Lightweight and nimble, Vitus kids bikes are an amazing choice for young riders ready to tackle the pavement jungles around them. With Tektro brakes, Shimano trigger shifters, and a mid-range price point, the Vitus 20 inch and 24 inch come fully equipped to handle everything from cruising around the neighborhood to miles-long adventures on paved trails.
While the 20″ and 24″ are very similar in components and geometry, they do have very different tires, making them suitable for different riding styles. The Vitus 24″ comes with multi-use tires with an all-terrain tread. It’s great for paved and compact dirt trails. The Vitus 20″ comes with much smoother road tires that are best suited for paved trails. Read our full review below for all the details on why Vitus Kids bikes are a solid choice.
Vitus Kids 20 Inch and 24 Inch Bike Overview
BEST FOR: Adventurous neighborhood riders who want a lightweight bike suitable for everything from long paved rides to practicing air on jumps. The knobby tires on the 24″ are also suitable for basic compact trails, but the smoother tires on the 20″ are best for pavement.
SEAT HEIGHT: 20 inch – 22.5″ – 27.75″; 24 inch – 26″ – 32″
WEIGHT: 20 inch – 19.7 lb.; 24 inch – 21.8 lb.
GEARS: 20 inch – 7sp, Shimano Altus Trigger Shifters; 24 -inch – 8sp, Shimano Acera Trigger Shifters
BRAKES: Tektro Dual Hand
- Lightweight bike with great components for the price
- Padded saddles that our testers raved about
- Comfortable, semi-upright positioning appreciated by new and aggressive riders
- Available in a variety of colors
- Trigger shifters great for kids who want to ride more aggressively
- Trigger shifters can be challenging to learn for beginning riders
- Basic graphics and color patterns
- Shipping rates can vary greatly! (We’ve seen rates vary from $46 to $140)
- Lower gear ranges compared to other brands
Vitus Kids Bikes Video Review
Visual learner? Watch our video review of the 20 inch and 24 inch Vitus bikes to see these bikes in action!
Results of our Test Rides
Hailing from the UK, Vitus bikes are not a common sight in the US, but they are readily online via Chain Reaction Cycles and ship to the US. Vitus, which is the house brand for the Chain Reaction Cycles/Wiggles group, makes kids bikes ranging from a balance bike to 26″ mountain bikes. We previously tested and loved their balance bike and based on our experience ordered their 20 inch and 24 inch bikes to see how they stacked up!
From our 6-year-old tester trying out gears for the first time, to our experienced and aggressive 9-year-old tester, our riders were all quickly sold on the Vitus bikes. Well built, well spec’d, lightweight, and nimble, they performed exceptionally well for their price tag.
Vitus 20 Inch Kids Bike Performance
Coming standard with smooth street tires, we tested the Vitus 20 Kids Bike around the neighborhood and on longer paved bike trails. The Vitus performed like a champ and made easy work for our 47″ tall 6-year-old tester. Although not an aggressive rider by nature, within minutes of hopping on the Vitus, he quickly sought out every ramp and curb he could try.
Although a pound heavier than his current smaller bike, he was comfortable and confident on the Vitus, even once he hit the longer paved trails . From the get-go he declared that this bike was “much faster” than his current bike and was not interested in ending his test ride anytime soon!
Vitus 24 Inch Kids Bike Performance
With knobbier tires than the 20″ Vitus, the 24″ is a great multi-use bike fit for a wide variety of riders – from the adventurous neighborhood explorer to the all-terrain newbie just starting off on compact dirt trails. To get a complete picture of the Vitus 24, we tested it out with 8 and 9-year-old testers on various terrains.
Known for hitting every jump and curb he can find, our 9-year-old tester was immediately sold by the light and nimble nature of the Vitus. “Can I have this bike?!” With seemingly no time needed to adjust to the Vitus, he quickly and eagerly began hitting his favorite biking hot spots around the neighborhood. Whether he was popping wheelies or powering up a hill, the Vitus obediently delivered.
In addition to begin light and “easy to jump”, he found the Vitus to be “comfortable” and raved about the smooth, padded saddle and the fast shifting.
Beyond the neighborhood, the Vitus 24 also excelled and made for easy riding with our 8-year-old tester on longer rides. When testing out new bikes, he often points out little things about the bikes that he loves or doesn’t love. With the Vitus 24, he just happily rode along as if he had been riding the Vitus for years.
With a mid-range geometry (not too leaned in, not too upright) the Vitus 24 made for comfortable positioning during longer stretches, while still allowing him to get aggressive on the trails.
Unlike the Vitus 20″ which comes with smooth street tires, the Vitus 24″ comes with a multi-use tire (Kenda Small Block 8) that allows riders to easily transition from paved to basic compact dirt trails. While most 24 inch bikes have 1.5″ wide tires, the Vitus 24″ takes it a bit wider with 1.95″. While minor, the extra width does provide a bit more cushioning for the rocky parts of the trail.
Based on our test rides, the Vitus 24″ is a great option for those who want to occasionally ride compact dirt trails. It transitions from paved to dirt without skipping a beat. For true trail riders, the upgraded Vitus 20+ and 24+ are better options as they feature 2.6″ wide tires and hydraulic disc brakes.
Both the Vitus 20″ and 24″ bikes have pretty average seat height ranges for their size and price-point. The 20″ has a seat height range of 22.5″ (without the reflector) to 27.75″. It was a great fit for our 47″ tall 6-year-old tester who fits well on other 20 inch bikes on our favorites list.
The Vitus 24 Kids is similar in size to other higher-end 24 inch kids bikes. With a seat height range of 26″ to 32″, it easily adjusted to fit our 52″ tall 8 year-old and 54″ tall 9-year-old testers.
The Vitus Kids line of bikes are certainly on the lighter side compared to similar bikes on the market. They certainly aren’t as light as the much more expensive woom bikes, but are lighter than other bikes with similar price points.
We weighed both bikes with pedals on our Feedback Sports bike scale. The 20″ came in at 19.7 lb. and the 24″ at 21.8 lb. As noted by our testers, the lighter weight of the bikes is quite apparent in the performance and handling of the bikes.
Weight of Vitus Kids Bikes vs. Other Brands
|Vitus Kids||Raleigh Rowdy||REI Co-op||woom|
|20″ Bike Weight||19.7 lb.||21 lb.||21 lb.||16.3 lb.|
|24″ Bike Weight||21.8 lb.||22.1 lb.||26.1 lb.||18.1 lb.|
The 20″ and 24″ Vitus bikes come with very different tires that are best suited for different riding styles. The 20″ features a smooth Vee Speedster tire that is ideal for only paved surfaces. The 24″ comes with a multi-use Kenda Small Block 8 with a tread that is suitable for paved and compact dirt trails.
Considering most kids on 20″ bikes mainly stick to paved, we can certainly see why Vitus chose a smooth tread. For those who want more options for terrain in a 20″ bike, you can simply swap out the tires. For those in the U.S., however, considering the extra cost of shipping the Vitus from the UK, it’s likely better to purchase another comparable bike that comes with multi-use tires (such as the woom 4).
For those in the U.S., the Prevelo Alpha Three is an additional 20″ option. The Alpha Three comes with the same Kenda Small Block 8 tires found on the Vitus 24 (see comparison below).
Shimano Trigger Shifters
Both size Vitus kids bikes come standard with Shimano trigger shifters. We’ve found that trigger shifters tend to be more complicated to learn for beginning riders as compared to grip shifters, but it certainly isn’t a deal breaker. Considering kids on 24″ bikes have typically already mastered gears on their 20″ bike, issues with trigger shifters tend to be more problematic on 20″ bikes compared to 24″.
With Shimano triggers, shifting to a lower gear requires pushing a large button beneath the grip with the thumb. Shifting to a higher gear requires pulling on a small lever just below the front of the grip with the index finger. Getting this combination of pushing and pulling with different fingers and different buttons can be confusing for young riders, but they usually pick it up with time.
Advanced and “aggressive” riders tend to pick up this shifting style pretty quickly, but more timid and less-experienced riders tend to prefer grip shifters which require a child to only twist the grip towards or away from them. Grip shifters are available on both the woom 4 (20″) and the woom 5 (24″). For those in the U.S., grip shifters can be found on all the Priority Start and all Guardian Bikes.
Drivetrain and Gearing
The Vitus 20″ comes with 7 speeds and a Shimano Altus drivetrain, while the 24″ comes with 8 speeds and a Shimano Acera drivetrain. Both systems are a significant step above Shimano’s baseline Tourney series and are fully capable for beginning to aggressive neighborhood riding.
The gain ratios of both the bikes, however, are significantly lower than comparable models. While the Vitus’s lowest gain ratio is similar to other brands (the 20″ is 2.2 and the 24″ is 1.81), the highest gain ratio is significantly lower.
The Vitus 20″ highest gear’s gain ratio is 4.45, while the woom 4 and the Prevelo Alpha Three (both 20″ bikes – also with 8 speeds compared to 7) is 6.7. The Vitus 24″ highest gear’s gain ratio is 4.84. The woom 5 and the Prevelo Alpha Four are both over 6.
While not significant, for those riding on flatter terrain who need some higher gears to really pound out mileage or higher speeds, another brand may be a better option for you.
All bikes shipped to US addresses from Chain Reaction Cycles/Wiggle should have the brakes adjusted to meet U.S. standards. Of the four Vitus bikes we’ve purchased, 3 of the 4 came with the front brake connected to the left brake lever per U.S. standards. Make sure to check this before your child’s first ride!
In the U.S. the front brake is connected to the left brake lever, while in the UK it comes standard on the right lever. For U.S. kids who have learned to brake with mainly their right hand or rear brake (per U.S. standards), switching to a bike with the right hand connected to the front brake (UK standards) is problematic.
Having learned to mainly use the rear brake on their right hand, kids accustomed to U.S. braking standards who ride a bike with a UK braking set-up are likely to instinctively brake with their right hand (which now connects to the FRONT brake), instead of the REAR brake they are conditioned to. Braking too heavily with a front brake commonly leads to endos, especially at high speeds. An “endo” is when a biker is bucked off the bike and over the handlebars as a result of the rear tire popping up when the front brake engages.
Our 20″ bike was not properly adjusted to U.S. standards and the front brake was connected to the right brake lever. The brake cables, however, have plenty of slack in them, so swapping the cables between the two brake levers easily solved the problem and took a few minutes tops. If you need to swap your cables yourself, this video from Frog Bikes is a great demonstration on how to do it.
Assembly and Shipping
Both sizes of the Vitus Kids Bikes came with the front tire already attached and with all the tools necessary for assembly. In addition to speeding up assembly time, having the front tire already attached was a welcome surprise as it is quite common for the dropouts on the fork to get bent during shipping when the front tires are not attached.
Considering these bikes need to ship overseas for U.S. customers, we believe it was a great move on Vitus’ part. With the front wheel already attached, the dropouts on the fork are protected by the wheel itself, so they are unlikely to get bent.
In fact, while 2 of the 4 bikes we ordered came with their boxes in pristine condition, the 20″ box was a disaster and was literally falling apart (see image below). If the front tire had not been attached, we are quite certain the dropouts on the fork would have likely been bent. Much to our surprise, the bike was in great condition! The 4th bikes we ordered actually never arrived as it got “lost” in transit (Chain Reaction Quickly refunded our money).
For those in the U.S., be sure to monitor shipping rates for Vitus Kids bikes as they drastically increase the total cost of the the bikes! When we ordered our bikes, shipping (which includes all Duty fees) cost $46 per bike. Less than two months later and at the time of this review’s publication, rates went up to $140 per bike. Due to constant changes in shipping as well as Duty fees, shipping rates (which are out of the control of Chain Reaction Cycles) are likely to always change, so be sure to keep that in mind when comparing bikes.
Vitus 20 and 24 Kids Bikes Bottom Line
Well equipped and ready to roll, the Vitus Kids 20 inch and 24 inch bikes are light and nimble bikes that are a great choice for any neighborhood rider ready to tackle the world on two wheels. The Vitus’ Shimano trigger shifters however, do make the bikes less ideal for riders less experienced with gears. With a lower high-end gear, the Vitus kids bikes are also not ideal for those riders who want to gain some high speeds on long flat runs.
All-in-all, compared to similarly spec’d bikes, Vitus kids’ bikes are amazingly priced, but for those in the U.S. shipping rates may quickly diminish any savings.