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Kids cyclocross bikes for the 2018/9 season
Cyclocross is a family friendly sport that kids from all ages can get involved in. If your child wants to give it a go, they can take part on any bike with grippy enough tyres - hybrid, all terrain and mountain bikes are all fine. However, if they want to take their cyclocross racing more seriously, then you're probably going to find yourself being nagged for a kids cyclocross specific bike. In this article we look at what junior sized kids cyclocross bikes are currently on the UK market, to help you make that decision.
We've listed them in ascending price order, so you can decide how much you want to invest in your child's cycling.
Please note that these kids cyclo-cross bikes can be adapted to ride with road tyres if necessary, but not all kids road bikes can be adapted to take the wider cyclo-cross tyres.
The best kids cyclocross bikes
Frog Road / Cyclocross Bikes (£425 - £465)
Whilst Frog have named their drop handlebar offering the Frog Road, it's a dual purpose kids bike that comes supplied with both Kenda road and cyclocross tyres. It's a great entry bike for kids racing road, cyclocross and triathlon. It's got generous tyre clearance with the Tektro Oryx cantilever brakes. Internal gear cable routing stops cables getting damaged when lifting, and the bikes are lightweight enough for a child to pick up.
Frog Bikes have three cyclocross bikes in their range, and they're the only manufacturer to offer a 20" wheel cyclocross bike (the Frog Road 58 - 8.2kg - £425). This is suitable for children aged around 6 years and up (minimum inside leg of 58cm).
The 24" wheel bike is the Frog Road 67 (8.8kg - £445) and is suitable for kids with a minimum inside leg of 67cm, which is usually from 8 years.
The biggest Frog cyclocross bike is the 26" wheel Frog Road 70 (9.3kg - £465) which is good for kids with a minimum inside leg of 70cm and over (approx 10 years and up).
All the Frog Road / Cyclocross Bikes have narrow and short-drop child-specific handlebars, with Microshift short-reach shifters/brake levers. They also come fitted with top mounted auxiliary brake levers to give additional confidence when braking. This is particularly important when starting out on drop handlebar bikes, when children may struggle with braking when on the drops.
Each bike has appropriately sized short cranks designed for the size of the rider, which should make pedaling easier, more efficient and more comfortable.
The 20" and 24" wheel bikes both have a single chain ring at the front, with the Microshift gear shifter making it simple to change between the 9 gear options. The larger 26" bike has a double ring chainset, giving 18 gears to choose from.
Frog provide a free 5 year warranty on frame and forks, and resale values are reasonably good on a well maintained, infrequently raced model.
The Frog Road bikes are available in a choice of four colour schemes (Red, White, Black and Team Sky). They're available from a network of local bike dealers, and on-line from Tredz, who offer free home delivery and 0% finance.
Hoy Meadowmill (£460 - £480)
Hoy Bikes have relaunched their junior bike range for 2018. The Meadowmill is their cyclocross offering, with 24" and 26" wheel models available. Meadowmill is the name of the cyclo-cross circuit that Sir Chris Hoy raced at when he was starting out in cycle racing, so who knows where your Cycle Sprog may end up on their journey!
The 24" wheel Meadowmill 24 (£460) is fitted with Maxxis Locust 24 x 1.25 tyres, whilst the 26" wheel Meadowmill 26 (£480) comes with Schwalbe CX Pro 26 x 1.35 both of which should provide enough grip not only for grass tracks, but also for a bit of gravel biking on tracks and bridleways. They can also be fitted with slick road tyres (not included) when being used purely on the road. Once again, price and availability wise, this is another good bike for those kids that are enjoying their racing and want that move up to the next level.
Both Meadowmill bikes are 8 speed,with Shimano Claris groupset - the simple single ring at the front making it very easy to change gears, and the Sunrace M55 8 speed 11-34T rear cassette enough to tackle even the hilliest course.
Similar to the Frog Bikes, the Meadowmill also has secondary brake levers to control the Tektro 930AL alloy V brakes.
Weight-wise, the Hoy bikes come in a few hundred grams lighter than the Frog Road bike and the Islabikes Luath, with the Meadowmill 24 weighing in at 8.69kg including pedals, whilst the Meadowmill 26 is 8.81kg with pedals fitted.
Hoy Bikes are available exclusively from Evans Cycles. You can order online and have free delivery either to your home, or your local Evans store (where they will build the bike for you free of charge).
Cuda Performance kids cyclocross bikes (£500 - £580)
The Cuda Performance range of kids bikes offers an alternative to some of the big names that dominate the cyclo-cross scene - great if your child likes to be that little bit different. The Cuda Performance Road range (shortened to CP R) is available in three sizes - the CP24R, CP26R and CP700R.
The Cuda Performance Range got a make over during 2017 so the colour scheme is now the bright glossy single colours that are popular across all manufacturers.
As with the Frog Bikes, the Cuda Performance Road/Cross bikes come supplied with two sets of tyres - Kenda Road and Kenda Cross - but it's worth noting that the Cuda bikes don't have the auxiliary brakes on the handlebars. This will force your child to get down riding and braking in the drops right from the off.
The two smaller Cuda cross bikes have a single 36t chain ring at the front, keeping gear changing simple for younger riders, but the larger 700c bike introduces a double 34/46t chainset, as you'd expect for riders on the way up to the inevitable adult bike.
On the scales, the Cuda CP24R comes in at 9.3kg, the CP26R at 9.5kg and the CP700R at 10kg, all with pedals in situ.
The Cuda Performance Road / Cross bikes come in a choice of three colours - green, pink and red, and they are sold via a network of independent bike shops. They are also sometimes to be found on-line via Amazon.
Worx Junior Cyclo-cross bikes (£595 - £845)
Worx Bikes make bikes to race - and race fast - so everything about their bikes is focused on speed, hence the rider must be experienced enough to control this during a race. Their junior range has three standard models - the Worx JA-24 (8.5kg), JA-26 (8.7kg) and JA700 (8.8kg) - all weights without pedals.
To lighten things up even more, there is the Worx JA700 Pro (8.6kg) which benefits from carbon forks.
The bikes are designed to be ridden fast on either road or grass, and you can specify either a Schwable CX Pro or Kenda foldable road tyre at time of purchase. The two smaller bikes come with secondary brakes, but by the time you're on the JA-700 the expectation is the rider is going to be comfortable with riding and braking when on the drops.
The Worx junior cyclo-cross / road bikes come in one colour scheme only, and are available exclusively from Worx - either via their website or you can arrange to visit them in Oxfordshire.
Islabikes Luath (£650)
Once upon a time, if you wanted a kids cyclo-cross bike you had to buy an Islabikes Luath. It was the original quality kids road / cyclo-cross bike, and it remains one of the most popular bikes on the racing scene. It was designed by Islabikes founder Isla Rowntree, who just so happens to have been British National Cyclocross champion in 1999, 2002 and 2003. Having designed the Luath, she then made a come back as British Veteran Cyclocross Champion in 2010, 2011 and 2015. I'm guessing she knows a thing or two about what makes a good cyclo-cross bike!
It's the success of the Islabikes Luath that has made the other manufacturers featured on this page realise that there is a market for their products, be it entry level bikes or high specification pro-machines.
The Islabikes Luath is available in 4 sizes, a 24" (8.9kg), 26" (9.4kg), 700c Small (9.9kg) and 700c Large (10.1kg) all of which have the same £649.99 price tag (weights with pedals). This dual sizing of the 700c Luath reflects the fact that kids seem to grow so fast these days and are onto 700c wheels before they're able to cope with the frame and component sizing of an adult cross bike.
Stopping power on the Luath is applied by Shimano STI short reach levers with a set of Tektro junior top mount brake levers also in place.
Because Islabikes have such an obsessive attention to detail and have been making kids bikes for longer than anyone else, with a number of the components designed exclusively to fit their bikes. For example, the smaller diameter handlebars are short drop and have been designed with a shorter and narrower shape than adult bars, so kids can comfortably use all positions. They even use slimmer bar tape to ensure a decent grip for smaller hands!
The Islabikes Luath comes in either red or teal, and is sold exclusively via the Islabikes website. Alternatively you can arrange to collect from their Ludlow showroom. There is a roaring trade in second hand Islabikes on Ebay too.
Forme Calver and Junior Calver Pro (from £550)
Forme have a range of junior bikes and frames designed specifically for youngsters keen to take their cyclocross to the next level, which have had a make over for the 2018/19 cyclocross season. Their standard offering, the Calver comes in two sizes, 24" and 26" wheels. They have everything you'd expect from a dedicated cyclocross bike - lightweight alumimium frame, junior specific compact geometrywith suitable gear ratios and crank lengths, short drop / reach handlebars. The 24" wheel bike also comes with top mounted brake levers for additional control when braking.
Calver bikes are stocked by a network of local independent bike shops - you may have to ask your nearest dealer to order in the correct size for you, as they won't all necessarily hold stock.
For those keen to build their child their own perfectly bespoke cyclo-cross bike, Calver also offer the Calver Junior Pro frameset, which they've developed with junior racing specialists kidsracing.co.uk. This is a junior sized 38cm 700c wheel frame, enabling the youngest of riders to access big wheels, and kidsracing can help you with the specification and build of your bike. This bike is currently available to preorder from kidsracing, and should be in stock during September.
Scatto Bikes (from £799)
Scatto Bikes are made in Flanders - the spiritual home of cyclo-cross! They've proved very popular as both models (the JC28 Small and JC28 Large) are equipped with 700c wheels, so less rolling resistance than 26" and the option of utilising mum or dads spare wheels when needed! Due to the low standover height of the Scatto frames, kids as young as 7 have been racing on this larger size wheel, with faster times resulting as bike handling skills improve.
If you're in the market for a Scatto, then you're best off speaking to Kidsracing.co.uk or to Paul Milne Cycles who can advise on the best set up for your child. They can sell you the entire bike off the shelf with the factory specification (which comes in weight wise about 8.9kg without pedals) or they can help you modify to fit your exact needs. Alternatively you can buy just the frameset if you're wanting to build up with your own components.
Discontinued kids cyclocross bikes - 2018/19
There are a couple of kids size cyclo-cross bikes that are no longer available for the 2018/9 season. There may be few still left over from previous years in your local bike shop, and of course they will still be available second hand on eBay and other forums.
- Islabikes Luath Pro (at the time of writing there's a couple left for sale at a discounted price in the smaller sizes)
- Dawes Academy CX
Summary of the best kids cyclocross bikes
It's a great time for junior cyclo-cross racers, as there's an increased choice of kids cyclocross bikes at a range of prices, from the entry level Frog Road at £425 through to the Worx JA700 Pro and Scatto bikes for those taking their racing to the next level.
We'd love to hear which bike you're riding this season - don't forget you can leave us a comment below, or you could even write us a "Sprog Blog" to tell all the other Cycle Sprogs out there about your cyclocross adventures.
Other posts you'll find useful:
- Buying a second hand kids bike
- The best places to buy a second hand kids bike
- Riding in an U8 cyclo-cross league race for the first time
- Cyclo-cross for kids – let the mud fly!
- The Islabikes Luath review
- Frog Road 58 – Kids Bike Review
- Frog Road 67 kids bike review
- Cuda Performance CP20R Kids 20″ Wheel Road Cyclocross Bike Review
- Cuda Performance CP700R Kids Road Bike Review
- The best kids bikes
- Review of the Worx JA700 junior road bike
- My first U14's Cyclocross race - Sprog Blog
- My second U14's cyclocross race - Sprog Blog
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