The best bikes for kids 2018: from balance bikes to BMXs

We’ve picked out the best kids bikes for helping your children enjoy the great outdoors

The best bikes for kids

When growing up, learning to ride a bike is a big milestone, and getting your first bike is a rite of passage all children love. However, learning to cycle can be tricky and it is important for children to feel comfortable and confident on their bike in order to learn how to ride safely. 

Then, once they consider themselves 'pro's' or indeed enter their teenage years, they'll be off cycling about without a care in the world and riding a bike becomes all about how cool the bike looks.

How to buy the best bike for your children

There are different types of kids’ bikes on the market that are tailored to suit different age ranges and levels. If you want to get your little one to learn early, then a balance bike is a great way to help them develop the right posture and learn about speed, but, if you think your child would feel more confident learning to pedal first, then bikes with stabilisers will give them the extra support they need when building up cycling confidence. 

If you have older kids over the age of 6yrs old, there are a range of different bikes on the market to cater to their personal style so keeping an eye out for a design they will love it probably the most important tick box you have on your list. 

However, also take into consideration where they are most likely to use their bike for the majority of their outings on it; if they are likely to be riding around fields and parks with their mates, a kids BMX bike is a good option as the deep tread wheels will ensure they stay upright more often than not. If you think the chances are that they will be riding on roads more frequently or if this investment is to give them a new mode of transport to get to school, a kids road bike might be a better option, but any child on a road bike really needs to be confident with cycling.

Wheel sizes range between 12 and 24 inches depending on age, and it is also important to consider your child’s weight before deciding on the right bike for them. Especially with balance bikes, they should way a third of the weight of your child in order for them to fully make the most of learning to ride a bike. 

Check out our round up of the best kids bikes that are sure to make learning to ride a bike fun and easy for both parent and child.

Our pick of the best kids bikes available today

1. Ridgeback Scoot

A unisex balance bike great for taking the first steps in learning to ride

Best for: Balance Bike
Age range: 3 Years +
Wheel size: 16”
Gears: None
Reasons to buy
+Range of colours+No need for stabilisers
Reasons to avoid
-Kids grow out of it quickly 

If you want to give your kids a head start when learning to ride a bike, balance bikes are the new way to learn posture and build up speed with confidence.

This bike looks just like an adult bike and comes in a range of colours suitable for both girls and boys.

With easy to reach brakes, your little one can whizz around on this balance bike while you have the peace of mind that they will have a smooth transition from balance bike to pedal bike after hours of practice on the Ridgeback Scoot.  

2. Royal Baby Freestyle Kids Bike with Stabilizers

A funky looking bike with the added support your child needs

Best for: Learning with stabilisers
Age range: 3-5
Wheel size: 14”
Gears: No
Reasons to buy
+Drinks bottle and holder+Include a bell
Reasons to avoid
-Tricky to assemble 

For those children who are a little more nervous about learning to ride a bike, this Royal Baby Freestyle Kids Bike with stabilisers is a great place to start. It comes in a range of bright colours with brakes, a bell and a water bottle and holder, making it ideal for a cycle down the park or beach with the family.

It is a little tricky to put together, but once assemble it is comfy and easy to adjust when they no longer need the stabilisers. If you're buying a kids bike for family weekend rides of track, this bike is sturdy enough to take a bashing and transitions seamlessly from road to off-road.

3. GT Lil Performer 2017 BMX Bike

Practice cool stunts at the skate park with this children’s BMX

Best for: BMX
Age range: 4-6
Wheel size: 16”
Gears: 1
Reasons to buy
+Bright colour+Perfect for stunts
Reasons to avoid
-A little pricey 

For those boys or girls who like a bit more adventure, this BMX bike allows you to practice tricks and skills with confidence. This freestyle kids bike is definitely one for primary school kids that are really into mountain biking as it's complex specification means it's much more than just a 'standard kids bike'.

With steel tubes and alloy brakes, if you've got a kid who loves to muck about and perform tricks on their bike, this is a real winner. It’s a traditional looking BMX too, so they shouldn't outgrow this one too soon . Although pricey, this bike should stand the test of time.  

4. HOY Bonaly 20 inch Kids Bike

A sturdy bike for exploring both rocky road and the open road

Best for: All terrain
Age range: 6-10
Wheel size: 20”
Gears: 6
Reasons to buy
+Unisex+Sturdy frame
Reasons to avoid

The HOY Bonalay is one of the best kid’s mountain bikes and one of the best kids road bikes combined. This kids bike was developed by six-time Olympic Champion and 11-time World Champion, Sir Chris Hoy, so any aspiring olympians are likely to be thrilled with this one.

It has a sturdy frame and durable tyres that are built for cycling on the road or uneven terrain with ease. This bike really is designed for children who have already learned how to ride and have enough confidence to move onto a bike that will allow them to explore further.

Although a little pricey, this well-built bike includes Shimano brakes and will see your children right through into their teens when they are ready to get an adult frame.  

5. Frog Road 67

A good-looking road bike for family cycling

Best for: Road bike
Age range: 9-12
Wheel size: 20”
Gears: 9
Reasons to buy
+Range of gears+Slick design
Reasons to avoid
-Not for learners 

If you’re a family of cyclists that often go out on the weekends, or if you want to encourage more exercise by cycling to school, then this is the best kid’s bike for road cycling.

Ideal for ages 9 through to 12, it features a slim and lightweight frame and smooth tyres that allow for a quick and easy journey wherever you’re going. It comes in a variety of colours that aren’t too bright, and with 9 gears this bike will allow your child to really get the most out of their cycling.  A great road bike for teens and pre-teens.

6. Saracen Mantra 2.4

Cycle off the beaten track with this mountain bike for young adventurers

Best for: Mountain biking
Age range: 9-13
Wheel size: 24”
Gears: 9
Reasons to buy
+Easy to ride+Hydraulic brakes
Reasons to avoid
-Not for younger kids 

For those who want to go further and faster, the Saracen Mantra 2.4 is the ultimate kids mountain bike which is sure to fill them with confidence and adventure. Its bright orange frame is perfect for both girls and boys, and is sure to make them the envy of all their friends down the park.

It is also a sturdy bike which is good for forest trails and you won’t need to invest in another bike until they are fully grown.  If you are looking for a kids mountain bike that can take a bashing, this is the one.

Rather get your kids out on foot than out on wheels? Check out this guide to the best kids walking boots.