20″ Kids’ Bikes
What is the best bike for a 6, 7, or 8-year-old?
While 20″ bikes are generally the best fit for most kids who are 6, 7, or 8 years old, they 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. But with kid-centric brands like WOOM, Guardian, Prevelo, Priority, and Cleary, you can’t go wrong. 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.
Why trust us? Those kids riding these bikes in those pictures are our kids (as well as some neighborhood kids). We put bikes to the test, not just rate them based on what others have said about them. Plus, with 9 years of bike testing under our belt, we’ve personally met and consulted with many top brands in the industry including WOOM, Strider, Prevelo and Cleary.
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 Bikes for 6, 7, and 8-year-Olds
OTHER STANDOUT BIKES
Your standard, everyday ride - these stable, easier-to-balance bikes perform consistently around the neighborhood.
|Priority Start 20"||Guardian 20", Pello Reddi|
Aggressive or Basic Trail Riding
Riders who are ready to hit every jump, fly over every curb, and are passionate about riding.
|Cleary Owl||Prevelo Alpha 3, Raleigh Rowdy 20|
Longer Distances (Paved)
Comfortable long rides with mid to high gearing for more distance with each pedal stroke.
|WOOM 4||ByK E-450x3i, ByK E-450|
Parents looking for quality bikes with a good overall design and performance on budget.
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 a lot of 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.
Neighborhood Bikes: Best Introduction to Gears
SEAT HEIGHT: 22″ – 28.5″
WEIGHT: 19.5 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: 3 gears for easy intro to shifting
FULL REVIEW: Priority Start 20″
Staying true to their innovative beginnings, 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. 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.
Neighborhood Bikes: Best Braking System
SEAT HEIGHT: 22.5″ – 28″
WEIGHT: 20.5 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Unique & safe braking system
FULL REVIEW: Guardian Single Speed
Lightweight and well-designed, Shank-Tank funded 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 and buck 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.
Neighborhood Bikes: Best for Everyday Riders
SEAT HEIGHT: 21.25″ – 26″
WEIGHT: 17 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Comfortable, upright positioning
FULL REVIEW: Pello Reddi
Pello Bikes are the dream-child of a dad simply looking for a great bike at a great price. He succeeded! 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.
Comparison: 20" Neighborhood Bikes
|category||Priority Start||Guardian 20||Pello Reddi|
|Guardian 20||Pello Reddi|
Link to Review
3 gears for easy intro to shifting
Unique & safe braking system
Comfortable, upright positioning
22" - 28.5"
22.5" - 28"
21.25" - 26"
2.39 to 4.45
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. This allows 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.
Aggressive & Trail Riders: Best for Aggressive Neighborhood Riders
SEAT HEIGHT: 21″ – 26.4″
WEIGHT: 19.1 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Single-speed simplicity
FULL REVIEW: Cleary Owl
Single-speed, but with a more leaned-forward body position, the Cleary Owl is an amazing, fun-to-ride 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.
Aggressive & Trail Riders: Best for Basic Trail Riding
SEAT HEIGHT: 20.7″ – 25.5″
WEIGHT: 18.9 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Lightweight and nimble
FULL REVIEW: Prevelo Alpha Three
Engineered for kids, Prevelo bikes are lightweight, nimble and 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.
Aggressive & Trail Riders: Best on a Budget
SEAT HEIGHT: 25.25″ – 29.9″
WEIGHT: 21 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Great quality for the price
FULL REVIEW: Raleigh Rowdy 20
The Raleigh Rowdy packs a lot of punch into its sub-$250 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.
- 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.
Comparison: 20" Aggressive or Basic Trail Bikes
|Category||Cleary Owl||Prevelo Alpha Three||Raleigh Rowdy 20|
|Prevelo Alpha Three||Raleigh Rowdy 20|
Link to Review
8sp, Shimano trigger
6sp, Shimano grip
Lightweight and nimble
Great quality for the price
21" - 26.4"
20.7" - 25.5"
25.25" - 29.9"
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.
Longer Distances: Best Multi-Use
SEAT HEIGHT: 22.1″ – 28″
WEIGHT: 16.3 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Wide gain ratio range
FULL REVIEW: WOOM 4
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.
Longer Distances: Best on a Budget
SEAT HEIGHT: 23.2″ – 28.7″
WEIGHT: 19.8 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Single-speed simplicity
FULL REVIEW: ByK E-450
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.
Longer Distances: Best Intro to Gears
SEAT HEIGHT: 23.2″ – 28.7″
WEIGHT: 20.8 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Just 3 gears for easy intro to shifting
FULL REVIEW: ByK E-450x3i
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.
Comparison: 20" Longer Distance Bikes
|Category||WOOM 4||ByK 450 3i||ByK 450|
|ByK E-450x3i||ByK E-450|
Link to Review
8sp, SRAM grip
3sp, internal hub
Wide gain ratio range
Just 3 gears for easy intro to shifting
22.1" - 28"
23.2" - 28.7"
23.2" - 28.7"
Coaster, Dual hand
Coaster, Dual hand
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 20″ bike comparison review and ultra-budget boys 20″ bike comparison reviews.
Budget Bikes: Best Under $300
SEAT HEIGHT: 20″ Small (single speed): 20.8″ – 26.8″, 20″ Large (geared): 22.5″ – 28″
WEIGHT: 20.7 lb. and 22.9 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Guardian patented SureStop breaking system that allows kids to brake faster, safer and with less effort!
$259 is quite the stretch to be considered a “budget bike”, but the amazing features available on Guardian’s Ethos line for under $300 is quite the steal. From their low-center-of-gravity designs and lightweight frames to their amazing SureStop braking system, the Guardian’s Ethos line offer’s premium features for a reasonable price. Guardian offers two 20″ bikes in their Ethos line. A 20″ small, which is single speed and a 20″ large, which comes with a larger frame than the 20″ small, and is geared. The 20″ Large does have a higher minimum seat height than the 20″ Small, so be sure to measure your child inseam before you order!
Budget Bikes: Best Geared
SEAT HEIGHT: 25.1″ – 30.9″
WEIGHT: 23.75 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Easy to use gears
FULL REVIEW: Diamondback Insight 20
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.
Budget Bikes: Best Bang for Your Buck
WEIGHT: 21.2 lb
STANDOUT FEATURES: Lightweight, great quality for the price
An amazing build for the price, the Raleigh MXR offers a comfortable ride with a durable build that is sure to last through several children. Like the Schwinn, it 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.
Comparison: 20" Budget Bikes
Link to Review
Review in progress
|Review in progress|
7sp, Shimano grip
SureStop braking system, low center-of-gravity geometry
Easy to use gears
Lightweight, great quality for the price
20.8" – 26.8" (small), 22.5″ – 28″ (large)
25.1" - 30.9"
20.7 lb., 22.9 lb.
SureStop, No coaster
Coaster, Rear Hand
How to Choose the Best 20″ Bike for your 6 to 8 Year Old
Here’s a quick summary of what to look for when selecting the best bike for your 6, 7, or 8-year-old. For more detailed information on the topics below, check out our article Kids’ Pedal Bikes: How to Choose.
A 20″ bike is generally the best fit to buy for 6 and 7-year-olds. If your child is already 8 or is a very tall 7-year-old, also consider 24″ bikes as they would offer more room for growth. If a child starts on a 20″ bike when they are 6 or 7, they can likely continue to ride it while they are 8 years old.
In addition to wheel size, pay close attention to the minimum and maximum seat height as they can vary widely. The two bikes shown above both have 20″ wheels but fit different size kids. The Priority Start on the left has a 22″ minimum seat height while the Raleigh Rowdy on the right has a minimum seat height of 25.25″! Make sure that you choose a bike that not only fits well now, but allows for plenty of room for growth.
Don’t know how tall your child’s bike seat should be? If your child is a confident rider, it’s best to set the bike’s seat about 2 – 3″ above the child’s inseam. This will allow them to touch the ground with their tiptoes and achieve maximum efficiency while pedaling. If your child is very timid, you can set the seat lower to allow them to more easily touch the ground with their feet.
Ideally, your child’s bike will be less than 30% of their body weight. In most cases, the lighter the bike, the easier the bike is to ride. This is especially true with lightweight or petite children.
Many 20″ bikes also come with gears, which can increase the weight of the bike, although it is minimal. Shocks on a 20″ bike, however, can add A LOT of unnecessary weight to a bike. Shocks on a 20″ bike should be avoided unless the child is riding really aggressive single-track trails.
The frame design on 20″ bikes can vary greatly as these bikes are often designed for a specific type of rider. A bike built for neighborhood use will place its rider in a more comfortable upright position while a bike built for more aggressive riding will place the rider in a much more aggressive leaned forward position.
As a result, there isn’t one best bike for kids who are 6, 7 or 8-years-old. There are bikes that are best for different types of riders and different types of terrains.
Generally, 6-year-olds are coordinated enough to properly use a handbrake. Handbrakes are much more efficient and have much more stopping power than coaster brakes. As a result, we give strong preference to bikes with dual hand brakes and NO coaster brake. Coaster brakes aren’t necessary and prevent kids from pedaling backward to help them regain their balance.
A 20″ bike is the first time you have an option to purchase a bike with gears. For some kids at age 6, 7, or 8, gears might still be too much to handle! For less coordinated or timid kids, it’s just one more thing to worry about. Many great 20″ single-speed bikes are available that might be worth considering.
For many kids, gears are a welcomed addition to their bike! Some kids quickly and easily take to gears, while others take time. Learning when and how to shift can be confusing and challenging. Often times age makes a difference in how a child responds to gears. 6-year-olds generally love playing with gears (i.e. shifting whenever they feel like it), but by 7 years old, their coordination has increased and they begin to use the gears more intentionally.
Good bikes are not cheap, and as bikes get larger, they get more expensive. Every bike on this list is significantly better than a bike you’ll find at Walmart, but also costs more. The more expensive bikes on this list are more lightweight, have higher end components, and frame designs that make them easier to ride. Adding gears also contributes significantly to the price.
20" Bikes for Kids 6 to 8 Years Old
|Weight||Min Seat Height||Max Seat Height||Brakes||Gears||Frame Material|
|19.5 lb.||22"||28.5"||Dual hand||3/Shimano grip, internal hub||Aluminum|
|20.5 lb.||22.5"||28"||SureStop||Single or 6 speed||Aluminum|
|17 lb.||21.25″||26″||Dual hand||Single||Aluminum|
|$425||19.1 lb.||21″||26.4″||Dual hand||Single||Steel|
|18.9 lb.||20.7″||25.5″||Dual hand||8/ Shimano Trigger||Aluminum|
|21 lb.||25.25″||29.9″||Dual hand||6/Shimano Grip||Aluminum|
|16.3 lb.||22.1″||28"||Dual hand||8/SRAM Grip||Aluminum|
|19.8 lb.||23.2″||28.7″||Coaster with dual hand||Single||Aluminum|
|20.8 lb.||23.2″||28.7″||Coaster with dual hand||3/Shimano internally geared||Aluminum|
|23.75 lb.||25.1"||30.9"||Dual hand||7/Shimano Grip||Aluminum|
|22.9 lb.||22.5″||28"||SureStop||6/Shimano Grip||Steel|
|Raleigh MXR 20||21.2 lb.||Coaster, rear hand||Single||Aluminum|
|Frog 52s||17.1 lb.||20"||Dual hand||Single||Aluminum|
|Frog 52||19.3 lb.||20"||Dual hand||8/Shimano Trigger||Aluminum|
|Frog 55||19.4 lb.||22"||Dual hand||8/Shimano Trigger||Aluminum|
Kids’ Bikes: Comparison Charts – To view and sort even more 20″ 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!