Top 10 Best Mountain Bikes For Kids 2020 Reviews & Buying Guide

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The choice for kids mountain bikes has never been better. These days, the majority of kids bikes are either mountain bikes or some kind of mountain bike hybrid. This means finding the right bike for your child’s age, and style of riding couldn’t be easier.

To help you along the way, we’ve selected our top ten picks of the best mountain bikes for kids…

There are five boys and five girls’ choices. But you needn’t worry too much about gender classification as most are suitable for either boys or girls.

So, let’s take a closer look…

mountain bikes for kids

Best Mountain Bikes For Boys


Best Mountain Bikes For Girls


Best Mountain Bikes For Boys

1 Diamondback Bicycles Cobra 20 Youth 20” Wheel Mountain Bike

This is a bike we can get behind.

We love the styling and the color. The swept-back lines of the downtube, together with its vibrant orange, are a little reminiscent of a 1970s Raleigh Chopper. The looks are a big hit for us.

But there’s more to this bike than just looks…

It’s got a sturdy frame, suitable for kids between 44” to 54”. Plus, it’s got some decent gears and brakes too.

The frame is made from Hi-Ten steel and features some very nicely finished welds. The frame material is not a bad choice for kids as its tough and hard-wearing. The downside is, of course, that it makes the frame a little heavy. It weighs over 30lbs, which is a lot for a small kid’s bike. But since most kids are unlikely to be climbing any mountains, the weight is acceptable.

The drivetrain is all Shimano, which we can never argue with…

Shimano has a mind-blowing 70% global market share of anything to do with gears and brakes. They’re so dominant because they’re so good. If it has Shimano gears, the chances, other than through normal wear, are that they won’t fail. And even if they do, the parts are readily and inexpensively come by.

Easy maintenance…

The Diamondback has six gears that are well suited for riding around locally on undemanding surfaces and terrain. Having a single front chainring certainly makes things less complicated and makes a lot of sense. It has linear brakes rather than discs, which again keeps maintenance and repairs nice and straightforward.

Overall, highly recommended…

One feature we like about the drivetrain is the inclusion of dual rails to prevent the chain from coming off the chainring. It’s an excellent addition, at this kind of price-point, and for this kind of bike. We also like the mountain bike style shock absorber on the front wheel that helps to keep things nice and comfortable.

Diamondback Bicycles Cobra 20 Youth 20” Wheel Mountain Bike
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Shimano gears.
  • Linear brakes.
  • Front suspension fork.
  • Great styling.
  • Strong frame.

Cons

  • It’s heavy.

2 24” Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Boys’ Mountain Bike, Silver/Red

This is where things get a little more complicated.

The Mongoose is a great bike for when you’re not so little; one wants to break out and mix things up on some rough terrain and hills. The 24” Mongoose Ledge has all the kind of features you’d expect on a mountain bike.

Let’s take a look at some of them…

Firstly, this is an all-steel bike. It has full-frame suspension as well as front fork suspension. There’s no doubt that this is a bike that will take a beating and not leave you feeling completely shaken.

The drivetrain is a triple ring up front with a 7-speed cassette at the rear. It uses twist shifters which are popular with kids, though we’d have preferred to have seen standard bar shifters. We’re sure you’ll all agree that they’re a little more practical.

Though admittedly, twist shifters, in a kid’s eyes, are a lot cooler…

The bike has linear-pull brakes, which are a common sight on mountain bikes. However, on a bike that has frame suspension, they’re not exactly in keeping with the rest of the bike. If you’re going to have a frame suspension set-up, you should have disc brakes.

They belong together. It’s the law. No arguments, please…

The rest of the bike we have no gripe with. The wheels are made from strong alloy with good sized tires. The seat is comfortable and well made. Even the pedals are alloy and look up to the task.

The bike is suitable for anyone up to 5’5” tall. This makes it ideal for kids coming into their teens.

24” Mongoose Ledge 2.1 Boys’ Mountain Bike, Silver/Red
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Full frame suspension.
  • Front suspension forks.
  • Shimano 21 speed gears.
  • Good pedals.

Cons

  • It should have disc brakes.

3 RALEIGH Bikes Rowdy 16/20/24 Kids Bike For Boys & Girls

This looks amazing!

The RALEIGH Bikes Rowdy in the 16” variant we’re reviewing is suitable for your little ones between 3 to 6 years old. If you prefer to work in height, the bike is fine for kids between 38” to 45”.

Raleigh has the styling spot on…

The clean lines are helped massively by the fact that this is a single-speed bike. However, the overall execution is close to perfect.

The green color scheme mixed with the Raleigh decals and the Raleigh head badge looks cool. Raleigh has even gone as far as coloring the tip of the saddle in the same lurid green as the frame.

Great attention to detail, guys and girls…

The bike, unlike a lot of single speed bikes, has dual linear brakes. That will be more than enough to give your little one plenty of braking power. Given the fact that there are also no gears, it will allow your child to fully concentrate on what’s in front of him rather than on what’s happening with the bike.

Reasonable weight…

The frame is all aluminum, which keeps the weight down to a very reasonable 19.2lbs. A lot of this weight is actually down to the big chunky wheels and tires. They’re a little bit larger than we’d expect of a bike at the size. However, they are useful in making the bike easier to handle.

The only moan we have is the price. But quite honestly, if we could build a time machine, or shrink ourselves to the size of a six-year-old, we’d all be riding one of these.

RALEIGH Bikes Rowdy 16/20/24 Kids Bike For Boys & Girls
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Excellent styling.
  • Big wheels and tires.
  • Dual linear brakes.
  • All metal pedals.

Cons

  • Price.

4 Schwinn Koen Boys Bike For Toddlers & Kids

This is a great little bike for riding around in a park or your local neighborhood.

Schwinn has a long and proud history in the bike industry…

Back in the 1930s, they were the first company to introduce the cruiser bicycle to the market. It, therefore, feels appropriate to be reviewing a boy’s bike that tips a nod to some of the cruiser design cues.

The extended wheelbase, forward-positioned pedals, and raised bars are all classic cruiser traits. So too is the semi-enclosed chain guard, the coaster brake, and the single gear set up. However, despite all these coaster traits, it still has some of the looks of a mountain bike too.

This is a good-sized bike…

With 20” wheels, it’s suitable for any child between 48” to 60”. It has an all-steel frame and is a little heavy, but given its styling and heritage that’s fine.

One thing that stands out is the inclusion of a coaster brake…

For those of you that don’t know, a coaster brake allows you to brake by applying backward pressure on the pedals. It does take a little getting used to at first, but it’s a skill that can be quickly learned.

What’s surprising isn’t the inclusion of a coaster brake alone. What is surprising is the fact that the bike also has linear brakes, both front and rear. Old style cruiser bikes will typically only have a coaster brake. The Schwinn Koen Boys Bike has a total of three brakes.

There’s no doubt about it, that’s a lot of stopping power!

The forward position of the pedals also allows for the saddle to be set at a lower positioning than other kids’ bikes. This makes it easier to ride and balance and is another useful safety feature.

We’d undoubtedly rank this as one of the best mountain bikes for kids as far as safety is concerned…

There’s plenty to like about this bike and plenty of quality too. If you’re prepared to pay a little extra for a premium brand, it will be well worth it.

Schwinn Koen Boys Bike For Toddlers & Kids
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Great build quality.
  • Excellent stopping power.
  • Low saddle height.
  • Easy to ride.

Cons

  • Price.

5 Mongoose Cipher Kids Mountain Bike Blue

Mongoose has been designing bikes and riding trails and mountains for close to 50 years. The Mongoose Cipher Kids Mountain Bike will be perfectly at home on rough and challenging terrain.

It’s what it’s for…

The great thing about Mongoose is that they build sturdy quality bikes. The Mongoose Cipher can be taken away from the local neighborhood, hit the rough stuff, and take it in its stride.

The Mongoose has a lightweight aluminum frame and forks. It weighs 25lbs, which makes it capable of going up as well as coming down. To help in its hill climbing quests, it’s equipped with a 7-speed hub, Shimano twist grip.

Opting for a hub gear set-up keeps the lines nice and clean and saves on maintenance too…

Like the Schwinn Koen Boys Bike, the Mongoose Cipher also has a coaster and two linear brakes. It’s a strong and powerful braking system. However, for a true off-roader, we’d have liked to see discs. In the wet, there’s no system to beat it.

Excellent wheels…

The wheels are Xposure XP-163 with single-wall aluminum rims. They’re booted with Kendra 1.75” tires. That’s plenty of strength and grip. A great combo, they took one step further by featuring quick release hubs.

The 20” wheeled bike is suitable for any child between 4’ to 5’ tall. It’s a great bike to begin the exploration out into a natural environment and away from the sidewalks.

Mongoose Cipher Kids Mountain Bike Blue
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Lightweight.
  • Strong.
  • 3-way braking system.
  • Strong wheels.

Cons

  • Limited gear ratio.

Best Mountain Bikes For Girls

1 Raleigh Bikes Eva 24 Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike

Raleigh is once more very much on point with their styling. This is a beautiful looking bike. It’s a nice color with excellent decals in a neat and cohesive design.

Perfect geometry for girls…

The bike is suitable for anyone between 53’ to 61” tall. It has a step-over frame with a low angled top tube. This makes it easy to get on and off and is the perfect geometry for girls.

It has forward-positioned pedals and a relaxed riding position, very like the boy’s Schwinn bike. This means that, although it’s marketed as a mountain bike, it will be great for riding around the local neighborhood too.

Easy rider…

The 7-speed gears are operated by a Shimano twist shifter, and there is just a single chainring at the front. The chainring is quite small, so the gear ratio is also small. This means it’s a good bike for going up hills or just taking it easy on the flat stuff.

The bike has an all-aluminum frame and forks. It’s sturdy but light. It weighs just 27.8lbs. Together with a good choice of gears, it makes it easy to ride over a mix of terrains.

The bike features twin disk brakes, which we think you’ll agree is a good choice…

The great thing about discs brakes is, not just their superior stopping power, but also their consistent braking even in the wet. Maintenance is a little trickier than caliper or linear brakes, but nothing that most people with basic bike skills can’t handle.

Other things we like on the bike are the wide 24” wheels with thick treaded Kendra tires. We also like the quality SR Sun Tour XCT front suspension fork and the comfortable seat. Both are designed to keep your child nice and comfortable.

Raleigh Bikes Eva 24 Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike
Our rating:5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)

Pros

  • Disc brakes front and rear.
  • Forward-positioned pedals.
  • Step-over frame.
  • Low gear ratios.
  • Comfortable.

Cons

  • Price.
  • Nylon pedals.

2 Mongoose Silva Mountain Bike, For Women & Girls

It’s clear to see that this is a girl’s bike as Mongoose has thrown every bit of pink and baby blue paint at it that they happened to have had in the factory at the time. Never the less, despite its feminine appearance, it is every bit as strong as any of the boys’ bikes in the Mongoose range.

The frame is constructed from thick aluminum tubing…

It’s paired with aluminum suspension forks and 24” durable alloy wheels. The tires are 2.1” thick. This is all an excellent foundation for a tough and durable bike.

The bike uses Shimano gears that we’re always happy about. There are seven gears on the rear cassette and a triple chainring up front. There’s no doubt that the range of gears is more than sufficient to ride trails and some more challenging terrain. The bike is a little on the heavy side, so some of the lower gear combinations are likely to come in useful.

The gear shifters are both twist-operated…

We’re not sure why these are still so prevalent, as an integrated lever system for gears and brakes are easier to operate and service. However, we have to accept lever brakes are not as cool.

Frankly, it looks a little cluttered…

The only couple of minor niggles we have are that the cables are all routed under the top tube. The gear cables look so much better when they’re routed under the down tube. The other niggle is those nylon pedals. They have to go, and fortunately, they will, as they’ll wear out quite quickly. Then you’ll be able to replace them with a decent set of alloy pedals.

Mongoose Silva Mountain Bike, For Women & Girls
Our rating:4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Pros

  • Strong frame.
  • Durable alloy wheels.
  • Thick 2.1” tires.
  • Shimano gears.

Cons

  • Nylon pedals.
  • Cable routing.

3 Diamondback Bicycles Lustre 20 Youth Girls 20” Wheel Mountain Bike

We don’t want to get into a huge color debate, but this bike looks like it’s a very pale lilac to us. The only purple thing about it is the striped decal on the front fork. Regardless, it’s nicely finished and undoubtedly a style any little girl is likely to get on board with.

The Diamondback Bicycles Lustre is suitable for girls between seven and nine years old. It’s constructed from aluminum, which helps to keep the weight down.

Never the less, it does then proceed to give those gains back by including a suspension fork…

The suspension does take away with one hand, by adding weight, but it also gives back with the other, through gains in comfort. It’s a price we think is probably worth paying.

The Diamondback Bicycles Lustre uses the same Hi Zoom 40mm suspension fork found on the boy’s Diamondback Bicycles Cobra. In fact, other than the fact that the Lustre has a more angled top tube and an aluminum frame, the two bikes are almost identical.

The bike uses all Shimano gears that are a great choice on any bike…

Plus, it uses a lever system on the handlebars, which would also be our system of choice. For an entry-level derailleur system, it’s hard to get anything that shifts as smoothly and gets close to being this durable.

The 6-speed cassette and a well-chosen front chainring give the bike a good spread of gear for riding around the neighborhood. The bike isn’t designed for use over hilly terrain but will perform well in areas with gentle gradients.

Diamondback Bicycles Lustre 20 Youth Girls 20” Wheel Mountain Bike
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Shimano gears.
  • Good gear ratio.
  • Lightweight aluminum frame.
  • Hi Zoom 40mm suspension fork.

Cons

  • Cost.
  • Difficult to assemble.

4 Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike

The Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike has very neutral styling. Although it has a low sloping top tube, the bike is suitable for boys as well as girls. The wide range of colors also makes it a good choice for either sex.

The bike has an all-steel frame…

Though you can order one with an all-aluminum frame with disc brake version if you prefer, however, if you’re happy with a heavier bike, this variant will save you quite a bit of money, and probably prove tougher, and more durable over time.

This 24” wheel bike makes it suitable for anyone between 56’ to 66’ tall. What this means is that it’s probably a right size for most female teenagers and adults. There are larger wheel sizes available for taller girls.

The design geometry is an all-mountain bike one…

The features of the bike, including the Schwinn front suspension fork and the triple chainring, together with a 7-speed cassette, are also what you’d expect on a mountain bike.

The cranks are Schwinn, and these are coupled with a Shimano twist shifter and gears. The linear brakes are precise and powerful and will stop you and the bike relatively easily.

Perfect for off-roading and trail riding…

The wheels have alloy rims and are lightweight but strong. These are booted with blue-rimmed 2” tires.

The bike has enough quality and has the right gear ratios to be taken out of the neighborhood and into the great outdoors. The steel frame will make it a little heavy, though, its few super low gears will be enough to get you up the hills. Albeit slowly!

Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
Our rating:4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

Pros

  • Schwinn front suspension fork.
  • Strong steel frame.
  • 21-speed.
  • Very low gear ratios.
  • Good choice of colors.

Cons

  • Heavy.
  • Cost.

5 Guardian Kids Bikes Original. 16/20/24 Inch

There’s plenty we like about this bike so why don’t we start there?

Firstly, it’s a great looking bike. It has exciting decals and paintwork that are carefully color-coordinated with the wheel’s rims. The Guardian Kids Bikes come in a range of different colors and sizes to suit all tastes and ages.

The striking thing is its long wheelbase…

It’s significantly longer than any other bike we’ve seen. The back wheel hangs out much further than on a conventional bike, which consequently gives it an amazing center of gravity.

This, in turn, gives the bike huge amounts of stability…

The frame is made from lightweight aluminum. They have managed to keep the bike weight down to just 21.5lbs, which is excellent for this kind and size of bike.

The frame has a step-through design, so it easy to get on and off. The long-wheelbase makes it best suited for riding on the flat and around the neighborhood. It’s not very nimble, so riding on rough terrain isn’t the best place for it.

The Guardian Kids Bikes are more of cruisers than mountain bikes…

The larger bikes have six gears with a very usable ratio. The cranks and the rest of the drivetrain are all solid enough. We’ve no complaints about any of this either.

So, what about the stuff we don’t like?

Honestly, it’s not a case of something we don’t like; rather, it’s more of something we don’t agree with. Let’s talk about the brakes. We have to because Guardian certainly keeps banging on about them.

The brakes are marketed as being one of the key selling points of the bike…

The system allows the rider to operate both brakes with one hand. This, in theory, allows the rider to stop quicker and prevent going over the handlebars by overzealous use of the front brake.

They’ve patented and marketed their Superstop brake system as if it’s a new idea. It’s not. There are plenty of one-armed cyclists who’ve been using a similar system for years. This is just a modern version of a very old idea.

So, is it a good idea?

We think it has limited use for any child that has normal coordination and the use of both arms. If children are taught properly, they quickly learn how to use both brakes appropriately. What’s more, if you drill through the data, outside of children involved in more extreme cycling activities, head injuries through children going over the handlebars, because of grabbing at the front brake, are rare.

Additionally, we feel this braking system prevents children from learning how to use both brakes before becoming faster and stronger. At this point, understanding how to use your brakes becomes much more critical.

Some people might like this idea, but we’re not convinced.

Guardian Kids Bikes Original. 16/20/24 Inch
Our rating:4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

Pros

  • Long wheelbase.
  • Lightweight.
  • Step-through frame.
  • Easy assembly.
  • Good value.

Cons

  • Superstop brake system.

Best Mountain Bikes For Kids Buying Guide

Frame Material

At this end of the market, the choice of frame materials is between steel or aluminum. There are carbon-framed kids bikes available, but these are expensive. They also fall short of the qualities required for a kid’s bike.

What do you need to know about this?

Steel is the heavier of the two choices, but despite the weight, it offers the advantage of being stronger, on the whole, than its aluminum counterpart. Another advantage is that, in the event of the frame being damaged, it’s easy to repair. We think the Schwinn Koen Boys Bike for Toddlers and Kids is the best of all the steel frames.

Aluminum frames have become increasingly durable over the years. Although they’re still not as tough as steel frames, they’re not far off. We think the RALEIGH Bikes Rowdy has the best of all the aluminum bikes.

Frame Design

Kids bikes are usually a mountain bike kind of design. This is because they’re easy to handle and nimble across a wide selection of terrain. It also means they can be taken on to trails and away from the local neighborhood.

best mountain bikes for kid

Hybrid mountain bike designs, like the Guardian Kids Bikes Original, are much more suited to staying in the local neighborhood and riding on less demanding surfaces.

Regardless of frame design, we think it’s always good for a kid’s bike to have a low top tube. This standover frame design allows your child to quickly get on and off the bike.

Gears

It’s always lovely to have gears, but if your child is just touring around in a small area close to the house, there’s probably no need. Not having gears will lighten the weight of the bike, and it’s less to think about. What’s more, a single-geared bike is less expensive and easier to maintain.

On the other hand, if you live in a hilly area and you think your child is planning to ride some trails or rough terrain, gears are a great idea. Bikes with good gear ratios, that can tackle hills and allow for fast flat riding are the ideal.

The Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike is an excellent bike for exploring and getting busy with the gears.

Brakes

The four types of brakes on bicycles are caliper, coaster, linear, and disc. None of the brakes on our list have caliper brakes. This is because caliper brakes are more usually seen on road bikes that are rarely ridden by kids.

Coaster brakes are usually found on single speed bikes like cruisers. They work by pedaling backward, which exerts braking force on the rear wheel. They are a little old fashioned though can be as effective as linear or caliper brakes.

Linear brakes are overwhelmingly the most popular choice of brakes on a kid’s bike…

They’re cheap, effective, and very easy to use and repair. They’re also relatively lightweight. The truth is that they’re very hard to fault, which is why they’re so popular.

mountain bikes for kids reviews

Disc brakes are not common on kids bikes though they’re becoming increasingly popular on road bikes and are the de facto choice on gravel bikes as well as more expensive mountain bikes. Disc brakes offer superior braking in all conditions. However, where they truly excel is in wet and muddy conditions.

So, think about where your precious angel is likely to go…

Disc brakes are a great choice for your kid’s bike if they are likely to be riding in more challenging conditions and on more challenging terrain. In these circumstances, the added expense, time, and cost of maintenance, plus the increased weight, are warranted.

The Raleigh Bikes Eva 24 Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike for Girls has an excellent set of disc brakes.

Shopping Around For Your Kids?

Firstly, make absolutely sure your kid has one of the Best Helmets for Kids to go along with their new mountain bike, as well as the Best Bike Chain Degreasers, to keep the bike in proper running order.

Then, if you enjoyed this review, do check out the Best Go Karts for Kids, the Best Electric Cars for Kids, the Best 4 Wheelers for Kids, the Best Scooters for Kids reviews. Also, see our Razor Crazy Cart Shift Review for a great gift idea.

Have you got very young ones? The Best Balance Bikes for Toddlers and the Best Balance Bikes for Kids reviews will showcase great options for teaching them how to ride, or how about the Best Bikes for 1 Year Olds, and the Best Tricycles for 2 Year Olds. Just don’t forget to also buy one of the Best Helmets for Babies and Toddlers currently available.

Right, back to kids mountain bikes…

Final Thoughts on The Best Mountain Bikes For Kids

So, there you have it — a beautiful selection of kids bikes for all ages as levels.

When choosing a bike for your child, particularly if they’re older, we think it’s essential to pick one that can be used across a selection of terrains. Children can quickly acquire new and different cycling interests, so versatility is very much the key.

With this in mind, our top pick from the best mountain bikes for kids is the… Raleigh Bikes Eva 24 Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike for Girls.

We like it because it has a good gear ratio for multiple riding surfaces, it has a comfortable step over frame, forward-positioned pedals, and disc brakes at the front and rear.

It’s a real winning combination, and we bet your kid will love it.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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