Best mountain bikes for teenagers and small adults
Finding a mountain bike suitable for a teenage boy or girl can be tricky. They may have outgrown the traditional "kids" mountain bikes, but as they've not finished growing yet you're looking at a bike that can see them through the next few years.
Also, they want one that's lightweight and sized for a teen to cope with (especially if they're having to carry it up and over things during their rides).
In this article we're looking at some of the best 27.5 inch XS mountain bikes for teenagers. They're also perfect for shorter men and women, who struggle with a standard size adult mountain bike.
Some of the bikes we feature are adult mountain bikes that are available in smaller frame sizes. Others are the very largest models in a brand's "junior" range. They vary in price and size, but they all promise so much fun when you're out on the trails.
Don't forget this is just our pick - if you've got other recommendations do please drop us a note in the comments below.
Can't I just buy a regular 27.5 inch adult mountain bike?
Yes, and no! Even if your 13 or 14 year old can fit the frame of an adult bike, remember that the majority are not designed for younger riders - the suspension may well only work with heavier riders and the brakes will be designed for larger and stronger hands.
If the saddle has to be set so low that the back wheel is above their saddle, they won't be able to shift their weight backwards on descents either.
Your teen may well have much more control, and therefore feel safer and have a lot more fun on a 27.5" wheel MTB sized correctly for their size and weight.
Of course, it is the case that some teenagers are actually the size and weight of adults so this must be taken into consideration too - do move up to the bigger size if your teen is ready.
The best MTBs for teenagers and shorter adults
Thankfully there are a number of mountain bike brands with XS and S adult bikes with 27.5" wheels at a range of price points which are ideal for teenage boys and girls. These MTBs can also be suitable for smaller men, from under 5' or 152 cm height.
Here's our selection of the best mountain bikes for both boys and girls, that are sized for teenage riders aged 12, 13, 14 and 15 year olds and beyond. You'll also find bikes specifically designed for girls/women and boys/men.
We've featured mountain bikes that have 27.5 inch wheels and frames that start with an XS or S sizing, and also a few with 26 and 29 inch wheels.
Obviously, if you or your teenage boy or girl is taller than the sizing stated just move up either a wheel size or frame size to suit.
The best kids-specific mountain bikes for teens
There's been a trend in recent years for mountain bikes with bigger wheel sizes and wider handlebars.
This can make it difficult for teenage boys and girls who have outgrown a 26 inch wheel kids mountain bike to find a bike that fits as they're between kids and adult MTB sizing.
Here are two brands offering junior-specific mountain bikes which are great for teenagers.
Orbea are highly regarded bike builders from Basque Country. The Orbea Onna 27 XS Junior is their junior MTB range with 27.5 inch wheels and is a great choice for teenage boys, girls and smaller adults.
These smaller-framed mountain bikes all come with front suspension and hydraulic disc brakes. Other specs differ with the Orbea Onna 27 XS Junior 50 being the entry level and the Orbea Onna 27 XS Junior 10 being the most premium model within the range.
Price range: £649 - £1,099
One of the biggest kids-specific mountain bikes, the Frog MTB 72 is their largest offering.
It's different from all the other bikes on this page in that it's got 26 inch wheels.
Suited for an inside of 66cm-85cm which Frog says is an average of 13 - 16 years, but will very much vary per child.
Frog Bikes have designed a lightweight frame specifically for junior riders, to increase stability whilst improving control, and the frame comes with a 5-year warranty.
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.
Price: from £725
The best 27.5 inch mountain bikes for girls and small women
Now is a good time for mountain biking teenage girls to start looking at those brands which make XS and Small sized women's mountain bikes.
As teenagers reach puberty the difference between male and female bodies starts to become noticeable. Differences in height, limb length and pelvic/hip bone shape and positioning mean it becomes less comfortable for teenage girls and boys to ride the same bike.
Designed for the female anatomy, with shorter reach, female specific saddle design and lower standover heights these mountain bikes make great choices for teenage girls who have outgrown a 26" wheel kids mountain bike, as well as for smaller women.
BTwin Rockriders are the in-house brand of kids mountain bikes at Decathlon, and they come in a range of prices and specifications.
The BTwin Rockrider ST 100 is the most basic women's mountain bike model and is a 21-speed aluminium framed mountain bike, suited for those getting started with mountain bike touring in dry weather.
The next level up is the Rockrider ST 120, which is similar to the ST 100 but comes with mechanical disc brakes and a single chainring offering 9 speeds.
The Rockrider ST 530 and 540 add in adjustable front suspension to make the bumps on the trail smoother, but will add weight to the bike.
These BTwin Rockriders offer a really good value entry level mountain bike that should provide plenty of scope for fun during summer riding.
There is also a hardtail MTB and a full suspension Rockrider available.
The Rockrider sizing varies per bike, with some XS bikes starting at 140cm.
Price range: £199.99 - £1,399
Vitus women's mountain bikes XS are suitable for teens and women from 144cm height, or 61cm inside leg.
The Vitus women's mountain bike range includes the hardtail mountain bikes Vitus Nucleus 27 and the Vitus Sentier 27. The Vitus range is really pushing the boundaries for what you get for your money when buying mountain bike, both in terms of performance and looks.
Both Vitus Women's hardtail mountain bikes feature an aluminium frame, hydraulic disc brakes and air sprung forks.
Vitus say the Vitus Nucleus 27 is a great choice for teens and women who are new to mountain biking.
The Vitus Sentier 27 Women's mountain bike is more sophisticated and also comes with a dropper post and 11-speed drivetrain.
Price range: £499.99 - £1,2499
Liv is a sister brand of Giant and is designed specifically for women and their smallest mountain bikes in XS start from 152cm height, and inside leg 66cm.
These mountain bikes for teens or women come in a wide range of spec, actually the widest range of all women's MTBs listed here.
The Liv Tempt range is a good entry level women's hardtail MTB range with hydraulic disc brakes.
The Liv Embolden range is for those looking to hit the trails and to conquer tricky climbs and rowdy descents. These full suspension mountain bikes have a tubeless wheelset and dropper seatpost.
The Liv Intrigue is a long-travel trail bike and a so-called 'do-it-all' mountain bike featuring 150mm/140mm of travel and Sram 1x12 drivetrain.
Price range: £399 - £2,899
Cube Access women's mountain bikes come in a wide range of specs with well-chosen components. All Cube Access MTBs are hardtail and the 27.5 inch wheel size is available in XS and S, suitable from 149cm height.
The smallest frame sizes from Cube have a specially designed top tube offering extra clearance.
The Cube Access WS mountain bike range comes in a wide range of specs and this is reflected in the price range as well. What the bikes have in common is hydraulic disc brakes and 100mm front suspension.
The top of the range is the carbon-framed Cube Access WS C:62 Pro, for those who want to go beyond their local trail centre.
Price range: £549 - £2,099
Whyte offers a range of women's 27.5" wheel mountain bikes in an XS frame size suitable for riders from 4'7" or 140cm tall. These are one of the smallest women's mountain bikes we found, so might be suitable for a teenage girl.
They also do 700c hybrid bikes with suspension suitable for on and off road riding, which start in size S from 5'2" or 157cm tall.
Price range: £799 - £1,475
The best 27.5 inch mountain bikes for teenage boys and small men
29" wheels and wide handlebars are now very popular on adult mountain bikes. Some teenagers and smaller adults will cope OK with this, but others will just find an adult bike too big to manoeuvre with the dexterity they're used to with a child's bike.
These brands all have male and unisex mountain bikes starting in smaller frame sizes and 27.5" wheels which can make great choices for teenage boys and shorter men. Most brands have entry level bikes for a few hundred pounds through to top of the range specifications for those wanting to spend several thousand on their obsession.
The Specialized Rockhopper is a classic mountain bike. It was first released in 1985, and there's a reason it's still going strong!
The Sport version is a good choice 27.5 inch mountain bike for a teenager who is moving up from a smaller kids MTB. It comes in frame sizes from XS up, suitable for 148cm height and 65.8cm standover height.
This tends to be a good model to find secondhand too, although there's lots of variations of the Rockhopper out there, and the specification has obviously changed a lot over the years, so check carefully before you press "buy"!
Price range: £499 - £1,475
BTwin Rockriders are available in women's and men's versions, and they come in a wide range of specifications with a very low starting price.
As described higher up the page, the ST100 is the most basic model and it then goes up to ST 500 series with additional features such as adjustable front suspension and hydraulic disc brakes.
These BTwin Rockriders offer a really good value entry level mountain bike for teens and men.
The Rockrider sizing varies per bike, with the men's S sized bikes starting at 150cm.
Price range: £199.99 - £1,399
Giant Talon 27.5 inch mountain bikes for teens and men come in a range from Giant Talon 0 up to 5, with 0 being the highest spec and 5 the lowest.
The Giant Talon Extra Small mountain bike is suitable for teens and men from 155cm tall. The Giant Talon mountain bikes all feature a lightweight ALUXX aluminium frame with a classic hardtail design.
The Talon is a great choice for XC or light-trail terrain and is available in metallic black.
It’s a confident ride that’s perfect for ambitious riders who want to take their off-road skills to the next level.
Price range: £399 - £999
The Scott Aspect hardtail mountain bike range includes XS bikes with 27.5 inch or 29 inch wheels, suitable for a 155cm minimum height.
The Scott Aspect 770 27.5 inch mountain bike is the entry level model and is light, efficient and reasonably priced. It doesn't have hydraulic disc brakes, like some other bikes do in this price range and comes with a 3x7 drivetrain. The next model up is the Aspect 740 which features a 2x9 drivetrain and hydraulic disc brakes.
The 29 inch wheel Scott Aspect is available in different specs too, with the Scott Aspect 950 as entry level model and the Scott Aspect 940 as more premium hardtail for teens and shorter men.
Price range: £499 - £759
Vitus Nucleus 27 VR mountain bikes in XS are suitable for teens and men from 155cm height, or 658mm inside leg.
Just like the Vitus women's range, the Vitus men's mountain bike range includes the hardtail mountain bikes Vitus Nucleus 27 and the Vitus Sentier 27.
The VR range includes aluminium-framed hardtail mountain bikes with hydraulic disc brakes and 8 or 10-speed groupsets.
Both the Vitus Nucleus and Sentier 27 are great choices for boys and men new to mountain biking.
Other Vitus bikes at the more expensive end of the spectrum within the 27.5" wheel range are the Vitus Mythique, Escarpe and Sommet. Lots of different options for more experienced riders including full suspension and a mullet bike setup.
Price range: £399.99 - £4599.99
Here at Cycle Sprog, we predict that 27.5" wheel kids mountain bikes become more and more popular over the next few years. If we've missed one out, please do let us know - either in the comments box below or via our Facebook Page.
Other posts you may find useful:
- Buying a kids mountain bike – things you need to know
- Cheap but quality 26″ and 27.5″ kids mtb’s for under £500
- The best kids 26″ wheel mountain bikes
- The best full suspension kids mountain bikes
- 12 things you need to know before buying a kids bike
- Frog MTB 69 kids mountain bike review
- Things to know when buying a mountain bike (for a child or an adult)
- Bikes for teenagers and small adults
- Before you buy a bike for your teenager answer these questions
- What to look out for in an adult's bike
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