel.
Shimano Deore provides the 11-speed drivetrain and 11-51T gearing that is perfect for climbing, descending, and everything in between. Shimano also provides the disc brakes in their MT201 hydraulic disc brakes.
There are even tubeless-ready tires in the Vee Tire Flow Snap which are mounted around Marin Double-Wall Alloy rims.
You are not mistaken – this is not the first time you’ve seen the Cannondale Trail kids mountain bike on this list. But this time, we’re taking a closer look at the 26″ version. This kids mountain bike is made from lightweight SmartForm C3 Alloy and comes with a Suntour M3030 suspension fork.
Uniquely, the fork offers 63mm travel and comes with a preload adjuster. Shimano provides the drivetrain with its Tourney derailleur and trigger shifters. There is 8-speed shifting on the Cannondale Trail 26″, which features an 11-34T cassette.
One of the standout features of the Cannondale Trail 26″ kids mountain bike is the rack and fender mounts around the frame. This adds plenty of versatility for off-road trail use and even bikepacking trips for kids.
StraightShot hidden cable routing is an added bonus to the aesthetic frame, and the Tektro mechanical disc brakes with 160mm rotors provide plenty of stopping power.
Lastly, the tires on the Cannondale Trail 26″ are significantly narrower than other kids’ mountain bike tires. Specifically, the Kenda Small Block 8 tires are 1.95” wide.
See more: Best Bikes for Teenagers
Mountain bikes for kids tend to have less travel than adult mountain bikes. Travel allows the suspension to compress. The more travel you have, the more bumps and jumps your bike can handle. However, most kids’ full-suspension mountain bikes aren’t meant for tackling gnarly trails (yet), so the added travel wouldn’t have much of a benefit.
Longer travel also means heavier and more expensive suspension set-ups, which are rarely necessary on a kids’ mountain bike.
Most kids’ mountain bikes have kids-specific components and features such as smaller-reach levers, narrower handlebars, and smaller seats.
These features are specifically designed for smaller riders and they can make the riding experience much more comfortable for kids.
Overall, kids mountain bikes are definitely worth purchasing for the improved riding experience and kids-specific features.
For those getting into mountain biking for the first time, it can be extremely difficult to learn how to ride on an adult mountain bike which might not be the correct size or have the features that you need.
One of the trickiest parts of purchasing a kids’ mountain bike is getting the sizing right. Kids can grow fast, and you certainly don’t want them to outgrow their brand new MTB in just a few months.
When it comes to sizing a boys’ mountain bike or girls’ mountain bike, let’s start with the basics. You need to measure the rider’s height first. After that make sure that they can comfortably stand over the bike without hitting the frame or balancing on their tip toes. If they cannot stand over the frame comfortably, then the frame is too big.
In talking about frame sizes, we are talking about the inches advertised for a specific kids’ bike. As opposed to most adult bicycles, especially road bikes or hybrids, kids’ mountain bikes are not designated by Small, Medium, Large, or 52cm, 56cm, or 60cm frames.
Instead, kids’ bikes are sized based on their wheel size in inches. That is why each mountain bike on our list is either 20″, 24″, or 26″.
Here is a rough guide to kids’ mountain bike sizing based on the rider’s height:
Of course, these are not hard-and-fast rules as every rider will be built differently, such as longer or shorter legs, etc. But you can use this chart as a rough guide to start looking at mountain bikes for kids.
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