Best Road Bike for Kids – Guide & Reviews

When it’s time to buy your kid their first proper bike, you can get easily overwhelmed by the many choices available.

There are mountain bikes, road bikes, BMX bikes, hybrid bikes and others.

Today we are going to talk about road bikes. These are bikes designed for use on smooth and flat surfaces such as roads and pavements. We’ll give you some tips for buying the best road bike for your child plus some top recommendations.

Note: If you are looking for a hardy bike they can ride on rough trails outdoors, what you need is a mountain bike.

What is a Road Bike?

A road bike is essentially that; a bike meant for use on the road or generally any flat and relatively smooth surface like pavement.

Unlike mountain bikes which are designed to withstand rough conditions, road bikes are designed for comfort, speed and ease of use.

They usually don’t have rear suspension and have narrower tires. The handlebar design depends on the age the bike is meant for.

Road bikes for younger riders usually have flat handlebars that make it easier to control the bike. For larger bikes – 20” to 24” – most have drop handlebars.     

What to Consider When Buying a Road Bike for Your Kid

  • Size – Kids’ bikes are measured using wheel size. Most road bikes range between 20 inches and 24 inches and are meant for ages 6 and up. Make sure your kid can touch the ground with his feet when seated on the saddle and that they can comfortably reach the handlebars. Most road bikes have adjustable seats to provide a perfect fit.
  • Lightweight but sturdy – A heavy road bike will be difficult and tiring to ride. Make sure the bike is light (ideally not more than 12kg) but sturdy and durable. Most road bikes have an aluminium alloy frame to reduce weight.
  • Adjustable handlebars and saddle – This allows you to adjust the bike to your child’s height and size as they grow taller.
  • Types of brakes – Most road bikes use caliper brakes that work by pressing down on the rims. More expensive road bikes use disk brakes that work by slowing down a rotor attached to the hub. Caliper brakes are easier to maintain and work just as well as disk brakes in most circumstances. They are the best for kids’ road bikes
  • Good quality tires – Compared to MTBs (mount bikes) road bikes use narrow tires. They are better for speed, control and overall performance. Make sure they are good quality. The tread should be deep enough for traction and the rim should be strong. Most road bikes use double-walled rims for added durability.

As for the gears don’t get all confused trying to decide which ones are the best. Unless your child is in a competition, basic gearing systems are good enough for kids. Most models use Shimano gears and shifters which are generally good quality.

With all that said, here are the best road bikes for juniors (7 years min age). All the models we’ve included are 24”. Most good quality road bikes for kids come in that size.

Note that these are not just ordinary kids’ bikes. They are serious road bikes designed for top performance on the road. Even the prices are quite high; at least £200 for most of them with a couple costing over £300.

But if you want a good quality road bike for your kid, they are worth it.

Best Road Bike for Kids Reviews [UK Market]

1. IRONMAN Koa Unisex 14-speed Junior Road Bike, 24”

The Koa is designed to be light and fast. So it uses a lightweight aluminium alloy frame to bring the total bike weight to just a hair over 12kg.

The straight-blade forks and 14-speed Shimano gears add to its blistering performance on the road.

While it is a road bike, the Koa handles easily in any season. The extra-wide 28c (28mm) tyres see to that. They are slick and fast on smooth tarmac or pavement but can easily transition to a rougher terrain such as gravel without losing in performance.

The drop handlebars provide high-performance control especially at high speeds. The Shimano a050 shifters are easy to operate with just a flick of your fingers.

Whether you kid wants to ride the bike for fun or enter competitive events, the Koa is perfect for both.

The Koa also wins full points on aesthetics. The black and yellow combo looks great. Even the saddle is colour-matched for a complete look.

To make sure that this bike is ideal for your child’s height, take their inseam measurements. If it’s between 58cm to 71cm (23”-28”) you are good to go.

What we like about it:

  • High-performance road bike.
  • Great aesthetics.
  • Extra light for top speed and easy manoeuvrability.

2. IRONMAN Keauhou 24 Boys 7-speed Hybrid Kids Bike, 24”

If you want a slightly cheaper bike than the Iron Man Koa above, this Keauhou 24” road bike from the same company is a good alternative. This is actually a hybrid bike but we’ve included it anyway.

They use the same lightweight frame as the Koa. The Keauhou weighs just 12.8kg.

This lightweight design combined with the fast-rolling tyres guarantee top notch performance on the road.

The bike uses a twist-style shifter connected to 7-speed gears. It’s not the highest-performance gear system but it will do for kids.

The front fork provides tight and responsive control through turns and around obstacles. The 1.5” wheels provide good traction on the road and are rated for year-round use.

Chain guards protect their feet and keep the chain in place on the gear cogs. As for the brakes, the Keauhou uses V-brakes that are highly dependable and easy to maintain.

The padded saddle and the paddles are specifically designed for younger users. They are not just smaller versions of those on adult road bikes. This ensures maximum comfort and better cycling performance.

Overall a great bike for fun riding, cross country and competitive events.

What we like about it:

  • Ultralight for improved control and performance.
  • Fairly good performance for a kids’ bike.
  • Cool-looking lacquer-sealed decals that don’t come off.

3. Raleigh Red Kids Performance Bike, 24”

If you want a proper performance bike for your child and you don’t mind spending a bit more, the Raleigh 24” road bike is the best choice.

It’s a bit pricey but you get the build quality and riding performance that Raleigh bikes are famous for.

The frame is aluminium alloy, which makes the bike really light. It weighs just 10kg.

This provides an extra boost of speed on the road. A drop handlebar style and 8-speed gears with Microshift levers further enhance performance. The easy to reach levers are specifically designed for shorter hands.

The Raleigh chromoly performance fork Headset provides precise control especially at high speeds. Rim V-brakes provide dependable and safe braking in all kinds of weather.

The padded saddle feels comfortable and is specially designed for kids. Of course you can adjust it for a better fit depending on their height.

The bike is recommended for ages 7 and up.

What we like about it:

  • Excellent performance on the road.
  • Ultra lightweight design.

4. Dawes Espoir 3000 Shimano 16 Speed STI Junior Road Bike, 24”

This is another high-performance road bike that comes with a 16-speed Shimano transmission system and STI (Shimano Total Integration) shifters.

STI shifters are special types of levers designed specifically for road bikes by Shimano. Instead of having separate gear shifters and brake levers, both the brakes and shifter are integrated into one lever.

This provides better control since the rider doesn’t have to take their hand off the handlebar to shift gear.

The Espoir 3000 uses an aluminium alloy frame that brings the bike to a total weight of just 11.4kg.

The steel forks and alloy wheels further improve performance and add to the bike’s durability.

The bike uses cantilever brakes, which though challenging to configure and maintain, offer excellent braking performance.

What we like about it:

  • High performance riding – can be used for fun or competitions.
  • Ultra lightweight design.
  • Easy to assemble.

5. Adventure Kid’s Ostro Road Bike, 24”

Every component of the Ostro road bike has been designed to provide maximum comfort for younger riders.

First there are the Microshift dual control levers designed to be easy to reach. The frame, saddle and drop handlebars are also optimized for junior riders.

The bike has a 14-speed gearing system, double-wall alloy rims and high-performance cantilever brakes.

At 18.1kg, it’s a bit heftier than the other performance bikes on this list. But it’s still light enough to provide a thrilling blast of speed down the road.

One unique feature of the Ostro is the 2 sets of tires it comes with. One set is designed for normal on-the-road use while the other is optimized for cyclocross racing.

So this bike is great for both casual and competitive riding.

What we like about it:

  • Fairly good performance.
  • Features and geometry optimized for younger riders.
  • Includes 2 pairs of tyres for road cycling as well as cyclocross.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. At what age can my child start riding a road bike?

Because most junior road bikes start at 20 inches in wheel size, they are suitable for kids aged 6 years and older. If your kid is 8 years or older, get a bigger 24 inch bike.

2. What’s the best material for a kids road bike?

It’ll cost you more, but an aluminium road bike is worth the higher price tag. An aluminium frame keeps the bike light and easy to handle. Your kid will be more confident on the bike, and they’ll be able to ride for longer without getting tired.

3. Are road bikes good for dirt trails?

Your child can ride a road bike on a dirt trail, but ride quality will be poor because of the difference in wheels and suspension between a road bike and mountain bike.

A road bike is also more prone to damage and punctures when taken off road.

If your kid loves riding on the road as well as off road on trails, either get them a hybrid road-mountain bike or get them a road bike and a separate mountain bike.

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