- The best beginner-friendly 20-Inch bike with gears: Priority Start 20″
- The best intermediate 20-inch bike with gears: Woom 4
- The best-value 20-inch bike with gears: Vitus 20
Once the training wheels come off, it’s a good time to take your kid’s cycling skills to the next level by buying them a 20-inch bike with gears.
The best 20 Inch bikes with gears are:
- Priority Start 20″
- Woom 4
- Vitus 20
- Guardian Ethos 20
- Prevelo Alpha Three
- REI Co-op Cycles REV 20”
- Pello ROVER 20"
- Clearly Owl 20”
After extensively researching cycling brands, I have gathered enough information to shortlist the best 20-inch bikes with gears on the market. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at various 20-inch bike models with gears to help you find the right option for your kid.
What is a 20-Inch Bike?
A 20-inch bike is a standard kids' bicycle normally suitable for children who are between 5 and 8 years old. This is the most common bike size to buy your kid after their first 16-inch bike and there are a lot of different options to choose from based on the specs you want.
These are by no means technical bicycles to ride and generally feature a simplified design to help your kid get better acquainted with cycling. While a lot of these bikes are single-gear, there are also brands that incorporate multiple gears into their designs.
Keep in mind that comfort is also a key part of choosing the right bike for your kid and you can determine if they are ready for a 20” based on their height. For most 20-inch bikes, your kid should be between 45 and 54 inches tall to feel comfortable riding.
Best 20-inch Bikes With Gears
Graduating your kid from a 16” bike to a 20” is an exciting time. It symbolizes their growth and experience level as a cyclist and it encourages them to continue to push their skills further.
This is also a key period where kids transition from cheap toy bikes to actual bicycles with sturdy designs and more complex features such as gears. That said, there are a ton of different 20-inch bikes to consider, and some are undeniably better than others.
Many parents often opt for cheap 20s” because they are concerned that their kid will simply grow out of their bike in the next couple of years, resulting in more expensive replacements down the line. While it may seem tempting to take the cheap route, I would advise against it.
There are a ton of 20-inch bikes that fit into both the pricey and budget-friendly categories. However, the most important thing you should prioritize is choosing a quality 20” that features a sturdy design and reliable safety features. This is especially important for multi-gear 20s” given the added complexity that changing gears brings to cycling.
To help you with your decision-making, I’ve shortlisted the best 20-inch bikes on the market with gears to help you find the right bicycle for your little cyclist.
1. Priority Start 20″
- Gears: 3
- Price: $379
- Weight: 19.5lbs
- Brakes: V-Brakes
- Tires: Puncture Resistant Tires
The Priority Start 20″ offers all of the simplistic riding qualities of a single-gear bike while incorporating a basic 3-gear system to let your kid play around with shifting.
This is a quality 20” that was built to last. The frame is durable and tough, making it ideal for kids who have a habit of throwing their bikes around.
That said, the Priority Start 20” is also very light at just 19.5 lbs. This weight is suitable for virtually any 20” rider, as they will be able to maneuver the bike easily without losing coordination. The Priority Start 20” comes with reliable V-brakes to ensure that stopping is precise and safe.
Who Should Buy the Priority Start 20”?
This is the ultimate 20-inch starter for young riders looking for a soft intro to multi-gear bikes. If you can’t decide between a single-gear and a multi-gear bike, the Priority Start 20″ is the perfect solution.
With only 3 speeds to choose from, you can let your kid get acquainted with gears without complicating their cycling experience. Throwing an 8-gear bike at a 6-year-old who has just learned the ropes of riding can be too much for them to handle.
I also really like that this 20” was designed to be very low maintenance. The grease/rust-free belt drive design combined with the internally geared hub will ensure that you are not repairing your kid’s bike every weekend.
All in all, this is the perfect intro 20” for kiddos that are ready to start riding with a simplified gearing system and for parents that don’t want to deal with frequent repairs.
Pros and Cons: Priority Start 20”
Where to Buy the Priority Start 20”
- Priority Bicycles - $379
2. Woom 4
- Gears: 8
- Price: $499
- Weight: 17.9 lbs
- Brakes: V-Brakes
- Tires: Rugged 1.4″ Tires
A key feature of the Woom 4 is its dynamic performance. While some 20s” are ideal for paved roads in the neighborhood, the Woom 4 opens up a lot of possibilities for different types of cycling. This is very much a hybrid bike that can be used on paved, dirt, and even light gravel terrain.
The Woom 4 features a gearing ratio of 2.3 to 5.9 and is incredibly light at just 17.9 lbs. Your kid can easily maneuver this 20” and the solid range of gear options will let them cycle optimally and efficiently while allowing them to develop their riding skills with gears.
Who Should Buy the Woom 4?
If you want to accelerate your kid’s riding skills and take their cycling to the next level, the Woom 4 is one of the best 20-inch bikes that money can buy. This is a more complex setup, as this model features 8 gears, making it suitable for ambitious riders with big cycling dreams.
Some parents really enjoy hitting easy nature trails with their kids, and this is the perfect way to bring your child along for the ride. The rugged 1.4″ tires and grip shifters encourage a little back-country cycling here and there. With 8 gears to choose from your kid can easily adapt to changes in terrain and grade, which is going to make riding a whole lot easier - and it will also help them get familiarized with using gears strategically.
Many youngsters ride their Woom 4s strictly in the neighborhood, and that’s fine! This 20” is a fantastic neighborhood bike for urban cycling. The geometry and seating position are on point, and your kid can cruise around with friends without getting cramps or muscle aches. With the specs of this bike in mind, this is a great model for any kid that wants to ride confidently on various types of terrain.
Pros and Cons: Woom 4
Where to Buy
3. Vitus 20
- Gears: 7
- Price: $349
- Weight: 18.7 lbs
- Brakes: V-Brakes
- Tires: Vee Speedster Tires
The Vitus 20 strikes a nice balance between an urban joyrider and an adventure bike suitable for unpaved trails. The quality aluminum frame and fork are both lightweight and very durable, keeping the bike at just under 19 lbs.
The Vitus 20 is also equipped with reliable Tektro V-brakes that have very precise braking power for abrupt stops.
I also appreciate that the manufacturer added quality parts from reputable cycling brands like Shimano which can be found throughout the drivetrain. Your youngster can truly enhance their cycling skills with this 20” by learning how to play around with 7 different gears on a variety of different types of terrains.
Who Should Buy the Vitus 20?
The Vitus 20 is one of the best-value 20-inch bikes on our list. The specs are solid and the riding performance is excellent, especially considering the very reasonable asking price.
This is a popular 20” and a great transition bike from a 16” if you think that your kid is ready for a bike with real gear options. With 7 gears, the Vitus 20 offers a nice range of speed options to tackle different grades and terrain while keeping cycling efficient and fun.
This bike is also available in different color options and designs suitable for all kids. However, the real selling point of this 20” is its $349 price tag, making it one of the best bang-for-your-buck kids' bikes on the market. If you want to buy your little one a quality bike without splurging on a high-end model, the Vitus 20 is hard to beat.
Pros and Cons: Vitus 20
Where to Buy
4. Guardian Ethos 20
- Gears: 6
- Price: $319
- Weight: 22.9 lbs
- Brakes: SureStop Brakes
- Tires: Hybrid Tires
The Guardian Ethos 20 is a 6-speed model designed to give kids a great introduction to gears without overwhelming them. The Guardian Ethos 20 can be used on paved and some unpaved paths. This enables your kid to take their cycling out of the neighborhood and into uncharted territory, making this a great bike for casual adventures.
Comfort is another key characteristic of this 20”, as the bike’s kid-friendly geometry will encourage your young one to ride around the neighborhood for hours. As your kid starts to get older, you can teach them to lower the easily adjustable seat to fit their height. This will also help you get a few extra years out of the bike before needing to upgrade to a larger model.
My only real complaint about the Guardian Ethos 20 is that it weighs a little more than I would like for my kid. If your little one can handle a 23 lbs bike, this is a great model to transition to from a 16”.
Who Should Buy the Guardian Ethos 20?
Parents who want their kid to ride a 20” with the best safety features should keep the Guardian Ethos 20 at the top of their list. While every bike on our list was designed with safety in mind, I particularly like the Guardian Ethos 20 for its superior SureStop Braking System.
A single-lever braking system like the one on the Guardian Ethos 20 allows your kid to abruptly stop their bike without thinking about whether they need to target their front or rear brake. In addition, the single-lever brake will also prevent your little one from flying over the handlebars due to accidentally triggering the front brake.
Another characteristic of this 20” that makes it stand out amongst other bikes on our list is that it's available in either a small or large. The 20-inch wheels are the same for both models but the frame size varies. This makes the Guardian Ethos 20 a great bike for a range of different kids, regardless of their size.
Pros and Cons: Guardian Ethos 20
Where to Buy
5. Prevelo Alpha Three
- Gears: 9
- Price: $539
- Weight: 17.8 lbs
- Brakes: V-Brakes
- Tires: Standard and Wide Tire Options
This Prevelo Alpha Three was built for adverse terrain allowing your little one to confidently handle unpaved paths and even the occasional dirt jump or ramp. Aggressive riders who like getting off the beaten path and pushing their cycling skills further will greatly benefit from an advanced 20” like the Alpha Three.
That said, despite this bike’s rugged nature, its lightweight design also makes it very easy to maneuver and control. At just 17.8 lbs this is a very light 20” that was built to last. I really like that Prevelo also lets you customize your setup on the buy page. Feel free to add a kickstand, bell, or even wide trail tires if your kid really wants to hit adverse terrain.
Who Should Buy the Prevelo Alpha Three
Prevelo has some solid kids' bikes but I particularly like the Alpha Three from their line-up. This is one of the more advanced 20s” on our list and I would only recommend it to parents if their kid excelled on their 16” - or is transitioning from a single-gear 20”.
Unlike many 20s”, the Prevelo Alpha Three has a whopping 9 gears for your youngster to choose from. As a general rule of thumb, I would normally recommend that most parents start their kid out at 3 to 6 gears, with anything higher potentially complicating the riding experience.
Nonetheless, plenty of ambitious young cyclists love having more gears when they go out riding. The challenge of having to learn how to use more gears helps them become better riders and they will greatly appreciate the dynamic range once they get used to it.
Despite the awesome qualities of this 20”, the Prevelo Alpha Three is quite pricey and may not be suitable for the budget shopper. At $539, this is one of the most expensive bikes on our list, but it's well worth the money if you want a superior multi-gear 20”.
Pros and Cons: Prevelo Alpha Three
Where to Buy
6. REI Co-op Cycles REV 20”
- Gears: 6
- Price: $399
- Weight: 23 lbs
- Brakes: Mechanical Disc Brakes
- Tires: Extra-wide 2.6-inch All-Terrain Tires
The REI Co-op Cycles REV 20” comes with super fat tires that are designed to roll over virtually anything you throw at ‘em. This is a 20” that your kid can confidently take off the beaten path!
This 20-inch bike is designed with 6 gears, which in my opinion, is the perfect entry point for a kid that wants to truly get acquainted with gears without feeling overwhelmed.
I really like the reliable mechanical disc brakes which are rare to see on a 20”, as well as the durable aluminum frame that will not crack under pressure. You will also find parts and components from reputable cycling brands like Shimano in the shifters, derailleur, and rear cogs.
Who Should Buy the REI-Co-op Cycles REV 20”?
If you want to get your kid started with mountain biking at a very early age, this is the 20” you’ve been searching for. The REI Co-op Cycles REV 20” is a tough bike that was primarily built for trail riding.
In addition to the solid specs, REI also includes a full year of support for free adjustments. This way you can set up the bike to perfectly fit your youngster’s body type so that they can ride comfortably and efficiently. While the bike only comes in a single style, the “Blue Nights” color offers a very cool aesthetic suitable for virtually any young cyclist.
This is hands down one of the most rugged and fun 20s” on our list and your kid will love it, especially if they like trail riding. However, this bike’s biggest flaw is its weight. At 23 lbs, the REI Co-op Cycles REV 20 is ridiculously heavy for legit mountain bike riding. If you are not confident in your kid's ability to handle a bike this heavy, I would recommend something lighter.
Pros and Cons: REI Co-op Cycles REV 20
Where to Buy
- REI - $399
7. Pello ROVER 20"
- Gears: 8
- Price: $559
- Weight: 19.9 lbs
- Brakes: Mechanical Disc Brakes
- Tires: Small Block 8 Tires (non-tubeless)
The Pello Rover 20” is one of the most expensive bikes on our list, but there is a reason for this model’s high price tag. Pello builds quality bikes and the Rover 20” is a perfect example of what a superior kids’ bicycle can be.
This 20” features an 8-speed Shimano Rapidfire drivetrain that will help your kid master gear shifting at a very young age. This bike holds up really well as a hybrid and can be used as either a mountain bike or a neighborhood cruiser depending on your kid’s style.
Pello equipped this 20” with quality mechanical disc brakes, which offer very precise braking. In addition, each Pello Rover 20” comes with a spare derailleur hanger, bell, spare tube, quick-release seat collar, and more! If you are still not sold on this top-notch 20”, the frame and fork are even backed with a lifetime warranty.
Who Should Buy the Pello Rover 20”?
The dynamic riding capabilities of this 20” will encourage your youngster to explore new places and develop their skills as a cyclist. With rugged tires and an astonishingly lightweight build, the Rover 20” is perfect for unpaved paths, allowing your kid to ride with confidence and agility.
The $559 price tag may already be more than what most parents are willing to spend, but if you are truly interested in introducing your kid to mountain biking, this 20” model comes with an add-on to include an RST Capa. Suspension Fork for an extra $100.
This feature alone separates the Rover 20” from virtually every wannabe kids mountain bike on the market, as the absorption from the suspension will truly let your kid hit jumps and ramps like an MTB rider.
Pros and Cons: Pello Rover 20”
Where to Buy
- Pello Bikes - $559
8. Clearly Owl 20”
- Gears: 3 (or single-gear)
- Price: $460 to $480
- Weight: 20.3 lbs
- Brakes: V-Brakes
- Tires: 1.9-inch Hybrid Tires
The aggressive geometry of this bike makes it perfect for a wide variety of different riding styles, and it also ensures your youngster will stay comfortable when they are out and about. Unlike many of the 20s” on our list, this bike features a steel design, which makes it extremely durable for rugged use.
Despite the steel materials, the weight of the bike is astonishingly low at 20.3 lbs. The reliable V-brakes offer confident stopping power and the 2.25-inch tires will soften the terrain that your kiddo rolls over.
Who Should Buy the Clearly Owl 20”
Simple, durable, and a whole lot of fun to ride - your kid will love the Clearly Owl 20”. Although we’ve showcased a lot of bikes with 6 or more gears, some kids just aren’t ready for that much bike.
If you want your kid to have a soft introduction to gears while also equipping them with a quality 20”, this model from Clearly is a solid pick. This is a rugged bike with a lot to offer a young cyclist. Whether your kid likes to cruise the neighborhood or adventure off the beaten path, the Clearly Owl 20” can do it all.
This bike is available as either a 3-speed or a single-speed. Naturally, most parents are keen on getting their kids on a multi-gear bike once they are ready for a 20”, but the option for single-gear still appeals to some parents. Overall, this is a quality kids' bike that was built to last and you can even upgrade the tires to more durable rubber if you want to expand your kiddo’s riding options.
Pros and Cons: Clearly Owl 20”
Where to Buy
Is My Kid Ready to Ride a 20 Inch Bike With Gears?
Deciding when your kid is ready for a bike with gears is less about their age and more so their experience level. I never recommend parents start out with a geared bike, especially if their child is still very young and riding a 16”.
The best approach is to let your kid get used to a single-gear bike first so that they can familiarize themselves with the basics, particularly steering, pedaling, and most importantly - braking! After mastering these essential cycling skills, your kid should be ready to try out gears. I find it’s best not to overload them with a complex 12 to 20-gear bike and instead try something with just 3 to 8 gears in the beginning.
In general, 20-inch bikes tend to mark the transition point for a lot of kids as they move from single-gear to multi-gear bikes. That is why you will see a huge variety of both types of 20s” on the market. If your kid has been riding a 16” for a year or two, and they are between 5 and 8 years old, it's safe to say that they are probably ready for a multi-gear 20”.
How to Choose a 20 Inch Bike With Gears
If you want to find the best 20-inch bike with gears for your little one, you need to consider their riding style, as well as how much you want to push them to develop their skills as a cyclist. Incorporating gears into their daily bike riding is already a challenge and you don’t want them to bite off more than they can chew.
That said, improving your youngster’s riding abilities is all about presenting them with realistic challenges, and gears are the perfect way to encourage them to understand cycling further. There are a ton of great 20s” on the market but each one has specific qualities and characteristics that need to be considered.
Keep the following factors in mind as you weigh out your options to help you choose the best 20-inch bike for your young cyclist.
Number of Gears
A single-speed bike will likely get boring for your kid after a while, but you also don’t want a model with too many gear options. The number of gears on a 20” can vary, but I generally recommend starting with at least 3 to 6.
If your kid is an ambitious rider, then you may want to consider a more advanced 20” with upwards of 8 or 9 gears to give them a challenge.
Some bikes are intended for casual neighborhood riding - whereas others feature a more versatile and rugged design for unpaved paths and trails. Your little one’s riding style is an important factor that should influence your buying decision.
If you are unsure what your child will prefer, I recommend going with a dynamic model that is suitable for both paved and unpaved riding. A great way to settle this is to take your kid to a local bike shop to let them test ride 20-inch mountain bikes and other bikes at the store. This way they can get a feel for each bike before committing.
You need to consider the weight of any bike that you buy your little one. While a 23 lb bike may not be too heavy for you, a 50 lb kiddo might struggle to maintain and maneuver a bicycle with this weight.
A lightweight bike is a solid option for any rider, regardless of their size. Your kid will have an easier time riding a pedal bike that is matched to their weight, with speed and agility all getting a boost. In general, a lightweight aluminum frame that does not compromise durability is the way to go.
Riding bikes can be dangerous which is why safety should always be the first priority when picking a 20”. Your kid should be equipped with a bicycle that has reliable brakes with precise stopping power. Coaster brakes are much less reliable and I would recommend avoiding them at all costs.
Disc brakes and V-brakes have a lot more power and will enable your kid to stop their bike with total confidence.
A lightweight bike with good geometry will ensure that your little one is comfortable when they go out riding. Your two main options are going to be upright or leaned-in seating positions.
Unfortunately, this is really a matter of preference and you may find that your kid prefers one type over the other. The best way to figure this out is to let them test-ride a couple of bikes beforehand at a bike shop.
A lot of parents are skeptical about buying an expensive 20”, and understandably so. Your youngster is going to grow up quick and you may not want to invest in a $500+ bike if they will be too big for it in a few years.
While some parents may simply opt for buying a used BMX bike and calling it a day, a reliable 20” is going to be much more comfortable, reliable, and enjoyable for your kiddo to ride. If you want to buy a great 20-inch bike without breaking the bank, I recommend going with a good-value option that offers solid specs and safety features at a reasonable price.
About THE AUTHOR
Mountain biking is more than just a hobby for me - it's a way of life. I love the challenge and excitement that comes with it, and I'm always pushing myself to go faster and ride harder. Some people might think that mountain biking is dangerous, but I see it as the only way to live.Read More About Danny Lawson