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 8.
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’ve also included a comparison chart and tips on how to choose.
(Also, before you have a heart-attack over price and leave me a nasty comment, keep on reading. While the Top 5 bikes are pretty pricey, we’ve tried to include some quality budget options on the full list as well).
5 Best 20 Inch Mountain Bikes
Trailcraft Blue Sky 20
The bike that we’ve been dreaming of is here! Not getting your child this bike is basically child abuse. (Ok, not really, but it is a sweet bike).
Made by top-of-the-line kids bike manufacturer, Trailcraft, the Blue Sky 20 is their tiniest offering. But although it may be small, it is built with adult-quality parts including tubeless tires. It’s also crazy light (starting at 19 lbs!!!) making it ideal for smaller riders and families that take trail riding seriously.
Read Review: Trailcraft Blue Sky 20
Price (MSRP): $1,449+
Prevelo Zulu Three HEIR
It offers a Shimano 10-speed drivetrain with
They also recently redesigned the bike to add tubeless-ready wheels, routing for a dropper post, and a longer wheelbase. Proof that they are committed to continuously providing some of the best kids mountain bikes around.
If the price gives you sticker shocker, you might also want to check out the standard Prevelo Zulu Three, which knocks a couple of hundred dollars off the price tag.
Read Review: Prevelo Zulu Three
Price (MSRP): $1,199
Norco Fluid FS 1 20
The Norco Fluid FS 1 20 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 (MSRP): $2,399
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 wheels, seatpost, and handlebars. The all-mountain build includes SRAM X-7 1×10 drivetrain, Hayes Hydraulic disc brakes, and on and on and on. It also accepts 16″ or 20″ wheels.
Price (MSRP): $1,600 at FlowKidsBikes.com
Carbon XS Mad 6
This cross-country oriented full-suspension mountain bike is unlike anything else on the market. The Carbon XS Mad 6 has a nearly full-carbon build and an adjustable frame to grow with your child from around 4 years to 7 years old.
It’s crazy lightweight at 17.5 pounds (with pedals), making it the lightest bike on our Top 5 list, and on par with the fully-rigid options below.
Price (MSRP): $3,050
There are so many good 20 inch mountain bikes out there right now that they couldn’t all make our Top 5 list. Here are some other worthy contenders worth your time and money.
Do you spend your summers riding lift-served laps at the bike park? If so, your kiddo NEEDS the Spawn Rokkusuta.
My son got to ride the bike at Whistler and his skill level went through the roof. It’s pricey but worth every penny. 100mm of front and rear travel, SRAM Guide brakes, and in-house Brood brand everything makes this the bike worth splurging on. We can’t rave enough.
Read Review: Spawn Rokkusuta 20
Price (MSRP): $1,950
Spawn Yama Jama 20”
Spawn has always prided themselves in making the best mountain bikes for kids, and their 20” hardtail, the Yama Jama 20, hits the mark. This sweet little bike has an 80mm Brood Bike Co. Eldorado fork, tubeless tires, and SRAM 1×10 drivetrain.
Read Review: Spawn Yama Jama 24 (same bike in bigger size)
Price (MSRP): $1,095
Commencal Clash 20
The Commencal Clash 20 is marketed as the ultimate bike-park rig, and it has the specs to back it up. The little 20” package includes a Manitou Junit 120mm fork, beefy Vee Tire Co 2.4” tires, and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes. Just be careful because you might not be able to keep up with junior on this bike!
Price (MSRP): $1,899
Woom 4 OFF
The Woom 4 OFF is our favorite 20 inch mountain bike for parents on a budget and kids who are primarily riding mellow, non-technical trails.
The rigid carbon fork does a good job of absorbing trail chatter as do the high-volume Schwalbe 2.25″ tires. By forgoing a suspension fork, Woom has kept the weight at approximately 17 pounds (!!!).
Read Review: Woom OFF
Early Rider Trail 20
The Early Rider Trail 20 is lust-worthy. But it’s not just beautiful—the components are top-notch as well. This fully-rigid mountain bike has Avid hydraulic disc brakes and SRAM X5 trigger shifters. Thanks to the minimalistic build the weight is crazy low–under 18 lbs. And did we mention that it looks good?
Price (MSRP): $799
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: $2,950 (trail build) or $1,350 (frame and shock)
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.
The Cleary Owl 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 frame, internal cable routing, and a flip-flop rear hub. The price tag on this bike rocks also.
Price (MSRP): $425
The Pello Rover is a great do-it-all bike and can be built up with a rigid fork or Spinner Grind 40mm suspension fork. For the price, the Rover offers an exceptional build including Tektro mechanical disc brakes, SRAM drivetrain, and tubeless-ready wheelset.
Read Review: Pello Rover
Price (MSRP): $499+
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 (MSRP): $ 390
Kona Honzo 20
The Kona Honzo 20 is a step up from previous generation Kona kids bikes. The Honzo offers everything you want in a mountain bike: hydraulic disc brakes, an air fork, and a digestible price point. It also looks snazzy, and if dad has a Honzo also, you can match.
Price & Where to Buy:
- $675 at KonaWorld.com
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 (MSRP): $ 425
Orbea MX20 Team Disc
The Orbea MX20 offers superior bang for your buck. For the affordable $539 price tag, 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.
(The bike also comes in a MX 20 Team non-disc version. Same bike without the disc brakes).
Read Review: Orbea MX 20 Team
Price (MSRP): $539
Vitus 20 Plus
We’re not always fans of plus-sized tires on 20 inch bikes for trail riding (due to the weight), but the value is so good on the Vitus bikes we had to include this one. The Vitus 20 Plus features Kenda 2.6″ tires, Tektro mechanical disc brakes, and a Shimano 1×7 drivetrain. All this for a REALLY killer price.
Price (MSRP): $356.99
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||$2,950 (trail build) or $1,350 (frame and shock)||Alloy||Custom||Custom||Custom||Fox Float|
|Spawn Rokkusuta 20||$1,950||25.5 lbs||Alloy||Brood ELDORADO, 100 mm||Hydraulic disk brakes (Sram Guide R)||Sram GX, 7 speed||X-Fusion O2 Pro RL|
|Commencal Clash 20||$1,899||26.8 lbs||Alloy||Manitou Junit 20, 120mm||Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Tektro)||SRAM X5 1x10||Manitou Mcleod Nino|
|Norco Fluid FS 1 20||$2,399||Alloy||Manitou Junit 20, 120mm||Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Tektro)||Shimano Zee / Diore 1 x 10||Fox Performance FLOAT|
|Carbon XS Mad 6||$3,050||17.5 lbs||Carbon||Spinner Grind, 50mm||Hydraulic Disc (Shimano XT)||Shimano Zee||DNM|
|Trailcraft Blue Sky 20||$1,699 (Pro Deore build)||19 lbs||Alloy||Trailcraft TC30,||Hydraulic disk brakes (Shimano Deore)||Shimano Deore, 10 speed||N/A|
|Spawn Yama Jama 20||$1,095||21.5 lbs||Alloy||BROOD ELDORADO, 80mm||Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Tektro)||Sram GX 1x10||N/A|
|Prevelo Zulu Three HEIR||$1,199||22.2 lbs||Alloy||HEIR 80mm travel||Hydraulic Disc Brakes (Tektro)||Shimano ZEE 10-speed drivetrain.||N/A|
|Early Rider Trail 20||$799||17.5 lbs||Alloy||Alloy||Hydaulic disc brakes (Avid Level T)||SRAM X5 trigger, 9-speed||N/A|
|Kona Honzo 20||$675||Alloy||Spinner Grind, 50 mm||Hydraulic disk brakes (Tektro Tektro HDM286)||Shimano Touey, 7 speed||N/A|
|Orbea MX 20 Team Disc||$539||19 lbs||Alloy||Alloy||Hydraulic Disk Brakes (Shimano M396)||Shimano, 8-soeed||N/A|
|Scott Scale 20||$425||24 lbs||Alloy||SunTour XCT-JR 20, 40mm||V-brakes (Tektro)||Shimano, 7 -speed||N/A|
|Cleary Owl||$425||19 lbs||Steel||Reinforced steel||V-brakes (Tektro)||Singlespeed, 32x19 gear ratio||N/A|
|Pello Rover||$499+||17 lbs||Alloy||Alloy OR 40mm Spinner Grind||Mechanical disc (Tektro)||SRAM X4 1x8||N/A|
|Cannondale Trail 20||$390||23 lbs||Alloy||SunTour XCT-JR 20, 30mm||V-brakes||Shimano, 1x6||N/A|
|Woom 4 OFF||$669||17.2 lbs||Alloy||Rigid carbon||Hydraulic disc brakes (Promax)||SRAM X5, 1x9||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 OFF or the Cleary Owl 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 Clash 20 or the Spawn Rokkusuta.
Most families will be somewhere in between. Your kids plan on doing some trail rides, playing on the pump track, and maybe attending a summer mountain bike camp. You should consider a bike like the Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 or Prevelo Zulu HEIR.
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 Woom OFF 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.
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.
There are three types of mountain bike brakes:
- Hydraulic disc brakes
- Mechanical disc brakes
Hydraulic disc brakes are the nicest and have the best performance. They are also the most expensive, and require the most maintenance.
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.
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.
The other thing to consider is the type of shifter. A lot of kids bikes come with grip shifters, but we far prefer trigger shifters, especially for mountain biking. They are easier to operate and to get clean shifts. That said grip shifters can be more intuitive for kids struggling to learn how to shift.
Weight is SO IMPORTANT when it comes to kids’ bikes. Lighter bikes are easier to maneuver, easier to climb on, and allow kids to have more fun. You want your child to enjoy mountain biking, right?
Unfortunately, many 20-inch mountain bikes are HEAVY. Most likely your child is currently riding a fully rigid 16-inch bike with v-brakes and a singlespeed drivetrain. Add on a suspension fork, disc brakes, and a geared drivetrain, and you’re adding a bunch of weight.
Obviously, if your family is primarily doing lift-served and shuttle rides, weight isn’t AS important. However, if your family does a lot of climbing OR if your child is particularly petite weight becomes very important. We specifically chose our son’s mountain bike to be the lightest bike we could find with a suspension fork.
Ah, the great tire size debate. For some reason this issue causes more upset than any other, so I’ll prepare myself for the fire that’s sure to come.
We believe the best tire size for kids this age is between 2.1″ and 2.3″. This provides plenty of traction and volume without adding rotational weight. The biggest issue with plus-sized tires for kids is that they tend to be heavy and as we already established the lighter the bike, the happier the kid.
Still, there are some legit reasons to choose a larger tire. First off, a higher-volume tire is often a better choice than a sub-par suspension fork for creating a plush ride. Second, plus-sized tires create the ability to ride a bike year-round since kids are light enough to ride plus-sized tires even in the snow.
This stuff is less important….unless you’re a serious mountain bike aficionado (like I am). If you’re truly looking for the BEST mountain bike for your child, then don’t forget to pay attention to:
- Frame Geometry — What kind of riding is your child going to be doing? Pick a bike with appropriate geometry. Kids who plan on racing will be best off with a more aggressive design like that on the Trailcraft. If your kiddo is going to be spending most of their time at the bike park, look for slacker geo like that found on the Prevelo Zulu 4 HEIR.
- Internal Routing For a Dropper Post — Want to put a dropper post on your kiddos bike? A dropper can be hugely helpful for quick seat drops before a big downhill. But if you think you might add one, make sure to look for a bike that offers internal routing, because adding a dropper without routing, while possible, is a bit of a pain.
- Tubeless Tires — If it was up to us, every kid’s bike would have tubeless-ready rims and tires. It allows tires to be run at lower pressures for better traction. And nearly eliminates flat tires.
- Thru-Axle – Chances are, your mountain bike has a thru-axle. We think your kids mountain bike should have one too. Compared to a quick-release, a thru-axle provides greater stability and safety.
- Crank Length – The best crank length for kids this age are between 110mm and 130mm. The smaller you child and the shorter their legs, the shorter the optimal crank length. Anything over 130mm I would think twice about.