Take a look at any of our lists of best kids bikes and you’ll notice we’ve included Cleary Bikes. Why?
Amidst a sea of kids bikes that all look a lot of like, Cleary has created something truly unique. From steel frames to vegan leather saddles to internally geared hubs, their bikes aren’t quite like anything else out there.
Read on to learn a little bit about each bike in their line up (including reviews), and more info on what we like about Cleary Bikes. (And the few things we don’t).
The Cleary Gecko is one of the few worthwhile 12” pedal bikes out there, and I recommend it to all of my mom friends trying to transition their little one from a balance to a pedal bike. The Gecko has a low center of gravity and is lightweight enough as to be manageable for the tiniest cyclist.
Read Our Review: Cleary Gecko
Price:$310 at ClearyBikes.com*
Perfect for riding to school, mountain biking, or playing at the bike park, the Cleary Hedgehog is a 16″ bike capable of withstanding abuse. Although it’s a singlespeed, the bike has a reversible freehub wheel that provides two gear ratios
Read Our Review: Cleary Hedgehog
Price:$390 at ClearyBikes.com*
The Cleary Owl 20″ comes in two versions: a singlespeed model and one with an internally geared 3-speed Sturmey Archer hub. Both are low maintenance and durable.
Read Our Review: Cleary Owl
Price:$430 at ClearyBikes.com*
The Cleary Meerkat is a 24″ or 26″ bike that can tackle a little bit of everything. It’s well suited to both pavement and dirt.
Like the Owl, the Meerkat has an internally geared (5-speed) hub. It also has hydraulic disc brakes and lots of bosses, that make it well suited for commuting or gravel grinding.
Read Our Review: Cleary Meerkat
Price: $630 / $680 at ClearyBikes.com*
The Cleary Scout is a true mountain bike. It comes in 20″, 24″ and 26″ versions.
The bike is currently being redesigned, so it will be interesting to see what the next iteration brings. Previous models have included a high quality air fork and tubeless ready tires.
Price: $940 / $980
While most of the quality kids bikes I review have aluminum frames, the Cleary bikes are made of steel – which I love. These are frames are soooo pretty, and super durable.
In fact, Cleary offers a Lifetime Warranty to the original owner. If you have several kids (or plan on having several kids), buy a Cleary bike and hand in down to the next in line.
Quality, Brand Name Components
The components are nearly as durable as the frame. All Cleary Bikes come with Kenda tires, which are some of my faves. They are adequate for mountain biking, but can also be ridden on pavement. All of their pedal bikes (even the Gecko) come with child-friendly Tektro brakes.
No Training Wheels, No Coaster Brakes
None of their bikes come with training wheels, and all of their bikes come with a freehub (or the option of a freehub). If you’re not sure why this is a good thing, read my articles on training wheels and coaster brakes.
Buy Online Or At A Local Dealer
Cleary Bikes can be ordered online or bought at a local dealer. This is the best of both worlds.
If you have a local dealer, you can get your child fitted to the right bike and support your local economy. If you live in a small town, or you just like the convenience of ordering online, you can do that too. The bikes are easy to assemble right out of the box.
Aggressive Riding Position
One thing important to note about the Cleary Bikes is that they have a fairly aggressive, bent over riding position. Whether or not this is a good or a bad thing depends on the temperment of your child.
While the aggressive geometry is great for athletic kids and those who like to ride FAST, it can be a disadvantage for kids just learning to ride or who are more timid.
Good All Terrain Bikes
While Cleary makes mountain bikes, all of their bikes are well suited for off-road riding. In fact, the little Cleary Gecko was our son’s first “mountain bike.”
Sturmey Archer Hubs
The Cleary Owl and Meerkat are unique in that they offer a Sturmey Archer internally geared hub. This takes the place of a traditional derailleur and makes the bike both durable and low maintenance.
We will point out, however, that these hubs add some additional heft. If you live in an area with a lot of hills or have a particularly petite child, I’d look for a lighter bike instead.
With the exception of the bikes with the Sturmey Archer hubs (as mentioned above), the Cleary bikes are reasonably lightweight. They are not quite as light as the Woom bikes, for example, but are heads and shoulders over most kids bikes. A lightweight bike will help your child ride faster, feel more confident, and have more endurance.
Vegan Leather Saddle
The first thing I always notice about the Cleary bikes is the vegan leather saddle. It looks a lot like the iconic Brooks saddles you’ll find on adult bikes. It’s beautiful and comfortable.
ReRide Program Lets You Trade In Your Child’s Bike
Like several of the other high end kids bike brands, Cleary has a trade in program. The ReRide program, which you can purchase at check out, provides you with a rebate for your child’s next bike.
This can be helpful if you plan to stick with Cleary, although these bikes have a high resale value as well. You might be even better off selling the bike when you’re done with it.