Best 26" wheel kids bikes for ages 9 and over - 2019
What is it about kids and their ability to seemingly grow several inches in height over the course of a day? It feels as though one week they're happily trundling around on a balance bike, picking up skills that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and the next they're looming over you requesting food and a new 26" wheeled bike. Don't despair - our guide to the best 26" wheel kids bikes is here to help!
The move through wheels sizes can be pretty rapid as they approach the secondary school years, and up until recently trying to find an appropriately sized 'tween' bike was a real headache. The options were limited to say the least and many older kids were riding around on adult bikes that were too big and affected their riding ability.
Thankfully, the industry has woken up and realised that kids don't jump off 24" wheel bikes straight onto adult bikes. The number junior bikes with suitably sized frames and 26" wheels is thankfully increasing all the time.
The best 26" wheel kids bikes
In this post we take a look at hybrid bikes with 26" wheels that are suitable for mixed terrain riding. They're be great for kids wanting to cycle to school during the week, but wanting to do something a bit more adventurous at the weekends and during the holidays. The bikes all have flat handlebars and no suspension. If you're looking for something a bit more specialist, then check out our other posts:
Here's a selection of the best kids 26" wheel bikes available. In general the more you pay on a bike, the better the components and the ride experience. All bikes listed are well specified, lightweight and should give your child a fun, yet safe, riding experience, and so all deserve a place in our list of the best 26" wheel kids bikes. If we've missed off your favourite, please do let us know in the comments at the end of the page.
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand
There's no doubting that Frog bikes are popular, and with good reason. They have tapped into a rich seam of need for quality kids bikes at just the right time and delivered exactly what the kids bike buying public wanted - a great looking, well specified lightweight bike that will last several kids and still be going strong.
Frog currently have three frame sizes with 26" wheels. The smallest of their 26" wheelers is the Frog 69 (for kids with a minimum inside leg of 69cm - usually aged about 10-12 years). The next size up is the Frog 72, for those with a minimum inside leg of 72cm (typically aged between 12 and 14 years of age). For older / taller kids the Frog 78 is the largest bike in their range.
Frog Bikes all have a lightweight frame which comes in a great range of paint colours. Weights for the Frogs are given as 10kg.
The 26" wheel bikes come with an 8 speed Shimano gear system operated by thumb shifters and having an 11-32T cassette. All Frog Bikes come with two sets of tyres so you can be confident the bike will handle both road and off-road equally well.
The Frog 69 has a retail price of £360 and the Frog 73 is currently listed as £380 whilst the Frog 78 will cost you £400.
We haven't reviewed the 26" wheel Frog hybrids, but we have reviewed both the Frog MTB 69 and the smaller wheeled Frog 55 hybrid and the Frog Road 67 so are happy to recommend these bikes.
Where to buy Frog Bikes
Frog Bikes can be found in bike shops around the world. However, if you prefer to buy on line then Tredz usually have excellent stock levels and colour choices as they're based close to the Frog Factory in South Wales.
Buy Now => The Frog 26" wheel bikes can be purchased from Tredz
Check out our post about the Cheapest place to buy a Frog Bike if they don't have the size or colour you want
Get 10% off with our exclusive code at Tredz
Cycle Sprog recommended brand
Squish bikes launched to the market in 2017 and are the own brand of the cycle distributor Tandem Group Cycles that currently have the likes of Dawes Academy and Claud Butler on their books. The vision for Squish was to create a high quality but fun looking bike that is lightweight and perfectly tailored for kids.
We are pleased that Squish have realised that kids vary in size as they grow, and provide a choice of frame sizes for older kids. This is something that some of the premium brands have been doing for a while, and it's good to see Squish doing similar.
The Squish 26 comes with a 13" frame for those with a minimum inside leg of 67cm, and a 15" frame for those slightly taller (with a minimum inside leg of 70cm). The bikes are available in three paint jobs that have been designed to appeal to older kids. They are a lot more subtle than the more "fun" paint schemes on the smaller Squish bikes.
The 8 gears (Shimano 8spd 11-32T cassette coupled with a 32T single chainring) should be sufficient for most lumps and bumps.
With a lightweight triple butted alloy frame a full build weighs in at respectable 9.88kg, and a price of £319.99
We haven't reviewed the Squish 26, but were pleased with the performance of the smaller Squish 18 - you can read our review here.
WHERE TO BUY THE SQUISH 26
The Squish 26 is available to buy from a number of local bike shops across the UK. If you don't have a stockist close by, you can also buy online from Tredz cycles.
===> Buy the Squish 26 at Tredz cycles - ENTER THE CODE SPROG10 AT CHECKOUT TO GET 10% OFF
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand
The Bonaly range is definitely a subscriber to the philosophy of 'keeping it simple', with its rigid fork, low centre of gravity and of course, light weight. It's technically a mountain bike, but with its rigid forks it's suited to mixed terrain (although probably not the best choice if your doing lots of on-road riding).
Hoy upgraded the Bonaly range in 2019 to make it lighter and improve some of the design features. It has a fresh, modern look with a lower spoke count and redesigned frame. We haven't tested out this particular bike, but have been impressed with the smaller Bonaly 20 we've reviewed.
One of the appeals of this bike will be its disc brakes - the Shimano RT200 hydraulic discs with RT26 160mm rotors mean this bike looks and feels like a grown up bike - but with the correctly sized components for a younger rider.
The 9 gears come via a 32 toothed front chainring matched up to a Sunrace M90 9 speed 11-34T cassette, with the power transferred to ground through Kenda Small Block 8 tyres.
The stated weight of the Hoy Bonaly 26 is 10.2 kg on Evans website.
=> The Hoy Bonaly 26 has a retail price of £465 and can be purchased from Evans Cycles
Cuda Performance CP26 (RRP £340)
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand
Cuda Performance have been going through an exciting period of design with new models coming to market. The new CP26 was released in 2018 and this is Cuda Performance's multi purpose offering for children aged around 10 years and over.
With a double butted aluminium frame and cromoly forks, the CP26 is certainly mixing it up with the other manufacturers of this style and type of bike.
Braking is supplied by Tektro and there is the usual 32T single chainset matched to an 11-32T cassette with 8 gear options. Alloy hubs and rims are shod with Kenda small block tyres to give great grip on a variety of surfaces.
The Cuda Performance CP26 has a stated weight with pedals fitted of 11.2kg and has a retail price of £340.
We haven't reviewed this particular bike, but we have put several of the other Cuda bikes to the test, including the drop handlebar Cuda CP700R and the smaller wheeled Cuda CP20R as well as their full suspension Cuda Impact 24" wheel mountain bike.
WHERE TO BUY: The Cuda Performance CP26 is available from a number of local bike shops
Islabikes Beinn 26 and 27 (RRP £440)
Cycle Sprog Reviewed and Recommended Bikes
Pioneers of quality lightweight kids bikes, Islabikes have been producing quality kids bikes since 2005 - long before anyone else realised the demand. Their all purpose hybrid bike - the Beinn - used to come in two 26" wheel versions to take account of the size differences of children (small and large), but they've recently updated the range to replace the Large 26 with a 27.5" wheel bike - the Beinn 27.
The Beinn's come with a frame that is designed to fit a child like a glove. Components are proportioned for children's bodies; narrower bars for smaller hands, low q factor (distance between crank arms for comfortable pedalling) and the aluminium frame tubes have been specified to be strong but thin walled to save weight.
Islabikes manufacture a high proportion of componentry themselves, but have specified SRAM gearing for the Beinn range, with a twist grip selecting one of 8 speeds.
Available in either a 26" wheel with 13.5" frame (62cm - 74cm inside leg) or in the large 15" (68 - 80cm inside leg), the Beinn 26 weighs in at 9.4kg and the Beinn 27 at 9.9kg (pedals included) respectively. Both cost £439.99
You can read our reviews of the Islabikes 26 here and the Islabikes Beinn 27 review here.
===> Buy the Islabikes Beinn 26 directly from Islabikes
The Pinnacle range is an decently specified bike for the money, and the Kauri 26 is their biggest junior bike. Weighing in at 11.6kg it's one of the heaviest bikes we recommend, but it's still significantly lighter than a much cheaper steel framed bike. The disc brakes will make stopping safely a joy, and the single front ring with a 9 speed cassette means changing gear will be very simple.
Order now: The Pinnacle Kauri 26 is available to order from Evans Cycles for free home delivery or instore pick up
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand
The Woom Range of bikes originate in Austria, and are very lightweight and well designed. The gearing is more suited to climbing hills than some of the other bikes on this page (well, they do have the Alps in Austria!) so is worth a look if you live in a particularly hilly location. The front chain ring is 29T and the rear gears range from 11 to 34 T, meaning a nice easy gear for climbing.
The Woom 6 is one of the lightest 26" wheel kids bikes available, with a stated weight of just 9.2kg, making it easy to manoeuvre, worth thinking about if your child is having to lift their bike up and down steps, or if you're lifting onto a bike rack.
We've reviewed several of the smaller single speed Woom bikes and were very impressed with the quality and performance.
Buy now - Woom 6 from The Little Bike Company
Trek have gone back to basics with the Wahoo and created a fine looking fully rigid go-anywhere type of bike that would be equally at home doing the school run as having a blast on the trails. It comes in a whole raft of colour schemes so there should be at least one to keep your little rider content.
The specification is pretty impressive too, with an 8 speed system using an Shimano Acera trigger shifter and altus rear derailleur. There's a 32T chainring paired up with an 11-34T cassette which should be enough for most scenarios. Tried and tested v-brakes are fitted to scrub off the speed when the budding racers need hauling in.
I'm presuming the 'Wahoo' name comes from the noise you make when riding it! The Trek website gives a weight of 9.93kg.
==> BUY THE TREK WAHOO FROM EVANS CYCLES
The Wiggins Chartres Junior 26 is the largest hybrid in Sir Bradley Wiggins' range of kids bikes. Unlike the majority of the bikes featured on this page it comes with triple chainset, meaning that the rider has to change gears with both hands, and contend with a total of 27 gears. If your child is confident at changing gear, then this may suit them - for less experienced riders a bike with a single chainset up front will help simplify matters for them.
With its signature reverse fork and striking paintwork, the Chartres is an attractive looking bike that comes in at a competitive price.
The weight of the Chartres 26 is given as 11kg (approximately). The Wiggins Chartres 26 has a retail price of £410 (but is often discounted) and is available exclusively from Halfords.
=> Click here to find the Wiggins Chartres 26 at Halfords
Discontinued and difficult to find 26" wheel kids bikes
Not all kids bikes are always available - at the moment these are hard to find, but are worth a look if you find them either in the your local bike store or on Ebay:
Raleigh Performance Junior (RRP £340)
From one of the most famous names in the cycling world of yesteryear, Raleigh are rightfully back with an excellent line up for the UK market that includes a new range of lightweight children's bikes.
An attractive looking bike due to it's simplicity, the Raleigh Performance Junior 26 is labeled up as a mountain bike however fits the bill of a great hybrid bike perfectly. What's a label anyway?
The Junior 26 has 8 speeds to choose from via the Shimano Revoshift gripshifter, and an 11-32 cassette mated up to an own brand 32T chainset that combines to give a useful spread of gears.
Specified with Kenda small block tyres, the Junior 26 should be equally at home on paths, trails and roads. A rear plastic mudguard is also supplied - a useful addition for keeping your back dry!
The Raleigh Performance Junior 26 had a retail price of £340.
Check Ebay for the Raleigh Performance Junior 26
Dawes Academy 26
The Dawes Academy range was a lightweight and well specified range of kids bikes, which is no longer being produced. If you can find one either on sale in your local bike shop, or second hand on e-bay, it's definitely worth a look.
Check Ebay for the Dawes Academy 26
From the Squish to the Hoy, we've tried to cover bikes at a variety of price points in our list of the best 26" wheel kids bikes. If we've missed off your favourite, please do leave us a comment below, telling us what the bike is, and why you love it so much.
Other posts you may like:
If you've found this post about the best 26" wheel kids bikes useful, why not keep up to date with the latest news in the world of kids cycling? Please follow us on Facebook or sign up for our newsletter. Thanks!
Affiliate disclosure: Cycle Sprog may make a small commission from sales made through some links on this page. Thanks for helping us keep the website going. If you're not buying through these links, but would like to support us, you can do so by buying us a coffee. Thanks!
There were lots of family cargo bikes on display at the 2019 Cycle Show - here's our round up of which ones caught our eye
Here's our selection of the best, and most fun, kids 26" wheel mountain bikes
It's rare to find Frog Bikes reduced, but I've been trying to find where are the best places to buy a Frog Bike this month
Leave a Reply