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5 Best 20 Inch Bikes for Your 6 to 8 Year Old (2020)

goofing around on the woom 4

By the time kids are ready for a 20 inch bike (around 6 years old), they have a heightened sense of interest and ability when it comes to cycling.  Suddenly, they can bike longer distances–faster!  And if they’ve been biking for a while, they might be ready for their first 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.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of crappy kids bikes out there. They are heavy, have poor geometry, and will fall apart quickly.

We’ve tested and reviewed dozens of 20 inch kids bikes to help you weed through the noise, and find the best bike for your child. Below is a list of the best 20 inch bicycles on the market, as well as a comparison chart and tips on how to pick a bike.

The bikes on this list will perform well on the daily school commute as well as your family’s weekend outings on the local dirt rail trail.  They are 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!

(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).


Best Overall

woom 4 20 inch kids bike

Best Under $250

 vitus 20 inch bike

Table of Contents

How To Choose The Best Bike Honorable Mentions
Top 5 Picks Overall Comparison Chart
5 Best “Budget” Bikes

How to Choose a Kids 20 Inch Bicycle

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

Budget

When shopping for a kids bike, 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.

priority start 20 review

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 as well as the Pello Reddi.  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.

islabikes beinn 20 in action

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.

SureStop Brakes

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.

guardian 16 tires

The knobby tires on the Woom (left) are better suited for all-terrain riding (gravel, dirt, etc), while the slick tires on the Guardian (right) are faster-rolling on pavement.

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. 

pello rover rear derraileur
priority start 3 speed drivetrain

The Pello Rover (left) has a traditional drivetrain with a rear derailleur. The Priority Start 20 (right) has an internally geared hub which may be a better option for parents who don’t want to do much bike maintenance.

The internally geared hub usually has just a few gears to keep things simple, and there is no derraileur.  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 usually plenty.

Girls 20 Inch Bikes vs Boys 20 Inch Bikes

Don’t buy into the hype! There is no difference between a “girls 20 inch bike” or a “boys 20 inch bike.” Unlike adult bikes, girls bikes don’t have any unique components making them different.

That said, some girls may want a “girly” bike with feminine colors and accessories like a basket. We totally get that!

Most of the bikes on this list are offered in both feminine and masculine colors, so both girls and boys should be happy with these bikes.

If you are still looking for specific recommendations, check out our post below on the best 20-inch girls bicycles. You’ll also find suggestions on how to accessorize the bikes to make them more girly.


5 Best Kids 20 Inch Bikes

BikeWhat We Love About ItPrice (MSRP)
1Woom 4Lightweight, child-appropriate geometry$479
2Prevelo Alpha ThreeLow standover height, great customer service$499
3Frog 55Beautiful colors, comes with fenders$520
4Pello Reddi OR Pello RoverBrand-name components, singlespeed or geared option $399 / $499
5Cleary Owl Steel frame, internally-geared hub$485

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. The Woom 4 is no exception.

The Woom 4 is the lightest bike on this list, making it fun to ride and easy to maneuver. Handling is also helped by the upright geometry and unique adjusting handlebars. The dual handbrakes are some of the easiest around to pull and operate.

We also appreciate that Woom 4 has nearly endless customization options. Want fenders? A rack? Matching helmet? Those are all options.

And while it’s not cheap, the Woom 4 is NOT the most expensive bike on this list despite it being our favorite. Think it’s still too expensive? Consider that Woom offers an trade-in program, and that these are probably the most in-demand bikes on the used market.

Read Review: Woom 4

Price (MSRP) :$479


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 Prevelo 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. 

Like Woom, Prevelo also offers a trade-in program, which helps take the bite out of the high price.

Read Review: Prevelo Alpha 3

Price (MSRP): $499


Frog 55

frog 55 kids bike

Frog makes nice some of the nicest kids bikes across sizes and disciplines.  The Frog 55 is their 20″ do-it-all offering. 

The bikes come in absolutely gorgeous colors and designs, so no matter your child’s favorite color, they are sure to find a Frog that they like. Accent colors are repeated in incredibly thoughtful ways such as on the spokes nearest the tire valve and on the saddle.

Fortunately, the Frog 55 doesn’t just look pretty. It also has child-appropriate geometry, short cranks, and high-quality components. And it comes with fenders, which is a plus if you live in a rainy climate.

Price: $520


Pello Rover or Reddi

“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.

If your child isn’t yet ready for gears, or is still too small for the Pello Rover, you might also want to consider the Pello Reddi which is a slightly smaller singlespeed version of the bike.

Read Review: Pello Reddi

Read Review: Pello Rover

Price (MSRP): $399 / $499


Cleary Owl 20

cleary owl 20

Cleary makes beautiful bikes. The Cleary Owl, their 20-inch offering, has an internally geared 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub and a robust steel frame that is built to last. (It also comes in a singlespeed version if you prefer that).

This bike is well suited to lots of abuse and will stand up with time. Cleary is also another brand that is well known and in-demand in the used market, making it a smart buy.

Price: $485


Best Budget 20 Inch Bikes

Don’t fool yourself into believing these bikes are as good as the bikes on our Top 5 list. That said, we’ve picked some budget options that are durable and well-designed.

BikeWhat We Love About ItPrice
1Vitus 20 Killer value, top-shelf components$247
2Guardian Bike Ethos 20SureStop braking system$279/$319
3Batch Kids Bicycle 20Available at your local bike shop$210
4Raleigh Rowdy Affordable, lightweight for price$250
5Co-Op Cycles REV 20 Under $200, can use REI dividend$199

Vitus 20

Looking for some major bang for your buck? The Vitus 20 is the bike you want.

It comes with child-appropriate geometry and a full list of top-shelf components–Kenda tires, Tektro brakes, Shimano drivetrain–at several hundred dollars less than the bikes on our Top 5 list.

The one drawback is the weight–at 20 pounds it’s heftier than our Top 5 bikes–but for the price, this bike can’t be beat.

Price: $247


Guardian Bikes Ethos 20

guardian ethos 16 inch kids bike

Like the more expensive Guardian Original (listed later in this article), the Guardian Ethos comes with the proprietary SureStop braking system. This unique brake setup helps prevent over-the-bars accidents.

We also like that Guardian offers the 20″ Ethos in both a small and large frame size, and provide the RideSizer tool to help make sure you get the perfect sized bike for your child.

Read Our Review: Guardian 20

Price: $279 (small), $319 (large)


Batch Kids Bicycle 20 Inch

batch kids bike 20 inch

The 20″ Batch Kids Bicycle is the ideal ride for parents who are looking for an affordable option and one that’s available at their local bike shop.

We like the bike for it’s simplicity (single speed only) and durability. Unlike many bikes in this price range, it won’t fall apart anytime soon.

The only thing that’s a real drawback for us is the coaster brake and lack of a hand brake.

Read Our Review: Batch Kids Bicycle

Price: $210


Raleigh Rowdy 20

raleigh rowdy boys 20 inch bike

The Raleigh Rowdy (or the girl’s version, the Raleigh Lily) is a great bike for parent’s on a budget. No, it doesn’t have some of the features of more expensive bikes on this list, but it’s lightweight compared to other bikes in this price range, and kids will enjoy their time on the bike. It’s also more durable than most “budget” bikes and won’t end up in the landfill any time soon.

The dual hand brakes are easy-to-pull and provide good stopping power. The standover height is lower than many 20 inch bikes so it’s a good choice for smaller kids as well.

Price: $250


Co-Op Cycles 20

The Co-Op Cycles REV 20 is the only sub-$200 bike on our list. In fact, you might get it even cheaper if you have a REI divident to use.

It’s not fancy, but it’s relatively lightweight and durably made. Simplicity is the name of the game here. The bike is a singlespeed (it only has one gear), and the components are primarily in-house.

It has a coaster brake, which we don’t love, but at this price, you can’t be too choosy. It does have Tektro handbrakes as well, so your kids can at least begin to learn to use them.

Price: $199


Honorable Mentions: Other 20 Inch Bicycles To Consider

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

Bike Why We Love It
Early Rider Belter 20″ Urban 3Belt drive, brushed aluminum frame$599
Islabikes Beinn 20Cult classic, look for one usedN/A
Priority Start 20Belt drive, internally-geared hub$369
Guardian Original 20SureStop braking technology$419
Norco Roller 20Low standover, can find locally$349
Trek Wahoo 20Beautiful frame, Bontrager tires$439
Cannondale Quick 20Durable, can find locally$380
Specialized Riprock 20Local bike shop brand$270

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, belt drive, sealed bearings, 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: $599


Islabikes Beinn 20

islabikes beinn 20 inch bicycle

Note: As of fall 2018, Islabikes is no longer selling their bikes in the U.S. market.  We’re leaving it on this list in case you are lucky enough to find one used.

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.

Read Review: Islabikes Beinn 20


Priority Start 20

priority start 20

Are you looking for a bike for your child to bike to school or commute around town? If so, you probably can’t find a better-suited bike than the Priority Start 20.

Like the Early Rider Belter 20, the Priority Start 20 has a low-maintenance belt-drive (rather than a chain) and an internally geared 3-speed hub. Unlike the Early Rider, however, it’s actually totally affordable.

The bike is perfect for withstanding bad weather as it sits on the school bike rack, and it will look good doing it. The bike’s paint job is beautiful, and the bike even comes with a small bottle of touch-up paint.

Price: $369


Guardian Original 20″

Guardian 20 Original

The Guardian Kids Bikes stand out thanks to their proprietary SureStop brake system.  Kids needs pull only one brake lever to activate both brakes, and the force is distributed in such a way that it prevents over-the-bar incidents and other brake-related accidents. 

If your child is brand new to hand brakes, has struggled with hand brakes in the past, or if you just like having a little extra safety, we highly recommend the Guardian Original 20.  We also like that the bike comes in multiple versions including both a small and large size to help fit a wider range of kids, and a geared and singlespeed version.

Read Review: Guardian Original 20

Price: $379+


Norco Roller 20

norco roller 20 inch bike

The Norco Roller 20 is a big step up from previous Norco youth offerings. It offers Tektro v-brakes (front and rear) and easy-to-reach levers.

One thing that sets the Norco apart from other 20 inch offerings is the sloped top-tube that provides plenty of standover room. This makes it great for kids as young as 5 years old to roll on bigger wheels.

It only comes in a singlespeed option so is best for kids who still need simplicity.

Price: $349

Trek Wahoo 20

trek wahoo 20 inch kids bike

Skip the cheaper (heavier Trek Precaliber 20) and opt instead for the Trek Wahoo 20. Finally a kids bike from one of the big bike manufacturers worth getting excited about! Wahoo!

It’s lightweight (sub-20 lbs), doesn’t have a coaster brake, and has a Shimano 8-speed drivetrain. We also like the Bontrager tires that perform well on paved and unpaved surfaces.

Price: $439


Cannondale Quick 20

It is hard to find a kids bike that is not either very heavy or very expensive. The Cannondale Quick 20 weighs a respectable 19 pounds and comes in about $100 less than the most expensive bikes on this list.

It comes with brand-name components–Kenda tires, and a Shimano drivetrain–although the Revo grip shifters are a bit challenging for small hands.

Price: $380


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: $270, find a dealer at Specialized.com


Comparison Chart: 20 Inch Kids Bikes

BikeWeight (lbs)Frame Material/DesignDrivetrain/ShiftersBrake SystemRimsTires
Co-Op Cycles REV 2020.2Alu AlloySinglespeedCoaster / rear v-brake (Tektro)In HouseKenda Kontact, 20" x 1.75"
Vitus 2020.9Alu AlloyShimano, 7-speed, trigger shifterV-brakes (Tektro)In HouseKenda Small Block Eight Pro 20 ×1.5
Raleigh Rowdy20.4Alu AlloyShimano, 6-speed, grip shifterV-brakesIn House20 x 2.125"
Specialized Riprock 20 CoasterNAAlu AlloySingle SpeedCoaster/ Rear V-brakeIn HouseSpecialized Rhythm Rhythm Lite 20x2.3
Norco Roller 20NAAlu AlloySingle SpeedV-brakes (Tektro)In HouseNorco 20” x 2.1”
Priority Start 2019.5Alu AlloyGates Belt Drive, Shimano Next 3-speed hubV-brakesIn HouseKenda 20 x 1.9
Guardian Original 20 1-speed19.5Alu AlloySingle SpeedV-brakes (SureStop)In HouseKenda Kontact, 20" x 1.75"
Cannondale Quick 2020.2Alu AlloyShimano, 7-speed, grip shifterV-brakes (Promax)In HouseKenda Small Block 8, 20 x 1.5
Pello Reddi 2017Alu AlloySinglespeedV-brakes (Tektro)AlexKenda K-Rad 20x1.95
Guardian Original 20 6-Speed21.2Alu AlloyShimano, 6-speed, grip shifterV-brakes (SureStop)In HouseKenda Kontact
Trek Wahoo 2019.59Alu AlloyShimano, 8-speed, trigger shifterV-brakes (Tektro)In HouseBontrager
20x1.95˝
Woom 416.1Alu AlloySRAM, 8-speed, grip shifterV-brakes (In-House)Supa Dupa Hoops (In-House)Schwalbe Little Joe 20 x 1.4
Cleary Owl 2021.0SteelSturmey Archer Internal 3-speed Hub, trigger shifterV-brakes (Tektro)AlexKenda 20 x 1.9
Prevelo Alpha 318.9Alu AlloyShimano, 8-speed trigger shifterV-brakes (Tektro)In HouseKenda Small Block Eight Pro 20 ×1.5
Pello Rover 2018.5Alu AlloySRAM, 7-speed, grip shifterV-brakes (Tektro)AlexKenda K-Rad 20x1.95
Frog 5519.4Alu AlloyShimano, 8-speed, trigger shifterV-brakes (Tektro)In HouseKenda K1153 20"x1.75
Early Rider Belter Urban 2016.3Alu AlloySturmey Archer 3-speed hub, grip shifterV-brakes (Tektro)In HouseMaxxis DTH 20 x 1.5
Guardian Ethos 2020.7 (small)SteelSinglespeedV-brakes (SureStop)In House
Batch Kids Bicycle 2019.2Alu AlloySinglespeedCoasterIn House

More Reading To Help You Make The Best Choice

Kids Bike Shopping Cheat Sheet

Get Your FREE Printable Bike Buying Cheat Sheet

Don’t waste your time or money by choosing the wrong bike!!!

Our FREE kids bike buying guide addresses:

  • What brands are best
  • Where to shop
  • How much to budget
  • Where to find deals
  • How to measure your child for a bike

About The Author

kristen bonkoski

Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Rascal Rides. She’s an avid cyclist and loves all kinds of biking, but has a particular soft spot for mountain biking. Her favorite rides are those with her husband and son.

12 thoughts on “5 Best 20 Inch Bikes for Your 6 to 8 Year Old (2020)”

  1. This is a great list. As times change and if you have the time to update, definitely consider adding the Orbea MX20 team disc. We bought one for our daughter and it’s an amazing setup and a good deal.

    Reply
    • Hi Adam, thanks for the input. The Orbea MX20 team disc is a nice bike. I have it on my list of 20″ mountain bikes since it is a bit more off-road specific but it could certainly work for an all-arounder too.

      Reply
  2. Internal gear hubs don’t shift on their own (except for things like SRAM automatix). They just put the gears inside the hub instead of outside. They shift in the same manner as external geared drivetrains.

    Reply
    • Hi Neil,
      Yes I’m referring to hubs like the SRAM Automatix (which sadly, is no longer made but was used on quite a few kids bikes until around a year ago). I suppose I should update the post to clarify.
      Cheers,
      KB

      Reply
  3. Is the 20 in Woom ok for a boy who doesn’t know how to ride yet. He is having a very hard time learning. I’m worried about the gear shifts. Or do you have any recommendations on what would be good for him to learn on?

    Reply
    • Hi Juli,
      Yes, the Woom would be a perfect choice. It is light and has good geometry. As far as the gears go, you can just put it in an easier gear and leave it there until he’s got the pedaling down and is ready to learn how to shift as well.

      Just make sure his inseam is long enough that he is able to place his feet flat on the ground (or close to it). You might also want to initially take off the pedals and just let him scoot on it, like you would with a balance bike.

      Good luck!
      KB

      Reply
  4. Thank you for all of this information. I’ve used your site to get a balance bike for my toddler.

    My question is…my almost seven year old daughter has never wanted to learn or showed interest in cycling until recently. She’s always been a scooter type of gal. What bike would you suggest that can help her with gaining confidence and then transition in to riding with pedals? She is almost seventy pounds and tall for her age. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Angela,
      If you can afford it, I’d highly recommend a Woom, but obviously I’d recommend any of the bikes on this list ….

      When you say she’s tall I’m not sure HOW tall, so make sure to measure her inseam and compare it to the minimum seatpost height of any bike you’re considering. She’ll want to be able to put her feet flat on the ground to learn to ride.

      Initially, just remove the pedals and have her practice scooting and gliding. The good news is that scootering helps develop balance also, so it probably won’t take too long until she gets the pedaling thing down.

      Hope that helps a little!

      Cheers,
      KB

      Reply
  5. Thank you for the list, I was trying some of your links for bikes that I am interested in for my 6 year old. Specifically the Vitus 20, which I can not add to cart, and the Raleigh Rowdy 20 which doesn’t come up. Thank you for any help you can give me in this matter.

    Reply
    • Hi Antonio,
      Unfortunately, there’s been a huge boom in kids bike sales this last month, and a lot of bikes are currently out of stock–including both the Vitus 20 and Raleigh Rowdy 20. The Raleigh Lily 20 (girl’s version) is still available if that’s interesting to you. Here’s the link: https://www.raleighusa.com/kids
      Let me know if I can do anything else to help.
      Cheers,
      KB

      Reply
  6. No mention at all of Giant Bicycles. We have had great success with them. Is therevsomething you do not like about them?

    Reply

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