If you like to explore trails and backroads, you are probably looking for the best kids mountain bikes so you can take your child with you.
If so, you are in the right place!
A few months ago, I was in the exact same situation you are now! As someone who has had a mountain bike (MTB) for the better part of my life, I was eager to find one for my son nearly as soon as he stopped using training wheels.
Initially, I thought I would just go to the store with my son in tow and pick a bike that suited both him and me, but that didn’t turn exactly how I imagined it. We ended up buying a bike that proved to be a real safety hazard with its flimsy brakes and gears.
That forced me to research all the different kids mountain bikes on the market in order to find the best one for my kid.
To save you the time and energy of doing all that yourself, I decided to share my findings with you! Let’s take a look at what I found out.
My Top Pick: The Best Mountain Bike For Kids
In my opinion, the best mountain bike for kids should be lightweight, have strong brakes, and be sturdy enough to tackle rough terrain. All things considered, the Guardian Kids Bike Original has wowed me with its kid-approved design, different sizes, and patented brake system. And that’s not all, this model is suitable for both boys and girls and comes with seven-speed gears that will allow your kid to cycle like a pro!
Quick Links For The Best Kids Mountain Bikes
- Guardian Kids Bike Original – Best Overall
- Mongoose Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle – Runner Up
- Mongoose Ledge Boys Mountain Bike – Best For Budget
- Diamondback Cobra 20 Complete Bike – Best Kids 20 Inch Mountain Bike
- Granite Peak Girls Mountain Bike – Best Kids 24 Inch Mountain Bike
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Kids Mountain Bike Reviews
Below you will find five kids MTB reviews, all of which are based on factors such as size, weight, safety, and overall design. Read on to find the right mountain bike for your child!
1. Guardian Kids Bike Original – Best Overall
- 24” wheels/seven speeds
- Weighs 23.5 lbs
- Patented SureStop brake system
On top of my list is a mountain bike by Guardian which is suitable for both boys and girls. The Guardian Kids Bike Original comes in two different sizes and several kid-approved colors.
Available in 20- and 24-inch versions, this aluminum bike is perfect for kids of different ages and is safe for trails. The SureStop brakes will allow your child to stop faster and at the same time prevent accidental falls from the bike.
Featuring a hand-welded frame from aircraft-grade aluminum, this lightweight kids bike is easy to maneuver and has a low center of gravity. This model comes with seven speeds that will introduce your kid to gearing and make cycling on rough terrain feel like a breeze.
- Suitable for boys and girls ages eight to 13
- Lightweight design is ideal for kids and easy to maneuver
- Comes in several different colors appropriate for boys and girls
- Seven gear levels are ideal for younger kids and won’t overwhelm them
- Bike comes partially pre-assembled, but you will have to assemble the front wheel and handlebar
If you are looking for a quality but lightweight kids mountain bike, I highly recommend the Guardian Kids Bike Original. It is suitable for boys and girls and comes in several colors and different sizes.
2. Mongoose Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle - Runner Up
- 24” alumninum frame/21 speeds
- Alloy linear-pull brakes
- Adjustable seat
The Mongoose Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle is an ideal choice for more experienced riders ages 10 to 13. Designed for girls with a passion for trails, this sleek silver-framed bike may be just the thing your daughter is looking for.
Featuring a strong but lightweight aluminum frame, this bike is easy to maneuver and won’t be too cumbersome for younger girls. Its suspension fork absorbs the bumps and shocks from the terrain, ensuring a comfortable ride.
The 21-speed gears are ideal for more experienced riders and can be easily shifted with a twisting motion. Alloy linear-pull brakes ensure quick stopping for your child’s safety on any type of terrain.
- Sleek design and attractive color makes it perfect for girls
- 21-speed gears are easy to shift and ensure a great ride for uphill pedaling or downhill speeding
- Suspension fork absorbs bumps and shocks to keep the rider comfortable
- Lightweight aluminum frame is strong and easy to handle
- Bike comes partly assembled, so you may need to take it to a shop to have it fully assembled
If you are looking to upgrade your kid’s bike and ensure a comfortable ride, the Mongoose Girl’s Maxim Full Suspension Bicycle is a great option for more experienced girls.
3. Mongoose Ledge Boys Mountain Bike – Best For Budget
- 22” frame/21 speeds
- Alloy rim brakes
- Aluminum suspension frame and fork
- Knobby tires
The Mongoose Ledge Boys Mountain Bike is a heavier and tough gear model that will transform rough terrain into a smooth riding experience. It is suitable for boys from nine to 12 years of age and can accommodate a wide range of heights.
Thanks to its Shimano rear derailleur, your son won’t have trouble shifting through any of the 21-speed gears for a speedy and comfortable ride on hills or flat terrain. The full steel fork suspension can cope even with really bumpy terrain and transforms it into a fun and enjoyable ride.
Featuring powerful brakes made of alloy, this boy’s mountain bike offers short stopping distances on all types of terrain. Since the adjustable seat is fully padded, your child will be able to enjoy longer rides without getting sore or uncomfortable. And although this bike is designed for boys, its stylish design and padded seat make it a good option for girls too.
- With a total of 21 gears, your child will be able to conquer hills easily or pedal for speed
- Front and back suspensions absorb shocks and ensure a smooth ride
- Grip shifters make shifting speeds feel like a breeze
- Side-pull alloy brakes give superb stopping power
- This bike weighs 46.6 pounds and may be a bit heavy for young children
Overall, the Mongoose Ledge Boys Mountain Bike offers a smooth and enjoyable ride on any type of terrain. And since it features a padded seat and stylish design, it can work as a mountain bike for girls too. Either way, it’s a great value option.
4. Diamondback Cobra 20 Complete Bike - Best Kids 20 Inch Mountain Bike
- 20” frame/six speeds
- Suspension fork
- Linear-pull brakes
- Hi-Ten steel frame
The Diamondback Cobra 20 Complete Bike is designed to make rough terrain easier for young cyclists to handle. This model is recommended for boys from four to nine years old and is a great replacement for your kid’s old balance bike.
Featuring a simple but effective six-speed gear system, this mountain bike is great for inclines or flat surfaces and will allow your child to cycle in style. Its large knobby tires are designed to perform great on dirt tracks and sidewalks and are great for kids who like to experience cycling on different surfaces.
You won’t have to worry about your kid’s safety, thanks to strong linear-pull brakes which offer quick stops. The brakes are adjustable, and you can reposition them so your child can reach them more easily. One more thing I like about this bike is its lightweight but extremely durable Hi-Ten steel frame which keeps the bike sturdy but not too cumbersome for younger kids.
- Six speeds allow children to cycle smoothly over different terrain without overwhelming them with options
- Bright orange-colored frame keeps the bike and your child clearly visible on the road
- Alloy rim brakes offer excellent control and allow short stopping distance
- Sturdy but lightweight frame is ideal for smaller kids
- Isn’t fully assembled, so you will have to put it together after it arrives
- Might be too small for taller children
Overall, the Diamondback Cobra 20 Complete Bike is one of the best kids MTBs at a really affordable price. It is lightweight, sturdy, and a great option for younger kids.
5. Granite Peak Girls Mountain Bike - Best Kids 24 Inch Mountain Bike
- 24” frame/18 speeds
- Front fork suspension
- Stainless steel frame
- Knobby tires
The Granite Peak Girls Mountain Bike by Roadmaster is one of the best youth mountain bikes due to its higher weight and sturdy design. It is designed to tackle any type of terrain including uphill, downhill, flat surfaces, or gradual inclines.
Built to be a great all-round mountain bike, this model features a front fork suspension that absorbs bumps and shocks, offering a smooth and comfortable cycling experience. Its knobby tires offer plenty of grip on asphalt or dirt roads and ensure that your kid is always in complete control.
Thanks to a simple switch mechanism, your child will be able to go through any of the 18-speed gears effortlessly. Built around a stainless steel frame, this mountain bike is sturdy and durable but at the same time stylish.
- Front suspension smooths bumps in the road and ensures a comfortable ride
- Larger frame and higher gears make it ideal for older and more experienced children
- Knobby tire treads offer security on dirt roads and pavement
- A few customers stated that the gears are a bit hard to shift
The Granite Peak Girls Mountain Bike offers excellent value for the money and is overall a great mountain bike for older kids.
How To Choose The Best Mountain Bike For Kids
When it comes to purchasing a mountain bike for your kid, you want to do it right the first time! Look for the following features in order to find the best kids MTB for your child:
Correct Size & Fit
The right size and fit are the first and most important things you need to consider when buying a mountain bike for your kid. If a bike is too big or too small, your child will have trouble riding it and will give up eventually.
Cycling on rough terrain without good suspension to keep the ride smooth isn’t fun at all! That’s why you need to look for bikes with fork suspension, which is capable of absorbing the shock of rough and bumpy surfaces.
Generally, the suspension should be paired with thick and knobby tires that will improve traction on dirt roads.
Having appropriate gears will make cycling up steep hills so much easier for your little one. Using the proper gear will give your child better control on rugged surfaces and ensure a fast ride on flat terrain.
However, an array of gears can confuse your child and make shifting overwhelming, so fewer speed options are generally better for kids mountain bikes. If this is your child’s first geared bike, you should look for a model that has only six to eight speeds to start.
Most mountain bikes come with either rim or disc brakes. Rim brakes work by applying pressure directly on the metal rim of the bike tire and are most commonly used for kid’s mountain bikes.
Disc brakes, on the other hand, have rotors attached to the wheel with special brake pads. Although they offer superior stopping power, they aren’t really necessary for a children’s mountain bike.
Alloy rims support the bike’s tires from the rough conditions of dirt tracks and roads. Featuring a lightweight design, they keep the bike stable without adding weight that will make handling difficult.
The frame is the largest part of any bike, and it’s the biggest contributor to the overall weight of the bike. If a bike is too heavy, your kid won’t be able to handle and ride it properly. You should look for mountain bikes that feature a lightweight but strong aluminum frame which won’t be too cumbersome for your child to maneuver.
Selecting The Right Kids Mountain Bike Size
Choosing the correct size bike can be an issue since your child is only going to get bigger as time goes by. When it comes to kids mountain bikes, the size of the wheels generally determines the size of the bike.
These guidelines will help you find the right size for your kid:
|2-3 years||10- to 12-inch wheels|
|3-5 years||14-inch wheels|
|5-8 years||16- to 18-inch wheels|
|7-9 years||20-inch wheels|
|9-12 years||24- to 26-inch wheels|
|12+ years||27.5-, 28-, or 29-inch wheels|
Q: Does a kids mountain bike need gears?
A: Generally speaking, yes. Gears make it easier for your child to tackle hills and inclines and make long-distance rides more comfortable. It is also a good thing to teach a child to shift gears early, so they won’t have to catch up once older.
Q: Are boys and girls bikes different?
A: This largely depends on the manufacturer, but many kid bikes are now designed to be more unisex. However, bikes designed for girls typically have a step-through frame which makes mounting a lot easier for younger children.
Q: Is a suspension or rigid fork better for children?
A: Generally, suspension is always a better option for mountain bikes than a rigid fork. It is built to move up and down a few inches to absorb shock from the terrain, hence ensuring a safe and comfortable ride for your kid.
Q: When will a child outgrow their bike?
A: All children grow at different rates, so there isn’t an exact time frame which will tell you when exactly your kid will need a new bike. Generally, kids tend to outgrow their bikes within two and a half years. But this number can vary with age and bike size, and you shouldn’t take it at face value.
After quite a bit of research and extensive comparison, I was able to find the five best kids mountain bikes that meet all the essential criteria.
And, although all five options are great, I have to go with the Guardian Kids Bike Original as a winner. It is lightweight but sturdy, has a superior braking system, and comes in several kid-approved colors. The thing I like the most about it is the fact that it comes in two different sizes for kids between the ages of eight and 13.
Hopefully, this guide has all the information you need to find the perfect kids mountain bike for your child!