78 Best Bikes for Teenagers. Electric bike for teenager

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The BikeRide Guide to Choosing the Best Bikes for Teenagers

Where to Start?

A hybrid is a great all-around bike

Until that driver’s license is within your grasp, there’s a good chance that a bike is your main form of transport. This role can be filled by any single-speed, hybrid, city, or road bike, depending on your preference and where you live. In addition to transport, a lot of young cyclists ride for sport and recreation.

Mountain biking is the most popular discipline for teens, while some riders just prefer a mountain bike for general knocking about on all terrain. Others are hitting trails, racing cross-country, or hucking their way through dirt jumps.

Mountain bikes work for just tooling around

Urban enthusiasts might prefer a fixed-gear or single-speed rig.

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In their teenage years, BMX riders refine their skills on trails, in parks, or on the street.

Just like older riders, there are enthusiasts who love to ride in niche and specialist disciplines including; track, cyclocross, trials, gravel, and road cycling.

Finding a bike as (or for) a teenager can be straight-forward if the rider is tall enough to choose from the range of adult bikes. If not, choosing the right size can be a tricky equation. Teenagers grow fast and many kids’ bikes are undersized. But never fear. We have the info available to help you to pick the best teenagers’ bike.

Choices

Some adult bikes suit taller riders

For taller teenage riders and those who have finished growing, finding the right bike can be easy. The world of adult bikes is available to them.

Even so, some teenagers haven’t developed the muscle mass required to maneuver the heaviest adult bikes. This means that some bulky mountain rigs are still off the table, in addition to many big-box hi-tensile options. But generally, the cycling world is their oyster.

A 26″ hybrid for ages 13

For growing teenagers at shorter heights, things are a little trickier. Some adults’ bikes will fit, in extra small and small sizes, but many won’t. For these riders, there are models made by youth cycling brands, with 26” or 27.5” wheels. 29” BMX bikes often use larger wheels on frames designed for young riders. In general though, 29” wheels are too large for shorter cyclists. 700c road wheels can fit on small frames, but most petite riders opt for models with 650b or 650c wheels.

At the nexus of kids’ and adults’ bikes, there is a change in sizing methods. Kids’ bike sizes are generally ranked according to wheel diameter, while adult bikes are measured according to frame size. But the differences don’t stop there.

Bikes for Teenagers from Youth-Specific Manufacturers

This youth-specific model has slim grips, ‘micro’ brake levers and 27.5″ wheels

Youth-specific bikes for teenagers are sold by youth-specific manufacturers. They suit shorter or smaller riders and are usually lighter than budget adult options. Geared options usually use simple 1x drivetrains (with a single chainring).

Advantages

  • Availability in smaller sizes for growing teenagers.
  • Are more likely to have appropriately sized components, including:
  • Narrower handlebar widths and diameters.
  • Proportionate Q Factor (widths) for cranks.
  • Shallower reach brake and gear levers (for smaller hands).

Adult Bikes in Small and Extra Small Sizes

This bike comes in XS (4’10” to 5’1″) and XXS! In XS this bike fits riders 5’3″ to 5’5″

These bikes suit taller teenage riders and are rarely available for riders under 4’10”. They may use 1x, 2x, or even 3x drivetrains. Bikes are available in all wheel sizes.

Disadvantages

  • Can be heavier than juvenile options.
  • Q Factor, handlebars and levers may not be appropriately sized.
  • Cheap and heavy, low-quality options are common.
  • Available only for heights from:
  • Around 4’10” in extra small.
  • Around 5’0” on small sizes.

It’s important to remember that frame sizing is not consistent and will vary between brands. One manufacturer’s ‘S’ is another brand’s ‘XS’. Not all ‘50cm‘ frames fit the same height rider.

Sizing

Average (50th Percentile) Heights for Boys

As can be seen from the average height tables, most teenage boys stop growing between the ages of 16 and 18, while girls tend to reach their final height between the ages of 14 and 16.

Therefore, it’s a safe bet that an adult’s bike will fit better and last longer for anyone in their late teens, as long as they are not still growing.

Average (50th Percentile) Heights for Girls

Many parents aim to buy a bike for their son or daughter, that “they can grow into”. For growing cyclists, these words are no less than a hex. An oversized bike is difficult, if not dangerous, to handle. Outsized bikes force the rider to stress limbs by forcing the over-extension of legs and arms. Excessive reach will often result in lower back pain.

An oversized bike can be a real drag

For growing teenagers, it’s best to buy an appropriately sized bike. While this could be a model from a youth-specific manufacturer, it could also be an extra-small or small size on certain adult models. Either way, it’s unlikely to be a bike to carry a growing rider into adulthood.

For some buyers, this suggests that it’s a good idea to cut corners on price. But the cheapest bikes are often exhaustively heavy. They frequently use sub-par components that cause constant problems and hamper the riding experience.

Some manufacturers will list the suggested rider height ranges for their bikes. Others don’t. These height ranges are only suggestions and shouldn’t be considered one-size-fits-all. Some cyclists have a longer torso, legs, or arms than others. For these riders in particular, ‘reach’ and ‘stack’ measurements can provide a more reliable fit.

Reach

Confident and aggressive riders usually favor longer reach distances. For this reason, mountain bike reach lengths have been increasing in recent years. In general, women have shorter torsos than men, so women’s bikes will be sized accordingly. The accompanying image shows how reach and stack are measured.

An example of ‘frame reach and stack’

Stack

Women’s bikes often have shorter stack heights, to accommodate women’s shorter leg lengths and overall height.

When you’re looking at bike options, you can compare their stack and reach to that of a bike that you already know is a good fit. This might be a bike that you’ve sat on and test-ridden, or it could be a model from a manufacturer that lists suggested heights.

Other Measurements

While there are a number of other factors to take into account, stack and reach measurements are a more reliable sizing indicator than the traditional centimeter or inch sizings that are still used by many brands.

Inseam determines how comfortably a rider can stand over a bike’s top tube, reach pedals and touch the ground. This is important when comparing standover heights of potential bikes.

Depending on the manufacturer, a ‘48cm’ frame might reference either the top-tube or seat-tube length. Confused? That’s not surprising. In addition, two bikes with 50cm top-tubes can have radically different seat-tube measurements.

The least reliable sizings are of the ‘small’, ‘medium’, ‘large’ kind, which are vague and vary wildly between brands.

Wheel Sizes

Youth-specific bikes aimed at young teenagers will usually use 26” or 27.5” wheels; on commuters, hybrids, mountain bikes, and all-purpose rides.

Smaller road bikes may use 650b (or more rarely 650c) wheels. Taller teenagers will be able to use the adult 700c standard.

There is a whole genre of BMX Cruisers that use 29” wheels and frames designed to fit young riders.

The most petite riders might look at bikes with 24” wheels.

Geometry

Geometry concerns will differ for teenage riders, depending on whether they are still growing or not. If a rider is in their early teens, some of the concerns of children’s bike geometry will apply. Please refer to our guide to buying a kids’ bike for specifics.

If a taller teenage rider is looking at adult bikes as options, they will be better served by reading up on the specific geometry concerns of their preferred bike type. For more information, please refer to our guides for mountain bikes, trail bikes, hybrids, commuter bikes, single-speed bikes, beach cruisers, road bikes, gravel bikes, bikepacking and electric bikes.

Step-Through Bikes

Women’s bikes are available in smaller sizes than men’s options. Often, these models have a sloped top-tube or step-through design, to allow shorter riders to mount and dismount more easily. In addition to a reduced standover, reach distances may be shorter.

There is no reason why male riders can’t opt for a step-through model if it means a more comfortable fit. Aesthetics aside, this is an option that buyers may want to consider.

Weight

This youth-specific trail bike weighs 25.75 lb.

Even though some teenage riders might be as tall as their adult counterparts, most males don’t attain adult muscle mass until the ages of 20 to 30. With this in mind, it’s important to take the weight of a bike seriously.

This adult cross-country bike weighs 21.74 lb.

Full-suspension adult trail bikes often weigh between 30 and 35 pounds, and that’s for high-quality options.

Low-quality models often use heavy components and frames, due to their low price. It’s not unusual for these rigs to weigh 45 pounds.

Cheap but bulky at 44.0 lb.

If a rider isn’t really going to be throwing themselves down epic enduro trails, then they can probably make do with a full-suspension cross country bike, many of which will handle rugged trails, small drops, and jumps. These can be as light as 22 pounds.

If you won’t really be riding the most rugged trails, a hardtail bike (with front suspension) is usually more than sufficient. Without rear suspension, riders need to hone their skills by learning how to shift their weight to avoid obstacles and to land air nimbly.

If you aren’t into mountain biking and you’re riding roads, with the occasional travail onto gentle dirt and gravel, you probably don’t need any suspension. This is a major weight-saver. Big tires, run at low pressures, will do the job nicely. Even on rutted and cracked roads.

Frame Material

Frame material is an important consideration for the cost, ride-quality and overall weight of a teenager’s bike.

Aluminum

Youth-specific, aluminum, 26″ trail bike: 21.5 lb.

Aluminum is the most affordable choice for a lightweight frame. An aluminum frame weighs approximately 30% less than a steel frame of similar strength, and it’s a lot more resistant to corrosion.

It’s more costly than cheap and heavy steel alternatives, such as hi-tensile steel. However, it’s usually cheaper than bikes using boutique, lightweight steel tubing.

650c road bike with an aluminum frame and carbon fiber fork

As aluminum has a tendency to be unforgiving over uneven surfaces, it’s often coupled with a suspension fork or a rigid fork made of a more compliant material.

As a buyer, you can save money with an aluminum frame and spend the savings on superior componentry. This presents an advantage to shelling out for carbon fiber.

Aluminum exhibits excellent stiffness. Although it’s efficient, this stiffness can contribute to harshness in the face of vibration. However, high-end frames now reduce jounce using various means, including smoothing of weld areas to reduce excess material. In the rare instance that an Aluminum frame does fail, it may crack suddenly, having given little prior warning of failure.

Disadvantages

  • Can deliver a harsh ride.
  • Not as strong as other materials.
  • It’s brittle and may crack.
  • Not affordable or practical to repair.

Steel

This hi-tensile town bike weighs 39 lb.

There are important differences between the two main types of steel that you’ll find on bikes for kids, teenagers, and adults.

Hi-Tensile

Otherwise known as ‘hi-ten’, this steel is a low-cost option. But it can be very heavy and is less shock-absorbent than chromoly steel. Most cheap kids’ bikes are made of hi-tensile steel. The rigidity of hi-ten steel may be partially offset by wide, low-pressure tires.

Chromoly

This 19 lb., 650c rig is made from heat-treated 725 chromoly

Chromoly is a steel alloy that incorporates chromium and molybdenum. It’s also known as ‘cro-moly’, ‘cro-mo’ and by the numerical designation ‘4130’ (as issued by the American Iron Steel Institute).

It represents a lighter option, partially because it can be drawn into thinner tubing without compromising strength. This makes it more compliant and comfortable than hi-ten, over bumpy surfaces. Its strength can also lead to it being more durable.

A sturdy, 30 lb., full chromo 26″ BMX cruiser

Chromoly frames ask a higher price than hi-ten, but the extra weight of hi-tensile steel can be an additional and unnecessary strain for young riders.

Chromoly steel is favored by riders who prioritize durability and the feel of a very forgiving ride. In the event of failure, it will give ample warning via bending and buckling. If they aren’t made from stainless steel tubing or haven’t received a resistant coating (such as EDP), these frames are prone to rust.

Steel has a dedicated following. It’s currently enjoying a popular resurgence.

Advantages

  • High strength.
  • Great damping properties.
  • Durable.
  • Affordable.
  • Repairable.
  • Modifiable (with eyelets mounts).
  • Stiff.
  • Failure is gradual and noticeable.

Carbon Fiber

This carbon fiber version weighs 19.29 lb.

Carbon fiber is lightweight, resilient, and compliant. It’s true that it’s strong and absorbs vibration.

On the other hand, it can be restrictively expensive and is usually only necessary on performance bikes, where weight and speed are paramount. For teenagers, carbon fiber is a boutique option. Youth-specific options exist.

A carbon fiber bike will be costly or impossible to repair if cracked. As a material, it may not be for the beginner on a limited budget.

Advantages

  • High strength.
  • The lightest material available.
  • Excellent ability to damp vibration.
  • Very stiff.

Titanium

A versatile 650b titanium bike

Of all the available materials, titanium is the most boutique. It’s as strong as steel, at 55% of the weight.

It exhibits outstanding vibration absorbance and a level of stiffness between steel and aluminum.

Its ability to resist corrosion is almost total, making titanium a very real choice for a frame that lasts a lifetime. This is why it’s a slightly redonkulous choice for a growing teenager. Even if they’ve stopped growing, it’s unlikely that a cyclist will find the bike they want to ride for the rest of their life, in their teenage years.

Titanium is difficult to extract, refine, and for manufacturers to work. As a result, it demands a restrictively high price.

Fork Materials

This bike uses a chromoly frame and a carbon fiber fork

As a frame material, aluminum is stiff and light, but it can be notoriously rigid and prone to vibration. Some bikes compensate for the rigidity of aluminum by using wide, low-pressure tires filled with generous volumes of air. But on their own, plush tires may not be enough.

For this reason, some bikes use a fork made from a material that is more pliant and shock-absorbent than their aluminum frame. This is usually steel or carbon fiber.

Some steel bikes use a carbon fork to shed weight.

Components

Components vary in type, use and quality. It all depends on your budget, what type of bike you want and what type of riding you do.

Handlebars

Width

This 26″ BMX cruiser uses 29″ (737mm) wide bars

It used to be said that having handlebars at shoulder width was a good standard. This is now seen as a vague measurement that won’t suit all riders on all types of bikes.

Mountain bikes have wider handlebars than other bikes, to aid leverage and improve handling.

Road bike bars are narrower. Here, shoulder-width is a good place to start, but also consider the angle that your wrists are sitting at. Ensure that it’s ergonomic.

If you’re buying an adult bike for a growing teenage rider, the specced handlebars may be too wide. Remember, it’s always possible to cut down bars but it isn’t possible to make them wider. So, test the bars as they are and gradually slide the grips inward until you reach the most comfortable position, width-wise.

You have three options for altering your handlebar width.

  • Take your bike to your local bike store and have a mechanic trim your bars.
  • Cut them yourself using a pipe-cutter from your local hardware store.
  • Replace your handlebars with a narrower handlebar (This will necessitate removing and reattaching any brake and gear levers, bells, phones, and navigation mounts.)

Diameter

These handlebars taper at the grips to fit smaller hands

Narrower diameter handlebars are specced on some women’s models. These bars are also available as aftermarket accessories. For some riders, standard bar diameters are too wide and cause discomfort. These options might suit some female or male riders.

Drop and Reach

Road, cyclocross, and track bikes should feature suitably reduced drop and reach on drop handlebars. In addition, considerate manufacturers use brake levers that have a smaller reach than that found on their adult road and cyclocross bikes.

This bike uses short-drop bars and short-reach levers This much rise could become uncomfortable

Rise

No rider should be reaching up too high to take a hold of their handlebars. BMX bikes use a lot of rise, to keep frames small and nimble. Larger bikes tend to have moderate or no rise. This is something you may adjust with aftermarket bars, to create a more comfortable fit.

Sweep

Swept-back bars for casual town riding

Swept-back handlebars can be ergonomic. They’re usually suited to casual riding and touring (where long rides may place stress on wrists.)

Material

Low cost bikes can be fitted with either aluminum or steel handlebars. Aluminum is lighter than steel. expensive bikes may offer a carbon fiber bar.

Brakes

Caliper brakes front and back

For a safe and reliable bike seek a model with name-brand brakes. Brakes are available from brands such as Shimano, Tektro, and Magura, at all price-points.

Mountain, hybrid, and commuter bikes for teenagers may use either rim brakes or disc brakes. Road and single-speed bikes are more likely to use caliper rim brakes. Hybrids and comfort bikes often use V-brakes.

Rim brakes are the more affordable option. Disc brakes are more powerful.

Rim Brakes

Caliper brakes usually attach to the frame or fork by a single bolt. They use curved arms, which must be long enough and wide enough to fit around your tires. For this reason, they are better suited to accommodating narrow to mid-width tires.

V-brakes /strong> (also known as ‘linear-pull brakes’) are a type of cantilever rim brake that uses a single cable and two arms. They fit well around wider tires and are easily adjusted and maintained at home. That said, they can still be tricky to center. As far as cantilever brakes go, they’re powerful.

Compared to discs, they lose some power in wet weather. Winter braking also wears down rims as grit and filth get attracted to brake pads. However, they are cheaper than discs and easier to adjust without professional help.

Advantages

  • Rim brakes are low-cost, reducing the overall price of a new bike.
  • They’re easy to adjust and maintain.

Disadvantages

  • Rim brakes lose some power in wet weather.
  • Winter braking wears down rims as grit and filth get attracted to brake pads.

Disc Brakes

Disc brakes slow the bike by squeezing pads onto a disc, which is attached to the wheel hub. Discs cost more than rim brakes but are now more affordable than they have ever been. They are more powerful than rim brakes, especially in wet weather. In addition, disc brakes require less effort and hand strength from the user, while delivering similar stopping power. They allow for the use of wider tires and don’t wear down your rims.

Disc brakes are more complicated than rim brakes; when it comes to maintenance, adjustment, and repair.

There are two types of disc brake; hydraulic and mechanical. Hydraulic brakes provide greater stopping power and use brake fluid to transmit force. They are more costly than mechanical discs and trickier to maintain.

If you live in a dry climate, you might consider cutting costs and using rim brakes. But if your priorities are power, performance, and all-weather reliability, discs could be your preferred option.

Advantages

  • Strong stopping power in all weather conditions.
  • They require less effort to apply than rim brakes.
  • Allow the use of wider tires.
  • Protect rims from wear.
  • Not affected by damaged or moderately untrue rims.

Coaster Brakes

The coaster brake is the traditional standard rear brake, on beach cruisers and many smaller kids’ bikes. They’re also known as ‘pedal brakes’.

You might remember them from childhood when simple bikes required you to pedal backward to stop.

There are no pads or discs and braking takes place largely within the wheel hub.

Coaster brake hubs can be internally geared; usually with 3, 5, 7, or 8 speeds.

Most coaster brakes provide somewhat inferior stopping power, compared to rim and disc brakes. But as with any other brakes, there is a wide range available in terms of quality and cost.

On its own, a coaster brake might not be practical or safe in hillier terrain or at higher speeds. Mashing a coaster can ‘cook’ the grease inside a coaster hub. The first mountain bikers had to repack this grease after every descent. Some new models use a rear coaster brake with a front rim or drum brake.

Advantages

  • Coaster hubs only need infrequent maintenance.
  • A coaster brake does not use cables or levers.
  • They give your bike a neat, clean appearance.
  • Internal coaster hubs are insulated from the elements.
  • They make it easy to pull sick skids.

Disadvantages

  • Coaster brakes lack stopping power, especially at higher speeds.
  • Coaster brakes offer little modulation (have an on / off feel).
  • They’re not suited to riding off-road or at bike parks.
  • Coaster hubs may need repacking with grease.
  • They can overheat on long, steep descents.
  • They don’t allow back-pedaling (to avoid obstacles, hop curbs or adjust balance).
  • A ‘reaction arm’ needs to be detached and reattached to remove and replace the rear wheel.

Levers

Youth-specific bikes are equipped with appropriately sized brake levers that use a shallower reach than that found on adult road and cyclocross bikes. These suit smaller hands. Adult levers may be uncomfortable, unsafe, or difficult to operate.

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Factors to Consider

Disc brakes are powerful and are considered the standard for real mountain biking. Cheaper models can add weight. Rim brakes make for a cheaper bike and are fully capable for commuting and road cycling. Coaster brakes are fine for casual riding at moderate speeds. They’re suited to flatter terrain.

Cranks

This wheelie is being done on 1-piece cranks

Cranks should be proportionate to the size of a rider’s bike and their own leg length. A good guide is that they should measure 20% of a rider’s inside leg length (inseam).

The other factor to consider is ‘Q Factor’ (which is the distance between the outside edge of the cranks). This should be appropriately narrow so that a rider is not standing with legs far apart.

Cranks on teenagers’ bikes should use a 3-piece assembly. New 3-piece cranks use sealed bearings and a separate part for either crank and the spindle. They are lighter and stronger than 1-piece options, which can be easy to bend. In this instance, the whole assembly must be replaced. For a three-piece crank, only the bent crank needs to be replaced.

There are different types of 3-piece cranks, with their own benefits and drawbacks. But compared to 1-piece cranks, they all possess superior qualities of strength and reliability.

1-piece versions are common on children’s bikes and cheap, low-quality cruisers. Some versions are tougher than others, but in general, three-piece setups are superior.

Gearing

An 11-speed mountain bike (1×11)

Some teenagers are happy to ride a single-speed, fixed-gear or BMX bike. For others, gearing is on the menu.

At this age, riders are covering longer distances and climbing steeper hills. Many are commuting.

Certain riders will prefer to run a drivetrain that uses a single chainring with a wide-spread gear range on the rear cassette.

A 9-speed city bike (1×9)

A wide gear range can be the result of having many available gears or of having fewer gears spread over a wider range. This means that there is still a high high gear and a low low gear, but that the jumps between gears are larger.

1×10, 1×11, and 1×12 are common configurations on high-quality bikes. They offer simplicity, in terms of use and maintenance. For these reasons, they dominate on mountain and gravel bikes.

A 14-speed road bike (2×7)

1×7 and 1×9 setups are a good option for a lower-priced city, hybrid, or commuter bike.

Road cyclists might prefer a wider range with closer steps between gears. These riders often choose a 2x setup (with two chainrings).

Teenagers’ bikes can use either external or internal gearing. Lower-cost options are external and do an excellent job.

External Gearing using Derailleurs

Compared to systems with internal hubs, external gearing is easier to maintain but requires more frequent adjustment and maintenance. External gearing is exposed to rain and dirt, which gradually deteriorate components.

Advantages

  • This is the most affordable standard.
  • External gearing can be adjusted by (some) home mechanics.
  • Compatible with 1, 2, or 3 chainrings.

Disadvantages

  • Unprotected from dirt and moisture.
  • Often more complex than internal systems.
  • Requires frequent maintenance and tuning.

External gearing offers more affordable options for wider gear ranges. It’s the choice for D.I.Y. riders.

Internal Gearing

Internal hubs are low-maintenance. They protect your gears from the elements and maintain a clean look. There are no derailleurs to bend or damage.

Advantages

  • Internally geared hubs are sealed from dirt and moisture.
  • External complexity is reduced by eliminating derailleurs.
  • Internal hubs present neatly.
  • They only use one shifter and one cable.
  • Internal gearing systems only require infrequent maintenance.

Disadvantages

  • When needed, maintenance can be complicated.
  • Gears complicate the rear hub, especially when combined with a coaster brake.

Sturmey Archer and Shimano’s Nexus range are names to look out for. When it comes to internally-geared hubs, both are manufacturers of renown.

Drivetrain

Belt-Drive vs. Chain Drive

Belt-drives are a modern replacement for the traditional chain. They use a single-piece carbon belt that requires a specific frame type to use. They are greaseless, long-lasting, and almost silent. Because they are low-maintenance and won’t smear grease on clothes or legs, belt-drive bikes can be an attractive option for teenagers and parents. They do present an extra cost upfront, compared to chain-driven options.

Twist Shift

‘Twist shift’ style shifters are often used on youngsters’ bikes. They are produced under the Grip Shift /strong> and Revoshift /strong> brand names. These allow the rider to change gears by turning a barrel next to the grip. Aesthetically, the ‘twist shift’ resembles a motorcycle throttle.

Twist shifts are fine for casual use but can be problematic for rugged riding. They have the potential to be dangerous if riders suddenly fall into a lower gear (or between gears) when pulling wheelies or jumping their bike.

The Contact Points

Saddles

A cushy cruiser saddle A moderately padded ‘general use’ saddle

Look for a moderately padded saddle. Excessively cushioned saddles can be misleading. ‘Squishiness’ can be uncomfortable on longer rides and might be felt in hips, thighs, and bottoms on longer rides. This can cause numbness due to restricted blood supply.

Some women prefer a wider women’s-specific saddle to match their body shape. Some youth-specific brands use narrower saddles for narrower hips.

Grips

Small diameter women’s grips Thin yet comfy foam grips

Some youth and women’s-specific bikes feature handlebars with a narrower diameter. These bars allow for smaller grips. There are also certain grips that are both comfortable and thin. These fit on to standard diameter handlebars, without making them too wide for smaller hands.

Comfort Grips

This youth-specific bike uses low-profile grips

Many bikes use what are known as ‘comfort grips’. These are usually round and made of a shock-absorbent rubber or foam compound. They should be of appropriate width while providing adequate grip and cushioning.

Ergonomic Grips

These grips are comfortable and healthy for the natural shape of human hands. They are usually made with a material that provides adequate shock absorbance.

Pedals

Many casual bikes are sold with flat, plastic ‘platform’ pedals. Manufacturers describe these as made of nylon or ‘resin’. Good examples use non-slip rubber inserts or grip-tape to improve traction. Platform pedals offer easy on/off action and foot-down when coming to a stop. They work well with casual shoes.

Studded metal platform EVA polymer platform Clipless

A lot of adult bikes are sold without pedals, as they are usually the first component to be swapped out for something of personal preference.

When choosing or replacing pedals, keep in mind that ‘plastic’ does not always equal poor quality. Polycarbonate examples can be long-lasting and may use high quality bearings.

Wheels

26” Inch

On mountain bikes, 26” wheels were the standard, especially on teenagers’ bikes. Nowadays, 27.5” wheels are a lot more common. Keep in mind that 26” is still a good size for smaller riders. This is still the standard size for dirt jump bikes and most beach cruisers. Some BMX cruisers come with 26” wheels, making them a good fit for some teenagers.

27.5” Inch

This is the most popular current standard size for adult mountain bikes. They may be too large for smaller riders.

27.5″ wheels Small sizes of this bike use 650b wheels

650b

The ‘650b’ label has been used by touring cyclists and randonneurs for many decades. It’s usually used to refer to 27.5” wheels with narrower rims, intended for road and touring bikes. Both names are valid and refer to the same size.

Some manufacturers use 650b wheels on smaller sizes of their road bikes, to keep them proportional. 650b options are a good choice if 700c wheels are proving too large.

700c

700c wheels are full-size road bike wheels. This size is also used on commuters and some hybrids. Many teenagers are tall enough to ride road and single-speed bikes with 700c wheels.

700c wheels 29″ inch wheels

29” Inch

This size is the larger mountain bike standard. It has increased in popularity in recent years. 29″ inch wheels are the biggest standard size available and are only recommended for taller teenagers of adult height.

There is a whole sub-genre of cycling centered around 29” BMX cruisers. A majority of riders are in their teens. These bikes are built with frame geometry suited to riders 5’5” and taller.

20” Inch

This is the most common standard size for BMX bikes ridden at parks, on the street, and on tracks. Folding bikes also use this size.

A 20″ inch BMX The 24″ version

24” Inch

BMX and dirt jump bikes are also available with 24” wheels. For some especially petite riders, there are 24” wheeled beach cruisers, town bikes, and even mountain bikes.

Materials

An alloy, 27.5″, 32 spoke wheel with sealed bearings

Aluminum rims are the standard on an inexpensive bike. They’re light, strong, stiff, and highly rust-resistant. If dented, aluminum rims can often be repaired. The other choice is carbon fiber rims, an option so expensive that they would only feature on the most favored of teenagers’ bikes.

Bearings

Quality bikes will use sealed wheel bearings. They roll smoothly and are protected from the elements.

Spokes

Road bikes, hybrids, and commuters can get away with 28 spokes, but most mid-range bikes for teenagers should use 32 spoke wheels. For BMX and off-road abuse, 36 spoke wheels are needed for strength. Spokes should be made from stainless steel.

Tires

The needs of tire sizes and treads are specific to the type of bike that they’re being used on. Please refer to our dedicated guides for specific information on tire requirements for mountain, hybrid, commuter, road, cruiser, and gravel bikes.

Knobbly tires are needed for mountain biking, dirt BMX, and cyclocross bikes. These are essential for safe cornering on loose gravel, rocks, and dirt. The knobbly tread ‘bites’ into loose and chunky surfaces for extra grip.

When riding on roads, a knobbly grip creates drag and will slow you down. Slick and semi-slick tires are recommended for casual urban use.

In order to reduce weight and save money, you may choose a bike without suspension. If the frame accommodates wide and plush tires, they can take the place of suspension in many areas. While suspension is needed for gnarly, off-road adventures, it isn’t essential for many dirt and gravel roads.

Suspension

Riding on-road with suspension

Suspension is great for mountain-biking. While full-suspension rigs might come across as the most gnarly option, they can be overkill for many riders. The weight of rear suspension is overwhelming for some teenagers, who lack the muscle-mass available to adult riders.

For on-road exploits, suspension is optional but unnecessary. It adds comfort but also weight, cost, complication, and maintenance.

Suspension Forks

A lot can be done with just front suspension

The suspension fork on a teenagers’ bike may have to be lighter and less ‘beefy’ than those found on adult bikes. A cross-country bike is a sound option for a rider of a lighter build. Because their weight creates less impact than that of a bulky adult, they can get away with less ‘travel’. The 90-100mm available on a cross-country bike may be sufficient for trail riding. For rougher trail and enduro riding, 120-180mm of travel might be sought.

You may seek a fork with a ‘lockout’ option, which allows you to lock out the fork’s suspension, preserving efficiency on flat ground.

A decent suspension fork can add significant cost to a bike, while suspension on cheaper bikes may be heavy and ineffective.

Rear Suspension

Rear suspension is only needed by mountain bikers. Most teenagers who ride moderately rough trails will be content with a full-suspension cross country rig. For serious riders, a trail or enduro bike might suit better. Please refer to our dedicated guides for more information.

Suspension provides off-road and on-road comfort, but this comes at the expense of efficiency and weight. The cheapest full-suspension mountain bikes are heavy and use mediocre suspension systems that could actually make your cycling experience less enjoyable. A number of these models are marketed to the teenage market and are sold in department stores and similar outlets.

Bosses, Eyelets and Mounts

Front Racks

Front racks are popular with messengers

Some bikes will have eyelets to attach a front rack, but many don’t. Look for eyelets near the fork dropout or on the outside of either fork arm, about halfway up. Even if these aren’t present, racks can be attached to the fork dropouts and then to either the headtube or handlebars, using an aftermarket bracket.

Front racks are a popular and simple cargo option for riders of single-speed and fixed-gear bikes. They make it easy to attach a basket for use on daily commutes.

Keep in mind that bikes with a suspension fork will not have mounts to attach a front rack. If you want to attach a front rack, aim for a bike with a rigid fork.

Rear Racks

Rear racks are great for commuting, shopping, and touring. It’s a great option to have available, but many new bikes don’t have the mounts available to attach a rear rack.

Check for the appropriate eyelets or mount-points on the seat stays and near the dropouts of your potential new ride. Some bikes come with a fitted rack.

Bottles

A lot of new bikes do have bottle bosses attached for at least one bottle. For longer rides, keep an eye out for a model that allows two or more bottles to be fitted.

Fenders

For winter comfort, seek out a bike that bears eyelets to fit fenders. These are located beside the rear wheel and front fork dropouts. Some bikes arrive fit with matching fenders.

Accessories

This bike comes fitted with lights, fenders and bottle bosses

Some new bikes come fitted with lights, racks, and fenders. Others will come with one or more of these accessories. It’s worth factoring in these extras when budgeting for the price of your new bike.

Budgeting

There’s a huge price range between options for teenage riders. This is largely due to the bike type and complexity. A reliable single-speed should cost much less than a quality full-suspension trail bike. Even so, there’s a big difference between the worst and best bikes for teenagers, within each bike type.

Quality last?

A lot of manufacturers target the teenage market with flashy, low-quality, undependable bikes. The cheapest bikes, in any category, should be scrutinized closely. Some models are only available in very limited sizes and may not provide an appropriate fit.

Understandably, parents are usually reluctant to shell out big bucks on a bike that won’t always fit a growing teenager. However, very cheap bikes are often discouragingly heavy. The extra weight can act as a deterrent. It’s worth buying the lightest and highest quality bike available within your budget.

Full carbon, full suspension… Necessary?

Reputable manufacturers will request a higher price for bikes that offer extended durability, increased safety, and a lightweight build. Not to mention; smooth operation in terms of gears, braking, and handling.

When considering the price of a new bike, always factor in the inclusion of practical accessories. The convenience and peace-of-mind of having a bike that’s “ready-to-go” must be worth a few extra dollars.

Quality lasts!

You needn’t be concerned about spending good money on a bike that will soon be grown-out-of.

Quality bikes will stay in rideable condition and outlast any department store model by a considerable amount of time.

This means that they retain their value for resale or as a hand-me-down to younger siblings and family members.

Types of Bikes for Teenagers

Here’s the rundown on some of the most popular bike types for teenage riders.

Everyone’s different. If your favorite type of bike isn’t listed here, it doesn’t mean it isn’t an excellent option. You just might need to search a bit longer for the ideal rig.

For comprehensive information on buying a specific bike type, follow the links to our dedicated guides.

Mountain Bikes

A wide-tired mountain bike with a rigid fork (no suspension) makes a great first mountain bike. For a large number of mountain biking enthusiasts, a hardtail trail bike does the job.

For something more hardcore, there’s enduro. For all-terrain rambles, there’s the fatbike.

There are many heavy, flashy, low-quality mountain bikes out there on the market. Seek out quality aluminum (or steel) frames and brand-name componentry.

Single-speed and Fixed-Gear Bikes

Single-speed bikes are a simple and popular choice for young riders.

They might be limited to less mountainous terrain, but many young riders are blessed by youthful energy and a favorable power to weight ratio. This makes it easier for them to ride hills on one gear.

Riding a fixed-gear bike requires an extra degree of skill.

Riding fixed without a mechanical brake is unsafe for most people and probably illegal for everyone (check your local laws!).

Some teenagers race track bikes, which are designed specifically for velodrome use.

Mechanical simplicity and a clean, minimal aesthetic have remained as timeless drawcards of single-speed bikes.

For some, it’s all about a retro feel.

BMX and BMX Cruisers

BMX bikes are ridden by teenagers for recreation and competition. Bikes with 20” and 24” wheels are great in parks and tracks, as well as for street and flatland riding.

26” and 27.5” cruiser models provide a more viable alternative for daily riding and commuting.

In recent years, the emergence of the 29” BMX cruiser has seen these bikes skyrocket in popularity. They have a cult following among teenage riders and big kids who like to roll fast on fat rubber, often just on the rear wheel.

Beach Cruisers

Beach cruisers are a laid-back, comfortable option for a bike with plenty of character. Traditionally single-speed, they aren’t the best option for hill-climbing or high speed commutes. But they are a great casual ride.

For a better all-around vehicle, choose a geared option with an aluminum frame.

Hybrid Bikes

Hybrid bikes are a practical option for casual riders and teenagers who combine commuting with the occasional weekend or dirt road ride. They can’t handle mountain bike singletrack, but they’ll easily take on gentle gravel roads.

Commuter Bikes

The trusty commuter The classic town bike

Commuter bikes are practical and hard-wearing everyday rides. They should be efficient but not racy and comfortable but not casual. Commuter bikes should be ready to fit racks, lights, and bottle cages.

Dirt Jump Bikes

Dirt jump bikes are built for big air; on dirt-jumps, pump-tracks or skate parks. They are incredibly tough and sit somewhere between a BMX and a mountain bike. They are the only mountain bike that still has 26″ wheels as standard. They are built from aluminum or chromoly steel and often use a suspension fork.

They’re usually single-speed, with a small 25-32 tooth chainring. Rear brakes are common but so are brakeless options!

Slopestyle Bikes

These bikes differ from dirt jump bikes, in that they also have 100mm of rear suspension and might be either geared or single-speed. Wheels are strictly 26” on strong, lightweight rims and with low-profile cross-country tires.

They are heavier than dirt jump bikes, but with a weight that contributes to gravity-assisted tricks.

Some slopestyle bikes have front and rear brakes.

Road Bikes

Some younger riders like to start out early on authentic road cycling.

A number of new models are set up to be flexible, serving as both a road bike and a cyclocross rig. Some are sold with two sets of tires, one for either discipline. These bikes have a wider tire clearance than the average road bike.

Most beginner road bikes use a single chainring and a wide range cassette.

Check for a decent weight, with aluminum frames being the most affordable option.

For smaller hands, they should have a reduced reach and drop on handlebars, brake hoods, and levers.

Apart from these concerns, considerations for buying a teenagers’ road bike are the same as for adult bikes.

Gravel Bikes

Few cycling subcultures have experienced a rise in popularity in the way that gravel cycling has. New, quality gravel bikes don’t start cheap. For teenagers, it could be a better option to adapt a hardy steel road bike with ample clearance. Another option is to modify a rigid mountain bike to use drop bars.

A pro rider with a dedicated gravel rig A ’90s mountain bike, modified with drop bars

For a longer-distance option, riders may choose a bikepacking or touring bike.

Other Bike Types

Other bike types might appeal to teenage riders, depending on their individual needs, budget and storage space. Inner-city commuters might opt for a folding bike. Riders with a disability might favor a tricycle.

For adventurous riders looking for something a little more outré, there’s always a trials bike or unicycle.

Electric Bikes for Teenagers?

Do teenagers really need an electric bike? With all that energy and ability, shouldn’t they be increasing their fitness and cycling strength?

Maybe. Nevertheless, electric bikes for teenagers do exist.

Electric mountain bikes allow riders to conquer hills all day, before rocketing back down them.

best, bikes, teenagers, electric

Owners of electric commuter bikes are able to travel longer distances than they ever would’ve been capable of before.

Electric assistance makes it possible for riders with a disability or injury to get back on the bike sooner.

Whether or not you think an electric bike is a help or a hindrance, they’re already out there.

For more detailed information on the specifics of choosing an electric bike, please see our guide.

Direct Sales vs. Local Bike Shop

Buying a bike online is a world apart from the experience of choosing a bike from your local bike shop.

The benefit of a direct sale from the manufacturer is that you aren’t paying for the middleman.

If you’re buying a bike from an online retailer, they don’t have to pay to rent premises.

Additionally, they don’t need to pay an experienced, professional mechanic to assemble and tune your bike.

For these reasons, you pay less.

Good online bike retailers will pre-assemble as much as 80% to 95% of your bike before shipping and will provide the tools required for the remaining adjustments.

Local bike stores will usually offer a warranty deal and minor servicing for free, within the first few weeks of purchase.

Whatever route you choose, there are benefits and drawbacks.

Shifting Into Next Gear

Some manufacturers (and some parents) seem to hold the opinion that “a bike for a teenager doesn’t need to be a quality bike”, but poorly constructed options can cause injury or discomfort. Badly built bikes can discourage enthusiastic young riders from continuing to cycle into adulthood.

Who knows, the right bike and the proper encouragement might lead to the emergence of the next Rachel Atherton, Jack Carthy, or Tadej Pogačar!

The teen years can be an awkward in-between time, even when it comes to sizing up a bike. But if you arrive armed with the right knowledge, it shouldn’t be a task.

When it comes to choosing the right bike; use discretion, choose wisely, and roll on!

Owen Jesse Owen has spent decades riding bikes for work; as a messenger, photographer and for an environmental non profit. He’s volunteered teaching others to fix their bikes and loves a genre busting bike build.

Sources

Best Electric Bikes for Kids this Summer

Get your kid the very best this summer with our comprehensive list of the best electric bikes your child will love.

Kids want to have the best of everything, and summer is no exception. With school out for a few months, it’s time to find the perfect ebike to keep them entertained and make life easier on you as a working or busy parent.

What kids want in an electric bike

Just like traditional bicycles, e-bikes give kids a chance to be more independent. They can ride to the park or a friend’s house without having to ask mom or dad for a lift. Electric bikes also make it easier for kids to get up and down hills on their own, and it gives them a sense of responsibility (e.g. recharge the battery at the end of a ride).

Plus, ebikes are just really, really fun.

How to choose the best ebike for your kid

With so many options to choose from, it can be hard to find the perfect electric bicycle for your kiddo that they’ll love. This is why we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of the five best electric bikes for kids this summer based on price, ease of use, size, range, and cost to insure.

Rad Power Bikes, RadRunner

The RadRunner electric bike is complete with puncture-resistant tires that’ll keep your kid safe even if they run over glass, rocks, or thorns. It also has a single-speed drivetrain which makes for an easy riding experience, regardless of skill — it also makes maintenance a breeze.

With an LED control panel and easy-click buttons, it’s simple to adjust pedal assistance and check on battery life. The RadRunner has a rear rack for storing backpacks and an adjustable seat (and 1.6” stand-over height) to fit any rider. Plus, its upright handlebars crafted from high-quality aluminum are adjustable to your child’s arm length.

Rad Power Bikes’ RadRunner is especially great for kids because of its front fork for more control and stability. You don’t have to worry about the RadRunner falling over either — it’s got a dual leg kickstand to keep everything upright when your child makes a pit stop. For added safety, the RadRunner is affordable to insure and the brake lights run off of the electric bike’s battery.

Super73, Z Series

Dubbed the “Neighborhood Explorer,” the Super73 Z Series (specifically the Z1) is perfect for kids who want the punch, without the size. It’s a smaller model designed to fit smaller riders and it’s available in 10 colors.

With an integrated battery and banana seat design, and throttle display, the Z1 is easy to learn and easy to ride. It’s a street-legal model that your kid can take on the sidewalk or sleepy residential streets without question.

Super73’s Z1 ebike is made with durable steel and has a top speed of 20mph and a 20 mile range. It also comes complete with a thumb throttle and mechanical brake system for safety. It sits nice and low to the ground with a comfortable saddle, and it only costs about 8 a month for comprehensive full-value insurance coverage.

Juiced Bikes, Scrambler

If your child is all about adventure, the Scrambler is probably the model for them. Its sleek design is available in three different colors, two styles, and two battery life ranges. Juiced Bikes makes it easy to customize your kid’s new electric bike according to their unique personal style.

Its top speed clocks in at 28mph with a 45 mile range which is perfect for teenagers who like to cruise around town. The Scrambler has a twist throttle for easy riding and an advanced LCD display to quickly check on battery life, speed, and more.

Plus, your child’s new Scrambler comes with cadence pedal sensors, front suspension for smooth riding, and puncture-resistant or knobby tires. Great for city kids or mountain riders, you can’t go wrong with a Juiced Bikes Scrambler ebike this summer. And if you’re worried about crashes, theft, or damage, you can get complete insurance coverage in just a few minutes online.

Ride 1up, Core 5

The most affordable electric bike this summer is the Ride 1up Core 5 model. It has a more traditional look compared to other e-bikes on this list, but it’s just as exciting. Choose from two colors and two frame types to match your kid’s riding style.

It has an impressive range between 20 and 40 miles with up to 28mph pedal assist and a 20mph throttle. Easily check on battery life and speed with the Core 5’s adjustable LCD, and use the standard rack to carry backpacks and more.

There’s a thumb throttle that’s easy to find and use on the left handlebar, and mechanical disc brakes with an electric cut off sensor for safety. The Core 5 is also equipped with an adjustable seat post to fit your kid’s height and an adjustable arm chainstay kickstand to keep it upright upon dismount.

The Ride 1up Core 5 electric bike model is great for kids who want a more traditional look, or for parents who want to minimize the risk of theft. Regardless, you can protect your child’s new electric bike with an insurance package for the cost of a cup of coffee each month.

Pedego, Element

Talk about a smooth ride! Pedego’s Element electric bike has incredibly wide tires for better balance and off-roading. Your kid can take this ebike everywhere from sidewalks to mountain paths, and it’s sized to fit all heights.

The Element ebike comes in six stunning colors and is complete with a 48V 10Ah battery for optimal performance. It’s 500 watt motor gets your kid up and down hills easily without a ton of noise. This ebike will have your kid riding all over town this summer with a 40 mile range.

For a lightweight electric bike model that you can easily transport along with you for family trips, the Element is our top choice. Easy to ride, incredible comfort, and the powerful battery can safely take your child just about anywhere. And its cost to insure is as light as its alloy frame!

Want to learn even more about electric bikes this summer? Check out our ultimate guide to ebike tax breaks and garage checklist to prevent your kid’s bike from theft. Don’t forget to explore our affordable, customizable electric bike insurance plans. With coverage starting at just 8 a month for most models, it’s your best line of defense against theft, damage, and loss.

Hiboy BK1 Electric Balance Bike For Kids

An electric balance bike for the youngest riders from 2 to 5 years old, under 77 lbs with comfortable balancing or riding on two wheels, and need a larger platform to practice their skills. By the time they’re ready to move on to their next bike, the BK1 electric balance bike for toddlers will help them develop confidence and skills for that next stage.

Max Range 6miles Max Speed of 9mph
Model BK1
No. Parts Quantity

Would you like to develop your child’s balance and coordination?

Hiboy BK1 electric balance bike is designed for little kids. It can be the first bike for little kids ages 2-5 to enjoy fast speed when they are young.

Easily adjust cushion height

3 Seconds easily adjust the cushion height for your kids.

This bike has more safety controls than any other electric starter bike!

Kids love to adventure, especially boys, Hiboy electric bike enable kids to have fun riding with family, and friends, make the kids become brave and outgoing.

Strong and smooth ride

Ride up to 9mph the hiboy balance bike features a powerful and smooth 100W electric norminal motor.

This bike uses an auxiliary motor that can accelerate smoothly, allowing your child to easily master it.

This is the bike you’ve been waiting for!

The bike is designed for kids who want to experience the freedom of riding a motorcycle just like mom and dad.

An kids’ electric bike that you can trust. The BK1 electric bike equipped with the anti-slip handles and foot pedal, preventing kids from sliding from the bike while riding it. Classical brake level on the front wheel and e-brake on the rear motor wheel allow the kids to stop the bike in a short time.

pros you need to know about BK1

Easily adjust height

Easily adjust the cushioon height to suit your kids.Flexible handlebar allow the kids to control the e-bike handily. Weight only 17.6 lbs, the youngest riders can use the bike without power, like a regular balance bike.

100W safe power

The 100W nominal motor will definitely make your child feel extremely happy. With the 100W motor, the kids can enjoy the excitement of power-assisted speed from the EK1 electric balance bike which will build confidence on two wheels.

Super smooth ride

The long range battery supports the kids electric bike to achieve 30-50 minutes running time. Continuing beep means the bike needs to be charged.Let your kids safely learn the basics of handle bar controls and bar mounted front brakes.

Customer Reviews

It.said up to 5 years old it’s to small he just turned 5 40 pounds bike is to lift. How do I send it back

It’s a little heavier than I’d hoped. The throttle isn’t progressive, it’s basically an on/off switch, there is no modulation or way to maintain a speed other than maximum. Brake works well but handle is a little hard to pull for a small child. Battery life is good so far. My 5 yr old loves it even though he’s almost to big for it as the seat has limited height adjustment. My 2 yr old who has mastered his strider balance bike likes this one, but its a little heavy for him and seat is kind of wide for a child, almost looks like a full size seat, but it very soft and comfortable. I would buy again, and I think its a good value for the price and assembly was easy with clear instructions

I bought this for my daughter, I have been trying to get her off training wheels and nothing was working. In just 20 minutes she was riding like a pro.

I have been reading bad reviews about the hiboy. My sons birthday is in three days so he will try it then. I hope it works well! We charged it up and we are keeping it hidden from him now. We will see! ?

Is It Safe To Ride With Kids On An E-Bike?

For parents looking to get out of their car and run more of their errands by e-bike, being able to ride with a kid in tow makes a big difference in just how convenient it is to use an e-bike as transportation. The ability to carry a kid means being able to drop them off and pick them up from daycare or school.

It’s fair to ask how safe it is to ride with a child on an e-bike, though. For most of us, there is nothing more important in our lives than our kids and taking risks with them ranks several spots below hitting ourselves with a hammer in the pantheon of things we would like to avoid.

Here’s the Best Electric Bikes take on if it’s safe or not to ride an e-bike with your kids:

Yes, if:

“It depends” is one of those answers that frustrates, but the reality of riding an e-bike with a kid and ensuring their safety really depends on a number of factors, most of which we have control over, but with a couple that we can’t completely control.

The first part of “it depends” hinges on taking the child on an e-bike that is made to handle a passenger. For young children, attaching a child seat like the Yepp from Thule is easy to do and they will fit many of the racks that are included on the e-bikes we review. So that’s an easy yes—provided the seat is properly installed and the child is strapped secured with properly adjusted straps. Seats like these can accommodate kids up to four or five years old.

The next, most obvious yes regards cargo e-bikes. Bucket e-bikes that place the kids in a large box in front of the rider and long-tail cargo e-bikes in which the kid or kids sit behind the rider are designed for passengers. Most have a remarkable payload capacity and can even handle the weight of an adult in a pinch. These are ideal once kids are too big for a child seat. And while a child may outgrow a child seat in just a few years, cargo e-bikes—especially long-tails—can carry kids into their teens (though getting a teen to agree to ride on it is a different matter).

What makes these e-bikes different from simply sitting on a couch cushion on top of the rear rack are the accessories that ensure the rider’s safety. With the bucket e-bikes, they have a seat and a restraint system to keep kids from moving around while riding.

The long-tail cargo e-bikes typically include a padded bench seat, a handlebar to hold, running boards or pegs to place their feet and a skirt that prevents the child’s hands or feet out of the rear wheel and chain.

Some of the long-tails feature a low cargo deck behind the rider, so that the children sit lower than the rider. This provides a couple of benefits. First, it makes getting on and off easier for the child. Second, it lowers the e-bike’s center of gravity, making it easier for the rider to handle.

Yuba, Trek, Riese Muller and some other companies make bucket e-bikes. Trek, Yuba, Rad Power and several other companies make long-tail cargo e-bikes.

For families with just one child to tote along, Specialized, Lectric, Tern and several other companies make utility e-bikes that aren’t as long as the long-tails, but still offer enough room behind the rider to safely carry a kid.

No, if:

This one is easy. Unless the e-bike has accessories expressly designed to carry a passenger, then don’t try to carry a second person. Yes, the accessories required to carry a kid or kids can run hundreds of dollars, but what they do to keep our kids safe can’t be overvalued.

Maybe, if:

Here’s where we acknowledge that riding on city or suburban streets carries some risks. Choosing a route that will keep both rider and passenger(s) safe is as important as the accessories on the e-bike. Route selection is key. Bike paths are preferable to bike lanes and bike lanes are preferable to streets with sharrows and sharrows are preferable to regular city streets. And while this may seem obvious, when it comes to riding on streets, the smaller the street, the better. Residential streets have less traffic than more commercial thoroughfares and less traffic translates to less risk.

Listening to the child and soliciting their feedback is important as well. Children will often communicate when they are uncomfortable. A child may object to speed that seems too high to them. (Remember, the sensation of speed on an e-bike is different than in a car; 25 mph seems like nothing in a car, but it feels very fast on an e-bike.) Children often perceive speed differently based on whether they are riding on the bike of an e-bike with pegs vs. one with running boards. Running boards help to obscure the ground directly beneath a child, which helps reduce their sense of speed. Most children riding on the back of an e-bike with pegs will tell you it’s going faster than an e-bike with running boards, even if they are going exactly the same speed.

Children may not be comfortable with cars passing too close. And what constitutes “too close” will vary from child to child.

Passenger behavior also plays a role in whether riding with a kid is appropriate, or not. Even if a child is sitting on their seat, torso movement can disrupt an e-bike’s handling. Kids who are especially active or wiggly may need a child seat or the harness in a bucket e-bike to keep from moving around. Worth noting for those still shopping for an e-bike: The closer to the ground the child sits, the easier the e-bike will be to handle because moving their mass (weight) down will drop the e-bike’s center of gravity. Also, the longer an e-bike’s wheelbase, the less their movement will disrupt the e-bike’s handling.

Helpful accessories

In addition to those accessories that allow a child to ride on an e-bike, riders need to consider a few accessories that will add an extra layer of safety to rides.

  • Helmets: Both rider and child(ren) ought to wear a helmet in the event of a fall. Making sure the straps are adjusted for the child (and rider) is an important part of the helmet’s function. The straps should be adjusted so that the helmet doesn’t move around on the head.
  • Mirror: Bike shops sell mirrors that will attach to glasses, a helmet or the handlebar. A mirror can be handy for keeping an eye on what traffic is doing, as well as the passenger, if they are seated behind the rider.
  • Bell: For those riding on bike paths or sidewalks where other users are present, a bell is a terrific way to alert people and keep everyone safe.

Bottom line

Like with so many activities, safety comes down to a matter of approach. A 60-lb. child sitting on a rear rack with a 50-lb. rating is a bad idea. But a child sitting on a bench seat on the back of a long-tail cargo e-bike with their feet resting on running boards while they hold onto a handlebar is plenty safe.

For those who are shopping, test riding some of the options at local dealers can help inform what will work with a child. Most of us who tote kids with a cargo e-bike will report that getting the kids out the door is easier when they know they will be riding a bike instead of sitting in the back seat of a car.

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