How To Choose A Kids Mountain Bike | Tips For Buying The Right Kids Bike
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How To Choose A Kids Mountain Bike | Tips For Buying The Right Kids Bike

October 31, 2019

– From balance bikes to
proper mini super bikes, kids’ bikes have come a long long way. So many options out there, we’ll try and help you
navigate that minefield so you end up with the right
bike for your little person. (upbeat music) Kids’ bikes these days are so good, it makes me seethe with jealousy. Back in my day, you road a heavy BMX, your brakes that didn’t
work, and that was that but arguably, getting the right kids’ bike is more important than getting
the right one for a grown-up. The fitment, comfort and
usability of the bike will make a big difference in how capable it is on proper terrain but also it’ll make a massive difference to how much the kids
actually enjoy riding them and if you’re watching
this you’re probably into riding bikes yourself, so you want the kids to ride
it, love it, and get hooked. So for this video we’ve
teamed up with Commencal to talk you through the ins and outs when buying a mountain bike, what you can get and what
you need to consider. (upbeat music) Before we get into the sizing, the features and much much more, the first thing to remember, is that riding a bike should be fun; of course, the same for the kids. The bikes shouldn’t be a struggle to ride. They shouldn’t be heavy,
ill-fitting, too big, have adult-size components or
even heavy gearing on them. If they are, it could mean that
your kids aren’t going to enjoy riding them as much as
they otherwise would. So, let’s get started. (upbeat music) Contrary to what many people believe, age doesn’t determine
size of bike, height does. Just like it does for you and me and most kids’ bike brands
will help you navigate their range based on
height rather than age. Getting the right sized
bike for your child is really important of course so your child can ride
confidently and comfortably. It’s important to be able to
get both feet on the ground so kids can develop their skills quickly and have a lot of fun. (upbeat music) Here’s how you can measure up, get your child standing in
their socks against the wall with their back straight and
their heels on the ground. Put a book on their head
so it touches the wall. Mark with a pencil where
the bottom of the book touches the wall. Measure from the mark up to the floor then match their height
with the manufacturer’s recommended sizes on their website to make sure they’re safe and comfortable. Some brands also use the
inside leg measurement to help size your kid’s bike correctly. Again, get your child
to stand in their socks against the wall with their back straight. Place a book between their legs as if they were sat on a saddle. Move your child away from the wall and measure from the floor
to the top of the book. It can be really tempting to buy a bike that’s too big for your
child so they grow into it but there’s two real reasons
to try and avoid that. The first one is that
having a bike that’s too big is going to be harder to handle, also even getting on and off of things will be more difficult. The second reason is that
many bike manufacturers, Commencal included,
have designed the range with different sized wheels
so you can leapfrog one. So, they got the Ramones 14, 16 and a 20. You can go straight for the 14, miss out the middle on and go to the 20. Some bike brands even design
bikes that grow with the child. So, armed with this info,
get on to the manufacturer’s website and look for the bike that fits. (upbeat music) Which brings us on to
different types of bikes. You’ve got balance bikes, starter bikes, kids’ mountain bikes, and
junior mountain bikes. Commencal’s range is
fully-focused on the off-road, 100% mountain bikes from
the 12 inch balance bikes down there, up to 14 and then
you’ve got 14, 16, 20 and 24 starter mountain bikes on to
the junior mountain bikes, proper hard tails again, 20, 24 and 27.5 and then look at these bangers, proper full suspension trail bikes, 20, 24 and 27.5 wheel options. (upbeat music) Commencal use their pro racers people like Amaury Pierron and Myriam Nicole to develop their adult bikes and just like that, within the walls of the Commencal office, there are plenty of parents. So they use their kids to
help develop these bikes and they say that they concentrate
a lot on the ergonomics and geometry of the bikes to make sure they’re
great for off-road riding. Other kids’ bikes are available, things like E-bikes, road
bikes, and all-purpose bikes. (upbeat music) Whichever type of bike you go for, there are some key hallmarks
that mark this bike out as different from a bicycle-shaped object and proper kids’ mountain bike and the first one is lightweight
frames and components. Lighter means an easy and
more effortless and fun ride. Aluminum is king for kids’ bikes. Ergonomics for kids, so there
are plenty of components that are really designed around kids, things like the smaller down
to bars, check that out, shorter reach brake levers so
little hands can reach them. Shorter cranks and a narrow Q factor so the pedals are closer together, all make up a bike that is
designed for kids to ride. Comfortable and confident
geometry so kids’ bikes are designed to be more upright just so they’re not stretched out as much. It’s more comfortable. Also low-bottom brackets
have center of gravity make the bike super stable. (upbeat music) No need for pedals when you’re this young, kids on balance bikes
can just use their feet, scoot along and really
get used to riding a bike and that balance. Also, when they get a bit better, they can start putting their feet up on that little platform. Designed for sort of
two to three year olds, my three year old boy still
loves his balance bike he’s a little way off
going to pedals I think. There are also different
wheel-size options here if you fancy it, 12 or 14. Balance bikes actually sort
of take away the need for a kids’ bike with stabilizers
’cause kids will learn how to ride on a balance bike, learn how to lean in to
corners and things like that. So, hopefully when they go to pedals it should be a bit easier as well. Narrow bars, upright position, actually, this bike got knobbly tires and, if you really fancy doing it, you can stick a disc brake on the back. Set the saddle height
so that the kid’s feet are flat on the floor, still with a bit of bend in the knee. There’s even a balance bike
world championships out there you need to check out. Expect to pay somewhere between the range of 80 to 200 pounds
for a brand new balance bike. (upbeat music) Balance bikes versus bikes with stabilizers or training wheels. Many people now go
straight to balance bikes, they are great for getting kids to learn how to make speed with their
feet and balance on a bike, whereas stabilizers do help
kids get up to speed quicker and they can get used to pedalling and go faster, if you
think that’s a good thing, but then you’ve got that
massive leap of faith when you take your stabilizers off and the kid has to do it all for themself. So, nowadays you’ll probably
find that most people tend to go towards balance bikes. I think they’re a great way of kids learning how to fall off
a slow speed as well. Inevitably they will start
to go fast these things, so you might think about
then sticking a brake on it. Although I have heard from some parents that their kids love
their balance bike so much they’re reluctant to start pedalling, but every kid’s different. (upbeat music) Now, on to the starter bikes. These are the first bikes
you’ll find with pedals on them. They’ll be single speed for simplicity so kids don’t have to learn
about gears at the same time. Also, with an upright position
so kids aren’t scrunched up and they can see where they’re going. With saddle height now, you need to get the kid sat on the saddle with one foot on the floor
and with the pedal in bottom, make sure the knee is slightly bent, but make sure they can really
touch the floor confidently. Most of these bikes
will have a chain guard to make sure that is all hidden away. Away from interested fingers where kids might start putting them. Also, many brands will
have a larger version. So this is the Ramones 14 Commencal, we got the Ramones 16 as well. So a bigger frame, bigger
wheels, same simplicity. (upbeat music) Quality components. Now go to your local hardware
superstore or even supermarket and you’ll probably see some very bright, stick-it-up cartoon themed bikes, or at least they look like bikes, but they’re actually bike-shaped objects. When you see a proper kids’
bike from a proper manufacturer, you’ll see a massive difference. You’ve got aluminum frames and components will make the bike much more capable. The use of proper kids components that are designed specifically
to suit the ergonomics are the real hallmark of a
proper kid’s mountain bike. Now Commencal say that the
cockpit is really important suits more hands, things like bars, the size of those, the levers,
the grips and the shifts, it’s all designed to make
it really usable by kids. Contact points, the saddle,
handlebars and grips should be the right
size for little bodies. In the case of bars and grips that means having a smaller diameter so
that little hands can get grip. They shouldn’t be cut
down at odd-sized parts. Brakes should be designed specifically to be closer to the bars
for a shorter reach. Some will have a noticeably
lighter action too, making braking almost
effortless for little hands. Crank length is also in proportion for correct saddle height and to get a low bike with
plenty of crank clearance from the trail. So it’s paddle height,
the lower the better. The narrower the Q factor, the horizontal distance
between cranks, the better. This means that smaller rider’s legs will go up and down
efficiently as they pedal, rather than being bowed outwards. (upbeat music) Kids’ mountain bikes, now they’ve jumped up a bit in size a bit but they’re more recognizably
a mountain bike shape. Most of these bikes are
probably going to be rigid, although you can get options
with suspension forks, probably an air suspension fork, so they’re lighter and
they’re easily adjustable with changing riding weight. We’ve also now gone from one gear to many so it opens up the terrain
you can ride these on. (upbeat music) Commencal have the Ramones 20 and 24, both seven speed bikes. These kids’ mountain bikes
start at about 350 pounds up to about a thousand. (upbeat music) These are proper mountain bikes
designed for proper riding. Also, a couple of these
might be a good option for smaller adults that
can’t fit an adult bike. The Meta Junior are really quality bikes with brands you’ll recognize
from the smaller-wheel bikes you’ve got (mumbles) suspension forks, going up in travel to the Junior bike, this is the 27.5 inch wheel bike. The rock shocks recon fork on there. Sram gears on all these bikes. (upbeat music) The Meta Hardtails are available
in 20, 24 and 27.5 inch so a big range of height
difference in riders. On to probably the coolest
bike I’ve ever seen, of course bikes, that’s the Clash. This one especially it’s a 20 inch. So say wheels I got from the Clash, that is a very small big-hitted bike. (upbeat music) Up to the Junior, absolutely
no compromise made here, 27.5 inch wheeled bike, 160
mil travel front and rear, you’ve got big brakes,
you’ve got the Sram guards, the 200 mil front router, 180 rear. This bike could do some pretty big, pretty impressive riding. (upbeat music) Even the suspension
internals have been designed to give kids the best stuff,
scaled down to suit them. As Commencal explained, the Kinematic is designed to
fit very low-weight riders by using a very high ratio, we can have a decent air pressure in the shock and standard hydraulics. Without this, it would be impossible to have a bike made for kids. Expect prices to range
from about 600 pounds up to two and a half thousand. Yes, that’s a lot of cash, you won’t find many bikes in your life that keep their value as
well as a good kids’ bike. As soon as yours grows out of it, someone else’s will probably grow into it. Well, cheers for that
riding Billy and Louis that was absolutely amazing, proper mini shredders. Hopefully you’ll find
that information useful if you’re going to buy a kids’ bike. If you want to see another
video with a big child, then over there for a video with Blake. Give us a thumbs up if
you love mini shredders and hit that button to subscribe.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. Another issue with stabilisers is that some kids tend to lean to one side on the stabilisers which makes moving from stabilisers to two wheels harder

  2. How about a video of when its time to change a kid from a hard tail to a full suspension bike? My five year old has been riding a spawn Yama Jama for 2 years at the ski hills in BC. This year he's been riding technical blue trails and you can really see he needs a full suspension bike because of sore hands and the rear tire bouncing all over the place. I am a little concerned with BB heights on the 20" full suspension bikes on technical trails and have heard mixed reviews. Any experience?

  3. My little sister has a 2019 Trek Roscoe 20’ and she LOVES it. I have a 2020 Trek Roscoe 7 and it is hella fun. Keep it up GMBN!

  4. looks like 26 inch wheels are officially dead, they didn't even have a kids bike in that size. Even though I ride 26 inch wheels

  5. I just bought the 24” Commencal Clash for my 6 and 8 year olds for bike park duty and they’re in love with them! Full on enduro kids bike… so much better than my Huffy BMX bike when I was their age

  6. Great video, it was hard picking out my sons bike. I spent months looking and reading. I never saw any of the bikes you were showing wish I would have.

  7. What happened with the 26" size wheels? This size should be perfect between 24 and 27,5… I got my 8 years old son a Vitus Nucleus 26 for just 500Euro, 12,5KG, 9 speed Shimano Altus and 100mm AIR fork… a great bike for a very good price! The most important aspect for me is weight… a kids bike should not be as or more heavy them an adult bike. A kid of 26kg having to ride a bike of almost 13kg is like a 60kg adult riding a 30kg bike. Imagine that!

  8. My brother used to be on a balance bike. And then one Day he just hopped on My cousins bike without training wheel and then he has never used the balance bike since

  9. Haha I ride trails on my mongoose Walmart bike and I really want I good bike and these kids have a lifetime supply of amazing bikes.My dream is to get a good hardtack and go hard without fear of breaking

  10. I don't like kids much, don't mind if others have them. But damn, wish we had such awesome bikes 30 years ago! I agree with Nail, we had BMX bikes(those who's parents had more money, otherwise they had only Pony bikes – google them, they still malke them, but they are way more expensive as they used to be),

  11. Had a commencal meta about 8 years ago-ish(Stolen 6 years ago).Had tried to get my,then, 5 year old a commencal but could only source them from Europe.Glad to see they're hopefully getting more easily available in UK.

  12. Missing the classic rear derailleur cage… kids.just chuck bikes down…non-drive side down only rule takes a while to become sevond nature

  13. All them commencal's are heavy, but they are are as good as you can expect of the shelf, of the shelf normally has compromise built in

  14. #AskGMBN Hi guys,
    because of severe knee pain (cartilage damage) biking is almost impossible for me. When I sit down I can pedal, but as soon as I stand up, I can barely make a pedal turn. My question is whether an e-bike would help or I can only be on the bike with an "Aden drive". What you think about the concept?
    Thanks Daniel

  15. Great! 😀 Th for all the research! 😀 I also went for the Commençal Ramones 14'' as I couldn't get the Prevelo Bikes here in Europe. I don't regret it at all and as my nephew LOVES his new bike, I'm all happy to spend my time with him teaching how to balance and pedal 🙂

  16. I just ordered a Pello Reyes for my 8 year old. We’re lucky to have 3 boys so the cost is defrayed over multiple users. I ordered the optional air fork and wider tires, but they ship it with the rigid and the regular tires so it’s pretty easy to switch between a 21lbs (9.5kg) rigid, and a 24lbs (11kg) hardtail.

  17. I disagree with them holding value, it’s tough to find a parent who gives a fk about their kid riding a nice bike, the resale is half at best a year later. I’ve volunteered for bike swaps multiple years and kids bikes just sit there if they’re any higher than 50% in mint condition.

  18. This was super informative. I hope parents keep it in mind as the Christmas season rolls around when they are considering getting their kids on bikes. Well done Neal. Oh, and your little guy is rocking that push bike!

  19. My 1.5 year old just hit 86cm, and he can almost reach the ground on the balance bike. I feel like feeding him steroids to speed up his growth so we can get out there already! 🙂 (Obviously that was a joke)

  20. Anyone else want to see Blake riding one of those kids bikes? He screams "big kid."

    Now getting him to give it back might be an even bigger challenge.

  21. Should've made more of a focus on gearing. Little legs need easy gearing! It's getting better, but lots of kids bikes in recent years, even a triple front crank, simply don't have a big enough cassette on the back, and/or too big of a front chainring.
    For parents that don't ride, easy gearing comes from a small amount of teeth on the front gear/s, and a large amount of teeth on the biggest rear gears. They'll have a number of teeth, and you want to ensure a smaller front ring and a larger number of teeth at the rear if you ride anywhere with hills. A lightweight frame and components won't help skinny little legs get up a hill if you have too-hard gearing.
    Also, most suspension on kids bikes in 20" and 24" size bikes is heavy, largely useless rubbish. Adults have a hard time compressing the too-stiff springs, so your 25kg child is never going to do it. If you can't afford air forks on a kids bike (and who can?!?), better to save weight and get a rigid fork bike, maybe with plus sized tyres for some cushioning.

  22. My Kid learned on balance bike, and with 2,5 years old is now on pedal bike! Without hekping wheels.
    My trouble is that his starter bike is quite heavy… But he is still so small which maks it very hard to find options that are not absurdly expensive.
    Thanks for this video. I will check out commençal site

  23. Very nice bikes, some real quality components on these, but those SRAM 'grip shift' shifters, genuinely took me by surprise. They are the cheapest nastiest shifters I have ever seen, the slot for changing cables on them looks like a piece of the body of the shifter broken off. Retail for one of these is about £8, on a bike at this price I don't see why these where chosen for the spec list. The action on these shifters are also awful and getting into lower gears for little hands is a real struggle, sometimes even for adults lol. The absolute best in this price category is the Shimano revoshift (retail around £10), I manage quite a big chain bike shop, we often end up changing out shifters for tiny hands. Any way just dropping my thoughts! Great video as always, really cool to see these mini shredders lined up and get a run down. Can't wait until my daughters old enough to be my MTB buddy!

  24. One issue we had when buying a bike for my son was that most in our price range and in his size had grip shift but his wrists weren't strong enough. We had to break our budget to get "normal" paddle shifters. But at the end of the day, another person on a bike is a good thing so sound investment!

  25. Please, look at the OFF Models from woombikes! They really got the geometry right for little rippers. It looks like the commercial bikes didn't really fit the young riders in the video.

  26. These all seem still fairly heavy. The woom off 4 is 16 pounds for a 20 inch bike. I think weight is more important than suspension forks at this point so that is probably the way I am going for my 6 year old. When she is a little older and up to 24 inch wheels I will get one of these full suspensions. looks like they have great components for kids

  27. And yet all this bikes have waaay to long cranks for the riders in mind. Not only commencal problem, but general kids bikes problem. This also doubles with too high bottom bracket, which as we know from adult bikes is a bad thing.

  28. Probably the most overlooked question is “what do you ride?”

    Buy a bike with the correct geo and travel for that or if you ride diverse stuff then more than 1 bike.
    Ignore anyone that tells you ‘kids can’t do …” then says “so they don’t need”. Stick them on a decent bike forget to tell them kids can’t and they will outdo 90% of adults very quickly. (I’ve truly lost count of the number of times I’ve heard … he/she can’t climb that or he/she can’t descend that only for them to trash the adult saying it. ) #kidsmtb etc and you quickly see they can.

    Get ‘fall back panic response ’ dialled in or out from day 1… for example 1 finger braking. Don’t think it will be easy to address later, it won’t because when you REALLY need it it’s autonomous… and when they really need as strong a grip as possible they will revert to 2 finger… just ditch any levers/brakes they can’t use 1 finger from day 1. XT are good due to short levers + bite point adjust, SLX also work but you need to replace the security screw to adjust bite point. (Better to replace or bleeding is a right pain)
    You might also want to consider the mess a 5yr old can make bleeding and if you want them playing with DOT fluid.

    Whilst on that they aren’t going to benefit from 130mm grips, starting off you can get 90mm… this also helps brake placement… if you go barmount you can also switch the shifter outside the brakes.

    Almost any hydraulic has the stopping power for a kids weight , even now mine is 10 and riding an adult frame he’s only got 180/160 rotors and that’s only because his forks are native 180mm.

    Next panic response … they come to a scary steep descent there are 2 responses, feet off pedals or on… its not rocket science to guess which one balance bikes condition.

    If they are pedalling get an appropriate crank length. Although 20’s are generally OK 24ers rarely have appropriate length cranks. Most manufacturers accountants seem to think 155 is fine as their procurement dept tells them they can buy from one of their main distributors. Whilst on cranks … pedals and shoes… since you can’t buy clipless shoes until adult sizes proper pins and shoes are essential if you want to avoid injury from feet slipping. Mine still can’t get clipless shoes so he’s yet to have the option… it’s also worth considering the change in Q factor from pedals.

  29. My boy is getting to be quite good on his Cruzee balance bike, and Commencal seem to be the only brand in the Australian market that actually do proper kid's bikes.

    My wife will not appreciate the $500 pricetag, but young sir may end up with a Ramones 14 at some point in the future…

  30. What did you do with these bikes, I do trail riding on a dirt jumper if you have stored them can you PLEASE give me the dual suspension 27.5 if not that’s ok

  31. right pain not having 26 inch wheels, i have to go with 27 on my 9 year old , hope it fits ok going with trek roscoe 6 to start with

  32. I'm 14 and a small rider. I just moved to a full sized adult YT Jeffsy with 160mm Fox 36 as my old bike was much too small. Is there any way to setup the fork specifically for low-weight riders? I run such a low psi, my fork travel is less that 160mm and is more like 130-140psi. Is there any way to get full travel on my fork and still achieve the same feel/sag? Cheers

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