The Best Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids

The Best MTB Helmets for kids

Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids – Helmets are obviously useful to keep your young mountain biker safe on the trails. If you want your little rider to consistently wear their helmet, you’ll want to be sure it fits well and feels comfortable.

The Best MTB Helmets for kids

If your kiddo likes how the helmet looks, that will help, too. A few notes to keep in mind:

  • Size: To ensure the best fit, it’s recommended to measure your child’s head circumference with a tape measure just above the ears. You can then check this measurement against the listed size.
  • Adjustability: As you can generally expect your kiddo to have a growth spurt just following an expensive clothing/gear purchase, it may be a good idea to get a helmet that can be adjusted using a dial. This will keep your kid comfortable in his helmet for a bit and save you some cash for a while.
  • Ventilation: Having enough ventilation is important if you want your child to enjoy riding in the heat.

Here is an overview of our top 8 helmets for mountain biking kids. Check out the comparison table at the end of the article to see all the size, cost and other data in one place.

If your little ripper enjoys multiple mountain biking disciplines, you might want to check out Best Helmets for NICA Riders, Best Helmets for Enduro Kids, and Best Full Face Helmets for Kids.

Specialized Shuffle MIPS mountain bike helmet for kids

Specialized Shuffle LED Standard Buckle MIPS Helmet – Kids’

Hit the trails or ride around the neighborhood with your young ones, while keeping them safe with the Shuffle LED Standard Buckle MIPS Helmet. A hybrid shell construction offers increased protection, and the added MIPS system helps protect against certain impacts and rotational forces. The Headset SX system keeps the helmet snug and is easy for kids to use to get a perfect fit. You’ll also love the LED light on the back of the helmet that keeps your kiddo visible on their way back home.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

POC ito Omne Spin Kid's Mountain Bike Helmet

POCito Omne Spin Helmet – Kids’

Your little shredder inherited your love of two wheels, and with the POCito Omne Spin, they can sport matching protection while sharing your passion. Informed by the adult version, the Omne Air Spin, the youth version features a 360-degree size adjustment system that makes it easy to find the perfect fit even as they grow. EPS foam provides all-around protection, while vents draw air through the helmet for efficient cooling on warm days.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

Lazer Gekko MIPS mtb helmet for kids

Lazer Gekko MIPS Helmet

When your young rider is ready to roll, it can be nearly impossible to get them to sit still long enough to tighten a helmet. Lazer’s Gekko MIPS Helmet provides a kid-friendly fit system to get your rider on the road quickly and safely. The AutoFit retention provides an even and secure fit without needing to fiddle with a dial, so they can get on their way with less hassle. Inside the helmet, the MIPS layer provides extra peace of mind as it helps dissipate forces of rotational impact. Finally, the pinch-free chin buckle helps avoid grumbles as your little shredder finally heads off on the trail.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

Bike helmets for kids - Giro Scamp with MIPS

Giro Scamp MIPS Helmet

Giro designed the Scamp MIPS Helmet to offer top notch protection to the smallest riders. They use the same In-Mold polycarbonate shell and EPS foam liner in the Scamp as in its adult helmets, and includes MIPS technology. MIPS refers to technology added to absorb the brain-damaging rotational energy created in certain crashes. Another key point is the Roc Loc fit adjustment system. Roc Loc makes fit adjustments quick and easy. Your kid will also like the bright colors and sporty look of this helmet.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

POC Pocito Crank - kids bike helmet

POC POCito Crane Helmet – Kids’

POC POCcito Crane Kids’ Helmet uses dual polystyrene and EPS foams provide a solid combination of low-speed and high-impact protection. Additionally, POCito includes moisture-wicking padding and passive ventilation to keeps your rider’s head from getting overly sweaty. Your kid will love the POCCito’s classic street style on the trail or at the skatepark.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

Giro Tremor MIPS bike helmet for kids

Giro Tremor MIPS Helmet – Kids’

The Giro Tremor MIPS Helmet offers Giro’s best technology, sized down for smaller riders. Firstly, the Temor MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) can redirect energy and provide more protection in certain styles of impacts. Secondly, the inside padding is easy to remove and wash after a hot day on the trail. Finally, the Tremor includes a RocLoc fit system for fast and secure fit adjustments.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

Bell Super 3R MIPS Helmet

Although the Bell Super 3r MIPS helmet is designed for adults, it will fit heads sized 20-24.4 inches. We love having one helmet that will work for cross country riding and provide some extra protection when trails gets sketchy. This helmet is well ventilated without compromising the helmet’s structural integrity.  Importantly the design includes a Multi-Directional Impact Protection System (MIPS). MIPS technology helps absorb and diffuse indirect or oblique forces. During certain crashes, this slim layer rotates slightly to absorb rotational forces. See our full Bell Super 3r MIPS helmet review for more details. Note: this helmet is sometimes listed as “men’s” or “women’s” but the only difference is color.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike helmet from:

HelmetShell Material / Impact FoamHead Circumference RangeCertificationsManufacturer Warranty
Lazer Gekko MIPS HelmetPolycarbonate20in-22 inchesCE, CPSC, AS1 year
Specialized Shuffle LED Standard Buckle MIPS Helmet - Kids’20.5in-22.5 inches1 year
POCito Omne Spin Helmet - Kids’Polycarbonate19.7-24 inchesCE EN 1078, CPSE 12 03, AZ/NZS 20631 year
Woom Kids’ HelmetPolycarbonate / EPS18.9-23.6 inches
Giro Tremor MIPSPolycarbonate / EPS19.75- 21.75 inches1 year
Giro Scamp MIPSPolycarbonate / EPS18.75-21.75 inches1 year
POC POCito CranePolycarbonate / Polystyrene and EPS impact foams20.1-21.3 inchesCPSC
Bell Super 3R MIPSPolycarbonate / EPS20-24.4 inchesCE EN 1078, CPSC1 year

Tim McChesney Interview

Tim McChesney Interview - professional freeskier and avid mountain biker
Tim McChesney Interview - professional freeskier and avid mountain biker

Tim McChesney knows gravity is season agnostic. If you feel the same, chances are good that you look forward to seeing Tim and his co-workers on screen every year as autumn yields to winter and the ski industry releases their annual bounty of inspirational flicks. Of course Tim’s profession mandates chasing snow, but the last time we crossed paths with him, it was at the old Rampage site in Virgin, Utah on mountain bikes.

We owe a big thanks to Tim for taking the time to talk to us and kinda-sorta going beyond the skis and snow.

Tim McChesney - mtb jump
Where did you grow up and how old were you when you started skiing? I was born in Minnesota. When I was five-and-a-half, we moved to Bozeman and that’s where I kind of figured out what skiing was. We used to ski at Bridger Bowl. I moved to Utah when I was 17 to try and pursue a professional career in skiing and just be located around the industry. I've been in Utah ever since. When did you start mountain biking? I started mountain biking around 4 summers ago. We have pretty sweet mountain biking up in Big Sky and I went five or six times but didn’t really get into it. Living in Park City, everyone is always mountain biking and I finally decided it’s time to invest in a bike. I think I rode it every single day for the rest of that summer. What are some of the mental parallels you have discovered in skiing and biking? I think mountain biking is the closest thing to skiing for me. A lot of it is because you are moving so fast and the decision making is very similar. Just like the slightest little movement can change your whole line. You’re constantly focused and it’s similar to skiing for me in that your decisions have to be super quick and precise or it could end pretty horribly. Do you like lift-served mountain biking or is it always pedaling for you? I like it all honestly. I try to do a good mix of resort, shuttle laps, bike parks and short pedals or even huge adventure rides. Getting far out there has been cool because I started exploring some of the zones that I spend a lot time skiing in. A lot of them have these old beat-up trails. The craziest one I did was last year. We started in American Fork Canyon and rode from American Fork all the way over to the Wasatch Crest Trail. Then we rode down Mill Creek back to my house. We saw the whole Wasatch Range where I ski. That was awesome. I think it was about 9 hours and it was around 60 miles. There was a lot of hiking mixed into it because a lot of the trails are not purpose-built for mountain biking.
Faction skis from EVO
Lange ski boots from REI
Oyuki gloves from EVO
Where are your favorite places to ride bikes now? I love the whole Park City area, just because you can go on a 20-mile ride and ride so many different trails. Gnarly trails, smooth stuff, good cross-country riding – it's all such a good mix. Do you run or hit the weight room to keep in shape? I don’t really do anything and as I’ve gotten older and I see the affects of that. I really feel that the more time I spend on my bike leading up to the winter – the stronger I am on my skis right after that. Usually the first couple of weeks of ski season I’m beat up and sore and tired every day, but if I just spend a ton of time on my bike leading in to the season, my legs feel great right after that. That’s been one of the positive effects of biking for me. For mountain biking – tubeless tires, 29-inch wheels, carbon frames, and other advances in tech have really changed the game. What are some of the innovations you’ve seen in the ski world over the last few years? Some of the bindings I’ve been using have some pretty crazy advancements because I do a lot of backcountry skiing. I like to have a touring binding that I can also ski pretty hard on and not worry about them. I use a binding called the CAST touring system which is a new technology that makes it so you can have a solid touring binding with pins, but then ski on a full downhill binding once you descend. That’s changed so much in my skiing and probably the best technical advancement I’ve noticed. Ski boots have definitely gotten so much better as far as having a touring ski boot that you can ski the resort every single day on and just have a warm ski boot for every day. What new developments do you see on the horizon for the ski market? People are trying to make skis lighter, stronger, and more durable. But overall, skis are skis and they honestly don't change a ton every year. Whereas the mountain bikes, someone comes out with a new bike with different geometry or lighter parts, stronger wheels and so on. Whereas if you ski, and you've skied five or ten years ago, you really wouldn't find huge differences in them.
Pro freeskier Tim McChesney mountain biking
Have you ever helped with product development or testing? I've done product development with Faction skis. I've been with them for almost 10 years now. They started as the new guys in town and now they've grown to be a huge ski brand. I think this is the ninth or tenth winter I have helped with developing some of their skis. I give feedback to whatever I'm spending most of the time on. Just like what I think about flex patterns for different models for varying conditions and durability. I spend a lot of time on these products compared to a regular consumer, so they like to know what's going on with the products and how the cores are holding up. Woodward Park City opened just over a year ago. Any thoughts on that venue? It’s awesome. I've been to a couple different locations and I was really looking forward to the Park City one opening for winter reasons and of course summer reasons. I think we lost a lot of local freestyle bike terrain and Woodward has built some awesome bike park trails. I really want to do a backflip on a bike at some point in my life. My goal is to go to Woodward and do it a couple of times into the foam pit. If that goes well, I'll eventually move to dirt, but we’ll see how it goes into the foam pit first. Have you ever used a foam pit for your skiing? I haven’t done any of that. It’s fun to go up and build your own jumps and features. A good powder landing is still as good as a foam pit. Have you ever coached or mentored young skiers? I coached in person for a program called Access Freeride. Me and a bunch of friends all worked for them for a couple seasons with some awesome kids who have done well at X Games and other competitions. It's pretty cool to see. We coached Colby Stevenson. He won two X Games medals last year.
Tim McChesney - pro freeskier on the mountain bike
What were your first big breaks that led to you getting attention from sponsors? I started out by doing a lot of slopestyle competitions and I ended up winning the Aspen Open. That was so long ago, but it was a big step for me. I did a lot of the film stuff early on, too. Successful action sport athletes can choose to compete, create content for social media/film, or a combination of both. Do you believe there are negative aspects to this model? I did a lot of competitions growing up and I wasn't really having a ton of success after a year or two. I just kind of got sick of traveling to events with horrible conditions and having to ski. I had some other film opportunities that I wanted to pursue and it's awesome to take that path because you're kind of just more enjoying it, doing your own program, and hanging out with some good friends. Like social media as well these days – it's pretty fun to go out and produce content and post it.
If there was a gnarly mountain bike invitational for skiers only, K.C. Deane would be invited; you'd be invited, but who else would there? Who else is a formidable mountain biker from your department? My good friend Lucas Wachs rips on a bike. Sage Cattabriga-Alosa is an awesome biker. All these freeskiers that don't have anything going on in the summers just spend all summer biking. You gave an interview about 6 years ago where you said you're getting old. Do you think you're a better skier now than you were 6 years ago? In different aspects – yes. I’ve focused pretty much all my energy on backcountry skiing. That's one of the things that really takes a lot of experience and time in order to be safe; knowing how to get around and where to go basically. In that aspect I would say I'm better than I was. There's also other aspects of the sport that I was better at back then. It’s a change basically – like an evolution of my skiing. But 6 years ago, I could go to a training park and do a lot more tricks than I could probably do right now. That’s just because I spend more time skiing in the backcountry than in the parks these days.
Tim McChesney trades in the skis for mountain biking during the summer in Park City, UT
What do you think about the Little Cottonwood Canyon Gondola project? I spend so much time up there, but haven't been following their plans closely. But I can definitely say whatever they can do to help with the traffic – I am all for it. Things are just getting crazy up there. Would you be for, or against an initiative where skiers have to pay to access Big Cottonwood Canyon and Little Cottonwood Canyon? That's a hard one. I'm not sure about that. If it would limit the numbers of cars going up there every day? Then yeah, I would be for it. I guess Solitude has been charging and I don’t know how effective that’s been. I mean this is such a pinch with Salt Lake City being so close and then only 2 skiers in each car up this tiny little canyon. There has to be something done with the amount of user groups going up there these days. What are your thoughts on IKON and EPIC passes? I don’t really get that argument. I don't think that EPIC and IKON pass are really changing it that much. I think people will ski no matter what. People who are going on ski vacations spend all this money to come ski and they're going to buy lift tickets regardless. I know it probably increases the numbers somewhat. What are your favorite resources for tracking storms? Ha! I spend far too much time looking at the weather during the winter. I'm on my computer looking at forecasts for Utah, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Washington, I use Open Snow the website and app a lot and then I'll see where the storms are heading then kind of dive deeper by looking at SNOTEL, NOAA and pretty much every resource you can think of. What's the right blend of work, fun, and meeting your obligations to your sponsors? With skiing, you want to make video projects from your season. You want to be proud of the work, obviously. But you’ve got to remember that you're going out there and skiing with your friends. It's always fun, but it does get stressful sometimes – trying to get certain shots or the weather is just not cooperating and you drive 13 hours to Canada and get rained on and pretty much drive straight back. When things don't go how you want, I try to just brush that off and move on to the next trip or next day of skiing.
Do you have any film projects in the works right now? We’re filming a team movie for Faction this winter. What happens behind the scenes when getting footage for a project like this? Does the production team do recon or do you guys just pretty much know where to go depending on the weather? Definitely tons of recon. That helps a lot with like the whole filming side of things. You can waste so much time looking around while you have a hired film crew ready to film. If you have some objectives and the logistics figured out – you go to the location and get the shots. That's the best way to do it. A lot of times it’s usually some of us getting out on snowmobiles, then ski touring to get to different locations. The Utah To BC film from the Faction Collective dropped a few weeks ago. Do you have memorable moments from getting the work done? I’ve been pitching Faction to spend some time in Utah and finally they said “We'll fly Etienne Mérel out there.” Everything we were getting in Utah was snowmobile based, pretty much. It was awesome and we were able to get out everywhere, no problem. As soon as travel restrictions are over, where's the first place you're going? Will it be a ski trip or a surf trip? I guess that depends on the timing of everything. I'm definitely looking forward to getting back to Japan. We’re having a killer season right now and it's been a little hard watching everyone see some epic powder over there and being stuck over here. They've gotten more snow than they know what to do with. What do you have in the quiver this year for ski equipment? I spend most of my time on the Faction Prodigy 4.0. I ski that in a 185 length. I use Look Bindings and Lange Boots. I stay warm and dry with Saga Outerwear. Oyuki Japan is my glove sponsor. I’m also an EVO ambassador. Thanks a lot for your time, Tim. We can't wait to run into you again – wherever that may be. Yeah, definitely. Hopefully you guys have a good winter.

Thanks to these photographers / videographers for allowing us to use their images… 

Vinny Mauro

Rocko Menzyk

Christopher Peters
Dirt Coast Website

Meet Kat Sweet – Sweetlines Coaching And Junior Racing

Kat Sweet Interview - Sweetlines Mountain Bike Coaching and Mountain Bike Racing
Kat Sweet Interview - Sweetlines Mountain Bike Coaching and Mountain Bike Racing

Kat’s a true ambassador for mountain biking because her dedication to having young people experience the sport and progress their skills ranks her among the planet’s MTB Royalty. Over the years, her Sweetlines clinics and coaching have enabled girls, boys, women and men to build confidence, create community, and promote stewardship through the sport. Kat operates most of her offerings at the Duthie Hill Bike Park in Issaquah, Washington.

Kat’s 2021 clinic sign-ups start on February 1st. Visit the Sweetlines website for more information.

Sweetlines:  Instagram | YouTube | Facebook

Images from Kat Sweet's Sweetlines mountain biking programs

In the summer of 2018, our family was at the Duthie Bike Park for the first time and there were obviously kids’ mtb camps going on. I recognized the Sweetlines tent and jerseys from social media and hoped the Sweetlines Owner, CEO and head Coach Kat Sweet was on-site. With her trademark pink and blue dyed hair, she was easy to spot at the middle compound of the bike park. When I got the chance to interrupt her day and say hello, Kat had already noticed one of our kids around the park and she invited him to ride in her coaches’ jump jam at the end of the day.

Now, with the pandemic and racial tensions testing America’s culture and politics – Kat has faced both of these challenges head on. For her clinics to take place during the pandemic, several measures had to be taken to comply with local regulations for crowd sizes and social distancing. Kat has always been about equality, but following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and many others, Kat chose to ramp up her efforts to make the sport more inclusive and level the playing field for children who are Black, Indigenous, People of Color between the ages of 6-14 to join the mtb community.

Since she started Sweetlines and Sweetlines Junior Racing, Kat and her fellow coaches have been able to mature their teaching skills for riders of all ages and abilities. For instance, they have created a vocabulary of terms that eliminates the technical mumbo-jumbo, but is still geared towards riders executing proper body position, cornering, braking, and other techniques.

When we most recently caught up with Kat, she told us about how she wants to make sure her clinics allow all to participate, what lies on the horizon in order for her clinics to continue during the pandemic, how her teaching has evolved, and more.

Kat and her coaches and riders a mtb event for girls

Kat Sweet Interview

The world is a lot different than it was a year ago. The pandemic, race issues and inclusivity are dominating topics. Tell me how you're dealing with these issues based on your perspective, experiences and goals. I just talked to a friend who is a transgendered woman, just finding out people's stories in the bike worlds and trying to come up with ideas on how to be more inclusive and more diverse. We could definitely do better. That's the biggest thing. Are the people you're speaking with optimistic? I've been talking to a lot of optimistic people. I have a lot of friends in the bike world who are people of color and so I've been having conversations with them and hearing their stories and ideas. If I want people of color in my community, I should talk to people of color and find out how to make that happen. So, I’ve just been having a lot of really great conversations with a lot of different people. When can kids register for your summer camps? My summer camps go live February 1st. They usually sell out by February 15th. How do you make sure people sign up for the right clinic based on a rider's experience? I’m pretty good at sorting kids and we ask a lot of preliminary questions to find out who's in what group. Actually, that reminds me. I need to check in with all the parents for the next camp to see if anybody's leveled up since they registered.
Sweetlines Junior Camps
I watched your 2012 ‘If She Can Do It’ video. It looks like it could have been made yesterday or last week. Have you changed anything significant as to how you coach? Oh my gosh, yes. So, I honestly cringe a little when I see it. I think, “Oh, we don't use that terminology anymore.” It has some really good info. But we've definitely updated pretty much everything that we teach. That movie has a lot of our old terminology and old ways of teaching. We've updated a lot of things, especially when it comes to jumps, drops and cornering. For cornering, we've come up with the Five H's of cornering. So, you've got your Head, is always the first thing to look. For your Heart you’re almost like paddling a kayak and you want your shoulders looking where you're going and you're slightly leaning in the direction you're going as well or dipping down. Then your Hands are going to lean the bike. Then, if you move down the body, you've got your Hips and your Heels. So, for the hips, you want your belly button looking where you're going and you want to counterbalance with your hips. And then for the heels, you're going to add some pressure at the apex of the turn to help give you traction and to help you cut out of that turn quicker. When jumping, I always walk people through the pieces of the jump; explain the pieces of the jump, what to do where. And then I got away from the word preload because I found when people preload they use too much upper body and they try to bend at the waist and bend their elbows too much. If you watch really good jumpers or good jumpers, they're really using their whole body weight to press into their feet. So, I call it loading or stomping into the lip of a jump and really pressing your heels into the lip. You're using your whole bodyweight to really press into it. You can think of it like a diving board. if I just walk out to the edge of the diving board and I just step off of it, not much happens, but if I press down with my whole bodyweight, the board's going to push me up into the air. I learned the diving board analogy from Shaums March and the BICP. Same thing with my feet on my pedals, if I press down into the bike, the bike comes up with me, and then I'm guiding it with my arms.
Sweetlines coaching, mountain bike clinics, and junior racing team

Do you come up with these techniques on your own and model it over time and practice, or do your other coaches assist with developing? I love collaboration, I'm all about collaboration. So, the coaches that I work with, we all geek out over this stuff. We'll get together, “Okay, we like how we’re seeing this. What should we change? What can we make better?” It's always a work in progress. You coach youth and adult mountain bikers. Explain a bit about how you coach different age groups. There are a lot of similarities. We really “kiddi-fied” our language a lot to make it fun and sometimes silly. My coaches have come up with some really good analogies of what movement is. Instead of saying modulate your brakes, because that's boring, we use smores braking. You don't want to smash your smore. You want to modulate, you want to gradually bring the graham crackers together before you bite it. So, things like that. It sounds really silly, but I think it's really fun. And once you have a visual of, “Oh, we're smores breaking.” Or for little kids, we use things like for tall and low positions, we use Proud Puma and Pouncing Puma and it gives you that real, “Okay, I'm a proud Puma. I'm standing up tall. And now I'm a Pouncing Puma, I’m about to attack the trail.” So, it makes it fun and it gives them a good visual of what that means. For kids, you want to give them a couple of key words and then start practicing right away. With adults, I can give a little more detail. But I always try not to give too much at once and sometimes I’ll layer it like an onion. I'll give them the first piece of cornering. It will be just leaning the bike side-to-side. Then I'll add in head hands and start turning a little bit. Then we'll add in the hips, make sure they get the bike leaning in the correct direction and the hips looking the right direction before we add in the heels. So, I'll do like one piece at a time. Sometimes they won't even get to heels till their next lesson or two lessons later. With kids, you just have to keep things really short and quick and get them moving quickly.

MTB Helmets For Kids

Make sure your kids have proper, well-fitting head protection.

Mountain Bike Helmets For Kids

G-Form knee pads for kids

Knee Pads For Kids

Knee pads are another level of protection for young riders.

MTB Knee Pads for Kids

Camelbak LUXE hydration pack for kids

Hydration Packs For Kids

Is your kid big enough to carry their own water and supplies?

MTB Hydration Packs for Kids

When our kids were growing up, we had to keep things short and quick because of their physical limitations and attention span. Do you do the same thing? We do our summer camps there all day. From 10:00 am till 3:30 or 4:00 pm, depending what age group they are. Our format is to do a little bit of skills and drills, go ride a trail, do a little bit of skills and drills, ride a trail, eat lunch, play games, try the pump track, do some more skills drills, go for a ride. We give them a little bit of the skills and the drills and the foundation, then go. The first day of camp is always the most skills and drills because you want to make sure they can brake and they can stand up on their pedals and use all the positions they'll need before you hit the trail. Then you have to be really flexible. Every group is a little different. Some groups can handle more skills and drills. Some groups just really need to ride and burn some energy. So, my coaches are really good at reading their groups and figuring out the group dynamics and how things are working and what the group needs. And then two, we give them some ability to choose when they're ready to try a new trail or, “Oh, yeah, here's a good motivator to use unlocking as a key to unlocking the trail. We're going to do this skill drill and once everybody gets the skill, then we're going to unlock this feature on the trail.” They all have to work together to try to get everybody through the obstacle before you can progress. So, my coaches are super creative and fun and they come up with really great ideas like that. And then we do goal setting too. Such as, “Okay, we made it halfway up this hill, our first try. Look, there's a tree next to us. Our next time up this hill let's try to get past that tree by five feet. And then the next time we're going to try to get to that boulder up there.” So, looking for the places where you can get a little bit farther up the hill. And then we also do GnarStars. We use GnarStars to reward the kids if they do something good or if they're supportive of other riders. And then two, if they make it all the way down lower boot camp, standing up on their pedals the whole way, you can get a GnarStar. So, 10 GnarPoints is a GnarStar, earn 10 GnarStars and they get a Kat-i-corn sticker. So, the kids all week long are trying to get to the Kat-i-corn stickers. I've had so many great people that have worked with me over the years and come up with really fun ideas. I love bringing people together and collaborating and always making things fresh, and new, and exciting for the kids.
Sweetlines drills and stretching prior to practice laps at a youth mtb race
What are some of your favorite moments that you get to experience with students of any age? I feel like the confidence that kids gain from mountain biking really translates into life and so even just for every level of kid, there's something they want to conquer. Whether it's just a front wheel lift or maybe another kid's trying to get a back wheel lift and the next kid’s trying to do a bunny hop. Once they accomplish those goals, the smile on their face is just huge and they feel so proud that they did something that was really hard to accomplish. I love being a part of that and acknowledging them when they do try really hard. And it's not always easy. When they do accomplish something you can tell how stoked they are and I get really stoked for them. Are there any young mountain bikers you've been working with who have shown up as a novice bike rider and over the years moved on to your Sweet Lines Racing Program? Yes! So many. Oh my gosh. One of my great stories is L, coach L-O-L, Elena Runyan. She started with me when she was 12 years old. She showed up at camp, very new mountain biker and she had this fierceness in her and she just wanted to excel at mountain biking. So, she kept coming back for programs and asking lots of questions. She was just really driven and really proved herself over the years. Very quickly she became a mentor in my programs. Then she became an assistant coach. Then she became a coach. Now she's one of my lead coaches. She's also a professional downhill racer. She is a collegiate national champion. Elena is on my elite racing team now. Next, we have Sydney Haberman, Syd Vicious is what we call her. She has been with me since she was probably 10 and she's 17 now. She's a Junior Expert racer and she has dreams of World Cup. She definitely has the mental piece, physical piece, and skills. I'm really excited for her future. Julia Shred-ulia, she's been with me probably since she was eight. She's 14 now. She started doing tuck-no handers when she was 13. She's one of the best jumpers out there. There's a big difference between being a good bike rider and a good racer. What are the things that you concentrate on in order to improve race results? It's not just about riding a bike. There's a lot of ingredients involved in being a great rider and racer. So, taking lots of classes and building skill are super important. Of course, you want to have fitness. Fitness isn't just riding. It's not just having endurance or riding bikes, especially for downhill. It's also gym work. It's working on your fast twitch muscles. We've been doing workouts once a week through Zoom and then they work out on their own as well, especially my elite girls. So, we do fitness training. We’ve done some mental training too. And with my Sweetlines Junior Racing girls, we had a book club through the COVID times and we spent two months working on this book called The Confidence Code for Girls. It gave a lot of examples and science and tools on how to build your confidence. That was great and really helpful for racing and for life in general. So, there's a mental piece of downhill racing. And then eating well, of course. Nutrition is huge, too. Knowing how to fuel your body before a race weekend, during a race weekend, after a race weekend.
Sweetlines Junior Racing
Is there anything else that you want people to know about you or your programs? I have made a few “how-to videos” but they're similar to online curriculum. I have my sample stuff ready right now and I'm going to use it for coach training for my coaches. We'll create more and more videos that are for kids of all ages. They'll be very fun. Topics will include: gearing up, helmet fit – things like that. Then we're going to move into the basics of shred skills. You're going to have Tall And Low for one lesson, Bouncing, Stomping, Absorbing. I really want to try and make our teaching methods more available to a bigger audience.
Sweetlines riders ready to hit the trails

Riding Bootleg Canyon with Kids

Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park - Boulder City, Nevada

Mountain biking Bootleg Canyon with kids: Just 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas lies Boulder City, Nevada. This small town sprouted from the desert as a result of needing to house contractors building the Hoover Dam. The construction of the dam was a WPA project from FDR’s New Deal agenda enacted to bring the county out of the Great Depression.

Fast forward to the late 1990s and a local by the name of Brent Thomson spearheaded the trail building in the western mountains bordering the city. Along with the help of many friends, this trail network would become the Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park. Unfortunately, Brent passed away in 2009 – but his love for mountain biking has evolved to become a unique destination for mountain bikers all over the world.

Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park - Boulder City, Nevada

Helpful Resources For Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park

Getting To Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

If you’re approaching from the north, you’ll have to go through Las Vegas on I-15. Once in Vegas, after exit 42 just hop on I-515/I-11 south and take that to Nevada Hwy 93.
Once in Boulder City, you access Bootleg by taking a left turn on Veteran’s Memorial Drive and another left on Yucca Street.
Mountain biking family
DVO Suspension Winter Gravity Series

MTB Races & Shuttle Service

900 Canyon Road
Boulder City NV 89005


Check the website for several mtb races and events through the winter months.


Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park Trail Map

Bootleg Is A Warm MTB Winter Wonderland

We visited Bootleg Canyon for the first time a little over 3 years ago as an escape from Salt Lake City’s dreary and cold “Inversion” season. Inversion is a cleansed word describing SLC’s pollution problem and this usually occurs in the months of January and February.

The novelty of being in the sun, enjoying 50º-60º temperatures, AND riding mountain bikes with the family in the dead of winter is strong incentive for loading up the mini van and hitting the road. More than once, the weather has been so favorable, we have camped at nearby Lake Mead in January and February. It can be windy at times with gusts reaching well over 20 mph. For optimal riding, be sure to check the weather in advance.

Bootleg Canyon bike sculpture
Camping at nearby Lake Mead - MTB road trip to Bootleg

When you approach the zone via Canyon Road/Yucca Street from the “downtown” area, you’re greeted by a wonderfully crafted metal mountain bike sculpture designed by a local shop by the name of Ornamental Iron Works. The bike is about 12 feet long x 8 feet tall. And, because it’s a mountain bike, it featured faux full suspension. The sculpture is an appropriate preface of what’s to come. Some of the trails at Bootleg require big-time skills.

Be prepared to ride at Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

Be Prepared To Ride At Bootleg

Riding Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park will make you better – but you better be prepared! The terrain can be steep, exposed, and sharp rocks grace almost every trail. Be sure your bike is in excellent working condition. You are going to need your brakes and suspension, so make sure they are ready to go. Make sure your tire pressure is correctly set – or at the very least, you will get a flat. You could also tear a tire, dent a wheel, or smash a derailleur.

For first time visitors, we recommend wearing a full-face or enduro helmet with removable chin bar when riding Bootleg. Gloves are also a must. Knee-pads, elbow pads, butt-pads, neck braces and chest protectors are also common protective gear at Bootleg Canyon. These should be a requirement if you are going to ride the downhill trails.

We would strongly recommend a full-suspension mountain bike for riding Bootleg. If downhill mountain biking is your specialty, there will be plenty to do.

Mountain Biking With The Family At Bootleg Canyon

There are no lifts to get you to the top of the trails. You can pedal, self-shuttle, or get a paid shuttle on most weekends. The graded, unpaved road from the base of the hill next to the restrooms and large parking areas is most commonly used to reach the top of the mountain. If you are going to the start of the downhill trails, you will hike-a-bike for about .25 miles up from where the graded road ends.

Pedaling up to Bootleg MTB trails
Bootleg Canyon shuttle

Some of the trails at Bootleg Canyon are challenging to say the least. If you are going to ride here with smaller kids, an adult with at least strong intermediate skills needs to pre-ride all the trails you intend to ride with the little ones. There is plenty to keep a young family busy, but it will be best if you plan ahead and make your itinerary based on your group’s riding ability.

When you are at the top of the graded road, you can see Las Vegas. While looking at the city, the hike-a-bike trail to the downhill trails is on your left. And, the trail Boy Scout is towards your right.

There are options for getting warmed up when riding Bootleg with your family. To get acquainted with the dirt, take a ride on the trail Desert Cruise and return to the base area on the River Mountains access road/trail.

Boy Scout and East Leg

When you’re ready to dial it up a notch, head up Red Mountain Access Road via pedal power or shuttle and try East Leg. Or, head to the top of Red Mountain Access Road and ride Boy Scout. Both Boy Scout and East Leg are gobs of fun and are rated as intermediate trails.

Boy Scout is one of our personal favorites because it’s features consist of everything we like about riding mountain bikes in the desert: fast corners, challenging but passable technical sections, tough turns, narrow lines, and even a few climbs. When you ride this trail over and over, you’re going to get better at mountain biking. You will ride it a little faster, clean a technical section with a bit more flow and finesse, transition to a climb in the correct gear, and so on.

kid on full-suspension bike at Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

Inner Caldera, West Leg, Girl Scout, Mother

Other intermediate trails include Inner Caldera, West Leg, Girl Scout, Mother, and a handful more. Explore these trails. Have a good time riding in this Southwest mountain biking mecca. Similar to some experts no longer calling Pluto a planet, the IMBA once designated Bootleg Canyon as one of its EPIC rides. Once you visit and ride Bootleg in person, you can judge the retracted designation for yourself.

Mother and son riding Inner Caldera trail at Bootleg Canyon MTB park
Mom rides Bootleg Mountain Bike Park with young son

Downhill Trails

The trails Sidewinder, Snake Back, and Ginger are a few of the advanced downhill trails in the park. These tracks are tough. There’s a reason why all the pictures of the downhill trails only feature the kids. Mom and dad just don’t have the skills for these.

You get to the top of the downhill tracks by shuttling your downhill bike or pedaling your trail bike to the top of Red Mountain Access Road. Then, you have about a .2 mile hike-a-bike/pedal to the start zone. All the downhill trails split off of Sidewinder. If you can ride the fist 150 feet of Sidewinder, you’re going to have a good time on these downhill trails. Again, ride within your skill-set and hunt out the downhill trails that make you happy.

Kid with protective neck brace on downhill mountain bike trail - Bootleg Canyon
Riding downhill mtb trail at Bootleg Canyon
Riding the hourglass on a full-suspension enduro bike at Bootleg Canyon

Racing At Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park

In the months of January, February and March – you and the family can race at Bootleg Canyon. Enduro, Downhill and Dual Slalom races are offered to riders age 6 and up. “Downhill” Mike Scheur is the Race Promoter for the events and his team does a great job running the show.

Downhill Mike Scheur

Downhill Mike, Says…

“Bootleg is great for families because there are so many there. If there was only one family at our events, it may be hard to convince others to come. However, these families seem to know each other and are very welcoming to new families just getting into the scene. They not only make you feel welcome and at home – but they are helpful as coaches and as resourceful as one can become for the sport and way of life.”

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Mountain biking mom
Downhill racer

These races are a lot of fun and a great way to ease the winter-time blues. Last year, our whole family raced one of the enduro events. You may even see some of the pros. Mountain bike racers Rachel Strait, Logan Binggeli, Cody Kelley, and Mitch Ropelato often make appearances here to kick off their seasons. Even World Cup overall champion downhill rider Aaron Gwin shows up once in a while to get his groove on. For more information and registration, visit

Current Trail Stewards And Other Features At The Bike Park

“Brent Thomson was not alone in his efforts when building trails”, exclaims Mike Scheur. “Dan Haskin is the acting Trail Boss at Bootleg. His brother Jeff and others started on the trails back when the sport was in it’s infancy. The local bike shop, All Mountain Cyclery and Dan Haskin have been providing maintenance and building some new stuff, too. Our crew, Bootleg Canyon Gravity Racing, works on all race trails before and after each event.”

Mountain biking kid on wood skinny
Bootleg Canyon Welcomes You - sign
Advanced jump line at Bootleg Canyon mountain bike park

Near the main base area, there are a few jump lines you’re free to session. Just treat it like a sledding hill and be on the lookout for oncoming downhill traffic prior to dropping in. Northeast of the base area, there is a see-saw feature, wood skinnies, small gap jump and a couple more senders. North of the metal bike sculpture near the entry of the bike park, there is another advanced jump line. On your left as you enter the park, there is a pump track.

Bootleg Canyon Truly Offers Something For Every Mountain Biker

With it’s proximity to Las Vegas, Bootleg Canyon is very accessible compared to many other riding destinations in the Southwest US.

This zone has earned its place on our winter month road trip itinerary year after year. We eagerly look forward to riding its challenging and unique terrain when the temperatures drop at our home and the local trails are covered in snow. When you visit Bootleg, you’re going to have plenty to do. You can easily enjoy a long weekend with the family so you can experience all this great zone has to offer mountain biking families.

We highly recommend visiting Bootleg Canyon with kids for families that want to get some sunshine in the winter months. Check out our Trails and Destinations page for more ideas for family mountain biking adventure.

Make Tonight Free Mountain Bike Movie Night

Free MTB Movie Night - Dec 13, 2020

Have you seen all of these before? Here’s a list of movies and a very exciting 2019 women’s XC race you can watch for free online today. We’ve chosen a couple of old favorites as well as a film released just a couple of months ago. Get the popcorn going and enjoy.

Women’s XCO finals – Albstadt 2019

Women's XCO Finals - Albstadt, 2019

Brutal climbs, wet woodwork, and greasy trails vs. some of the best women XC racers in the world. Click on the ‘Women’s XCO Finals’ tab on the right from a desktop to see the race.

Purple Mountains

Ok. We’re sneaking in a movie from professional snowboarder Jeremy Jones. He takes on exploring climate change and how it has become a politicized, money driven issue.

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Ryan Leech in Kranked 6 – Progression

Ryan is the ageless O-G of the North Shore and trials riding. This is a bonkers clip from 2006. Take a look at his online mtb coaching site, too.

The Flying Squirrels and Radical Rippers

Learn about a youth development mountain biking group for girls based in Bellingham, Washington.


This one always chokes dad up because of the little kids at the beginning. He clearly remembers being at the old Whistler skills parks when the kids were still on a balance bike and 20in bike. Created by Scott Secco and Ryan Howard – this was part of a past Dirt Diaries film contest that took place during Crankworx Whistler.

Danny Macaskill – Industrial Revolutions

Mom found this one years ago. The music and cinematography are on par with Danny’s riding.

Gifts for Mountain Bike Kids Ages 1-3

Cycling and mountain biking gifts for kids 1-3 years old

Looking for the mountain bike gifts for toddlers? If your kiddo prefers outside to inside, we’ve got you covered! Make your kid’s #newbikeday or pick up a few things that will help ’em hit the trails in safe and stylish comfort. Check out our favorite gifts for adventurous toddlers below.

VIEW the complete Mountain Biker Gift Guide

Holiday gifts for mountain biking kids ages 3 - 5
Vitus Smoothy balance bike for toddler mountain bike gift

Vitus Smoothy Balance Bike

Balance bikes are the best mountain bike gifts for toddlers! The Vitus Smoothy is a great choice. First, it is lightweight, weighing only 7 pounds. Second, it is secure and stable to help kids gain confidence. Vitus has a specially designed balance bike saddle that features a ‘scoop’ shape so your child will be sat in the correct position all of the time. Third, this bike has loads of style!  This bike is designed to make learning and progression easy and fun, helping your toddler learn to ride whilst having a great time.

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Specialized MIPS Mio Toddler Helmet mtb gift

Specialized MIPS Mio Toddler Helmet

When your toddler is old enough to sit in a trailer, ride in a child seat mounted on your bike, or able to ride a balance bike, they should wear a helmet. The Specialized Mio MIPS Youth Helmet is perfect for toddlers for many reasons. First, this helmet features a magnetic buckle for ease of use. Second, the bright bold graphics will make them want to wear it. Third, the Mio helmet features the Headset SC fit system that makes it easy to dial in the perfect fit.  Fourth, the in-molded shell improves the strength and reduces the weight of the helmet. It is MIPS-equipped which helps manage certain impact energies. Finally, the Mio has lots of additional features including reflective webbing to increase visibility and an integrated visor to shelter the eyes from the sun. This helmet is toddler sized which works for children about up to age three.

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Strider sport 12 balance bike for toddlers

Strider 12 Sport Kids’ Balance Bike 

The Strider Sport offers young riders a great opportunity to build essential skills for biking. The Strider will help your child learn to successfully balance on a bike. Because this bike does no have pedals or cranks, your kiddo can balance and glide forward with ease. Importantly, the Strider Sport features smaller diameter handlebar for better control, ultra-light one-piece wheels that are durable and never need air. The bar and seat clamps provide additional adjustment to accommodate height. Recommended for ages: 18 months- 5 years old.

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rei rainwall rain jackt for mountain bike toddlers

REI Co-op Rainwall Toddler Rain Jacket

We can’t think of anything more fun than riding your bike through puddles! This rain jeacket is build to last! First, the REI Co-op Rainwall rain jacket is made of ripstop nylon. Second, the shell is waterproof and windproof to 60+ mph and sealed seams help block inclement weather. Third, the 3-panel hood has a rain brim, hook-and-loop adjustment tab in back and elastic on the sides of the opening. Fourth, elastic cuffs and front stormflap seal out the elements and the droptail hem extends coverage. This jacket is one of our favorite mountain bike gifts for toddlers.

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Woom 1 balance bike - yellow toddler gift

Woom 1 12-inch wheel Balance Bike 

The Woom 1 balance bike is designed to enable toddlers to easily hop on and roll away. Firstly, the Woom 1 is made of light, high-quality AA 6061 aluminum. This bike only weighs 6.6 pounds. Secondly, beginner geometry with 12″ wheels lead to easy handling. Thirdly, the very low entry and low sitting position combine with a long wheelbase to provide good balance and more riding fun. Additionally, your kiddo can even learn to brake with mini v brakes created to fit very small hands. Even if a child has only just started to walk, the Woom 1 helps them to gain confidence and a sense of balance on two wheels.

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strider toddlet 12 balance bike snow skis gift

Strider 12 Snow Skis – Kids’

Transform your kid’s Strider 12 balance bike into a snow-friendly shred sled! The Strider 12 Snow Skis can provide tons of fun. Your young rider will improve their riding balance and stability on the slopes all winter long. Why get these skis? First, with the skis attached, your child’s bike gets more year-round use. Second, the no-tool installation attaches skis to each wheel with a secure buckle and strap system (included). Third, these durable plastic skis are lightweight to glide easily in powder and down sledding hills, yet built to withstand toddler-level thrashing. These skis are compatible with Strider 12 Classic, Strider 12 Sport and Strider 12 Pro balance bikes (not included).

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Zippy Rooz toddler little kids gloves gift

ZippyRooz Toddler Full Long Finger Bike Gloves

Keep your young rider’s hands comfortable and protected! Zippyrooz Toddler & Little Kids Full Long Finger Bike Gloves are made to fit the smallest riders. These gloves are well designed to meet your kids riding needs. First, the minimal padding on the palm ensures easier grip but still offers protection. Second, these gloves will keep little fingers warm in cooler temperatures and are breathable enough for warmer days. Finally, these gloves boast soft thumb material for wiping running noses.

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strider bike rocking base for toddlers

Strider Bike Rocking Base

A perfect gift for the youngest riders! Transform your child’s Strider Bike into a rocking-horse bike with the Strider Bike Rocking Base. Made from durable plastic, this base is designed to work with Strider Bikes. This base will turn a strider bike into fun, low-to-the-ground, indoor rocking bike. Importantly, it is easy to install a strider to the base in seconds. Bonus! This toy requires no batteries and won’t make any annoying sounds!

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early rider big foot mountain bike for toddler gift

Early Rider Big Foot 12 Balance Bike

Big Foot 12 has low slung frame with a saddle height of just 12.2 inches for the littlest riders. The frame, fork, hubs, rims, steerer, stem and handlebars are all aluminum.  Additionally, all bearings are maintenance free sealed cartridges. To set this bike a part from other balance bikes, the 2.25″ tires with knobbly treads will provide traction and soak up every bump. Kid sized Ritchey controls with a powerful, light pull rear brake to give that extra stopping confidence.

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Shred til Bed Alphabet Book gift kids

Shred Til Bed – The MTB Animal Alphabet Book

What do you do when it’s too dark to ride? Read a book about mountain biking, of course! Shred til bed is an animal alphabet book for your mountain bike kid. Young riders will love the illustrated A-Z animals in the book. Older kids (and kids at heart) will enjoy seeing their favorite MTB features in hard-cover print.

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burley mykick balabe bike for toddlers

Burley Kids’ MyKick Balance Bike

The Burley Kids’ MyKick Balance Bike gives kids a head start in learning how to balance on two wheels. The seatpost and handlebars are adjustable, allowing you to change the fit as they grow. Its 12-inch tires are rubber with flat-free technology. The MyKick Balance Bike is available in red , green or pink.

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Best Bikes For Kids 1-3 Years Old

The best bikes for 1 - 3 year olds

Looking for the best bikes For kids 1-3 years old? These 12-inch wheel bikes are made for the smallest riders. Our list includes four balance bikes and one pedal bike. Why? A balance bike is an excellent first step to help your kiddo learn balance and steer on two wheels. No pedals means that your rider will have an easier time learning to balance and will build confidence quickly. For more info on balance bikes check out The Glory of Balance Bikes.

The best bikes for 1 - 3 year olds

Balance bikes

If you are looking for a first bike for your 1-3 year old, we’re true believers in the magic of the balance bike. Balance bikes are the best first step to help your kiddo develop the coordination to balance and steer without having to think about pedaling. Most important, be sure to choose a balance bike that will fit your little one. Be sure the minimum seat height is low enough for your kiddo to sit on the seat with both feet touching the ground. First, measure your child’s inseam length to determine minimum seat height. Then look for a balance bike with the largest diameter wheels that will accommodate your child.

Pedal bikes

If at 2-3 years old, your little rider has already mastered the balance bike, but is still small enough, the Cleary Gecko 12 is an amazing first pedal bike.

Note: Taller 2-3 year old kids may fit better on a 14-inch or even 16-inch wheel bike. Check out our lists of Best 14-inch bikes and Best 16-inch bikes before making a purchase.

Here is an overview of our top five 12-inch wheel bikes 1, 2 and 3 year old kids

Check out the comparison table at the end of the article to see all the size, cost and other data in one place.

Prevelo Alpha Zero

The Alpha Zero balance bike is a great ride to help little ones learn balance before they jump on a pedal bike. Firstly, the Alpha Zero features a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame. Secondly, the Alpha Zero comes with Tektro rear v-brakes with small reach brake levers. This will help your kid learn to brake before they learn to pedal.

As expected, Prevelo goes the extra mile to engineer bikes for kids to be confidence inspiring, easy, and fun to ride as possible. Above all, Prevelo bikes feature low minimum seat heights and low bottom brackets. This geometry places the rider close to the ground (lowering the center of gravity) to help kids feel more confident, learn easier and ride better.

Buy this balance bike from:

Saddle Height11.5in - 15.6in
DrivetrainBalance Bike
Frame Material6061 Aluminum/Alloy
BrakesRear V-Brakes
Claimed Weight8.5lbs

Strider 12 Classic Balance Bike

The Strider 12 Classic is the traditional entry-level balance bike. There are no unnecessary bells and whistles on this simple and durable balance bike. The Strider Classic 12” balance bike is lightweight to help make learning to ride easier for first time balance bike riders. Importantly, the Strider classic utilizes basic characteristics as the top-selling Strider 12” Sport at an affordable price for the budget-minded family.

Buy this balance bike from:

Saddle Height11in
DrivetrainBalance Bike
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
Claimed Weight6.7lbs

Vitus Smoothy Balance Bike

The Vitus Smoothy balance bike is one of the lightest, most durable and stylish on the market. The Smoothy features a unique cast Magnesium frameset that features a useful carry handle and integrated footrests for coasting. The headset upper and lower bearings make the steering control smooth and reliable. Fine tune the height of the handlebars.

Vitus has a specially designed balance bike saddle that features a ‘scoop’ shape so your child will be sat in the correct position all of the time. This ensures they can steer effectively and are positioned perfectly, giving themselves the best possible change of balancing effectively. Also, the seat-post is fully height adjustable allowing room for growth

Buy this balance bike from:

Saddle Height12 inches+
DrivetrainBalance Bike
Frame MaterialMagnesium
Claimed Weight7.1 pounds

Woom 1 Balance Bike

The Woom 1 Balance Bike features a high quality and light weight frame and components. Most importantly, the Woom 1 has an extremely low step-through height and an adjustable seat height to fit the smallest riders. Specifically, Woom designed this bike for ages 18 months-4 years or height 32″-39″. In addition, the Woom 1 comes with high quality V-brakes to enable easy braking at an early age.

Buy this balance bike from:

Saddle Height10.2in - 14.5in
DrivetrainBalance Bike
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
Claimed Weight7.4lbs

Cleary Gecko 12 Single Speed

The Gecko 12” single speed bike is an great option for introducing cycling to your little one. Firstly, this tiny kids pedal bike is light. In fact, it weighs just 15 pounds for the coaster brake or 13 pounds for the freewheel option. Secondly, the Gecko single speed includes front and rear child-specific hand brakes on both coaster brake bike, and freewheel option. Thirdly, the saddle, grips, handlebars and brake levers are designed for little riders. Fourthly, Cleary designed the bike geometry to enable riders to sit on the seat with their feet safely planted on the ground. Both seat height and reach to the handlebars are adjustable with one bolt, to easily optimize the fit.

Buy this balance bike from:

Saddle Height?
DrivetrainSingle Speed
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
Claimed Weight13lbs

Comparison chart: Best 12-inch wheel bikes for 1, 2 or 3 year olds 

Alpha Zero
Strider 12 Classic
Balance Bike
Smoothy Balance Bike
Woom 1
Balance Bike
Cleary Gecko 12
Single Speed
Saddle Height11.5-15.6 inches11 inches12 inches10.2-14.5 inches?
Drivetrainbalance bikebalance bikebalance bikebalance bikesingle speed
Frame6061 aluminum alloyaluminum alloymagnesiumaluminum alloyaluminum alloy
Brakesrear V brakesnonenoneV brakesV brakes
Claimed Weight8.5 pounds6.7 pounds7.1 pounds7.4 pounds13 pounds

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Best Bikes for Kids 3-4 Years Old

The best bikes for 3-4 year old boys and girls

Bikes for Kids 3-4 Years Old: There are lots of kids bikes available online. However, many of these bikes are super heavy with cheap full-sized components which make them hard to ride safely. MTBwithkids recommends choosing a bike designed specifically for 3 and 4 year old riders. Our list of best bikes for 3-4 year olds includes balance bikes, pedal bikes and bikes that are designed to transform from balance to pedal bikes. These bikes all have 14-inch wheels and span experience and skill levels from true beginners to little rippers.

The best bikes for 3-4 year old boys and girls

Balance bikes

If your 3-4 year old is just starting to ride, we’d highly recommend choosing a 14-inch wheel balance bike for their first bicycle. Balance bikes are an excellent first step to help your kiddo develop the coordination to balance and steer without having to think about pedaling. When choosing a balance bike, it’s important to be sure that the minimum seat height is low enough. Your kiddo should be able to sit on the seat with both feet touching the ground. You’ll want to measure your child’s inseam length to determine minimum seat height and then look for a balance bike with the largest diameter wheels that will accommodate your child.

Pedal bikes

If at 3 or 4 years old, your little rider has already mastered the balance bike, there are a few manufacturers designing 14-inch wheel kids bikes that are well made, lightweight and fun to ride.

Note: kids on the taller side may fit on a 16-inch wheel bike, so you might want to check out our list of Best 16-inch bikes  before making a purchase.

Here is an overview of our top five 14-inch wheel bikes for 3 or 4 year old kids. 

Check out the comparison table at the end of the article to see all the data in one place.

Strider Balance Bike 14x Sport

Strider 14x Sport Balance Bike

The Strider 14x Sport is an amazing bike that designed to grow with your child. Firstly, the 14x comes with a fully adjustable seat and handlebars to grow with your growing kid.  The 14x starts off as a balance bike, which helps riders gain confidence and balancing ability. Importantly, once your kiddo is ready to pedal, just attach the Easy-Ride Pedal Kit. Converting the 14x from balance bike to pedal bike is quick and easy. The Strider 14x Sport will fit riders 37-49 inches tall (Inseam (16-23 in). This is one of the classic bikes for kids 3-4 years old.

Buy this 14″ wheel kids bike from:

Saddle Height16-23 inches
DrivetrainBalance Bike
Frame MaterialSteel
Claimed Weight12.5 pounds
Prevelo Alpha One kid bike

Prevelo Alpha One

The 14″ Alpha One is the smallest pedal bike in the Prevelo lineup and fits most 3 to 4.5 year olds. The Alpha One is packed with features to get little riders off to the right start. Firstly, Prevelo included confidence inspiring low and narrow geometry. Secondly, this lightweight bike is made of 6061 aluminum frame with custom formed tubing with an aluminum alloy fork with chromoly steerer. Finally, stopping is easy with Tektro front and rear v-brakes with small reach brake levers and a rear coaster brake (removable with optional freewheel kit). You will appreciate this kids bike!

Buy this 14-inch wheel kids’ bike from:

Saddle Height15.6-17.5
DrivetrainSingle speed
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
BrakesTektro aluminum V-brakes & coaster brake
Claimed Weight14.4 pounds
Woom 2 kid bike

Woom 2

The Woom 2 was developed specifically for kids that are new to or have only recently begun pedaling. Importantly, this bike is designed with short cranks and a low bottom bracket to enable your child to put their feet on the ground without losing balance. The Woom 2 is a great transition from balance bike to pedal bike and enables fast learning. Woom 2 was designed to fit kids 37″-43” inches tall. A separate freewheel kit is available for purchase.

Buy this 14-inch wheel kids’ bike from:

Saddle Height16-19 inches
DrivetrainSingle speed
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
BrakesCoaster and v-hand brakes
Claimed Weight12 lbs 3 oz.
Prevelo Zulu One kids' bike

Prevelo Zulu One

This bike has to be seen to be believed. It is truly one of the bikes for kids 3-4 years old. See our Prevelo Zulu One Review for photos of this bike in action.  The Prevelo Zulu One packs high performance mountain bike features into a tiny 14-inch wheel size package. Each component is carefully chosen to provide the best performance for young riders ready to mountain bike with mom and dad.

Specifically, the Prevelo Zulu One comes with front and rear disc brakes! Your kid will be safely able to modulate speed and stop quickly when needed. In addition, this amazing little machine features a lightweight 6061 aluminum frame and BOXT™ rear stays and forged rear dropouts. Additionally, this 14” bike ships with a bonus short seat post. This adds options for height adjustment. All things considered, you can’t go wrong with the Pevelo Zulu One.

Buy this 14-inch wheel kids’ bike from:

Saddle Height16-25 inches
DrivetrainSingle Speed
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
BrakesTektro hydraulic disc
Claimed Weight15.9 lbs
vitus kid 14 blue best 14 inch wheel bike

Vitus Kid 14

The Kid 14 from Vitus is designed with child specific geometry. This bike is is optimized for agility and control to give your 3 or 4 year old greater confidence. First, the Vitus Kid 14 features child friendly components. This bike boasts short reach adjustable brake levers, smaller diameter handlebar grips and a bespoke chainset. Second, the Kid 14 features single speed gearing and Tektro V-Brakes for easy operation and reliable braking. Third, the Vitus 14 features a reduced Q Factor. This brings the pedals close to the center of the bike to improve pedaling efficiency, Fourth, the 14 features 14″ wheels and all-purpose Vee Speedster tires. Finally, this little bike is equally at home on hard pavement or off-road trails.

Buy this 14-inch wheel kids’ bike from:

Saddle Height16.5-19.5 inches
DrivetrainSingle Speed
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
BrakesTektro V brakes
Claimed Weight13.3 lbs

Comparison chart: Best 14-inch wheel bikes for 3 and 4 year olds 

14x Sport
Balance Bike
Alpha One
Woom 2Prevelo
Zulu One
Vitus Kid 14
Saddle Height16-23 inches15.6-17.516-19 inches16-25 inches16.6-19.5 inches
Drivetrainbalance bikesingle speedsingle speedsingle speedsingle speed
Framesteelaluminum alloyaluminum alloyaluminum alloyaluminum alloy
BrakesnoneV brakes and coasterV brakes and coasterhydraulic discv brakes
Claimed Weight12.5 pounds14.4 pounds12.2 pounds15.9 pounds13.3 pounds

Best Mountain Bikes for Kids 5-8 Years Old

The best mountain bikes for 5, 6, 7, and 8 year olds with 20 inch wheels

Mountain Bikes for Kids 5-8 Years-old – Hoping to get your kid a bike they can take out on the trails this year? The 20-inch bikes on our list might be a great fit for your 5, 6, 7 or 8 year old rider.

Bike fit is an essential aspect of choosing the right bike. Look for a frame with a stand-over height that will allow your kid to stand astride the bike with both feet flat on the ground, for optimal comfort and safety. To determine the stand-over height, find your rider’s inseam measurement by measuring the length of the leg on the inside from crotch to ankle.

The best mountain bikes for 5, 6, 7, and 8 year olds with 20 inch wheels

20-inch wheels give young riders plenty of control and nimble turning, but without being too small to roll over rocks and roots on the trail. Luckily, there are many good 20” wheel kids bikes to choose from. Check out Ten Things to Know Before You Buy a Kid’s Mountain Bike

Here is an overview of our top seven 20-inch wheel bikes for 5, 6, 7 or 8 year old kids. Check out the comparison table at the end of the article to see all the size, cost and other data in one place.

Prevelo Zulu Three kids mountain bike

Prevelo Zulu Three

If you’re looking for high performance mountain bike features on 20-inch wheel size package, the Zulu Three is a great option. Each component is the real deal and has been carefully chosen to provide the best performance and fit for young riders ready to tear up the trails.

Firstly, low and narrow Prevelo geometry keeps the rider low, balanced and in control. Secondly, Tektro front and rear hydraulic disc brakes make speed control and stopping easy. Thirdly, the specially designed Shimano ZEE 10-speed drivetrain and derailleur. Importantly, this amazing component features a clutch that can be turned on with the flip of a switch to eliminate derailleur bounce over hard terrain and reduce chain drops.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike from:

Stand-over Height22 inches
Drivetrain1 x 10
Frame Material6061 Aluminum/Alloy
BrakesTektro hydraulic disc
Claimed Weight22.2 pounds
ForkSR Suntour XCM Air SL 20 - 80mm travel
ShifterShimano DEORE RAPIDFIRE Plus

Cleary Bikes Owl 20-inch 3 speed Bike - Kids gift

Cleary Owl 20 3-Speed

Watch your kid’s confidence and coordination improve as they master gears with the Cleary Bikes Owl 20in 3 Speed Kids’ Bike. Cleary designs bikes that have lots of features to love. First, the Owl frame and fork are lightweight and built to withstand anything your kid can dish out. Second, the geometry is optimized to ideally respond to steering inputs while remaining stable. Third, there are only three gears, so it isn’t overwhelming. The Cleary Bikes Owl best fits young adventurers with an inseam measurement between 19 and 23in. In conclusion, the lightweight construction and reliable components create a bike that’s ready to guide your little shredder around the neighborhood and on the trails.

Above all, Cleary designs bikes for kids of every size and ability to ride safely and comfortably. Note: steel is strong and tough. Cleary bikes have no rider weight limit and are able to survive anything your kids can dish out. This bike is also available in a 3-speed model.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike from:

Stand-over Height19.3 inches
Frame MaterialSteel
BrakesTektro V-Brakes
Claimed Weight19 lbs
Shifter3-Speed Sturmey Archer
Early Rider Limited Seeker 20-inch Kids Bike

Early Rider Limited Seeker 20

The Seeker 20 is built for broadening horizons for 5-9 year old riders. The Seeker 20 has many features that your young rider will love. Firstly, the 11-36 tooth cassette gives a wide gear range to make light work of those hills. Secondly, the short-stay geometry is optimized for maneuverability and performance. Thirdly, the lightweight rigid fork is super durable, saving you the servicing of a shock.  And, as it’s made from super strong aluminum, it will withstand the inevitable drops and crashes. Finally, the bump soaking 2.25″ balloon mud tires provide all the cushioning a young adventurer needs.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike from:

Stand-over Height21.5 inches
Drivetrain1 x 10
Frame Material6061Aluminum Alloy
BrakesMechanical Disc Brakes
Claimed WeightNA
ShifterBox 4 P8 Multi Twin Shifter

Vitus 20 inch wheel kids bike

Vitus 20

The Vitus 20 kids’ bike is ideal for taking your kid’s riding to the next level. Several aspects of this bike will give junior riders more confidence which can translate to better trail riding experiences. First, the Vitus 20 features modern geometry to help with comfort, control and stability. Second, the kid-sized components are proportioned for smaller riders. Third, the lightweight aluminum frame and fork are light and strong. Finally, the Shimano Altus 7 speed drivetrain provides just enough gears.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike from:

Stand-over Height20 inches
Drivetrain1 x 7
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
BrakesTektro Jl510-rs Short Reach
Claimed Weight18.7 lbs
ShifterShiamano Altus Rapidfire
Woom 4 kid bike

Woom 4

The Woom 4 is an excellent  light 20” wheel bike that can be your kids first introduction to gears. Specifically, the Woom 4 includes a SRAM X4 8-gear shifter to help your rider tackle varying terrain and grades. The 8 gears and light Kenda off-road tires make it a great bike for exploring and longer rides. Importantly, the Mini V-Brakes with levers suitable for small hands make stopping safely easy. This bike was designed for ages 6 to 9 years with a height of 45″-51”inches. All in all, the Woom 4 is an excellent choice.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike from:

Stand-over Height19.5 inches
Drivetrain1 x 8
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
Claimed Weight16.9 lbs
ShifterSRAM X4 Grip
Norco Fluid FS1 20 kids Mountain Bike

Norco Fluid FS1 20

The Norco Fluid FS1 20 is a progressive, aggressive trail bike designed for young riders to tackle a wide range of demanding trails with confidence and capability. Norco specially designed this bike to meet the needs of the smallest rippers. To start, the Fluid FS1 20 boasts a stand-over height of only 19 inches. Next, the Fluid FS1 20 features 100mm of Fox Performance FLOAT rear suspension matched to a Manitou J-Unit Expert Air 120mm fork. These youth-tuned suspension components will smooth out the bumps and provide some cushioning for drops and jumps. Importantly, this bike includes a dropper post that is optimized for riders below 90 pounds. Additionally, the Norco Fluid FS1 20 features SDG youth-specific touch points, a SRAM GX 10-speed drivetrain and Tektro hydraulic disc brakes.

Buy this kids’ full suspension bike from:

Saddle Height22 inches
Drivetrain1 x 10
Frame Material6061 Alloy
BrakesShimano BR-MT500 hydraulic disc
Claimed Weight?
ForkManitou J-Unit 20
ShockFox Performance FLOAT 3
ShifterSRAM GX Trigger
Cannondale Trail 20 Kids mountain bike

Cannondale Trail 20

When your kid is ready to take to the trails for off-road adventures, the Cannondale Trail 20 might be the bike for them. This kids’ mountain bike features a lightweight aluminum alloy frame and smooth suspension fork. Additionally, the handlebar, grips, brake levers, saddle and cranks are designed to fit young riders.  Importantly, Cannondale designed the Trail 20 with a lower range gear ratio to make it easier to start pedaling and climb hills.

Buy this kids’ mountain bike from:

Stand-over Height20.5 inches
Drivetrain1 x 7
Frame MaterialAluminum/Alloy
Claimed Weight24 lbs
ShifterShimano Tourney Revo Twist Shifter

Comparison chart: Best 20-inch wheel mountain bikes for 5, 6, 7 or 8 year olds 

Prevelo Zulu Three22 inches1 x 10aluminumTektro hydraulic disc22.2 lbsSR Suntour XCM Air SL 20 - 80mm travelShimano DEORE RAPIDFIRE Plusnone
Cleary Owl 20 3-Speed19.3 inches1 x 3SteelV Hand19 lbsrigid3-Speed Sturmey Archernone
Early Rider Limited 2021.5 inches1 x 106061 Aluminum AlloyHydraulic disc brakes?rigidBox 4 P8 Multi Twin Shifternone
Vitus 2020 inches1 x 76061Aluminum AlloyTektro Jl510-rs Short Reach18.7 lbsrigidShiamano Altus Rapidfirenone
Woom 419.5 inches1 x 8Aluminum AlloyV Hand16.9 lbsrigidSRAM X4 Gripnone
Norco Fluid FS1 2022 inches1 x 76061Aluminum AlloyShimano BR-MT500 hydraulic disc?Manitou J-Unit 20SRAM GX TriggerFox Performance FLOAT 3
Cannondale Trail 2020.5 inches1 x 76061 Aluminum AlloyV Hand24 lbsrigidShimano Tourney Revo Twistnone

Gifts For Mountain Biking Families in 2020


Updated for 2020 – Here is a list of gifts for mountain biking families. These gifts can help your mountain biking family get out and ride together! Our family is at its very best when we are all together on the bikes. And, we hope you feel the same.

We have chosen practical gifts that will hopefully allow you and your active kids to keep the good times rolling, properly inflated, sheltered, locked up, documented and stored.


Holiday gifts for mountain bike families
The GoPro Hero 9 is a great gift for mountain bikers no matter what time of year it is

GoPro Hero 9

GoPro action cameras get better every year and the GoPro Hero 9 is loaded for what mountain bikers need. The built-in HyperSmooth stability feature irons out the jitters and you can capture video in 5k format. The lens cover is easily replaceable in case it gets scratched. Voice commands, live-streaming, and a wide variety of mounts make this item a must-have for families who are ready to document their adventures.

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yakima hangover mountain bike rack for families

Yakima Hangover 6 Rack 

The Yakima Hangover 6 rack is perfect for big families or small families that like to ride with friends! Constructed of heavy-duty steel, Yakima’s first-ever vertical bike rack safely hauls up to 6 mountain bikes to the trailhead. The easy-to-operate tilt mechanism with two adjustable mast angles keep your bikes from bumping into your vehicle and makes accessing the tailgate or back hatch a breeze with bikes unloaded. Available in 4-bike or 6-bike options, the HangOver’s vertical orientation carries more bikes in less space. Read our full Review of the Yakima Hangover 6.

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Helinox Chairs

Three years ago, we purchased four Helinox chairs (one for each family member) as a Christmas gift. After 3 years of use, we remain impressed with the quality and durability of these chairs. The Helinox chairs are compact and light, taking up about half the space of our old heavy foldable camping chairs. This not only helps when we road trip in the minivan, but also makes it possible to put them into a backpack for short hikes. These chairs assemble easily – our kids can have their chairs built in less than a minute. Read our full review at:

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Kids Ride Shotgun Bike Seat

Take your kiddo with you on your bike ride so they can experience the joys of cycling. The Kids Ride Shotgun Shotgun Seat is a front-mounted child seat that mounts on your frame and is perfect for kids 2 to 5 years old. It has full rubber protection for alloy or carbon frames, adjustable width and angle to all mountain bikes, and a quick-release fitting for easy installation and removal. See our full review here:

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Thule Chariot Cadence Kids Trailer

Bring your little ones along for the ride with the Thule Cadence Kids Trailer. This easy to use bike trailer provides a safe and comfortable ride for your kids. Easily attach it to your bike with Thule’s patented ezHitch. It has space to fit up to 2 kids and even has extra storage space to carry along extra cargo.

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This is the best dslr camera for mountain biking - at an entry level price point

Canon T7i DSLR For Mountain Biking Photos

We recently upgraded to this 24mp Canon DSLR with 18-55mm lens so we could get sharper action shots and achieve better results in low light. The camera can shoot 6 frames per second and its auto-focus is more than adequate when upgrading from a smartphone. A 16gb SD card can hold over 500 images. It also shoots HD video at 1920 x 1080 resolution. If you want a similar camera with a weather-sealed body, consider the Canon 80D.

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Patagonia Black Hole Duffel Bag 55L

Everyone in the family could use a new Black Hole 55L Duffel Bag. You might want to choose different colors for each person, so you can find the bag you need easily. The 55 L Black Hole duffle has plenty of storage capacity for gear-intensive weekend travels or longer trips. The ripstop fabric will withstand wear and tear from endless adventures. It’s also highly water-resistant to keep your stuff dry in case of wet weather. Deployable backpack straps make it easy to carry while wheeling your bike. These duffles are one of our favorites gifts for mountain biking families. Read our full review.

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Marmot Halo Tent: 6-Person 3-Season gifft for mountain bike families

Marmot Halo Six-Person Three-Season Tent

A tent is one of the gifts for mountain biking families that keeps on giving! The Marmot Halo Tent’s extra-large interior easily holds up to six members of your family. The four-pole design can easily withstand a stormy day. The double-door, double-vestibule design allows easy entry as well as providing convenient of out-of-the-rain storage space for mountain bikes. The 81-inch interior height allows a six-foot person to easily stand up straight in the middle.

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