Looking for a 12 inch or 14 inch BMX bike for your child? We’ve researched and surveyed lots of parents to come up with a list of the 5 best options on the market.
In this article, we’ll also share a comparison chart with bike specifications and tips on what to consider when choosing a BMX bike for your child
Age Range for 12 Inch and 14 Inch BMX Bikes
12 inch and 14 inch BMX bikes are best suited for kids between 2.5 and 6 years old, with the smaller-sized wheels being a better fit for kids at the bottom end of this age range.
An even better indicator of appropriate bike size is height. 12″ BMX bikes are a good fit for children between 3’0″ and 3’6″, while 14″ BMX bikes fit best for kids between 3’5″ and 4’2″.
You might notice that the appropriate age range for a BMX bike is quite different from a regular kids bike. Kids who are very comfortable on a 16″ pedal bike for riding to and from school will still want a 14″ bike for BMX.
Is a BMX Bike The Best Choice For Your Child?
BMX bikes are the obvious choice for families who want to learn tricks or play at the skatepark. If that’s your family, then look no further than this list.
That said, we see far too many parents choose a BMX bike for their child when their kiddo would be better served by a traditional 12″ or 14″ pedal bike. These kids are just learning to ride a bike or are going to be joining their family for rides on the bike path or to the ice cream shop. If that’s your family, check out our list of traditional recreational bikes instead.
Freestyle BMX Bikes vs Race BMX Bikes
The bikes on this list are freestyle BMX bikes. This means they are appropriate for the skatepark or for riding in the driveway.
If, on the other hand, your child is interested in BMX racing, they’ll need a race specific bike. Yes, these bikes are different than a freestyle bike.
For more info on race BMX bikes, check out our guide:
Cult Juvenile 12 / Cult Juvenile 14
The Cult Juveline has a cult-like following (no pun intended) amongst BMX families. It comes in a 12″ and 14″ version, both of which have high-quality components like an integrated headset, sealed bearings, and a cro-mo steel 3-piece crank.
The bike has child-appropriate geometry, a rear v-brake and a lightweight alloy frame.
Cult Juvenile 12
Price (MSRP): $359.99
Cult Juvenile 14
Price (MSRP): $369.99
Kink Roaster 12 / Kink Pump 14
Both the Kink Roaster 12 and the Kink Pump 14 have well-designed geometry and a build that won’t break the bank. You will note some of the components are cheaper than other bikes on this list (they have a 1-piece crank for instance) but if you just want to get your kid stoked on riding, the Kink BMX bikes will do it.
The only thing we don’t love about the Kink Roaster 12 is that it comes with a coaster brake. It is compatible, however, for a caliper brake so if you want to spend the time to conver it, you could do that. The Kink Pump 14 comes standard with a rear U-brake already installed.
Kink Roaster 12
Price (MSRP): $299.99
Kink Pump 14
Price (MSRP): $349.99
Fit Misfit 12 / Fit Misfit 14
The Fit Misfit 12 and 14 are both top of the line BMX bikes built for tiny riders. Even the 12″ version includes a easy-to-reach, easy-to-operate rear v-brake, which we MUCH prefer to a coaster.
Both the frame and fork is CroMo steel and the overall build of both bikes is lighter than the other options on this list, which is helpful for petite kids and for doing tricks.
Fit Misfit 12
Price (MSRP): $439.95
Fit Misfit 14
Price (MSRP): $395.95
Subrosa Altus 14
The Subrosa Altus only comes in a 14 inch version, but has a frame small enough to fit most young riders. The price is attractive on this bike, and it’s durable thanks to the Hi-Ten steel construction.
That durability and budget pricetag comes at a price though–the Altus is a bit hefty, especially for more petite riders.
SE Bronco 12
We don’t love that the SE Racing Bronco 12 has training wheels but take those off and you’re in business.
Although the bike does have a coaster brake, it also comes with a rear v-brake which we appreciate. It also has Mini Kraton grips and high-volume (2.1″) tires.
Comparison Chart: 12 Inch & 14 Inch Kids BMX Bikes
Use this table to help you pick the best bike for your child. For more tips on how to choose, keep reading below.
|Bike||Weight||Wheel Size||Fork Material||Frame Material||Tires||Brake||Front chainring||Cassette||Top Tube Length|
|Ruption Impact 12*||?||12"||Steel||Steel||12" x 2.0"||V-Brake||25t||10t||11.9"|
|Ruption Impact 14*||21.4 lbs||14"||Steel||Steel||14" x 2.0"||V-Brake||25t||10t||14"|
|Kink Roaster 12*||16 lbs||12"||Steel||Steel||12″ x 2.25″||Coaster||25t||9t||12.5"|
|Kink Pump 14*||20.5 lbs||14"||Steel||Steel||14" x 2.25"||U-Brake||25t||9t||14.5"|
|Cult Juvenile 12||15.4 lbs||12"||Aluminium||Aluminium||12″ x 2.20″||V-Brake||25t||9t||13.25”|
|Cult Juvenile 14*||18.3 lbs||14"||Aluminum||Aluminum||14" x 2.20"||V-Brake||25t||9t||14.5”|
|Fit Misfit 12*||14.5 lbs||12"||Aluminum||Aluminum||12.5″ x 2.1″||V-Brake||25t||3/8" Cassette||13.25″|
|Fit Misfit 14*||18.7 lbs||14"||Steel||Steel||14” X 2.1”||V-Brake||25t||3/8” Cassette||14.75″|
|SE Bronco 12*||18.5 lbs||12"||Aluminum||Aluminum||12" x 2.1"||Coaster AND V-brake||28t||16t||12.3"|
Things To Consider When Choosing a BMX Bike For Your Child
Top Tube Length
The smaller your child, the shorter you want the top tube to make sure they fit comfortably. And vice versa: the closer your child is to the top end of the 12″ or 14″ age range, the longer you’ll want the top tube. There is quite a bit of variation in the geometry and frame size of the different 16 inch BMX bikes, so keep this in mind when shopping.
Additionally, weight can make a big difference in your child’s enjoyment on a bike. While weight on a BMX bike is somewhat less important than on a traditional pedal bike for longer-distance riding, a lighter bike is still key in helping your child to succeed. A heavy bike can be difficult (and even dangerous) for young kids to learn to jump and perform tricks on.
Most BMX bike frames are made with steel. In particular, you want to look for a bike frame made of Chromoly steel (or CroMo for short). This is high-grade steel that offers superior durability and longevity. Hi-tensile still is a bit heavier and less durable and usually found on cheaper bikes.
If your child is planning on using the bike for racing as well, you’ll probably want to look for a BMX bike with an aluminum frame. Aluminum frames are (usually) lighter than steel.
BMX bikes come with 1, 2, or 3-piece cranks. Try to avoid bikes with 1-piece cranks as they are cheaper and lack durability. Two-peice cranks are better, but three-piece cranks are best. They have better strength and durability, and also help distinguish higher-end bikes from less durable ones.
The width and tread of the tires on the bike should match the type of riding your child will be doing. (Although you can always swap out tires later). For skate park and street riding, look for a wide tire with a slick tread. For dirt jumps or the pump track, you’ll want a tire with a bit more tread, similar to a mountain bike tire.
If your child wants to use the bike for some BMX racing as well, you’ll want to swap out the stock tires for narrower tires that roll faster on the track.
You’ll notice that there are three types of brakes on the bikes on this list: U-brakes, V-brakes, and coaster brakes.
U-brakes are usually installed on bikes intended for freestyle riding. They are mounted inside the rear triangle and well out of the way of the rider. You’ll find v-brakes on BMX bikes that are intended more for racing.
Finally, some of the bikes on this list have a coaster brake. We are not a big fan of coaster brakes as they interfere with learning to pedal and with doing tricks. (They keep kids from being able to backpedal).