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It can be bewildering trying to fathom out which bike is best bike for a 10 year old boy. That's because there's no one bike that is going to be perfect for every single lad! To help you out, here at Cycle Sprog we've put our collective heads together and jotted down our thoughts on what to think about when looking for a bike for a 10 year old boy. We've also recommended a selection of bikes that might be suitable too!
As he grows over the next couple of years, your "little boy" may suddenly want to start exploring further afield, potentially alone or with his friends. This can especially be the case once he's started at secondary school - being seen cycling with parents can be particularly uncool!
You need to make sure that whatever bike he's riding is safe and easy to ride, so do think carefully before buying the very cheapest bike you can find, as you want him to be safe and free from mechanical problems.
However, if you invested heavily in bikes during his earlier years you may have concerns about allowing him to take an expensive bike for a trip to the park with his friends. If that's the case, midrange or budget bikes may be more suitable for this.
It's amazing but 10 year old boys vary so much in height, so you need to make sure that you measure him carefully and get the correct size bike. Too small and he'll get limited use from it, but too big and he won't be able to control it, and possibly get frustrated or scared.
The official height charts state that the smallest boys will be 122 cm on their 10th birthday, and the tallest boys will be 160 cm as they get to the end of their 10th year. This means some 10 year old boys will need a 24" wheel bike, while the majority will be on a 26" wheel bike and some leggy ones managing a 27.5" or 700c wheel bike. In this post we're mainly focusing on 26" wheel bikes, but all manufacturers will have smaller (and sometimes larger) bikes available.
Bikes for 10 year olds can be more expensive than bikes for much younger children, as they tend to come equipped with more complex and higher spec gearing and in some cases disc brakes and suspension. It can often come as a surprise that a decent kids bike will cost minimum of several hundred pounds, but it's worth comparing that to the cost of games consoles and TV screens. There's a few things to guide you as to how much to spend.
What's your budget? - don't forget that if you buy the very cheapest bike out there it may have brakes and gears that are difficult to use, and could well rust quickly. And it will be heavy. Very heavy! Here's our thoughts on why you should never buy a really, really cheap kids bike.
Read our guide to buying a kids bike if you need more advice on this.
How much is he going to ride the bike? Obviously if a bike is going to be ridden everyday whatever the weather (perhaps to commute to school), you're going to be looking for something much more hard wearing than if it only gets ridden occasionally. However, if you buy a very cheap bike (not the ones featured in this post) you may be disappointed when you come to use it after months of inactivity to find everything has rusted and seized up.
How likely is he to remember to lock his bike? Bike theft does occur, so obviously you don't want to be investing in a hugely expensive bike if you think he's going to leave it lying around unlocked when he's out and about.
As a guide, you should be able to get a decent new bike for around the £350 mark (less if you're buying during sales / Black Friday). However, the more you spend, the better the quality of the bike, and you can spend several thousand pounds on specialist mountain bikes and road bikes if you really want to.
Having done it ourselves countless times, another great option that we recommend is buying a decent bike second hand rather than a cheap new one. With a bit of hunting around you should get a good bike for well under £200.
There are so many different places a 10 year old boy can cycle - road, gentle off-road routes, grass, serious mountain bike trails, race circuits, pump tracks and BMX parks being just a few of the options. If you buy a specialist bike for him and it's his only bike, then you're potentially limiting the riding he can do.
If he's still exploring which type of cycling he likes best, then we recommend going for a flat handlebar hybrid bike with all purpose tyres, which will allow him to go virtually anywhere (and are recommended a bit further on in this post).
If he's decided to specialise in a particular type of cycling, then of course a specialist bike will be worth the investment with maybe a cheaper second hand one to knock around on.
Obviously, in our opinion you can never have enough bikes at any age. Whilst the majority of 10 year old boys can get by with just one bike, if he's really into his cycling then the x=n+1 rule applies (where x = number of bikes needed and n = number of bikes owned).
He can't be expected to ride his mountain bike on a road sportive or for cyclocross, and if he's only got a road bike then how's he going to cope at trail centres? And of course, if he's going to really perfect his skills, then a BMX is going to be an essential. Better get saving! Seriously though, one hybrid bike is all he needs if the majority of his riding involves riding to his mates, school, the bike park. If things are a bit more specialised then you might have to start digging into your pockets.
In this post we're looking at a variety of different quality bikes - if there isn't something that's right for your son, then why not check out these other posts:
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand
The great thing about Frog Bikes (apart from their excellent quality, junior sized components and great resale value), is that they come in a good selection of sizes for older kids. All Frog Bikes are named according to the inside leg measurement, so the Frog 69 is for kids aged about 10 - 12 years with a 69cm minimum inside leg. There is also the Frog 62, Frog 73 and Frog 78 - all named according to the inside leg measurement - so there should be a size for every ten year old lad. They're not the cheapest bikes around, but they're really well made and lightweight due to their aluminium frames, fun to ride and come in a wide range of colour choices. Resale value is good too if you're able to maintain them.
Frog have also recently launched their mountain bike range, with the Frog MTB 62, 69 and 72 so again there should be a size suitable for virtually every ten year old.
Here at Cycle Sprog we have reviewed the hybrid, mountain bike and road Frog Bikes in various sizes, and have always been really impressed with the design and comfort of the bikes.
Frog Bikes are available from a network of local bikes stores.
BUY NOW: Frog Bikes from Tredz who offer free home delivery and interest free finance.
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended
The Islabikes Beinn is a top quality all round bike, that will handle virtually everything that a youngster can throw at it. This bike will stand up to being ridden to school everyday and taken out on the trails at the weekend, and can even be used for cycle touring holidays. It's an investment piece, but well worth it if you're 10 year old is going to be riding it most days. The Islabikes Beinn comes in various wheel sizes, but most 10 year olds will probably want the largest size - the Beinn 27 (9.9 kg). You'll notice this is one of only two 27.5" wheel bike on this page, as Islabikes have only recently released this 27.5" wheel kids bike. The theory is that they can go further and faster on the larger wheels, with less effort. Expect to see others following their lead in years to come.
Islabikes also do a drop-handlebar road/cyclocross bike (the Luath) which comes in both 26" and 700c wheel sizes, and a mountain bike (Creig) which comes in 26" wheels only.
You can read what our 11 year old reviewer thought of the Beinn 27 when he rode it for the first time in this review.
Islabikes can only be bought direct from them online, or you can order and pick up from their Ludlow showroom. Alternatively, there is a thriving second hand market in Islabikes on Ebay (note that the Beinn 27 has replaced the old 26" Large frame with a number of design revisions to incorporate the larger diameter wheels, but will take a while to flow through on second hand sites).
The Pinnacle Kauri 26 is Evans Cycles best selling 26" wheel kids bike, and for good reason. It's very well specified for the money - you're getting a lightweight 13" frame, junior sized components, 9 speed Sunrace 11-32T cassette, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes plus the support of Evans staff at your local store should you need it. It's not the lightest hybrid bike we feature, but at 11.6kg it's still much lighter than many of the cheaper bikes for 10 year olds out there.
Buy now: Pinnacle Kauri 26 on-line for home delivery or you can collect it from your nearest store where the bike can be assembled free of charge.
Cycle Sprog recommended brand
Squish are relative newcomers to the kids bike market, and what is good for those looking for a bike for a 10 year old boy is that their largest wheel offering, the Squish 26, comes in two frame sizes. The 13" frame is suitable for those with an inside leg of 67cm and the 15" frame for those with an inside leg of 70cm.
As with all the other bikes in this post, the Squish is lightweight (9.88kg) and has appropriately sized components for a 10 year old boy. The Shimano 8spd 11-32T cassette should be enough to get up and down most things.
We haven't reviewed this particular bike, but the Squish 18 got the thumbs up from our younger reviewer.
Squish Bikes are available from a network of local bike shops around the UK if you prefer to shop local.
Whyte bikes are everywhere at the moment and are particularly popular with the pre-teen and teenage market. You're getting a cool looking bike with brilliant specification, which will allow you to do some serious biking - either off road, or in the urban playground. The Whyte 403 is a scaled down version of Whyte's renowned 900 series adult bike, and is designed to allow kids to ride faster and harder from a younger age. With a light but strong 6061 aluminium frame, Shimano Altus 9-Speed groupset with trigger shifter and SR Suntour XCR 100mm travel forks there's a lot of fun to be had on this bike, but the WTB Bronson Race/Riddler tyres and Promax Solve disc brakes will give you piece of mind too.
The Whyte 403 is suitable for kids between 125 cm and 152 cm tall. It comes in a choice of eyecatching Lime Green, or a more subtle Granite Grey and is available from Leisure Lakes Bikes who offer free home delivery, or collection from one of their 10 stores.
The Wiggins Chartres 26 is a good all rounder that will happily cope with trips to mates houses plus longer, more challenging rides out. We've had good feedback from Cycle Sprog readers on these bikes, which have been designed by Tour de France winner and Olympian Sir Bradley Wiggins. You're getting a well specified lightweight (11.3kg) bike. At its full RRP it's probably not the best buy, but it's worth keeping an eye open as the bike is often sold at a reduced price. The Chartres is a hybrid bike so will be suited to road and gentle trails, although there's no suspension so it's not a full out mountain bike.
If your 10 year old boy is desperate for a road bike, and isn't going to ever want to fit wider tyres to it, then the Wiggins Rouen range is a good entry level road bike. It is road specific though - no wide cross tyres here, so you need to be certain he's only going to be rolling on the tarmac if you go for this one.
Wiggins Bikes are available exclusively from Halfords, and you can order online for free home delivery or get it sent to your local store for assembly. They tend to be on a cycle of reduction and full price, so you can get a real bargain if you're prepared to wait for their next sale.
There's not many kids bikes for under £300 that come specified with a lightweight aluminium frame, alloy wheels and fast rolling Kenda tyres. Obviously at this price, compromises are being made to keep the price low, with one outcome being that it could be heavier than other offerings (Halfords don't specify a total weight for this bike). The alloy frame is paired up to a pair of steel forks that should give some comfort at the handlebars. The Carrera Subway 26 has 21 gears (compared to up to 9 on the other bikes in this post), which will also make things heavier and more complicated (both for the rider and the mechanic). However, for less than £300 you should still be getting a decent ride for your money.
The Carrera Subway is available exclusively at Halfords, and can be ordered online for free home delivery or collection in store. Halfords do discount quite frequently, so you may get a bargain!
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended
Once, kids keen on tricks and off roading were limited to BMX, but eventually the mountain biking manufacturers cottoned on to the potential of the junior market and started to build bikes for them. The standard of off-road riding amongst juniors has continued to improve so dramatically that huge numbers of children are now much more skilled than their mountain biking parents! Such kids are continually pushing the envelope and to allow them to do this there's a need for suitable hardware. Enter the Cube Stereo 140 Youth.
With three frame sizes available, the 13" and perhaps the 16" should be suitable for 10 years and up. In line with the adult bike market, the Stereo 140 Youth is built around 27.5 wheels that, in conjunction with the 150mm air fork up front and 140mm travel shock at the rear, smooth out the trail ahead and allow your junior rider to just have a blast.
The Cube Stereo 140 youth is a cutting edge weapon that comes equipped with a high end specification, and at £1699 you're getting a serious amount of bike for the money.
Our 12 year old Cycle Sprog has been reviewing the Cube Stereo 140 Youth in the largest frame size this summer, and we were seriously impressed with this bike. A smaller frame size would suit more 10 year olds.
We've only managed to cover a fraction of the bikes that are on the market at the moment that would be suitable for a 10 year old boy, but hopefully from this you can see the range of bikes available, and what you get for your money. All the bikes featured are well made, lightweight and if looked after properly should be able to withstand everything a 10 year old asks of it in general day to day use. If you're looking for a mountain bike for serious off road riding, then do check our post on 26" wheel mountain bikes.
Hopefully you'll find the best bike - don't forget to leave us a comment below to let us know which bike you end up with, so tag your photos @cyclesprog on Instagram for a share!
Other articles you'll want to read:
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