Best MTB Bike Brands for Kids

By Eric Awwy, 11 Mar 2021

If you have a budding young rider who aspires to challenge themselves on more legitimate trails; then you should definitely be on the lookout for a great mountain bike brand.

You want a bike that offers the same kind of premium level components that you would find in an adult bike; save for the grown-up size.

And speaking of size; the best sizes for mountain biking aspirants are 20-inch bikes for kids between 5 and 8 years and 24-inch bikes or kids between 8 and 12 years. But if they’re big enough to fit on a 26-inch bike then that can also be a consideration.

Size aside; when it comes to scouting for the best brands from the pool of bike brands in the market today; we can all agree that it’s never an easy task especially for the beginner. And that is why our expertise as seasoned bike riders is of relevance.

For your precocious child, these are the 23 best mountain bike brands for kids bikes we recommend to advance their riding skills with (Each brand has a series of bikes of different sizes):

1. Woom (Woom 5, Woom off, and Woom off-air)

The great thing about the Woom brand is that their bikes have some of the lightest/ kid-optimized weights you will find in the market today. And they don’t sacrifice high-quality material to achieve that weight. Instead, they use lightweight aluminum material in their frame construction which accounts for the shed off weight.

The 24-inch Woom 5 combines fun and safety exceptionally with its lightweight AA6061 aluminum frame, 8 speeds powered by a SRAM X4 twist shifter, and v-brakes for speed control. We also love that the bike is designed to encourage agility and easy handling as its tires offer great grip, shock absorption, and low rolling resistance.

The Woom OFF’s rigid carbon fork and the OFF AIR’S high-quality air-sprung suspension fork, also tell of how well-equipped Woom mountain bikes are for trail handling.

Other high-quality features that transcend across their mountain bikes include hydraulic disc brakes and high-volume Schwabble tires.

2.    Prevelo (Prevelo Zulu, Prevelo Alpha 4)

Kids typically start their riding with balance bikes then graduate to road bikes and eventually to mountain bikes.

Once they’re up for more challenging trails, Prevelo is one of the best brands for the youngest riders to score a mountain bike. If the Prevelo Zulu one (the smallest mountain bike we have come by) is anything to go by; it’s a 14-inch mountain bike that has almost all the flairs that bigger mountain bikes have. These include grippy tires, disc brakes, and a strong build so the bikes are safe, comfortable, and sturdy enough to take a beating

The Prevelo Zulu three and the Zulu Four HEIR feature an adjustable air fork, thru-axles, and Shimano ZEE derailleur with clutch; features that you won’t spot on just any mountain bike.

On the other hand, Prevelo’s 24-inch Alpha 4 also features Tektro front and rear v-brakes for stopping power as well as Shimano ALTUS 8-speed drivetrain with the unique Shimano smart cage.

3. Norco

The Norco line features just about any bike one would desire; that is; plus-sized hardtails, dirt jumpers, and adult-level full-suspension bikes.

Very few people would have named Norco in a ‘best-line’ two years ago, but this brand has had major uplifts within the recent years that have made their bikes worthy of an honorary mention.

For instance, the Norco FS 1 24 is a newly redesigned bike for MTB kids who will certainly enjoy the smoothness that is offered by its Fox and X-Fusion suspension combination.

It is also equipped with Maxxis Minion DHR/DHF tires and a 100mm dropper.

Having been founded in the 1960s; we’re glad that the company has finally decided to grow and evolve with the newest trends.

4. Early Rider

As the name suggests, Early riders make bikes especially for the earliest/youngest riders.

We love their light aluminum frames and other high-quality brand components such as SRAM drivetrain and Maxxis tires

The latest entry is the Early Rider Hellion 24”  that features a combination of 6061 and 6066 tubing as well as a suspension fork for young shredders (from 8 years and up) who want to show off on the trails, bike parks, and local pavements.

The details on this one; as with all Early Rider bikes, are meticulously done to give a sleek elegant finish to their bikes.  

For toddlers, Early Rider balance bikes have them covered!

5. Vitus

Up for a high-quality mountain bike without breaking the bank? Vitus is just the brand that you should be researching from. It’s a U.K brand that ships to the U.S and offer some of the best quality components at a budget-friendly price.

We’re talking Tektro disc brakes, Vee tire Co. tires, light aluminum frame; you name it.  

The Vitus Nucleus is a 24-inch MTB that has made its debut just this year. For its price, you get disc brakes, spring forks, and highly durable frame construction to last your budding professional on the roughest trails.

6. Cleary (Cleary Scout)

Cleary has recently been intentional about putting out well-thought-out mountain bikes for kids. And their creations have not only been well thought-out but also equally appealing to the eye.

We love their unique 4130 Chromoly steel frames that are durable and especially the fact that they’re available at affordable prices.

The Cleary Scout is a 24-inch hardtail mountain bike that banks on comfort. With a balanced build to ensure comfort; the Scout 24 features Tektro hydraulic brakes, child-sized levers, and a 1x 10 drivetrain for kids who are ready to graduate from pavements to singletrack trails.  

7. Commencal (Commencal Meta HT and Commencal Clash)

Commencal, hands-down offers some of the best quality kids-mountain bikes. The 20-year-old company is situated in Andorra (between France and Spain) and largely bases its production on mountain bikes.

One of the most-admired kids’ mountain bikes in the industry today is the Commencal Meta HT.

The Commencal Meta HT20 is the minimized version of a real adult-sized mountain bike. We appreciate its eye-catching red frame, but the Meta HT isn’t just about the looks; instead, it garners admiration for performance-based qualities.

With a wide range of gears from a 10-speed SRAM drivetrain, kid-friendly short crank arms, smooth internal cable routing, child-friendly brakes and the specially created Manitou Machete Junit 20 100mm travel fork; even the lightest riders are well-equipped.

It also doesn’t hurt that the bikes come with a 5-year warranty. 

8. Transition (Transition Ripcord)

Transition doesn’t have the widest range of options but for the Transition Ripcord, this brand highly deserves a mention.

The Ripcord’s build is what you would expect out of an adult-sized mountain bike; except it’s sized down for kids. It’s a 24-inch full-suspension kid’s mountain bike that will have ambitious riders ruling advanced single tracks; especially when combined with its thick beefy tires, Shimano brakes, and 11-speed drivetrain. 

It would take a lot to sample our best feature of the Ripcord but if we had to pick one feature it then its full suspension does it for us.

9. Propain 

Propain has just recently expanded its outreach to North America; which has made their reach so much easier for that market.

The high-quality components and child-sized geometry of their mountain bikes is a great addition to the aggressive riders’ market. 

10. Meekboyz

If your kids are likely to put their bikes through some of the roughest handlings then Meekboys is just the brand for you.

This brand designs bikes that are not only ready to handle a rough beating but also deliver the best downhill experience.

The Meekboys Mega Beast is a 24-inch MTB tailored to handle the most aggressive of trails with its lightweight carbon frame build (going at 26 pounds); and with 180mm of travel, it moves on downhill trails with expeditious speed.

11. Spawn

If you know anything about mountain bikes then it’s impossible not to have heard of Spawn. They have a broad range of selections for those looking for cross-country bikes or downhill beasts, and to top that they also have Brood; their own in-house line of components such as tires.

Although their smaller sizes are also equipped for off-road riding, we’d say that for a true mountain biking experience the 20-inch Spawn Yama Jama is the best start.

Their mountain bikes go from 20” and up; and next in line is the Spawn Rokk 24. It’s is a full-suspension mountain bike that can also accommodate 26-inch wheels; to leverage more use out of it, features tubeless wheels and tires as well as an 11-speed SRAM NX drivetrain for trail tackling.

12. Frog

Although not as famous as other brands in our listing, this UK Company has recently extended their line from their infamous hybrid bikes to now venturing in great mountain bikes to fit the appetite of their consumers in the best way possible.

That can be attested to with the common turnout of junior MTBs hailing from Frog’s ‘Push The Limits” line that was launched in 2018.

And it all boils down to the details; the Kenda tires, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and Shimano drivetrain that are synonymous with all their bikes.

The Frog MTB 62’s 24-inch air suspension fork, lightweight frame, 1x9 gearing, and hydraulic disc brakes speak of its ability to hit the trails.

13. Pello

Pello bikes are engineered to fit kids’ sizes and ease the riding process; be it on-road or off-road.

The Pello Reyes 24”; is Pello bikes' first 24” bike and in their own words, it is the ultimate 24” inch bike.

Do we agree? Certainly! And that’s because the Pello Reyes meets a child at whichever skill level they are in and then easily transitions as they advance to tackle more aggressive trails. 

The Reyes is expertly designed with an aluminum 6061 frame, Tektro front and rear disc brakes with child-proportioned levers, a 9-speed trigger shift drivetrain and Kenda tires.

Because the bike is suspension corrected; meaning that if one chooses to add the recommended suspension fork (that can be input with the initial purchase or added at a later date), then it will not compromise the child-optimized geometry.

Just like that the bike gains 50mm of travel with a smooth feel on bumpy terrain.

14. Diamondback

You’ll be hard-pressed to find anything better as Diamondback has some of the best and most affordable hybrid, road, and mountain bikes.

This company prides itself in the Kunckle Box suspension; an innovative system that is incorporated into its mountain bikes to enhance the smoothness of off-road rides.

The Diamondback Sortie, Scapegoat, and Mission mountain bikes feature this full suspension system for premium riding. 

15. Trek

Trek is the largest and one of the oldest bike companies in the U.S.

Their consistency in bike production is exceptionally remarkable so it comes as no surprise that the company still dominates the industry across all domains of bike production.

The Trek Superfly 20 is perfect for XC terrain. With a mere weight of 18 pounds, its minimal weight is a great reflection of the minimal price tag it comes in.

Their bicycles are built to fit and to last on hard trails, and in turn, convert amateurs into professionals in no time.

16. Specialized

For the best experience of riding at speed on ascents and descents, you can’t miss the right candidate from specialized bikes.

Specialized bikes are created with attention to detail. For instance, their flat handlebars enhance a more aggressive riding position for the rider to get the most out of the bike on either flat or bumpy terrain.

17.  Co-Op cycles (Co-Op Cycles DRT)

The advantage that Co-op cycles has over other bike brands is that it offers similar top-shelf level components at a much cheaper price tag.

Its DRT series features a line of trail bikes that are all equipped for the most exclusive and demanding backcountry trails.

Trail bikes hold an edge over regular mountain bikes as they offer longer suspension travel, larger and grippier tires that offer the best traction as well as a slacker head angle for smoother downhill rides.

For the smallest riders, the smaller-framed DRT 1.0 (26-inch) is a perfect fit.

Its 3x7 drivetrain is the epitome of versatility as it offers the rider a broad range of gear changes for uphill and downhill speed and power. It also features a Shimano tourney rear derailleur for seamless gear changes.

The SR Suntour suspension fork offers 100mm of travel giving a smooth ride while Tektro hydraulic disc brakes deliver ultimate stopping power.

18. Trailcraft (Trailcraft Maxwell)

Trailcraft Cycles offers bikes on a direct-to-consumer basis. Trailcraft bikes have up to 5 ways to get their bikes; that is; frame-only, rolling frameset, and their levels of building kits to complete bikes.

Their bikes offer legitimate companions on rough trails and if the Trailcraft Maxwell 26 is anything to go by, then little shredders will tear up trails in no time.

On both steep and rocky uphill and smoother downhill trails, the Maxwell 26 (named after an actual tough trail in Fort Collins, Colorado) is perfectly engineered to enjoy those sweet descents.

The full-suspension bike is lightweight (24 pounds) with top-notch components such as

Stans Crest MK3 wheels and an extended range 11-45 cassette and 152mm direct-mount cranks with an aluminum spindle.

19. Rocky Mountain Reaper

For the most technical of trails, the Rocky Mountain Reaper’s design (available in 24, 26, and 27.5 inches), fits off-road riding perfectly.

It’s a full-suspension bike with a 1x10 Shimano drivetrain, that will have the young rider ready for any kind of trail once the front and the rear air suspension is dialed in.

We especially love and appreciate that the 24-inch wheels can be switched out for 26-inch wheels on the same frame; giving the same bike a longer shelf-life in the family.

20. Pivot

The Pivot brand is known for their adult bikes but what a lot of people don’t know is that they make equally exceptional bikes that can fit younger riders.

Their bikes cost an arm and a leg but you get what you pay for as these bikes deliver in terms of training their riders to perform well on trails while the bikes maintain utmost longevity.

If your kid is up for a 26-inch bike, Pivot’s XS bike frames are a great option for that adult/ professional riding experience.

21. Lil Shredder

Bike geeks will love the convertibility and customization of Lil shredder mountain bikes.

When it comes to convertibility, Lil Shredder mountain bikes can be transformed into bigger bikes with the same frame.

For instance, this means that the 16” frame can convert to a 20” when the larger wheel is installed. And ultimately the rider can get more mileage out of the same frame before they eventually upgrade. Between you and us; it’s such a great way for parents to save coins!

As for customization, Lil Shredder can be equipped with different components for utilization as a trail bike, downhill bike, or dirt jumper; accordingly.

22. Flow bikes

Flow Bikes has amazing color options for kids to personalize their frames with their favorite color. Another great factor about this company is that it offers full bikes as well as frame/fork only which gives buyers the choice to incorporate other components from other brands they admire.

The Flow 16” and the 20” –both of which accept wheels one size up, can be converted to larger wheel bikes for an extended period of use. They also have an all-mountain build that delivers non-bumpy riding on the roughest of trails.

You’ll probably have to break the bank for this purchase but Flow bikes definitely deliver.

23. Mongoose bikes 

Mongoose bikes are built to be ridden hard, and the proof of it is that this brand specializes in BMX and mountain bikes for the best off-road experience.

While Mongoose bikes deliver in other aspects, they are overall known for the best beginner-friendly mountain bikes.

Here’s what you can expect from your investment; full suspension, alloy grips, highly durable steel frames, highly responsive brakes; and an overall smooth experience regardless of the terrain.

Plus; with both a premium and regular line to suit the pockets and needs of their consumers, it’s hard to not come by a kids’ bike that is ideal for your little shredder.

Wrap-up

The adrenaline rush that comes with mountain biking is something that a percentage of budding cyclists want to experience; and for that, only the best bike brands will do.

For some of these mountain bikes, they’re so well-designed that it takes close inspection to realize that they’re designed for kids.

With the best in quality, composition, and geometry alignment for kids, these bike brand’s bikes will have your kiddo challenging you on the trails in no time.  

Safe to say; it’s time to pick a bike and advance your child’s riding!

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