The best kids city bikes
If you're looking for a bike suitable for your child to cycle to school, it might be worth considering a more European style kids city bike.
Very popular for everyday travel on the continent, in particular in Holland, this style of bike has, up until recently, been more difficult to find here in the UK.
Thankfully there's been a recent increase in the number of kids city bikes available, and in this article we'll take a look at 20" wheel and larger kids city bikes at a variety of price points.
Looking for the best kids bike to cycle to school?
A kids city bike is a traditional style bicycle that's designed to make cycling around urban areas on a daily basis easy to do for your child.
They're designed for convenience and comfort riding around town, rather than speed or off road riding.
They're easier to get on and off (with a low step through frame rather than a high cross bar) which is particularly helpful for those wearing a skirt, or with difficulties in hip movement.
Handlebars tend to be high and wide swept, giving a relaxed and comfortable riding style, and they're usually equipped with some method of carrying luggage. They are usually also fitted with mudguards and a stand.
This style of bike may also be known as a classic style kids bike, a vintage style bike, a traditional or old fashioned kids bike, a "sit up and beg" style bike or an urban kids bike.
Features to look out for on a kids city bike
The quality and number of features that you'll get on a kids city bike will depend on the brand and price, but can include:
Full-length mudguards - who wants to arrive covered in road grime?
Built-in lights - never be caught out in the fading light again. Sometimes dynamo powered so no recharging needed. Premium models carry on working when your child stops pedalling at junctions.
Luggage rack - very important for carrying school bags, musical instruments, sports gear, books, shopping and everything else a young person needs to take with them.
Urban tyres - look for hard-wearing tyres to reduce the risk of punctures, and reflective strips to improve visibility to other road users.
Chain guard - to protect the chain from rust and damage, and the rider from getting their clothes stuck in the chain.
Basket - some bikes come fitted with a basket, but these are easy to add at a later date, so look at the bike, rather than the basket when making your choice!
Brakes - most kids bikes are fitted with rim brakes (V-brakes). These are perfectly adequate, but disc brakes will give enhanced performance in the wet.
Step through frame - not all city bikes have the traditional low style step through frame, but the majority do, making it easy to get on and off whatever you're wearing
Gearing on a kids city bike
There are two main options for gearing on a kids city bike:
- Derailleur gears are the type of gears we're more used to seeing on kids bikes here in the UK - the gears are exposed to the elements, but are easier to maintain if something goes wrong.
- Hub gears are more popular on the continent, and because they are protected within the hub are not exposed to the elements tend to require less maintenance. However, if they do go wrong, they might be harder to fix yourself.
the best kids city bikes available in the UK
There's a growing number of kids bikes available to buy in the UK.
We've listed our favourite brands in price order, with the cheapest first, through to the most expensive.
As you go up through the price range you can expect the quality of the bike and its components to improve, which becomes more important if you're relying on the bike for your daily transport to school.
At the end, we've also mentioned a few other choices, if our picks aren't quite what you're looking for.
B'Twin is Decathlon's own brand, and offers some of the cheapest kids city bikes available in the UK. They have different models, denoted by the numbers 100, 500 and 900, with the 100 being their basic model and the 900 their premium model.
With the 500 model you get a stand, basket and mudguard on a steel framed bike with six gears.
Pinnacle Californium - from £275
Pinnacle are Evans Cycles' in-house brand, and the Californium is their Dutch style step-through city bike that comes in both kids and adult sizes.
These are aluminium framed bikes and are fitted with mudguards, kickstand, chain protector and a wicker-style front basket.
The child size city bikes come in two sizes:
Pinnacle Californium 20 inch - 20" wheels - 53cm minimum inside leg
Pinnacle Californium 24 inch - 24" wheels - 62cm minimum inside leg
For older children and teenagers, the Small Adult Californium bike is designed for those with a height of 5'0-5'3 - although be aware the components and geometry will be designed for an adult rather than a child, so things like brakes and saddle may not be the perfect fit.
Warranty wise Evans Cycles website says "All products ordered from Evans Cycles come with a full warranty which covers manufacturing faults and defects in workmanship."
Frog have recently released a range of kids City Bikes to expand their already huge range of children's bikes. Whilst Frog's standard hybrid bikes have been used to ride around town for years, the new City range is designed specifically for those kids doing all their riding in urban areas.
The Frog City Bikes are lightweight aluminium frames, with 8 speed derailleur gears and styling wise the bike has the traditional step through "Dutch-Style" frame that many kids want if they're spending their time cycling around town.
They're fitted with full-length mudguards, a kickstand and a pannier rack plus come with all the child-friendly features Frog Bikes are renowned for, including short reach brakes, easy-use gear shifter, short cranks and child-specific saddle.
The Frog City bikes come in three wheel sizes
Frog City 53 - 20" wheel - 53cm minimum inside leg
Frog City 61 - 24" wheel - 61cm minimum inside leg
Frog City 67 - 26" wheel - 67cm minimum inside leg
The warranty on a Frog City bike is: 2 years - extended to 5 years for frame if you register the bike within 28 days of purchase
woom are a premium Austrian brand who are really pushing the boundaries on kids bike design. If your budget stretches to this range, then the woom NOW bikes provide a specification that is totally different to other kids city bikes available in the UK at the moment.
You'll see from the photo that the bike has a smaller front wheel and larger rear wheel.
woom claim this allows more precise and confident steering, plus the smaller front wheel also offers space for the front rack (which has integrated straps to stow a rucksack or other bag). There's also a small mesh bag that mounts within the frame for smaller items you need close to hand, especially useful if your child isn't taking a larger bag with them (think keys/phone etc).
The tyres on the woom NOW are worthy of special mention. They're extra wide Schwalbe Big Apple balloon tyres with RaceGuard puncture protection, which will provide a comfortable ride even over cobblestones, plus they're designed to be tram track friendly.
The brakes on the woom NOW are disc brakes, which are more effective in the wet than the traditional rim brakes found on all the other kids city bikes listed on this page. This is an important consideration if your child will be cycling to school all year round, whatever the weather.
The decision by woom to use an uncovered bike chain paired with derailleur gears is interesting. We might have expected them to shake things up even further with a belt drive and hub gearing.
But are woom being radical in their home market, and introducing a European audience to a set-up that young riders here in the UK are used to?
Or should we expect to see something less exposed to the elements? One thing that is certain, is that whichever solution they chose, some people would have wanted something else!
The woom NOW bikes are available in 3 sizes:
woom NOW 4 - 16" front wheel - 20" rear wheel - 54cm minimum inside leg
woom NOW 5 - 20" front wheel - 24" rear wheel - 64cm minimum inside leg
woom NOW 6 - 20" front wheel - 26" rear wheel - 74cm minimum inside leg
The warranty on a woom NOW bike is: 10 years - frames, rigid forks, handlebars, stem. 2 years - everything else
Need more help on buying a kids bike?
We know that sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming trying to find that perfect bike for your child - especially when stocks are low or timescales are tight.
Please don't get too stressed! We've got lots of articles to help you through the process to ensure you find the best bike for your child, plus our FREE kids buying guide will help you record everything you need.
- How to easily measure your child for a new bike
- How much should I spend on a bike for my child?
- The cheapest kids bikes 2023 - our pick of the best value bikes
- The best kids bikes 2023 - our pick of the very best quality kids bikes
- Introducing Bike Club subscription kids bikes, a better way to get your child riding?
- Buying a second hand kids bike
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