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.   The majority of the junior 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, plus the occasional full suspension bike too.

We’ve also got another article 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, plus an article on full suspension kids mountain bikes if that’s what you’re looking for.

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.

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The Best Kids 26″ wheel mountain bikes

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

Frog MTB 72 Key data:
As above except: 
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.

Earlier 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.

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


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  

Forme Black Rock 26 (£1,000)

Forme Blackrock 26 junior mountain bike Key data for the Forme Black Rock:

Price: £1000
Frame: 6061 alloy
Forks: Front suspension – 100mm air fork
Rear suspension: SR Suntour Raidon
Gears: 10 Speed – 30T single chainset with Shimano Deore shifters and  11-42T cassette
Brakes: Promax hydraulic disc
Tyres: Kenda 2.35″
Available colours: Black/Red/Blue
Weight: n/a
Warranty: Lifetime on Frame

If you’re in the market for a junior full-suspension mountain bike then it’s well worth a look at the brand new Forme Black Rock 26.   Price wise it sits in that mid way point between a hard tail mountain bike and the much more expensive full suspension bikes that will set you back several thousand quid.

Having hit the sweet spot in terms of pricing, Forme (who are based on the edge of the Peak District in Derbyshire)  have taken the learnings from their adult Black Rock mountain bike range and their junior Kinder range and melded it into the Black Rock 26, giving you a good entry level full suspension bike.

Buy Now Buy Local  

Islabikes Creig 26 junior mountain bike (£950)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended bike  Islabike Creig 26 Islabikes Creig Key data:

Price: £950
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

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. 

Buy New  Buy Used  

Squish 26 MTB (£480)

Cycle Sprog reviewed and recommended bike 26" wheel kids mountain bike - the Squish MTB 26Squish 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.

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Whyte 403 Kids Mountain Bike (£625)

whyte-403 Key data for the Whyte 403 from Leisure Lakes Bikes:

Price: £625
Bike size: 26″ wheel
Height: 135-152 cm
Brakes: Promax Solve disc brakes, 160mm Rotor
Frame: 6061 hydroformed aluminium
Forks: Suntour XCR – 100mm Travel, HYDRO Lock-out, Air Spring, Adjustable Rebound
Gears: 9 speed – 28T single chainring, 11-40T cassette and Shimano Altus SL-M310 thumb shifter
Tyres: WTB Bronson Race, 26″ X 2.1″ Front, WTB Riddler, 26″ X 1.95″ Rear
Available colours: Matt granite/grey/silver shown here and Matt Orange
Weight: 12.7 kg
Warranty: Frame: 2 years - can be extended to 4 years if registered within 28 days of purchase. Doesn't cover racing, jumping or tricks

When the world of adult mountain bikes changed over to 27.5″ wheels, Whyte bikes invested a great deal of time and energy to create high quality 26″ wheel mountain bikes for junior riders, and to this day they continue to cater for kids and junior bikers.

Buy New  Buy Used  

Nukeproof Cub Scout Sport 26 (£799)

Nukeproof Cub Scout Sport 26 Key data for the Nukeproof Cub Scout Sport:

Price: £799
Bike size: 26″ wheels
Age: 10+ years
Rider height: 140-158 cm
Inside leg: 64-70 cm
Standover: 616.4 mm
Brakes: Tektro M276 Kids Specific Hydraulic Brakes
Frame: Custom triple-butted hydro-formed 6061 Alloy
Forks: X-Fusion RC32 27.5” Air Suspension forks, Bolt-thru Axle
Gears: 8 speed – 32 single chainring, 11-42T cassette and BOX FOUR shifter
Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF 26″ x 2.5” EXO TR (Tubeless Ready)
Available colours: Bullet grey
Weight: 12 kg
Warranty: 5 years frame 2 years components

Buy New  

Nukeproof Cub Scout Race 26 (£999)

Nukeproof Cub Scout Race 26 Key data for the Nukeproof Cub Scout Race 26:

Price: £999
Bike size: 26″ wheel
Age: 10+ years
Rider height: 140-158 cm
Inside leg: 64-70 cm
Standover: 655.5 mm
Brakes: Tektro M291 Kids Specific Hydraulic Brakes
Frame: Custom triple-butted hydro-formed 6061 Alloy
Forks: Manitou Markhor 27.5” TS Air, 120mm Travel, Custom Kids tune, BOOST 15x110mm Bolt-thru Axle
Gears: 10 speed – Shimano Deore M4100 rapid-fire shifter, 32T single chainring and 11-46T cassette
Tyres: Maxxis Minion DHF 26″ x 2.5” EXO TR (Tubeless Ready)
Available colours: Bottle blue
Weight: 11.83 kg
Warranty: 5 years frame 2 years components

If the Cub Scout Sport isn’t enough then Nukeproof have developed the ‘Race’ version of the Cub Scout into one seriously high spec machine!

Buy New

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

  Giant ATX2 26 inch wheel mtbGiant 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.

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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’ve just 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, which is why we’ve included them in this mountain bike article.

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.

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DMR Sect Jump bike (£799)

DMR Sect Key data for the DMR Sect:

Price: £799
Bike size: 26″ wheel – available in one size and is suitable for all riders taller than 4’5” or 137cm
Frame: 4130 chromoly for strength
Forks: RST Dirt 100 with rebound adjustment
Gears: Single speed – 32 tooth single chainset with 13T rear sprocket
Brakes: Tektro M275 hydraulic 160mm
Tyres: Kenda Small Block 8 26×2.1”
Available colours: Envy Green, Matte Navy
Weight: 13.5 kg
Warranty: Frame 1 year

Jump bikes are designed for having fun dirt jumping and flying around pump tracks and skateparks. With a 4130 chromoly frame built for punishment and RST Dirt forks with adjustable rebound damping, it’s good to go.

Buy New

Saracen Mantra HT 2.6 (rrp £650)

Saracen Mantra HT 2.6Saracen 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. 

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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

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: 147 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 

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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 

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.


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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Hi, My 11 year old (around 5ft tall) is keen on a dirt jump bike.
I can see many used on Ebay, but concerned about wear and tear on these.
Are there any good discontinued models that I could buy cheaper to get him started?

Penny Millar

Hi SK. Many thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, jump bikes aren’t our area of expertise. We’d recommend joining the Little Rippers MTB group on Facebook as you might find someone there who is able to help. Good luck! Penny


How do you buy a bike on this web site


Hi Dylan, we don’t sell bikes ourselves but provide links to the retailers who stock each brand we mention. Regards

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