Best 26″ wheel kids bikes for ages 9 – 13 years

As your child starts to approach the end of primary school and starts secondary school they may start wanting a bit more freedom on their bike.   If you’re looking for a kids bike for a child aged 9 years and over then we always recommend going for a larger kids bike, rather than a smaller adult bike, as they are designed specifically for children’s bodies.

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. 

 

If you're looking for a bike for a 9 to 13 year old child then you may have already realised that there's not many around at the moment. 

During lockdown 1.0 family cycling became hugely popular and all the kids bikes sold out.   BUT the good news is that many brands are now starting to get shipments of 2021 bikes, but they do tend to sell out very fast when they arrive.  

We've kept all our usual recommendations at the end of this article (especially useful if you're buying second-hand), but this shorter list are the current places we're recommending who may have stock of 26" wheel kids bikes ready to dispatch.

If you're not sure what makes a great kids bike just download our FREE kids bike buying checklist, and we'll help guide you through what to look for, so you don't end up with a dud deal.   A lightweight, well specified kids bike will be LOADS more fun to ride than a heavy, poorly made toy bike, that might break after the first use (I'm not joking - check out this!) 

It's worth remembering that there's a REAL difference between buying a really cheap and heavy kids bike and a quality kids bike that's been discounted.   This is especially so as your child gets older and wants to start riding further and faster. 

Here's our selection of where to look for a 26" kids bike with quick delivery timescales.

Cycle Sprog is an family run, reader supported, website. We belong to several affiliate schemes so may receive a small commission from sales made from links on our site. We do our best to be impartial and recommend products on their quality not whether they are in a scheme.

Quick list of where to check for in stock 26" wheel kids bikes: April 2021:

If you're in a real hurry, just check these places for a quality  kids bikes. Stock is selling REALLY fast, so don't delay. 

Tredz - some stock ready to dispatch

Tredz stock a good range of quality kids bikes, and we really like that they are honest and upfront about how long delivery should be before you place your order.

They also have an "In Stock" filter on their website which is going to save you loads of hassle clicking on each bike - it would be great if all retailers made this so clear up front. 

Quality kids bikes stocked by Tredz include Forme, Frog, Cube, Squish, Giant, Cannondale, Orbea and Saracen. 

Because they have so many different brands their supply does change very frequently so it's definitely worth checking back if you're struggling to find a suitable bike elsewhere. 

 Check Availability at Tredz 

 

Chain Reaction Cycles - some bikes remaining

Vitus 16 kids bike - a great value bike for a 4 year old

Chain Reaction Cycles sell the great value Vitus Kids Bikes and stock has been appearing on their website every few days (although they are selling fast!)

They also have an in-stock filter on their website which saves a lot of time and hassle. 

Check Availability at Chain Reaction Cycles 

The Bike Club

The Bike Club is a brilliant way to get a great quality 26" wheel kids bike for your child, without the upfront cost.  You subscribe to their membership scheme and select your chosen bike, which they send out to you in return for a monthly payment (so you do have to pass their credit checks). 

When your child outgrows the bike you send it back and upgrade to the next size bike (they also have small adult bikes for when that day arrives) 

We know a lot of people who are using The Bike Club and they all rave about it!  It takes the hassle out of having to buy and sell bikes and means you can pick a  great value bike that fits your child now, rather than worrying they're going to out grow it.

Plus it's much more environmentally friendly - you can pick from new or previously used bikes, and when you return your bike it gets fully serviced by their qualified mechanics before being sent out again. 

Forme Kinder MX24 - a great all round bike for boys and girls aged 8 or 9 years of age.

You also get peace of mind that your child is riding a really great quality bike at a bargain price, rather than a really cheap bike. 

They only stock Cycle Sprog recommended brands such as the brand new Forme Cubley 26 , as well as Squish Bikes and Frog Bikes 

UPDATE: Tuesday 6th April 2021 - The Bike Club currently have a some of the new season Forme Bikes in stock, plus some Squish and Frog Bikes also available.  They've added this link which takes you to bikes ready for dispatch if you need a bike quickly. 

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If you have an old kids bike you've been meaning to sell on, then The Bike Club also have a hassle free way to do this, called reCycle.

They will even send a courier with a box to pick it up!  Get a valution of your old bike here.  

Bike Club reCycle Scheme banner

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 Rent Now At The Bike Club

The above are recommended places to look for reliable, instock 26" wheel bikes for kids aged 9 to 13 years.  Obviously there are other places you can check, and bikes are arriving, both on line and in local bike shops on a regular basis. 

If you've not managed to find what you are looking for already, here's our regular post with lots more details about fabulous bikes that you may be able to track down if you've got a bit more time. 

 

The best 26″ wheel kids bikes for ages 9 – 13 years

In general, the more you pay for 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 is an family run, reader supported, website. We belong to several affiliate schemes so may receive a small commission from sales made from links on our site. We do our best to be impartial and recommend products on their quality not whether they are in a scheme.

 

Forme Kinder MX26 (£350 or from £12.90 a month)

Forme Kinder MX26 - a good allrounder of a kids bike suitable for weekend riding and cycling to school. Sized for girls and boys aged 10 years to 12 years depending on how tall the child is

Price new: £350
Leasefrom £12.90 per month
Inside Leg: 66cm to 74cm   
Saddle to floor: 69cm to 81cm
Bike weight: 
9.4 kg
Brakes: Tektro V Brakes
Gearing:
8 speed Shimano 11-34T cassette with 32T chainring with changes by Shimano Rapid Fire thumb shifter
Frame:  Alloy 6061
Tyres:  Kenda Small Block Eight 26″ x 1.5″
Available colours:  Red, Blue and Pink
Warranty:  Lifetime on Frame

Forme is a British bike brand based in the Peak District, and they released a range of lightweight, quality kids bikes for winter 2020 (which is why you might not have heard of them when buying your child a bike in the past).   The specification is what you’d expect from a quality kids bike brand – the Kinder MX26 is very light and fitted with easy to use gears and good all round tyres.

The Kinder MX26 is meant to be ridden year round so Forme has specified an internal headset (where the forks and frame connect) to minimise exposure to the inevitable British weather.  It’s designed for a junior rider so the handlebars, crankset and pedals saddle have the correct proportions as does the saddle to ensure comfort and the correct rider position on the bike.

At this age, kids are growing fast so if you’re tempted to skip this size bike and go straight to a small adult bike you might want to consider the option of leasing the Forme Kinder MX26 from The Bike Club.  You simply pay them a monthly subscription and when your child has outgrown the bike you send it back and cancel the membership or upgrade to a bigger bike (they sometimes have adult bikes in stock too).  There’s no minimum membership period, so this can avoid the upfront costs of a new bike they may not ride for long.  Plus it’s environmentally friendly as the returned bike will be serviced and dispatched to the next rider.

The Kinder MX26 is a good all round option if your child is doing various types of cycling.  It’s named after the iconic Kinder Scout, which isn’t far from Forme’s HQ, but will be equally suited to riding on and off road terrain.

Buy Online Rent Now  Buy Local

Giant ARX 26 2021 (£379)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Giant ARX 26 - a large kids bike for taller children aged 9 years old

Giant ARX 26 key data:

Price: £379
Height range:  145 – 165 cm
Stand over Height:
63cm
Brakes: Alloy, linear pull;
Gears: 8 speed 34T x 11x34T operated by Shimano Altus thumb triggers
Frame: ALUXX-Grade Aluminum;
Tyres: Innova IB-3010, 26×1.5
Available colours: Orange, Lemon yellow, Neon Green, Purple, Red;
Warranty:  Frame - lifetime, Forks - 10 years, All other components - 1 year

Giant are one of the biggest bike manufacturers in the world, and the ARX is their lightweight, all purpose range of kids bikes.  The Giant ARX 26 is the largest bike in the range.  As you’d expect Giant use a lot of their own brand components on the bike to keep the costs lower, but given they know what they’re doing this isn’t anything to worry about!

Giant don’t give weights for their bikes, but we’ve reviewed the smaller 20″ wheel ARX and it came in where we’d expect compared to its competitors, making this a good choice for anyone wanting a bike for a range of purposes – commuting to school, riding to meet friends at the weekends and perhaps a bit of off roading too.

Buy New

 

Squish 26 – 13″ or 15″ frame

Cycle Sprog recommended brand

 

best kids 26" wheel hybrid bikes - Squish 26 in grey

Squish 26 key data:

Price: £350
Monthly rental:  from £12.55 per month
Typical age range: 9 years +
Minimum Height145 cm
Minimum Inside Leg: 67cm (13″ frame) or 70cm (15″ frame)
Bike weight: 9.88 kg
Gears: 8 speed ShimanoTourney RD-TX80011-32T x 11-32T operated by Rapidfire thumb shifters
Brakes:
Tektro Mini V-Brakes Alloy
Frame: 6061 Triple Butted T6 Alloy
Tyres: 26 x 1.5” Cadence Lightweight Junior Tyres
Available colours:Grey, aqua or red
Warranty: Frame and Forks - 3 years; components - 1 year (excluding wear and tear)

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 and they seem to be doing a good job!

We are pleased that Squish has 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 more established 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.

We haven’t reviewed the Squish 26, but were pleased with the performance of the smaller Squish 18 – you can read our review here.  We’ve also reviewed their 26″ wheel mountain bike recently.

The really good news is that Squish Bikes are available via The Bike Club, which allows you to lease the bike for a low monthly fee. There’s no minimum contract period and when your child outgrows their current bike you just send it back. You can upgrade to a bigger bike, or cancel your contract.  It’s an environmentally friendly and hassle free way to get your hands on one of these bikes.

Buy New  Rent Now  Buy Used

 

Frog Bikes (from £380)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Frog 73 in green

Frog 26″ wheel bikes key data:

Frog 69

Price: £380
Rental: from £13.50 per month
Typical age range: 10-12 years;
Inside Leg: 69cm;
Bike weight: 10kg;
Brakes: Tektro 837 AL, aluminium, linear pull;
Gears: 8 speed – 34T x 11-32T  operated by Shimano Alivio, M360 rapid fire (thumb trigger)
Frame: 6061 T6 heat treated aluminium alloy;
Tyres: Kenda K1047, 26″x1.5″, Hybrid;
Available colours: Black, Electric Blue, Green, Orange, Purple, Red and USA;
Warranty: Free 5 year warranty on frame and forks

Frog 73 – as above, except:

Price: £400
Rental: from £13.80 per month
Typical age range: 12-14 years;
Inside Leg: 73cm;
Available colours: Dark Grey, Electric Blue, Neon Green, Neon Red and USA;

Frog 78 – as above, except:

Price: £420
Rental: from £14.10 per month
Typical age range: 13+ years;
Inside Leg: 78cm;
Available colours: Dark Grey, Electric Blue, Neon Green and Neon Red;

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 73, for those with a minimum inside leg of 73cm (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.

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.

If you don’t want the expense of buying a bike upfront, you can lease these 26″ wheel Frog Bikes from The Bike Club. For a monthly subscription you get to use the bike for as long as you need, and when your child has outgrown it you send it back and either cancel the contract or upgrade to the next size bike.  You can choose a new or a reUsed bike, and all returned bikes get a full service and are then passed onto the next rider, making this a cost effective and environmentally friendly option.

If you've got an old Frog Bike that's been outgrown and needs selling get your Used Frog Bike quotation here

Buy New  Rent Now  Buy Used

 

Click here for your free guide

 

Hoy Bonaly 26 (RRP £530)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Hoy Bonaly 26

Hoy Bonaly 26 key data:

Price: £530
Typical age range: 8+ years;
Minimum Height: 140cm;
Inside Leg: 69cm;
Bike weight: 10.2kg;
Brakeset: Tektro HD-M286 w/ 160mm rotors;
Frame: 6066-T6 heat treated alloy;
Tyres: Kenda K1047 26 x 2.1, 60tpi;
Available colours: Green, orange/black;
Warranty: Evans Cycles website says "All products ordered from Evans Cycles come with a full warranty which covers manufacturing faults and defects in workmanship."

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, lightweight.  It’s technically a mountain bike, but with its rigid forks, it’s suited to mixed terrain (although probably not the best choice if you’re 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 a 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.

Buy Used

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Islabikes Beinn 26 (RRP £499)

Cycle Sprog Reviewed and Recommended Bikes

Islabikes Beinn 26 key data:

Price: £499
Typical age range: 8+ years;
Minimum Height: 135cm;
Inside Leg: 62-74cm;
Bike weight: 8.8kg;
Brakes: Aluminium mini V-brakes;
Frame: Aluminium;
Tyres: Islabikes Mixte;
Available colours:Orange / Teal / Charcoal;
Warranty: 5 years on frame and forks and a 2 years on parts

Pioneers of quality lightweight kids bikes, Islabikes have been producing quality kids bikes since 2005 – long before anyone else realised the demand. They have also just had a complete refresh of their range, with lighter weight bikes, improvements to the specification and a fresh new branding.

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 7 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 8.8kg and the Beinn 27 at 9.2kg (pedals included) respectively. Both cost £499.99

You can read our reviews of the Islabikes 26 here and the larger Islabikes Beinn 27 review here.

Buy New  Rent Now  Buy Used

Advert:  If you've got an outgrown Islabike that you haven't got round to selling on, why not get a quotation today from The Bike Club? They'll even send a courier with a bike box to come and collect it from you. 

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Woom 6 (£540)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Woom 6 is a 26" wheel kids bike

Woom 6 key data:

Price: £540
Typical age range: 10-14 years;
Inside Leg: 73-95cm;
Bike weight: 92kg;
Brakes: Woom V Brakes;
Gears: 8 Speed 29T x 11-34T operated by SRAM X4 Twist Grip
Frame: Aluminium;
Tyres: Kenda Small Block 26″ x 1.75″;
Available colours:Blue, green, purple, red and yellow;
Warranty: 5 years on frame and forks and a 2 years on parts

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 chainring 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 New    Buy Used

 

 

 

Cuda Trace 26 (£300)

Cuda-Trace-26

Cuda Trace 26 key data:

Price: £300
Typical age range: 8+ years;
Bike weight: 10.7kg
Brakes: Alloy V-Brake with Alloy Tektro Junior Short Reach Lever With Adjustable Reach
Gears: 7 speed with 14-34T cassette and Shimano M315 7 Speed Shifter, compatible with Sureshift
Suspension: No
Frame:
6061 Aluminium
Tyres: Kenda Small Block 8 26 x 1.5″
Available colours: Purple, orange, blue
Warranty: 12 months

The Cuda Trace 26 is a brand new bike for Winter 2020.   It’s a lightweight aluminium bike ideal for both on-road and venturing off-road to tackle muddy trails and comes fitted with the ever-popular Kenda small block 8 tyres.

The Trace is the latest range from Cuda, and they’ve placed considerable emphasis on getting the contact points right with short-reach brake levers, correctly proportioned cranks and a correctly sized saddle.

Buy New Online Buy Local

 

Click here to download

 

Trek Wahoo (RRP £440)

Trek has 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.

2019 Trek Wahoo 26

Trek Wahoo key data:

Price: £440
Minimum Height: 146-160cm;
Bike weight: 9.93kg;
Brakeset: Alloy linear-pull, Dialed alloy levers;
Frame: Alpha Silver aluminium;
Tyres: 26×1.95˝ Versatile Tread;
Available colours:Red, pink, purple, blue, grey, silver, black, carbon;
Warranty: Warranty: Frame - Lifetime; Components - 2 years

The specification is pretty impressive too, with an 8-speed system using a 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!

Buy New    Buy Used

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 your local bike store or on eBay:

Wiggins Chartres Junior 26 

Wiggins Chartres Junior 26

Wiggins Chartres key data:

Typical age range: 9-12 years;
Bike weight: 10.3kg;
Brakes: V-Brakes;
Frame: Lightweight Aluminium;
Tyres: VEE-Rubber;
Available colours:Grey;
Warranty: Frame and Forks - lifetime; All other parts - 1 year

The Wiggins Chartres Junior 26 is the largest hybrid in Sir Bradley Wiggins’ range of kids bikes.    With its signature reverse fork and striking paintwork options, the Chartres is an attractive looking bike that was available at a competitive price (it retailed at about £310 when available new).    The range had a makeover in 2019 so the later bikes came with slightly different gearing than the original specification. 

The Wiggins kids bike range was discontinued in early 2021, but remains a popular on the used kids bike market. 

Buy Used

Cuda Performance CP26 (Price new in 2019 £340)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Cuda Performance CP26

 

CP26 key data:

Price: £340
Minimum inside Leg: 69cm;
Bike weight: 11.2kg;
Brakes: Tektro with short reach levers;
Frame: Alloy Double Butted;
Tyres: Kenda Smallblock 8 26″ x 1.5″;
Available colours:Red;
Warranty: 12 months

Cuda Performance was a short lived range of quality bikes from the Cuda stable.  The new CP26 was released in 2018 and was  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 was certainly mixing it up with the other manufacturers of this style and type of bike, but was discontinued in early 2020.

If you can find a secondhand one of these bikes it’s a great option. 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.

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.

Buy Used

 

Dawes Academy 26

Dawes Academy 26 in black

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.

Buy Used

 

From new bikes to rentals, and second hand options 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.

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In this post, we take a look at hybrid bikes with 26″ wheels that are suitable for mixed-terrain riding. They’re 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:

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