Sure, greenways and bike lanes can be satisfying, but if your child is ready for thrills, then it’s time to get him or her a kids mountain bike. The best kids mountain bikes allow your child to rediscover the excitement of riding while, most importantly, getting out in nature. Jumps and drop-offs are no problem, but even just the added effort of riding on flat singletrack helps get his or her mind off social media and iPhones and back into the real world. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite kids mountain bikes for every budget and every child. If your kid has already got some chops, there are even a few options to take him or her to the next level.
Kids mountain bikes generally have wider, knobbier tires and can have front shocks to soften the impact when they’re cruising down rough terrain. Plus, fatter tires stabilize the bike, which can help prevent spills. The more gears a bike has, the more choice the rider gets in terms of speed and climbing power going up and down steep hills. Our picks for the best mountain bikes for kids are light but tough: They come with reliable brakes, smooth shifting, and legit suspensions that add up to a positive introduction to an active, nature-based hobby.
Unsure if your son or daughter it going to take to the trails? The Thrasher allows him or her to explore without you having to spend an arm and a leg. Twenty-four-inch tires will give your child plenty of maneuverability, but lesser-grade components like a twisting shifter and linear pull breaks keep this package's cost down. Should your kid flourish off-road, you can invest in a pricier bike down the line.
GT made this 24-inch hardtail for the aggro kid, the kid ready to ride alongside. Its multispeed design teaches them proper shifting mechanics for ascending and descending, but it's not so core that it doesn't include a kickstand. If your little mountain goat is ready to step up to more serious (and specific) MTB rides, this is a solid first mountain bike.
Ideal for kids ages 5-10, this bike has front-wheel suspension, which makes riding more stable. The bike's coaster brakes work on the rear wheel, and the hand brake works on the front wheel. The chain is fully enclosed, for less friction. The adjustable saddle grows with your kids. Note that this bike is single-speed only, which makes it great for beginners.
This mountain bike is designed for a smooth ride, thanks to its shock-absorbing features and crisp linear pull brakes. It has a rigid, heat-treated steel frame, and is robust without being unwieldy. It doesn't have a kickstand, which is something to bear in mind.
The SureStop brake system activates both brakes with one lever, greatly reducing both stopping distance and the odds of your kid going head-over-handlebars on a quick stop, making it perfect for beginner bikers. The Ethos 16-inch is lightweight, so kids don't need to pedal as hard to fly down the trail and most kids can lift and carry the bike themselves. This bike also arrives almost completely assembled so even the least handy of parents can get their kid up and riding quickly, with just the handlebar and pedals to install. If you have an accident-prone kid, this is the bike for them. It's billed as the safest bike in the world, which isn't a claim we can verify, but we can tell you that it's loaded with features designed to keep kids safe no matter what kind of trail they're on. It's engineered to have a lower center of gravity, a feature that makes tip-over accidents less likely.
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