Choosing a mountain bike for your child won’t be as easy as buying one for yourself. For starters, you’d have to make sure that it fits your child well and that it’s comfortable to ride on. You’d also have to think about its features and whether or not it’s a wise investment.
To help narrow down your search, we’ve reviewed five of the best kids mountain bikes on the market. There are several things to take into consideration, so we’ve also included a handy buying guide as well as answered some frequently asked questions.
All of the bikes that made our list here have been designed and manufactured for slightly older children who have already learned how to ride bikes.
Best Kids Mountain Bikes: Brief Reviews
1. Tommaso Kid’s Ghost 24” Youth Cruiser Mountain Bike
First up is our premium pick youth mountain bike from Tommaso, which is suitable for both boys and girls. Tommaso is a 100% employee-owned manufacturer of factory direct bikes, providing some of the best-equipped bikes in the market at great prices.
This bike is probably the most stylish on our list, and if that’s an important factor for you or your child, then you’ll probably love its understated, sleek design. It comes in mostly black with aspects of blue or red. With its 24-inch tires, it is designed for riders around eight to 12 years old or children measuring 4’5” to 5’1”.
Mountain bikes are perfect for riding over all-terrain and will fair well on the road but especially on gravel, dirt, and grass. The knobby tires on this mountain bike are fantastic for off-roading. The 21-speed gears add to the great handling of the bike, making it the perfect choice for your country rides. This bike will allow your kid to give you a run for your money on the toughest of trails when they are confident enough.
The Shimano Tourney grip shift offers really simple and smooth gear shifting, which is ideal for a child’s mountain bike. This bike also boasts incredibly comfortable downhill rides, thanks to the Capa spring coil that absorbs shocks fully. This also features a premium mechanical lockout, which helps your child when riding uphill.
What's to like about the Tommaso Kid’s Ghost 24” Youth Cruiser Mountain Bike
This bike has so many great features, but we especially love the premium gears and suspension it has. Shimano offering an easy introduction to gears and the suspension provides the ultimate ride on all terrains. This is also the only kid's mountain bike on our list to feature a premium lockout mechanism.
What's not to like about the Tommaso Kid’s Ghost 24” Youth Cruiser Mountain Bike
The only issue we had with this bike is that it is the most expensive option on our list. Hence, we wouldn’t be surprised if this were out of many parents’ budgets. Nevertheless, the specs make up for the high price tag.
2. Roadmaster 24” Granite Peak Girls Mountain Bike
Next up is the Granite Peak mountain bike from Roadmaster. This bike is marketed for girls only, but despite that, it still made it to our top five favorites.
This mountain bike from Roadmaster is a great quality bike that will suit all paths your child may take, from rugged and unpaved dirt tracks to the smooth streets around your neighborhood. With its 24-inch wheels, it is recommended for girls aged eight through 12 with heights between 4’8” and 5’6”.
This mountain bike offers a comfy ride due to the front suspension fork, but with no lockout, your little girl may find it tough traversing steep uphills as the suspension works against her. The steel frame adds quite a bit of weight to the bike too, but it’s nicely balanced out with the lightweight aluminum tires.
The tires are nice and wide with knobby treads, which provide greater security on uneven, rocky, and gravelly surfaces. The white alloy rims also offer greater durability and stability on all surfaces.
The bike comes with 18-speed twist-shift Shimano gears, which are nice and easy to use, making this bike an ideal introduction to gears. It also features front and back pull brakes to make the bike come to a quick, crisp stop when needed.
What's to like about the Roadmaster 24” Granite Peak Girls Mountain Bike
We were impressed that this great quality mountain bike is equipped with easy-to-use gears along with front and rear brakes. We also love that it comes in three pretty color choices, which are white, purple, and teal.
What's not to like about the Roadmaster 24” Granite Peak Girls Mountain Bike
We don’t like the fact that there seems to be some confusion when it comes to the appropriate height for this bike. The manufacturer says it's perfect for kids that are 4’8” to 5’6” tall, but many users have said it is way too small for anyone nearing 5’6”.
3. Mongoose Ledge 20” Mountain Bike
With over 45 years of BMX heritage and authority, you can trust that our third bike from the team at Mongoose is an excellent choice. This model comes with smaller tires than the other bikes that we have reviewed and featured on this list.
Our third pick is the fantastic Ledge Mountain Bike from Mongoose. Being mostly black with small accents of blue and white, it is marketed to boys, but we think many girls could potentially love it too! Mongoose has designed this bike for children who love riding and are ready to start pushing their limits on mountain bike paths and trails.
The full-suspension frame offers a comfortable ride by smoothing bumps in your child’s path while providing a stable base. The seven-speed Shimano twist-shift gears offer your child an easy introduction to using gears as well as not overwhelming them with too many options.
The bike also has a rear derailleur to offer more precise shifting for ultimate control. The linear-pull brakes provide fantastic, crisp braking power. The wheels have alloy rims, offering durability while remaining lightweight, and the entire bike weighs in at under 30 pounds, making it more manageable for a young rider.
What's to like about the Mongoose Ledge 20” Mountain Bike
As our smallest option on the list, we love the fact that this bike has been built well to sustain some tough riding on rugged terrain. Besides that, it is also suitable for a slightly younger or shorter rider as many of the better bikes on the market are only suitable for taller riders.
What's not to like about the Mongoose Ledge 20” Mountain Bike
Also, as the smallest bike on this list, it won’t be suitable for taller children. Whats’s more, by the time they’re ready for a bike of this caliber, they will have probably have outgrown it already!
4. Mongoose Exlipse 24” Mountain Bike
Here, we’ve got another entry from the fantastic team at Mongoose, which is the Exlipse Mountain Bike. In bright pink, it may put a lot of boys off, but the quality is in the details, and the details prove this bike to be one of the best kids mountain bikes we could find.
Similar to the other options on this list, this bike also has 24-inch wheels, making it suitable for children aged eight to 12 years old. The problem, however, is that it only comes in one color, which is bright pink. Although, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great looking bike because it is; it just won’t be everyone’s cup of tea!
The bike has full suspension, so your kid can cruise around the neighborhood. He can also comfortably enjoy more adventurous bike paths and trails, thanks to the knobby tire treads keeping him safe from slipping on most lumps and bumps in their path.
The Exlipse bike features front and rear linear-pull brakes, which provide sure and quick stops in all conditions. The 21-speed Shimano gears with derailleur mean your kid can tackle hills more easily. The twist-shift changing process is easy to learn, smooth, and precise.
The frame is strong and sturdy, and as with most mountain bikes for kids, combined with the weight of the wheels, it can make the bike quite weighty for a child. Then again, as mountain bikes go, this one is still quite lightweight. At 38 pounds, your kid may find this quite heavy, but they’ll soon get used to it, and as they grow, the weight will soon feel like no problem at all.
What's to like about the Mongoose Exlipse 24” Mountain Bike
We were amazed that this kid’s mountain bike has everything you could want in a mountain bike. It has everything from Shimano gears to front and rear brakes and full suspension. Indeed, with this mountain bike, you would get the most out of your money!
What's not to like about the Mongoose Exlipse 24” Mountain Bike
It’s a shame that this bike is only available in pink. After all, many girls may have outgrown their “pink phase” by the time they are tall enough for this bike. It will have been awesome if this is available in other color options.
5. Diamondback Bicycles Tess 24” Mountain Bike
Putting the same amount of time and care into designing kids’ bikes as they do adults’, you can trust that bikes from Diamondback Bicycles is of high quality. The Tess mountain bike, for example, is lightweight and packed with features that are sure to have your kids enjoying riding from their first pedal stroke.
This bike from Diamondback Bicycles really does have all the features you would expect from an adult mountain bike but are packed into a smaller, lightweight frame and more maneuverable 24-inch wheel size. This means that your eight-year-old can have just as much fun as you.
The Tess model is marketed to girls, but we don’t see why it’s light blue color wouldn’t potentially appeal to both boys and girls aged eight to 12 years old (or 53 to 62 inches tall).
The gears and suspension on this bike are fantastic. The drivetrain Shimano Tourney gears offer no less than 21 speeds, so your kid will be able to conquer hills and dirt trails with ease. The suspension, although it is just front suspension, is a 40mm HL Zoom travel fork, which will soak up lumps and bumps, like roots and rocks, that may be in your path, making for a really comfy ride.
The linear-pull brakes will help your kid stay in control by braking quickly and safely. We also love the fact that these brakes have adjustable reach levers, so you can place them exactly where your kid needs them for better ease of use.
What's to like about the Diamondback Bicycles Tess 24” Mountain Bike
We love the adjustable reach brakes. We haven’t seen them on any other bike, and it’s a great idea to ensure that the brakes are right within your kids (easy) reach. This bike is also one of the lightest on this list.
What's not to like about the Diamondback Bicycles Tess 24” Mountain Bike
Unfortunately, this bike doesn’t come supplied with a kickstand. The manufacturer informs us, however, that a mid-mount kickstand could be purchased separately and can be attached easily.
If you’re wondering how to go about choosing the best mountain bike for your child, then this buying guide is for you. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the more important factors that you’ll need to consider before making your purchase.
The size of your child’s bike is important for safety reasons. If the bike is too big, then they will find it difficult to manage and will be more likely to have accidents with it. Also, if the bike is too big, then your child may not feel safe riding, which will discourage them from learning.
Children's bikes are measured differently than adults, and you should pay particular attention to the wheel size and seat height, as opposed to the frame size. Always refer to the manufacturer's guidelines, but you can use these measurements as a rough guide:
2’10” to 3’4”
14 to 17”
3’1” to 3’7”
16 to 20”
3’7” to 4’
18 to 22”
4’ to 4’5”
22 to 25”
4’5” to 4’9”
24 to 28”
The weight of a bike is important for everyone, not just kids. Mountain bikes can be heavier than road bikes, but you should make sure that it is still a comfortable weight for your child to both lift up and manage when riding.
A heavier bike will be difficult to lift up off the floor to start riding, and it will also be more difficult (and wobbly) to manage while riding, especially at slower speeds.
If buying a bike second hand, then you should be especially aware that it is a legal requirement in the U.S. to have coaster brakes on all children's bikes. You can have the option of having hand brakes as well, but every bike needs to have coaster brakes.
If you’re buying a mountain bike for a child that can already ride, then it’s a good opportunity to introduce hand brakes. In this way, they can get used to them and transition easier between this and their next “grown-up” bike, which probably won't have coaster brakes.
If your child will mainly be using their bike around the neighborhood, and you live in a flat area, then gears aren’t particularly important. However, if you live in a hilly area or plan on taking your child out on trail rides, then you should consider a bike with brakes to make the ride easier for them.
5. How It Looks
If you want your child to ride their bike more frequently, how it looks may be of vast importance to them. The last thing you want is to invest in a bike that they don’t want to ride!
Sit down and chat with them about what kind of bikes they like. You could even scroll through a few different choices so that you get an idea of the kind of style or colors they like.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still not sure how to find the best mountain bike for your kid? Below, we list some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to buying mountain bikes for kids.
In this way, you’d have even more in-depth knowledge as to the factors you’d need to consider to choose the best mountain bike that suits your kid’s preferences and needs.
1. How do you measure a child’s bike?
As mentioned earlier, the most important things to measure on a child’s bike are the wheel size and the seat height. For this, you’d want to use the manufacturer's guidelines to match the wheel size to your child’s height (rather than age). Then, check that the seat height will accommodate your child’s inseam and have plenty of room to grow.
2. How will I know when my child is ready for a new bike?
Firstly, if they look too big for their current bike, then you’ll know that it’s time for a new one. Other times, they’ll ask for a new bike, and if their confidence and talents for riding outgrow the bikes ability, then it’s time to upgrade.
Also, if your child rides his bike less frequently than before, then it may be that it’s not as comfortable (or as fun) as it once was. To be sure, you can ask them if this is the case and then discuss the potential of getting a new one.
3. How will I know if the bike is too big?
If your child doesn’t feel safe on their bike, then it’s too big for them. Also, if they can’t reach the floor with their toes or feet on both sides at the same time, it’s too big.
4. Should I get a bike with gears?
Whether you get gears or not should be an option given to your child and dependent on how confident at riding they are. If they have good ability and coordination, then they will probably find using hand brakes and gears no problem at all given practice. However, for other children, you may want to wait until they’ve mastered using hand brakes, so they don’t get overwhelmed.
5. How do I get my child into mountain biking?
The best way to get your kid into mountain biking so that you can enjoy rides together is to talk to them about it without being pushy. Discuss how much fun you’ve had while out on a ride, all the things you saw, how fast you went—communicating all the fun aspects of riding, basically!
Once they show an interest, then you need to find a good bike for them that has decent suspension, brakes, and one that looks and feels good to them. Start taking them out on easier rides so that they can build up their confidence slowly.
Teach them any easy tricks that you might know and practice riding skills together in between trail rides to help build up their confidence even further. Just remember that if you take them on a difficult ride that scares them, you may end up scaring them off the sport forever!
We hope you find a bike here that you like, and that your kid will enjoy riding for the next few years of their life! We looked at a lot of kids mountain bikes and realize that what makes a good mountain bike for one kid won’t be right for another. Hence, we tried to feature a range of bikes in our list.
Our favorite bike for looks and features is the one from Tomasso, but if we took prices into consideration too, then we’d probably pick the mountain bike from Diamondback Bicycles. This option is packed with quality features and is super lightweight too.