Best 26″ wheel kids bikes for ages 9 and over

What is it about kids and their ability to seemingly grow several inches in height over the course of a day? It feels as though one week they’re happily trundling around on a balance bike, picking up skills that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, and the next they’re looming over you requesting food and a new 26″ wheeled bike.

The move through wheels sizes can be pretty rapid as they approach the secondary school years, and up until recently trying to find an appropriately sized ‘tween’ bike was a real headache. The options were limited, to say the least, and many older kids were riding around on adult bikes that were too big and affected their riding ability.

Thankfully, the industry has woken up and realised that kids don’t jump off 24″ wheel bikes straight onto adult bikes. The number of junior bikes with suitably sized frames and 26″ wheels is thankfully increasing all the time. So, we’ve collated our selection of the best 26″ wheel hybrid style bikes and created our guide to the best 26″ wheel kids bikes to help!

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. 

The best 26″ wheel kids bikes

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.

COVID-19 / CHRISTMAS UPDATE - October 2020

There was a huge rush on the sale of kids bikes when the spring lockdown started and as a result there is now a shortage of new kids bikes across the UK. We predict that is going to get even worse as Christmas gets nearer, so it's wise to get sorted early this year. 

If you need a new bike urgently (e.g. for a birthday present) then check out this post Help! Where can I buy a kids bike with quick delivery?

We've kept all our links to new bikes in place in this article, so you can check retailers availability of stock, but we've also added in links for you to look for bikes secondhand (in green).   All the bikes we list are quality bikes built to high standards and make great secondhand buys. 

It's also worth checking out The Bike Club to see if they have any bikes left to lease in the size / brand you want. You pay a monthly subscription and then upgrade to the next size when your child outgrows it. You can cancel at any time. Plus you get a warm glow from helping the environment, as well as avoiding the upfront cost of buying outright. 

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.

LEASE NOW: Squish Bikes at The Bike Club

BUY NEW ONLINE: The Squish 26

BUY NEW LOCAL:  The Squish 26 is also available to buy from a number of local bike shops across the UK.

BUY SECONDHAND:  Squish Bikes don’t tend to come up for sale secondhand that often at the moment because a) they’re a relatively new brand and b) they’re not sold in the same quantities as the other bikes listed above. However, it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s available on eBay, just in case there’s a bargain to be had. 

 

Frog Bikes (from £380)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Frog 73 in green

Frog 26 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.

LEASE NOW: The Frog 26″ wheel bikes from The Bike Club

BUY NEW: The Frog 26″ wheel bikes

Buy secondhand => Because Frog Bikes are so well made and popular, there’s a large number that come up for sale secondhand. Check out eBay to see if there’s one available near you

Click here for your free guide

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:  Giant ARX 26

Buy secondhand:  The ARX range is only a couple of years old so they don’t come up secondhand very often

 

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.

The stated weight of the Hoy Bonaly 26 is 10.2 kg on Evans website.

==> BUY NOW: The Hoy Bonaly 26 can be purchased from Evans Cycles

Buy secondhand=>  The Hoy Bonaly 26 doesn’t come up secondhand as frequently as the Frogs and Islabikes, but it’s worth taking a quick peek at this link on eBay just in case there is something available. 

Click here to download

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 Islabikes Beinn 27 review here.

BUY NEW: The Islabikes Beinn 26 is only available directly from Islabikes 

BUY SECONDHAND: There is a thriving second hand market for Islabikes – they tend to outlast several children and you can often get one for a really good price! Check out eBay to find a good deal. 

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Woom 6 (£460)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Woom 6 is a 26" wheel kids bike

Woom 6 key data:

Price: £460
Typical age range: 10-14 years;
Inside Leg: 73-95cm;
Bike weight: 92kg;
Brakes: Woom V Brakes;
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 – Woom 6 from The Little Bike Company in the UK

Outside of the UK? Check out the woom.com website.

Buy Secondhand==> Quite rare in the UK but they do come up from time to time. Check our link to Woom Bikes on eBay.

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 NOW: The Trek Wahoo

Buy Secondhand==> The Trek Wahoo doesn’t come up secondhand that often but it’s certainly worth taking a look on eBay via this link

Wiggins Chartres Junior 26 – (RRP £310)

Wiggins Chartres Junior 26

Wiggins Chartres key data:

Price: £248
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 guarantee – all other parts 1 year

The Wiggins Chartres Junior 26 is the largest hybrid in Sir Bradley Wiggins’ range of kids bikes. The range has had a makeover and the Chartres 26 now comes with a 9-speed drivetrain including a single chainset and a Shimano Altus trigger shifter, helping to keep gear changes simple.

With its signature reverse fork and striking paintwork options, the Chartres is an attractive looking bike that comes in at a competitive price.

The weight of the Chartres 26 is given as 10.3kg (approximately).

==> BUY NOW: Click here to find the Wiggins Chartres 26 at Halfords

Buy Secondhand:  There’s quite often a selection of these bikes available secondhand, as they’ve been a popular choice in recent years. Sometimes it’s possible to get a real bargain! Click here to check what’s available on eBay. 

 

Cuda Performance CP26 (RRP £340)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

 

best kids 26" wheel hybrid bikes - 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 have been going through an exciting period of design with new models coming to market. The new CP26 was released in 2018 and this is 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 is certainly mixing it up with the other manufacturers of this style and type of bike.

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 Local: The Cuda Performance CP26 is available from a number of local bike shops

 

Pinnacle Kauri 26 (£400)

Pinnacle Kauri 26" kids bike for 10 year old boy

Pinnacle Kauri key data:

Price: £400
Typical age range: 8+ years;
Minimum Height: 140cm;
Inside Leg: 69cm;
Bike weight: 11.6kg;
Brakes: Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc;
Frame: 6061-T6 Heat-treated Aluminium alloy;
Tyres: WTB Nano 26 x 2.1;
Available colours: Blue or grey/red;
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 Pinnacle range is a decently specified bike for the money, and the Kauri 26 is their biggest junior bike. Weighing in at 11.6kg it’s one of the heaviest bikes we recommend, but it’s still significantly lighter than a much cheaper steel framed bike.  The disc brakes will make stopping safely a joy, and the single front ring with a 9-speed cassette means changing gear will be very simple.

BUY NOW: The Pinnacle Kauri 26 is available at Evans Cycles (free home delivery or store pick up)

Click here to download

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:

Raleigh Performance Junior (RRP £340)

From one of the most famous names in the cycling world of yesteryear, Raleigh are rightfully back with an excellent line up for the UK market that includes a new range of lightweight children’s bikes.

best kids 26" wheel hybrid bikes - Raleigh Performance Junior

An attractive looking bike due to its simplicity, the Raleigh Performance Junior 26 is labelled up as a mountain bike however fits the bill of a great hybrid bike perfectly. What’s a label anyway?

The Junior 26 has 8 speeds to choose from via the Shimano Revoshift gripshifter, and an 11-32 cassette mated up to an own brand 32T chainset that combines to give a useful spread of gears.

Specified with Kenda small block tyres, the Junior 26 should be equally at home on paths, trails and roads. A rear plastic mudguard is also supplied – a useful addition for keeping your back dry!

The Raleigh Performance Junior 26 had a retail price of £340.

Buy secondhand:  Check eBay for the Raleigh Performance Junior 26

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 secondhand: Check eBay for the Dawes Academy 26

From the Squish to the Hoy, 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.

Other posts you may like:

 

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Affiliate disclosure:  Cycle Sprog may make a small commission from sales made through some links on this page. Thanks for helping us keep the website going.  If you’re not buying through these links, but would like to support us, you can do so by buying us a coffee. Thanks!Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

 

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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