My feed
Premium

Our writers test and research products independently. When you buy through a link on our site we may earn a commission but this never affects our product choices.

10 best kids’ bikes for 2024: top picks for children of every age

Tears and tantrums, giggles and grazed knees: teaching them to ride a bike is no walk (or cycle) in the park, but it all becomes worth it the moment you see them flying down the street. From their first balance bike to bigger, more grown-up models, you'll have them confident on two wheels in no time with our round-up of the best bikes for kids - from Islabikes, Carrera, Specialized and more.

By Gemma Wilcock | Last updated Dec 20, 2023

best kids' bikes

Learning to ride a bike is a huge milestone in a child’s life, and it makes sense to do your research and make sure you're choosing the best kids' bike to suit your child's needs. From those first moments of promising you won’t let go (when you secretly do for a full 10 seconds) to watching them head off on their own adventures, a bicycle marks a new relationship between your child and the world.

Many of us are looking for ways to make the most of our gardens and local outdoor spaces this year. Besides the obvious benefits to physical and mental health, getting outside near where you live saves money too. That's why we've put together guides to all manner of outdoor toys and equipment, from the best trampolines and hammocks to the best paddling pools and garden hoses.

As children grow and change, so do their bikes. They gain more independence and learn new skills, so it’s important to find the right bike to suit their individual needs. If you’ve just started bike shopping and you don’t know what wheel size to get or how many gears they need - or you’re simply feeling overwhelmed with the abundance of choice out there - we’ve rounded up the best children’s bikes to cater for a range of ages and budgets.

We started our research by scouring the Mumsnet forums to see which were the best bikes for children from as young as 18 months right up to teenagers. We made notes of the brands they rated highly and cross-checked these with other review sites and specialist online retailers, such as Evans and Tredz, to see if they came out on top.

Here are the 10 best kids’ bikes to buy in 2024.

1. Best overall kids’ bike: Islabikes Cnoc 14 Large

Islabikes Cnoc

Price: £399.99 | Buy now from Islabikes

Key specs

Age range: 3+ years | Max weight: 5.3kg | Wheel size: 14-inch

What we love

  • Lightweight aluminium to make it easy for early riders

  • Chain guard to keep little fingers safe

  • Available in range of sizes for young riders

What to know

  • Very expensive for a first bike

What Mumsnet users say

We bought my son a Cnoc 14 when he was 3, took off the pedals and let him balance bike along for a few weeks so he could get used to the bigger bike and the hand brakes, then put the pedals on and he just cycled off. My husband thought I was insane for spending £200 on a second hand kids bike, but DS rode it every day for 2 years and I then sold it on for £150. And used that £150 to go towards his next second hand Islabike.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter TrophyCat)

Our verdict

Ask around about the best children’s bike and Islabikes will come up again and again. High quality, lightweight and designed to make pedalling effortless for little legs, the Cnoc range is especially popular among children and parents. Other starter bikes may be cheaper, but they are also much heavier, which can make it harder for children to start pedalling and stay upright.

Weighing just 5.3kg, the Cnoc 14 Large is easy to move and control, with handlebars, brakes and pedals that have all been carefully sized to make this bike easy, comfortable and - most of all – fun for early riders. The Cnoc range also includes bikes with 14 small, 16 and 20-inch wheels. The initial outlay is nothing short of eye-watering, but these bikes are so well made and popular that they certainly hold their value. So, when it’s time to size up, you can either pass it onto a younger sibling or sell up and you’ll get a good return.

4. Best budget kids' bike : Strider 12 Sport Kids' Balance Bike

Strider 12

 Price: £97.99 | Buy now from Amazon

Key specs

Age range: 18 months - 5 years | Max weight: 3kg | Wheel size: 12-inch

What we love

  • Really lightweight bike for riding and carrying

  • Quick-release adjusters on seat and handlebars

  • Long age range – can be used from as young as 18 months

What to know

  • No handbrake

What Mumsnet users say

My DS had a Strider and it was great, not heavy at all and we did the same setup afterwards with his little sister.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user MWestie)

Our verdict

Robust yet light, the Strider 12 Sport is great for three-year-olds to practise nipping around on two wheels before transitioning to a pedal bike. However, it can be used from as young as 18 months - weighing just 3kg, it’s one of the lightest bikes around so is perfect for early riders and can last up until the age of five.

The bike’s lightweight frame makes it easy for you to carry when they get tired of all that racing around and, once your child gets more confident with balancing, there’s a built-in footrest for coasting along. What’s more, the balance bike can be bought in a choice of seven colourways and comes with quick-release adjusters on the seat and handlebars - and tyres that the manufacturer promises will never go flat. We think it's one of the best balance bikes out there.

Want to know more? Read our in-depth Strider 12 Sport review.

3. Best kids’ balance bike: B’TWIN 12 inch kids' balance bike Runride 900

B’TWIN 12 inch kids' balance bike Runride 900

Price: £89.99 | Buy now from Decathlon

Key specs

Age range: 2+ years | Max weight: 3.6kg | Wheel size: 12-inch

What we love

  • Real tyres for all terrains

  • Handbrake for helping them stop

  • Quick release saddle adjustment

What to know

  • Some users found the bike tricky to assemble

What Mumsnet users say

Decathlon has great bikes.” seven7sisters

Our verdict

Want to get your little one confident on two wheels? A balance bike is a great place to start a child’s cycling journey. This one by Decathalon can be used from the age of two with parts that have been designed to make it easy to ride and to help children get used to the features on a bike. The quick release saddle adjustment means you can pop the seat up and down with minimal fuss, and the handlebar can be adjusted to allow the bike to grow with your child.

The Runride 900 can be used up to around the age of five, depending on the size of your child, when they should then be ready to tackle pedals. There’s a footrest for them to put their feet on when they’re learning to balance and one of the things that this bike has that other similar models don’t is a handbrake. This will allow children to practise stopping and starting - and should put your mind at rest when you can’t keep up with them!

Searching for a great balance bike? Check out Mumsnet's pick of the best balance bikes.

4. Best kids’ bike for three-year-olds: Woom 2

Woom 2

Price: £320 | Buy now from The Little Bike Company

Key specs

Age range: 3-5 years | Max weight: 5 kg | Wheel size: 14-inch

What we love

  • Nice range of colours

  • Lightweight frame for young riders

  • Robust wheels

What to know

  • Pricey

What Mumsnet users say

We have 14 inch and 16 inch Woom bikes which are really brilliant little bikes. Light as a feather. My 2 learnt to ride in no time on them and don't struggle up hills, brake confidently etc. They have quite an upright position which is great for encouraging confidence in beginners.  I'm just wondering myself what to get for a 20 inch bike but we couldn't have been more pleased with the Wooms.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user HorseInTheHouse)

Our verdict

Austrian brand, Woom, only started making bikes in 2013 and since they came over to the UK around five years ago, they’ve challenged the likes of Islabikes and Frog for being some of the best bikes around for children. This is because they are some of the lightest bikes on the market, made with high quality materials to make them easy to ride for young children.

The Woom 2 has been designed for children aged between 3 - 5 years, with a low sitting position, long wheelbase, light aluminium frame and 14-inch wheels that are robust for whizzing around the park on. The bike also comes equipped with easy-to-reach brakes so children can learn how to stop safely. This makes the Woom 2 perfect for children who have built up their confidence on a balance bike or are learning to ride for the first time. We also love the range of colours available.

Related: The best scooters for kids, tried and tested by Mumsnetters

5. Best value kids’ bike: Carrera Cosmos

Carerra Cosmos

Price: £180 | Buy now from Halfords

Key specs

Age range: 4-7 years | Max weight: 6kg | Wheel size: 14-inch

What we love

  • Lightweight aluminium frame

  • Good value bike

  • Chain guard to keep fingers safe

What to know

  • Stabilisers not included

What Mumsnet users say

Carrera Cosmos are a cheaper alternative and really good value second hand.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter IkaBaar)

Our verdict

If you’re looking for a bike that has many of the same features as the Islabikes Cnoc without the hefty price tag, then the Carrera Cosmos has plenty to offer. The aluminium frame weighs just 6kg so it’s a great option for young children moving on from a balance bike or those just starting out on their riding journey. It also has Kendra air-filled rubber tyres and a Tektro handbrake for children to stop safely when they start to pick up some speed.

For children who need help balancing, you can buy stabilisers separately. We also like that there’s a chain guard to protect little fingers and to prevent clothes from getting caught or dirty. It can also be built in store (at an extra cost) for minimal fuss.

6. Best 16-inch kids' bike: Frog 44

Frog 44

Price: £370 | Buy now from Frog Bikes

Key specs

Age range: 4-5 years | Max weight: 6.39 kg | Wheel size: 16-inch

What we love

  • Lightweight frame makes it easy to control

  • Pedals close together

  • Brakes are easy to reach

What to know

  • Expensive

What Mumsnet users say

Frog bike definitely. So light and easy to handle. We bought x2 new when the kids were small then sold them on and bought second hand ones in the next size up with the money and repeated about 4 or 5 times. They've grown out the Frogs now, I still have one to sell on atm. The other was sold and bought a second hand bmx with £450 rrp.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user HereLiesBetelgeuse)

Our verdict

Another popular choice, Frog Bikes is the go-to for high-quality bikes with easy pedalling. The Frog 44 is suitable for ages four and five, with a lightweight yet durable frame so children can easily control it no matter how confident they are on two wheels.

Frog Bikes has designed this bike with comfort at its heart. The Tektro handbrakes are small and easy to reach, and the bottom bracket has been lowered for a more ergonomic riding position. The handlebars can be easily adjusted to ensure they’re at the right height and the distance between the pedals has been reduced for extra comfort. The 44 comes in a range of fun colours and patterns. Frog Bikes kids’ bikes are pricey, especially when this one may only last a year, but the price includes reflectors and a bell - and, like the Islabikes, they have a good resale value.

7. Best 20-inch kids bike: Wild 20

Wild 20

Price: £255 | Buy now from Millets

Key specs

Age range: not specified, but around 5 - 8 years | Max weight: 7.6 kg | Wheel size: 20-inch

What we love

  • 7 speed Shimano gears

  • Lightweight

  • Good price

What to know

  • Only available in two colours

What Mumsnet users say

Frog and Isla bikes are the best on the market but I would recommend a Wild bike. They are made by go outdoors and they are brilliant. They are very almost as good as frog and Isla bikes in terms of weight and components, and so much cheaper.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnetter CheriLittlebottom)

Our verdict

As your child grows in confidence, the next size up in kids’ bikes will bring new challenges for young riders, so you’ll want a model that has a lightweight frame and easy to use gears and brakes. The Wild 20 Kids Bike has all of this and even comes with reflectors and a bike bell to help children learn how to ride a bike safely.

The lightweight alloy frame on the Wild 20-inch Kids’ Bike weighs about the same as Islabikes’ counterpart, but at a much less eye watering price. The 7 speed Shimano gears have easy reach thumb shifters to help children get used to changing gears and we also like that the chain has a disk for keeping legs clean. With Tektro brakes designed for small hands and Kendra tyres that offer plenty of grip to help children control the bike better, there’s a lot to like about this bike. The only gripe we have is there’s only two colourways to choose from.

8. Best 24-inch kids’ bike: Vitus 24

Vitus 24

Price: £279.99 | Buy now from Wiggle

Key specs

Age range: 7-11 years | Max weight: 9.4 kg | Wheel size: 24-inch

What we love

  • Easy 8 speed Shimano gears

  • Good value

  • Good for street riding and off-roading

What to know

  • Not a huge choice in colours/design

What Mumsnet users say

Moved from Frog to Vitus, really happy with the Vitus.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user Nyancat)

Our verdict

Your child will probably be ready to do more exploring and a good all-terrain bike will cater for both riding round the streets as well as a bit of off-roading. The Vitus 24 is a good value option with all the features you’d expect from a lightweight children’s bike.

Suitable for children aged seven to around 11, the bike has eight Shimano gears and a thumb shifter to help children get the right speed when racing around on two wheels. The aluminium frame is lightweight yet tough for withstanding the adventures of a confident rider and each part has been designed for children. Vitus has managed to do all this while still keeping the price point lower than other brands.

9. Best kids mountain bike: Specialized Riprock 24

Specialized Riprock 24

Price: £540 | Buy now from Tredz

Key specs

Age range: 8-11 years | Max weight: not specified | Wheel size: 24-inch

What we love

  • Wide tyres for tackling off-road terrain

  • Suspension effectively absorbs bumps

What to know

  • Expensive

What Mumsnet users say

We had a lovely orbea at that age. Then onto Specialized Riprock, then a Vitus. Now full suspension and loving his mtb.” (Recommended by Mumsnetter PortHills)

Our verdict

By now, your child may be bored of riding the streets and be more interested in zooming down hills and tearing through dirt trails. If so, then the Specialized Riprock 24 will make tackling any terrain fun yet safe.

The 2.8-inch wide tyres provide lots of traction and control for daredevils on two wheels, with a robust but lightweight aluminium frame and a suspension that absorbs 70mm of bumps to give a comfier ride. The bike has also been designed with a low frame to make it easier to get on and off. This is a tough, well-made bike designed for children who want to take their riding to the next level – even if this does mean terrifying their parents!

10. Best 26-inch kids’ bike: Giant ARX 26 2021 Junior Bike

Giant ARX 26 2021 Junior Bike

Price: £445 | Buy now from Giant

Key specs

Age range: 10-16 years | Max weight: Not specified | Wheel size: 26-inch

What we love

  • Lightweight parts and frame

  • Lower bracket for better stability

  • Ideal for all terrain

What to know

  • Only available in three basic colourways

What Mumsnet users say

We have a Giant ARX 26 and a Decathlon 26in (can't remember model number- it was the highest model). Obviously for 2 different kids. The decathlon one has wider tyres. Both seem similar weight and size. Happy with both.” (Recommened by Mumsnetter PuttingDownRoots)

Our verdict

Giant is one of the biggest manufacturers of bikes and their ARX range has been designed to be lighter, faster and more versatile for riding on roads, gravel or dirt – ideal for tweens or teens who like to go out and about with their friends.

With an aluminium frame and fork, the ARX 26 is thought to be one of the lightest bikes in its category, although its exact weight isn’t fully specified. It comes with eight gears and a low bottom bracket to offer more stability and help children control the bike more easily, which is important when nipping over kerbs and riding on trails. The ARX 26 has been made with lightweight parts suitable for younger riders up to the age of 16, so it’s the ideal bike before moving onto an adult frame.

How to buy the best bike for your child

There are a mind-boggling array of kids’ bikes around. The first thing is to narrow down the age range you’re looking for.

Balance bike or stabilisers?

If you’re after a first bike for your toddler, you’re looking at a choice between a balance bike and a bike with stabilisers. These come in small 10- or 12-inch wheel sizes but offer two very different methods of learning to ride.

You’ll likely know all about stabilisers from your own childhood – these attach to either side of a normal pedal bike to prevent it from falling over. Stabilisers allow your child to practise propelling the bike using its pedals. Once the stabilisers are taken off, they'll learn to ride on a bike they’re familiar with. The downside is that they won't learn how to balance during the toddler riding stage, which could hinder how quickly they take to riding without stabilisers.

A balance bike has no pedals. Instead, a child propels the bike with their feet, taking strides along the ground while sitting on the bike and holding their feet out when they get some motion going. In general, but not always, children who learn on balance bikes learn to ride a pedal bike quicker. Some balance bikes now come with pedal sets that you can add once they’re confident enough.

Starter bike

Usually in wheel sizes from 14 to 18 inches, first pedal bikes don't come with many bells and whistles. This stage is all about getting them riding, so you want a bike that's lightweight, a good size and really easy to use (avoid gears or double chains). Baskets, bells and other fun additions are, however, to be encouraged.

Intermediate bike (20 inches plus)

This is where the choices get interesting. There are a few different types of bikes, but the basic choice is a road bike (thin wheels), a mountain bike (thick wheels) or a hybrid (a mix of the two). Hybrids are often the way to go because they give your child flexibility on various surfaces.

Specialist bike

As your child gets older, they might get interested in particular cycling sports such as BMX or cyclo-cross, and there are specialist bikes suited to this.

What size bike does my child need?

First things first, buy them a bike that fits them now, not a bike that they can ‘grow into.’ Bikes aren’t jumpers. If the bike is too big then they won’t be able to ride it properly.

Try and buy a bike that fits with the saddle and handlebars at their lowest point, which will give them a bit of extra flexibility. You can also buy bikes that transform for a growing child.

Also consider your child’s weight versus the full weight of the bike. Ideally you want the weight of the bike to be no more than 32 percent of your child's weight. So if your child weighs 20 kilograms, you’re looking for a bike that weighs just under seven.

Before you go shopping, check your child’s height and inside leg measurement. Most bikes come with a recommended age range, but the sizes are based on those measurements so they will give you the best idea of which models to try first.

How much should I spend on a child’s bike?

Unsurprisingly, prices go up as bikes get bigger. You can find both balance bikes and 20-inch bikes for under £100 but, if you pay a bit more, you’ll get a bike that's higher in quality and easier to ride. On average, expect to pay between £200 to £300 for a decent kids' bike.

If you’re on a budget, you can walk into a bike shop, get lots of good advice from specialised sales people and walk away with a bike that won’t break the bank.

The main difference between a cheap bike and an expensive one at this stage is weight. The cheaper it is, the heavier it's likely to be. However, bikes from premium brands, such as Frog Bikes and Islabikes, do retain their value well, so you might be happy to shell out for a bike that can be passed down to younger siblings. You'll also find numerous secondhand sites selling premium bikes for a budget price.

Renting bikes for children – how does it work?

Several of the more expensive bike brands can now be rented, which may be a good option if your child is between sizes.

Frog Bikes and Squish Bikes, among others, can be rented through the Bike Club. Islabikes runs the Imagine Project which offers a similar subscription-based bike scheme. The idea is that you pay a nominal amount a month – from around £5 to £20, usually – and always have a bike that fits your child. When they get too big for the bike, you send it back and get another bigger one. It’s also a great environmental choice for eco-conscious families.

How to check if a bike is right for your child

Ideally you’ll have taken measurements and already have an idea of which wheel size and weight you’re looking for before you go shopping. Once in the shop, let your child try a few different bikes to see how they ride them.

Get them to pick each one up first to check they can lift it themselves. You need to check the frame height as well as the size of the wheels, so get them to put one leg over the bike and check that they can stand with both feet flat on the ground without the top tube touching their crotch.

Then get them onto the saddle and check that they're sitting upright. When their foot is on the pedal at the bottom of the rotation, their leg should be slightly bent. They should also be able to hold the handlebars firmly with a slight bend at the elbows and be able to use any gears or brakes on the handlebars easily.

How to size a child for a bike bought online

Many top bike brands sell largely online, which makes it hard to try a bike out for size, though most will give you lots of help over the phone and be happy to arrange returns and re-delivery to help you find the perfect size.

Measure your child’s inside leg accurately to get an idea of where to start. Get them to stand close to a wall, put a book between their legs at the very top of the inner thigh and make a mark on the wall where the top edge of the book lies. Then measure from the mark down to the floor.

Generally, you should go for a wheel size that’s the same or smaller than that measurement. So if they have a 22-inch inside leg, you’d pick a 20-inch bike rather than a 24-inch bike. Look to see if the frame height is listed and ensure that it's smaller than your child’s inner leg measurement.

You'll easily find sizing guides online, but remember that brands can vary.

See a kids' bike sizing guide »

Things to look for when buying a kid’s bike

Try to put aside ideas of getting more for your money. You’re better off with a simple bike that does one job well. You can add on baskets, panniers and bells later on.

The features to look for will change depending on the age and ability of your child, but keep things simple with this handy list:

  • Weight – too heavy and they won't be able to manoeuvre the bike

  • Wheel size – this will be dependent on age

  • Tyre thickness – the thicker the tyres the more robust the bike. The wider the tyres the easier it will be to balance and, unless you’re definitely after a mountain bike, avoid any tyres with too large a tread as these are harder to get used to as well. A hybrid bike with wide but fairly smooth wheels is the best option for both on- and off-road.

  • How comfy the bike is – look for seats with a 'scoop' saddle for optimum comfort

  • Single chain rings for young riders – multiple chains are best left until they are much older and can understand how they work

  • Easy-to-use hand brakes – some bikes, like balance bikes, won't have handbrakes. Make sure they are easy for them to use and not too big or too stiff to grasp. Some bikes have foot brakes (or coaster brakes) which can be easier to use for little ones, generally they require your child to pedal backward to stop, which can be confusing when teaching them to pedal forwards. A hand brake may be easier and give them more control. Some models have both.

  • Material – steel and aluminium are the most commonly used materials for bike frames. While steel is stronger, aluminium is lighter

  • Gears - these are best left until they can really make use of them. They will complicate matters when they’re still learning and becoming confident. If in doubt, go for a single-gear bike. If you’re going for a bike with gears, make sure they are designed specifically for children.

Avoid any sort of suspension until they’re almost in their teens as they won’t have the strength for the added weight.

What is the best kids’ bike?

When it comes to a high quality, lightweight bike, we think the Islabikes Cnoc 14 is the best kids’ bike to buy right now. The range comes highly recommended by Mumsnet parents as they have been designed to help make pedalling effortless and fun for young children.

The bike is pricey but it will hold its value, so if you can afford the initial outlay, it will be a worthy investment. If you're looking for a great bike with a lower price, the Carrera Cosmos is Mumsnetters' best value kids' bike.

How we chose our recommendations

Recommendations from real parents

We started our research by trawling the Mumsnet forums to find out which bikes Mumsnetters themselves were recommending, looking at how easy they were to ride, how well they lasted over time and to what extent they retained their value after use.

Our forums have over 7 million users each month so we know that each product they suggest has already been tried and tested and will withstand the needs of a family, whilst also catering for a range of different needs, budgets and lifestyles.

Expert advice

To help us find the best bikes on the market, we also consulted expert advice from the likes of Which? as well as bike retailers such as Evans Cycles on safety, durability and what to look for in a kids’ bike. We then applied those criteria to our shortlist to help us come up with a list of bikes for every age and stage.

Reviews

We looked at in-depth reviews of children’s bikes online, particularly in the cycling press, to

see which brands were impressing the experts most.

We also checked online consumer reviews on websites such as Amazon, Halfords and Wiggle, making a note of both positive and negative feedback, to help us pick a product.

Celebrated best products

Finally, during our research, we made sure to look at products that have received industry awards. This, combined with real parent recommendations, reviews and expert advice, helped us recommend a variety of bikes in a range of prices and styles.

Why you should trust us

We work hard to provide unbiased, independent advice you can trust. We do sometimes earn revenue through affiliate (click-to-buy) links in our articles. This helps us fund more helpful articles like this one.

Our writer Gemma has two young children and knows the difficulty of finding the right bike for your child - one that will help them get confident on two wheels without breaking the bank. She used her own experience of shopping for bikes to help her whittle our list of recommendations.