Cycle Kids 20 Review
A fun lightweight bike with a wide range of gears and highly responsive Tektro hand brakes.
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Adventurous neighborhood riders. Suitable for anything from neighborhood to basic compact trail riding.
SEAT HEIGHT: 22" - 27"
WEIGHT: 19.5 lb.
23" – 27"
|Geared Bike Type||
Dual Hand (No Coaster)
|Hand Brake Type||
Blue, Green, Orange
Pros & Cons
- High-performing Tektro v-pull brakes
- Lightweight aluminum frame
- Fun, bright color options with contrasting silver accents
- 5% of every bike goes to a non-profit that helps lower-income kids get bikes
- Components, derailleur and brakes, needed a lot of tuning in order to work properly
- Q-factor not as narrow as we would like
Meet Cycle Kids
A new high-end bike brand from the Kent bike family, Cycle Kids bikes feature lightweight aluminum frames, Tektro brakes, and Shimano components. Teaming up with cyclekids.org, a non-profit dedicated to increasing lower-income students’ accessibility to bikes, 5% of all the proceeds from Cycle Kids bikes go directly towards getting more kids on bikes. While many other higher-end companies also donate bikes to kids in need, Cycle Kids is the only brand we know of that has a direct relationship with an established non-profit already dedicated to the cause.
To help them launch their new brand, we had the opportunity to test out their 20″ and 16″ bikes. Our 7-year-old tester quickly fell in love with the Cycle Kids 20″ bike and found it to be a fun, nimble bike suitable for adventurous neighborhood riding as well as paved and compact dirt trails.
“Mom, I want to ride the fast bike!” From jumping curbs in the neighborhood to long rides on paved bike trails, the Cycle Kids 20″ performed like a champ. With its featherlight 19.5 lb. build and very responsive Tektro brakes, our tester loved riding the Cycle Kids.
Being in the lower-percentiles of weight himself, the lighter-weight build of the Cycle Kids really stood out during our rides. Weighing far less than most 20″ bikes on the market, the Cycle Kids easily flew up hills and down inclines.
The highly-responsive Tektro brakes on the Cycle Kids were also a standout feature. Being more timid by nature, knowing he could stop quickly and confidently gave our tester that extra boost to ride faster and farther. With more stopping power than the brakes found on other higher-end bikes, Cycle Kids Tektro brakes stopped on a dime and left skid marks behind to prove it.
While the overall design and components of the Cycle Kids bikes aren’t as fine-tuned as most boutique kids’ bike brands, we found their bikes to be similar in quality and value to most major bike shop brands.
The Cycle Kids 20″ has a seat height range of 23″ – 27″ and is recommended for kids 45″ to 51″ tall. The bike was a great fit for our 47″ tall 7-year old tester with a 21″ inseam. With the seat set to the minimum seat height of 23″ (2″ above his inseam), the bike provides several years worth of growth.
Our 8-year-old tester with a 23″ inseam also fit great on the bike. Having a longer torso than our younger tester, the bike did offer a more aggressive positioning for him, but being a more aggressive rider, he was still comfortable and confident on the bike.
Frame & Geometry
As just pointed out, like all bikes, the height of the child does affect the overall geometry of the bike. But all in all, the Cycle Kids provides a generally leaned-forward, semi-aggressive body position. The body position on the cyclekids is more aggressive compared to similar bikes such as the Guardian Original 20″ Large and the woom 4.
As a result, the Cycle Kids bike is a better choice for aggressive riders who want to tackle every bump or jump in the neighborhood or even basic single track. The cyclekids handlebar is also an inch wider than the woom and the Guardian, which helps to increase stability and maneuverability for more aggressive riding. For everyday riding, the extra inch in length is likely not going to make a large difference for most riders.
Differences in Geometry
Cycle Kids’ Tektro front and rear v-pull brakes are some of the most responsive v-pull brakes we’ve seen on a 20″ bike. They’re easy to pull and quick to respond. The brakes, however, did need quite a bit of adjustment to work properly after assembly.
Tuning a brake can be complicated, so we would almost always recommend taking the bike into a bike shop if your brake isn’t providing ample stopping power. If you want to give it a try at home, the manual that comes with the bike does provide some details and instructions on the basics of tuning a brake.
With 8 gears and a gain ratio ranging from 2.2 to 6.4, the Cycle Kids is well equipped to tackle a wide range of adventures. The Shimano grip shifter was easy to use, but like the brakes, the shifter needed a bit of work out of the box. Prior to tuning, the chain would always come off when attempting to go into the lowest gear.
Derailleurs are notoriously finicky to deal with, so like the brakes, we recommend taking the bike into a shop to fix any shifting issues. Unless you are experienced, we would not recommend trying to tackle fixing a derailleur at home.
The q-factor of a bike is the distance between the two inside pedals, or how wide a child must splay their legs in order to pedal. A wider q-factor requires kids to push out from their hips at an angle, which leads to a much less efficient pedal stroke. A narrow q-factor allows kids to push directly down from their hips, which increases the efficiency of each pedal stroke.
The q-factor on the Cycle Kids is smaller than those found on budget bikes, but is 2″ wider than the q-factor on the higher-end woom 4. While neither of our testers complained about the wider stance on the cyclekids, the woom’s lower q-factor does make their bike easier to pedal, which is especially important with timid riders or those with naturally lower muscle tone.
Q-factor: Cycle Kids vs. woom 4
The saddle on the Cycle Kids is padded and hits that sweet spot of being not too small and not too big for young riders. The saddle is also railed, to allow for easy adjustments front to back.
To protect the derailleur from contact with the ground (during the MANY times that kids tend to throw their bikes on the ground), the Cycle Kids comes with a derailleur cage. The wire cage sticks out past the derailleur to prevent it from coming into contact with the ground. Considering how finicky derailleurs can be, a simple cage can save parents a lot of time dealing with broken gears.
This simple preventative feature cannot be added to all bikes as it requires the frame of the bike to have specific mounts. Most higher-end brands, including woom, Prevelo, Pello and Guardian do not have derailleur cages. That being said, issues with derailleurs on those brands are rare, so while nice, the cage should not be a primary factor when purchasing a bike.
Lastly, the Cycle Kids features the widely popular Kenda Small Block tires that are great for road and mild terrains.
cyclekids 20″ Upgraded Components
Available in several fun colors, all Cycle Kids bikes feature a pop of silver paint on the front fork and rear triangle of the bike frame. While not overly prominent, our testers loved the extra fun accents.
Cycle Kids Life Manual
All Cycle Kids bikes come with a fun and informative Life Manual. WAY more than your traditional owners manual, the Life Manual comes with detailed instructions and graphics on how to assemble your bike, how all the individual components work, how to properly fit a bike helmet, and even tips on nutrition. We LOVED this guide as there is something in there for everyone, from new riders excited to get their first pedal bike to experienced parents. A digital version of the Life Manual is available directly through Cycle Kids.
While detailed and complete, we would still recommend taking the bike into a bike shop for any major adjustments such as the brake and derailleur issues mentioned previously.
Cycle Kids Life Manual Example Pages
Priced at $399, the Cycle Kids 20″ is on the higher-end for kids bikes, but has some pretty good specs and components to back up its price. We found its lightweight 19.5 lb. build and powerful Tektro brakes to be its main selling points. Paired with flat handlebars and a more aggressive geometry, the Cycle Kids is a great pick for aggressive riders, but for more everyday or timid riders, the Cycle Kids has some tough competition.
Also priced at $399, the Guardian 20″ Large offers the same great performance but simplified with less gears and even more powerful braking mechanisms. At $50 more, the woom 4 is even lighter than the Cycle Kids and features a narrow q-factor for more efficient pedaling. Based on our experience, unlike the Cycle Kids, neither the Guardian nor the woom needed any major tune-ups right out of the box.
Cycle Kids 20″: Best for aggressive riders needing a lightweight bike that will easily take them over any hill or basic trail. Due to concerns regarding component performance straight out of the box, the Cycle Kids is best for knowledgeable biking parents able to tune the bike or those with a bike shop nearby.
Guardian 20″: Featuring its amazing SureStop braking system, the Guardian allows kids to activate both the front and rear brake with one brake lever. The Guardian is great for timid or aggressive neighborhood riders and comes in two 20″ frame sizes as well as in a single-speed version.
woom 4: The lightest 20″ bike of the three, the woom 4 is fine-tuned to maximum efficiency and ease-of-use for young riders. From timid neighborhood riders to basic trail riders, the woom 4 is a great all-around bike.
cyclekids 20" comparison
|cyclekids 20"||Guardian Original||woom 4|
|Seat Height||23" - 27"||22.5" – 28"||22.1" – 28"|
|Weight||19.5 lb.||22.9 lb.||16.3 lb.|
|Gain Ratio||2.2 - 6.4||2.57 - 5.14||2.3 - 6.7|
Well-loved and well spec’d, the Cycle Kids 20″ is a great choice for adventurous neighborhood riders. With a featherlight 19.5 lb. build and responsive Tektro brakes, it stands ready for action. With a seat height ranging from 23″ to 27″, it’s a best fit for kids 45″ to 51″ tall. Due to concerns with the performance of the components straight out of the box, the Cycle Kids is also best for parents who are able to tune the bike before use.