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.

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.  Learn more here 

Squish 26

Squish 26 Kids Bike 2021

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.

The Squish 26 is available to lease from the Bike Club for a low monthly subscription - when your child grows out of it just send it back and upgrade to a larger bike. 

 

BTwin 26 Riverside 900

BTwin 24 Riverside 900 hybrid bike with 26" wheels for 9 year old

Price: £299.99
Rider height: 135 to 150 cm
Typical age range: 9 years +;
Bike weight: 10.4kg
Brakes:  V-brakes
Gears:  8 Speed 36T chainring 11-34 cassette
Suspension: No
Frame: 
Aluminium
Tyres: 20 x 1.7-2.2 hybrid tyres
Available colours:  Blue
Warranty:  Lifetime on frame, stem, handlebars. Other parts: 2 years

The BTwin 26 is a good choice if you're looking for a lightweight aluminium framed bike but don't want the cost of some of the more premium brands.

This bike has many of the features you want on your childs bike, including a single chainring for simple gear changes, child proportioned brake levers to make stopping easier and hybrid tyres to suit lots of terrains.

The bike also comes with a front and rear LED for year round riding, and can be fitted with mudguards, pannier rack, stand and bottle cage if required.

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Frog 69

Frog 69 Orange

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. 

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

Frog 78

Frog 78 Black

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. 

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. 

Cuda Trace 26

Cuda-Trace-26

Key data:

Price: £315
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 was a brand new bike last year - launched during 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.

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Premium kids bike to sell?

Sponsored content:  Don't let that bike sit unused in your shed or cupboard. Reclaim the space, get some cash and give your bike a new lease of life with another loving family.

Simply enter your bike details on the Bike Club's website.  If you're happy with the quote they'll come and collect it. They’ll even bring a box to put it in!

Get your valuation here

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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.

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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.

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

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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

Puky Skyride 26-7

Puky LS-Pro 26-8 Alu

Puky Cyke 26-8 Active

Scott 26" bikes

Trek Wahoo 26

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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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