Do you have an aspiring Andrew Talansky or Tejay van Garderen? If so, it might be time to get your child a road-specific bike.
Compared to an all-terrain bicycle that most 24″ kids bikes are designed to be, a road bike will be faster, lighter, and better suited to long-distance riding. The bikes on this list will help your kiddo climb bigger mountains, finish a 50-miler, or even compete in your local kids’ crit.
Unfortunately, unlike the kids mountain bike business that is booming, fewer and fewer manufacturers are making pint-sized road bikes. We’ve rounded up what few options are available, but you want more options, you might want to consider a kids cyclocross bike instead. (Just add slick tires).
The Best 24 Inch Youth Road Bikes
Pinarello Speedy Complete
The Speedy Complete is one sweet little bike, as you would expect with the Pinarello name. The 6061 T6 aluminum frame and fork keep the weight down–the complete build tips the scales at just under 20 pounds. All the components are brand-name: Formula wheels, Kenda Tires, Shimano drivetrain. It comes in black or white.
Price and Where to Buy:
- $950 at CompetitiveCyclist.com
Frog Road 67
Frog is one of our favorite companies for kids bikes–from balance bikes to track bikes, they make top-notch bicycles for children. The Frog 67 boasts drop bars, but also supplementary brakes levers on the top of the bars, which is nice for kids who haven’t quite mastered the drops yet. This bike also works for road riding or cyclocross, and comes with two sets of Kenda tires–one for each discipline.
Price (MSPR): $700
Argon 18 Xenon 24
Argon 18 makes nice road bikes, and their youth-sized Xenon 24 is no exception. The bike offers a carbon fork, Tektro brakes, and Alex wheels. We only wish that it offered a full Shimano drivetrain; the spec is a Shimano / Sunrace mix.
Price and Where to Buy:
- $599 at JensonUSA.com
Giordana Libero 1.6
The Giordana Libero provides an introduction to road cycling without breaking the bank. It offers a full Shimano drivetrain and Kenda tires. We’ve heard from other parents that the stock brake levers are a bit challenging for small hands to operate, so if your child is younger you might want to upgrade to Tektro brakes (or similar).
Price & Where to Buy:
Islabikes Luath 24
Islabikes is the original kids’ bike company and their years of experience show in the Luath 24. This kids road bike comes with fenders, supplementary top bar brake levers, and a lightweight build (19 pounds with pedals).
Unfortunately, Islabikes has shut down North American distribution, but if you’re willing to put in a little work, you can still import one or look for one used.
Scott Speedster JR 24
The Scott Speedster JR 24 looks fast. That might be because it weighs a mere 19 pounds, and sports an impressive little package of components–Kenda tires, Shimano Claris 16-speed drivetrain, and Scott alloy handlebars, steam, and seatpost.
Unfortunately, Scott has NOT released a 2019 version of this bike. We’re still including it for now though, because you might still be able to find 2018 stock of the bike.
Price and Where to Buy:
- $850, Find a dealer at Scottsports.com
Choosing the Right Road Bike for Your Child
Age and Size
In general, most 24″ road bikes are going to fit kids ages 8-10. As with all kids bikes, however, each bike has slightly different geometry and each child has a different height and build. Therefore, make sure you measure your child’s inseam prior to shopping for a bike.
If your child is older, 10 or 11 years old, you’ll find that you have more options and can look for a youth road bike with 650c wheels.
Moving from an upright bike to a more aggressive road bike with drops can be a challenge. My favorite 24″ road bikes, like the Frog 67, offer both regular cantilever brake levers in the drops and supplementary brake levers on the flat bars. Unless you know that your child already has the skill to ride in the drops, I would recommend starting with this set-up.
As with everything in life, there is always a trade-off between price and quality. In general, you should buy your child a bike with the nicest comportment you can afford. If you’re not sure which the different drivetrain packages are, this article offers a good overview.
Rotational weight matters more than weight on any other part of the bike (the frame, for example). When shopping for a bike, compare the weight of the different wheelsets on the bikes. This often matters more than the overall build weight. If your child really takes to cycling, you can always upgrade their wheelset later as well.
24″ Road Bike Comparison Chart
Here is how all the bikes on this list stack up with one another. In particular, make sure to look at the price (probably didn’t need to tell you that, right?), the brake configuration, and the drivetrain. As I mentioned earlier, buy the nicest components you can afford.
|Bike||MSRP||Weight||Frame Material||Wheelset||Drivetrain||Supplementary brake?|
|Scott Speedster JR 24||$850||19.2 lbs||6061 Alloy||Alex Race rims,Formula hubs||Shimano Claris||No|
|Frog Road 67||$670||19.4 lbs||6061 Alloy||Frog||Microshift||Yes|
|Pinarello Speedy Complete||$950||19.6 lbs|| |
6061 T6 aluminum
|Islabikes Luath 24||$799||19.1 lbs||7005 t6 Alloy||Islabikes||Shimano Tiagra / SRAM 11-36t||Yes|
|Giordana Libero 1.6|| |
|Argon 18 Xenon 24||$850|| |
Thermotech Tubing Aluminum 2000
|Shimano Tourney / Sunrace||No|