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.

In this article we're looking specifically at the best 26" wheel kids bikes, designed for children aged about age 9 and over.

The majority are hybrid bikes (also known as multi-purpose bikes) which means they're great for riding on a variety of surfaces such as grass, tarmac and gravel.

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 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.

Obviously all children vary in height so do measure them carefully, and PLEASE don't buy a bike that's too big for them.


Squish 26

Save over £100!

The Little Bike Company are clearing out their old stock and have the Squish 26 reduced in price from £424 to £320 - over £100 off this bike!

The Squish 26 weighs 9.9kg and comes in two frame sizes: 13″ or 15″.

The 13″ frame will fit a child with an inside leg of 67-77cm.

The 15″ frame will fit children with an inside leg of 69-79cm.

Limited colour and frame size combinations remaining.

Save now


Cheap kids 26" wheel bike - the Squish 26 currently has over £100 discount at The Little Bike Company

What age child is a 26" wheel bike for?

All children are different, but on average a 26" bike is aimed at ages 9 years and over.

Obviously some kids will be ready for 26" wheels sooner, and others will be happy riding a smaller wheeled bike for longer.

Also be aware that some 26" bikes are designed for smaller children, and other for larger ones.

The minimum inside leg for the bikes on this page ranges from 62 cm to 73cm, which is a big difference!

Some 26" bikes (such as Squish and Frog) come with several frame sizes, so be careful to check you're getting the correct size for your child.

Please don’t be tempted to buy a bike that is too big – it can be very off-putting (and dangerous) to ride a bike that is too large and it’s unlikely to get the use it deserves.

These articles will help you:

26" hybrid bike not quite right?

Check out these other articles to find different types and sizes of bikes: 

The best 24" wheel kids bikes

Best kids 26" wheel mountain bikes

Best kids road bikes

Big balance bikes for taller children

Cycling with older kids who have a disability or special needs

or use our Kids Bike Finder to quickly find the perfect bike

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 26" wheel bike, do please do let us know in the comments at the end of the page.

Cycle Sprog is a reader-supported website. When you buy through links on this page we may earn an affiliate commission.

Cuda Trace 26

Cuda Bikes went out of business in March 2023, so only limited new stock remains but they're worth hunting down second hand. 

The Cuda Trace 26 is 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. It’s aimed at ages 8 years and over and is available in Blue, Orange and purple. 

In the Trace range, Cuda placed considerable emphasis on getting the contact points right with short-reach brake levers, correctly proportioned cranks and a correctly sized saddle. 

Squish 26

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 have been designed to appeal to older kids. 

The range of 8 gears should be sufficient for most lumps and bumps and the tyres will be fine for a variety of terrains, although if you’re thinking of mainly doing mountain biking Squish also do a 26″ wheel MTB.

We haven’t reviewed this particular bike, but we have tested two other Squish bikes and found them to be good quality, lightweight bikes that are great fun to ride.  

Forme Kinder MX26

Sadly Forme Bikes went out of business in March 2023, so new bikes are now hard to find.  However the good news is most of their warehouse was bought by Bike Club so kids can continue to ride these great bikes for years to come.  

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 Forme 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.

Vitus Nucleus 26

Designed from scratch for young mountain bikers but taking styling cues from the adult range, the Vitus Nucleus 26 looks every inch the part, with progressive geometry and components sized for the younger rider so that it fits just right.

The Nucleus 26 comes packed with a great specification including hydraulic disc brakes, a short stem and wide bars for rider control, plus an efficient ‘single ring’ gearing setup with a broad spread of ratios that should allow many a hill to be conquered.

Vitus has also specified a Spinner 300 air fork with 100mm of travel that can be tuned for the weight of the rider.

Frog 69

NOTE: There is a limited stock of Frog 69’s at the moment and Frog Bikes website says the next stock is due in Spring 2022

Frog have three 26″ wheel  bikes, and the Frog 69 is the smallest, and is for children with a minimum inside leg of 69cm.

It’s a versatile bike which rides well on most terrains so  is a good choice for anyone who isn’t really specialising in one particular type of cycling.

One word of warning – Frog is very much known as a kids bike brand, so if you have a shorter but older child (particularly an image conscious one in their teens) you may encounter the desire to move onto a more “adult” brand. 

Frog 78

The Frog 78 is the largest of Frog’s three 26″ wheel bikes, and is an all round bike suitable for children (or smaller adults!) with a minimum inside leg of 78cm.   

The handlebars can be adjusted within a 54mm range and there’s a quick release seat post that makes adjusting the saddle height easy to do. Your kid should hopefully therefore get a decent amount of time on this bike, but some kids do grow very rapidly at this age. 

It’s comforting therefore to know the Frog Bikes really hold their value, so if you keep it well maintained you should be able to sell it on to fund the next bike. 

woom 6

The woom 6 is one of the lightest 26″ wheel kids bikes available, making it easy to manoeuvre. This is 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 on a regular basis.

The gearing is well suited to riding up hills with an easy gear for climbing.

We’ve reviewed several of the smaller single speed woom bikes and were very impressed with the quality and performance – they handled the daily school run all winter and still looked as good as new. Check out our woom 2 review and woom 3 review.

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 (Discontinued)

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, which has now sadly been discontinued.

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
The Wiggins Chartres 26 was one of the best 26" wheel bike for children aged 9 years and over.

Cuda Performance CP26 (Discontinued)

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
The Cuda Performance was a really good 26" wheel bike for kids aged 10 years

Dawes Academy 26 (Discontinued)

Key Data:

Age range: 9 years +

Gears: Shimano 9 speed gears

Bike Weight: 11.26kg

Frame: 13" or 15" Triple Butted 6061 Alloy

Tyres: Dawes, Academy Cadence 26" x 1.5"

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

The Dawes Academy 26 was a great 26" wheel kids bike which has now, sadly, been discontinued

Other 26" wheel bikes

If you can't find the correct 26" wheel bike for your child in our recommendations, then here are some other suggestions to take a look at - just click the link for more details!

BTwin 26

Carrera 26" wheel bikes

Cube Acid 260

Giant ARX 26

GT Stomper Ace 26"

Hoy Bonaly 26

Scott 26" bikes

Trek Wahoo 26

In this post, we've focused on 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:

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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