17 Oct Best Kids Bikes for Ages 9 to 11 (24-inch)
Like adult bikes, 24″ bikes can vary greatly in form and function. While they generally fit kids ages 8, 9, 10, and 11-years-old, they’re designed for everything from paved trails to aggressive mountain biking. Most families, however, simply want a well-designed and good-quality bike that will last their kids for several years.
Guardian Ethos – Best Mid-range
Budget-friendly, the BEST braking system
Lightweight and well-designed, Guardian bikes come with a proprietary braking system that prevents unsafe braking. Not only safe, their system is also much easier to use than most traditional brakes.
SEAT HEIGHT: 25″ – 33″
WEIGHT: 25.5 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Durable build for the price, easy-to-use proprietary braking system, fun, kid-approved designs
- Patented SureStop braking system for faster and more controlled braking
- Low center-of-gravity design for better balance and maneuverability
- Great quality build for the price
- Fun, kid-approved designs
- Basic grip shifter (as compared to the Original’s upgraded shifter), can be hard to use
- Steel frame has the potential to rust if paint were to chip
Guardian Original – Best Braking System
Best Braking System
Guardian Kids Bikes Original. 16/20/24 Inch, Multiple Colors for Boys/Girls. Safer Brake System for Kids. Lightweight Aluminum Construction. Easy Assembly. ASO SharkTank.by Guardian Bikes 66 $439.00 $43900
High-end build, the BEST braking system
Guardian’s high-end Premium line comes with a lightweight aluminum frame and their proprietary SureStop braking system that prevents unsafe braking.
SEAT HEIGHT: 25″ – 33″
WEIGHT: 25.5 lb.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Easy-to-use proprietary braking system, fun, kid-approved designs
- Proprietary SureStop braking system for faster and more controlled braking, and NO coaster brake
- Comfortable upright positioning for young riders
- Shimano Revoshift grip shifters provide smooth shifting (7-speed)
- Eye-catching design – fun, colorful graphics and colored rims
Raleigh Alysa 24 – Best Budget Girls
Best Budget Girls
Great starter mountain bike on a budget!
From light trails to neighborhood rides, the Alysa is ready for the ride. With a lightweight aluminum frame, 7-speeds (grip shifter) and knobby tires for off-road adventures.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Durable build, upright designPros:
- Quality bike for a very decent price
- Sturdy frame and tires great for exploring off the paved trails
- Lightweight compared to other 24″ bikes in its price range
- Low/flat handlebars limit the “best use” to aggressive riders and limit the comfortable seat height range
Cleary Scout – Best Mountain Bike
Best Mountain Bike
The ultimate ride for adventure seekers
Built for young groms, the Cleary Scout is fully equipped with a front air shock, hydraulic disc brakes, and trigger shifters. An amazing bike for true mountain bike enthusiasts.
STANDOUT FEATURES: Easy-to-ride, kid-specific design
- Modern geometry
- Well thought out specs and high-end components
- Superior traction on flowy trails
- Steel frame smooths out vibrations and helps kids fight fatigue longer
- Confidence inspiring
- Versatile – great on the trails and at the bike park
- Durable build
- Steel frame can be a bit heavy for long unhill climbs
How to Choose the Best 24″ Bike for your 8 to 11-Year-Old
What size bike does my child need?
24″ kids’ bikes are generally the best fit for 8, 9, and 10-year-olds or any child between 49″ and 59″ tall. If your child is already 11 or is a very tall 10-year-old, also consider 26″ bikes as they would offer more room for growth (although very few kids’ bikes come in 26″ tires). If a child starts on a 24″ bike when they are 8, 9, or 10, they can likely continue to ride it while they are 11 or even 12 years old.
Kids on 24″ bikes are generally confident enough riders to set their seat about 2 – 3″ above the child’s inseam. At this height, a child can touch the ground with their tiptoes, which produces the best knee bend angle for pedaling with maximum efficiency.
As with all kids’ bikes, within a given wheel size category, the minimum and maximum seat heights of 24″ bikes can vary. The average minimum seat height of a 24″ bike is around 25″ while the maximum average is about 31″.
The height adjustability of 24″ bike range from 5″ – 8″, which allows kids to ride 24″ bikes much longer than other sizes. For example, the average 8-year-old should have plenty of room to grow with the bike until he turns 10 or even 11.
To ensure as much longevity as possible, be sure to compare your child’s inseam to the bike’s minimum seat height before your purchase. The Pello Reyes on the left has a minimum seat height of a little over 25″ while the woom 5 on the right has a 26.4″ minimum seat height. Make sure that you choose a bike that not only fits well now, but allows for plenty of room for growth.
Ideally, your child’s bike will be less than 40% of their body weight. This ratio is more important when a child is younger and just learning to ride, but is still applicable for your 8 and 9-year-olds! In most cases, the lighter the bike, the easier the bike is to ride. The more aggressive and longer your child rides, the more important weight becomes as well. If trail riding or any type of riding with varied elevation is in your child’s future, aim for a bike that is less than 30% of their weight.
In regards to weight, be cautious about purchasing a 24″ bike with a shock as they can add a lot of unnecessary weight to a bike. In most cases, the weight a shock adds to the bike quickly negates the benefits of having a shock. Unless your child is an experienced all-terrain rider ready for the Scout recommended above, we advise staying away from a shock on 24″ bikes. In fact, we take this advice to heart – until our own kids have the basic skills of mountain biking down, they ride without a shock (even in their mountain biking classes!).
The frames of all 24″ bikes are designed for a specific type of riding. Whether they are designed for the average neighborhood rider (most are), for long distances (road bike), or for intense mountain biking, be sure to know HOW you plan on using the bike before you purchase one. Don’t expect your child’s neighborhood bike to perform well on single-track mountain bike trails, or a mountain bike with front suspension to be a good fit for a 30-mile+ ride on paved surfaces.
Our “Best of” list is mainly comprised of bikes we would classify as neighborhood bikes or light trail use, for which the vast majority of kids use a bike. The geometry of these bikes, however, also vary greatly. Some place kids in a more upright position, which is better suited for more timid riders, while others place riders in a more aggressive, leaned forward position, which is better for more adventurous riders.
Dual-hand brakes are the standard braking system on most 24″ bikes. A few will have coaster brakes, but for the most part, differences will be between what type of hand brake a bike has. Braking systems include V-pull brakes, disc brakes (mechanical and hydraulic), and Guardian Bikes’ unique SureStop braking system.
For those riding fast or on really aggressive downhills, consider a step-up to disc brakes. Mechanical disc-brakes are cheaper and lower-performing than hydraulic disc brakes, but still typically offer more stopping power than v-brakes.
Hydraulic disc brakes are the cream-of-the-crop in brakes, but they are expensive, require maintenance, and are a bit of overkill for lightweight kids who have only a fraction of the inertia of adults. For any serious mountain bike rider, however, hydraulic disc brakes are a huge benefit.
Guardian’s SureStop Brakes
Guardian’s unique patented braking system allows kids to activate both the rear and front brake with ONE brake lever. Upon activating the single brake lever, the rear brake is activated, which is turn activates the front wheel’s brake. As a result, it’s impossible for kids to “endo”, or be bucked off the bike by braking with only the front brake because the SureStop system prevents the front brake from being activated until after the rear brake has.
Gearing and Gain Ratios
Gears are not only fun to use, they’re essential to tackle long flat roads, hilly neighborhoods, dirt trails, and single track. By the time a child is 8 or 9-years-old, they’re probably tackling these terrains that make it beneficial to shift gears. They’re also at an age when they should be able to manage the complexity of shifting without too much trouble. And as they grow with the bike at 10 and 11-years-old, those gears will eventually become second nature.
24″ bikes are typically available with 7 or 8 gears that are shifted with one shifter. Unlike most adult bikes that have two shifters, one for each derailleur, kids’ bikes typically have fewer gears and just one derailleur. Having to only worry about one shifter is much easier for kids as they can simply shift up or down without having to worry about which hand and which shifter to use.
Most 24″ bikes are available with grip shifters, which kids activate by twisting the grip with the palm of their hand, or trigger shifters, which are activated by pulling or pushing on levers with their fingers. In general, grip shifters are preferred by more timid or beginning riders as they are often easier and more intuitive to use. Aggressive riders, especially mountain bikers, prefer trigger shifters.
Parents sometimes get a little sticker shock when they start shopping for a 24″ bike. A larger bike is just going to cost more in general, and as kids get older, components often get more advanced to keep up with a child’s more advanced riding. Every bike on this list is pretty incredible and significantly better than a bike you’ll find at Walmart. But of course, they cost more! If your child truly loves riding, try to stick to the bikes on this list. If they are beyond your budget, try to find one used! But in the end, any bike is better than no bike at all, so do whatever it takes to keep your kid riding!