An amazing build for the price, the Raleigh MXR 20 features a more upright position and a coaster brake, making it well-suited for neighborhood riders aged 7 to 9. Read our review to find out why it’s a great buy over other budget bikes!
Raleigh MXR 20 Overview
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Neighborhood riders looking for a fun, durable, and reliable basic bike.
SEAT HEIGHT: 23.5 – 29.5″
WEIGHT: 22.8 lbs.
GEARS: Single Speed
BRAKE: Coaster brake with Front Hand Brake
WHEELBASE: 839 mm
GAIN RATIO: 4
- Comfortable upright geometry for neighborhood riders
- Durable and essentially maintenance-free
- Fun contrasting colors
- Higher gain ratio for faster speeds
- Rear caliper brake not as effective as testers would have liked
Raleigh MXR 20 Review – Results of our Test Rides
For the everyday neighborhood riding enthusiast, the Raleigh MXR 20 provides a strong, durable build and a smooth ride at a moderate price. Compared to similarly priced sub-$200 bikes, our testers loved the maneuverability and overall performance of the MXR. While the MXR certainly isn’t meant for hitting the trails or long bike rides, it’s perfectly designed for the average rider who sticks mainly to neighborhood riding.
The MXR 20″ is labeled for riders ages 4 to 9, but we found it more suitable for riders ages 7 to 9. With a seat height of 23.5″ to 29.5″, the MXR is a best fit for riders with an inseam ranging from 25″ to 32″. Weighing in at 22.8 lb., the MXR is also best for kids who weigh more than 60 lbs.
We tested out the MXR on two 7-year-old riders and one 9-year-old rider. Small for his age, our first 7-year-old tester had no problems riding the bike, but weighing in at only 52 lbs., the bike was a lot for him to handle and he got off the bike before we could get a picture of him on it! The smaller Raleigh MXR 16 was certainly more comfortable for him.
Our second 7-year-old tester (shown in the picture above) weighs just over 60 lbs. and loved riding the MXR. With an inseam of 25.5″, he still had plenty of room to grow on the bike.
Our 9-year-old tester, with an inseam of 32″, was on the tail end of the MXR size range. While he enjoyed riding the bike and found it much easier to ride than his big-box store bike, you wouldn’t buy the MXR for a child that size. The picture below shows how your child may look on the MXR when they are about ready to graduate to a 24″ bike.
For step by step instructions on how to find a bike that is the perfect fit for your child, check out our guide on Kids Bike Sizes.
7-Year-Old vs. 9-Year-Old Riders
Performance and Build
Whether trying to set speed records or going down curbs, the MXR is ready for action. With its durable build, the MXR smoothly and quietly rode around our neighborhood testing grounds. Compared to several big-box store bikes we’ve tried out, the MXR is free from the typical rattles and bumps often heard when going down curbs or getting aggressive on the bike. The MXR simply went where it was pointed and obediently went along for the ride.
While the solid frame and good components of the MXR play a large role in its overall quality of build and “quietness”, we found the larger tires also helped to dampen the impacts from curbs and jumps. The MXR tires are 2.1″ wide and are much wider and more cushioning than the standard tires found on most 16″ bikes that the child is likely moving up from.
These tires, are also slightly wider than those found on higher-end 20 inch bikes. This extra width helps to provide more cushioning, but they do add additional weight to the bike. For riders sticking to neighborhoods, however, the additional weight of the tires is worth the added cushioning.
The Raleigh MXR 20 comes with coaster brake and a rear caliper brake. While the caliper brake isn’t as high as quality as high-end caliper brakes, it performed adequately. The coaster brake also performed as expected. Our testers who were used to coaster brakes were able to easily engage the brake and stop in a predictable amount of time.
Our small 7-year-old tester, however, who is not used to coaster brakes, did have trouble engaging the coaster brake. This is completely expected and is not the fault of the bike. If your child’s current bike has dual hand brakes and no coaster brake, be sure to anticipate a learning curve with the coaster brake when moving up to the MXR (or any bike with a coaster brake).
Not too “kid” and not too “adult”, our testers were fans of the MXR’s overall design. The orange grips and coordinating rims provided that extra pop of color and provided a fun contrast the to bike’s bold blue paint. The MXR is only available in the blue and orange color shown.
Pedal Power (Gain Ratio and Components)
When selecting a bike without any gears, it’s important to take note of the single gear that the bike provides. Over the years we’ve found the gain ratio of the bike to be the easiest measurement to use to help determine how fast or slow the gears on a bike are.
A low gain ratio (between 2 and 3.5) is easier to get started but has a lower maximum speed. A bike with a higher gain ratio (between 3.5 and 5) is harder to get started but can reach a higher speed.
The MXR 20 has a gain ratio of 4, making it on the higher-end. As a result, the MXR takes more effort to get started, but the bike will speed up relatively quickly as kids will gain significant distance with each pedal stroke. Almost all 20″ single-speed bikes in the MXR price range will have a gain ratio close to 4 as this range provides a good mix of speed, without being too challenging to get started.
As a comparison, the single-speed Cleary Owl, which is designed for more aggressive riders (those who want to tackle hills, jumps, dirt trails etc.) has a gain ratio of 3.77. The Pello Reddi, which is designed for long distance riding, has a gain ratio of 4.5.
Compared to the cheaper Huffy, Kent and Dynacraft budget 20″ bikes (link to our comparison review of those bikes), the Raleigh MXR excels and is worth the additional $70+ in price. In addition to quality, performance, and style, the Raleigh is significantly lighter – weighing almost 10 lb. less than the Kent Chaos!
For those with more a more aggressive rider on their hands, the Raleigh Rowdy 20″ is a worthy upgrade. With a more aggressive body position (flat handlebars versus upright), gears, dual hand brakes, and no coaster brake, the Rowdy is a great choice for those wanting a more versatile bike without breaking the bank.
|Raleigh MXR 20||Raleigh Rowdy 20|
|Seat Height||23.5″ – 29.5″||25.25″ – 30″|
|Weight||22.8 lb.||21 lbs.|
|Gearing||Single Speed||6 speed|
|Brakes||Rear Hand, Coaster||Dual Hand, No Coaster|
Raleigh MXR 20 Bottom Line
The Raleigh MXR 20 is an excellent choice for neighborhood riders ages 7 to 9 who weigh over 60 lb. With durable construction, a rear hand brake and a reliable coaster brake, it’s sure to last for years and won’t break the bank for under $200!
The MXR is only available in blue and orange, but Raleigh does offer the Jazzi 20, which is very similar to the MXR in size and weight and is available in light blue with sprinkles decals and designs (our Jazzi 20 review).