Best kids 26″ wheel mountain bikes

This post covers the best kids 26″ wheel mountain bikes and we’ve tried to cater for all budgets. We’ve also got a post dedicated to the best 26″ kids mountain bikes under £500 where you’ll find a bigger selection of quality kids MTB’s at prices below this point.

The majority of the mountain bikes featured in this post are “hardtail” – which means they have front suspension forks, but we’ve also included a few rigid fork bikes which are designed for off-road riding too.

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. 

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. 

The Best Kids 26″ wheel mountain bikes

Hoy Bonaly 26 rigid fork MTB (rrp £530)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended brand

Hoy Bonaly 26

Hoy Bonaly Key data:

Price: £ 530
Typical age range: 8+ years;
Minimum Height: 140cm;
Inside Leg: 69cm;
Bike weight: 10.2kg;
Brakeset: Tektro HD-M286;
Suspension: No

Gears:
Frame:
HOY 6066-T6 heat treated alloy;
Tyres: Kenda K1047 26 x 2.1, 60tpi;
Available colours: Black and orange or green;
Warranty: Evans Cycles website says "All products ordered from Evans Cycles come with a full warranty which covers manufacturing faults and defects in workmanship."

One of our local British cycling coaches has a fleet of these for the kids to race around on and without fail, I’m always impressed with how well the Hoy Bonaly bike is put together. It’s common knowledge that Sir Chris Hoy has incredibly high attention to detail, which goes some way to explaining the drawer full of Gold medals!

With an alloy frame and forks, 160mm disc brakes, and a single ring at the front to keep gear changing easily with just 9 gears to worry about, the Hoy Bonaly 26 is right on trend. More importantly, it’s seriously light (circa 10kg with pedals) with parents surprised just how light when they lift it up. This is because it has rigid forks, so it isn’t weighed down by suspension and will force your child to hone their technical skills rather than relying on the suspension to get them over every bump in the trail. They also seem to be able to take some hammer too, as demonstrated many, many times by children on the British Cycling bikes!

We’ve reviewed the smaller Hoy Bonaly 20, which our tester really enjoyed riding

BUY NEW: Hoy Bonaly 26 at Evans Cycles for £530

BUY SECONDHAND: Hoy Bonaly 26 from eBay 

Click here for your free guide

Vitus Nucleus 26 (£530) 

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended bike

Vitus Nucleus 26 2021 - a great 26" wheel mountain bike for ages 10 years and over

Vitus Nucleus Key data:

Price: £530
Typical age range: 8+ years;
Minimum Height: 140-158cm;
Inside Leg: 64-70cm;
Bike weight: 12.37 kg;
Brakes: Tektro M286 hydraulic disc brake;
Gears: 8 speed 32T x 11-40T operated by Box Four 8 Speed Multi Shifter (thumb operated)
Suspension: Yes – front air fork.  Spinner 300 26″ Air RLC 100 mm travel 
Frame:
6061-T6 alloy frame;
Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic 26×2.25;
Available colours: Silver; Red
Warranty: 5 year frame and forks, 2 year components

Vitus are on a mission to create exciting bikes that kids want to ride and the Nucleus 26 is no exception. Designed from scratch for young riders but taking styling cues from the adult range, the Nucleus 26 looks every inch the part, with progressive geometry and components sized for the younger rider so that it fits just right.  The 2021 model has just come out and given the current shortages in kids mountain bikes, coupled with the great specification and delicious looks of these bikes I foresee them selling out quickly!!!!

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.

Our youngest Sprog spent last summer riding the 2019 version of this bike, and he REALLY enjoyed it – you can see some photos of him riding it at Bike Park Wales in his Sprog Blog here.

BUY NEW: Vitus Nucleus 26

Frog MTB 69 and 72 mountain bikes (from £640)

Cycle Sprog reviewed bike

 

Frog Mountain Bike - the Frog MTB 69 kids size 26" wheel mountain bike

Frog MTB 69 Key data:

Price: £640;
Typical age range: 10-12 years;
Inside Leg: 69 cm;
Bike weight: 11.4 kg;
Brakes: Tektro hydraulic disc brakes;
Suspension: Yes – Frog Bikes own brand air suspension fork with lockout, damping and rebound control, 100mm travel
Gears: 9 speed 32T x 11-40T operated by Shimano Acera SLM3000 Rapidfire Shift (thumb operated)
Frame: Aluminium alloy
Tyres: Kenda K1153, 26″ x 1.95″, MTB
Available colours: Metallic Grey & Neon Green OR Metallic Grey & Neon Red;
Warranty: 2 years - extended to 5 years for frame if you register the bike within 28 days of purchase

As above, except;

Frog MTB 72 Key data:

Price: £650;
Typical age range: 13+ years;
Inside Leg: 72 cm;
Bike weight: 11.5 kg;

Frog released their new “Push The Limits” (PTL) bike range in February 2018 to supplement their popular range of hybrid and road bikes.  Frog’s experience in building kids bikes shows as they are offering two 26″ wheel mountain bikes, as kids aren’t all the same size!  The Frog MTB 69  is aimed at those aged about 10-12 years (with a minimum inside leg of 69cm)  and the Frog MTB 72  is for those older kids who have an inside leg of 72cm.

Frog Bikes have designed a lightweight frame specifically for junior riders, to increase stability whilst improving control.  There is a 5-year warranty on the frame. The Tektro junior specific hydraulic disc brakes make it easy for smaller hands to brake whilst remaining control of the bike. All the Frog mountain bikes come with junior specific air suspension forks, complete with lockout and damping control, to enable optimal performance for lower weight riders,  with 100mm of travel on the two 26″ wheel bikes.

Earliers models of the Frog MTB’s had the same tyres as on their hybrid bikes, so if you’re buying second hand you may want to upgrade to something a bit more knobbly for winter and muddy riding. More recent models have a mountain bike specific tyre on them.  Our 10 year old reviewed the Frog 69 MTB over the summer of 2018, so can you find out exactly what we thought of the early iteration of this bike.

BUY NEW: Frog MTB 69 

Frog kids mountain bikes are also available from Frog’s network of local bike shop stockists.

BUY SECONDHAND: Frogs have a brilliant reputation and you can often find a great secondhand version for sale on eBay. Check here to see if you can grab a bargain – Frog 69s & Frog 72s

 

Pinnacle Kauri 26″ mtb (RRP £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;
Brakeset: Tektro Auriga Hydraulic Disc;
Frame: Pinnacle 6061-T6 Heat-treated Aluminium alloy;
Tyres: WTB Nano 26 x 2.1;
Available colours: Blue or grey and 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."

Pinnacle has gone back to basics with the design of the Kauri keeping things simple with no superfluous extras. But that’s not saying the bike itself is basic – oh no. The Kauri is built around an aluminium frame matched up to a rigid fork, with geometry that is designed to inspire confidence.

Tyres are nice and chunky WTB Nano’s (a popular choice for the Tour Divide) so more than capable of some off-road action. A 1×9 drivetrain keeps things simple and then there’s a set of Tektro hydraulic disc brakes to bring things to a stop.

BUY NEW: Pinnacle Kauri 26″ from Evans Cycles

BUY SECONDHAND: Pinnacle Kauri 26″ from eBay 

 

Squish 26 MTB (£480)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended bike

26" wheel kids mountain bike - the Squish MTB 26

 

Squish MTB 26″ Key data:

Price: £480
Typical age range: 9+ years;
Minimum Height: 145cm;
Inside Leg: 68cm;
Bike weight: 12.5kg;
Brakes: Tektro MD-280 Mechanical Disc Brakes 160mm Rotors;
Frame: 6061 Triple Butted T6 Alloy Frame;
Tyres: 26 x 1.95” Lightweight Junior Tyres;
Available colours: Green;
Warranty: Frame and Forks – 3 years; components – 1 year (excluding wear and tear)

Squish kids bikes have recently ventured into making junior sized mountain bikes and our 10 year old reviewer was very pleasantly surprised when he put this bike through its paces on a variety of terrains during the summer and autumn of 2019, including at some very muddy trail centres.  You can read our full review of the Squish 26 mountain bike here, but to summarise it’s another really well specified bike, with air sprung 100m fork and hydraulic disc brakes that will be a great choice for anyone wanting to progress from a rigid fork to suspension bike for the first time.  Our reviewer thinks the paint job will appeal to slightly younger kids, but that’s entirely a matter of personal taste.

Buy new: Squish 26 Mountain Bike from Tredz

SAVE £5 ON THIS BIKE AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

Buy new: Squish 26 MTB from eBay 

Buy secondhand: Squish Bikes from eBay 

Click here to subscribe

Islabikes Creig 26 junior mountain bike (£899) 

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended 

Islabike Creig 26

Islabikes Creig Key data:

Price: £899
Typical age range: 9+ years;
Minimum Height: 138cm;
Inside Leg: 65-75cm;
Bike weight: 11kg;
Brakes: SRAM Level hydraulic with 140mm rear and 160mm front discs;
Frame: Aluminium, IS-mount dropouts;
Tyres: Vee Tyre;
Available colours: Charcoal or dark teal;
Warranty: 5 years on frame and forks and a 2 years on parts

Amongst the larger framed Islabikes, the Creig mountain bike is often overshadowed by the Beinn and Luath models due to their outstanding popularity. However, this is a bike that should not be overlooked. The Creig is a well sorted and capable machine for the keen junior mountain biker in the family.

The Creig 26 is true to the Islabikes philosophy of being light in weight, coming in at just 11kg which is impressive for a bike with suspension forks. It also packs a mighty punch when it comes to the specification with kids specific geometry and components sized to match. This includes SRAM X4 thumbshifter, SRAM Level hydraulic disc brakes and a Rock Shox Gold 80mm air-sprung fork.

You can read our review of the Islabikes Creig 26 MTB here

The Islabikes Creig 26 can be purchased direct from Islabikes website and has a retail price of £899.99.

Buy secondhand: Islabikes Creig from eBay

Giant ATX 2 26″ wheel 2020 model (RRP £399)

 

Giant ATX2 26 inch wheel mtb

 

Giant ATX 2 Key data:

Price: £399
Typical age range: 10+ years;
Bike weight: 14kg;
Brakes: Tektro HDC 276;
Frame: ALUXX-Grade Aluminum;
Tyres: Giant QuickCross 26×2.1;
Available colours: Metallic Black & blue or carmine;
Warranty: Frame – lifetime, Forks – 10 years, All other components – 1 year

Giant is the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles with a range that covers all ages and disciplines. Their old 26″ wheel mountain bike was called the Revel and has been superseded by the ATX which comes in the ATX1 and ATX2 models. Thankfully, Giant has decided to continue with youth-sized XXS and XS frames complimented by 26″ wheels.

The Giant ATX2 is a lightweight aluminium framed entry-level mountain bike for juniors and small adults, and sports an SR Suntour XCT suspension fork with 100m of travel. This is an entry-level fork that is ideal for forest trails and gravel tracks rather than crazy downhill runs.

Giant has released their 2020 models, and these come in a fetching Carmine Red and also Metallic black/blue colourway.

The ATX2 has 21 gears so note this won’t be as easy to operate as the other bikes with a single chainring. It uses Shimano Tourney thumb-operated shifters for changing through the cassette. In addition, there is a Prowheel triple chainset at the front, which means that unlike all the other bikes on this page your child will need to use two gear shifters – one for each hand.   This is one of the differences between cheaper and more expensive mountain bikes.

However, unlike many of the cheaper kids mountain bikes, the Giant ATX does come with the benefit of Tektro disc brakes, which for this year appear to have been upgraded from mechanical units to hydraulic. Other components such as the bars, stem, and saddle are sourced from Giants ‘own brand’ parts bin.

So the ATX2 is a popular entry-level MTB aimed at junior riders that are looking to get out and enjoy some moderate off-road riding.

BUY NEW: The Giant ATX is available to buy at Tredz

SAVE £5 ON ALL GIANT BIKES AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

BUY SECONDHAND: We’ve seen a couple of the Giant ATX come up on eBay so worth checking!

Click here to download

Saracen Mantra HT 2.6 (rrp £650)

Saracen Mantra HT 2.6

 

Saracen Mantra Key data:

Price: £650
Typical age range: 12+ years;
Minimum Height: 150-165cm;
Bike weight: 13.25kg;
Brakes: Tektro HDM-286 160mm;
Frame: Series 2 custom butted and hydroformed 6061 alloy tubeset;
Tyres: Kenda Kinetic 26 x 2.10″ / 60tpi;
Available colours: Grey;
Warranty: Limited lifetime for the original owner

The Mantra range from Saracen is a hardtail stalwart of the UK mountain biking world. This youth-sized model comes fully equipped with a 1×9 speed Shimano drivetrain with a wide-ranging 11-36 tooth cassette to provide the versatility required for different trails.

Saracen has specified an SR Suntour XCR air fork with 100mm of travel, and being air-sprung it can be fine-tuned to match the weight of the rider. Brakes are from Tektro and are hydraulically operated, with 160mm discs front and rear, so there’s stopping power aplenty.

The retail price of the Mantra HT 2.6 is £649.

BUY NOW: Saracen Mantra HT 2.6  from Tredz. 

SAVE £5 ON THIS BIKE AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

CUBE ACID EAGLE 27.5 HARDTAIL

 

Cube Acid Eagle 27.5

Cube Acid Eagle Key data:

Price: £599
Bike weight: 13,4kg;
Brake system: Shimano BR-MT200, Hydr. Disc Brake (180/160);
Frame: Aluminium Lite;
Tyres: Schwalbe Smart Sam;
Available colours: black and flashgreen;
Warranty: Frame 6 years; rest of bike 2 years

Ok, so it’s not a 26″ but it’s a great deal if, like me, you have an older/taller/hungrier teenager. Available in a number of sizes including a 14″ frame, this is an incredible deal on 2019 models at Tweeks Cycles as the specification is truly superb.

With a Rock Shox Recon air fork giving 100mm of travel and a SRAM NX Eagle 12 speed transmission with huge 10-50T cassette, this is a bike with the capability to blitz trails at ease.

Be sure to check out the size chart to ensure it fits!

BUY NOW: Cube Acid Eagle 27.5 hardtail £599

Orange Zest 26″ (RRP £1,000)

 

Orange Zest 26

Orange Zest Key data:

Price: £1000
Minimum Height: 146-158cm;
Brakes: SRAM Level;
Frame: 6061 Aluminium;
Tyres: Vittoria Goma 2.25 Folding;
Available colours: Orange!;
Warranty: Tbc

Straight outta Halifax – the Orange team sure know a thing or two about how to create a seriously rugged mountain bike. The Zest is a smaller version of Orange’s famed ‘Clockwork’, with up to the minute geometry that sports a longer top tube and shorter stem. The wheelbase is plenty long enough too, giving stability and confidence.

There’s a 1×11 SRAM drivetrain featuring a 32t chainring and 11-42T cassette, plus a Rockshox 30 Silver solo air fork giving 100m of travel and plenty of rider adjustment. The Zest frame also features internal routing for a dropper seatpost, and neat external cable routing which makes for easy changes when the time comes.

BUY NEW: Orange Zest 26″ mountain bike at Tredz

SAVE £5 ON THIS BIKE AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

BUY SECONDHAND: Orange Zest 26″ on eBay 

Whyte 26″ wheel hardtail mountain bikes

Whyte put a lot of effort and careful consideration into the design of their bikes, and none more so than for the kids range.  They are scaled down versions of their adult bikes, with some clever little touches such as the ‘Get-a-Grip’ seatpost clamp that allows post position to be altered even with small, cold hands!

Whyte have two hardtail options at the slightly larger 650b wheel size and these are aimed at riders between 4′ 10″ to 5′ 2″.

Whyte 403 (RRP £599) 

Whyte 403 in bright yellow

Whyte 403 Key data:

Price: £599
Typical age range: years;
Minimum Height: cm;
Inside Leg: cm;
Brakes: Promax Solve, 160mm Rotor;
Frame: 6061 Hydro Formed T6 Aluminium;
Tyres: WTB Bronson Race;
Available colours: Granite/grey/silver and green;
Warranty: Frame: 2 years - can be extended to 4 years if registered within 28 days of purchase. Doesn't cover racing, jumping or tricks

The Whyte 403 has proved to be so popular that it’s Whyte’s number 1 selling bike – outselling their adult bikes this year!!!  The 403 is their entry level junior MTB, but you still get a lot of bike for your money. The lightweight aluminium frame has internal cable routing to keep the lines clean and avoid any mishaps on the trail.  The SR Suntour XCM suspension 100mm fork is air-sprung so you can tune to the riders weight.  The  Shimano 1x9spd drivetrain is coupled with a 11-40T Cassette, and uses a youth specific trigger shifter.

BUY NEW: Click here to buy the Whyte 403 from Leisure Lakes Bikes

BUY SECONDHAND: Whyte 403 from eBay 

Click here to download

Whyte 405 hardtail (RRP £950)

Whyte 405 in blue and orange

Whyte 405 Key data:

Price: £950
Typical age range: years;
Minimum Height: cm;
Inside Leg: cm;
Brakes: Tektro Auriga;
Frame: 6061 Alloy;
Tyres: WTB Trail Boss;
Available colours: Blue and orange;
Warranty: Frame: 2 years - can be extended to 4 years if registered within 28 days of purchase. Doesn't cover racing, jumping or tricks

Next up in the pecking order from the 403 is the higher specced 405 model, that comes with a SRAM NX 1×11 drivetrain and SR Suntour Epixon 100mm travel air-sprung fork. Whyte has specced an XSYNC Direct Mount chainring, allowing for chainring swap-outs if you feel the need so that you can tune the drivetrain for the type of riding and for the size of your Cycle Sprog.

The 2019 Whyte 405 has a retail price of £950.

BUY NOW: Click here to buy the Whyte 405 from Leisure Lakes Bikes

BUY SECONDHAND: Whyte 405 from eBay 

GT Stomper Ace 26″ – (RRP £370)

 

Black Friday deal - GT Stomper Ace 26

GT Stomper Ace Key data:

Price: £370
Minimum Height: 154-160cm;
Inside Leg: 71-76cm;
Bike weight: 12.95kg;
Brakes: Promax mechanical disc;
Frame: 26″ GT LegitFit Design, alloy w/ replaceable hanger;
Tyres: Kenda Small Block Eight, 26 x 2.1″;
Available colours: Silver/black;
Warranty: Frame - lifetime; Components - 1 year

This isn’t a bad way to get your kids out on the trail. With an 8-speed drivetrain using Shimano’s Altus thumbshifter, a single 30 tooth chainset keeping things simple, and an 11-34 cassette, the GT Stomper Ace is off to a good start.

There’s a set of mechanical disc brakes fitted and it comes with Kenda’s Small Block Eight tyres which are a  good all-rounder. At the front, GT has opted for an SR Suntour XCM suspension fork that gives 100mm of travel which, although a budget option, can be adjusted (softer/firmer) with the preload dial.

BUY NOW: GT Stomper Ace 26″ at Tredz

SAVE £5 ON THIS BIKE AT TREDZ: Sign up for the Tredz Bikes newsletter (you can do this from the bottom on any bike page) and they'll immediately send you a code to get £5 off your first purchase

Discontinued bikes

Dawes Academy MTB 26

 

2018 Dawes Academy 26 MTB

Sadly, the Dawes Academy range has been discontinued, so the last remaining 2018 bikes are being sold off rather cheaply. Happily, this means some lucky Cycle Sprogs are going to get a lot of bike for their money!

This 26″ wheeled mountain bike is built around a triple-butted aluminium frame that comes in both 13″ and 15″ sizes. There’s a Spinner 300 air fork (with lockout function) that can be adjusted to suit the child’s weight, and which gives 100mm of travel.

The drivetrain comprises a Shimano Acera 9 speed shifter mated to a lovely Deore rear derailleur and an 11-34T cassette. The front chainset has proportioned crank arms and a 32 tooth chainring. Tektro supply the hydraulic disc brakes with matching levers, with 160mm and 140mm rotors front and rear respectively.

==> BUY SECONDHAND FROM eBAY

It can be quite a challenge to find a decent kids 26-inch wheel mountain bike in stock anywhere this time of year – such is demand from junior riders aged between about 10 to 14 years. For this age group, they’re too big for a 24″ kids MTB, and an adult mountain bike is too big to handle properly.

If we’ve missed out your favourite kids 26″ mountain bike, then do please let us know in the comments section below. We’d also love to hear which bike you bought and what your Cycle Sprog thinks of it.

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2 Comments

  1. Dylan says:

    How do you buy a bike on this web site

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