Best mountain bikes for teenagers 2022

In this post, we're going to guide you through a selection of the best mountain bikes for teenagers (and taller tweens! Having outgrown their kids mountain bike, they're ready to move onto a larger size bike but often haven't fully finished growing yet.   With the adult bike market firmly based around 27.5" and 29" wheels, there's a bit of work required to find a MTB that's lightweight and small enough for a teenager to cope with (and which doesn't cost too much, as they could outgrow it in a flash!). There may also be some top drawer 26" wheeled bikes in here too.

Can't I just buy a regular 27.5" adult mountain bike for my teenager?

Yes, and no!  Even if your child 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 Cycle Sprog will 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. I speak from experience!

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The best kids 27.5" wheel mountain bikes for teenagers

Here's our selection of the best mountain bikes for teenagers that are sized for younger riders. If we've missed any of your favourites, do please let us know.

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Merida Big Seven 80

Key data for the Merida Big Seven 80:

Bike size: XS frame 13.5" suitable for 142 -152cm
Brakes: Shimano MT-200 hydraulic disc brakes with 160mm rotors
Frame: 6061 double-butted aluminium
Forks: Rock Shox Judy TK; Coil; 100mm
Gears: 12 speed Shimano Deore - 30 tooth chainring with 10-51 tooth cassette
Tyres: Merida K1080; 27.5" x 2.2"
Available colours: Blue and white
Weight: 13.5 kg
Warranty: Lifetime on frame, Merida branded components 1 year

The Merida Big Seven 80 comes in an extra small 13.5" frame crafted from lightweight aluminium and is supplied with a bang up to date 12-speed drivetrain, featuring a single 30 tooth chainring and a huge 10-51 tooth cassette to get you up any mountain!

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Merida Big Seven 80
Giant Talon 3

Giant Talon

Key data for the Giant Talon 3:

Bike size: XS
Standover: 686 mm
Frame: ALUXX-Grade Aluminium
Forks: Front suspension - SR Suntour XCE coil spring 80mm travel
Gears: 22/36 double chainset, 14-28 tooth cassette and Shimano SL-M315 shifters
Brakes: Tektro TKD 143, hydraulic disc
Tyres: Maxxis Ikon 27.5 x 2.2, wire bead (max tyre width possible: 2.4")
Available colours: Metallic Black
Weight: n/a
Warranty: Frame - lifetime, Forks - 10 years, All other components - 1 year

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Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Key data for the Specialized Rockhopper Sport:

Bike size: XS
Rider height: 148 - 155 cm (taken from Specialized website)
Standover: 658 mm (taken from Specialized website)
Frame: Premium butted alloy
Forks: Front suspension - SR Suntour XCM
Gears: 18 speed - 22/36 tooth double chainset, 11-36T cassette and Shimano Altus RapidFire Plus shifters
Brakes: Tektro HD-M275, hydraulic disc - 180mm/160mm front/rear rotors
Tyres: Ground Control Sport 27.5 x 2.3"
Available colours: Satin slate/Cool grey
Weight: n/a
Warranty: Lifetime warranty on frame and forks

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Specialized Rockhopper Sport
Orbea MX 40 mtb

Orbea MX 40 202

Key data for the Orbea MX 40:

Bike size: Small 27.5" wheels
Rider height: 155-165 cm (small frame size)
Frame: Orbea MX alloy
Forks: SR Suntour XCT 30 Coil 100mm QR
Gears: 18 speed - double 22/36T chainset, 11-36T cassette and Shimano Alivio SL-M3100
Brakes: Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc
Tyres: Kenda K1153 2.35" 30TPI
Available colours: Red/black
Weight: n/a
Warranty: 2 years - register bike within 30 days for lifetime warranty on frame and forks and 3 years on paint, varnish and corrosion

Orbea's adult mountain bikes come in a Small frame size, making these a good choice for teenagers ready to move up from a kids mountain bike but who don't yet have the height for a standard adult frame size.

The small frame size is suitable for those with a height of 155 - 165cm and the medium 165 - 180cm

Buy New  Buy Used

Whyte 802 Compact 27.5" wheeled mountain bike

Whyte 802 key data:

Brakes: (f) Tektro Auriga HD-M290, 180mm Rotor, (r) Tektro Auriga HD-M290, 180mm Rotor, Internal Routing;
Frame
: 6061 T6 Aluminium SCR frame with 12 x 148 boost spacing at rear to allow up to a 2.8" width tyre
Tyres: Maxxis Forekaster 27.5"x 2.35" Dual Compound, 60TPI;
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 range of bikes is pretty extensive, having pretty much something for everybody. The 802 has been designed primarily for shorter riders, but with a view of also targeting the burgeoning youth market where bikes that fit are still pretty scarce.

The frame design has geometry in keeping with current trends with short chainstays to keep things agile. It's also built with boost rear spacing which allows either a very wide tyre to be fitted if you so wished, but also provides better mud clearance with a standard width tyre.

Whyte has chosen to use Shimano's tried and tested Deore for the 10-speed shifter and rear mech. There's a 32 tooth narrow/wide crankset and an 11-46T cassette at the rear. Forks are the Rockshox Recon RL - an air fork so easily adjustable for rider weight and providing 120mm of travel.

Buy New  Buy Used

Whyte 802 Compact V4 Deore
Cannondale-Trail-7-Ltd

Cannondale Trail 7 Ltd

Key data for the Cannondale Trail 7:

Bike size: XS
Rider height: 147-160 cm (XS)
Standover: 71 cm (XS)
Brakes: Hydraulic disc - Tektro HD-M275 with 160mm rotors
Frame: SmartForm C3 Alloy frame
Forks: Front - Suntour XCT Coil 100m travel
Gears: 16 speeds in total. Microshift TS39 shifters with Prowheel 36/22 tooth chainset and 8-speed 11-34T cassette.
Tyres: WTB Ranger 27.5 x 2.25"
Available colours: Black, Green
Weight: Not given
Warranty: Frame - Lifetime, Components - 1 year

Cannondale has a strong reputation for building top quality aluminium frames and the Trail falls neatly into this category, with the inbuilt SAVE micro suspension that's supposed to give a smoother ride. With modern geometry,  broad spread of gears and hydraulic brakes, The Trail 7 Ltd delivers a great specification for the price.

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Orbea Laufey 27 H20 27.5" Mountain Bike

Key data for the Orbea Laufey 27 H20 27.5" Mountain Bike

Bike size: Junior 27.5" wheel bike
Rider height: 140-165 cm
Seatpost height: 72.7 - 90 cm
Standover:  63.6cm
Frame:  6061 Aluminum Triple Butted
Fork:  SR Suntour XCR32 LO R Air 120mm
Gears: 10-Speed Sun Race 11-42t  operated by Shimano Deore M4100 (thumb trigger shifters)
Brakes: Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc
Tyres: Schwalbe Nobby Nic Perf, 27.5x2.35 TwinSkin
Available colours:  Black / Rainbow and Blue Grey
Warranty: 2 years - register bike within 30 days for lifetime warranty on frame and forks and 3 years on paint, varnish and corrosion

Orbea have really been taking the junior mountain bike market by storm in the past few years, bringing their expertise in adult bikes into scaled-down versions for mini shredders.   New for 2021 is the Laufey 27 H20 - aimed at younger riders who are not yet big enough to transition onto their adult bikes, but wanting 27.5" wheels to pick up speed and traction on the trails.

Sadly Orbea don't specify the exact weight for their bikes, but given most of the components are made from aluminium we expect this bike to be nice and lightweight.

Nearly New at Tredz
Orbea Laufey 27 H20 27_5 Mountain Bike 2021 for a teenager
Islabikes Creig 27 kids bike 2021

Islabikes Creig 27

Islabikes Creig 27 key data:

Typical age range: 10+ years;
Minimum height:
146cm;
Inside leg:
71cm;
Bike weight:
11.6kg;
Brakes
: SRAM Level hydraulic with 140mm rear and 160mm front discs;
Frame
: Aluminium, IS-mount dropouts;
Tyres
: Vee Tyre;
Available colours
: Charcoal, dark teal;
Warranty
: 5 years on frame and forks and a 2 years on parts

Islabikes have been very busy updating their range with a fresh new 27.5" Creig joining the range. Islabikes have embraced the fact that kids are pushing the boundaries and redesigned the Creig with a long low trail geometry that will inspire confidence on technical terrain.

This bike isn't going to suit taller teens, but if your child is at the shorter end of the height range then they may find this bike fits them.

The 27 comes fitted with a Rock Shox 30 Gold air fork, which according to Islabikes is lighter and more tunable than the fork fitted to previous models and provides 100mm travel. Braking is supplied by a SRAM Level hydraulic setup, with a 140mm disc at the rear and 160mm at the front.

The cassette is 11-40T and the new models also take account of customer feedback and see a change from the Grip Shift of previous versions to a new SRAM trigger shift. The wheelset also sees revision with Stan’s No Tubes rims fitted with Vee Tire Crown Gem’s in a width of 2.25” which are tubeless-ready. These are a large volume tyre with tall side knobs for cornering control with plenty of straight-line grip without sacrificing speed.

Buy New

Cannondale Trail 8 Ltd

Key data for the Cannondale Trail 8 Ltd:

Bike size: XS and S
Brakes: Tektro cable-actuated disc with 160mm rotors
Frame: SmartForm C3 Alloy frame
Forks: Front - SR Suntour M3030 coil spring suspension fork with 75mm of travel
Gears: Microshift 14 speed - Prowheel 36/22 tooth chainwheel, 7 speed Microshift thumbshifters, 11-34 tooth cassette
Tyres: WTB Ranger Comp 27.5 x 2.25"
Available colours: Graphite
Weight: Not given
Warranty: Frame - Lifetime, Components - 1 year

The Trail 8 Ltd priced slightly less than the trial 7 Ltd and the specification has been adjusted to take this into account, such as a 14-speed drivetrain, cable operated disc brakes instead of hydraulic and a different suspension fork.

As with the Trail 7 Ltd, the Trail 8 Ltd features a fresh Cannondale alloy frame which is both light and durable.

Buy New
Cannondale Trail 8

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How to start cycling with your kids

Fuel prices have reached record levels, and they're unlikely to drop any time soon.  Swapping to cycling for shorter local journeys is often quoted as being a quick way to save money.

But how do you do this if you've got a family????

Don't panic - Cycle Sprog is here to help!

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Comments

Sharon

Please can you revisit this page as all the bikes you suggest are sold out??

Penny Millar

Hi Sharon
Thank you for your comment and sorry you’ve found that a lot of the bikes on this post are sold out. Unfortunately, buying a new bike this year is slightly trickier than in previous years. With the huge surge in bike sales over lockdown 1, and the issues with importing goods due to Coronavirus, bike suppliers still have a lack of stock. When they do get more bikes in, they sell out again pretty quickly! Where available, we link to a secondhand option, which is worth looking at; with children growing quickly, you can often pick up a bike in great condition for a fraction of the price. Kind regards, Penny

Daniel Barker

Canyon have 2x 27.5 kids bikes. The Grand Canyon Junior hardtail and the Neuron Junior full suspension.

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