Polygon Premier kids bikes provide amazing quality and performance for their price. In fact, after testing out over fifty different 20 and 24 inch bikes over the years, we can honestly say the Polygon Premiers are the BEST kids bikes you can buy under $400.
Whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly neighborhood bike or a multi-use bike for paved and basic dirt trails, go for a Polygon Premier. Whether your child is a timid rider or an aggressive rider, go for a Polygon Premier! Yes, they are that good for their price. The value you get with a Polygon is simply unmatched in the current mid-range kids’ bike market.
The Polygon Premier is available in two different models – the Premier Ultralight and the Premier XC. Both models feature the same lightweight frame and Shimano drivetrain, but the Ultralight comes with a rigid fork and thinner street tires, while the Premier XC comes with a coil suspension fork and knobby all-terrain tires. In this review, we will cover both models in 20″ and 24″ wheel sizes.
Polygon Premier XC and Ultralight
RATING: Highly Recommended
MSRP: $349 – $449
BEST FOR: Neighborhood or aggressive riders on paved or mild dirt trails
GEARS: 7-speed with Shimano Tourney Grip (all sizes and models)
BRAKES: Dual Hand, Promax V-brakes (all sizes and models)
FRAME: Aluminum Alloy
GAIN RATIO: 20 inch: 2.7 – 5.3; 24 inch: 2.4 – 4.9
WHEELBASE: 20 inch: 892mm; 24 inch: 988 mm
- Budget-friendly price tag with free shipping
- Modern graphics on a lightweight aluminum frame
- Low minimum seat heights
- Easy to assemble and all bikes are quality checked before shipping
- Comes with derailleur cage and kickstand
- Grippy Kenda tires
- Shimano Tourney shifter can be hard to use for some kids
Polygon Kids Bikes Review – Results of our Test Rides
Although newer to the US, Polygon Bikes have been around for over 30 years and are quite well known overseas. Polygon Bikes is based out of Indonesia and is one of the few bike manufacturers that actually own their own manufacturing facilities. As a result, they are able to sell factory direct and offer quality bikes at a lower price point.
We received a 20 and 24 inch Polygon Premier Ultralight as well as a 20 and 24 inch Premier XC from BikesOnline.com (the exclusive distributor of Polygon bikes in the US) to facilitate this review.
Polygon Premier Video Review
Want to see the Premier in action? Check out our video review of Polygon’s kids bikes! Please note that this video was made before the Premier XC was released, so it only features the Ultralight. But as mentioned previously, due to the similarities between the models, the vast majority of the video pertains to the Premier XC as well.
Polygon Premier Ultralight vs. Premier XC Overview
The Polygon Premier Ultralight and the Premier XC both offer excellent performance and value for their price. Which bike is best for your little rider really comes down to how and where they ride, as well as stylistic preference.
Pavement pounding speed lovers, as well as more timid riders, are likely to prefer the Ultralight, while bunny-hopping adventurous neighborhood riders would likely prefer the XC. We’ll go into more specifics about these differences below.
24″ Polygon Premier Ultralight and Premier XC
Considering they share the same frame, both models (of the same wheel size) fit the same size rider, although the seat heights on the XC tend to be slightly higher due to the suspension fork. Both models have the same narrow gain ratio, so one model is not better equipped to take on hills than the other (more about this below).
20″ Polygon Premier Ultralight and Premier XC
As a result, when we jump into the detailed specifics about the Premiers (mainly size and components) the name “Polygon Premier” will refer to both models. In other portions of the review, we’ll specifically differentiate between the Premier Ultralight and the Premier XC. To keep things clear from the get-go, the differences between the two models are outlined in the chart below.
|Ultralight 20||XC 20||Ultralight 24||XC 24|
|Weight*||20.75 lb.||22.6 lb.||23. 1 lb.||25.7 lb.|
|Seat Height||21.25″ – 27.25″||22″ – 27.5″||25.5″ – 31.5||25.5″ – 32″|
|Fork||Rigid||40mm Suntour Coil||Rigid||50mm Suntour Coil|
What type of rider is the Premier Ultralight best for?
Lighter, with narrower tires with a smoother tread, the Ultralight is a well-rounded bike that performs great around the neighborhood as well as on longer paved and even basic compact dirt trails. If you are unsure as to what model to get, the Ultralight is likely your best bet. It’s lighter, its tires roll smoother, and it’s cheaper :).
Both our 8 and 9-year old testers loved the smooth ride of the Ultralight and eagerly rode them for miles around the neighborhood as well as on our local bike trails.
We also took the Ultralight for a spin on some basic dirt trails. The 1.75″ wide tires held up just fine, but if true trail riding was commonplace, wider and knobbier tires would be a beneficial upgrade. The Ultralight is designed to fit tires up to 2.1″ wide (the same width found on the XC).
In fact, with a tire upgrade, the Ultralight would be a great first basic trail bike for those on a budget. When first tackling trails, especially those with significant altitude changes, the weight savings on the Ultralight will be more beneficial than the coil suspension fork on the XC.
What type of rider is the Polygon Premier XC best for?
For those young neighborhood riders eager to take on jumps, fly off of every curb, or bunny hop every crack in the sidewalk, the Premier XC is the perfect bike. As a recreational mountain bike, the XC provides the look and feel of a mountain bike, but without the extreme costs of the high-end components required for a true mountain pony.
The XC is also a great bike for use at basic pump tracks or even the small dirt jump the kid down the street built. Just keep in mind, that while the XC has a suspension fork, it is a very basic one designed for small jumps at slower speeds. The fork is not designed for high-flying jumps or intense downhill runs!
What size Polygon Kids Bike is best for my child?
The Polygon Premier models are available in 20″ and 24″ wheel sizes.
Polygon Premier 20: The Premier Ultralight has a seat height range of 21.25″ – 27.25″, making it ideal for an experienced rider with at least a 19″ inseam, or a new rider with an inseam of 21″. Due to the larger tires and suspension fork, the seat height on the XC is slightly taller at 22″ – 27.5″.
Our 7-year-old tester with a 24″ inseam was a great fit on the Polygon 20 inch, but even though the seat height maxes out at 27.25″, he was certainly on the taller end of the bike. As a result, the Polygon 24 inch is likely a better fit for kids with inseams over 24″.
Polygon Premier 24: Both models of the 24-inch Premiers have a minimum seat height range of 25.5″, making them a great fit for kids with at least a 23.5″ inseam. The maximum seat height on the XC, however, is slightly more than the Ultralight as it maxes out at 32″, versus 31.5″ on the Ultralight.
Our 9-year-old with a 25″ inseam felt right at home on the 24″ Polygon with plenty of room left to grow.
Polygon Premier Overall Performance and Ride Quality
We put both Polygon Premier models to the test around our neighborhood on paved trails and basic dirt paths with testers ranging from 6 to 9 years old. On both types of terrain, these Polygon bikes didn’t skip a beat and were instant hits with our kid bike testers. From shifting to braking, the Premiers provided top-notch performance and a killer deal at their price points.
While there were certainly some performance differences between the Ultralight and the XC, we found both bikes to be very versatile and suitable for all types of neighborhood riders.
The Polygon kids bikes‘ are lightweight and nimble, making them easy to maneuver for all of our testers. When it comes to bikes, the weight of the bike plays a HUGE role in the bike’s overall performance. From powering up a hill to popping a wheelie and bunny hopping over cracks in the sidewalk, the lighter the bike, the better.
Considering making a lightweight bike isn’t cheap, the Polygon Premiers’ value really stands out when compared to bikes in various price ranges.
Polygon Premier Ultralight Weight Comparison
|Premier Ultralight||$349||20.8 lb.|
|Decathlon Rockrider||$149||24.3 lb.|
|Guardian Ethos||$399||22.9 lb.|
|Priority Start||$379||19.5 lb.|
|Premier Ultralight||$399||23.1 lb.|
|Decathlon Rockrider||$169||30.2 lb.|
|Guardian Ethos||$429||25.5 lb.|
|Priority Start||$449||23.3 lb.|
When comparing the Premier XC, although the coil suspension fork (as well as the wider tires) does add almost 2 lb. of weight to the bike, the XC still holds its own when compared to other bikes with suspension forks. Since many brands don’t offer a suspension fork on their 20″ models, only 24″ bikes are included in the comparison below.
|Premier XC||$399||25.7 lb.|
|Decathlon Rockrider ST900||$349||27.1 lb.|
|Trek Precaliber||$439||26.5 lb.|
With a semi-upright body positioning, the Polygon Premier offers the perfect setup for kids who love cruising around the neighborhood but are also more than happy to tackle front yard ramps or homemade dirt bike jumps.
Not too upright, which is preferred by timid or new riders, yet not too aggressive, which is preferred by really aggressive riders, the Polygon offers a happy in between. It’s a great all-around geometry.
For those who love to dive into the specifics, the head tube angle of both Premiers comes in at a comfortable 70 degrees on the 24″ and 69 degrees on the 20″. To keep power over the pedals, the seat tube angles are also kid-friendly at 72 on the 20″ and 73 on the 24″.
Featuring the same Shimano Tourney drivetrain, all models and sizes of the Polygon Premiers are equipped with 7 gears. The 20 inch wheel size has a 2.7 – 5.3 gain ratio while the 24 inch has a 2.4 – 4.9.
Compared to other brands, the range is pretty narrow (most have a higher top range – the Guardian Ethos 24’s range is 2.3 – 5.6), but provided plenty of power to get up mild hills as well as easily power up rolling dirt paths, jumps, or pump tracks with ease.
For kids tackling rides with great changes of elevation or moving into true singletrack mountain biking (where quick and responsive shifting is essential), an upgraded drivetrain is pretty necessary. A bike with any SRAM or the Shimano Altus line or higher will be more responsive and durable, but expect a couple of hundred dollars jump in cost.
Derailleur Cage and Hanger
In order to help preserve the life of the derailleur, Polygon kids bikes are equipped with a derailleur cage and a derailleur hanger. Although cages add a little weight, they can be lifesavers in protecting derailleurs from being damaged or bent as a result of a crash or from simply setting the bike down onto the derailleur.
The cage is a rounded metal bar that surrounds the more exterior portion of the derailleur to prevent the derailleur from being damaged upon impact. The vast majority of kids’ bikes are compatible with derailleur cages, but they do not come standard on most bikes.
Polygon derailleur cage (red arrows) and derailleur hanger (yellow arrow)
A derailleur hanger is a small metal component that attaches the derailleur to the frame of the bike. If the derailleur were to take a hard hit (especially if a derailleur hanger was not present), the force of the blow on the derailleur could cause the frame of the bike to bend. Once bent, it is very difficult to correct the frame and the bike will likely never shift properly again.
If a derailleur hanger is present, it bends instead of the frame. Derailleur hangers are very easy and inexpensive to replace, so expensive and long-term damage to the bike can be prevented by having them. All high-end geared bikes come with derailleur hangers.
Shimano Tourney Shifter
The Shimano Tourney grip shifter on the Premier can be problematic for young riders, especially those new to shifting on 20 inch bikes. Due to the large protrusion on the rotating portion of the Tourney shifter, it can be difficult for kids with small hands to engage the twist grip to change gears.
Due to their smaller hands and shorter fingers, this is more of an issue with kids on 20 inch bikes than 24 inch bikes. None of our testers, however, had any major complaints about shifting.
The shifter’s bump can also make it more difficult to brake for small hands. It may force the child to position their hand further away from the grip shifter – towards the end of the handlebars. While this makes it easier for the rider to grip the handlebars, it positions their hand farther away from the brake lever, making it more challenging to reach the brake lever.
To be fair, the Shimano Tourney shifter is very common at this price point, making this an issue with ALL bikes in the Premier’s price range.
The Polygon Premiers come with quality v-brakes that have plenty of stopping power straight out of the box – without any adjustments. While one would expect a new bike to have perfectly tuned brakes and shifters straight out of the box, this is rarely with case (even with high-end brands).
Considering bikes get bounced around during shipment, bikes essentially always need some work after assembly. Some need a lot more work than others, but much to our surprise, the Polygons didn’t need any! To be safe, a full tune-up of a newly assembled bike is always recommended.
The Polygon Premier’s brake levers are Promax brand while the calipers are labeled “Power”. High-end bikes do offer better quality braking via Tektro branded brakes or mechanical or hydraulic brakes, but they lead to a large overall increase in the price of the bike.
For the average rider, the brakes on the Polygon offer plenty of stopping power with minimal effort. In fact, during one of our rides, our 9-year-old tester wasn’t paying attention and almost rode off a short walking bridge and into a water canal. Luckily he caught himself just in time and the brakes stopped the bike quickly to which he declared, “These brakes are powerful!”
Selling only factory-direct to consumers, Polygon takes the time to prepare and package their bikes to make assembly quick and easy. Like most brands, the handlebars, front wheel, and pedals need to be installed upon arrival, but where Polygon’s packaging differs is that they don’t use zip ties!
Essentially all bikes are packaged with zip ties to prevent the front wheel and handlebars from moving around during shipment, but Polygon uses Velcro strips instead. Not only are these strips super easy to get off, they are also totally reusable. Sure it’s a small thing, but we are not ashamed to admit that it felt like winning the lottery when we saw the Velcro strips instead of the dreaded zip ties 🙂
Polygon Kids Bikes Bottom Line
The Polygon Premier Ultralight and Polygon Premier XC are hands down the best 20″ and 24″ bikes you can buy for under $400. Whether your child is a timid or aggressive rider, or if they are riding around the block or around the campsite, you can’t go wrong with the 20″ or 24″ Polygon Premier.
The Ultralight is best for kids sticking mainly to paved riding, while the XC kicks it up a notch with a suspension fork to give an extra bit of “popping power” when hitting small jumps and curbs.