Biking

Top 10 Best Kids Bikes Reviewed & Compared For 2018

Any fan of the comedy show Friends will know how important a first bike is in a child’s upbringing. But it’s not just the sentimental value; there are an endless list of reasons to get your kids comfortable on two wheels.

Whether it’s for the environment, health or just for the pure joy of it, cycling is a hugely rewarding sport and starting your child off with a good bike is important.

So how do you choose the best children’s bike on the market so your little ones can learn this essential skill?

For more of my top gear recommendations, have a look through these popular Outside Pursuits guide links: Bike Helmets, Bike Lights, Bike Racks.

Quick Answer: The 10 Best Bikes For Kids – 2018

Best Unisex Kids Bikes

  1. Guardian Lightweight Kids Bike
  2. Goplus Freestyle
  3. Royalbaby Honey
  4. Diamondback Mini Viper

Best Kids Bikes For Boys

  1. Kent Super 20
  2. Ozark Challenger BMX Bike
  3. Huffy Ignyte

Best Kids Bikes For Girls

  1. Royalbaby Stargirl
  2. Ozark Violet BMX Bike
  3. Mongoose LSX

Our guide and comparison table outline the key factors to take into account to help you get a top rated kids bike for your children. So let’s get going!

Best Kids Bikes

 Guardian Lightweight Kids BikeKent Super 20 Boy's BikeRoyalbaby Stargirl Girl's Bike
editors choice
Size(s):20", 24"20"12”, 14”, 16”, 18”
Age Range:5-10 yrs5-9 yrs2-7 yrs
Training Wheels:NoNoYes
Gears:Single, 6 & 7 Speed7 SpeedSingle speed

Kids Bike Reviews

Here we’ve collected lists of the best unisex, boys and girls bicycles. Breaking off from the idea that boys bicycles should be for rough-and-tumble and girls bicycles should look pretty, we’ve covered all bases so every kid’s needs should be taken care of.

Quick Tips:

  • The sizes themselves refer to the size of the wheels, not the bike itself.
  • Don’t be put off by the one-size-fits-all age and height ranges. Some of these bikes come in different sizes, so you can choose the one that fits your kid best.

Best Unisex Kids Bikes

#1 Guardian Lightweight Kids Bike

Guardian Lightweight Kids Bike at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 20” 20lbs, 24” 23lbs.
  • Best For: 20” – ages 5-7, 24” – ages 8-10
  • Frame & Fork: Aircraft-grade aluminum
  • Gears: 20” single speed, 20” six speed, 24” seven speed
  • Brakes: Award-winning Surestop Brake System
  • Training Wheels: No

YouTuber EvanTubeHD calls this model the “world’s safest kids bike”. This is largely due to Guardian’s pièce de resistance: the award-winning Surestop Brake System, which connects both the front and back brake to a single hand lever and applies them both at the same time with suitable pressure.

This avoids head-over-handlebars falls and is such a revolution that Mark Cuban invested $500,000 in Guardian bikes on Shark Tank.

There are three versions available which cover kids from around 45” to 61”. Two of these have 20” wheels and differ in their amount of gears — one is a single speed while the other is a six speed.

The 24” seven-speed version is one that could just about last into the teenage years and is versatile enough for kids who have long since mastered the basics of cycling.

In terms of price, this is head and shoulders above other bikes in this guide, but this should not mean that it is automatically off the wish list. If your child has taken a clear liking to cycling, the Guardian is a versatile, safe and our Editors Choice for the best kids bike!


#2 Goplus Freestyle Kids Bicycle

Goplus Freestyle at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 12” 18.5lbs, 16” 22.5lbs and 20” 24.4lbs
  • Best For: Ages 2-8
  • Frame & Fork: Steel
  • Gears: Single speed
  • Brakes: Coaster and hand
  • Training Wheels: Yes

The Goplus Freestyle is a great beginners bike for both boys and girls.

It has all of the components you need to get started on a bike, with both a hand brake and a coaster brake to get used to both types of braking.

The training wheels are perfect for giving your child confidence in the early stages of learning to ride. As they are removable, you can use the same bike to break the first milestone of riding — taking off the training wheels.

Available in three colors and three sizes, there is a good range of options to choose from and all of them are very reasonably priced. Accessories include a water bottle (like the pros use 😉 and a bell.

In short, the Goplus Freestyle has everything you need to get your kid started on a bike and has a very reasonable price tag. If you’re looking for the best toddler bike, the Goplus is it!


#3 Royalbaby Honey 14 inch with training wheels

Royalbaby Honey at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 14” 20 lbs
  • Best For: Ages 3-5
  • Frame & Fork: Square tube
  • Gears: Single speed
  • Brakes: Coaster and hand; 18” model hand only
  • Training Wheels: Yes

Fairly similar to the Goplus Freestyle, the Royalbaby Honey is a bike for 35”-47” beginners and covers all the basics.
It has a hand front brake and a coaster back brake, along with training wheels to help grow confidence.

Users report it being very easy to assemble and many appreciate its sleek look. As a unisex bike, it doesn’t feature excessive decoration, which can be a big advantage, depending on your child’s personal taste.

Priced a bit higher than the Goplus with not much between the two, the Royalbaby Honey could win on looks and is probably the best bike for 4 year olds on our list.


#4 Diamondback Mini Viper

Diamondback Mini Viper at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 16” 23.5lbs
  • Best For: Ages 3-6
  • Frame & Fork: Hi-Ten steel
  • Gears: Single speed
  • Brakes: Coaster brake only
  • Training Wheels: Yes

The BMX-style Diamondback mini viper is a no-frills beginners bike which does its job perfectly. The Diamondback brand guarantees you build quality that you won’t find in toy stores and the training wheels allow your child to get used to the action of the pedals and the coaster brake.

Children who don’t want to be too “kiddish” appreciate the mature design that is similar to what some of the older kids on the block will have.

As a BMX, it is suitable for a few tricks that mountain bikes aren’t set up for, so as soon as the training wheels are off, your little one can get experimenting with stunts.

All in all a fantastic bicycle for kids around 38”-45” tall that covers all of your needs and the best bike for 5 year olds.


Best Boys Bikes

#1 Kent Super 20 Boys Bike

Kent Super 20 at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 20” 36lbs
  • Best For: Ages 5-9
  • Frame & Fork: Full-suspension
  • Gears: Seven speed
  • Brakes: Hand
  • Training Wheels: No

The Kent Super 20 is a great choice for boys around 44”-56” tall who have outgrown the street out front and want to go off road.

Off-road tires, suspension on the front wheel, back wheel and seat mean the Kent Super 20 can take on a bumpy country trail and then some.

Users who don’t have experience assembling bikes mention that the manual can be quite hard to follow, but there is a wealth of advice to be found within the reviews. On the other hand, if you know your way around a bike, you shouldn’t have any problems with set up.


#2 Ozark Challenger BMX Boy’s Bike

FDW 16" Steel Frame BMX Boy's Bike

Ozark Challenger BMX Boy’s Bike at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 16” 20lbs
  • Best For: Ages 3-5
  • Frame & Fork: Steel
  • Gears: Single speed
  • Brakes: Coaster
  • Training Wheels: Yes

The black and red design is really the only notable difference between the Ozark Challenger and the girls version, the Violet.

Padding on the handle bars mean that any body-to-bar collisions will be cushioned and the solid frame can take a lot of punishment.

Training wheels mean that the pedals and coaster brake take priority, but the wheels can be removed as confidence grows.

The Ozark Challenger is great value for money and a fantastic bike to get things started.


#3 Huffy Ignyte Kids Single Speed Boy’s Bike

Huffy Ignyte Kids Single Speed Boy’s Bike at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 20” 33lbs
  • Best For: Ages 5-9
  • Frame & Fork: Steel
  • Gears: Single speed
  • Brakes: Hand and coaster
  • Training Wheels: No

The Huffy Ignite is hot on design. Whether you go for the gloss blue abyss or the gloss crimson finish. With a yellow wheel rim and pegs on the front wheel, this stylish bike is great for kids who want to make a statement.

Aimed at ages five to nine (or a height range of 44”-56”), this is more advanced in features than a lot of beginner boys bicycles. It is a BMX, so a joy for kids who have mastered balance, accelerating and braking.

The cool look and the very reasonable price of the Huffy Ignyte make is a solid choice for kids who want to start experimenting with a few jumps and stunts.


Best Girls Bikes

#1 Royalbaby Stargirl Girl’s Bike

Royalbaby Stargirl Girl's Bike

Royalbaby Stargirl at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 12” 19lbs, 14” 21 lbs, 16” 22lbs, 18” 24lbs
  • Best For: 12” (ages 2-3), 14” (ages 3-4), 16” (ages 4-5), 18” (ages 6-7)
  • Frame & Fork: Pulse TIG steel frame, BMZ TIG steel fork
  • Gears: Single speed
  • Brakes: Hand and coaster
  • Training Wheels: Yes

The Royalbaby Stargirl, like many girls bicycles, has all the frills and accessories, making it a great beginners bike.

Design-wise, it comes in two colors, blue and pink, with stars peppered all over the frame and components. It has added extras, including streamers attached to the handlebars, a bell and a basket on the front. This can really help when it comes to motivation.

There are four different sizes: 12” and 14” with training wheels, 16” with training wheels and a kickstand and 20” with just a kickstand.

Girls who don’t mind a bit of rough and tumble will find their perfect bike among the other options in the list; this is for wannabe royalty.


#2 Ozark Violet BMX Girl’s Bike

Ozark Violet BMX Girl’s Bike at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 16” 20lbs
  • Best For: Ages 3-5
  • Frame & Fork: Steel
  • Gears: Single speed
  • Brakes: Coaster
  • Training Wheels: Yes

Known for being rugged and fun, BMX bikes like this one from Ozark, are great for a first bike. Another advantage of this style of bike is that the handlebars have a cross bar which can be padded — standard on the Ozark Violet.

Similar to the Royalbaby Stargirl, it has an attractive girly-girl style, but only has a coaster brake, as opposed to a coaster and a hand brake. As it is for beginners, it also comes with training wheels so your child can practice pedaling and braking without worrying about balance.

At the lower end of the price range and with a pink and fuchsia finish, this is a great model to get young girls started.


#3 Mongoose Girl’s LSX Bicycle

Mongoose Girl’s LSX Bicycle at a Glance:

  • Size & Bike Weight: 20” 34lbs
  • Best For: Ages 5-7
  • Frame & Fork: Premium Mongoose Hi-Ten steel
  • Gears: Single speed
  • Brakes: Hand
  • Training Wheels: No

The Mongoose LSX is a more “grown-up” bike for girls who have got a bit of confidence and want to develop their cycling skills. Customers love that the Mongoose LSX takes itself seriously as a BMX.

It isn’t a traditional girls bike with tassels on the handlebars, but a sleek, well-designed stunt bike that won’t look out of place in the skate park. There are two colors to choose from — pink and white — which are good options for most young girls.

Low on the fancy accessories and characters from TV shows that you’ll find on many store-bought bikes, this is the performance-focused option that the girls bike market has needed for a long time.


Kids Bike Comparison Table

Kids Bike Best ForSize(s)AgesTraining
Wheels
Rating
Goplus FreestyleBoys or Girls12", 16", 20"2-8 yrsYes4.1 / 5.0
Royalbaby HoneyBoys or Girls14”3-5 yrsYes4.5 / 5.0
Guardian Kids BikeBoys or Girls20”, 24”5-10 yrsNo4.8 / 5.0
Diamondback Mini ViperBoys or Girls16” 3-6 yrsYes3.9 / 5.0
Kent Super 20 Boys BikeBoys20”5-9 yrsNo3.6 / 5.0
FDW BMX Boy's BikeBoys16”3-5 yrsYes3.9 / 5.0
Huffy IgnyteBoys20”5-9 yrsNo3.8 / 5.0
Royalbaby StargirlGirls12”, 14”, 16”, 18”2-7 yrsYes4.1 / 5.0
FDW BMX Girl's BikeGirls16”3-5 yrsYes4.4 / 5.0
Mongoose Girl's LSXGirls20”5-7 yrsNo3.7 / 5.0

How to Choose the Best Kids Bike

best childrens bikes

Deciding on the Right Model

When little tikes are getting used to their bikes, getting one that fits is number one priority for both comfort and safety. You’ll find the recommended height and age for each model outlined in the “at a glance” section or in the table below.

Regarding training wheels, there is a bit of debate on whether they are a good option or not. I suggest reading the training wheels section below and deciding what is right for you.

Children’s bikes rarely feature anything special in the frame and fork department; that will all become more important during the teenage years. At this stage, frames and forks should only really enter the discussion when it comes to padding and suspension.

Pedaling, balancing and braking are the first things any rider needs to know. Gears are for when the first three skills have been nailed and your child wants to get comfortable with speed or going up hills.

Brakes are one of the most important components on a bike and should be taught as soon as possible. The corresponding section below outlines the two different kinds of brakes you can find in this list and the pros and cons of both.

Size & Fit

Bike sizes are based on the size of the wheels. Below you’ll find a reliable guide on what size bike you should choose for what age.

But there’s a little bit more to it than that. All of these bikes can be adjusted fairly easily with just a few Allen keys. Raising the seat and handlebars as your kids grow up will save you from buying a new bike every couple of months.

Don’t fall into the trap of buying a bike that is too big on the premise that your little one will grow into it. The lack of control that this will bring is not only dangerous, but very demotivating for kids.

AGE WHEEL SIZE
2-3 years 12” wheels
3-4 years 14” wheels
4-5 years 16” wheels
6-7 years 20” wheels
8-10 years 24” wheels

Training wheels

training wheels for kids bikes
Goplus Freestyle Kids Bike Training Wheels

There are two schools of thought on training wheels. Although they seem an essential step, many people and companies claim the best way to learn balance is to begin with no pedals. Your child gets to grips with the balancing part by pushing their bike along with their feet on the floor.

Once they feel comfortable balancing like this, you can put the pedals on (just a few turns of a wrench, nothing technical) and see how they take to riding with their feet off the ground.

Standard training wheels are the more traditional option, giving children the ability to sit still on the bike, using the pedals from day one. Once your child is comfortable with the motions involved in riding, you can take the training wheels off and let them get to grips with their balance.

If you are unsure about which option to go for, I would recommend choosing a bike with training wheels included, as this gives you the option of removing them along with the pedals, or leaving both on.

Frame and Fork

Frame and Fork for kids bicycles
Kent Super 20 Boys Bike Fork and Brakes

For kids bikes, you don’t have to spend too much time worrying about the frame and fork. To my knowledge, they aren’t mass-producing aerodynamic carbon fiber frames for the under fives just yet.

Two key things to take into consideration are padding and suspension.

If you are worried about injuries caused by the frame, it might be worth looking at the Ozark Challenger BMX Boy’s or the Ozark Violet BMX Girl’s which come with padding on the handlebars.

There is, however, a very easy and cost-effective way you can cushion the frame at home. A section of a pool noodle can really open up your options if you see a padded frame as a priority.

Suspension, similar to your car, works as a shock absorber between the bike and bumpy surfaces. It is a superfluous feature for kids who are just learning to get going, but if you have an adventurous little one, they’ll probably want to upgrade to a bike with suspension to tackle increasingly demanding routes.

Gears

gears on kids bike
Kent Super 20 Boys Bike Gears

When you’re just starting out, gears are more of a luxury than a necessity. They won’t impede learning how to balance, accelerate or brake, but are unnecessary for total beginners.

As your child grows in confidence (and height), it will probably be time to think about upgrading to a larger bike with gears. Until the age of around 10, there are not many companies on the market that offer more than seven-speed bikes which is more than enough for most riders at this age.

However, if you have a future Tour de France winner on your hands, consider taking a look at kids road bikes which have many more gears for more dedicated riders.

Brakes

brakes on childs bike
Mongoose Girl’s LSX Bicycle Brakes

All of the bikes that appear on this list use either hand brakes, coaster brakes or a combination of both.

Hand brakes are standard on most bikes. Nothing out of the ordinary, simply pull the lever and the brake is applied to the wheel, slowing you down. A hand brake on the rear wheel means you will have a freewheel — the mechanism which allows the back wheel to continue turning when your feet are either stationary or rotating backwards.

Coaster brakes work with the pedals themselves and as such, can only ever be used on the rear wheel. They work by rotating your feet backwards which slows the rear wheel down. Coaster brakes are often easier for beginners who are still getting to grips with balance and have difficulty adjusting their hand positions to apply a hand brake.

If you’ve ever tried one of the classic bikes in the Netherlands, you’ll have an idea as to how coaster brakes work, for better or worse. Remember that while you may have had difficulty using a coaster brake because you are more used to hand brakes, both types are new for beginners and are just as intuitive to learn.

On a bicycle for kids, it is a big advantage to have a hand brake on the front and a coaster brake on the rear. This way, little ones can use what is most comfortable for them, and over time, get used to using both.

Click to find a more comprehensive comparison.

Final Thoughts

At these young ages, there can be a vast difference in skill levels between different children, but you know your kid best. Think about what they need their bike for. Is it for getting to practicing pedaling?

Or are they now ready to hit the skate park or off-road trails? If so see my Kid’s Mountain Bikes.

Combining your child’s needs to this guide should help you find the perfect bike. This list features the good kids bikes for absolute beginners through to ones with itchy feet who are demanding something more.

Getting the right fit is the most important factor for safety, comfort and confidence, but design is also very important in getting your child on the bike. At these early stages, high performance isn’t a major concern.

If parading around on a pink bike with basket and all will get your child riding, the Royalbaby Stargirl is a great option, and the black-and-red finish on the Ozark Challenger BMX is the vehicle of choice for any Darth Maul in training.

The key is to make learning to ride a bike as fun and as comfortable as possible, letting them develop at their own pace and igniting the flame that will see them teach themselves as soon as they’ve outgrown their parents’ riding school.


I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best kids bike to fit your needs. If you want to comment or recommend a bike I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch.

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James McKenna

Monday to Friday, James is a freelance writer, translator and subtitler based in Barcelona. He uses his weekends to get out camping, cycling and running around the Catalan countryside. When he has time he goes further afield, having cycled from Krakow to Amsterdam, London to Barcelona and Budapest to Budapest.

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