Your child has mastered the basics. They can hop on and off the bike and get pedaling. You no longer have to worry about them stopping before hitting the only lamppost within a one-mile radius.
It is time for more adventure, and this means a bigger, badder 24-inch bike. Unfortunately for you, this means less in your budget for a new shiny carbon road. Welcome to parenthood.
In this article we look at the best 24-inch bikes for kids and what to look for to inspire the future maillot jaune.
- Norco Rampage (Best Overall)
- DiamondBack Syncr (Best Mountain Bike)
- Tony Hawk Dynacraft Aftermath Bike (Best BMX Cruiser)
- Cannondale Quick 24 (Best For Boys)
- Kent La Jolla Cruiser (Best For Girls)
- Mongoose Maxim (Best MTB For Girls)
- Guardian Ethos (Best Value Bike)
- Huffy Extent (Best Budget Choice)
Top 15 Best 24-Inch Bikes Reviewed
1. Norco Rampage (Best Overall)
The Norco Rampage is a bike for kids that find riding on the streets boring and want something more challenging. If they want a bike they can push to its limits and keep on riding this could be the one.
Reliability and toughness have been baked into this bike, starting with the lightweight and durable aluminum frame right down to the front fork suspension with 100mm of cushioned travel.
This is a bike that is just as comfortable in the air as it is on the ground with Norco putting 20-years of dirt jumping experience into the Rampage.
The sealed bearing cassette is bombproof and won’t disintegrate after a few missed landings.
A great bike for the trails but just as good on the street, with looks that will turn heads.
- Bombproof – everything about the Rampage is tough and is built to withstand the kind of abuse that only a child can subject a bike to.
- Disc brakes – Tektro mechanical disc brakes at the front and rear give great stopping power in all riding conditions.
- Single-speed –no fragile rear derailleur to break.
2. DiamondBack Syncr (Best Mountain Bike)
- Weight: 33lbs
The DiamondBack Syncr is a great mountain bike for kids that combines great performance on the trails and sleek looks.
The fact that you can upgrade to a dropper seat post means this is a bike that will grow with your child as they get more confident on challenging trails.
The riding position is comfortable and the low-profile Shimano Deore Shadow rear derailleur boasts great performance and reliability.
- Sleek frame – hydroformed aluminum frame and cable routing under the top tube looks neat and keeps dirt away from the cables.
- Hydraulic disc brakes – the Tektro front and rear hydraulic brakes give awesome stopping power.
- Handling – the relaxed geometry and low center of gravity inspire great bike handling and balance.
3. Tony Hawk Dynacraft Aftermath Bike (Best BMX Cruiser)
- Weight: 31lbs
If your kid is a fan of Tony Hawk, then the least you can do is get them a Tony Hawk Dynacraft Aftermath Bike. This is an uncomplicated bike, unlike its namesakes’ vertical skateboarding antics, that is made for jumps and stunts.
The steel frame should be able to withstand the kind of abuse and missed landings that only a kid can subject a bike to.
- Durable – the steel frame is bombproof even in the hands of kids practicing stunts.
- Thread-less Stem – improve tricks by turning the handlebars 360 degrees.
- Great value – built to last and won’t break the bank.
4. Cannondale Quick 24 (Best For Boys)
- Weight: 20lbs
Adults who have ridden Cannondale bikes will be glad to know that the Cannondale Quick inspires the same type of firm, confident riding.
Although capable of trail riding, the fast-rolling tires on the Quick make it great for riding fast around the neighborhood.
The eye-catching acid red frame is both bold and classy. Cannondale makes great bikes and there is nothing about this kid’s bike to suggest they have taken their eye off the ball.
- Lightweight – the aluminum frame feels light and responsive.
- Fast-rolling tires- the tires are less knobbly than some on the list but there is still plenty of traction with the bonus of more speed.
- Shimano Tourney – reliable groupset with enough gears for most conditions.
5. Kent La Jolla Cruiser (Best For Girls)
- Weight: 29lbs
The step-through frame makes it easy to hop on and hop off and it is a great confidence builder. A convenient basket completes the look and adds practicality and fun.
- Step-through frame – the low frame makes it easy to get on and off the bike and to get feet down when the bike stops. Great for children who need a bit more confidence.
- Chain-guard – the single speed is reliable and maintenance-free and the chain guard keeps clothes clean.
- Elegant and stylish – the great looks (and front basket) will make girls want to get on the bike.
6. Mongoose Maxim (Best MTB For Girls)
- Weight: 37.4lbs
If your daughter wants to get away from boring pavement to more exciting trails, the Mongoose Maxim Girls Mountain Bike is a great value bike that is built to handle the rough stuff.
- Suspension – the front and rear suspension is great at this price and helps to make trail riding more comfortable.
- Great components – the Shimano 21-speed groupset is reliable and offers plenty of range to get up brutal hills.
- Durable – the frame is well built and optimized for female riders. It is easy to hop on and hop off.
7. Guardian Ethos (Best Value Bike)
- Weight: 25.5lbs
The Guardian Ethos is the budget-friendly version of the Guardian Original but shares the same great SureStop braking system that is loved by any kid that tries them.
With the SureStop braking system, one brake lever controls both the front and rear brakes. When the easy reach brake lever is pulled, the rear brake is activated first which in turn activates the front brake.
The upshot of the system is more control and less chance of flying over the handlebars when you grab a fistful of the brake.
- SureStop – an innovative one-lever braking system that gives more control when stopping.
- Design – lots of great frame designs to choose from.
- Lightweight – responsive and fun to ride.
8. Huffy Extent (Best Budget Choice)
- Weight: 42lbs
Children are expensive investments but you can still find a great value bike. The Huffy Extent is a solid 24-inch hardtail mountain bike with lots of great features at a very sensible price.
At this price, it is great to see a reliable Shimano drivetrain and the 18-gears are great for hilly trails.
- Front Suspension – the front suspension forks work great and can stand-up to most trails.
- Disc Brake – the Huffy comes with a front disc brake for extra stopping power on wet days.
- Drivetrain – reliable and with plenty of gears to tackle any terrain.
9. Co-op Cycles REV 24 Plus
- Weight: 28.2lbs
The Co-op Cycles REV 24 Plus Kids’ Bike is another outstanding budget mountain bike.
The extra-wide tires standout and help compensate for the lack of front suspension in this case. With the right pressure, these tires take the sting out of bumps on the trail.
The Shimano Tourney 7-speed gears are a good spec and the single chainring keeps everything simple and maintenance-free.
- Lightweight – the aluminum frame not only looks classy with an understated design but it is lightweight which kids will appreciate when dragging it up hills.
- Simple and reliable drivetrain – the 7-speed Shimano Tourney keeps things simple but still offers enough leverage for the hills.
- Disc brakes – front and rear mechanical disc brakes improve the stopping power and, let’s be honest, look great on kids’ bikes.
10. Guardian Original
- Weight: 23.5lbs
The Guardian Original is the lighter cousin of the Guardian Ethos reviewed earlier. That means that you still get the innovative SureStop braking system here that vastly improves braking control and prevents any unwanted trips over the handlebars.
Instead of steel, the Guardian Original has a lightweight aluminum frame that makes getting up hills easier.
- SureStop Brakes – one lever controls both the front and rear brakes (almost) simultaneously. Safe and innovative.
- Lightweight – the aluminum frame is strong and light.
- 7-speed simplicity – the 7-gears are good enough for demanding trails and help to keep the bike mechanically simple.
11. Co-op Cycles REV CTY Step-Through
- Weight: 25.5lbs
The Co-op Cycles REV CTY Step-Through Kids’ Bike is a great bike to give kids a taste of cycling off the beaten track. The step-through frame is a real confidence-builder as kids know they can easily get their feet to the floor and straddle the bike.
The 21-speed Shimano Tourney gears are reliable and offer plenty of options for flat and hilly terrain.
- Step-through frame – easy to hop on and hop off and helps kids to develop confidence on the bike.
- Lightweight – the aluminum frame is lightweight, making the bike more responsive and easier for getting up hills.
- Shimano Tourney – reliable performance and plenty of gear options to tackle any terrain.
12. Marin Hawk Hill Jr
- Weight: 17.6lbs
Ok, first things first, the Marin Hawk Hill Jr is not a cheap bike. If you go down this route then you can kiss goodbye to that new bike you were hoping for.
As you would expect at this price, the Marin Hawk Hill Jr takes all that is good in an adult, full spec mountain bike and shrinks it down. Nothing has been compromised to get the frame down in size.
The 11-46 single Shimano drivetrain gives a huge range of gears for the trails. The frame can also fit 26-inch wheels when your kid outgrows the 24-inch set.
- Dropper compatible frame – if your kid is ready to move onto bigger ramps they will love the ability to fit a dropper seat.
- Tubeless-ready – if you would rather not spend time fixing all the inevitable punctures, the wheels are tubeless-ready.
- Future proof – this is an expensive piece of kit but the fact that it can fit 26-inch wheels means it can grow with your child.
13. Mongoose Exlipse
- Weight: 33lbs
The Day-Glo pink of the Mongoose Exlipse makes it squarely aimed at girls who don’t want to be left behind on the trails.
Full-suspension and chunky tires deserve to be ridden on tough trails. With 21-gears it is capable of flying up steep hills.
- Full suspension – the front and rear suspension is effective and makes for a cushioned ride even on rough trails.
- Bold looks – the bright pink frame is designed to stand out.
- 21-gears – the Shimano gears give plenty of scope for tackling steep hills on the trail.
14. Salsa Journeyman
- Weight: 23lbs
If you are trying to inspire the next Chris Froome, the Salsa Journeyman might help. It is a gravel bike that has been shrunk down to suit kids.
It is tough enough for riding off-road thanks to the thick tires and a frame design that puts the rider further forward to improve stability.
- Drop bars – gravel bikes and road bike functionality are not common in 24-inch bikes but this is a great package to inspire some proper adventures.
- Bikepacking ready – frame mounts on the down tube and forks for carrying extra gear make this a great bike for taking on a camping trip.
- Tire clearance – space for 2-inch tires makes this a versatile bike for both on and off-road adventures.
15. Electra Cruiser 1
- Weight: 34lbs
The Electra Cruiser 1 is an elegant and understated bike with a step-through frame. Great for kids that just want something to cruise around the neighborhood and look cool.
The frame is designed to give the rider an upright and relaxed position on the bike and the slightly forward pedals allow children to get their feet down quickly at a stop without interfering with pedaling.
- Flat-Foot Technology – comfortable and puts children in control as they can get their feet on the ground without getting off the saddle.
- Step-through frame – uncomplicated to mount and dismount.
- Comfort – upright riding position and raised, curved handlebars to take the strain off the wrists and hands.
How To Choose A 24-Inch Bike For Your Small Child
Any bike is better than no bike and we are certainly not going to sit here and tell you to spend a small fortune on a bike with money that you don’t have. There are more important things in life.
That said, just as with adult bikes, you tend to get what you pay for.
You can pick up ridiculously cheap bikes for kids but in the end, it can prove a false economy. They will be heavy to the point of sapping all the joy out of cycling. The components will be cheap and fail sooner rather than later.
It could put your child off cycling altogether which is the last thing you want to do.
If your kid is serious about cycling and wants to go on adventures with you then you will have to dig a little deeper into your wallet.
If you have other children who are also growing fast then you should also think about a bike that is built to last and can be handed down (subject to approval from your other children of course).
Because children outgrow bikes, there is also the option of getting a good deal on a great second-hand 24-inch bike.
24-inch wheel size bikes are suitable for children between 8 and 11 years old as a general rule. This relates to a height range of between 4’2” and 4’9”.
Just like full-size bikes, even kids’ bikes are trending towards disc brakes instead of the more traditional caliper brakes.
Whilst they might not need the better stopping power and modulation that comes with disc brakes, they tend to be a cool standout feature for kids, especially if all their friends are riding disc brakes.
On kids’ bikes, it is much more common to find mechanical rather than hydraulic disc brakes. This is good news for you as they are not only cheaper but much easier to maintain without too much loss in braking performance.
If your kid does most of their riding around the neighborhood and is not interested in tackling dirty trails, then caliper brakes are more than good enough. If you are worried about braking power, upgrading the stock brake pads can bring immediate performance gains.
Every child loves to fly down hills on their bike. The problem is that you have to be able to get to the top in the first place and this is where a heavy bike can drag you down.
Even for an adult, riding a heavy bike is a laborious and energy-sapping experience.
A quick rule of thumb here is to check that your child can lift the bike. If they can then not only will they be able to get up and over those hills but will be able to carry it home when they get an inevitable mechanical problem.
Most decent 24-inch kids’ bikes should be 40% or less of the child’s weight to make riding enjoyable and not a complete slog. Just for reference, most adults ride bikes that are less than 20% of their body weight.
With bikes in general, you pay more for a lighter bike and 24-inch kids bikes are no exception.
Sizing can be tricky when buying a bike for a growing child. Limbs don’t seem to grow in different proportions and a bike that is the perfect fit for one kid in the class might be completely wrong for your kids.
Take some measurements of your child, particularly the inside leg, and look at what the bike manufacture recommends when buying a bike. Even better is to try the bike out for real in a shop.
And remember, your weekly grocery budget is so high because your child is growing. You need to get a bike size that will be as good tomorrow as it is today. Look for how much saddle and even handlebar height adjustment is available.
The sweet spot is to upgrade to a 24-inch bike as soon as they are ready and then they can get the maximum use out of the bike as they get bigger.
Some 24-inch bike frames can accommodate 26-inch tires and this makes for a cheaper upgrade than buying a whole new bike.
Video: Sizing A Child’s Bike
The gearing depends on the terrain and type of riding your child wants to tackle. If they like to tackle hills, or at least the flying down them part, then gears are essential.
The flip side is that some children find changing gears difficult and in this case, a single-speed is a great option to gain confidence before moving onto a bike with gears.
With fewer mechanical parts, single speed bikes have less to go wrong and less maintenance.
Most modern 24-inch bikes have moved in the direction of having a single chainring at the front with double and triple chainrings becoming much less common. The single chainring keeps things simple and is one less thing for your kid to worry about on the bike.
The more you spend, the better the groupset and the easier it will be for your child to find the right gear.
Suspension on a bike comes in two flavors; front suspension, also known as hardtails, where the bike has a front suspension fork, and full suspension that adds suspension at the rear.
Retailers think that kids only want full suspension mountain bikes and they are probably right. They look cool and ultimately that is what most kids care about most. The problem is that cheap suspension just adds weight to the bike without actually being effective at all.
For most children, even those tackling off-road riding, front suspension is enough.
24-Inch Bike: FAQs
Do Kids’ Bikes Need Suspension Forks And Lots Of Gears?
The short answer is, it depends. If your child wants to ride off-road then suspension and gears make trails much more accessible.
Does A 24-Inch Kid Bike Need Training Wheels?
Most kids that progress to 24-inch bikes are already confident at riding without training wheels. Most 24-inch bikes, and especially those with rear derailleurs, don’t have a long enough rear axle to fit standard training wheels.
If you do require them, however, you can get some that attach to the frame rather than the axle.
How Tall Should A Child Be For A 24 Inch Bike?
24-inch bikes are typically for children who are at least 4’5” (135cm) in height.
Is A 24 Inch Bike Good For A 10 Year Old?
Based on average height, a 24-inch bike is suitable for 10-year-olds.
Can Adults Ride 24 Inch Bikes?
Shorter adults might find that a 24-inch bike is a great fit but as always you should check the weight limit of the bike.
Is there a better feeling than watching your kid grow as a bike rider and challenge themselves? Winning a Strava KOM is great but it can’t compete with the simple pleasure of going out on an epic bike ride with your kid.
To help them get the most of cycling, they need the best bike for them.
Even kids will find the Norco Rampage hard to fault. It has been designed to tackle the worst that kids can throw at it on dirt jumps and keep on riding. Not only is it as tough as nails but it looks great, something that every kid looking to impressive friends cares about.
Bikes can be expensive but there are some good bikes at great prices out there. The Huffy Extent has great features that defy its price tag.
Whatever you choose be standing by to repair punctures…
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