Buying a bike for your kids can sometimes turn into a decision-making nightmare. You’ll probably be asking questions like;
- What’s the ideal age?
- Does it suit my child’s height?
- What’s the best ones out there?
…and many more.
You’d probably noticed that these bikes come in various types of configurations such as different frame materials, number of gears, tire types, brakes, and even different frame geometries.
Here are some of the important things to know :
- For kids aged at least 7 and above or with an inseam of 24″ and above.
- Bike frame can be steel (cheaper, heavier) or aluminum (more expensive, lighter).
- Enough low gearing to tackle the gentle hills around your neighborhood bike paths or gravel trails.
I’ll discuss each of them, and more in detail in the buying guide section, and hopefully, you’ll get a clearer picture of what you should be looking for.
A Quick Glance : Our Favorite 24 Inch Kids Bikes
Editor’s Pick : Guardian Ethos 24
“A multiple safety award-winning bike in recent years.”
Budget Pick : Co-op Cycles REV 24
“Affordable price point makes this an attractive choice for most parents.”
For Mountain Biking : Trek Precaliber 24
“A great style, designed for durability and performance in the trails.”
Guardian Ethos 24
Guardian Bikes puts out two lines of kids’ bikes; the Original and the Ethos with the former being the company’s high-end line. The main difference lies in the drivetrain and frame.
The Ethos is fitted with Shimano 7-speed shifting, giving it a high level of performance. Other upgrades include smooth welding, which improves looks by eliminating the weld seams and strength with the addition of reinforced joints.
The remainder of the bike features all the kid-friendly design features that are present in all of Guardian’s bikes. This includes shorter reach on the handbrakes, a lightweight aluminum frame, and geometry tweaks that include smaller grips, shorter crank arms, and a lower center of gravity.
Understanding that kids can be rough on bikes, Guardian Bikes goes with double-walled rims, which resist bends and dents. And, of course, the Ethos also features cool graphics, which come in three different color schemes.
- Pros : 7-speed drivetrain allows the kid to ride over multi terrains.
- Cons : No disc brakes.
Value for Money Pick
Co-op Cycles Rev 24
It’s hard to justify spending a lot of money on a kid’s bike when you know they’re just going to grow out of it. Co-op, the bike brand of outdoor outfitting company REI, knows this.
That’s why they came up with the Rev 24, a kids mountain bike at a very affordable price. While the REV 24 may lack some of the accouterments of a full-sized adult mountain bike, most notably a front suspension, it has everything else including mechanical disc brakes and 2.6” knobby tires.
The Rev 24 also offers reliable shifting with a full 7-speed Shimano rear derailleur.
- Pros : Mechanical discs brake provide reliable braking in all conditions.
- Cons : Limited and boring color choices.
24 Inch Mountain Bikes
Trek Precaliber 24
The Trek Precaliber 24 offers versatility for your growing child. This is a great bike for riding on bike paths and also to take along for off-road, mountain biking adventures.
An aluminum frame keeps the Trek Precaliber at a weight that’s easy for children to maneuver while a dropped top tube makes it easier to get on and off the bike.
A modest front suspension fork with 45mm of travel and knobby Bontrager XR1 knobby tires supply enough shock absorption and traction for aggressive dirt trails riding.
A full Shimano 8-speed drivetrain keeps the cadence up and pedaling easier on those big hills around the neighborhood.
- Pros : Front suspension allows for aggressive off-road riding.
- Cons : Expect to pay slightly more.
Cannondale Cujo 24
Looking for that first mountain bike for your child? Cannondale’s Cujo 24 is another excellent option.
With frame geometry designed for stability and maneuverability, the Cannondale Cujo 24 is ready to take on rugged off-road terrains. An aluminum frame makes bike handling and maneuverability easier for young kids.
The gearing covers a broad range with a 1×8 Shimano Tourney drivetrain and 11-34T rear cassette. The Cannondale Cujo may lack a front suspension fork, but who needs one when the plus-size knobby tires are 2.6” wide.
It’s also fitted with smaller brake levers to accommodate smaller hands.
- Pros : Frame geometry aimed towards stability and easy maneuverability.
- Cons : Expect to pay more for a reputable brand.
Picks for Girls
Co-op Cycles Rev CTY
REI’s Co-op Cycles Rev CTY is a great option for budding young riders looking for a good hybrid road bike that can comfortably handle both paved surfaces and light off-road terrain.
The Rev CTY’s geometry mirrors that of the smaller Rev 16, with a top tube that drops below the seat stays on the seat tube for easy mounting and dismounting. Narrower tires with smaller knobs allow for faster roll, making pedaling easier.
The real highlight of this bike, though, is its Shimano Tourney drivetrain, which offers an impressive 21 gears via a triple chainring and 7-speed rear cassette.
- Pros : Very low, the sloping top tube makes it easier to step over the bike.
- Cons : Limited color choices.
Cannondale Quick 24
Cannondale is a very well-known bike manufacturer and they provide incredible quality which is highly visible in their Quick 24 bike.
This bike is based upon Cannondale’s lightweight SmartForm C2 alloy frame and fork that is designed for riding over any type of terrain. Throw in the 1.5″ wide knobby Kenda tires, the ride becomes more comfortable.
The drivetrain is powered by a 7-speed Shimano gear system, controlled by a grip shifter. With its 11-28T gearing range, you’d be sure your child will cover both flat and hilly terrains without any problem.
If you’re after a lightweight bike, the Cannondale makes a great choice.
- Pros : Cannondale’s alloy frame is renowned for its workmanship and comfort.
- Cons : No front suspension fork nor disc brakes for the price.
Early Rider Seeker 24
Not a little child anymore, but not yet an adult. That pretty much characterizes this bike.
The Early Rider Seeker 24 is an upgrade from the 20 inch version but with a drivetrain that resembles a full-sized adult mountain bike. This includes a 1×11 SRAM GX drivetrain with a cassette range of 10-42T. That’s not too far off from the 1x drivetrains that are becoming ubiquitous on adult bikes.
Other features include a front suspension fork with 100mm of travel and hydraulic disc brakes. It’s safe to say that this is an excellent bike for getting your child off the road and onto some trail riding.
- Pros : Lightest bike among our picks and with top-of-the-line components.
- Cons : Expect to pay a higher premium over other models.
Prevelo Alpha 4
The Prevelo Alpha 4 certainly doesn’t come cheap. If you look closely at this bike, you’ll soon realize it screams quality right from the start.
The frame is made of a higher grade 6061 aluminum, which makes it even lighter than most aluminum frames out there. And it doesn’t stop here.
Gearing-wise, the Shimano 8-speed drivetrain with an 11-34T gear range will ensure your child gets over the steepest climbs around the neighborhood. While not having a front suspension fork, this is compensated by 1.5″ wide tires which will help smoothen out the uneven surfaces for a more comfortable ride.
Even though Alpha Four is a bit pricier bike, it’s worth every dollar it costs.
- Pros : Sleek and modern-looking lightweight aluminum frame design and colors.
- Cons : No disc brakes for the selling price.
24 Inch Bikes Buying Guide
From experience, I’ve seen parents being overwhelmed by lots of information when it comes to buying bikes for their kids.
Well, it’s a lot of info to digest but it shouldn’t be that complicated.
In this section below, I’ve covered the 5 important things to look out for before you buy. Going through the sections below will give you a clearer idea of what to expect.
If you want a more detailed guide, you can read my kid’s bike guide which will cover each of the topics below in depth.
1. Suitable for Kids Aged 7+
24 inch is the last bike size before stepping into adult bike size territory. Generally, the minimum age for 24 inch bikes is at least 7 years old.
From my own experience and observation, kids usually start riding this bike size when they’re 8, 9, or sometimes 10 years old. It’s inaccurate to size the kids just based on their age as kids of the same age might not have the same height.
A more accurate method is to measure their inseam.
But, what’s an inseam?
Inseam is the length measured from the crotch to the floor of a child who is standing with both feet flat on the ground.
Here’s a quick way to measure your child’s inseam.
- Stand with the back flat against the wall, feet close together.
- Put a book between the legs, push it up so that it’s touching the crotch.
- Hold the book while the child moves forward and away.
- Measure the distance between the floor and the top of the book.
The ideal inseam measurement for a 24 inch bike is between 24″ and 28″.
If your child falls outside of this range, you might want to consider either sizing up or down a size for them. Alternatively, you can also visit your local bike shop to try out the various bike sizes before deciding.
Read More : 6 Tips to Teach A Child to Ride A Bike
2. Bike Frame Made from Steel or Aluminum
The majority of the bikes are made of either steel or aluminum. There are some exceptions where they’re made of carbon, but those will cost you a lot of money.
Steel is a very durable, reliable material, and more importantly, affordable material to build a bike frame. The downside is, it’s heavy.
On the other hand, aluminum offers the same durability yet is a lot lighter and more expensive. Bikes such as the Early Rider Seeker 24 and Prevelo Alpha 4 are among the lightest ones, but they come with a heavier price tag.
In short, be prepared to pay more if you’re after a lighter bike.
3. Enough Gears for Flats and Hills
Shimano and SRAM are the two most common gear manufacturers seen in 24 inch bikes.
Since the bikes are now bigger, they come with various gear configurations. Some of the bikes such as Co-op Rev 24 and Cannondale Quick will come with 7-speed gearing, while others can have up to 21 gears with 3 front chainrings.
For example, if the bike has 2 front chainrings and 7 rear cogs, there will be a total of 14 available gears. The wider the gearing range, the more versatile the bike is.
You might also start noticing that manufacturers specify the gear ratio in terms of 11-28T or 11-34T.
What does this mean?
11T represents 11 teeth at the rear cog, which indicates a very high gear which is ideal for cruising along flat roads.
28T represents a very low gear, which is useful for the hills. The steeper the hill is, the lower the gears are needed, which is why some bikes such as the Prevelo Alpha 4 come with a 34T rear cassette.
4. Front and Rear Brakes
You’ll notice that every bike now comes with brakes. And there’s really no surprise here.
However, what differs is the type of brakes.
5. Tires Sizes from 1.5" to 1.9" Wide
Almost all of the bikes come with tires that require air pressure and thus are vulnerable to punctures.
So, it’s about time that you consider learning how to change an inner tube yourself and teaching your kids how to do them too.
You’ll notice that the tires come in various sizes, typically from 1.5″ to 1.9″ wide.
The wider the tire size, the more comfortable the ride will be as you’ll be running a lower air pressure due to the larger tire volume.