Picking out the right bike for your kid can be a challenging task. With so many different styles, safety options, and sizes available, you might not know where to even begin. Don’t worry – we’re here to make things easier on you. Which bikes do we recommend for kids?
We recommend the Guardian Kids Bike Ethos as one of the best kids’ bikes available today. The Ethos comes in multiple sizes and features a lower center of gravity to keep your kids riding closer to the ground. It also comes with the SureStop brake system to give them more stopping power and increased safety.
In this article, we’ll share more details about the Ethos as well as another Guardian pick. We’ll also look at some other suitable bikes you might consider for your son or daughter.
12 Best Bikes for 10 Year Olds Reviews
1. Guardian Kids Bike Ethos
Our first pick also comes the highest recommended, and that’s the Guardian Kids Bike Ethos. This children’s bike is equipped with Guardian’s SureStop brake system. This keeps your kids from flipping over their handlebars in a bike accident through smart brake distribution. Also, your children can stop more quickly (up to 44 percent) because they can brake both wheels with a single lever.The Ethos comes in three sizes: 16 inches, 20 inches, and 24 inches. The smallest bike is intended for kids up to 46 inches tall while the biggest bike works for taller kids up to 61 inches. Each Ethos bike includes a lower center of gravity made just for kids. The bike has a lengthier wheelbase and sits closer to the ground for a more stable riding experience.
Guardian ensures all their bikes pass a safety check, where they inspect the bike on 34 points. This puts your mind at ease since you know your kids are riding a safe, durable bicycle.
- The Ethos has bright, cheery decals that children themselves picked; your kids are sure to like them
- Guardian says it only takes about 10 minutes to put the bike together
- Guardian bikes were even showcased on popular TV show Shark Tank
- Some users reported difficulty in changing gears with the standard twist shifter
- Others said the handles can move forward and backward even if they’re tightened up
2. Guardian Kids Bike Original
Our next pick is the Guardian Kids Bike Original, which also comes very highly recommended. That said, it does have a higher price tag than the Ethos. The Original comes equipped with the same SureStop braking system featured on the Ethos. It also comes in the same 16, 20, and 24-inch configurations with one, six, and seven-speed shift options as well.One thing which sets Guardian Bikes apart from other brands is their approach to balance training. Guardian Bikes are not designed to work with typical training wheels. Instead they use the “balance bike” approach, in which the pedals are left off the bike. Kids push forward with their feet and learn balance in the process. Once they get a handle on keeping themselves upright, parents can install the pedals and let their kids start to really ride.
- Guardian Bikes are lightweight, giving kids more control and better handling
- Guardian says the Original takes about 15 minutes to put together, and comes with all the required tools
- This bike has a preinstalled kickstand instead of it being an optional accessory
- Some users report the seat post is generic, and that the seat isn’t particularly comfortable for girls
- Others said the bike arrived with excess cardboard stuck in some of the preassembled areas
3. Mongoose Exlipse Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike for Girls
The Mongoose Exlipse Dual Suspension Mountain Bike for Girls is a great option if your young daughters are interested in off-road biking. Despite being more of a budget model, the Exlipse features full front and rear suspension even at its low price point. This is a great mountain bike for eight to 11-year-olds who want to get their first taste of light trails or general cruising.The Exlipse is designed to have a low standover height, making it easy for kids to hop on and off. It has a durable steel frame that’s designed to take the increased wear and tear of mountain biking. It also features a 21-speed gear shift, providing kids with a gear for just about any riding situation.
- The Exlipse features both front and rear linear pull-brakes to give kids good braking in any conditions
- It comes equipped with a Shimano derailleur to give the bike precise and smooth shifting
- The front and rear suspension helps to make off-road riding smoother and easier
- This bike’s steel frame makes it heavier than others
- Some users have advised the derailleur can rub against the chain while riding
4. Mongoose R3577 Girl’s Maxim Full-Suspension Bike
While the Mongoose Exlipse is a good starter mountain bike for young girls, the Mongoose R3577 Girl’s Maxim Full-Suspension Bike is a great bike for older girls with more a little more experience in mountain biking. The R3577 boasts a 24-inch frame featuring both front and rear suspension. Like the Exlipse, the R3577 has a 21-speed gear shift and Shimano derailleur.The major difference between the Exlipse and the R3577 (besides the size) is in the frame. The R3577 has an aluminum suspension frame that decreases the bike’s weight while increasing performance and comfort. This bike can easily handle on a variety of terrain, from everyday street biking to more intermediate trails.
- Front suspension fork increases control while smoothing out bumps
- Features a three-piece mountain crank for wider gear ranges
- Adjustable seat height for almost any comfort level
- Some have reported the rear gear assembly can fall apart fairly easily
- Others have said the shifter has a tendency to get stuck between gears
5. Schwinn High Timber Mountain Bike
Schwinn’s High Timber Mountain Bike is designed for kids who want to ride on different kinds of terrain. It’s made with a durable steel frame for support in tough riding areas. To offset the weight of the frame, the High Timber has lightweight alloy wheels. This bike also features a “quick release” seat post which can be adjusted on the go with no tools.The High Timber comes in several configurations. The frame comes in either 12 or 18-inch sizes, and the bike can be customized with 24, 27.5, or 29-inch wheels. It’s also made in an array of colors for both boys and girls. It should be noted while this bike has a front suspension fork, it does not have any rear suspension.
The Schwinn High Timber is a decent basic bike for general riding, and the adjustable seat makes it easy for kids to find their perfect ride height.
- The High Timber features a Shimano derailleur to give the bike precise and smooth shifting
- Alloy linear pull-brakes for the front and rear give the bike secure stopping ability
- Many users have stated the bike is very easy to assemble
- Some users have reported the gear and chain assembly has tendency to fail
- Others have stated the tire tubes which come with the bike have trouble holding any air
6. TONY HAWK Dynacraft Park Series 720 Boys BMX Freestyle Bike 24″”, Matte Black
Built for children aged 12 and over, this TONY HAWK BMX bike is a great choice to help your 10 year old develop confidence as a rider and grow with the design. The cool matte black and neon color combo will win over kids who are little fussy about the style of their bike and unlike brightly colored high-gloss frames of other bikes, the darker matte finish will make it easier to clean and maintain too.For the relatively low price, the frame of this TONY HAWK Dynacraft Park Series is remarkably lightweight without skimping on the quality of its key parts – such as highly responsive hand brakes and durable and wide tires (keeping true to the BMX style).
When you consider that this bike will last your 10 year old well into his or her teens, this is a great buy. The only let down we can observe is the fact that the saddle seat isn’t the softest one you’ll find out there. Then again, BMX riders aren’t on their seats very often, so if your child is happy with a firm saddle that offers decent support, then this may not be such a drawback.
- Good quality, responsive brakes
- Lightweight frame
- Easy to assemble
- Durable tires
- Seat isn’t the softest
7. sixthreezero EVRYjourney Women’s 3-Speed Step-Through Hybrid Alloy Cruiser Bicycle
Available in 12 different color combinations and with a trendy retro style, your 10 year old will love to take this stunning bike for casual rides on the beach, at the park or around the neighborhood. This sixthreezero Women’s cruiser bicycle is built to accommodate a wide range of sizes so your daughter can adapt to a more grown up bike when she’s ready to upgrade.
This 24 inch model of the EVERYjourney, for example, will perfectly fit riders between 4 feet 3 inches in height to 4 feet 11 inches. And if your daughter is particularly tall for her age, she may find the 26 inch model more comfortable to ride, as this accommodates riders who are closer to 5 feet and 6 feet tall.As well as looking pretty, it rides beautifully too, thanks to features like a dual spring saddle seat to help absorb bumps for a smoother performance and a total of 7 gear speeds so it can handle regular paths and rough off-road terrain with greater ease than you might expect from a cruiser bike.
The assembly is reportedly quite tricky, but once up and running, this is a great contender for your daughters move into a more ‘grown-up’ bike.
- Sleek, attractive appearance
- High gloss chrome components
- Dual-spring saddle for added comfort
- Wide classic handlebars
- 7 gear speeds for multi terrain riding
- Difficult to assemble
8. Mongoose Title 24 BMX Race Bike for Beginner or Returning Riders, Featuring Lightweight Tectonic T1 Aluminum Frame and Internal Cable Routing with 24-Inch Wheels, Blue
This Mongoose Title 24 race bike is a great introduction to BMX frames for your kid and is ideal for riders who simply want to cruise around their neighborhood and the park etc. If your 10 year old is serious about sticking to BMX riding in the future and wants to take the Mongoose out for a spin on rougher terrain, however, then this model may need a slight upgrade here and there.
Spending a little more on parts like the chain tensioners and wider tires will give your child more of an authentic ‘grown up’ BMX experience if this interests them, so bear this in mind before buying.If BMX style isn’t an important factor for your child though, this Mongoose racer bike is still a great little cruiser for them to enjoy. Chunky BMX racing tires will give them a smooth ride on rough terrain and the Alloy V-brake levers will provide them with excellent speed control.
Unfortunately, the seat is quite stiff and doesn’t adjust. The pedals can also feel a tad slippery and tacky, so these are things that may need to be replaced at some point.
- Great quality beginner bike
- Inexpensive for a BMX
- Arrives mostly assembled
- Lightweight frame
- Pedals can be slippery
- Seat is not adjustable
9. Diamondback Bicycles Tess 24 Youth Girls 24″ Wheel Mountain Bike, Blue
This Diamondback Tess 24 is a good starter mountain bike for girls between 8 and 12 years (or for riders between 53 and 62 inches tall). While the quality isn’t the greatest in some components (the hand brakes feel cheap), it is redeemed by great features like 21 speed settings, varied seat adjustments, beginner- friendly gear shifts and adjustable brake levers to provide your young rider with a more comfortable custom fit.The worst thing we can say about this decent kids mountain bike is that it regrettably has no kickstand, which is not only inconvenient when it comes to storing it, but a major headache for your daughter when riding it out and about.
Customers have also remarked that the assembly instructions are slightly difficult to follow – and this isn’t helped by Diamondback including a very cheap wrench to use. Given the poor instructions, it may be worthwhile to get a second opinion from a pro at your local bike shop – especially if you’re not confident with putting kids bikes together – as this may be a safety concern.
- 21 speeds for multi-terrain riding
- Adjustable brake levers for extra safety
- Sturdy, high quality frame
- Great for trail riding
- Attractive matte blue color
- Heavy frame
- Doesn’t come with a kickstand
- Confusing assembly instructions
10. Roadmaster 24″ Granite Peak Girls’ Mountain Bike, Teal
This Roadmaster Granite Peak bike is a great choice for helping your daughter transition from her previous single speed bike to her first all-terrain mountain bike.
The 24 inch frame is perfect for growing into, but even Mom or an older sibling can have a go too, since it provides a comfortable ride for women on the shorter side (5 ft 5 and below will find this more comfortable than a 26 inch bike).Though at the lower end of the price range for kids mountain bikes, the Roadmaster provides many helpful features, such as a quick adjust seat function, SRAM drive twist shifters to make changing gears a cinch and the handlebars are designed with a slightly upward bend to make riding even more comfortable.
The Roadmaster Granite Peak 24 inch model also has ultra durable alloy wheels and knobby tire treads so that your daughter can ride on rough terrain with no bother. One minor con to this model is that the seat is fairly hard – not the best feature for long rides on all types of terrain.
- 18-speed twist shifters for smoother gear shifts
- Front and rear pull-brakes
- Arrives half-assembled
- Super durable alloy wheels
- Hard seat
11. Schwinn Girl’s Cruiser Bike
This Schwinn cruiser bike for girls injects fresh energy into a classic much-loved style. This bike has kept all the best of the retro features – wide handlebars, cute candy color combination – with a more modern ergonomic frame that girls of today will find comfortable to use.
This Schwinn model for girl’s is built with a step-thru cruiser style frame that offers a more comfortable riding position that your daughter’s back will thank you for after many a long ride around the neighborhood! It also features a super soft cushioned paddle for an even comfier ride.We also love the cute addition of a rear rack that allows your daughter to store some belongings when she’s riding out to meet friends or to carry her school bag with her. While it’s hard to fault this gorgeous cruiser bike, we have a word of caution if you’re ordering online versus a bike shop.
On more than one occasion, online customers have remarked upon receiving the bike with a bent fender and discovering some parts missing, so just be aware of this. Thankfully, customer service should be able to resolve this fairly quickly if you run into this issue.
- Step-thru cruiser frame for comfier riding position
- Attractive teal and pink frame
- Padded cruiser saddle for added comfort
- Rear rack to carry belongings
- Easy to assemble
- May arrive with a bent fender
12. Huffy Bicycle Company Hardtail Mountain Bike, Summit Ridge, Lightweight, Purple, 24 Inch Wheels/14 Inch Frame
This mountain bike from Huffy won’t just be another in a long line of bikes to upgrade to once your son or daughter outgrows their old model – this 14 inch frame bike will suit kids from the age 12 all the way up to age 19!
The seat adjustment takes you from a rider height of 58 to 70 inches in a matter of seconds and the wide variety of color frames means even the fussiest future teen will be happy with their choice of wheels.The Huffy Hardtail mountain bike boasts plenty of great features like slightly raised handlebars to encourage upright riding and minimize back and shoulder strain. The micro shift twist shifter can also make light work of changing between any one of the 21 speeds needed for instant uphill climbs and rides on harsh terrain.
As is to be expected with many mountain bikes at the lower end of the price range, the seat on this Huffy bike is not as comfy as other models, so your kid may be discouraged to spend many years with this bike unless you replace it with a cushioned gel seat.
All in all, the impressive features of this Huffy Summit Ridge Mountain bike make this a fantastic choice for kids and teens alike.
- Slight rise handlebar to minimize shoulder/back strain
- Stylish high-gloss steel frame
- Durable knobby tires to handle rough terrain
- Tutorial video for quicker assembly
- Slightly uncomfortable seat
Things to Consider Before Buying
Choosing the right bike for your kids isn’t always easy. You know what you would do for yourself when buying a bike. For instance, you’d think about whether you can comfortably reach the handlebars from the seat.
You’d also make sure you have enough room for your legs to pedal without hitting the handlebars. Of course, when picking out a bike, you’d want it to be something that looks nice, too.
The size of the bike wheels – as opposed to the frame – are what will help determine the right size bike for your child. For 10 year olds, picking a bike with a wheel size that is between 20 and 24 inches will be appropriate.
Bear in mind how quickly they can grow, so investing in a slightly larger bike that they can ‘grow into’ (much like their shoes!) can be a smart move. 20 inch wheels are usually aimed at the age 9-11 category, whereas 11 years and up will find 24 inch wheels more comfortable, so the latter can be a good option for taller than average 10 year olds or if you want to anticipate a growth spurt.
Once you have the right wheel size as a starting point, you can then name sure your child has the most comfortable fit possible by matching their measurements up to their wheel size. First measure their height (between 4 and 4ft 5 inches/120-135 cm is typical for 9-11 year olds).
Follow this up with their inside leg measurement or ‘inseam’, as getting this accurate will ensure they have a comfortable standover height (more on this below) to get on and off the bike safely and easily.
It’s important to note that bikes of the exact same wheel size can have varying seat heights (sometimes as much as 5 inches in difference), so you want to make sure you get the most comfortable fit for your child.
For beginner riders, it’s ideal that their inseam measurement matches the minimum seat position and for more experienced riders, the minimum seat height needs to be about 2 or 3 inches higher than their inseam.
Most bikes are built with an adjustable seat, allowing you to raise it as they grow. If they have their heart set on a bike with a fixed seat height, just make sure it is slightly higher than their inseam so they can get a few more years out of it.
A bike’s standover height refers to the gap between your child’s crotch when they are standing still over the bike and the top tube of their bike frame.
Basically, a bike with a good standover height is one that allows an inch or two of clearance in between, so that your child can stand comfortably over the bike frame without risking injury. This is why the top tube of a bike is slanted downward.
A child’s bike should be less than 40% of their own weight, so when shopping around for their perfect bike, make sure it is lightweight enough for your child to lift and move comfortably.
High-end bikes will usually be very lightweight. A lower weight bike is not always a mark of quality, however, since cheaper end bikes may have too small a frame or fewer parts (i.e. no foot stand or hand brakes etc).
Some kids bikes feature adjustable handlebars, which is perfect for ensuring your growing child won’t keep knocking their knees on them as they ride.
Handlebars come at low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise positions – mid-rise will be best for the average child rider as it helps them lean into the handlebars just enough to feel in control. Low-rise is aimed at more experienced riders who want to sit on their bike at an adventurous sporty angle. Always see what feels comfortable to your child.
Your child’s balance on their bike will have a lot to do with the design of the frame itself, specifically its wheelbase. The ‘wheelbase’ of a bike refers to the distance between wheels (and the shorter the wheelbase or frame, the more likely your child is to lose their balance and tip over). A longer wheelbase frame will spread out the weight more evenly and ensure your child maintains their balance at slow speeds.
Well-designed hand brakes should be very responsive and allow your child to stop their moving bike with minimal effort (pulling the brake lever with their pinky finger is a good indication of how responsive the hand brakes are).
Some children’s bikes have adjustable hand brake levers to ensure your child can operate them comfortably and safely. Higher priced bikes will have hand brakes with a greater stopping power (e.g. ‘Disc-brakes’), but for the average rider, bikes with a ‘V-Pull’ braking system will suffice – these are the standard brakes found on most adult bikes.
Chain vs. Belt Drive
Though it can be rare to find children’s bikes with a belt drive, it can be a worthwhile investment, since belt drives are far easier to maintain, which will save you money in the long-run.
Belt drive bikes can be more expensive than chains, but thanks to the light carbon fibre design, they are quieter than old-fashioned rattling chains, easier to clean (no grease or oil involved!) and can even help you cycle faster thanks too. It can cost more to replace a belt drive than a chain one, but belt drives can last much longer.
Generally, slimmer tires are great for smooth paths, so these are perfect for casual riding around your neighborhood or in the park. But if your kid wants to explore rougher terrain – or to give them the option of doing so in future – then bikes with wider, chunkier tires will be better for absorbing bumps on uneven ground and provide a great all-rounder bike for riding off-road.
Your child’s safety will always take priority over the best performing or trendiest style of bike, and you don’t need to go for the high-end prices to get a bike that will keep your child safe. So what are the fundamental safety features to look for in your child’s next bike?
- That they can sit on the saddle and rest the balls of their feet on the ground
- That there is at least 2 inches between their crotch and the top tube/bar of the bike
- They can operate the hand brakes with minimal effort
- That the seat is at a comfortable height and level with the bottom of the handlebars
As well as ensuring the bike is a good fit for your child, make sure they are aware of basic road safety rules when taking their new wheels out for a spin.
Color and Design
There isn’t much that needs to be said about the color of your kid’s bike. They can be very picky when it comes to their favorite color. While you want them to be happy, make sure you don’t allow color to be the deciding factor in your purchase. Your kid could end up on a bike which isn’t right for them.
Have you ever wondered if there’s a real difference between bikes designed for boys vs those made for girls? The short answer is no – there really isn’t. The design aesthetics of kids’ bikes have more to do with social norms than anything else. There’s an unspoken expectation from the buying public to have a design for boys and a design for girls.
Bikes for girls do sometimes feature a lower step-over bar, but this doesn’t have any impact on the functionality or strength. The lower step can actually be an advantage to most young riders by making it easier to mount and dismount.
Optional Accessories and Add-Ons
You also have to consider accessories when looking at bikes for your kids. For example, many kids’ bikes with attached training wheels don’t come with a kickstand. The training wheel attachments can get in the way of the kickstand, making it difficult to drop. You can purchase aftermarket kickstands to install on the bike once your kid is no longer using training wheels.
There are a host of other accessories you and your kids can look into to customize their bike. You can put a wicker basket on the front or a bike rack off the back under the seat. Bells, horns, water bottles with holders, and pegs are just some of the other customization options you can try out.
As you can see, the Guardian Kids Bikes Ethos is the best value for the money when it comes to safety and performance. With its multiple sizes, colors, and safety features, the Ethos is an amazing bike your kids will love.
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Mike Zhang. Founder of FamilyLifeShare