Choosing a new ride for your child can be a difficult task, with safety, ease of use, and quality probably being among your main concerns, especially as they’re developing more confidence and a greater sense of adventure.
We have put together a guide to some of the best 20-inch bikes for kids to help you check out the features and qualities that you might want to look for, whether you’re after an off-road ride, a neighborhood cycle, or a great all-rounder.
- Co-op Cycles REV 20 6-Speed Plus (Best Overall)
- Woom 4 (Best Runner-up)
- Trek Precaliber 20 7-Speed Bike (Best for Boys)
- RoyalBaby Jenny 20 Bicycle (Best for Girls)
- Cleary Bikes Owl 20 3-Speed (Best Bang for Buck)
- Early Rider Limited Hellion X20 (Best Mountain Bike)
- Schwinn Koen 20 (Best Budget Bike)
Top 15 Best 20-Inch Bikes Reviewed
1. Co-op Cycles REV 20 6-Speed Plus (best overall)
- Min/Max Seat Height: 22.25 to 28 inches
- Weight: 24.9 pounds
The Co-op Cycles REV 20 is a strong and durable aluminum-frame bike that can be great for riding over a range of surfaces. It benefits from having chunky 2.6-inch tires for added comfort and balance.
A great feature of this one is the Shimano Revo gear shifters to let your child easily change between the six gears by twisting them from the handlebar. The gears can be useful if your child will be riding up and down hills or on off-road trails.
Another great feature of this is the front and rear mechanical disc brakes that are operated from the handlebars.
- Twist-grip gears – easy to change gears by rotating the handlebar grips
- Mechanical disc brakes – front and rear handlebar-controlled braking system
- Wide tires – easier and more comfortable on rugged terrain
2. Woom 4 (best runner-up)
- Min/Max Seat Height: 22.1 to 27.9 inches
- Weight: 17.9 pounds
The Woom 4 is a very lightweight 20-inch bike that’s designed for kids who are between 45 and 51 inches tall. It has been designed with kid-friendly features and size proportions so that it can be easier for little ones to operate.
There are eight gears that can be operated using the twist-shift device on the handlebar grip, with a clear window to let your child know which gear they are in. There are also front and rear hand brakes with easy-to-pull levers.
Another great feature of this is the adjustable Vario stem which can let you extend the reach of the handlebars when your child gets taller. It also has a low standover height of 19.5 inches, which can make it easier for new riders to step over.
- Twist-shift gearing – easy for kids to change gears while keeping hands on the handlebars
- Lightweight – easier for kids to handle
- Adjustable handlebars – grows with your child
3. Trek Precaliber 20 7-Speed Bike (best for boys)
- Min/Max Seat Height: 23.2 to 28.9 inches
- Weight: 24.7 pounds
The Trek Precaliber 20 can be a good choice for boys who like traditional boys’ colors. This tough bike comes with color-coordinated pedals and hand grips that add a cool edge to the overall design.
A great feature of the Precaliber is the Shimano Revo twist shift gears which makes it easier for kids to change between the seven gears. The front and rear brakes are both hand-controlled for added safety, and the levers are designed for small hands to use.
The front suspension fork and wide tires can be useful for riding over bumpy trails, helping to improve comfort.
- Twist shift gears – easy for kids to use without taking hands off of handlebars
- Front and rear hand brakes – child-size and safer to use
- Front suspension – for easier handling of rugged ground
4. RoyalBaby Jenny 20 Bicycle (best for girls)
- Min/Max Seat Height: 24 to 29.5 inches
- Weight: 32 pounds
This RoyalBaby Jenny 20 is a durable steel-frame bicycle that has the style of a traditional girls’ bike and comes in a pretty pink and white color with a front basket and a bell.
This has a slightly higher minimum seat height than some other 20-inch bikes and is a little heavier, being designed for kids that are at least 4 foot 5 inches tall (and up to 5 foot 5 inches).
The Jenny features a kickstand to prevent the bike from being leaned on the ground and it has reflectors for increased visibility. It has a front hand brake for added safety but also has rear coaster brakes.
- Reflectors – increases visibility in low light
- Traditional girls’ appearance – ideal for girly girls
- Front hand brake – for improved safety
5. Cleary Bikes Owl 20 3-Speed (best bang for buck)
- Min/Max Seat Height: 21 to 26.4 inches
- Weight: 19.1 pounds
The Cleary Bikes Owl 20 is a lightweight bicycle that can be easy for kids to pedal and maneuver. It has a low minimum seat height, which can be better for smaller kids with an inseam of 19 inches. It’s made for kids with inseams between 19 and 23 inches.
The Owl can be ideal for all types of surfaces, with 1.9-inch all-terrain tires. This is a durable option with a steel alloy frame and sealed bearings, and can be ideal for passing down to younger family members as it comes in gender-neutral colors.
A great feature of this is the dual Tektro brakes. These front and rear hand brakes are designed with kids’ proportions so that they’re easy for little hands to reach and pull.
- Durable – ideal for passing down to younger siblings
- Very lightweight – easy for kids to handle
- Front and rear hand brakes – for improved safety
6. Early Rider Limited Hellion X20 (best mountain bike)
- Min/Max Seat Height: 22 to 26.8 inches
- Weight: 22.4 pounds
This Early Rider Limited Hellion X20 is a durable bike with a lightweight frame that is built for trails and off-road adventures. A handy feature of this one is that the frame can also handle 16-inch wheels with a couple of extra purchases, which might suit smaller kids who aren’t quite ready for a 20-inch wheel.
The Hellion X20 has full front and rear suspension for added comfort while riding over rough ground, as well as 2.25-inch wide tires. It also features 10 gears for navigating various terrain.
Another feature of this is the front and rear Shimano braking system, which features super lightweight actuating hydraulic brakes that are controlled using the handlebars.
- Versatile frame – compatible with both 16 and 20-inch wheels
- Front and rear suspension – for added comfort and balance while off-roading
- Shimano brakes – lightweight front and rear hand-controlled braking system
7. Schwinn Koen 20 (best budget bike)
- Min/Max Seat Height: 24.5 to 29 inches
- Weight: 27.8 pounds
This Schwinn Koen 20 is an affordable bicycle that features SmartStart technology that is designed to fit a child’s smaller proportions. This can make it easier to grip the handlebars and more comfortable to pedal.
The Koen features a front hand brake for added safety but it also has rear coaster brakes, which may be more difficult to ride if your child has already learned to pedal on a bike without coaster brakes.
This is aimed at children between 48 and 60 inches tall and has comparatively high handlebars, which may be better suited to kids at the taller end of the recommended heights, especially if your child is a newer rider.
- SmartStart technology – child-size components for easier use
- High seat and handlebar height – ideal for taller kids and can be used for longer
- Front hand brake – for added safety
8. Trek Roscoe 20
- Min/Max Seat Height: 23.2 to 28.9 inches
- Weight: 23.5 pounds
The Trek Roscoe 20 is a durable, rustproof 20-inch mountain bike that is built for kids ranging from 45 to 52 inches tall. It features a lightweight Alpha Gold Aluminum frame and thick 2.8-inch mid-fat tires that are designed for riding over rugged mountain trails.
A great feature of this is the mechanical-disc braking system with front and rear hand brakes. The brakes are tucked in to prevent damage if the bike is leaned on the ground. It’s also built using child-size components so that it’s easier for kids to handle.
The Roscoe 20 has eight gears to allow for easier pedaling up and down hills.
- Mechanical disc brakes – safe and built to prevent damage
- Wide tires – ideal for increased balance and traction on rugged terrain
- Durable frame – built to resist rust
9. Raleigh Bikes Rowdy 20
- Min/Max Seat Height: 25.25 to 29.9 inches
- Weight: 20.4 pounds
The Raleigh Rowdy 20 can be a durable and lightweight bicycle that’s ideal for both neighborhood riding and off-road trails, with chunky all-terrain tires for added comfort and balance. Designed for kids between 44 and 54 inches tall, this is crafted for more of an aggressive style of riding with low handlebars.
However, the handlebars cannot be adjusted, so if your child is at the higher end of the height recommendations, you might find that they need a larger bike.
A great feature of the Rowdy is the front and rear hand brakes which can be safer and easier to use, especially when off-roading. It also has 6-speed Shimano gears with twist-shift controls on the handlebar.
- Front and rear hand brakes – for improved safety and easier pedaling
- Lightweight – easier for kids to handle
- Wide tires – great for riding on off-road trails
10. Cannondale Quick 20 Kids’ Bike
- Min/Max Seat Height: 21 to 26 inches
- Weight: 19 pounds
The Cannondale Quick 20 is a lightweight durable 20-inch bike that can be easy for kids to use. It can also be a great option if you’re looking for a gender-neutral bicycle for passing down to younger kids.
The Quick 20 has 7-speed Shimano gears with easy-to-use Revo twist shifters on the handlebar. The front and rear hand brakes are also built for ease of use, with child-size proportions. Another handy feature of the brakes is the rear brake cable is internal, preventing it from getting caught on clothing or anything else.
This is built to handle a range of surfaces but can be best suited to paved roads and trails.
- Shimano Revo twist gears – twist-shift gear changer on the handlebar
- Internal brake cable – no loose cable on the crossbar
- Lightweight – easy to pedal and maneuver
11. Pello Reddi 20
- Min/Max Seat Height: 21.75 to 26 inches
- Weight: 17 pounds
This Pello Reddi 20 is a very lightweight aluminum frame bicycle that can be easy for kids to ride, with a single-speed gear to minimize additional weight and allow kids to focus more on pedaling and braking.
There are front and rear hand brakes for added safety, with Tektro-micro levers that are designed to be easy for little hands to grab and pull.
The frame has a low standover height of just 18-inches and a low minimum seat height of just under 22-inches, which can make it ideal for shorter kids.
- Very lightweight – easy for kids to get started pedaling
- Low minimum seat height – great for smaller kids
- Quality child-size components – durable and sized for kids to use
12. Guardian Ethos 20 Small
- Min/Max Seat Height: 20.8 to 26.8 inches
- Weight: 23 pounds
The Guardian Ethos 20 Small can be a great bike for smaller kids, as it has a lower minimum seat height, which can be ideal for kids who are at the taller end of the recommended height for a 16-inch wheel, for example.
However, there is a large version of the Ethos, still with 20-inch wheels but with a larger frame and higher seat height (22.5 to 28.5 inches) for kids that are a couple of inches taller.
The Ethos benefits from having SureStop technology, meaning front and rear brakes that are controlled by a single lever on the handlebar. This allows both brakes to engage at the same time when the lever is pulled, which can mean quicker stopping and less chance of going over the handlebars.
- SureStop technology – front and rear brakes operated by a single lever
- Small frame – great for shorter kids
- Available in a large frame – larger frame with same size wheels for taller kids
13. Schwinn Elm 20
- Min/Max Seat Height: 24.5 to 29 inches
- Weight: 27.8 pounds
This Schwinn Elm 20 is a budget option that can be ideal for little girls looking for a more feminine style, as this one comes complete with a cute front basket and a kickstand for a more traditional look. It also has a low frame which can be easy to step over.
The durable steel-frame Elm features front and rear hand brakes but also has rear coaster brakes, which may hinder some learners.
A nice feature of the Elm is the SmartStart technology, which is designed to better fit a child’s body proportions, making it more comfortable to ride and easier to use. This could be an ideal choice for neighborhood riding on paved paths.
- Front and rear hand brakes – for added safety
- Smart-Start technology – child-friendly proportions
- Feminine appearance – basket and kickstand plus a lower frame
14. Diamondback Cobra 20
- Min/Max Seat Height: 26 to 29 inches
- Weight: 28 pounds
The Diamondback Cobra 20 is a mountain bike with chunky tires that can handle a range of different surfaces, from paved roads to dirt trails. The suspension fork is designed to increase comfort and stability when riding over bumpy ground, as well as look cool.
It has a durable steel frame and has a 6-speed drivetrain with a thumb trigger shifter for changing gears.
A great feature of the Cobra is that you can adjust the reach of the levers on both the front and rear hand brakes, which can make it easier for kids to operate.
- Mountain bike – ideal for off-road trails
- Thumb trigger gears – some kids may find this easier to use than twist-shift
- Adjustable brake levers – makes it more comfortable and easier for kids to reach
15. Huffy Kids Hardtail Mountain Bike
- Min/Max Seat Height: 22 to 25.75 inches
- Weight: 35 pounds
The Huffy Hardtail Mountain Bike is an affordable but tough steel-frame bicycle with 20-inch wheels designed for kids between 44 and 56 inches tall.
It features a front suspension fork and chunky 1.95 inch wide tires with good traction to handle rides over rugged terrain even in wet conditions. It also benefits from having six gears to make riding up and down hills a little less taxing. The gears can be changed using the Shimano twist shifters on the handlebar.
Another benefit of this one is the front and rear hand brakes for easier bike control. However, some kids may find the bike heavy to move and difficult to get started.
- Front suspension fork – added suspension for bumpy trails
- 6-speed Shimano gears – twist-shift operation
- High traction tires – for riding in all conditions
How To Choose A 20-Inch Bicycle For Your Kids
A lot of 20-inch cycles are marketed to kids between around 6 to 9 years old, with some being recommended for kids as young as 5 years old. As you’ll probably already know, kids are not all the same size and height despite being the same age, so age can be a less important factor when it comes to finding the right size of wheels.
Front and rear hand brakes can be the best option for 20-inch bicycles. This can let your child stop safely and quickly, and can allow your child to learn how to use two hand brakes instead of one, which can better prepare them for adult bikes as they get older.
However, there are still some that have coaster brakes – occasionally in addition to two hand brakes.
Coaster brakes can make riding more difficult, especially if your child has already learned to pedal on a bicycle without coaster brakes. Pedaling backward or coasting (not pedaling), which a lot of kids and adults tend to do, can cause the bike to stop, causing you to lose your balance and/or fall off.
It can be important to note that a 20-inch bike has 20-inch wheels and that this size is not related to the size of the frame.
The style and size of frames on 20-inch cycles can vary, meaning that not every 20-inch bicycle will fit every 6 or 7-year-old, as the size and style of the frame can cause the bike to be either too small or too big. The minimum and maximum seat height, as well as the standover height, can be good indicators for suitability.
You’ll also notice that some frames lend themselves to a more upright cycling position, which can be fine for neighborhood riding but may not be as great for mountain trails, where a more forward-leaning frame might be more suitable.
Ideally, you’ll want your child’s bike to be as light as possible so that it’s easier for them to pedal and move around in general. 20-inch cycles can vary greatly by weight, often with the ones in the higher price ranges weighing less than budget ones.
A good point of reference for choosing the weight of the bike is to try to make sure it doesn’t weigh more than 30 percent of your child’s body weight.
A 20-inch bicycle has 20-inch wheels, with frames varying in size. 20-inch wheels are aimed at kids between 48 and 53 inches tall but this can vary depending on the size and style of the frame.
Your child’s inside leg measurement can also be a good indicator of size suitability, as this can give you a better idea of whether they’ll be able to stand over the crossbar and touch the ground while they’re seated.
Most 20-inch cycles are designed for kids with inseams of around 22 to 25 inches, but, again, this can vary between brands and models.
The seat height should be around 2 or 3 inches higher than the length of your child’s inseam to let them touch the ground with their toes. However, if your child is a more nervous rider it can feel more reassuring if the seat is a little lower, so they can more comfortably reach the ground.
Cycles with 20-inch wheels generally won’t come with training wheels included. Training wheels are usually only included with certain bicycles up to 16-inches.
Some 20-inch ones may have the frame structure to allow you to add after-market training wheels but in some cases, the gear system may prevent this.
There are plenty of 20-inch cycles out there that have gears. But whether or not this is a feature you’ll need depends on your child’s riding experience and the type of cycling they intend to do.
For cycling on paved paths around the neighborhood, your child is probably not going to need gears, unless there are a lot of hills. Similarly, if your child hasn’t been riding for long, you may find that it’s too soon to add gears into the mix.
If you do opt for gears, you’ll find that some will come with twist shifters and others will have thumb shifters. Twist shifters can let your child change gears by twisting the handlebar grip. Thumb shifters change gears by flicking a switch with your thumb.
It can also be worth noting that gears can require more maintenance, especially if they feature a traditional drivetrain with a rear derailleur – this is the part that lifts the chain up and down when switching gears.
Video: Explaining the Bike DriveTrain
Girls vs Boys 20-Inch Bikes
You’ll probably find that kids’ bikes at the higher end of the scale price-wise have more of a gender-neutral appearance. This can be more suitable if you’re looking for a long-lasting cycle that can be passed down to younger family members or sold on. A good quality bicycle can retain a lot of its value when it’s resold.
However, there are a number of 20-inch cycles that are still marketed towards either boys or girls, with different styles of graphics and colors that may appeal to one gender more than the other.
Some girls’ bikes may also have a lower crossbar than boys’ bikes, similar to women’s traditional frames, which can allow kids to step over more easily and might feel less daunting for new or nervous riders.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are The Best Brands To Look At For A 20-Inch Bike?
Some of the best kid-specific brands for 20-inch cycles can include Woom, Early Rider, Pello, and Guardian. Cannondale and Raleigh can also make good bikes for kids in addition to their adult lines.
Do You Need To Add Training Wheels?
Most 20-inch cycles will not come with training wheels. Some may have a stabilizer-friendly frame where you could add them as an after-market accessory but generally, most kids will have learned to pedal on a smaller bike before riding a 20-inch one.
What About 18-Inch Bikes?
18-inch cycles will generally be aimed at kids from around age 5 to age 8 depending on their height. Training wheels don’t usually come as standard on 18-inch options as kids will usually already know how to pedal by the time they reach this size of wheel.
What Does 20-Inch Mean? What Is Measured?
20 inches is the measurement of the diameter of the wheel.
What Age Of Kids Ride 20-Inch Bikes?
Often from around age 6 to 9 but the suitability of a 20-inch bike will usually depend more on the height of your child rather than their age.
If you’re looking for a durable kids’ 20-inch bike that’s easy to ride, we think the winner is the Co-op REV 20 6-Speed Plus because of its chunky tires for traction, comfort, and balance, and its kid-friendly twist-shift gears.
Another great choice and good runner-up is the Woom 4. This is a very lightweight, durable ride that’s easy for kids to handle and great for passing down to younger siblings when your child has outgrown it.
If you’re looking for an alternative lightweight one, the Cleary Owl 20 can be a good choice, with a low standover height and a low minimum seat height that can be great for kids with shorter legs.
Remember to measure your child’s height and inseam before you make your decision, and make sure your child will have room to grow. The products in our list may not be suitable for everyone so it can be a good idea to check out the individual features and dimensions of any bike before you settle on one.
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