The best kids mountain bikes under £500(ish) with 26″ and 27.5″ wheel size

I’ve made it a bit of a mission to carefully pore over the offerings from each manufacturer, checking out the specs and identifying what I believe are the cheapest junior mountain bikes for under £500, that don’t compromise on quality. At this price point, the list I’ve put together comprises a mix of fully rigid bikes plus some with front suspension forks.

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. 

A word about gears and suspension on cheap kids mountain bikes

It’s gearing and suspension that can make or break a mountain bike ride.  More expensive kids mountain bikes will have much more simple gearing than many of the cheaper ones.  If you can afford a bike with a single chainring rather than a double or triple it will make your child’s life much easier as they only have to change gear with one hand. It’s also lighter and there’s less to go wrong whilst you’re out on the trail.

If you’re looking for a bike with suspension, where possible get your Sprog onto one – sit on it, ride on it, bounce on it to make sure your child weighs enough to compress the fork. Make sure it works for your child, else it’s just additional weight. Suspension is only any good if it works, so don’t be tempted by a really cheap full suspension bike – it’s highly unlikely to provide any benefit.

Wheel size

I’ve also taken wheel size into account, including both 26″ and the newer 27.5, because as time passes the availability of 26″ wheels, tyres and forks is sadly diminishing.

Beware really cheap kids mountain bikes

Please don’t be fooled into paying a really cheap price for a brand new kids mountain bike with suspension if you’re meaning to head out on some serious off-road rides. Here’s why we don’t suggest buying a really cheap bike. If £350 to £500 is still more than you want to spend, the alternative is to go for a 26″ wheel kids hybrid bike, as you’ll get a lot more bike for your money. Your child can still ride most trails on them – they’ll develop better bike handling skills on narrower tyres and rigid forks.

Value for money

Ok, so let’s be honest – they’re not going to be featherweights covered in the latest bling components because that’s just not possible in this cheaper price bracket, especially with prices having increased massively. But if you’re wanting a proper off-road bike that will last, comes with a good frame and specification worth improving as pocket money funds allow, then look no further.

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The best kids mountain bikes under £500 with 26″ and 27.5″ wheel size

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. 

Cuda Trace 26


Cuda Trace 26 key data:

Typical age range: 8+ years;
Bike weight: 10.7kg
Brakes: Alloy V-Brake with Alloy Tektro Junior Short Reach Lever With Adjustable Reach
Gears: 7 speed with 14-34T cassette and Shimano M315 7 Speed Shifter, compatible with Sureshift
Suspension: No
6061 Aluminium
Tyres: Kenda Small Block 8 26 x 1.5″
Available colours: Purple, orange, blue
Warranty: 12 months

The Cuda Trace 26 is a lightweight aluminium bike ideal for both on-road and for also venturing off-road. Not really a full on mountain bike, it’s certainly suitable for getting out on tracks and trails and comes fitted with the ever-popular Kenda small block 8 tyres. The Trace is the latest range from Cuda, and they’ve placed considerable emphasis on getting the contact points right with short-reach brake levers, correctly proportioned cranks and a correctly sized saddle. The Trace 26 has 7-speed gearing and uses a Shimano M315 thumb shifter to swap cogs on the 14-34T cassette.

Buy New

Voodoo Nzumbi (upgraded for 2022)

Voodoo Nzumbi 26" 2022

Voodoo Nzumbi key data:

Typical age range: 9-12 years;
Bike weight: 11.2kg according to Halfords
: Clarks Hydraulic Disc Brakes;
: Lightweight butted aluminium;
: Vee Crown Gem folding bead 26 x 2.25″
Gears: Shimano 1x drivetrain with Shimano RD-M2000 (Altus) rear derailleur plus Shimano Altus SL-M2011 shifter
Available colours: Black
: Please check with the supplier.

Voodoo has developed a reputation for building good quality mountain bikes at a very reasonable price. The Nzumbi is no exception, with a pretty good setup for the cost. There’s a 9-speed single chainring setup with Shimano Altus shifters and rear mech.

An SR Suntour XCR fork will give some help at the front, while braking comes courtesy of hydraulic discs. A liberal smattering of own-brand finishing kit here and there and you’ve got a stunning looking, proper mountain bike for around £500.

Buy New  Buy Used

GT Stomper Ace

GT Stomper Ace 26 in green

Key data:

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.

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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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Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Key data for the Specialized Rockhopper Sport:

Bike size: XS, Small
Rider height: XS (148 – 155 cm), S (158 – 165 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, Gloss white/Dusty Turqoise, Gloss Cobalt/Cast blue
Weight: n/a
Warranty: Lifetime warranty on frame and forks

The Specialized Rockhopper is a name that’s definitely part of mountain biking history, with the first bike rolling out of the factory way back in 1985. In fact, a Rockhopper was also the first mountain that I owned and was without a doubt a great bike. The tried and tested formula employed by Specialized of creating a good all rounder at a decent price point still rings true for the latest model.

Buy New  Buy Used

Giant Talon 3

Giant Talon 3

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

Buy New

There are of course a variety of other kids 26″ and 27.5″ wheel mountain bikes available for under £500. If we’ve missed off your favourite, please do drop us a comment in the box below. 

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Does anyone know the standover height for the 13″ and 15″ Voodoo Nzumbi bikes?

Penny Millar

Hi there. Another Cycle Sprog reader might be able to help, but it might also be worth asking the question on the Family Cycling UK page on Facebook, they have a large community of cycling families and someone might be able to answer the question for you. You could also contact Halfords directly to ask. Thanks Penny

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