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.

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.

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

COVID-19 / CHRISTMAS UPDATE - November 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. 

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. 

Giant Talon 3 (£449)

Giant Talon 3

Key data for the Giant Talon 3:

Price: £449
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 now: Giant Talon 3

GT Avalanche Sport(£529)

GT Avalanche Sport

Key data for the :

Price: £529
Bike size: XS
Standover: 698 mm
Frame: 6061 aluminium frame – totally new design
Forks: SR Suntour XCT-DS with 100mm travel
Gears: 18 speed – Shimano MT101 36/22 tooth double chainset, 11-36T cassette and Shimano Altus shifters
Brakes: Tektro M275 Hydraulic Disc with 160mm Rotors
Tyres: WTB Ranger Comp, 27.5/29 x 2.25, DNA Compound
Available colours: Grey
Weight: n/a
Warranty: Frame - lifetime; Components - 1 year

Buy now: GT Avalanche Sport

Voodoo Nzumbi (£450)

good quality but cheap kids mtb - Voodoo Nzumbi in orange

Voodoo Nzumbi key data:

Price: £450
Typical age range
: 9-12 years;
Height range:
138-170cm (they have two frame sizes, 13″/15″, so this reflects the height range across both options);
Bike weight:
16.4kg according to Halfords, owners say 12.8kg for 15″ frame
Brakes
: Tektro Hydraulic Disc Brakes;
Frame
: Lightweight butted aluminium;
Tyres
: Kenda KINETIC tyres;
Available colours
: Orange;
Warranty
: 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.

A 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, very orange, proper mountain bike for less than £500.

BUY NOW: THE VOODOO NZUMBI AT HALFORDS 

BUY SECONDHAND: Voodoo Nzumbi from eBay

Cannondale Trail 7 Ltd (£479)

Cannondale-Trail-7-Ltd

Key data for the Cannondale Trail 7:

Price: £479
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.

Buy now: Cannondale Trail 7 Ltd

Specialized Rockhopper Sport (£549)

Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Key data for the Specialized Rockhopper Sport:

Price: £549
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

Buy now: Specialized Rockhopper Sport

Orbea MX 40 2021 (£549)

Orbea MX 40 mtb

Key data for the Orbea MX 40:

Price: £549
Bike size: Small 27.5″ wheels
Rider height: 155-165 cm
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

Buy new: Orbea MX 40

Giant Talon 2 (£529)

Giant Talon 2

Key data for the Giant Talon 2:

Price: £529
Bike size: XS with 27.5″ wheels
Brakes: Tektro TKD 143, hydraulic disc
Frame: ALUXX-Grade Aluminum
Forks: Front suspension – SR Suntour XCT30 HLO air spring and 80mm travel
Gears: 16 speed – 22/36 tooth chainset, 12-32T cassette and Shimano SL-M315  thumb shifters
Tyres: Maxxis Rekon 27.5×2.4, wire bead
Available colours: Red clay
Weight: n/a
Warranty: Frame - lifetime, Forks - 10 years, All other components - 1 year

Buy New: Giant Talon 2

Cuda Trace 26 (£300)

Cuda-Trace-26

Cuda Trace 26 key data:

Price: £300
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
Frame:
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 NOW:  Cuda Trace 26

Orbea MX 27 XS Dirt (rrp £419)

Orbea MX 27 XS Dirt 27.5 mtb

Orbea MX 27 XS Dirt key data

Price: £419
Height range:
145-160cm;
Brakes
: Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc;
Frame
: Orbea MX Alloy only disc;
Tyres
: Kenda K1153 2.35″ 22TPI;
Available colours
: Blue/red, black/red & black/grey;
Warranty
: 2 years - register bike within 30 days for lifetime warranty on frame and forks and 3 years on paint, varnish and corrosion

The MX Dirt is a Junior bike sporting a 27.5 wheelset, which is still relatively rare for this group of riders. It comes fitted with 2.35 tyres ready for tackling the trails and a double chainset with 22 and 36 tooth rings that, coupled with the rear cassette, gives a wide spread of gears to cover all eventualities.

At the front, there’s an SR Suntour XCE 28 fork giving 100mm of travel. Now, this is a coil spring rather than our preferred air fork, so the options for adjusting to suit the rider is less with this one. However, it does come equipped with Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and Shimano thumb shifters for changing through the gears.

BUY NEW: Orbea MX 27 XS Dirt

BUY SECONDHAND: With the Orbea MX 27 XS Dirt being new, they don’t come up often secondhand, but it’s worth checking eBay in case there is one available in your area

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

Giant ATX2 26 inch wheel mtb

Giant ATX 2 key data:

Price: £399
Bike weight:
14kg for the medium;
Brakes
: Tektro HDC 276;
Frame
: ALUXX-Grade Aluminum, disc;
Tyres
: Giant QuickCross 27.5×2.1/26×2.1;
Available colours
: Blue/black, 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 best suited to forest trails and gravel tracks rather than crazy downhill runs.  Giant has just released their 2020 models, and these come in a fetching Carmine Red and also Metallic black/blue colourway.

The ATX2 has 21 gears and 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.  This bike comes in at a shade under £400.

However, unlike many of the cheaper kids mountain bikes, the Giant ATX2 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 an entry-level MTB aimed at junior riders that are looking to get out and enjoy some moderate off-road riding.

BUY NOW: GIANT ATX2 is available at Tredz 

BUY SECONDHAND: Giant ATX from eBay

Click here for your free guide

Scott Junior Mountain Bike range

Scott Contessa Disc 2020

Scott Contessa Disc key data:

Price: £400
Height range: 150-160cm;
Bike weight:  13.3kg;
Brakes: Tektro HD-M276 | Hydr. Disc – 160mm Rotor | short reach lever;
Frame: Contessa 26″ series – Alloy 6061;
Tyres: Kenda K1227 Booster | 26×2.4″ | 30TPI;
Available colours: Blue;
Warranty: Frame - 3 years

Scott has several different 26″ wheel kids mountain bikes in the sub £500 category for 2020. The 21 speed entry level Scott Roxter and the Contessa both come equipped with V-brakes and forks with 80mm of travel, an alloy frame and have a retail price of £399. At that price, you should also look at the Giant or Orbea, which come with disc brakes and 100mm of travel.

There’s also a Scott Contessa Disc version which has an alloy frame with low slung top tube, 100mm travel forks and 16 speeds. A Shimano Tourney rear derailleur makes the changes and there’s a double chainset at the front. There are Tektro hydraulic brakes front and rear with 160mm rotors.

Scott’s website gives an approximate weight of 13.3kg.

BUY NOW: Scott Contessa Disc 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

 

Scott Roxter Disc 26 2020

Scott Roxter Disc key data:

Price: £449
Bike weight: 13.4kg;
Brakes: Tektro HD-M276 | Hydr. Disc – 160mm Rotor | short reach lever;
Frame: Roxter 26″ series – Alloy 6061;
Tyres: Kenda K1227 Booster | 26×2.4″ | 30TPI;
Available colours: Silver;
Warranty: Frame - 3 years

The 2020 Scott Roxter Disc has done away with the triple chainset and now has a double in its place with 36-22 teeth. There’s an 11-34T Sunrace CSM55 8AV cassette at the rear so a good spread of gear options. It comes with exactly the same spec as the Contessa Disc, but with the different frame design.

Scott’s website gives an approximate weight of 13.4kg.

BUY NEW: SCOTT Roxter Disc

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: Worth looking on eBay for the any of the Scott Junior MBTs

Squish MTB 26

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
: Lightweight 6061 Triple Butted T6 Alloy Frame;
Tyres
: 26 x 1.95” Lightweight Junior Tyres;
Available colours
: Yellow;
Warranty
: Frame and Forks - 3 years; components - 1 year (excluding wear and tear)

Squish Bikes have recently added two mountain bikes to their range of lightweight kids bikes – a 24″ wheeler and the larger 26″ wheeler which we’re looking at here.

Whilst the sub £400 mountain bikes all have complex triple chainsets with 21 gears, pay a bit over £400 and you see the immediate benefits, with the Squish having the bonus of only 8 gears to worry about. This means less to go wrong on the trail, and no difficult decisions on what gear combination to be in.

The gear spread on the rear Shimano HG-41Cassette is 11-32T coupled with a 32T chainring at the front, which should see your Sprog get up most hills without pushing.

The Squish MTB weighs in 12.5kg with pedals (the cheaper bikes don’t state a weight).

With SR Suntour XCR-Lo Air Suspension forks and Tektro M-280 Mechanical Disc Brakes with 160mm rotors which can be operated using just two fingers, the Squish MTB 26 is a good choice for those looking to get out and explore some trails without breaking the bank.

==> BUY NOW: The Squish MTB 26 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

The Squish MTB 26 has an RRP of £479.99 and is available from Squish’s network of local bike shops. 

BUY SECONDHAND: The Squish MTB 26 from eBay

GT Stomper Ace 26″ (rrp £370)

 

Black Friday deal - GT Stomper Ace 26

 

GT Stomper Ace key data:

Price: £370
Inside leg:
69cm;
Brakes
: Promax mechanical disc, 160/160mm rotors;
Frame
: 26″ GT LegitFit Design, alloy w/ replaceable hanger;
Tyres
: Kenda Small Block Eight, 26 x 2.1″ Kenda Small Block Eight, 26 x 2.1″;
Available colours
: Blue, green;
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 thumb shifter, 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

Orbea MX40 in size S and XS

 

Orbea MX40 XS

Orbea MX40 (XS) 2019 key data:

Price: £499
Brakes
: Shimano MT200 Hydraulic Disc;
Frame
: Orbea MX Alloy only disc;
Tyres
: Kenda K1153 2.35″ 30TPI;
Warranty
: 2 years - register bike within 30 days for lifetime warranty on frame and forks and 3 years on paint, varnish and corrosion

The MX40 is a 2019 model that Tredz are massively discounting just to make way for new stock. It’s the Extra Small model only, fitted with a 27.5″ wheelset and according to the size guide is suitable for riders between about 4′ 9″ and 5′ 2″ tall.

Specification-wise, it’s equipped really well with Shimano hydraulic discs and Shimano Altus gearing which is a triple chainring setup with 27 speeds – more gears to choose from and so a bit more involved than with a single chainring with a shifter for each hand to use. At the front, there’s an SR Suntour suspension fork giving 100mm of travel.

The Orbea MX40 is available in three colour schemes.

BUY NOW: Orbea MX40 in size XS 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: Orbea MX40 in size XS from eBay

Click here to download

Second Hand Treasures!

Trott Mtb 1

This is a cool looking bike – fact.  I really liked the “less is more” approach that Mrs Kenny applied to her range of women’s bikes and the MTB 1 is no exception. Ok, it’s not a child’s bike. It is an extra small female frame with 27.5 wheels, but it is so compact that it is being bought and ridden by many happy girls aged from about ten years and up. The only problem is finding one, as they’re sadly no longer on sale new.

For the money, the MTB 1 is a very well-specified bike. Lightweight alloy frame – check. Air sprung 120mm front suspension fork – check. SRAM 11 speed chainset with 11-42 rear cassette – check. Tektro hydraulic brakes – check. In fact, it was so good for the money that plenty of men bought them to ride, and others to use the components on other bikes! Plus with Laura becoming Mrs Kenny, the brand was obsolete and they were cleared out for a few hundred pounds. An absolute bargain!

best junior mountain bikes - Trott MTB 1 white and purple

From time to time the Trott MTB1 does come up on eBay and is well worth a bid! We found one not so long ago, and it’s brilliant. You can read our review here

Check out eBay for the Trott MTB1

Dawes Academy MTB 26 

Unfortunately, Dawes have discontinued their Academy range of quality kids bikes.

The Dawes Academy 26″ wheeled mountain bike was built around a triple-butted aluminium frame which was available in 13″ and 15″ sizes. It’s equipped with a Spinner 300 air fork (with lockout function) that can be adjusted to suit the child’s weight, and provides 100mm of travel.

2018 Dawes Academy 26 MTB

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

The Academy MTB 26 is a great looking and well-specified kids mountain bike. The RRP was £600 in 2018 and Dawes website stated the weight as being 11.26kg.

BUY SECONDHAND: CHECK EBAY FOR THE DAWES ACADEMY 26″ WHEEL MTB

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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Affiliate disclaimer:  some of the links in this post contain affiliate links. If you buy a cheap kids mountain bike via one of them, we get a very small commission, which will help us to continue to run the Cycle Sprog website. Thanks for supporting us in this way.

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