Looking for a cheap kids’ bike for road or off-road adventures that offers great performance? Look no further.
What size bike should I choose for my child?
This can be a tricky one. It can be tempting to choose a bike that your child can grow into, but bikes that are too big can be tough to handle and even tougher to steer.
This means you’ll likely be buying an extra bike or two as they grow, but the better the bike fit, the more they’ll learn to love life on two wheels – just like you!
The most important things to consider when choosing any bike for your child are height, weight and ability. Cheap kids’ bikes tend to be heavier than mid-range or high performance bikes.
So, unless you’re looking for something high-spec, here is a selection of some good performing and budget options to help you buy the best bike you can.
- If you’re about to teach your child how to ride a bike, check out our guide to getting them riding in just 30 minutes.
Cheap bikes for kids ages 2+
Micro Balance Bike
Balance bikes don’t have a chain or pedals and are great for helping children build the coordination they need for riding a two wheeled bike.
Instead of pedalling, tots propel themselves along using their feet and steer using handlebars just like those on the real thing.
Made from aluminium, the Micro Balance is incredibly lightweight, making it simple to manoeuvre but also easy to carry once they’re all scooted-out.
It’s also available in silver, pink and blue
Banana Bike LT
With grippy handles and an adjustable seat, the Banana Bike is a great value choice to get your child riding solo.
It weighs just 1kg more than the Micro Balance Bike and features puncture-proof EVA tyres, with a good tread pattern for traction.
These scoot bikes can be used both indoors and out, but once hooked on the glide, your child will be cruising everywhere so don’t forget to grab the right size helmet at the same time.
Early Rider Trail Runner 14in bike
This is a slightly more upmarket option if you’re looking for a particularly handsome starter bike.
Its lacquered aluminium finish is hand brushed, plus the saddle is riveted faux leather.
Spec highlights include pneumatic tyres and sealed cartridge bearings.
These sell out fast so keep your eye on stock.
Cheap bikes for kids aged 4 to 6
For children aged four to six, or roughly 105cm to 115cm / 3ft 5in to 3ft 9in, choose a bike with 14in to 16in wheels.
Most of these are simple bikes with pedals and brakes, and many come with a small range of gears.
B’Twin 900 Alloy Kids’ bike
One of the B’Twin’s many pros is the Stop Easy System made specifically for small hands. The brakes are claimed to release 30 per cent more braking power than the average mechanisms and keep the movement more natural, with levers that press parallel to the handlebars.
There’s also a useful guard covering the mechanical elements of the drivetrain to prevent kids popping fingers where they might get caught.
Carrera Centos Limited Edition Junior bike, 16in
This is a limited-edition model that not only features alloy V-brakes but lightweight Kenda tyres that are suitable for both road riding and rougher terrain.
If you’re looking for a bike to help graduate your child onto their first off-road trails, the Carrera Centos is a lightweight bike that will get them out and about.
Ridgeback MX16 bike
The Ridgeback’s off-road tyres offer enough traction and stability for adventurous kids and short, rugged rides.
Lime green is a bold colour choice but perfect for keeping an eye on your little rider!
Wiggins Chartres kids’ bike
Boasting the name of one of Britain’s most successful professional riders, Bradley Wiggins, the 16in Chartres features alloy brakes with pinch-free brake levers.
If your child isn’t quite ready for riding two wheels unaided, stabilisers can be easily fitted.
Plus, what we particularly like is that all components have been fitted to the proportions of small riders. It’s a lightweight and forgiving first pedal bike.
Cheap kids’ bikes for ages 7 to 10
For ages seven to ten (height 115cm to 135cm / 3ft 9in to 4ft 5in) choose a bike with 18in to 20in wheels.
You’ll also start to see a wider range of gears appearing and you may find bikes with front suspension, which is more suitable for rough terrain.
Schwinn Girl Shade bike
With a 6-speed rotational shifter the Schwinn gives easy gear changes as standard for riders making the step up, plus an FS20 suspension fork provides extra comfort.
Wide 1.95in tyres are made for multi-surface use and are ideal for off-road use. It’s a bike you can rely on when getting out and about.
Hoy Bonaly 20in bike
Hoy Bikes’ Bonaly is the brand’s bestselling kids’ bike for a reason. Built under the legacy of Sir Chris Hoy, this bike has narrowed its cranks to bring kids’ pedalling positions closer together to mean no overstretched legs and offer a more comfortable ride.
An easy shift gear lever gives junior riders even more control and should you ever have to carry it for your child, it’s a lightweight frame at 7.5kg.
Specialized Riprock 20in bike
This 2020 model of the Riprock 20in kids’ bike is designed to give your child freedom over the terrain they want to ride.
Its 20in wheels, 2.8in tyres and custom suspension fork absorb the bumpy stuff, plus powerful brake discs will give your child the confidence to ride the way they want to.
Cheap kids’ bikes for ages 10 to 13
Children aged between 10 and 13 (height 135cm to 150cm / 4ft 5in to 5ft) will usually move on to a 24in wheel bike. At this point, you are likely to find bikes that are essentially smaller versions of adult bikes.
You’ll also start to see different types of bike, from junior-sized road bikes and mountain bikes to hybrid/leisure bikes.
So choose a bike type that’s going to suit the majority of the riding your child will be doing – if it’s mostly going to be off-road, then wide tyres with a grippy tread are a good choice, for example.
Pinnacle Aspen 24in bike
A great all-rounder, the Pinnacle Aspen is a lightweight and simple bike for mixed-terrain riding.
Its BMX tyres have plenty of grip and give, while rear-only gears keep things simple for learning off-road skills.
This is a bike built with smaller riders in mind, so the geometry and riding position should be just what they’re looking for.
Wiggins Rouen ADV Junior 26in road bike
Built for high-speed road riding, the Wiggins Rouen bike has a 16-speed Shimano Claris drivetrain with Microshift gear levers and Tektro dual cantilever brakes. This is a bike designed for hill-climbing control and tougher rides.
It’s got all the pros of a big road bike but is perfectly proportioned for the smaller cycling enthusiast.
Kids’ helmets and essential advice
Once you’ve got the bike, you’ll want to buy a few other bits and pieces to keep your child safe, secure and comfortable while they’re riding.
Our buyer’s guide to kids’ helmets offers a few recommendations, as well as help to ensure your child gets a well-fitted helmet.
Finally, if you are considering doing the school or nursery run by bike, we have plenty of advice for commuting with kids too.