Cheapest kids’ bikes 2023
With the current cost of living, investing in a new bike for your child can seem a bit of a daunting task, which is why we’ve created a complete guide to the cheapest kids’ bikes.
While we all want to save some pennies, the children’s bike market is saturated with what we think of as ‘bike-shaped toys’ that aren’t made to last, but can seem quite appealing when you’re on a tight budget.
That’s why this guide is designed to help you decipher what to look for in a budget kids’ bike, how to tell what’s good from what’s naff, and where to find the best prices.
At Cycle Sprog we only recommend the best kids’ bikes that we deem to be good quality and safe to ride, that won’t fall apart within weeks. We've also got a great guide to the best Black Friday kids' bike deals, the best Black Friday balance bike deals, and Black Friday kids' bike helmet deals.
Read on for our recommendations on where to get the cheapest kids’ bikes that are actually worth buying.Take a moment to GRAB YOUR FREE KIDS BIKE BUYING CHECKLIST which will help you record all the information you need to find the perfect bike for your child.
- Cheapest kids’ bikes at a glance
- Our guide to buying cheap kids’ bikes
- Buying a brand new bike
- Buying a second hand bike
- Leasing a bike from Bike Club
Cheapest kids’ bikes at a glance
If you’re in a hurry, here’s a quick view of the best budget children’s bikes that we’re recommending. If you’ve got more time, then keep reading for more options.
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Raleigh’s recently updated range of kids’ bikes are varied, high quality and very budget-friendly. They come in a range of sizes for different age groups, and feature modern componentry and designs in fun colourways.
Price: from £179.00
Cycle Sprog guide to cheap kids' bikes
We recommend you buy a proper bike, not a bike-shaped object.
When it comes to buying a brand new bike for your child, their safety and long-term enjoyment is paramount.
So if you’re wondering why we’re not including any brand new bikes under £100, take a look at our guide to why you shouldn’t buy a REALLY cheap new kids bike.
Here’s also some great advice on what to know before buying a kids’ bike.
If you're after a good value kids’ bike, you might also want to consider buying a secondhand bike, as you'll be able to find a good quality bike on a tight budget.
If you're in the UK, then another option is to pay a monthly subscription to Bike Club in return for the use of a quality kids’ bike, which is far cheaper than buying new, and without the hassle and stress of buying secondhand.
XMAS Deal from Bike Club - 15% discount on your monthly payment for 12 months! Offer ends 23:59 on 24th December 2023.
Further reading: Should I subscribe to Bike Club instead of buying a kids bike?
Cheapest kids’ bikes: buying brand new
If you're set on buying a brand new bike, then these are the brands we think offer great value for money. All the brand new bikes listed here are of sound quality and build, but won't break the bank when bought brand new.
B'Twin bikes are sold exclusively at Decathlon, and the range includes very heavy steel framed bikes through to much more lightweight aluminium ones.
Remember that for a young child starting out on their pedalling journey, a very heavy bike can make it difficult for them to move around. As children get older, stronger and more confident this difference becomes slightly less critical and so the cheaper end of the B'Twin range becomes a more attractive option.
The smaller aluminium bikes all get rave reviews, and are much cheaper than their equivalents elsewhere.
As Decathlon also have a huge presence across Europe you can use Google Translate to read the 1 and 2-star reviews from other parents who have had these bikes to help you make your decision.
Price: from £89.99
Raleigh were founded in 1885 and are one of the oldest bike brands in the world. At one point bikes poured out of their Nottingham factory, but in more recent decades they've had a turbulent time, with numerous changes of ownership and production shifting out of the UK to Vietnam.
It's safe to say they lost their way when it came to the quality of their kids bikes.
More recently they seem to be turning the tide, and their new Pop range provides a fun and vibrant alternative to some of the other brands at the cheaper end of the kids bike market.
They've ditched the very heavy steel-framed bikes of the last decade and come up with a slightly lighter weight aluminum-framed kids bikes range.
Price: from £179.00
Vitus Kids Bikes
Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand
Vitus bikes are a great choice as they're clearly taking on the more expensive Frog Bikes and Islabikes, at a much cheaper price point. You get a lightweight 6061 alloy frame, child proportioned components, Kenda tyres and easy to use gearing (where fitted).
Vitus kids bikes come in 16", 20" and 24" wheels, as well as a balance bike. They also do a range of reasonably priced mountain bikes, although these tend to sell out quickly!
Halfords sell some really cheap, heavy kids bikes that we don't recommend if you want your child to really enjoy their cycling, and for the bike to last a long time.
However, their Carrera kids bike range is well worth a look if you're on a budget - it's made with a lightweight aluminium frame, with child-sized components. As Halfords themselves say on their website about the smallest bike in the range: "An aluminium frame makes this bike nearly half the weight of the "Police Patrol" bike".
The Carrera range comes recommended by the Bikeability scheme as being safe for children to ride on the road - the bikes have front and rear alloy V-brakes for reliable stopping plus Kenda tyres for good grip on various surfaces and weather conditions.
If you're happy to buy second hand, more often than not you'll get a lot more bike for your money. Many of the bikes listed here can also be bought brand new, but we're featuring them here because we think the best way to get your money's worth is to get them from a reputable second hand dealer.
Ridgeback kids bikes have two ranges of kids bikes. The Dimension range is their premium kids bike range, and isn't cheap (unless you're leasing) so we won't cover that here.
The remainder of their range is cheaper, and of course there's got to be a trade off, so these bikes will be that bit heavier and not quite as well specified.
However, the bikes are still a lot better specified and lighter weight than the much cheaper, steel framed bikes available elsewhere, plus they come fitted with child proportioned components which make cycling much easier for younger children.
Annoyingly Ridgeback still persist with having "girls" bikes called Harmony and Honey, and "boys" bikes called the MX range.
I'll leave you to decide if you think having your bike called "Honey" is a good idea, but this blog explains why girls and boys bikes deserve to be equal.
Pinnacle is an in-house brand for Evans Cycles, so is available to be both home-delivered or collected on most high streets.
The Pinnacle range is much better specified and lighter weight than many other kids' bikes in the same price bracket. Parents report seeing their children ride so much more easily once they swap their “princess” or “batman” bike for a Pinnacle.
Cuda were a British bike brand owned by Moore Large, who unfortunately went into liquidation in March 2023. This means there's unlikely to be many new bikes left, although some local bike shops may be selling their remaining stock cheap.
However, they can still make a good secondhand choice.
Until 2021 they had two kids' bike ranges - one of cheap entry-level bikes which were quite heavy. The other was more expensive with lightweight, well-specified kids' bikes known as the Cuda Performance range (CP for short).
They then combined the best bits of both ranges to create the midrange Cuda Trace range.
Wiggins Children's Bikes were sold exclusively at Halfords and were a very popular choice of bike. Unfortunately, the Wiggins kids bike range was discontinued in early 2021, but there are still plenty of Wiggins Kids Bikes available secondhand on eBay at a very cheap price.
All the Wiggins Children's Bikes are very well specified and also come with a great sense of style that Bradley Wiggins is known for, with his signature reverse forks and mod target design. They range in size from a balance bike for toddlers through to 700c road bikes for teenagers. For winter 2019, they updated their specifications and look so you may find a choice of two different designs for each wheel size you search for.
Wild Bikes are the ‘in-house’ children’s bike range from Go Outdoors.
Lightweight with a great specification and colour choices, Wild Bikes have been very popular with both kids and parents alike as an alternative to the most established and expensive kids bike brands.
The Wild Bikes have sizes ranging from 14″ wheel (3 years) through to 24″ wheel (approx 10 years).
They always seem to be reduced, so do take any percentage discount claims with a pinch of salt!
Cheapest kids’ bikes: leasing from Bike Club
If you're looking for a cheap way to get your child a bike at the moment, then we recommend you take a look at The Bike Club. If you've not heard of them, they've had the brilliant idea of offering kids bikes on a leasing model (think the kids bike equivalent of Airbnb, Spotify or Netflix!).
It's really simple - you sign up online for a monthly membership and choose a bike that fits your child now. When they've grown out of it, you send the bike back and upgrade to the next size.
Not only does this keep upfront costs low, but they also take care of all the hassles of sourcing a new bike for you, plus it's possibly more environmentally friendly as every bike will be ridden multiple times. You can choose from a new bike or a reUsed bike (which they service after each rider).
We know a lot of people who have been using this service for several years now, which is why we are happy to recommend them to our readers.
Monthly fees start at just £5 per month for a reUsed balance bike through to over £26 per month for a new 26" wheel mountain bike.
You can join their waiting list if you want a particular make, model or colour which isn't currently available.
Islabikes has sadly announced it's ceasing production of new bikes. However, there are many available second hand, and if you know where to look you can sometimes find a real bargain. You might even get a second hand Islabike cheaper than a new bike of another brand.
Check out our post on "Where to buy cheap Islabikes" for more advice on how to do this.
Alternatively, you can go straight to eBay to see what's available, or lease one from The Bike Club.
What to know when buying the cheapest kids' bikes
Just because you're on a budget, doesn't mean you want to buy something naff that your child won't get much use out of. So if you're not sure what exactly to look for in the cheapest kids' bikes, we've got you covered with some guidance below.
How much should I spend on a kids' bike?
The amount you should spend on your child's bike can depend on various factors, like their age, their level of interest in cycling, and your budget.
Smaller bikes for younger children will tend to be less expensive than larger bikes for older children, since the latter will often have more complex componentry and have more intricate and variable designs.
If you're buying new, we'd urge you not to buy a really cheap bike, which will more than likely not last very long because it's not built to withstand the demands it'll be put under.
In fact, we've written a whole piece about why you shouldn't buy a really cheap new kids' bike, that goes into a lot more detail.
If the cost of the new bikes listed here is too much, then we'd recommend buying a second hand kids' bike. Often you'll get a lot more bike for your money, and if you know what to look for when buying second hand, you'll usually come away with a bargain.
How long should a kids' bike last?
The lifespan of a kids' bike can vary depending on its quality, how well it's maintained, how much it's used, and of course, how fast your child grows.
In the early years, when children are rapidly growing, you may need to upgrade their bike every couple of years to ensure it's the right size. As they reach their teenage years, their growth tends to slow down, so a high-quality bike can last longer.
It's essential to invest in a durable and adjustable bike that can adapt to your child's changing needs, both in terms of size and skill level.
If you're not sure, we've written a whole post answering the question, is my kid’s bike the right size for them?
And if you're really concerned about needing to change bikes frequently as they grow, then take a look at The Bike Club, who lease out bikes long-term and make this process a breeze.
How do I choose a bike for my child?
There's a lot to consider when choosing a bike for your child, and we've written a lot of guides on this. However as a quick overview, these are the main things to keep in mind:
- Age and size: Use this handy guide about how to measure your child for a new bike
- Bike type: Choose the right bike for the job. All those listed here are for general riding. If you're heading off road, check out our roundup of the best kids' mountain bikes.
- Weight: This is important. If a bike is too heavy, your child will find it difficult to manoeuvre. Opt for an aluminium frame over steel.
- Brakes and gears: Choose a bike with child-specific brake levers that can be easily operated with small hands. If you're buying for a toddler, you'll want to choose one of the best balance bikes. If they're already on their cycling journey, choose something with a wide range of gears to help them climb hills.
What to look for when buying a second hand kids' bike
Buying second hand is a great way to get more for your money, but if you're buying from an online marketplace like eBay, then there are certain things you should be aware of to make sure you're getting a good deal, and not paying for a bike that's completely worn out and unusable.
Never hesitate to ask questions and request extra photographs if you're buying from an online seller. We've got a whole guide to buying a second hand kids' bike, but if you're in a hurry, these are the key things you should check.
- Check the bike's condition: Check the frame and components for cracks, rust and anything bent out of shape. It's not easy to do online but if you can request more photos, it should be possible if you've found a good deal online. Cracked tyres can be replaced, but cracked frames are unsafe to ride.
- Research the price: Before you make the purchase, do a bit of research to see if the price seems reasonable compared to other similar second hand bikes being sold.
- Check the seller's reputation: It goes without saying, but always check the seller's reputation first before you part with your money. Look for customer reviews and try to have some contact with them beforehand so you know they're reachable.
To find the best bike for your child, then these age-specific guides will help:
- The best starter bikes – 14″ wheel kids bikes
- The best 16″ wheel starter bikes for ages 4 to 6 years
- The best 20″ wheel hybrid bikes for kids aged 6 to 8
- The best kids 20″ wheel mountain bikes
- The best road racing bikes for kids (with 20″ wheels)
- The best kids 24″ wheel mountain bikes
- The best road racing bikes for kids – 24″ wheels
- The best kids 26″ wheel mountain bikes
- Cheap but quality 26″ and 27.5″ kids MTB’s for around £400
- Best kids road bikes
This post was first published in December 2016 and updated February 2023.
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