7 Best Kids Bikes & How To Choose!

Shopping for a new bike for your child can be confusing. One of the best things you can do is to familiarize yourself with the best kids bike brands.

Here at Rascal Rides, we spend a lot of time reviewing specific bikes or talking about the best bikes for a certain age range, but it is even more helpful to help people get familiar with the best BRANDS for kids bikes.  Many of these brands offer great options across the board, from balance bikes to first pedal bikes to 24″ mountain bikes.

Prevelo Alpha Two

In general, we prefer brands that make kids bikes exclusively.  Of course, you can buy a nice kids bike from Trek or Cannondale, especially in larger sizes, but they are often an afterthought to these company’s more lucrative adult bikes. 

Over the last few years, more and more companies have been entering the market making bikes specifically designed and built for the youngest riders.  The brands on this list make lightweight, quality bikes that are safe, enjoyable, and will get your kids stoked on biking.

For each brand, we’ve listed their lineup of bikes by size and type of bike.   If you’re not sure what size bike your child needs, or how to pick the best bike for your unique child, we’ve included additional resources down below.

(Note: There are some mountain bikes on this list, but if you are looking for mountain bikes specifically, check out our list of the best kids mountain bike brands instead).

BrandWhy We Love Them
1Woom*Ultra-lightweight, intelligently designed
2Prevelo *Great customer service, real kid-sized mountain bikes
3Cleary*Beautiful, durable steel frames
4Frog*Huge offering, variety of colors/designs
5Pello*Brand-name components, kid-specific geometry
6Early Rider*Gorgeous brushed aluminum frames
7SpawnHigh-quality mountain bikes
8 (bonus!)Guardian *Emphasis on safety, affordable options

Woom Bikes USA

Woom makes our favorite kids bikes, hands down. If you want the BEST bike for your child, get a Woom.

Why do we recommend them so highly? First off, they are the lightest weight bikes around. A lightweight bike makes an enormous difference in how well your child is going to do.

Secondly, Woom has put a huge amount of thought into the design of their bikes. From the kids-specific geometry of their frames, custom components, and color-coded brake levers–everything has been agonized over and perfected for young riders.

Woom bikes are also in high demand on the used market, and their high-quality allows them to be handed down from child to child. Or if you prefer, Woom offers a Trade-In program when your child is ready to move up to the next size.

Learn More: 5 Reasons To Love Woom Bikes (Plus Detailed Reviews)

Woom Bikes Line Up

BikeSize/Bike TypePrice (MSRP)Review
Woom 112″ Balance Bike $199
Woom 1 Plus14″ Balance Bike $269 Read: Woom 1 Plus Review
Woom 214″ Pedal Bike $359 Read: Woom 2 Review
Woom 316″ Pedal Bike $389 Read: Woom 3 Review
Woom 420″ Pedal Bike$499Read: Woom 4 Review
Woom 4 OFF20″ Mountain Bike$799
Woom 524″ Pedal Bike$529
Woom 5 OFF24″ Mountain Bike$849
Woom 626″ Pedal Bike$569
Woom 6 OFF26″ Mountain Bike$899

Cleary Bikes

We like Cleary Bikes because they aren’t just more cookie-cutter kids bikes.  The unique and beautiful steel frames, top-shelf components, and durable design set these bikes apart.  

Cleary serves both sides of the age spectrum well, offering one of the tiniest first pedal bikes out there (the Gecko) as well as really nice 24″ and 26″ mountain bikes.  

Cleary Bikes Line-Up

Bike Size/Bike Type Price (MSRP)Review
Cleary Gecko12″ pedal bike $310  Read: Cleary Gecko Review
Cleary Hedgehog16″ pedal bike $375 Read: Cleary Hedgehog Review
Cleary Owl 20″ pedal bike $425
Cleary Meerkat 24″ pedal bike $594
Cleary Scout 2424″ mountain bike$840
Cleary Scout 2626″ mountain bike $860

Prevelo Bikes

Whatever kind of riding your family does, and however old your child is, Prevelo has a bike for you. Their Alpha line of bikes is ideal for around-town and paved riding, while the Zulu line offers some of the best pint-sized mountain bikes on the market.

We appreciate Prevelo for their child-specific geometry, custom cranks, and top-shelf components. Perhaps even more importantly, Prevelo has superior customer service that you can’t get from a big bike brand.

Like Woom, Prevelo also offers a trade-up program that can help make your initial investment a little less painful.

Prevelo Bikes Line-Up

BikeSize/TypePrice (MSRP)Reviews
Prevelo Alpha Zero 12″ balance bike $199
Prevelo Alpha One 14″ pedal bike $359
Prevelo Zulu One 14″ mountain bike $459
Prevelo Alpha Two 16″ pedal bike $369 Read: Prevelo Alpha Two Review
Prevelo Zulu Two 16″ mountain bike$469+
Prevelo Alpha Three 20″ pedal bike $499 Read: Prevelo Alpha Three Review
Prevelo Zulu Three 20″ mountain bike$899+Read: Prevelo Zulu Three Review
Prevelo Alpha Four 24″ pedal bike $499
Prevelo Zulu Four 24″ mountain bike$899

Frog Bikes

Frog is a U.K. kids bike company that’s wildly popular at home, but less well known in the North American market. While they are a little harder to get your hands-on (they don’t sell direct-to-consumer), it would be a mistake to overlook this brand.

Frog has the largest line of any of the kid’s bike brands so you are sure to find what your child needs. Their offering includes a hard-to-find 20″ road bike as well as some of our favorite first pedal bikes.  Even their balance bike, the Tadpole, comes in three different sizes.

In addition to being well designed and lightweight, the Frog bikes come in a variety of fun, bright colors and designs. No matter what your child’s favorite color is, you’ll probably find a Frog to suit their fancy.

Frog Bikes Line-Up

BikeSize/TypePrice (MSRP)
Frog Tadpole Mini10″ balance bike$210
Frog Tadpole12″ balance bike$215
Frog Tadpole Plus14″ balance bike$260
Frog 4014″ pedal bike$360
Frog 4816″ pedal bike$395Read: Frog 48 Review
Frog 52/ Frog 5520″ pedal bike$510/$520
Frog 5820″ road bike$670
Frog 62 24″ pedal bike $550
Frog MTB 62 24″ mountain bike $880
Frog Road 67 24″ road bike $700
Frog 69 / 73 / 78 26″ pedal bike $590 / $600 / $620
Frog MTB 69 / Frog MTB 72 26″ mountain bike $890 / $900
Frog Road 70 26″ road bike $720

Pello Bikes

Pello has a simple formula for their kids’ bikes: orange (or pink) frame plus beefy tires. And it works.

These bikes perform particularly well on dirt–whether that is singletrack or the bike skills park–but can do double duty as a school-commuter as well.

If you’re looking for brand-name components, Pello offers them. Kenda tires and a Cane Creek headset are just a few of the parts you can expect to find across sizes. They also tend to be a bit more affordable than other bikes with similar components.

Pello Bike Line-Up

BikeSize / TypePrice (MSRP)Reviews
Pello Ripple 12″ balance bike $198
Pello Romper 14″ pedal bike $219 Read: Pello Romper Review
Pello Revo 16″ pedal bike $349
Pello Reddi 20″ pedal bike $399 Read: Pello Reddi Review
Pello Rover20″ pedal bike / 20″ mtb$499+Read: Pello Rover Review
Pello Reyes24″ pedal bike / 24″ mtb$599+

Early Rider

Early Rider Belter 20 trail

The Early Rider bikes are grown-up bikes sized down for kids.  Their brushed aluminum frames and faux leather saddles look just like something you would buy for yourself.  

Fortunately, they ride as well as they look.  If you want a top of the line bike, consider Early Rider. The only downside is the price–they are the spendiest kids bikes around.

Early Rider Bike Line-Up

BikeSize/ TypePrice (MSRP)
Early Rider Lite 12″ balance bike $129
Early Rider Classic 12/14″ balance bike$149
Early Rider Bonzai 12″ balance bike $189
Early Rider Alley Runner 12″ balance bike $189
Early Rider Trail 14 14″ balance bike$199
Early Rider Belter 1616″ pedal bike$439+
Early Rider Works 1616″ mountain bike$589
Early Rider Urban 2020″ pedal bike$599+
Early Rider Trail 2020″ mountain bike$799+
Early Rider Works 2020″ mountain bike $1,799
Early Rider Trail 24 24″ mountain bike $1,099
Early Rider Works 24 24″ mountain bike $1,399

Spawn Cycles

Most mountain bike parents have heard of Spawn Cycles.  For little rippers between 3 and 10, Spawn is one of the best companies out there.  

They offer mountain bikes that are oriented to both cross-country and downhill riding.  If you head to Whistler bike park, you are likely to see lots of Spawns on the trails.

In the smaller sizes, the Spawn bikes are also good for simple neighborhood and around-town riding.

Spawn Cycles Line-Up

BikeSize/TypePrice (MSRP)Reviews
Spawn Tengu 12″ balance bike $195
Spawn Yoji 14 14″ pedal bike $385
Spawn Yogi 16 16″ pedal bike $395
Spawn Raiju 20″ pedal bike $635
Spawn Yama Jama 20 20″ mountain bike $1,095
Spawn Kotori 20 20″ mountain bike $1,125
Spawn Rokkusuta 20 20″ mountain bike $1,950Read: Spawn Rokkusuta Review
Spawn Yama Jama 24 24″ mountain bike$1,295 Read: Spawn Yama Jama Review
Spawn Kotori 24 24″ mountain bike $1,175
Spawn Rokkusuta 24 24″ mountain bike $2,195
Spawn Rokk 24 24″ mountain bike $2,350
Spawn Yama Jama 26 26″ mountain bike $1,395
Spawn Kotori 26 26″ mountain bike $1,075
Spawn Rokk 26 26″ mountain bike $2,450

Guardian Bikes

Guardian Bikes are unique in that they feature the proprietary SureStop braking system. In a nutshell, this means that a single brake lever applies appropriate force to both the front and rear v-brakes, helping to prevent over-the-bars accidents.

This makes the bikes ideal for kids just learning to ride, those with poor eye-hand coordination, and any child who simply struggles with riding and/or braking. OR for moms who place a high emphasis on safety.

The only families we don’t recommend the Guardian bikes for are ones who enjoy mountain biking or riding at the pump track, as these activities require use of the front and rear brake independently of one another. Also, if your kiddo has already mastered hand brakes, we would keep them on a bike with dual handbrakes.

Finally, we should mention that Guardian makes their bikes in two versions: Orignal and Ethos. The Ethos line is more affordable, and a good option for families on a budget.

Guardian Bikes Line-Up

BikeSize/Type Price (MSRP)Reviews
Guardian AIROS 1616″ pedal bike$379Read: Guardian AIROS 16 Review
Guardian Ethos 16 16″ pedal bike $279Read: Guardian Ethos 16 Review
Guardian AIROS 20 Small20″ pedal bike$409
Guardian Ethos 20 Small 20″ pedal bike $309
Guardian AIROS 20 Large 20″ pedal bike $459Read: Guardian AIROS 20 Review
Guardian Ethos 20 Large 20″ pedal bike $359
Guardian AIROS 2424″ pedal bike$479Read: Guardian AIROS 24 Review
Guardian Ethos 24 24″ pedal bike $379

The Brands That Were

In 2018, we lost two awesome kids bike brands. Stampede discontinued production altogether, and Islabikes quit distributing bikes in the U.S. market. I’ve left info on these brands below in case you are fortunate to find one used or happen to be in the European market.


Note: As of Fall 2018, Islabikes is no longer distributing their bikes in the U.S. We’re leaving this brand on here though because it’s still possible to find one used, or to import one from Europe.

Islabikes is the original kids bike company.  They revolutionized what is considered a good kids bike–lightweight, sized correctly for small bodies, dual handbrakes and no coaster.  They are pricey, but live up to the high pricetag.

Bike Line-Up:

  • Islabikes Rothan – 12″ balance bike, $200
  • Islabikes Cnoc 14 Small – 14″ pedal bike, $420 (Read our Islabikes Cnoc review)
  • Islabikes Cnoc 14 Large – 14″ pedal bike, $420
  • Islabikes Cnoc 16 – 16″ pedal bike, $420
  • Islabikes Cnoc 20 – 20″ pedal bike, $469
  • Islabikes Beinn 20 small – 20″ hybrid bike, $550 (Read our Islabikes Beinn 20 review)
  • Islabike Beinn 20 large – 20″ hybrid bike, $550
  • Islabikes Beinn 24 – 24″ hybrid bike, $650
  • Islabikes Beinn 26 small  – 26″ hybrid bike, $650
  • Islabikes Beiin 26 large – 26″ hybrid bike, $650
  • Islabikes Creig 24- 24″ mountain bike with front suspension, $1,249
  • Islabikes Creig 26 – 26″ mountain bike with front suspension, $1,249
  • Islabikes Luath 24 – 24″ road bike, $800
  • Islabikes Luath 26 – 26″ road bike, $800
  • Islabikes Luath 700 – 700cc road bike, $800

Stampede Bikes

Stampede Charger 16 Balance Bike

NOTE: As of summer 2018, Stampede has ceased production.  We hope they’ll return, but in the meantime, this is no longer an option (unless you can find one used).

Stampede is our go-to recommendation for cost-conscious parents.  They have managed to make quality bikes for a fraction of the cost of a lot of the other bikes on this list.  Their bikes don’t have brand name components, but they do hold up well and ride nicely.  Their balance bike was my sons favorite as a toddler.

Bike Line-Up:

  • Stampede Charger 12 – 12″ balance bike, $139 (Read our review here)
  • Stampede Charger 16 – 16″ balance bike, $149
  • Stampede Charger 16 XL – 16″ balance bike, $199
  • Stampede Sprinter 14 – 14″ pedal bike, $239 (Read our review of the Sprinter 14)
  • Stampede Sprinter 16 – 16″ pedal bike, $249 (Read our review of the Sprinter 16)

Get Our Favorite Bikes By Size / Type

If you prefer to shop by size rather than by brand, check out the following articles. We’ve picked out our favorite bicycles in each size and age range.

More Resources To Help You Pick The Best Bike

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    About Us

    rascal rides family

    The Rascals are a family of three. Kristen (mom), Blair (dad), and Parker (kiddo). We started Rascal Rides when Parker was born and we didn’t want to give up our passion for biking. As we learned, we shared. Over the years, we’ve tested hundreds of kids bikes, helmets, bike trailers, and more.

    Kristen is a USA Cycling certified coach and loves to share her passion for biking with other families. Blair is a bike geek, mechanic, and mountain bike junkie. Parker is our resident tester and inspiration.

    If you see us out on the trail, make sure to say hi!

    16 thoughts on “7 Best Kids Bikes & How To Choose!”

    1. Hey, Check out SPOKES Bike Lounge’s Family Bike Collective. It is the only bike shop in the world with Woom Bikes, Cleary Bikes, Islabikes, Frog Bikes all comparatively in the same shop. They have a membership program were you can Upcycle to the next size bike of any of the brands. If you want a used bike it is $75 to Up-cycle and if you prefer new bikes you get 50% trade in on the current bike credit toward your next bike. Whats cool is you can trade between brands and get a full-service contract and 15-20% off labor for your other family purchases. The Family Bike collective is looking for other community bike shops dedicated to lightweight size appropriate bikes for kids. They also do demos where they teach kids to ride on all the bikes each month.

    2. WOW! $300-$1000 for a bike “won’t break the bank”…. rich people is crazy!
      Nope, I rather go “big box” for a $40 bike. If it breaks, I still can buy 3 more bikes without “breaking the bank”.

      • What you are describing is not a bicycle but rather a disposable bike shaped object. I am a bicycle mechanic and it is my opinion that department store bikes should be banned. They are heavy, non functional, difficult to ride, and dangerous. Why put a kid who is learning to ride at such a disadvantage? For comparison, new adult bikes are worth roughly 18 times less than a new car. That means a $1,000 bike is equivalent to a new $18,000 car. A $500 bike is the equivalent a brand new $9,000 car. Obviously, the quality level of cars doesn’t go that low. A $179.00 department store bike is the equivalent of a brand new $3,000 car. That would be down right scary to drive and bicycles are no different. Don’t put your kids on these dangerous bike shaped objects. Buy used or something. Spend a little more. Your kids are worth it.

        • Some of us literally do not have the money for a $400+ bike every year for a growing child — or even ONE year! If we didn’t have big box bikes, millions of kids would probably never ride one. They are inaccessible for so many of us. I’m here looking for a lightweight bike for my special needs son who doesn’t have the strength to pedal a heavy, poorly formed bike and, low and behold, they are far too expensive for us.

    3. I remember when my I started playing soccer at 5yrs old, Dad bought me plastic football boots because they were cheap, as I would outgrow them quickly. They were so uncomfortable and they gave me blisters. I have never forgotten this simple act.

    4. I’m a single mom and by no way – rich people – like John Prez stated. But buying a bike designed specifically for kids made the difference in my son being able to bike with me. I originally purchased a $40 box store bike and in our first outing my son pedaled two streets and walked two streets-then we came home because it was a horrid experience. After checking it out, he was trying to pedal a bike that was the same weight he was. I researched and found Isla Bikes and bought our first Beinn. He hopped on and rode 4 miles his first outing, with only water breaks. That made the difference in us actually being able to cycle together. After two Beinn bikes we were ready to purchase the 3rd when they closed US distribution. I am heartbroken. We will purchase a Woom next month, and I am confident that investment will be as successful an experience as our Isla bikes. So if biking as a family is important to you, invest in a bike made specifically for kids. The investment in a bike designed specifically for a child is well worth it!

      • Hi Dawn,
        Thank you for sharing your story! Couldn’t agree with you more. It is a HUGE bummer that Islabikes has quite US distribution, but I’m confident you’ll really like Wooom too. 🙂

      • So how afford a $300-600 bike?
        There’s no way we could ever spend that on my child bicycle.
        I grew up on “cheapo bikes” and yeah it was heavy to lift, but I rode it ok.
        I do like the idea of something lighter because my 10yo does not weigh a whole lot. But
        Im almost positive my husband would not be willing to buy a used bike. Where we live youd
        pressed to find an adult bike of that quality never mind a kids bike.

    5. I’m a single mom and in no way-rich people-like John Prez states. But I bought a $40 box store bike for my son and on our first outing he pedaled two streets and walked two streets. We came home, it was a terrible experience and he felt so defeated. I checked and the bike weighed what he did making it impossible for him to pedal comfortably. After researching I found Isla Bikes and purchased our first Beinn. It made all the difference in our being able to cycle together. Our first outing he hopped on and off we went for a 4 mile ride, only stopping for water breaks. After two sizes of Beinns I was ready to purchase another size for him and found out they stopped US distribution and I’d missed the closing sale. I was heartbroken! So researched again and we’ll purchase a Woom next month. Bikes designed specifically for children with lightweight components are an investment. But it is an excellent investment and makes all the difference in kids being able to truly cycle. So if you are looking to cycle with your kid(s) – invest. It is worth it.

    6. Interesting to see dedicated kids bike manufacturers don’t build 18″ bikes. Guess 5-6 yr olds don’t ride, or ride bikes too small/big for them.

    7. I totally agree that getting a good quality bike is a great investment. Kids loves bikes, but they love them more if the bikes loves them back. I bought a Woom 4 for my 5 year old (he was tall) and after the initial apprehension coming from the strider, he just loved it. In our third outing we went to the bike path, and he did 16 miles! I had to get serious to turn back.
      In a month he was using the gears, and now he is able to go steep uphills without dismounting. And he flies around other kids with regular bikes that are double the weight.
      Also, in a good bike components are reliable and easy to adjust and fix, another advantage for the parents.
      For those concerned with the big chunk of money, i would point to the reselling value. I am sure you can get half the price back…

    8. All my kids started on Strider, then rode Cleary and Frog. We just got Frog43 for my 3y.o. and it has been used daily. For 20″ and 24″ it is ok to go to adult bike manufactures.

      $40 bike won’t brake, as kid won’t want to ride it, and it just going to clutter your garage.

    9. Wow! These are all so expensive! Can’t i get a decent quality bike for around $150 for a kid? looking for 20” wheels for 53” tall boy.

      • David,

        If you read some of the comments above you will see there are other parents of a similar mind set, but also parents that are open to providing their children with a quality bike. Stampede had more affordable bikes, but discontinued production in 2018. I would honestly search the used markets for a bike fitting your specifications. There are several Facebook sale groups solely dedicated to specific brands if that is something you are wanting to search for. Good luck with the search.

    10. A very good article; thank you! I feel for people who say that $400 for a bike is too expensive, particularly for a child. As someone who works on his (used) bikes I have also learned the dangers of cheap bikes and reiterate the need for a good bike. If you live in a major city there is likely a bike donation center and/or a co-op(s) which have bikes for little or no money. Some of these will also have free classes on basic maintenance, which I would strongly recommend (paying almost $200 for a tune-up on a free bike spurred my learning: you will be amazed when you see how easy it is to tune a bike!)

      As above I would suggest finding a used bike. Bicycles are fairly simple machines and with minimal care last for ages. I have rour bikes from the 1970’s and two from the 1980’s, all picked up used and all but two for less than $50. These are adult bikes, but kid bikes can be found.

      You also might do a “bike pool”: go in on a bike with family members or close friends hove have a child a year or two younger — and smaller! — than yours. When your child outgrows the bike or on a predetermined date you tune up the bike and hand it over. You might prorate the second or third buyer; you can work out the details.

      For preteens I suggest a different strategy: a folding bike. These have become popular so are not given away like they were three or so years ago but you can still find deals. Again, as the child is still growing you don’t want to shell out a lot, but the advantage of a folding bike is it accommodates a wide range of people sizes. As they grow you just flip a lever and raise the seat and bars. When they stop growing you/they can decide whether a full-size conventional adult bike is worth it. The bonus here is that such bikes are easily transported to vacation, school or college. And if they go on to bigger bikes, the parents still have a folder they can take on vacation, or pass along to a niece or nephew.


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