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5 Best 24″ XC Mountain Bikes for Kids – 2019

best 24 inch xc mountain bikes for kids

By the time kids reach the 8 to 10 age- range, they are truly becoming capable of putting in some substantial miles on the trail with Mom and Dad. As you know, mountain biking is rough and taxing on the components of bikes and kids need a quality build too.

Below is an overview of some of the best 24” cross country mountain bikes available.  We’ve grouped them into our “top 5” favorites and then a bunch of other bikes that are worthy of your consideration as well.

As you peruse the weight, price, and build info, you’ll probably notice a  trend. The bigger brands are good at building bikes at an affordable price point, but don’t necessarily consider the bodyweight ratio of a child and their bike. The small boutique brands, on the other hand, are offering lighter frames with components designed to specifically fit little ones but come with a steeper price tag.

If you’re a bike geek, make sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to see our big comparison chart with specs.

Note: We’ve primarily stuck with hard-tail cross-country bikes on this list. If you’re looking for a downhill or more trail-oriented bike, check out our list of the 24 Inch Full-Suspension Mountain Bikes.


Top 5 24 Inch Kids Mountain Bikes

BikeWhat Makes It SpecialPrice
1Trailcraft PineridgeSuper light build, Stans Crest MK3 wheels$1,499+
2Prevelo Zulu 4Slack geometry, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes$899+
3 Spawn Yama Jama 24 Rock Shox Reba 100mm fork, Brood 2.3 tires$1,295
4 Orbea MX 24 Team DiscLightweight build, rigid fork, tubeless-ready$649
5Commencal Meta HT 24 Manitou 120mm fork, tubeless-ready wheels$999

Trailcraft Pineridge

trailcraft pineridge

With multiple build kits and color options, the Tailcraft Pineridge 24 is a versatile xc ripper for your young ones. We would probably select the cheapest full build available, but like any other bike, the higher end components are available…for a price.

At a mere 21.5 pounds, the Trailcraft Pineridge is one of the lightest xc kids bikes on the market. Trailcraft also offers a titanium version if your little person is SPOILED! Stans Crest MK3 wheels help round out a build with a quality component spec that will leave you drooling and wishing you had one too.

Read Review: Trailcraft Blue Sky 20 (smaller version of the Pineridge)

Price: $1,499 – $2,199


Prevelo Zulu 4

prevelo zulu 4

The Prevelo Zulu 4 is an eye-popping hardtail designed for small riders. The bike comes in two versions, a standard build and the Zulu 4 HEIR.

Both versions have a slack geometry design and plenty of plushness up front to allow the mini shredder in your life to not only keep up but remain comfortable and really open up on the trail.

This bike is definitely a cross-country ripper with a Shimano drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes and in-house components designed to fit kids.

Read Review: Prevelo Zulu 3 HEIR (smaller version of the Zulu 4)

Price: $899+ at


Spawn Yama Jama 24

Spawn has become nearly synonymous with children’s mountain bikes and for good reason. The creators of Spawn sought to create quality kids mountain bikes so their kiddos could ride with them and enjoy all the benefits of a nice bike.

The Spawn Yama Jama is their hard-tail trail ripper. With a Rock Shox Reba 100mm fork, SRAM drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Brood (child-specific brand) components, and Brood 2.3 tires your little ones can cruise with the freshman NICA class and have enough beef in the bike to conquer chunky trails.

Read Review: Spawn Yama Jama 24

Price: $1,295


Orbea MX 24 Team Disc

orbea mx24 disc

There are plenty of reasons to choose a fully rigid bike for your child, but chief amongst them are weight savings and cost savings.  The Orbea MX 24 Team Disc has tubeless-ready wheels, hydraulic disc brakes, and super compact geometry.  For the price, it probably can’t be beaten.

Price:$649


Commencal Meta HT 24

commencal-meta-ht-24-2020

Like it’s adult-sized counterpart, the Meta HT is a hard-tail steed capable of all-mountain and cross-country riding.

Commencal checks all the boxes with a 120 mm Manitou fork, SRAM drivetrain, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Alex rims, and Vee Tiro Co 2.6″ tires. A lightweight build with a progressive geometry design provides a ripping machine for pre-teen trail smashers.

Price:$999


Other 24″ XC Bikes to Consider

While these bikes didn’t make our Top 5, they are each worthy of consideration and some of them may be easier to find locally than the Top 5.

Early Rider Trail 24

early rider t24

These British bikes are absolutely beautiful! A solid component build includes SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes, Maxxis Snyper tires, and Spinner air fork.   

The Early Rider Trail 24 was designed to help the preteen in your life to get after it on the trail.

Price: $1,099

Frog MTB 62

Frog MTB 62

Frog Bikes makes amazing bikes for kids, and the Frog MTB 62 is no exception.  The bike has 65mm of travel, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, Shimano drivetrain, and Kenda tires.  At 24.9 pounds it’s not THE lightest mountain bike around, but for this price point it is tough to beat.

More Info: Frog’s Push the Limits Line

Price: $880


Cleary Scout 24

cleary scout 24 kids mountain bike

The Cleary Scout is a trail worthy rig thanks to the 80mm air fork, tubeless ready tires, and durable steel frame.  For under $1,000 this bike offers quite a bit of bang for your buck.  It also happens to look really good.

Price: $840


Norco Fluid 4.3+

norco fluid 4.3+ 24 inch kids bike

Intended for conquering rocky trails, the Norco Fluid 4.3+ sports high-volume 2.6″ tires. Pair that with the Suntrour 80mm fork and your kiddo’s got a plush ride.

Others specs include a Shimano drivetrain and Tektro hydraulic dics brakes.

Price: $699


Pello Reyes

Pello offers a ton of value for the price of their bikes. The Pello Reyes comes stocked with brand-name components including a Cane Creek headset, tubeless-ready Alex rims, and a SRAM drivetrain.

The weight is also competitive compared to other bikes at this pricepoint at only 24 lbs.

Read Review: Pello Rover (smaller version of the Reyes)

Price: $739


Vitus Nucleus 24

Vitus Nucleus 24

Looking for a killer deal? Sit up and pay attention to the Vitus Nucleus 24. This bike offers a ton of bang for your buck.

The Nucleus offers a Spinner Grind 65mm air-sprung fork, Tektro hydraulic disc brakes, and even internal routing for a dropper post should you choose to add one.

Price: $485


Trek Roscoe 24

trek roscoe 24 inch kids mountain bike

One of the biggest bike manufacturers in the industry, Trek offers a whole line of kids’ bikes. The Trek Roscoe is their 24″ mountain bike offering.  The bike boasts a quality build at an affordable price point. 

The only bummer is the weight which is a bit on the hefty side for a rigid bike.  Nonetheless, we like the mid- fat tires (2.8 inches) which can be ridden year-round and help add some cushion. The component build includes a Shimano drivetrain and Tektro mechanical disc brakes.

Price: $520


Scott Scale RC 24

scott scale rc 24

Scott sponsors the biggest names on the cross-country race circuit which explains this race-oriented 24 inch bike. The front fork offers 50mm of air dampened travel, and Tektro disc brakes provide adequate stopping power.  The aggressive geometry is ideal for young racers, and the bike manages to come in under 25 pounds at a decent price.

Price: $699



Rocky Mountain Vertex 24

Web_Vertex_24_Profile

With a similar build to many of the big names here, the Rocky Mountain Vertex also provides a decent build that will be durable and last. SRAM drivetrain, Shimano disc and Vee Tire Co rubber make for a fast-rolling bike. The only bummer is the weight penalty.

Price: $689


Specialized Riprock Expert 24

specialized-riprock-expert-24-

One of the largest, quality brands on the market, Specialized makes a good bike. The Specialized Riprock 24 is no exception.

As previously mentioned, the bigger brands offer quality builds but don’t necessarily consider how much weight the youth rider has to muscle around. This bike would make for fun trail riding with mom and dad and can certainly be run in a youth aged xc race (just with more effort than other bikes). 2.8 tires offer extra comfort and if the parent wants to save some weight they can certainly do it there.

Price: $1,299


Comparison Chart: 24″ Cross-Country MTBs

We know you’re probably a little nerdy for all the specs (we are too).  Here’s how all the 24″ mountain bikes on this list stack up against each other. Read our tips for choosing below on help making sense of all this info.

Also, please note, manufacturers are constantly updating specs and builds. The info here is correct to the best of our knowledge as of the date we put it together. Use this as a starting point, do your own research before buying, and if you find an error please let us know (kindly) and we’ll update the table.

BikePriceWeight (lbs)Frame MaterialDrivetrain/ShiftersBrake SystemSuspension Travel (f/r)Front ForkRimsTiresTubeless Ready?Axle Configuration (f/r)Routing for Dropper?Crank Length (mm)
Scott Scale RC 24$69924.5Alu AlloySRAMHydraulic disc brakes (Tektro HD-M276)63 mm / NAAir-Sprung (SR Suntour XCR)Syncros X-20 DiscSchwalbe Smart Sam
Performance (24x2.1")
No9mm QR / 9mm QRNo
Trek Roscoe 24$52025.75Alu AlloyShimanoMechanical disc brakes (Tektro M280)NA / NAAlloy RigidIn-HouseCheng-Shin (24x2.8)No9mm QR / 9mm QRNo152
Cleary Scout 24$84027.0SteelShimanoHydraulic disc brakes (Tektro HD-291)80mm / NAAir-Sprung (SR Suntour XCR)AlexVee Tire Co Crown Gem (24 X 2.25)Yes9mm QR / 9mm QRNo165
Commencal Meta HT 24$99925.5Alu AlloySRAMHydraulic disc brakes (Tektro120 mm / NAAir-Sprung (Manitou Junit 24)ALEXRIMS MD30Vee Tire Co Crown Gem (24 X 2.6)Yes15mm TA / 9mm QRNo
Orbea MX 24 Team Disc$64924.5Alu AlloyShimanoHydraulic disc brakes (Shimano M396)NA / NAAlloy RigidMach 1 KlixxKenda 1047 (24x2.1)Yes9mm QR / 9mm QRNo152
Rocky Mountain Vertex$770NAAlu AlloyShimanoHydraulic disc brakes (Shimano MT200)80 mm / NACoil-Sprung (SR Suntour XCM)WTB SX17VeeTire Crown GEM (20x2.25)No9mm QR / 9mm QRNo
Frog MTB 62$88024.9Alu AlloyShimanoHydraulic disc brakes (Tektro HD-M28265mm / NAFrog Bikes AirIn-HouseKenda K1153 (24x1.95)No9mm QR / 9mm QRNo127
Prevelo Zulu 4$89925.7Alu AlloyShimanoHydraulic disc brakes (Tektro)80mm / NAAir-Sprung (SR Suntour XCR)PreveloKenda Small Block 8 Pro (24 x 2.1)No9mm QR / 15mm TANo140
Prevelo Zulu 4 HEIR$1,29923.9Alu AlloyShimanoHydraulic disc brakes (Tektro)80mm / NAAir-Sprung (Prevelo HEIR)AlexKenda Kinetics (24 x 2.35)No15mm TA / 15mm TANo140
Spawn Yama Jama$1,29524.5Alu AlloySRAMHydraulic disc brakes (Tektro)100 mm / NAAir-Sprung (ROCK SHOX REBA 26")BroodBrood Maxtion (24x2.3)Yes15 mm TA / 9mm QRYes145
Specialized Riprock Expert 24$1,29927.8Alu AlloyShimanoHydraulic disc (Shimano Deore)70mm / NAAir-Sprung (SR Suntour XCR)In-HouseSpecialized Big Roller (24X2.8)No9mm QR / 9mm QRNo152
Trail Craft Pineridge 24$2,09920.5Alu AlloyShimanoHydraulic disc (Shimano XT)80 mm / NAAir-Sprung (Trailcraft TC30)Stans Crest MK3Schwalbe Rocket Ron (24x2.1)Yes9mm QR / 9mm QRYes140
Early Rider Trail 24$1,09924.5Alu AlloySRAMHydraulic Disc Brake (SRAM Level)100mm / NAAir-Sprung (Spinner Air 300)In-house alu rimsMaxxis Snyper (24 x 2.0)No9mm QR / 9mm QRNo155
Norco Fluid 4.3+$699Alu AlloyShimanoHydraulic Disc (Tektro HD-M286)80mm / NACoil-Sprung (SR Suntour XCM)In-HouseChaoyang (24 x 2.6)No9mm QR / 9mm QRNo152
Pello Reyes$73924.0Alu AlloySRAMMechanical Disc (Tektro)55mm / NAAir-Sprung (Spinner Air Grind)AlexKenda K-Rad (24x1.95)Yes9mm QR / 9mm QRNo140
Vitus Nucleus 24$485Alu AlloyShimanoHydraulic Disc (Tektro HD-M290)65mm / NAAir-Sprung (Spinner Air Grind)ShiningMaxxis Snyper (24 X 2.0)No9mm QR / 10mm QRYes140

Things To Consider When Choosing

Weight

This one should be obvious, yet we see way too many kids out on the trails riding mountain bikes that are WAY too heavy. In fact, many of the bikes on this list weigh more than my mountain bike, and I weigh double what most kids this age weigh. That’s a serious bike weight to body weight ratio issue.

Of course, the lightest bikes on the list are also the most expensive. Try to opt for the lightest bike you can afford.

You’ll thank me when your child is riding faster, having more fun, and complaining less.

Hydraulic Disc Brakes vs Mechanical Disc Brakes vs V-Brakes

We’ve intentionally NOT included any bikes on this list that have v-brakes. I’m sure your mountain bike doesn’t have v-brakes anymore and we don’t think your child’s should either. The benefits of disc brakes are too great, and the price has come down enough that they are reasonably affordable.

The question then comes on whether to choose hydraulic disc brakes or mechanical disc brakes.

The easy answer is to buy a bike with hydraulic disc brakes. They offer better stopping power and are much easier for small hands to pull without experiencing fatigue.

trailcraft blue sky 20 brake rotors

That said, the bikes on this list with hydros are more expensive so this is one area where you can cut some cost. Mechanical disc brakes are also easier to maintain, so if you don’t like working on bikes that’s something to consider.

Still, if you can afford it, go with the hydraulic disc brakes.

Tire Size

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.

pello rover kenda tires

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.

Coil Fork vs. Air Fork vs. Rigid Fork

Again, we come up against budget constraints, but whenever possible, choose a bike with an air-sprung fork. They are lighter and infinitely better performing than a coil fork.

prevelo zulu heir front suspension

Another option is to choose a mountain bike with a rigid fork. This is a super legit option especially for kids riding mellow or buff trails. A rigid fork saves a ton of weight and might be all your child really needs if they aren’t riding technical trails.

The Extras

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 140mm and 150mm. The smaller you child and the shorter their legs, the shorter the optimal crank length. Anything over 150mm I would think twice about.

More Reading

24 thoughts on “5 Best 24″ XC Mountain Bikes for Kids – 2019”

  1. Cleary Meerkat 24: the gear hanger is not replaceable, which is a bad idea, if it gets hit it can damage the frame, you can’t simply replace it. a bad crash can result in useless bike quite fast by this flaw. but it can be fixed by a frame builder, but not really a good choice in my opinion.

    • Cleary frames are steel which is less prone to damage than aluminum, and easy to cold set when damage does occur. Replaceable derailleur hangers exist because aluminum is not readily repairable, and does not respond well to cold-setting. They are designed to be inherently flimsy, in order to protect the frame to which they’re mounted, and in some cases, especially with cheaper hangers, add extra flex to the shifting system which causes it to be less precise. Non-replaceable hangars on a steel frame are generally twice the width of most replaceable hangers, which gives them extra resilience in a crash, and extra stiffness which improves shifting. I don’t think consumers should stay away from aluminum bikes with replaceable hangers, but they also shouldn’t stay away from a steel frame that doesn’t have one either. Cheers!

  2. Hi, what about the Canyon Exceed cf 24 or even the Grand Canyon Al 24 ?
    What would make you choose the Islabikes over the Trail Craft, please ? (all the more since you live in the US)

  3. HI,

    Just bought a Orbea MX24 team disk for my son. I weighted it in at 24.6 lbs stock. This has the straight fork.

  4. no problem Kristen, x

    The Orbea /MX24 trail you list above has the Suntour shock. His MX24 team disk has a regular fork so it weights less. That was one of the reasons I got the “team disk” and not the trail. It might be a pound heavier….not sure.

    Thanks for this awesome list.

    Andy

  5. Hangers on steel frames, like the Meerkat, can be realigned if bent with little impact on longevity, but alloy frames would do better with replaceable hangers. Have Cleary Hedgehog, great bike.

    Also, I like the looks of the 24+ category, eg Giant XTC Jr 24+.

  6. Great info, thanks so much for putting this together! I’m thinking we’ll get my daughter the Creig pro 24 as her next bike in a few months. She started on a balance bike at 2, and has been hooked ever since! She moved on to an islabikes cnoc at 4 years old, and a little over a year ago (at 5ish) moved up to a beinn 20 that we had them put blackjack trail tires on before shipping it to us. I was also considering the possibility of getting her a full suspension bike, but I just don’t think the extra weight makes sense for her body type especially since she’s not riding any true downhill (yet, anyway!). A couple of those full suspension bikes just look so freaking cool, but I know she really probably needs the lightest weight possible rather than a softer/ squishier ride. At 6.5 years old, she’s 50″ tall with (just over) a 23″ inseam and only weighs 41-42#… so she’s extremely tall and slender, and most of even the really good kids’ bikes just seem like they’d be too heavy for her. Neither my husband or I have ever been big into mountain biking, even when we’ve lived in mountain towns that are hallowed ground for bikers. In our case, our kid has been dragging me – riding on my very old gary fisher hardtail – out onto the single track as often as she possibly can. That makes it a bit hard for purchasing decisions since I’m having to start from scratch on all my research, as I knew next to nothing about bikes. The extent of my expertise was basically just knowing the difference between v brakes and disc brakes, along with the difference between no, front, and full suspension. That said, do you happen to have any advice for pedals, because if we get her the pro model I’m going to have to find someone to walk me through that. Ha! Thanks again for all the info… it’s been super helpful to me as I navigate and try to weigh out (literally and figuratively) our options.

  7. According to the Scott website, the SCOTT SCALE RC JR 24 DISC BIKE weighs in at ~22 lbs. By far and away the best deal out there for a light weight24-inch wheel bicycle considering the component spec. I believe you are showing the Scale RC Jr image instead of the Scott Scale image.

  8. What about the GT Stomper Ace 24? It weighs 25 lbs. It has an aluminum frame, good geometry, front suspension fork, 1 by 8 gearing, a quick trigger shifter, Kenda Tires, and front and rear disc brakes. It checks all the correct boxes. And it cost half the price of the bikes written in this article. Don’t count this bike out. It has impressed a lot of parents for its value and it is really hard to find in our area.

  9. The specs at rei and at early rider put the trail 24 at 24+#. Is there another build option to get it down to/under 20#? I thought we’d get our daughter a creig pro this spring, but those plans were obviously dashed by islabikes suddenly and unexpectedly pulling out of the US… All the more frustrating for me, because they had just put me on the waitlist for one in September and told me to expect it to restock at the end of 2018 or early 2019.

    • Hi Rebekah,
      They have changed the build and it weighs more now. I hadn’t fixed it in the post; just did though. Thanks for pointing that out. If you want to go as light as possible, take a look at the Trailcraft. We have the 20-inch version for our son and can’t recommend it enough.
      Cheers,
      KB

  10. Stumbled upon this blog. As a Dad working with both local MTB teams and a 7yro that DH MTB races once in a while and a 4yro getting there. Here are some critical details as to what works and what doesn’t. Many of these details are in the reviews but aren’t apparent if you are just browsing. I’ve also included a fantastic cheap Mountain Bike recommendation (link below). Now this is for regular MTB kids, obviously a kid shredding will usually be on a FS bike a Maxwell/Phenom/Fluid/Clash/Rokussuta etc to handle the rigors of harsh/fast/sendy riding. Parents buying a normal kid MTB need to look for the following and note that most kids bikes are awful:

    -Airfork hardtail – Coil Forks on Kids bikes like Suntour XCT are literally the worst fork ever. Walmart bike forks. (whomever is talking about the GT Ace 24 having a nice suspension fork is misrepresenting that fork…that’s a fine bike if you replace the fork and brakes).
    -Hydraulic disk brakes – these are a must if you are MTBing. No mechanical disk brakes. Hand fatigue is real.
    -2.3in tires (plus tires are a nightmare for kids btw…please stop buying Spec Riprocks – they are terrible. Isla/Woom bikes are downright dangerous on even mellow single track due to razor thin tires. I’ve seen it first hand)
    -140mm cranks (please parents, don’t ignore this…it can mess up a kids hips and knee joints in growing bodies. Cleary Scout has cranks that are too long for my 5-3 wife let alone 52 in son.)
    – Decent Geometry: 400mm chainstays (+- 10mm), around 340mm of reach, around 510mm of stack, 67d or 66d HTA for hardtail
    -11-36 9sp gearing or better with a 30 or 28t chainring – kids need help with the climbs not the speed. 11-42 is nice these days!

    Cheap Bike Recommendation: Vitus 24″ Nucleus is 480$ shipped to the USA (no duty charges) and is an amazing value without having a single significant flaw (I’d like a smaller chainring and wider gearing). Its similar enough to the Early Rider bike and over half the cost. The early rider has flawed 155mm cranks which is the wrong size for kids and makes a big difference (expensive to fix, often requires new BB too). The Vitus gearing isn’t as wide but cranklength is more important and so is saving 600$.
    http://vitusbikes.com/products/vitus-nucleus-24-kids-hardtail-mountain-bike/

    FYI To the guy talking about the GT Stomper Ace 24″ bike, that’s a cheap bike with one of the worst forks known to man. Heavy coil fork that is next to useless. Its an OK bike if you replace the fork and mech disk brakes but that an extra 200$.

    Just look at the TrailCraft bikes and that’s what an ideal bike looks like (aside from their HTA being too steep for a hardtail, my opinion…as 68d is steep and when its under sag and braking downhill, it’ll get into the 70d’s which can lead to OTB). Trailcraft is an amazing company and know what they are doing, you can buy kid components from them too. Prevelo has really stepped it up this year and I expect a Spawn refresh in the next month or two that will up their game as well (needed for their 24″ stuff).

    Oh and just so parents stop buying road bikes like Woom and Isla bikes…those are road bikes. They are awful for kids developing MTB skills and lead to crashes on even mellow trails. Its the steep geometry and razor thin tires that are awful. Don’t let the weight fool you. If you want a light bike, pony up for the TrailCraft or deal with it. Don’t buy the kid a road bike. You are better off buying a BMX bike (we have these as well) like Cult Juvenile, Fit Misfit, Sunday Blueprint, Weethepeopleseed etc…a BMX bike will help your kid develop into 10x the rider a simple sit&pedal road bike like Woom or Isla ever would. Avoid at all costs if you want your kid to MTB or have solid skills beyond sitting and pedaling.

    So to review:
    – No coil forks! Rigid is better than a Coil fork.
    – No v-brakes or mech disk brakes!
    – No plus tires! Rotational weight in wheels and tires kills the fun fast for young people.
    – No road bikes!
    – No long cranks! (140mm for 24″, 127mm for 20″, 100mm or less for 16″)
    – No skinny pavement tires, 2.1 to 2.3 are great

    Also, buy your kid a Full Face helmet like a Bell Super 3r. Its mountain biking, its dangerous even going slow or jumping speed bumps in the neighborhood (a buddies kid hit his face on the pavement at 5 or 6yro and had to be life flighted out…FF helmet would have saved that). My 3yr hit his face on pavement at pumptrack going 1 mph, a full face helmet would have saved that. Those helmets have plenty of ventilation and are about 750g (light). Buy one. My kids never ride without on and do fine. Its required if they are on a team usually as well. Sale price is around 100$ to protect their teeth, brains and face. Way cheaper than an IPad or ER/Dentist visit.

    • This is possibly the most sensible article I’ve come across for parents looking to buy a proper MTB for their kids. SV’s post should be shared on every forum. Great list of bikes as well. Agree that the trail craft should be the benchmark for both geometry and design and that the VITUS is an amazing choice for those on a budget.

  11. I’ve been looking into s Commencal HT for my 9-yr old. Any thoughts on that? And I love all the thoughts SV had to offer. I’m Che king out Vitus bike’s right now. I had originally planned on getting him theCleary Scout. But now I’m unsure.

  12. To SV: I like your comments what do you and others think about the Diamond Sync’r 24? From what I can tell its a pretty good bike for the price. the Fork is the crappy part on that bike, I was thinking of getting it then replacing it with an air fork but I didn’t know if by that time I should have just bought something else.

    • Hi Em, no experience with the Reyes, but we are testing the 20” version right now. My initial impressions are that it’s a fantastic bike for the price. If budget is an issue, I’d have zero regrets recommending it. That said, it’s basically an around-town bike with a (good) suspension fork thrown on. It doesn’t have the slack geometry, wide handlebars, etc of a bike like the Prevelo Zulu.

      • Thanks a bunch! I was looking at the Prevelo 24″, BUT it is listed out of stock, so have been trying to figure out some other options, too. We are in the UP of MI and are definitely on trails and dirt roads way more than pavement, and it’s so tough to find an option that doesn’t weigh so much!

  13. I don’t understand why plus tires are a nightmare? My kids came from Islabikes and now now riprocks. Easy to set up tubeless saving some noticable weight. Both are ripping the trails and are faster then other kids as they float through the narly stuff. Grip is much better on climbes aswell.
    Please explain why the riprocks are so bad….

    • Hi Oscar,
      I assume you’re referring to the comment by SV above? The primary argument against plus-sized tires on kids bikes is that they add weight. That said, there are plenty of reasons plus-sized tires are awesome (as you pointed out): more grip, less rolling resistance, vibration absorption. I think it is up to parents to find the sweet spot that works for your child. Sounds like your kiddo is doing great on the Riprock. Other kids (like mine) who are really petite might struggle with additional weight, and we’ve done everything we can to keep his bike as light as possible. (That said, he’s rolling 20×2.3 tubeless tires, which are pretty beefy).
      Cheers,
      KB

  14. Hi KB,

    Great blog, very helpful. Do you know anything about the Flightline bikes from Haro? My LBS just started carrying them. The Flightline 24 plus with Disk brakes looked interesting for the price point.

    KJ

    • Hi KJ,
      Thanks for the kind words. We haven’t tested any of the Flightline bikes, but you’re not the first to ask so obviously, we need to…My initial impression, however, is the same as yours: it looks like a decent bike for the price. My biggest concern would be the weight, I’d definitely ask for it to be put on a scale at the LBS before buying. Not sure about the Flightline Plus DS, but the regular Flightline 24 is 28 lbs which is awfully heavy for most kids (but on par with other bikes in this price range).
      Cheers,
      KB

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