REI Bikes for Kids on the Move

REI Co-op provides nearly every type of gear for the active family, including bikes for kids! Given their generous return policy, quality service, and free first tune-ups, buying your child’s next bike from them is worth serious consideration.

Currently, they are even offering bike shipping direct to your home, which is a great option during this time when most bike shops are closed.

REI sells bikes for every age and ability, from young toddlers just getting started on a balance bike, to teenagers eager to explore the single track and beyond. We are sharing some of our favorites from their 2020 bike lineup, to help your bike search go a little faster.

As a member of REI’s affiliate program, we earn from qualifying purchases.


For Toddlers and Preschoolers

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Strider is a well-known brand for wee bikers just starting out. They have been making balance bikes since the beginning. Their bikes are a great option when looking for a quality balance bike to get started with.

Technical Specs

  • Weight: 6 lbs 11.2 oz
  • Wheels: 12 inches
  • Rider weight: under 60 lbs
  • Frame material: Steel

Features

  • Steel frame and puncture-proof tires for durability and ease of maintenance
  • The bike can grow with your child, thanks to an adjustable seat and handlebar bar heights for ages 18 months to 5 years, or a 12–20 in. inseam. Bonus? No tools necessary!
  • Can add-on future upgrades like foot brakes or heavy-duty tires

Cons

Foam filled instead of air filled tires. Some children fit a bike with curved handlebars better than one with straight handle bars.

Co-op Cycles REV 12 Balance Bike

This balance bike has several great features. It is made with a rust-free aluminum frame, and spoked, not plastic wheels and inflatable tires. The handle bars are curved instead of straight like the Strider.

Co-op Cycles is REI’s in-house bike brand. You can be sure that REI does their best to design bikes with quality materials in a reasonable price point.

Technical Specs

  • Weighs 9 lbs, 0.3 oz
  • 12 inch wheels
  • 60 lb weight limit
  • Aluminum frame

Features

  • Curved handlebars work well for pint-sized arms
  • Aluminum frame is durable
  • Inflatable tires roll smoothly over varied terrain and absorb shock better than foam filled tires.
  • Comes with a sticker pack for bike customization
  • The seat is adjustable as your child grows.

Cons

The handlebar height is not adjustable, and at 9 lbs, this bike is heavier than the other two balance bikes we suggest.

Yuba Flip Flop Balance Bike

Whoah! Have you ever seen such a fun looking bike? This bikes makes the list for several reasons besides its color. It has a unique design that allows it to be adjusted for kids ages 15m-6y.

It also comes with a cool cargo rack on the back, and yes, Yuba sells bags that fit it. I know so many toddlers who would love filling cargo pockets up with treasures.

We reviewed this bike in the past, so you can head there to read a longer write up of this bike.

Technical Specs

  • 10 inch wheels
  • Aluminum frame
  • Weighs 7 lbs
  • Adjustable seat

Features

  • The bike has a flippable frame, which makes it a great investment as it can be used for years.
  • Lowest stand-over height allows the tiniest riders to feel secure.
  • Light aluminum frame for easier managing
  • The cargo rack just adds a finishing touch that many children love

Cons

Foam filled tires instead of air filled. No hand brake (neither do the other options in this list).

STRIDER 14X Sport Balance Bike

This bike fills a unique niche between small beginning bikers and taller beginners. With 14 inch wheels, it works for children who are too tall for the 12 inch bikes, but still need a balance bike for getting started.

The pedals are removable, enabling this bike to turn into a kick bike. Once the child is ready, the pedals can be added on for them to start cruising.

Technical Specs

  • Weighs 12 lbs. 3.2 oz
  • 14 inch wheels
  • 80 lb weight limit
  • Frame : Steel

Features

  • Can be set up as a balance bike or pedal bike
  • 14 inch wheels work better for taller new riders
  • Sturdy construction will last for multiple riders

Cons

This bike does not have an option for a handle bar brake, but most bikes this size do not.

Co-op Cycles REV 16

Once your child has mastered the balance bike, she is ready to move up to a bike with pedals. Thanks to the skills acquired on the balance bike, learning to pedal is much easier.

This is a classic bike size for young children ready to bike on their own on neighborhood paths and sidewalks.

Most children are able to transition from a balance bike right to a bike with pedals. Training wheels generally won’t be necessary. However, this bike comes with them if you prefer to teach your child that way!

Technical Specs

  • Coaster brakes
  • 1.75 inch tires
  • 16 inch wheels
  • Bike weighs 16 lbs 4.4 oz
  • Aluminum frame
  • 80 lb weight limit

Features

  • Low stand over height for little riders
  • Frame is durable aluminum
  • Comes with super fun sticker pack for customization!

Cons

No handlebar brake, which is not unusual for bikes this size. Frame is heavy for its size.

Early Rider Limited Seeker 16 Bike

This is an awesome bike if you have a small child ready to explore off trail. This bike is often recommended for children 4-6, depending on each child’s size, of course.

The large tires will roll smoothly over bumps, mud and other obstacles. It has a child-sized handlebar brake lever, making it easy for small hands to easily stop safely. This bike has a unique belt-drive system, which is popular for ease of maintenance and smooth operation.


Technical Specs

  • Bike weighs 13 lbs, 1.8 oz
  • Aluminum frame
  • 2.25 inches tire width
  • 16 inch wheels
  • Easy pull rim brake
  • Gears: 1
  • Suspension: None
  • Belt drive

Features

  • 2.25 in. large balloon tires for traction on dirt, mud, and other messy terrain
  • Fitted with easy-pull V-brakes
  • Belt drive system is smooth, lightweight and rust-free
  • The rim brakes make this an intuitive bike for new riders to use.

Cons

The belt drive systems requires different maintenance than a traditional chain drive system.


Bikes for School-Aged Children

Cannondale Quick 20 Bike

When your child is ready to go from a 16-inch to a “big kid” bike, a 20 inch is usually the best place to start. This bike from Cannondale has quality components in a hybrid bike package.

The wheels have enough traction for exploring gravel trails, while still rolling smoothly and efficiently on pavement. With 7 gears, this bike can easily be shifted to conquer neighborhood hills, both big and small.

Technical Specs

  • 7 gears
  • Rim brakes
  • 20 lbs, 3.2 oz
  • 20 inch wheels
  • 1.5 inch tires

Features

  • Handlebar, grips, brake levers, saddle and cranks are all designed to fit small bodies.
  • Nubby tires for gripping a wide range of surfaces

Cons

Rim brakes can be less reliable in wet/muddy environments.


Co-op Cycles REV 20 6-Speed Plus Bike

Between the ages of 5-7, many children are ready to graduate from a 16 inch bike to a “big kid” 20 inch bike. If your child is ready to shred some dirt, this bike is a good place to start.

Even without a suspension fork, it rolls smoothly thanks to extra-large tires. It is designed with a simple, easy to shift gearing system, and quick-stopping disc brakes.

Technical Specs

  • Bike Weighs 23 lbs, 15.3oz
  • Aluminum frame
  • 2.6 inch tires
  • 20 inch wheels
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 6 gears
  • no suspension

Features

  • Aluminum frame is light, rust-resistant, and easy to manage
  • 6-speed drivetrain is controlled with a single shifter; a flick of the wrist changes gears for easy pedaling
  • Mechanical disc brakes respond quickly for fast stopping
  • Extra-wide, 2.6 in. all-terrain tires soften the little bumps for a stable ride
  • Bicycle weight limit is 80 lbs. total

Cons

The seat post and wheels are not quick release. This can be a pain if you forget your wrench and need to make adjustments.

Cannondale Trail 20 Bike

This bike packs a lot into a small-sized package. Cannondale designs their bikes with kids’ bodies in mind, which means they carefully construct bikes to fit children well. The gear shifter, brakes, and pedal geometry all are smaller to accommodate the needs of younger children.

This bike also comes with a front suspension fork, which is fun for children wanting a bike with more features.

Technical Specs

  • Coil front suspension fork
  • 7 gears
  • 20 inch wheels
  • 1.95 tire width
  • Weighs 24 lbs
  • Rim brakes

Features

  • Handlebar, grips, brake levers, saddle and cranks are designed specifically for little cyclists
  • Less gears for children just learning how to shift
  • Aluminum frame and alloy frameset helps keep the weight down for pint-sized riders
  • Designed with kid-specific geometry for ergonomic use.

Cons

Wider tires would help the bike ride even better on single track and rough trails, and rim brakes can slip on steeper terrain.

Co-op Cycles REV CTY Bike

Do you need a classic, all-around bike for your child? Check out the REV CTY Bike. This bike has easy-rolling tires for cruising neighborhood streets. It also has enough traction for exploring bike paths and easy trails.

The construction is solid, giving stability and durability to the bike. It is the classic all-around bike and it will last through more than one child’s use.

Technical Specs

  • 120 lb weight limit
  • No suspension
  • Bike weight 25.5 lbs
  • Rim brakes

Features

  • Aluminum frame with low “step-through” bar for easy riding
  • 21 gears for full options on varied or rolling terrain
  • All-terrain tires for stable traction whether on pavement or the bike paths.

Cons

Rim brakes are not ideal for wet or hilly environments

Co-op Cycles 24 REV DRT Bike

If your 8-12 year old is ready to start exploring off-road, this is a great bike to consider. It features high quality components, with disc brakes, easy-shifting gears, extra-wide tires and a front suspension fork. For the price, it is a good place to start your child on a full-feature mountain bike.

Technical Specs

  • 120 lb weight limit
  • 8 gears
  • Front coil suspension
  • 24 inch tires
  • 31 lbs

Features

  • Strong and lightweight aluminum frame
  • 8 gears for simple, intuitive shifting on the trail
  • Mechanical disc brakes for responsive braking in all conditions
  • 2.6 in. wide tires for a smoother ride on bumps and curves

Cons

The bike can feel heavy, especially for smaller children.

Salsa Timberjack 24 SUS Plus Bike 

This bike is superb for 8-12 year olds ready to conquer challenging single track. It features extra-wide 3 inch tires, and a front suspension fork to cushion bumps and jumps. Salsa also makes high-quality bikes for adults, and they use the same expertise in their children’s bikes.

Technical Specs

  • Weight: 29.5 lbs
  • Mechanical disc brakes
  • 8 gears
  • Coil suspension fork
  • 24 inch tires
  • 3 inch wide tires

Features

  • The wide, grippy tires add weight, but they also make the ride experience much smoother
  • Salsa designs the bike with kid-specific geometry, making turning and stopping more intuitive.
  • The shifting on the 8 gears is smooth and quick, leading to easier transitions while biking on hills.

Cons

This bike does not come with pedals. This is to allow you to choose the type your child needs, however, it adds one more thing to buy.

© 2020, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.

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