Top 5 Youth Mountain Bikes

Josh Kirchhoff

Updated December 9, 2023

Kids play hard and grow fast, which means we looked for bikes that were robust and lightweight, but also relatively affordable, given they may only fit your child for one season. This is a tough trifecta to find, and as my dad always says, when it comes to buying bikes you usually have to pick two of those three; light and strong, but expensive, or light and cheap, but fragile. We did our best to choose bikes at a variety of price and spec points. If you think we missed the mark, be sure to let us know on our Discord!

Best Balance MTB
Kids Ride Shotgun Dirt Hero 12"

Lightweight, purpose built off road balance bike for your child prodigy. The frame fits both 12” and 14” wheels, allowing the bike to grow with your child (additional 14” wheel kit $170). Support optional hydraulic Magura MT4 rear brake, providing powerful stopping power and reach adjustment for small hands.

Best Youth Rigid MTB
Specialized Riprock 24

Going rigid is often the right choice for smaller riders, who may not benefit from the added weight of an entry level suspension fork. The Riprock is available in 20” and 24” models, both of which are smartly designed and specced for kids looking to get into trail riding.

Best Youth Hardtail MTB

Available in 16”, 20”, and 24” models. Insane part spec for value – highlights include 80 mm of air sprung travel from an Atlas fork with lockout and rebound adjustment, 10 speed microSHIFT Advent X drivetrain with clutch, and Shimano MT200 hydraulic disc brakes.

Best Youth Full Suspension MTB
YT Industries Jeffsy Primus 24

Great for the fearless rippers who are looking to progress their skills at the bike park or downhill racing. The Jeffsy Primus is available in 24”, 26”, and 27.5” wheel sizes, with a robust frame and high quality components designed to be ridden hard, and long outlast your child’s fit window. We also like that it’s available in a 26” model, as that’s the point where many kids start riding hard enough to require full suspension.

Best Youth Pedal Assist MTB
Mondraker PLAY 24

There are very few youth e-mtbs on the market right now, and the PLAY 24 competes nicely with the current offerings, in price, weight, and part spec. Sadly it may be a bit hard to get your hands on if you live in the US.