The best hybrid bikes for kids

Outdoor Toys

The less a bike weighs, the easier it is for your child to handle. A 25-pound bike for an 8-year-old is roughly equivalent to a 70- or 80-pound bike for an adult.

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Which hybrid bike is best for kids?

When it’s time for your kids to get their first grown-up bike, depending on where they like to ride, you may have a few options. However, if you’re a wise parent, instead of purchasing a bike that limits activity to just one type of terrain, you may want to consider a hybrid bike that encourages adventure.

Kids’ hybrid bikes should be sturdy, fun, and adaptable. Guardian Bikes’ Ethos is designed for kids to be bold, but it still places safety at the top of the priority list. To learn more about kids’ hybrid bikes, keep reading.

What to know before you buy a hybrid bike for kids

Size

The most important consideration when purchasing a bike is to get the size right. If the bike is too large or too small, it’s more difficult to ride. As a rule of thumb, your child should easily be able to straddle the bike with a couple inches of clearance over the top tube.

For a general guideline on size: 4- to 5-year-olds with an inseam of 18 to 22 inches likely need a bike with 16-inch wheels, 5- to 8-year-olds with an inseam of 22 to 25 inches likely need a bike with 20-inch wheels, and 7- to 11-year-olds with an inseam of 24 to 28 inches likely need a bike with 24-inch wheels. Kids who are 12 years and older may want a 26-inch bike.

What to look for in a quality hybrid bike for kids

Brakes

If your child is ready for a hybrid bike, it means they should be learning how to use hand brakes (hand brakes are required for bikes with multiple gears). Since this can be difficult for some kids to master, some hybrid bikes feature coaster brakes (brakes that function by pedaling backwards) as well, so the child can gradually progress.

Tires

Tires are designed to handle a specific type of terrain. Wide knobby tires are best for dirt and loose soil, while thin tires with shallow treads are best for paved surfaces. If your child is riding on both dirt paths and pavement, look for a bike with tires that reside somewhere in the middle — this way, the bike can successfully navigate a wider variety of terrains.

Gears

The whole point of gears is to allow the rider to maintain the same pedaling cadence, no matter how steep a hill is or what the terrain is like. At a young age, gears may actually be more confusing than helpful, but as your child’s skills advance, you should find a bike with at least a handful of gears.

How much you can expect to spend on a hybrid bike for kids

Below $100, you can only find toys for the youngest riders. Between $250-$500 is where you discover durable models with added safety features for the more serious rider. If you’re spending over $500 for a kids’ bike, make sure it’s something that will be around for years, not a bike that they’ll outgrow in a year or two.

Kids’ hybrid bike FAQ

Why is it called a hybrid bike?

A. The two basic types of bikes are touring bikes (for the road) and mountain bikes (for trails). Each type of bike has specific features that make it suitable for the type of riding you intend to do. A hybrid bike takes features from each to make it adaptable to a wider variety of riding situations.

Should I get a bike that my child can grow into?

A. No. It’s important to get a bike that fits now. If the child has to struggle to ride the bike, it creates a hazardous situation that could end up in an injury.

What’s the best kids’ hybrid bike to buy?

Top kids’ hybrid bike

Guardian Bikes Ethos

Guardian Bikes Ethos

Our take: A fun bike designed with a number of features that make it safer and more appealing for kids to ride.

What we like: This model features a SureStop braking system so kids can stop smoothly and safely. The colorful design gives the bike a fun look while the 6 speeds make it adaptable to a number of riding situations.

What we dislike: Some of the youngest users had a little trouble learning how to operate the shifter.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top kids’ hybrid bike for the money

RoyalBaby Kids Freestyle Bicycle

RoyalBaby Kids Freestyle Bicycle

Our take: A beginner’s bike that’s stable enough for learning and durable enough for the adventures that follow. It comes in various sizes from 12 to 20-inch.

What we like: This bike is manufactured using steel so it’s easier for a child to handle. It features a two-brake system, an ergonomic seat and a water bottle holder among other things.

What we dislike: The assembly can be confusing if you’re not familiar with bike terminology.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Mongoose Exlipse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike

Mongoose Exlipse Full Dual-Suspension Mountain Bike

Our take: A versatile hybrid bike best for kids aged 9 to 12.

What we like: This 21-speed bike is designed for either cruising through the neighborhood or riding on trails. The alloy tires ensure that the bike has sufficient traction no matter where your child may be riding.

What we dislike: Some users reported the bike was sent to them with missing parts.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Allen Foster writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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