12 Best 20″ Bikes: 2018

Bikes for Kids 6, 7, and 8 Years Old

While 20″ bikes are generally the best fit for most kids who are 6, 7, or 8 years old, these bikes can vary greatly in size, price, and features. From gears to brakes to frame size, kids’ bikes can start getting a lot more complicated when your child is ready for a 20″ bike.

To help you wade through all the options, we tested twenty different 20″ bikes, ranging from $50 to $900, to help you find the best bike for your child’s riding style and your budget.

Collage of 10 different 20" bikes with kid riders

Top Picks Summary

While 20″ bikes generally fit most kids who are 6, 7, or 8 years old, which 20″ bike is best for your child?  Use our handy chart below to check out our top picks for your child’s riding style, then scroll down for more detailed info on each bike.

Best for Biking Around the Neighborhood

What We Look for in a Neighborhood Bike

Bikes for kids who mainly ride around the neighborhood should be lightweight, easy-to-ride, and provide a comfortable riding position for the rider.  The average child rider doesn’t need gears or shocks or other extra add-ons that require maintenance and greatly increase the overall weight of the bike.  Keep it simple here – what your child needs is a dependable, durable, and fun bike to carry them comfortably around the neighborhood.

Priority Start 20″, Best Introduction to Gears: The Priority Start 20″ offers the simplicity and easy maintenance of a single-speed but with the gearing options of a traditional geared bike. With just three-gears housed in an innovative, internally-geared hub, the Priority Start 20 has gears, but without the traditional bulky and finicky derailleur or frustrating tuning requirements. Combined with a lightweight frame and grease-free belt drive, the Start 20 is the perfect “Goldilocks” bike for the average everyday rider – not too basic, not too complex, but just right. Full Priority Start 20 review.

Guardian Single Speed, Best Braking System: Lightweight and well-designed, Guardian bikes come with a proprietary braking system called SureStop that prevents unsafe braking. When braking with just the front hand brake while at high speeds, bikes can tilt forward bucking the child off the bike and over the handlebars. SureStop on Guardian bikes prevents this by having only one brake lever engage the front and rear brakes. Not only it is the safest system on the market, but it’s also much easier to use than most tradition dual-hand brakes.  Also available in geared models.  Full Guardian review.

Pello Reddi, Best for Everyday Riders: Lightweight with a low center-of-gravity, the Pello Reddi is the perfect bike for everyday neighborhood riders looking for a fun,  steady ride with a comfortable upright position.  With the highest gain ratio of the three, it takes slightly more effort than the others to get started but can reach faster speeds, making it ideal for fun rides around the neighborhood.  Full Pello Reddi review.

Best for Aggressive Riders or Basic Trail Riding

What We Look for in Aggressive and/or Basic Trail Bikes

Built for adventure, bikes for aggressive riders or all-terrain riding should have a wider handlebar for increased control and to place the rider in a leaned forward body position to allow them to more easily shift their weight as they jump off curbs, sail down hills, and tackle tougher terrain.  Geared bikes are ideal for basic trail riding or any riding around hills.  As far as shocks go, due to the additional weight, they add to the bike, we only recommend them for more advanced mountain bike riders.

Cleary Owl, Best for Aggressive Neighborhood Riders: Single-speed, but with a more leaned-forward body position, the Cleary Owl is an amazing bike for those ambitious kids ready to tackle any jump or curb the neighborhood can throw at them, and who don’t want the extra hassle of shifting gears.  Well equipped for basic trail riding as well, the Cleary allows kids to easily throw their weight around, but its single speed does limit its use to basic trails.  Full Cleary Owl review.

Prevelo Alpha Three, Best for Basic Trail Riding: Lightweight and nimble, the Prevelo is an amazing first mountain bike for kids ready to hit the hills, as well as for aggressive neighborhood riders who need gears.  From the Alpha’s Kenda knobby tires to its trigger shifters, it’s well spec’d out and ready to play.  Full Prevelo Alpha Three review.

Raleigh Rowdy 20Best on a Budget: The Rowdy packs a lot of punch into its $229 price tag.  While built with lower-end components than our other top picks, it’s amazingly light for its price, is built with the easy-to-use Shimano grip shifter, and has responsive, dual-hand brakes. Full Rowdy 20″ review.

Bonus: Prevelo Zulu Three, Best for True All-Terrain Riding: For those young rippers ready to tackle true single-track, look no further than the Zulu.  With wider 2″ knobby Kenda tires, Promax hydraulic disc brakes, and the clutched Shimano ZEE derailleur for maximum clearance, the Zulu is the ultimate ride for young groms. Full Zulu Three review.

Best for Longer Distances (Paved)

What We Look for in a Bike for Riding Longer Distances

Lightweight bikes with narrower tires, higher gearing, and a comfortable body position are ideal for riding longer distances on paved surfaces.  With less rolling resistance, thinner tires more easily roll over the pavement and are also lighter than wider tires.  Higher gearing is essential for helping bikes gain speed, especially on flat rides.

WOOM4, Best Multi-Use: With mid-range 1.5″ tires, grip shifters, and weighing in under 17 lb., the WOOM4 is well-suited for anything from longer rides on paved bike trails to cruising dirt roads. With a wide gain ratio (gearing) range of 2.3 to 6.7, the WOOM4 is elevation-change friendly and well equipped to fly down flat paved trails or easily climb rolling hills.  Comes in four fun colors for particular kids. Full WOOM 4 review.

ByK E-450Best on a Budget: Half the cost of the high-end bikes, the ByK E-450 is single-speed and isn’t as fine-tuned and fancy, but is well-equipped for basic road riding.  The ByK is lighter than most mid-range 20″ bikes and has narrower tires. With its single-speed gain ratio of 4.0, the ByK-450 easily allows kids to gain speed on flat roads with limited effort.  Full ByK E-450 review.

ByK E-450x3i, Best Intro to Gears: A geared version of the 450, the ByK E-450x3i’s 3-speed internal hub is the bike’s standout feature and main selling point.  We love internally-geared bikes for young riders – they’re low maintenance and shifting between three gears versus the traditional six or seven makes the introduction to gears more manageable, especially for timid riders.  Full ByK E-450x3i review.

Best Budget Bike

What We Look for in a Budget Bike

Whether you’re on a budget or just need a basic bike for your child to get around the neighborhood, we’ve tested out numerous 20″ bikes under $250 to help you find the best bang for your buck.  Bikes under 30 lbs. with good frame design and a durable build are the most important features. In general, due to the complex nature of gears and shifters, we generally recommend NOT getting the cheapest geared bikes on the market as they will cause more pain and misery than they are worth. For ultra-budget bikes under $100, please reference our ultra-budget girls and boys 20″ bike comparison reviews.

Schwinn SmartStart, Best Under $150: A big step up in quality and design from $75 big-box store bikes, Schwinn’s SmartStart series offers a lightweight bike at an easy-to-swallow price.  Its overall geometry makes pedaling easy, but the handlebars are very tall for kids which limit maneuverability for riders with shorter torsos or those with inseams in the 22″ to 24″ range.  The taller bars, however, does allow taller riders, whose have grown above the maximum seat height, to continue to ride the bike without much trouble.

Diamondback Insight 20, Best Geared Budget Bike: For those who live near hills or simply want or need the flexibility of a geared bike when riding, the Diamondback Insight is a great basic geared bike. Full Insight 20 review.

Raleigh MXR 20, Best Bang for Your Buck: An amazing build for the price, the MXR offers a comfortable ride with a durable build that is sure to last through several children. Like the Schwinn is also has a coaster brake, but the rear V-brake on the MXR is much more responsive and better quality than the brakes on the Schwinn.

Related Articles

Kids’ Bikes: Product Filter Tool – To view and filter even more 16″ bikes, and read reviews.

Kids’ Bikes: How to Choose – Detailed information on what to look for when choosing a bike.

How to Teach Your Child to Ride a Bike Without Training Wheels – It doesn’t have to be painful!


Disclosure: The majority of links provided are affiliate links we receive a small commission on sales made through them (including Amazon).
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