Best Kids' Cruiser Bikes

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

31 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
447 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best kids' cruiser bikes

Last Updated November 2019

These days, there is a bike designed for every conceivable type of riding. You can get a BMX bike, a mountain bike, a bike that folds up, a recumbent bike, or something else. However, when your child just wants to take a leisurely ride, maybe in the morning down the sidewalk, where the purpose is relaxation and not speed or tricks, you'll want to consider a kids' cruiser bike.

For the most part, kids' cruiser bikes feature a sturdy build and a single gear. These bikes are stable. They offer a steady ride, and they often have desirable accessories such as a basket or a rear rack to make transporting items safe and easy.

In the following article, we tell you about some of the most important features to look for in a kids' cruiser bike, so you know when you've found the best one for your child. If you’re ready to purchase and just looking for some recommendations, consider the bikes that we've spotlighted elsewhere on this page.

Riding a bike may be tough to master in the beginning, but once your child gets it, they get it. After that, it’s an easy way to share a physical activity that offers long-term health benefits.

Key considerations

When choosing the best kids' cruiser bike, the options can be so overwhelming that you can't even decide where to begin. Luckily, there are only two key elements you need to focus on first to be sure you purchase a model that is right for your child: size and number of speeds.

Size

You want to get the right size bike at the outset. If you purchase a bike with a frame and wheel size that are too large or too small for your child, you might not be able to fix that mistake simply by raising or lowering the seat and adjusting the handlebars.

Standing: Your child should be able to straddle the top tube (the horizontal bar just beneath the seat) and stand with both feet flat on the ground.

Sitting: When seated, your child should be on tiptoe (if the seat has been adjusted properly), have a straight back, and be able to easily reach the handlebars without leaning too far forward or feeling cramped.

The following guidelines comparing child heights to frame and wheel sizes are just a starting point, as every body is a little bit different, but these numbers should get you pretty close to the size cruiser bike that your child needs.

Up to 3 feet tall: 10-inch frame with 16-inch wheels

3 to 4 feet tall: 12-inch frame with 20-inch wheels

4 to 5 feet tall: 15-inch frame with 24-inch wheels

5 to 6 feet tall: 18-inch frame with 26-inch wheels

Speeds

Almost all kids' cruiser bikes have one speed, because they are not designed for vigorous riding, tricks, racing, or anything other than leisurely pedaling. This design makes the bikes more affordable, lighter, and much easier to take care of. However, if you have steep hills in your neighborhood, having just one gear makes pedaling uphill extremely difficult. For the individual who does not have a fairly flat place to ride, you might want to consider a kids' cruiser bike that has three or more speeds.

EXPERT TIP

One of the best reasons to get your child a cruiser bike is so the entire family can engage in an activity that’s fun and healthy and can help create a strong bond between all family members.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Once you figure out what size frame and wheels you need and decide if you’d like multiple speeds or not, purchasing the best kids' cruiser bike becomes a matter of picking the options and features that most interest your child. The following are a few other considerations that may enhance your child’s riding experience.

Comfort

Comfort is subjective, and your child won't truly know how comfortable a cruiser bike is until they've been riding it around for a while. However, there are a few aspects to look for that will help you choose the most comfortable bike before your child takes it for a spin. The two elements responsible for comfort are the seat and the handlebars.

Seat: Unlike many other bikes, your child should be seated, not standing, while riding a kids' cruiser bike. Because of this, look for a wide saddle with extra cushioning and springs so that sitting is enjoyable. Additionally, besides moving up and down, the seat should be able to tilt, and some may even be able to slide backward and forward for more precise adjustments.

Handlebars: Besides having a soft, ergonomic grip, most of the comfort level of kids' cruiser bike handlebars comes from how you adjust them. Leaning forward can cause lower back pain, so the ideal position is sitting upright with the hands at a height that not only feels right but also gives your child the confidence that they have complete control of the steering.

Tires: A third aspect that affects comfort is the bike's tires. You want your kids' cruiser bike to have wide, thick tires to better absorb bumps and shocks for a smoother ride. Additionally, wider tires can help with balance.

Brakes: Almost all kids' cruiser bikes feature coaster brakes, the kind that stop the bike when you pedal backward. A bike with multiple speeds cannot have coaster brakes (it needs hand brakes). If your child prefers a cruiser bike with hand brakes (even if the bike only has one speed), it’s possible to find one, but it might require a little more searching.

Fenders: Most kids' cruiser bikes have fenders. These convenient components keep water and mud from splashing up on the rider. It’s easier to remove the fenders than it is to find a set of aftermarket fenders. Even if you aren’t sure if you’ll be keeping them on the bike, it's best to purchase a kids' cruiser bike that already has fenders.

Accessories: One of the most enjoyable aspects of shopping for a kids' cruiser bike is the wide assortment of included options and accessories that are available. You can handpick a bike that really lets your child’s personality shine. Some of the accessories you’ll see include the following:

  • Basket
  • Panniers
  • Cooler
  • Drink holder
  • Rear luggage rack with lid
  • Bottle opener
     

Additionally, there are numerous safety features, such as headlight, reflective pedals, and bell, that can help announce your child’s presence when approaching a crowded area. If any of these items are of interest to you, look for a cruiser bike that includes them.

Positioning the seat too low on your kids' cruiser bike may help your child build confidence, but it also makes the bike harder to pedal and can become a lifelong bad habit.

Kids’ cruiser bike prices

Inexpensive: At the low end of the price scale, from $100 to $130, you can find kids' cruiser bikes for the youngest kids, up to eight years old. These bikes usually have a smaller frame.

Mid-range: The best place to look for kids' cruiser bikes is in the $130 to $200 price range. This is where you’ll find bikes for older kids that are well built and come in a wide variety of colors. This is also where you’ll find bikes with more customizable options and accessories, such as baskets, different styles of fenders, and more.

Expensive: Above the $200 mark, you start to find more specific features, such as tandem bikes or multiple speeds. You also see some hybrid designs, such as more ruggedly designed cruiser bikes that can better handle trails.

EXPERT TIP

If your child experiences any back pain while riding, make sure the seat isn't too high or too low. Also, make sure that the handlebars aren't too far away, because this requires reaching, which can put extra strain on the lower back.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

Although you never forget how to ride a bike, learning can be tough. Here are a few tips to make the process as effortless as possible.

  • Make sure your child is ready, willing, and able to ride. If any one of these key elements is missing from the process, learning to ride a bike is going to be very difficult.
  • Purchase the right size bike. Buying a bike that is too large so your child can "grow into it" can place your child in a dangerous situation.
  • Buy a properly fitting bike helmet for your child. Do not put this off. While learning to ride is when the most falls occur.
  • Practice gliding without pedaling. Have your child either take very long, gliding strides, or push off and raise their feet to get used to finding their balance before adding pedals to the mix. Then you can have your child place one foot on the pedal that’s in its lowest position and push off the pavement and glide. When your child feels comfortable, they can practice gliding with both feet on the pedals.
  • Practice braking. While holding the bike upright for your child, go through the motions needed to slow the bike (with hand brake or coaster brake) until they understand how to stop the bike.
  • Introduce pedaling. Gradually introduce pedaling by using either a push-and-glide method to get started or by having you child place a foot on a pedal in the one o'clock position, so they can get a nice strong downstroke to start.
  • Be patient. Learning to ride a bike can take a good bit of time for many children, and you might need to make several attempts for extended periods over the course of several days before achieving success. Keep it fun and pressure-free.

Other products we considered

With so many design options and customizable accessories available for kids' cruiser bikes, there is a chance that you might need a little broader selection to find the perfect match for your child. If that’s the case, please consider these other highly rated models. If pink is your young child's favorite color, the JOYSTAR Cruiser Bike is perfect because it even includes pink rims and handgrips. The bike comes with training wheels, too. For the older rider who is about five feet tall, the Huffy Panama Jack Beach Cruiser Bike is elegantly designed and features accessories like a large front-mounted wicker basket and even a bottle opener. If you're looking for a kids' cruiser bike with multiple speeds, try the six-speed Huffy Panama Jack Beach Cruiser Bike. This highly stylized model fits kids 13 and older, and it features a cooler bag, beverage holder, rear rack, and bottle opener.

FAQ

Q. What are cruiser bikes?
A.
Cruiser bikes began being produced shortly after the Great Depression. They were a no-frills, affordable type of bike that was marketed to kids. They’re designed for casual riding on smooth surfaces with the rider in an upright seated position. Cruiser bikes have a classic look and can be customized in a variety of ways to meet the aesthetic needs of the rider.

 

Q. How high should the seat be on my kids' cruiser bike?
A.
The ideal seat height allows the rider's knee to be very slightly bent when the pedal is at its lowest position. If the rider has to tilt their hips or scoot to the thinner section of the bike saddle to achieve a full stroke, the seat is too high. On the other hand, if the rider's knees are constantly bent, never reaching a nearly full extension, the seat is too low.

 

Q. How high should the handlebars be on my kids' cruiser bike?
A.
There are two factors to consider when setting the proper height for the handlebars of your kids' cruiser bike. The first is comfort. The handlebars should be high enough up and tilted so your child is riding in a comfortable, upright position that doesn't add stress to the lower back. The second factor is control. Set the height and tilt of the handlebars to a position that lets your child feel in full control of the bike.

The team that worked on this review
  • Allen
    Allen
    Writer
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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