The 5 Best 20” Mountain Bikes for Kids

The 5 Best 20" Mountain Bikes

When children reach the 20 inch threshold, the world of kids mountain bikes really opens up.  There are several reasons for this: kids this age are finally strong enough to deal with the extra weight introduced by suspension, they have a newly developed capacity to operate gears, and they have the focused interest to justify a higher-priced bike.

Kids reach the magical 20” threshold (and stay there) at wildly different times depending on their height and build.  That said, 20-inch mountain bikes are generally appropriate for kids aged 6 to 9.  If your child is in that age range, use this list as a guide for picking the right bike for your child.  We’ve included our “Top 5” picks (for families who prioritize mountain biking), and some runner-ups.  If you’re not sure which is the right bike for your kiddo, keep reading.  We include a comparison chart and tips on how to choose.

The 5 Best 20” Mountain Bikes for Kids

Norco Fluid 20” FS 2.2

Norco Fluid 20" Mountain Bike

The Norco Fluid FS 2.2 is our favorite 20 inch kids full suspension mountain bike.  Granted, it’s a bit pricey for a bike that will soon be outgrown but if you want a top-notch bicycle—this is it.  A capable trail bike, the Fluid boasts full-suspension, hydraulic disc brakes, and a Shimano Diore 1×10 drivetrain.

Price & Where to Buy:

Spawn Yama Jama 20”

Yama Jama 20

Spawn has always prided themselves in making the best mountain bikes for kids, and their new 20” hardtail, the Yama Jama, hits the mark.  This sweet little bike has an 80mm Brood Bike Co. Eldorado fork, tubeless tires, and SRAM 1×10 drivetrain.

Price & Where to Buy:

Flow Bikes Flow Carbon

Flow Bikes Flow Carbon

Chances are you’ve never heard of Flow Bikes, and that needs to change.  The Flow Bikes “Carbon” boasts an aluminum frame with carbon seatpost and handlebars.  The all-mountain build includes SRAM X-7 1×10 drivetrain, Box wheels, Hayes Hydraulic disc brakes, and on and on and on.  It also accepts 16″ or 20″ wheels.  This is the bike on my dream-list for my son.

Price & Where to Buy:

Lil Shredder Prodigy

Lil Shredder Prodigy

If money is no object (or you just REALLY want your kid to like mountain biking), the Lil Shredder Prodigy is your bike.  You can get it built up as a trail bike or downhill bike, or buy the frame and rear shock (a Fox float) and build it up yourself.    The high-price tag is tempered by how adaptable the Prodigy is—it accepts 16” or 20” wheels, fits kids between 36” and 51” tall, and has interchangeable, sliding dropouts so that it can be ridden geared or as a single-speed.

Price & Where to Buy:

Commencal Supreme 20

Commencal Supreme 20

The Commencal Supreme 20 is marketed as the ultimate bike-park rig, and it has the specs to back it up.  The little 20” package includes a Ride Aplha 80mm fork, beefy Kenda Kinetics 2.35” tires, and SRAM hydraulic disc brakes.  Just be careful because you might not be able to keep up with junior on this bike!

Price & Where to Buy:

Honorable Mentions

Prevelo Zulu Three

Prevelo Zulu Three

A relative newcomer to the scene, Prevelo offers kid-specific bikes with quality components at a decent price point.  The Zulu Three is their 20” mountain bike offering with front-suspension.  It offers a Shimano 10-speed drivetrain with clutch, hydraulic disc brakes, and custom-made cranks.  The Zulu Three also comes standard with one of my favorite tires—the Kenda Small Block Eight.

Price & Where to Buy:

 

Early Rider Belter 3S 20” Trail

Early Rider Belter 20 trail

The Early Rider Belter 20” Trail will is lust-worthy.  But it’s not just beautiful—the components are top-notch as well.  This hardtail mountain bike, has a Spinner Grind 5 0mm fork, a belt drive (!), and a SRAm i-Motion 3-speed internal hub.  It also happens to be the lightest bike on this list with a suspension fork.

Price & Where to Buy:

Cleary Owl

 

Cleary makes our favorite 12” mountain bike (the Gecko), and at the other end of the spectrum—their 20” mountain bike is pretty rad too.  This bike is also one of the lightest on this list at only 19 pounds.   Of course, it stays this light by forgoing gears and suspension—but for kids who would benefit from a lighter bike, it’s worth it.  The Owl has a beautiful steel fame, internal cable routing, and a flip-flop rear hub.   The pricetag on this bike rocks also.

Price & Where to Buy:

Cannondale Trail 20

Cannondale Trail 20

The Cannondale Trail 20 is a solid entry-level mountain bike.  It doesn’t have massive travel or hydraulic brakes, but it will hold up at the local pump track or on easy singletrack rides.  The bike has brand-name components including an Ahead stem and headset and Shimano drivetrain.

Price & Where to Buy:

Trek Superfly 20

Trek Superfly 20

Kids with a need for speed will dig the Trek Superfly 20.  It’s a scaled-down version of the adult race-ready Superfly, and tips the scales at a super-light 18 pounds.

Price & Where to Buy:

Kona Shred 20

Kona Shred 20

Here’s another quality entry-level hardtail.  The Kona Shred 20 is capable of some serious singletrack time with its mechanical disk brakes, suspension fork, and Shimano Tourney drivetrain.

Price & Where to Buy:

Scott Scale Jr 20

 

The Scott Scale Jr 20 is a perfect bike for the aspiring cross-country racer.  It has aggressive geometry and a lightweight build.  Highlights include a 40mm SR Suntour XCT-JR fork and Shimano Revo 7-speed grip shifters.

Price & Where to Buy:

Orbea MX20

Orbea MX20

The Orbea MX20 offers superior bang for your buck.  For the affordable $499 pricetag, you get Shimano hydraulic disk brakes, Shimano 8-speed drivetrain, and Kenda tires.  It also has the same beautiful design you’d expect from Orbea.

Price & Where to Buy:

Woom 4

Woom 4

The Woom bikes are always some of my favorites for kids.  This child-specific bike company designs bicycles with kids in mind instead of “shrinking” adult-sized models.  While the Woom 4 isn’t built for the bike park, for buff singletrack and rail-trail, this lightweight bike is top-notch.

Price & Where to Buy:

20 Inch Mountain Bike Specs and Comparison Chart

Want the complete specs for each of these bikes and how they stack up to one another?  Use this comparison chart to help you choose the best 20” mountain bike for your child.

Note: I had trouble finding weight data for some of these bikes.  If you have any of the missing info, shoot me a note or comment below.  Thanks!

Bike Price (MSRP) Weight Frame Fork Brakes Drivetrain Rear Shock
Lil Shredder Prodigy $1350 (frame and rear shock only) Alloy N/A N/A N/A Fox Float
Commencal Supreme 20 $1,599 26 lbs Alloy Ride Aplha Kids DH, 80mm Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Sram DB1) Singlespeed Rockshox Monarch R
Norco Fluid FS 2.2 $1,499 Alloy RST First 24, 50mm Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Tektro) Shimano Diore 1 x 10 Rockshox Monarch R
Flow 16″/20″ Carbon (All Mountain Build) $1,400 Alloy Flow, 80mm Hydraulic disk brakes (Hayes Prime Comp) SRAM X-7, 1×10 N/A
Spawn Yama Jama 20 $1,050 Alloy BROOD ELDORADO, 80mm Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Tektro) Sram GX 1×10 N/A
Prevelo Zulu Three $899 23 lbs Alloy Spinner 300 AIR Hydraulic disk brakes (Promax) Shimano ZEE 10-speed drivetrain. N/A
Early Rider 20 Trail $850 20 lbs Alloy Spinner Grind, 50 mm Mechanical disk brakes (Avid BB-5) Composite belt drive N/A
Kona Shred 20 $559 Alloy Spinner Grim, 50 mm Mechanical disk brakes (Tektro Novela) Shimano Touey, 6 speed N/A
Orbea MX20 $499 Alloy Alloy Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Shimano M396) Shimano, 8-soeed N/A
Woom 4 $449 18 lbs Alloy Alloy V-brakes SRAM X4 1×8 N/A
Scott Scale JR 20 $425 24 lbs Alloy SunTour XCT-JR 20, 40mm V-brakes (Tektro) Shimano, 7 -speed N/A
Trek Superfly 20 $410 18 lbs Alloy Alloy V-brakes Shimano Touey, 6 speed N/A
Cannondale Trail 20 $390 Alloy SunTour XCT-JR 20, 30mm V-brakes Shimano, 1×6 N/A
Cleary Owl $370 19 lbs Steel Reinforced steel V-brakes (Tektro) Singlespeed, 32×19 gear ratio N/A

Things to Consider Before Buying a 20” Mountain Bike

Type of riding

Identifying what kind of riding your child is going to be doing is the first step in shopping for a 20” mountain bike.  Maybe your family is interested in doing some off-road riding on rail-trails.  In this case, a bike like the Woom 4 is going to be the right bike for the mission.

On the other end of the spectrum, you might be the kind of family that is headed to the Whistler bike park for your summer vacation.  Obviously, for this kind of riding your child is going to need a wildly different bike.  To hit the big stuff, you’re going to want a bike like the Commencal Supreme 20 or the Little Shredder Prodigy.

Most families will be somewhere in between.  Your kids plan on riding some mellow singletrack, playing on the pump track, and maybe attending a summer mountain bike camp.  You should consider a bike like the Prevelo Zulu Three or the Orbea MX20.

Full-suspension vs. front-suspension vs. fully rigid

Whether you should be buying a rigid bike or a suspension bike is again largely dependent on the type of riding your child will be doing.  If your kiddo is taking lift-assisted runs at the bike park, they need suspension (most likely, full-suspension).  For trail riding, the answer is a little trickier.

Adding a suspension fork to a kids bike adds weight—often, quite a lot of weight.  A nice fully-rigid bike like the Cleary Owl or the Trek Superfly is lightweight and still perfectly capable on mellow singletrack.  For kids who are new to mountain biking, or on the smaller size, the lower weight is particularly important.

If your child has already mastered mountain biking, and is riding rougher trails, consider either front-suspension or full-suspension.  Just make sure that you are spending the money to get them a bike with GOOD suspension, so that the extra weight is justified by extra performance.  Cheap suspension forks are a waste of weight and money.

Budget

Buy the best bike that you can afford.  The nicer the bike, the more likely your child is to want to ride.  The extra money buys extra comfort, performance, speed, and enjoyment.

Luckily the cheapest bike on this list, the Cleary Owl, is still a totally legit bike.   If you can’t afford even that, don’t go to Walmart.  Instead, look for a decent used bike.  Post on some local MTB Facebook groups.  Find a local bike swap.  Scour Craigslist and Ebay.  Kids don’t stay one size for very long, so there are usually plenty of gently-used bikes out there.

Brakes

There are three types of mountain bike brakes:

  • Hydraulic disc brakes
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • V-brakes

Hydraulic disc brakes are the nicest and have the best performance.  They are also the most expensive.  Mechanical disc brakes come next. They offer most of the performance of a hydraulic disc brake in a package that is easier to maintain and adjust.  The cheapest option are good old v-brakes (rim brakes).  Fortunately, kids don’t weigh a lot, so v-brakes do a pretty decent job of stopping them compared to an adult.  Unfortunately, they don’t modulate, and they don’t work well when wet.   This is again a matter of budget—buy the best you can personally afford.

Drivetrain

You probably have a good idea of whether or not your child is ready for gears.  If they’ve mastered mountain biking without gears, they might be ready.  If they have good eye-hand coordination, they might be ready.  If they’re not ready, that’s fine—stick with a singlespeed.  Or choose a bike with an internally-geared hub, like the Early Rider Belter.

1 thought on “The 5 Best 20” Mountain Bikes for Kids

  1. Kristen
    Nice article with some really important information for parents. We have just recently launched our MAD6 Series II which we believe trumps everything on the market. It is a purpose built 20″ wheel bike for all level of kids. The MAD6 is the only bike the standover height can be changed as the child grows. Our design and tuning combined with a bike weight of less than 8 kg (under 17.5 pounds) gives kids the best possible riding experience. 10 speed ZEE and dual suspension that is designed and dialled in for lightweight riders. The bikes are made to order although we usually have 1 or 2 in stock and the pricing includes delivery in most countries direct to the rider. Take a look at our new website and we would love to be mentioned in your reviews. Thanks for your time Please let me know if you need any more information. PS – you may see one around as a bike went to Utah a few weeks ago

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