Best Bikes for 6 to 8 Year-Olds of 2020

Updated
The best 18- to 20-inch bikes your kid will love to ride.

As parents, we want our children to be safe on their bikes, and that means finding the correct size. Your kiddo should be able to reach the ground while sitting in the seat.

At the same time, you don’t want their knees coming up too high because the seat is too low or the wheels are too small.

So what are the best bikes for 6- to 8-year-olds? For this age range, you’re generally looking at 18- to 20-inch bikes — these usually feature big-kid components like kickstands and gears.

When you’re choosing a new bike for a growing kid, where do you start? When your child moves up to these sizes, durability and good brakes are two of the main things you need.

We’ll guide you to making a safe and popular choice.

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Choosing the Best Bikes for 6- to 8-Year-Olds

Picking the Right Size

When talking about bike sizes, we’re referring to the diameter of the wheels. For children who are 6- to 8-years old, the best sizes are anything from 18- to 20-inch bikes.

If your child is taller or about to turn 9, you could go for a 24-inch. However, pay close attention to your child’s height and inseam measurements — age isn’t always the best guide. The seat height varies between brands — some are high, even on the lowest setting, while others remain on the shorter side.

To find their inseam size, attach a piece of paper to a wall using duct tape. Take a book and place it between the child’s legs in the crotch area. Mark the paper at the tallest point of the book.

Measure from the mark to the floor, and you have their approximate inseam. This is where it may get confusing, so stay with us. Once you’ve decided on an 18- or 20-inch wheel size, focus on the seat height of the bike you’re looking at.

Go for a seat height that’s 2 to 3 inches higher than the inseam. For this age, your child should have a slight bend of the knee while seated and resting their feet on the ground.

Adjustable

Another helpful feature to look for is adjustability. Having a bike that allows for alterations will enable your child to use it longer.

How much the bike can adjust varies between brands — ensure there’s ample room for growth. Some seats can be raised as much as six inches or more. This makes a significant difference, potentially adding years of use.

When buying, always aim for the lowest height setting — otherwise, your child will outgrow it faster.

Watch the Tippy Toes

For this bike size and age group, the rider should have their toes just touching the ground while seated. This helps them achieve maximum efficiency when pedaling. If your child’s still learning, perhaps lower the seat so both feet can fully touch the ground.

Bike’s Geometry

With the 18- and 20-inch bikes, the design of the frame varies depending on the primary purpose of the bike. Some are constructed for leisure riding — these are called cruisers and promote an upright position, ideal for beginners.

Other manufacturers focus on sports bikes, like BMX or mountain biking. These promote what we call an aggressive position where the rider sits forward-leaning.

This stance assists them with turning, building speed, and balancing. These bikes are more suited to experienced riders.

Other bikes come somewhere in-between, enabling the rider to use it for different activities, but not to an exacting standard. This is an excellent option if your child is still learning.

Proper Brakes

At this age, most children are coordinated and strong enough to handle both a hand and a coaster brake. The manufacturer has a requirement to include both types on this sized bike (1).

There are conflicting views on which type of brake is best for young riders. Some think it’s best to avoid a foot-controlled brake as it may throw your child off balance.

Others state coaster brakes are best as small hands have a hard time activating a hand brake (2). Either way, once they’re comfortable and confident when riding, they can easily handle both.

Some advanced companies like Guardian Bikes utilize a single-lever braking system. This is a design where one lever controls both the front and rear wheel.

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Weight

The bike should weigh 30 percent less than your child’s body weight. A lighter bicycle means better control and more comfortable pedaling, which is imperative for children.

Once in the 20-inch bike market, the bicycles become considerably heavier due to added features such as shocks and gears. As long as your kiddo can handle it, it’s okay.

Gears

Another first on bikes for this age range is the option for gears. Up until this point, gears were non-existent as small kids don’t need them and they’re complicated to use.

Gears are still optional though — not all manufacturers include them until the 24-inch sizes. Whether you should choose gears depends on your child. Many around this age are still not able to use them properly.

Knowing when to switch gears can be challenging for a 6-year-old. In the beginning, they may do it randomly, but soon they’ll learn.

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Appropriate Tires

The terrain your child will be riding on should impact what type of tires to look for. Do you live in the countryside surrounded by dirt roads, or in a suburban neighborhood with flat roads? If your youngster merely cruises around your street, smooth tires, perhaps even foam-filled ones, will do.

When riding on rough terrains such as dirt or gravel, the tires should be durable. For grip, deeply treaded tires are best — these are textured and ensure superb traction.

Should your child’s interest change, you can always switch the tires out. Many parents admit to doing this if their youngsters weren’t happy.


The Best Bikes for 6 To 8 Year-Olds of 2020

By researching top sites and leading blogs and sorting through parent reviews, we managed to find the seven best bikes for 6- to 8-year-olds.

1. Original 20-Inch By Guardian Kids Bikes

Best 20-Inch Bike Overall

Guardian Lightweight Kids Bike 20 Inch, Safe Patented SureStop Brake System,...
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The Original bike from Guardian Bikes receives stellar reviews and is a clear favorite among kids and parents. It’s a lightweight design, made of aluminum, coated in a white finish with included decals for a pop of color.

This 20-inch bike is suitable for boys and girls ages 5 to 9, measuring 3 feet, 9 inches to 4 feet, 5 inches. You can adjust the saddle height according to your child’s growth.

Guardian Bikes packed the Original with features, including the patented SureStop brake system. Other components include the six-speed gear and double-wall rims, helping your child ride without training wheels.

Why We Love It

Lightweight Aluminum Frame

It weighs 21.5 pounds. The lightweight frame makes it easy to handle for children who are just transitioning from their 16-inch bike. The rider will have full control, and it’s safer should it fall on them.

Fun Design

One thing we appreciate about Guardian Bikes is their emphasis on fun elements for kids. Each of the bikes come in a base color. Included in the bundle are water transfer decals for personalizing the bicycle.

Your child can place them according to the instructions, or customize the look. For the white base coat, the company includes colorful prints and the Guardian Bikes’ logo.

Efficient Braking System

Guardian Bikes patented braking system, SureStop, makes the bicycle safe. It works by engaging both wheels, distributing the braking force evenly. This innovative system is efficient and prevents accidents where the rider is thrown over the handlebars.

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Includes “Big-Kid” Features

On the handlebars are easy-to-reach levers controlling the brake and the six-speed gears. Being able to switch the gear can help your child on longer commutes or trips with the family. Once they’ve arrived, they can use the included kickstand to park the bike.

The bike promotes a low center of gravity due to its low-laying frame, placing the rider close to the ground. This creates a more stable ride. The wheels feature double-wall rims, meaning the tires are wider, adding further stability.

Keep In Mind

Poor Instructions

The instructions included are not helpful, and most reviewers recommend looking for videos instead. The bike does come almost ready built — only the front wheel and handlebars need to be attached.

Additional Specs

ColorWhite or black/green/blue
Adjustable heightYes
Wheel size20 inches
Bike weight21.5 pounds
Gears includedYes

2. Rowdy 20-Inch By Raleigh Bikes

Best Lightweight Bike for 6- to 8-Year-Olds

Raleigh Bikes Rowdy 20 Kids Bike for Boys Youth 4-9 Years Old, Green
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The Rowdy 20-inch bike from Raleigh is built using lightweight materials. It’s amazingly light when compared to other bicycles from Raleigh, weighing in at 20.41 pounds.

Some of the outstanding features included are the Shimano shifters and dual-handbrakes. The bike is suitable for children aged 4 to 9, with heights ranging between 44 to 54 inches.

The geometry of the bike puts the rider in an aggressive position. If your kid loves to go fast or race around a track, this is the form to look for. With the smooth tires, your child can glide across the roads in your neighborhood.

Why We Love It

Excellent Weight

Although weight isn’t a huge factor for this age group, a lightweight bike is still preferable. Built with a low-standover aluminum frame, Rowdy is incredibly light, giving the rider full control. Building speed, making turns, and stopping is a breeze, even for the smallest user.

Aggressive Geometry

When designing the Rowdy bike, it’s clear Raleigh intended it for more than just leisure use. With the aggressive position, your child leans slightly more forward than on other bikes. It’s optimal for making sharp turns, going fast or tackling a jump.

Easy Gear Changes

Built with Shimano twist shifters, the bicycle is responsive and efficient, resembling an adult mountain bike. It’s easy to operate for kids who are new to gears. Your kiddo can fly through six speeds, using only minor flicks of the handle.

Raleigh specifically limited the number of gears to six, so it’s easier for a child to get used to. Now they can fly over the terrain or climb the neighborhood hills with ease.

Traction Tires

With the smooth tires, going over various types of terrain is a breeze. They provide ample traction for simple dirt roads. The rims are durable, made of alloy, and capable of taking on a few jumps.

Keep In Mind

Brakes Are Flimsy

The Rowdy bike features alloy V brakes, but some parents weren’t impressed. A few said they were flimsy and weren’t as efficient as they’d hoped they would be.

Color Confusion

There has been some confusion due to the description of the color. The bike is listed as being green, but that’s the 16-inch. The 20-inch Rowdy, however, is orange.

Additional Specs

ColorOrange
Adjustable heightYes
Wheel size20 inches
Bike weight20.41 pounds
Gears includedYes

3. 20-Inch Urban Girl Beach Cruiser By Firmstrong

Best 20-Inch Kids’ Bike for Girls

Firmstrong Urban Girl Single Speed Beach Cruiser Bicycle, 20-Inch, Pink
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With a laid-back geometry, the Urban Girl Beach Cruiser from Firmstrong is a good pick for growing girls. It’s a 20-inch bike, built for cruising around town or going on a trip to the beach with friends. The cruiser is suitable for kids measuring 3 feet, 2 inches to 4 feet, 4 inches tall.

Due to the laid-back position, it’s an excellent introduction to leisure riding. It’s a one-speed bike — for the relaxed biking this was designed for, there’s no need for gears.

White-wall balloon tires are featured on this bike, so the ride is cushioned and smooth. Girls will love the look — it’s pink and retro-inspired, but also available in other colors. When the ride is over, your girl can come to a soft stop using the coaster brakes.

Why We Love It

Leisure Riding at Its Best

Without disturbing cables or complicated handles to twist, this bike lets your girl cruise how she likes. The smooth balloon tires make the ride soft by adding some suspension, and the single-speed allows the rider to maintain a steady speed. It’s all about sitting back and enjoy the surroundings with her friends.

Wide Tires and Comfy Saddle

With wide tires, the cruiser is stable and comfy to ride. Aiding that is the broad saddle and extra cushioning. The seat also features a dual-spring system, which helps to even out bumps in the road.

Braking Made Easy

Once your girl has mastered pedaling, she’s ready for coaster brakes. When riding the cruiser, all the rider needs to do is pedal backward, and the bike comes to a soft stop.

Fashionable Design

Cruiser bikes often have an old-school look to them, and this one from Firmstrong is no different. With the white-wall, wide tires, the retro vibes are through the roof. It’s intriguing to look at with the unique frame and wide handlebars.

Keep In Mind

Quite Heavy

The Urban Girl is considerably heavy. It weighs 23 pounds and a few parents said it was too much for their children to handle.

Additional Specs

ColorPink, blue, mint green, white with pink rims, or dark green
Adjustable heightYes
Wheel size20 inches
Bike weight23 pounds
Gears includedNo

4. Legion Sidewalk Freestyle BMX 20-Inch By Mongoose

Best Introduction to BMX Riding

Mongoose Legion LSX Freestyle Sidewalk BMX Bike for Kids, Children and...
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BMX-style bikes are not so newbie-friendly, but if you mix them with a sidewalk cruiser, you’ve got a winner. The Legion LXS is a great introduction to BMX riding. It’s a 20-inch bike suitable for children between 4 to 5 feet tall.

With a hi-tensile steel frame and an 18.2-inch tube length, the Legion LXS is durable and excellent for aggressive riding. The 2-inch wide tires add ample stability, and the aluminum wall rims prevent the bike from being too heavy.

Your child will love riding this bike — it’s smooth to turn and easy to build up speed. A threaded headset with a 36-millimeter stem connecting the handlebar and fork enhances the steering. The drivetrain features a 152-millimeter, one-piece crank, making it easy to go fast.

Why We Love It

Outstanding Durability

With a hi-tensile construction, it’s the perfect combo for quiet neighborhood riding, while still being sturdy enough to go on the trail. The bike will grow with your child, and may even become a hand-me-down.

High Precision Brakes and Steering

BMX riding is all about control, and the brakes play an important role. The LXS features steel linear-pull brakes. These are quite sensitive and require only minor adjustments, perfect for high precision speed control.

The threaded headset offers a superb steering performance. Whether your kiddo rides on the pavement or trails, they’ve got full control.

BMX Tires

Featuring BMX-style tires, with aluminum rims and optimal grips, going off-road or doing tricks becomes a breeze. The wide design optimizes the rider’s stability.

Keep In Mind

Requires Adjustments

Out of the box, a few parents noted many parts, including the chain, bracket, and steerer tube bearings, were too tight and required a fair amount of adjusting.

Many reviewers complained about the brakes, saying they’re useless. Some parents said the issue was that the brakes are way too loose upon arrival and a quick tightening mends the problem.

Additional Specs

ColorWhite and purple, or red
Adjustable heightYes
Wheel size20 inches
Bike weight25.6 pounds
Gears includedNo

5. Elm Girls 18-Inch Bike By Schwinn

Best 18-Inch Bike for Girls

Schwinn Elm Girls Bike for Toddlers and Kids, 18-Inch Wheels, Teal
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For 5- to 7-year-olds, 18-inch bikes like this one are the perfect size. They’re a bit smaller and less intimidating than the 20-inch, while still featuring most of the “big-kid” components.

With child-friendly colors and features, your girl should love cruising around on the Elm Girl’s bike. It includes a cute front basket, coaster, and hand brakes as well as a full chain-guard to protect her legs.

An adjustable seat ensures the bike can accommodate growing girls who are between 42 and 52 inches tall. It has a slack-tube angle for easy mounting and includes optional training wheels.

Why We Love It

More Stability

The main highlight of the Elm Girl’s bike is the Smart Start design. It consists of a sturdy steel frame with child-specific proportions, making pedaling and steering easier. What’s more, the construction optimizes stability, minimizing wobbling while riding, helping the cyclist’s confidence.

Fun Features

The Elm bike is fun to look at with a superb child-friendly appearance. It sports vibrant colors — every element is coated, even the rims. At the front, your girl has a matching basket for carrying her stuff around.

Child-Friendly Proportions

Schwinn strives to make your child feel comfortable and confident riding the bike by optimizing the proportions. Everything from the handle’s diameter to the distance between the pedals provides the perfect balance for small riders.

Keep In Mind

Fragile Basket

It’s made of plastic and can’t take rough handling or heavy cargo. A few parents said they changed it for a more durable alternative.

No Instructions

Unless you’re a bike expert, or at least have some experience, you’ll have a hard time putting this together. It doesn’t come with instructions and reviewers said they went to bike shops or viewed online videos for assembly guidance.

Additional Specs

ColorTeal, purple, or pink
Adjustable heightYes
Wheel size18 inches
Bike weightN/A
Gears includedNo

6. Space Shuttle 18-Inch Bike By RoyalBaby

Best 18-Inch Bike for Boys

RoyalBaby Boys Girls Kids Bike 18 Inch Space Shuttle Magnesium Bicycles with...
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For active boys between the ages of 5 and 7, we’ve chosen this bike from Royalbaby. It’s the ultra-light, magnesium alloy Space Shuttle bicycle — ready for boys who love speed.

This bike is uniquely built. The frame is in one-piece, meaning there are no welded parts, making it more durable. It also features a sturdy single-speed drivetrain.

The Space Shuttle works well for going off-road. It’s suited with 2.4-inch wide tires that are textured to provide extra grip.

Everything about the bike works to stabilize the ride. It can help your child feel more confident by making the experience less intimidating.

Why We Love It

Ultra-Light

As opposed to using the usual aluminum or steel, Royalbaby used magnesium alloy for the Space Shuttle. It’s incredibly light, weighing roughly 21 pounds, yet highly durable.

The Space Shuttle is great for building speed. The lightness of the frame makes it easy for even the smallest to pedal, while still having full control.

Superb Stability

A great benefit of using magnesium alloy, besides the lightness, is its anti-impact elements. You have to be rough to make it budge. This translates to its riding performance, giving it superb stability.

Your kiddo can safely bring it onto the rough off-trail roads. The frame and the wide tires reduce the risk of falling.

Color Options Available

The Space Shuttle is available in three colors. Royalbaby stresses how the design is appealing to children of all ages.

The magnesium alloy has another benefit here. It’s easy to form and mold, adding clean lines to the bike and eye-catching shapes.

Keep In Mind

Hard Hand Brake

While most reviewers are happy with the bike, some said there was an issue with the hand brake. It’s tough for a child to use correctly, which compromises their stopping time.

Additional Specs

ColorWhite, purple, or black
Adjustable heightYes
Wheel size18 inches
Bike weight21 pounds
Gears includedNo

7. Freestyle Kid’s 20-Inch Bike By RoyalBaby

Best 20-Inch Kids’ Sports Bike

RoyalBaby Kids Bike Boys Girls Freestyle BMX Bicycle With Kickstand Gifts for...
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If your child enjoys biking sports, then the Freestyle from Royalbaby is well worth a look. With 20-inch wide, deep-treaded wheels, it’s perfect for activities, be they on or off-road.

The bike is available in various sizes, down to 12-inch wheels — each variant featuring specific components. The 20-inch bike comes with a kickstand and dual-brakes — one caliper and a coaster brake.

Putting together the bike is easy. Everything you need is in the package along with additional features such as a bell, water bottle, and tools for the assembly. The seat adjusts with ease using the quick-release system.

Why We Love It

Superb Sports Bike

With large, wide tires and durable wheels, the Freestyle is great for doing sports. The rider can take it around the track, do stunts at the park, or race around the neighborhood.

Dual Brakes

Having full control of the speed is essential when doing biking sports, and the Freestyle includes two brakes. On the handlebars, there sits a lever to control the front wheel brake. This is ideal for fine adjustments while doing tricks.

Then the coaster brake helps to come to a smooth full stop. It will also prevent those dreadful head-over-handlebar accidents.

Lots of Extras Included

A kid-sized bike with grown-up features is perfect for 6- to 8-year-olds. Royalbaby includes fun things such as a bell and water bottle for your speeding child. It also features a kickstand for easy parking.

Easy Assembly

Everything you need is ready in the box. Tools and an owner’s manual are in the bundle — the instructions are easy to follow. There may not be much to do to get it on the road — many reviewers said the bike comes mostly assembled.

Keep In Mind

Considerably Heavy

A few parents noted their disappointment concerning the bike’s weight. Many said it was too heavy to lift, even for an adult.

Additional Specs

ColorRed, blue, green, pink, orange, or white
Adjustable heightYes
Wheel size20 inches
Bike weight31 pounds
Gears includedNo

6 To 8 Year Old Bike Comparison Chart

ProductBestColorAdjustable heightWheel sizeBike weightGears included
Guardian Kids BikesOverall4 colorsYes20″21.5 lbsYes
Raleigh Bikes RowdyLightweight BikeOrangeYes20″20.41 lbsYes
Firmstrong Urban Girl Cruiser20″ For Girls5 colorsYes20″23 lbsNo
Mongoose Legion Sidewalk BMXBMX Bike3 colorsYes20″25.6 lbsNo
Schwinn Elm Girl’s 18″ For Girls3 colorsYes18″N/ANo
RoyalBaby Space Shuttle18″ For Boys3 colorsYes18″21 lbsNo
RoyalBaby Freestyle Kid’sSports Bike6 colorsYes20″31 lbsNo
Jump to the Full 6 To 8 Year Old Bike Reviews

And That’s the Best

Watching your baby upgrade to a larger bike isn’t always easy. You want to ensure they feel safe, while still challenging themselves. Finding the best bike for your child can certainly help.

It’s crucial to pick the right size — we recommend going by height or inseam measurements as they’re more accurate. Then find a bike allowing for seat height adjustments — aim for the lowest setting when choosing. This way, the rider will have plenty of room to grow.

And remember to take plenty of pictures as keepsakes while they are out on their new bike. You’ll both love looking back at them someday.

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Edited by

Shannon Serpette

Shannon Serpette is an award-winning writer and editor from Illinois, who regularly contributes to newspapers, magazines, and websites. As a mother of two, she loves to write about parenting issues and is dedicated to educating other parents at every stage of their child's development.
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