The 5 Best 20″ Kids Bikes for Ages 6 to 8

The Best 20 Inch Kids BikesBy the time kids are ready for a 20″ bike (around 6- to 8-year-old), they have a heightened sense of interest and ability when it comes to cycling.  Suddenly, they can bike longer distances. They are interested in riding with their friends.  If they’ve been biking for a while, they might be ready to switch to a bicycle with gears.

Cycling becomes even more fun than it was before, but having the right bike for your child (or grandchild) is key to their continued enjoyment and success. The following list is a round-up of the best multi-purpose, all-terrain bikes.  These are bicycles that will perform on the daily school commute and on your family’s weekend outings on the local dirt rail trail.  These do-it-all bikes can serve both on- and off-road duty–cruise to the park on a Saturday and visit some mellow single track on Sunday!

We’ve also included a comparison chart of all of our favorite 20-inch kids’ bikes and tips on how to choose the best one for your child.

(You’ll notice that none of these bikes have suspension.  If your child is more interested in mountain biking than recreational around-town riding, check out our list of the Best 20″ Mountain Bikes instead).

The 5 Best 20″ Kids Bikes

Woom 4

woom 4 20 inch kids bike

Woom makes great bikes that are lightweight, have components that match the size of little bodies and boast a sleek aesthetic that appeals even to parents. Whether cruising the neighborhood or going for longer distances, the SRAM grip-shifters offer an easy-to-use system that helps kiddos keep up with mom and dad (and maybe even past them).  Kenda Small Block 8 tires on proprietary Supa Dupa Hoop rims offer stability and speed on or off the pavement.

Price & Where to Buy:

Prevelo Alpha 3

prevelo alpha three

Prevelo makes gorgeous bikes with top-notch components and kid-specific geometry that makes the ride comfortable and fun.   The Alpha Three offers a low standover height, narrow q-factor and lightweight build.  Components include brand-name parts such as the durable Shimano drivetrain and Tektro v-brakes.  When comparing the Alpha Three to bikes from the big bike companies, it is clear that buying from a kid-specific brand makes sense.  The Prevelo bikes look amazing and ride even better.

For more information, read our detailed review of the Prevelo Alpha 3.

Price & Where to Buy:

Islabikes Beinn 20

islabikes beinn 20 inch bicycle

The Islabikes Beinn 20 is another top contender thanks to their lightweight build, quality components, and durability. The Beinn checks all the boxes for an all-terrain cruiser.  It’s capable not only of keeping up with the neighbor kids, it will probably leave them in the dust. A SRAM drivetrain, Tektro v-brakes and lightweight frame paired with in-house rims and tires provide a stunning build.

Price & Where to Buy:

Frog 55

frog 55 kids bike

Frog makes nice kids bikes in every size and discipline.  The Frog 55 is their 20″ do-it-all offering.  We love that the bike comes with two sets of tires: one slick and one knobby so you can swap them out depending on whether your child is doing more riding on pavement or dirt.  The bike comes in a variety of fun colors and designs, and include fenders, reflectors, and a bell.

Price & Where to Buy:

Early Rider Belter 20″ Urban 3

early rider belter 20 urban

This is a seriously snazzy bike.  The Early Rider Belter 20″ Urban 3 has a brushed-aluminum frame, carbon belt-drive that is virtually maintenance-free, and an internally-geared 3-speed hub.  All this makes it an ideal bike for sitting in the rain at school, being thrown on the ground, and otherwise being abused as only a 7-year-old can manage.

Price & Where to Buy:

Honorable Mentions: 20 Inch Bikes

Ok, so these bicycles didn’t make it onto our top-five list but they are still worthy-contenders.

Pello Rover

pello rover

“Life’s an adventure,” reads one of the decals on the Pello Rover–which is appropriate since it is certainly a bike built for adventurous kids.  The Kenda K-Rad tires can handle hopping curbs and cutting across fields, while quality components like the Cane Creek headset can handle plenty of abuse.  It also comes in at a respectable 18.5 pounds.

Price & Where to Buy: 

Trek Precaliber 20

trek precaliber 20 inch bike

The Precaliber is a fairly generic design as far as children’s bikes go. Decent components and a sturdy frame provide an affordable option in the do-it-all market, but the weight of these bikes is nearly 25% heavier than bikes offered by child-specific companies like Woom and Prevelo. That translates to a challenging, heavy ride for your little ones. That said, with durable components like a Shimano drivetrain and v-brakes, the bike is built to last a few kids if affordability is your main priority.

Price & Where to Buy:

Cleary Owl 20

cleary owl 20" bike

Cleary makes beautiful bikes. The Owl, their 20-inch offering, has an internally geared 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub and a robust steel frame that is built to last. This bike can certainly serve double duty on single track but is most comfortable riding down bike paths with mom and dad.

Price & Where to Buy:

Specialized Riprock 20 Coaster

specialized riprock coaster 20

Specialized is one of the biggest names in the industry. They offer a wide variety of bicycles for youth ranging from balance bikes to teenage-sized mountain bikes.  The Riprock 20 Coaster does have a rear v-brake but is also paired with a coaster brake. Like many of the other big brands, generic in-house components complete the build. Even though we’re not crazy about the coaster brake, this is an affordable option that will definitely last through the whole clan of driveway-cruising groms.

Price & Where to Buy:

Norco Samurai 20 Coaster

norco samurai 20

Similar to the Specialized Riprock, the Samurai comes with a coaster brake and a set of v-brakes.  This does create some redundancy and added weight, but overall the Samurai is a decent bike. It’s not our first choice, but if you’re a big Norco fan and want your kiddo to have one too, you could do worse.

Price & Where to Buy:


Comparison Chart: 20″ Kids Bikes

BikePrice (MSRP)Weight (lbs)Frame Material/DesignDrivetrain/ShiftersBrake SystemRimsTires
Woom 4$449.0016.9Alu AlloySRAMV-brakesSupa Dupa Hoops (In-House)Kenda Small Block 8
Trek Precaliber 20$290.0025.1Alu AlloyShimanoV-brakesBontragerBontrager XR1
Cleary Owl 20$460.0021.0SteelSturmey Archer Internal HubV-brakesNANA
Prevelo Alpha 3$499.0018.9Alu AlloyShimanoV-brakesIn HouseKenda Small Block 8
Specialized Riprock 20 coaster$250.00NAAlu AlloySingle SpeedCoaster/ Rear V-brakeIn HouseRhythm Lite
Norco Samurai 20 Coaster$259.00NAAlu AlloySingle SpeedCoaster/ Rear V-brakeIn HouseIn House
Isla Bikes Beinn 20$550.0017Alu AlloySRAMV-brakesIn HouseIn House
Frog 55$45019.4Alu AlloyShimanoV-brakesIn HouseKenda K154
Pello Rover 20$42918.5Alu AlloySRAMV-brakesIn HouseKenda K-Rad
Early Rider Belter Urban 20$650Alu AlloySRAM i-MotionV-brakesIn HouseMaxxis DTH

How to Choose a 20 Inch Bicycle

If you’re not sure what you should be looking for when shopping for a 20″ bike, here is a quick primer.  You can also download printable cheat sheet.

Budget

When shopping for a kids bikes, I always urge parents to spend as much as they can afford.  Like all things in life (sadly!), the more you spend the nicer bike that you’ll get.  That said, there are still some good budget options on this list.  When buying new, expect to pay at least $200-250.  If you spend less, you can expect the bike will be heavy and have cheap, low-quality components that won’t last long.  If you can’t afford to spend that much, don’t despair.  Buying a kids bike used is a great option.  Check out our tips on how to find a quality used kids bike.

Age Range

The age range for 20-inch bikes is generally 6 to 8 years old.  Even then, each bike is designed a little bit differently.  My 5 year old, for instance, fits nicely on the Prevelo Alpha Three.  For this reason, I urge parents to make sure you measure your child’s inseam before shopping for a bike and compare it to the minimum seat height and/or minimum standover height for the specific bike you are considering.  It might be tempting to buy up a size, but the extra size and weight can easily frustrate your child and even be downright dangerous.

Prevelo Alpha Three

Weight

Although weight isn’t quite as important for a 7-year-old as it is for a 3-year-old, for instance, it’s still pretty important.  Many big box store bikes can weigh up to 50% of your child’s body weight.  Yikes!

The lighter a bike is, the easier it will be for your child to maneuver, the easier to pedal up hills, and the more enjoyable for your child to ride long distances.  Unfortunately, the lighter the bike is generally the more expensive it is, so this is usually a trade-off between weight and budget.  Choose the lightest bike you can possibly afford.

Brakes

When it comes to 20-inch children’s bicycles, most bikes have v-brakes (rim brakes) rather than a coaster brake.  We think this is a good thing since coaster brakes tend to be dangerous and don’t have the same kind of modulation and control that a handbrake has.  Still, you might find a few bikes (such as the Specialized Riprock) that include a coaster.  Unless you have a good reason for doing so, or fondly remember your coaster brake days, we recommend avoiding the coaster brake.

For bikes that have hand brakes, you’ll find that most of them are v-brakes.  Some more expensive bicycles will have disc brakes which provide increased stopping power.  We recommend going with disc brakes if you live in a particularly wet, rainy climate or if you live in a city with lots of steep hills.

Tires

Consider the type of riding your child is going to be doing.  If they will be riding 100% of the time on pavement, you want to look for a bike with slick, fast-rolling tires.  If they’re going to be spending time riding dirt, gravel, grass, mud, etc, you want to make sure the tire is a little wider and has some extra tread.  Even if the bike you are considering doesn’t have the best tires for your child’s preferred type of riding, you can always swap out tires later.

Drivetrain and Gearing

Whether or not your child is ready for a bike with gears is largely a matter of how confident they already are on a bicycle.  If your kiddo has been on a pedal bike (without training wheels) since 3 or 4, they’re probably ready for gears.  On the other hand, if your child is still using training wheels or is simply a timid rider, wait to introduce a new element to the mix.

There are several bikes on this list that do not have any gears.  For those that do, there are two kinds: bikes with traditional drivetrains and those with an internally-geared hub.  The internally geared hub actually shifts on its own, your child doesn’t have to do any work.  This is also nice for parents who don’t want to do much bike maintenance.  The more traditional drivetrain includes a rear derailleur and cassette that might have 5 or 7 or 9 gears.  At this age, a few gears are plenty.

 

Kristen

Kristen is a project manager and writer. She spends all her free time mountain biking with her family on the trails in Salt Lake City and Park City, UT.

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