Advertisement
Shopping

Best Kids Bikes for Every Kind of Adventure 2024

Grab a helmet—these bikes for kids are the absolute best on the market.

By Elizabeth Kadar
Best Kids Bikes for Every Kind of Adventure 2024

Photo: iStockphoto

Whether you have a (single) speed demon on your hands or a timid rider who’s more comfortable with training wheels, there are so many benefits of bike riding for kiddos—from increasing self-confidence and independence, improving coordination and balance to just getting them outdoors, active and off all the screens.

The best kids bikes and toddler bikes, paired with a high-quality helmet, are super safe, easy for little ones to handle, size-appropriate and well-made from trusted brands.

How to choose the best kids bike

To ensure your mini me stays safe on the road, we talked to cycling experts to learn how to select the best kids' bike for their height, inseam and overall comfort. Here’s everything you need to know.

Advertisement

Go for quality

According to former professional road racing cyclist Freddie Rodriguez, a father and the founder of Fast Freddie Foundation, the main feature to look for in the best children’s bikes is quality, which includes great brakes. “You want something the kids can ride and enjoy without worrying about it falling apart,” he says.

Lisa Weyer, Executive Director of All Kids Bike, agrees, advising parents to select well-built bikes from reputable brands to ensure longevity and reliable performance. The good news is, the best kids’ bikes retain their value should you decide to resell them, and they’ll also hold up nicely to be passed down to siblings. Moreover, many brands are now offering rebates or upcycling programs for when your kiddo is ready to size up.

Make sure you buy the right size

The wrong-size bike can make balancing and pedaling harder and increase the risk of falls. To pick the perfect size and ensure a smooth ride, measure your child’s height and inseam, and then compare it to each brand’s size chart to see which model and wheel diameter is recommended. Not sure how to measure their inseam?

“Simply use a measuring tape and measure from their crotch to the floor while they are standing up,” advises Weyer. “Your child’s feet should comfortably reach the ground while seated.”

Consider the terrain

Advertisement

"If you live on flat roads, a single-gear bike is great, but if there are any hills you will need gears to help make the ride doable," tells Rodriguez. "If you plan to take the kids off-road, a mountain bike could be a good option that can also be used on normal roads."

The best kids bikes 2024

Best overall

Retrospec Koda Plus Kids Bike

retrospec children's bike, best kids bike Merchant

The Retrospec Koda Plus gets rave reviews from bike experts who praise it for its extra cool factor, affordable price point and the fact that it's thoughtfully designed to fit kids' bodies, making it easier for them to ride, which is really what matters.

Best for casual neighborhood rides on flat streets, this premium single-speed kids' bike comes with a reach adjustable v-brake (just like on an adult bike but made to fit smaller hands), as well as an adjustable handlebar and seat that can grow with them, starting as low as 21.5 inches.

Wide, cushioning tires give kiddos a good, reliable grip on any terrain, and optimized pedaling allows for better balance and easier starts, resulting in less frustration as young riders hit the road without help. The Koda Plus is our overall best bike for children thanks to being available in five super stylish and modern colors to suit every taste at a reasonable price. Heck, some even include the most adorable bike basket for free!

Pros

  • Designed to fit kids' bodies for a more comfortable ride
  • Chic, modern bike offered in a variety of cool colors
  • Cute bike basket included with select colorways
  • Highly adjustable, from the handbrakes and handlebars to the seat height
  • Optimized pedaling for easier starts
  • Wide, cushioning tires to take on any terrain
  • Superb value and features for the price point

Cons

  • Single-speed may not be the right fit if you live somewhere mountainous or with large hills
Advertisement

Best budget

RoyalBaby Freestyle Kids Bike 20"

royalbaby freestyle 20" bike, best kids bike Merchant

This RoyalBaby Freestyle is an Amazon bestseller (and one of the most affordable, best bikes for big kids!), with over 12,000 5-star reviews from real parents. What really sets it apart from the competition though, aside from its accessible price point, is the wider pedals to enhance grip, shorter grip length for extra braking efficiency and super clear, fuss-free assembly.

In fact, it comes 95% preassembled right out of the box so parents barely have to lift a finger to get their kids up and riding.

BMX enthusiasts and aspiring cyclists will appreciate the bike's sporty design, as well as all the bold color options to choose from. It even comes with a bell, which little ones love to ring as they ride. Overall, the Freestyle is a nice, sturdy option at an excellent entry price point.

Pros

  • An Amazon bestseller with over 12,000 5-star ratings
  • Great bang for your buck bike
  • Sporty design appeals to big kids
  • Wide pedals for better grip
  • Dual handbrakes and short travel distance grips make stopping easier
  • 95% preassembled
  • Available in a ton of fun color options
  • Comes with a bell

Cons

  • At just under 30 pounds, it may be too heavy for some kids
Advertisement

Best for growing kids

Specialized Jett 20

specialized jett bike for youth, best kids bike Merchant

The best children's bikes aren't exactly cheap so the longer your little one can ride it, the better right? The lightweight, seven-speed Jett was specifically designed to accommodate growth spurts so you don't have to buy a new bike every other year and kiddos can still cruise comfortably. In fact, children as short as 40 inches can ride all the way until they reach 55 inches, which is quite the range compared to other brands.

The Jett is highly adjustable, including the handlebars, 2-hole position cranks and longer seat tubes that allow kids to find the optimal pedaling position for them as they get bigger. It's also one of the lightest kids' bikes on the market, at just over 19 pounds, making it easier to handle all around, especially for beginners.

From the short-reach, tool-less adjustable brake levers to the narrower-diameter grips, every detail of this two-wheeler was made to be perfectly proportional for your young rider.

Pros

  • Highly adjustable to a wide range of heights
  • Fits kids as small as 40" and as tall as 55"
  • Super lightweight for better maneuverability
  • Seven speeds make it perfect for tackling hills
  • Comes in several fun colors
  • Built with narrower, kid-specific components
  • High-end bike at a reasonable price

Cons

  • Younger/shorter riders may feel more comfortable and get a better fit on the Jett 16
Advertisement


Best with training wheels

Nickelodeon Paw Patrol Kids Bike

nickelodeon paw patrol bike, best kids bike Merchant

Rubble on the double! Because preschoolers can easily be enticed to hop on a bike when it features their favorite characters, this popular Paw Patrol bike—over 3,000 positive ratings and an average 4.6-stars on Amazon—is sure to be a winner with your Chase-obsessed little one.

It's perfect for "missions" around the neighborhood with mom and dad and is available in two different bike size options: 12-inch wheels for toddlers ages two to four (or 28 to 38 inches tall) and 16-inch wheels for older kiddos ages three to seven (or 38 to 48 inches in height). In addition to the included training wheels, it has an easily-adjustable seat post and rear coaster brake for quick stops simply by pedaling in reverse.

What really makes it the best bike for kids though is all the exciting Paw Patrol-themed features, including a front handlebar plate, laser-printed seat, chain guard and wheel covers. Little ones can pick a colorful bike in their favorite Paw Patrol character or opt for one that has them all (over it).

Advertisement

They'll be exhausted after a few hours of Paw-fueled fun, so ready the best toddler mattress for an epic nap!

Pros

  • Fun Paw Patrol-themed design that little kids love
  • Option to pick a bike in their favorite character(s)
  • Available in 12 and 16 inches (wheel sizes)
  • Adjustable seat height

Cons

  • Some reviewers report time-consuming assembly

Best design

Woom 4

woom red bike for children, best kids bike Merchant

Get ready to shift into high gear with the most geometrically designed, best bike for kids age six and up. Seriously, my kindergartner is obsessed with the Woom 4 and, as a parent, I am too. Not only is it really lightweight, allowing him to go further and faster, but the crank length and distance between the pedals are ergonomically adapted to fit his little body so riding feels really natural.

The Woom 4 definitely delivers all the traction and control you need for hilly areas and all-terrain riding. It has seven speeds, an easy-to-operate twist gear shifter and independently operated front and rear V-brakes with reach adjustability. Zipping through grass at the park, going down hills and riding off-road on wood chip trails is definitely doable and safely so.

Advertisement

Plus, there's a chain guard so you don't have to stress about clothing catching and snags. We're obsessed with this model, and it's easily one of the best youth bikes ever made.

Every single feature on the bike was created with kids in mind, from the contact points and reflective, slip-resistant pedals to the saddle and grips made for little hands. The vario stem and seat height are both adjustable as kids grow to provide an optimal fit, and the high-quality tires offer a smooth ride with plenty of traction to tackle the pavement, dirt or off-road riding.

Purchase a Woom upCYCLING membership for $59 to get 40% off a bigger bike when your big kid is ready to size up. They'll be ready for flashy 24-inch wheels before you know it!

Pros

  • Super high quality and geometrically designed for kids six and up (though there are smaller and bigger version to accommodate a variety of ages!)
  • Seven speeds with extra safety features help your child to ride, like independently operated front and rear V-brakes, to make going down hills a breeze
  • Adjustable seat height and vario stem to grow with your kid
  • Super smooth ride with plenty of traction for going off-road
  • Only weighs 16.9 pounds
  • Incredibly stylish and available in lots of colors

Cons

  • Pricy but absolutely worth it for the quality

Best for big kids

Mongoose Eclipse

mongoose eclipse kids bike, best kids bike Merchant

One of the top-rated bikes for big kids on Amazon, the Exlipse excels in its versatility. It's a great full-suspension starter bike for tweens and teens learning to shift gears (there's 21 of them!) and looking for a little freedom, whether it be riding to school, friends' houses or braving simple trails with family.

Advertisement

It's ideal for after your child has learned to ride smaller bikes with training wheels. Think ages seven and up, or so.

The bike itself is easy to assemble and even easier to adjust for when those big growth spurts hit. A sturdy steel frame with front and rear suspension, as well as brakes, will give parents plenty of reassurance as kids hit the road. The Mongoose is super stylish, which is honestly everything in those awkward coming-of-age years. For the price, you really can't beat the quality either.

Pros

  • Highly-rated on Amazon
  • Easy to adjust for growing kids
  • Super versatile for rides to school or up trails
  • 21 gears for tackling any terrain
  • Sturdy steel frame
  • Simple assembly
  • Attractive design

Cons

  • Some reviewers found the brakes and derailleur system difficult to adjust on their own

Best for toddlers

Cleary Gecko 12" Alloy Lightweight Kids Bike

cleary gecko kids bike, best kids bike Merchant

Mini balance bike pros will find making the transition to a big kid bike much easier with the Cleary. Highly-touted by real parents and cycling experts alike, including father and 4X National Champion Freddie Rodriguez, the Gecko wins big when it comes to quality and design. At only 12 pounds and with the lowest minimum seatpost height in the game, kiddos as young as two up to age three-and-a-half can comfortably ride and maneuver the bike all by themselves.

Advertisement

For parents, there's a built-in handle at the bottom of the saddle to help your toddler balance. Once they get going, easy-to-pull (for even the tiniest hands) brake levers make stopping on the dime a cinch. Off-roading is no challenge for the Gecko either, in case you have a mini daredevil on your hands.

While the bike ships with a coaster brake, a freewheel kit (preferred by experts) is available at no extra charge. When you're ready to size up, send your Gecko back for a $70 trade-in rebate and they'll spruce up your old bike and gift it to someone in need.

Pros

  • The lightest weight toddler bike available at only 12 pounds
  • The go-to bike brand of choice for former pro cyclist Freddie Rodriguez and his kids
  • Easy-to-operate hand brakes
  • Built-in parent handle to help toddlers balance
  • Freewheel kit available at no extra charge
  • Fat tires for better traction
  • Super high-quality design and safety features

Cons

  • Expensive but worth it for the quality and thoughtfully designed features


FAQs

What safety features should you look for when choosing the best kids bike?

Weyer encourages parents to prioritize a lightweight design that is easy for your kiddo to maneuver, adjustable seat height, footrest (if available), safety grips, and ensure the use of helmets and protective gear for a safe and enjoyable riding experience. Opt for bikes with adjustable seats and handlebars to accommodate your child's growth.

Pro tip: Regularly check your child's inseam to get an idea of the best bike height, size and style for them.

Do colors matter?

Advertisement

Choosing a color or design is a matter of personal preference when picking a bike for your child, though many safety experts suggest bright hues to keep kids visible when they're venturing off. This is a bigger concern for smaller bikes in the 12-inches and 16-inches size ranges, though it proves useful for all ages and stages.

Experts:

  • Lisa Weyer, Executive Director of All Kids Bike
  • Freddie Rodriguez, a former professional road racing cyclist and the founder of Fast Freddie Foundation

This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

This article was originally published on Jun 22, 2023

Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with your baby's development, get the latest parenting content and receive special offers from our partners

I understand that I may withdraw my consent at any time.

Advertisement
Advertisement