Gravel Cycling With Kids

There is currently a global rise in Gravel Riding!

You may be already doing it, or you’ve heard about it and wonder what it's all about. In short, gravel riding is simply riding off paved and tarmac roads. Venturing off road onto smooth gravel trails, forest tracks or bridleways, they all fall under the term ‘gravel riding’ as long as it is not too bumpy- that's then Mountain biking! 

Gravel cycling with kids is brilliant as trails are usually traffic-free, meaning it's a brilliant, safe environment away from traffic for your child to explore on their bikes. 

If you want to gravel cycle with your kids, we've outlined all the ways you can get started, from making your child's bike gravel-ready, to route planning.

Looking for the best kids' gravel bikes online won't turn up much as the children's bike market hasn't caught up with the new gravel riding trend yet, but we're here to help you find the best gravel bikes (or similar) for your kids.

family gravel ride

Cycle Sprog is a reader-supported website. When you buy through links on this page we may earn an affiliate commission.

What is gravel cycling with kids?

Gravel riding is a broad term for a broad range of riding! Gravel cycling with kids can range from the local canal path to remote bridleways in the countryside and everything in between. 

Its common that a gravel ride will take in off-road, traffic-free trails that aren't asphalt. This includes old train lines, forest roads, bridleways and byways. Trails can be a range of smooth well well-maintained gravel roads, muddy trails that are ideally dry and hardpacked or verging on off-road mountain bike terrain.

Two kids riding mountain bikes with an adult

What is a gravel bike?

A gravel bike is designed specifically for riding on a variety of surfaces. Gravel bikes blend features from road bikes, mountain bikes, and cyclocross bikes to create a versatile bike suitable for exploring mixed terrain. They will usually have drop handlebars, wider tyres and easy gears for hillier terrain.

red adults gravel bike with rear child seat

Does my child need a gravel bike? 

This is dependent on a few things, including their age, your budget and their current bike. 

There are very limited options for children's drop bar bikes and it's important to not get a bike that is too big for them or for them to grow into as they won't enjoy riding it now.

If they currently have a hybrid style bike or mountain bike, then they probably don't need a new one, as their current bike will be capable off-road on smooth gravel trails. 

They might be keen to ride a drop bar bike though, and if that is going to get them excited about riding more then this might be a good reason for you to look for a gravel specific bike for their next bike.

Best kids gravel bikes

If you’re looking for a “true” gravel bike with drop handlebars and easier gearing, then the choice of gravel bikes for kids is very limited. Below are the available options new or second-hand in the UK: 

Boardman JNR ADV 26"

Best 26" option

blue boardman gravel bike

  • Price: £480
  • Weight: 10.5kg
  • Inseam: 68-180cm
  • Colours: Blue

Buy if: You want to buy a new drop bar gravel bike.

Boardman Bikes have a range of adult bikes built for going on two wheeled adventures called the ADV.  In winter 2022 they decided to add a smaller version – the Boardman JNR ADV 26″ – to allow smaller people to come along too.

The Boardman ADV 26″ shares much of the same specification as its 700c counterparts.  They claim that a triple-butted aluminium frame and alloy fork provide a stable and confidence-inspiring ride whilst offering maximum versatility with luggage and mudguard mounts. The Vee Speedster multi-surface, mid-tread 1.5″ tyres are a fast rolling option for tarmac and light trail use, and can be swapped to something more aggressive, should your adventure demand it.

Ergonomic drop handlebars and cable disk brakes are designed with comfort and control in mind, and with a wide range ratio nine-speed cassette, the ADV 26″ is well worth considering for your bike backing and gravel riding adventures.

Frog Road 58

Smallest drop handlebar bike available

blue frog 58 bike, with drop handlebars- best kids gravel bikes

  • Price: £645.00
  • Weight: 8.2kg
  • Inseam: 52-59cm
  • Colours: Blue, Yellow

Buy if: You have a 6-7 year old who would like a drop bar bike

Frog Bikes are one of the best known quality kids bike brands and the Frog Road 58 is their smallest drop handlebar offering, designed for riders with a minimum inside leg of 58cm (approximately 6 to 7 years old).

The Frog Road 58 makes a good first drop handlebar bike for those wanting to start riding on roads, circuits or at cyclocross events.

The bike weighs in at only 8.2 kg, making it easy for young riders to manoeuvre.   It’s specified with 9 gears, narrow and short-drop child-specific handlebars, with Microshift short-reach brake levers.

The bike comes with two sets of tyres, a road set and a 34mm cyclocross set, which will be ideal for smooth gravel.

Islabikes Luath

Best second hand

islabikes luath, best gravel bikes for kids, a grey, green and blue drop bar bike

  • 24", 26" and 700c options
  • Only available second hand

Buy if: You want a second hand bike that is brilliantly designed for small riders

Sadly Islabikes stopped selling new bikes in 2023, so this bike is now only available to buy second hand.

The Luath is Islabikes’ drop bar range of bikes, aimed at road, cyclo-cross and gravel.

Forme Calver 700

Best hire option

blue forme gravel bike for kids

  • Price: £28.88 per month
  • Weight: 11.5kg
  • Inseam: 58-65cm
  • Colours: Blue, Purple

Buy if: You want a fast gravel/cyclocross bike

Sadly Forme Bikes went out of business in March 2023, so new bikes are now hard to find.  However the good news is most of their warehouse was bought by Bike Club so kids can continue to ride these great bikes for years to come.

Whether your Cycle Sprog is into cyclo-cross, triathlon or bikepacking (or all three!) then the Forme Calver 700 with 33c tyres is worth considering.

The Calver 700 features a lightweight, robust alloy frame with updated, junior specific compact geometry to attempt to cater for a wide range of heights.

A 1 x 9 speed drive train with short reach levers and cable disc brakes provide stopping power and optimal handling in all conditions.

Bike Club

HUP evo24

Best for gravel tyres up to 47cc

yellow hupcc kids gravel bike

  • Price: Bespoke builds- prices from £799.99
  • Weight: 8.5kg
  • Colours: Yellow

Buy if: You want a bespoke built all the bells and whistles small gravel bike

HUPcc have created a XXS/ 700c cyclocross bike, and have build on the success with a 24" wheel bike for children approx 5 to 8 years old.

You can customise the bike to suit its rider: Road or MTB gearing, CX, Road or MTB tyres (up to 47c), a choice or Aluminium wheels or our handbuilt CD24 carbon-fibre wheelsets on straight-pull, carbon-fibre hubs and Pillar spokes. Everything you need to race cyclo-cross, head-out into the wilderness for some Gravel Adventure or hit the local XC trails, build it your way.

Buy Now

Alternative children's ‘gravel bikes’

For riding off-road with your family, there are some brilliant alternatives to the limited gravel bike options available. 

Hybrid bikes

Most children's hybrid-style bikes are more than suitable for smooth off-road riding. Look for a hybrid bike with some knobbles on the tyres for grip, and tyres wider than 30cc. Our reviewer of the Btwin Riverside 900 loved riding this bike on forest tracks on her Centre Parcs holiday. The reviewer of the Woom Automagic also had a lot of fun riding her bike on the muddy off-road trails around her hometown. 

The flat bars of hybrid bikes, compared to the drop bars on gravel bikes will keep your kid more comfy in an upright riding position. Braking will be easier and more familiar, and build confidence if they aren't used to drop bars. 

Mountain bikes:

If you're planning slightly bumpier terrain than smooth forest tracks or disused train lines, you might want to read our guides to the best children's mountain bikes.

A rigid mountain bike that doesn't have any suspension would be a brilliant kid's gravel bike. They will come with big chunky tyres for lots of grip and comfort, and usually disc brakes for good stopping power. They are robust bikes designed for off-road riding. 

Mountain bikes with front suspension may be heavier and slightly less efficient, but will likely have lots of easy gears for hills and inspire confidence if the terrain gets bumpy.

boy in a blue helmet riding a gravel trail

Best alternative gravel bikes for kids


B’Twin Riverside 900 range

Best budget option

A blue B’Twin Riverside 900 hybrid bike on a plain background

B'Twin 900 kids bike range:

Wheel size: 12 - 26 inch wheels
Bike Types: Balance,  Hybrid, Mountain Bike 
Typical age range
 2 - 12 + years, plus a wide range of adult bikes for teens
Warranty:  Lifetime on frame, stem, handlebars. Other parts: 2 years

B'Twin, who are an inhouse range at Decathlon, have a wide range of great value kids' bikes, which are all numbered from 100 up to 900 and beyond. The higher the number, the better the specification, with the B'Twin 900s (and some 500s) being really impressively built bikes.   But don't discount the lower numbers either - they tend to be much better quality than similar priced bikes elsewhere.

B'Twin offers several ranges of kids' bikes including the Rockriders and Riversides.

The Rockriders are mountain bikes, designed for off-road, muddy and bumpy fun.

The Riversides are designed for around town riding, although they're great for leisure routes too.

They also do balance bikes and small pedal bikes for younger children.

Check out our B'Twin Riverside 900 review to find out what makes B'Twin's top of the range bikes so impressive, and how they've managed to produce a decently specced bike at such a good price point.

Buy Now

Woom bikes

Best quality kids' bikes

Woom 3 automagic - the smallest kids bike with gears and 16" wheelswoom key data:

Wheel size: 12 - 26 inch wheels
Bike Types: Balance,  First pedal, Hybrid, Mountain Bikes, E-bikes and City Bikes
Typical age range
2 - 14 years
Warranty: 10 years - frames, rigid forks, handlebars, stem. 2 years - everything else

If quality, longevity and customer service are all really important to you, then we highly recommend woom Bikes.

Here at Cycle Sprog we've reviewed lots of different woom kids bikes over the years and have been really impressed.  Not only with the design and style, but also with the quality and longevity of the bikes.  The usually come back after a long review looking brand new (which also means that resale values will be high - making these bikes a great investment).

But what really excites us is that woom are showing innovation in ways we've not seen in the kids bike industry for many years.
Some things are simple, such as colour coded brake levers to make it easier for little riders to remember the difference between front and rear brakes.
Others, such as their automagic gears on their 16" bike or the unique design of their Now Urban bikes have shown new and exciting possibilities that leave most of the industry way behind.

woom bikes are available in a range of sizes from the woom 1 balance bike through to 26" wheel woom 6. They've even got a range of mountain bikes, called woom OFF, which includes an e-bike model, so there's something for everyone.

For a more in-depth look at why we recommend their bikes so highly, take a look at our woom bike reviews.

Buy New  Buy Used Bike Club

Frog bikes range

Best for leasing

Best kids' bikes: A red Frog bike in front of a white background

Frog Bikes Key Data 

Wheel size: 10 inch balance bike - 26 inch wheel bikes
Bike Types: Balance, First pedal, Hybrid, Mountain, City, Road and Track
Typical age range
: 18 months to 13 years+
Warranty2 years - extended to 5 years for frame if you register the bike within 28 days of purchase

Frog Bikes make some of the most popular and best kids bikes around, and they cover virtually every type and size, from three sizes of balance bikes for toddlers through to mountain, city, road and track bikes for older kids.

At the largest wheel size (26") they have different size frames, which we love as not all kids at that age are the same size.

We've had our hands on a wide range of Frog Bikes over the years, including their first pedal bikes, hybrid bikes, mountain bikes and road bikes, and the always make a reliable bike.

Be sure to check out our Frog Bikes reviews for more details of the exact type of bike you're interested in.

Given how popular and robust Frog Bikes are there's usually a lot available secondhand, and they're also available to lease via The Bike Club. 

Buy Used  Bike Club

Islabikes Beinn range

Best second hand

Best kids' bikes: A pink Islabike on a white background

Islabikes key data:

Wheel size: 12 - 27.5 inch wheel kids bikes plus adult bikes
Bike Types: Balance, First pedal, Hybrid, Cyclocross/Road and Mountain Bikes 
Typical age range
:  2 - 13 years
Warranty: 5 years on frame and forks and a 2 years on parts

Islabikes were the original quality kids bike. They blazed a trail when everyone thought their founder Isla Rowntree was crazy for thinking parents would be willing to spend big bucks on a bike for their child.

They proved what a difference having a lightweight, properly sized bike makes, and all the other brands listed in this article have followed on behind.

Sadly Islabikes announced in October 2023 that they were stopping making and selling bikes, although they will carry on selling spare parts for existing bikes.

Islabikes really were specialists (and obsessives) in kids bike design. Every Islabike reflects those years of expertise and research.

Because Islabikes can get passed down through many children they tend to be great for the environment and it's sometimes possible to recoup a large proportion of your cost when re-selling on if you've maintained the bike well.

If you're buying a second hand kids bike, then choosing a used Islabike makes real sense.

Over the years we've built up a healthy number of Islabike reviews, and each bike has proven why they blazed a trail in the world of kids bikes.

Buy Used

How to make your child's current bike gravel-ready

Adding some extra grippy tyres and maximising the width of tyres their bike can accommodate will upgrade your child's bike to make it more off-road suitable!

Many tyres are on the market for smaller wheels that have very similar tread patterns to the most loved adult gravel tyres. 

Where to ride- best kid friendly gravel rides

We’d love you to head to our collections on komoot and get inspired by some of our favourite family-friendly gravel rides. 

Gravel riding in the UK usually involves knitting together sections of off-road paths, bridleways and byways with quiet roads- so be sure to check how much road is involved before embarking on a route with little ones. 

The UK is also full of brilliant forestry land which often has family cycling routes on fire roads, and a huge network of disused train lines which make for brilliant, traffic-free, family gravel rides. 

Do you have a favourite route? Tag us in your komoot tours or send us an email with the GPX and we’ll share it with our readers. 

How to carry luggage on a kid's gravel bike 

Whether you're planning a family cycling holiday and want to load up your bikes for an adventure, going for day rides or cycling to school, you’ll need to think about how your kids' bike can carry luggage. 

Some bikes can accommodate a rear rack and small panniers. Look out for mounting points on the bike's frame. Panniers are easy for kids to pack and offer good carrying capacity. 

Bikepacking bags are very tricky on small bikes as there isn't much spare space for bags. You may be able to fit a small frame bag and maybe a small saddle bag for a few essentials.

These little bar bags from Decathlon are a good option for kids to carry their own snacks.

Ruth going bikepacking on an Islabikes Cnoc

Gravel cycling with kids that aren't on their own bikes yet

Is your child still too young to be riding their own bike? Don’t worry - you can still enjoy gravel cycling with young children and toddlers. 

If the terrain you plan to be riding isn't too bumpy, a rear seat is a brilliant option, as they are budget-friendly and your child can see and engage with the scenery and you! 

A trailer with suspension is also a great option if you are planning on riding bumpier terrain. The suspension in the trailer will allow your Sprog to have a smoother ride! These are our best kids trailer recommendations

With over a decade of experience of carrying kids on bikes, we want to share our expertise on bike seats, trailers, tagalongs and cargo bikes with you. Fill in these simple how to carry your children by bike questions and get recommendations straight to your inbox!

Can I fit a kids ride shotgun seat to a gravel bike? 

Children from 2-5 love Kids Ride Shotgun front seats, and these are brilliant for riding more technical bumpy terrain and single track. Unfortunately, they aren't compatible with drop bar bikes, as the riding position on a gravel bike doesn't leave enough room for a child!

The seats are however designed for mountain bikes and would be brilliant for family gravel rides if you have a flat bar, hardtail or full-suspension mountain bike.

We hope this overview article has been useful to get your head around off road and gravel cycling with your children.

Venturing away from traffic and into the great outdoors for a leisure ride is a brilliant way to ride together as a family, and something we love to do here at Cycle Sprog HQ when the sun is shining!

Send us your photos of your gravel rides with your children over on our Facebook page.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.