The 26-inch bike category is the point where bikes start to bifurcate into kids’ and adults’ bikes. The 26 inch wheel bike for kids and adults differs in terms of their frame sizes. Not all bike manufacturers do have a 26-inch kids’ bike segment in their brand repertoire.
So how would you select a 26 inch bicycle for kids under $600? Read on, as we have reviewed dozens of bikes so that it would make your job of selecting the right bike for your kid easier.
Best Boys And Girls 26 Inch Bikes (Under $600)
|Brand||Woom 6||Vitus Nucleus 26 |
Youth Hardtail Bike
|Giant XTC Jr 26+||Trek Wahoo 26||GT Stomper|
|Brakes||Rim V-brakes||Tektro hydraulic disc||Hydraulic disc||Rim V-brakes||Rim V-brakes|
|1×8 speed |
|Suspension||None||100 mm air front||None||None||None|
Woom 6 – Best 26 Inch All Rounder & Girls Bike
Woom is a boutique kids’ bike brand based out of Austria.
Founded by two dads on a mission to develop a bike with the right proportions that can fit their kids’ bodies perfectly, Woom is now an international brand that has a presence in 30 countries across the globe.
Woom 6 pretty much ticks all the boxes for an all-rounder bike; good for neighborhood jaunts as well as for some light backyard offroading.
The highlight of all Woom bikes is the low weight of the bike.
With lots of aluminum on the body and components, the Woom 6 weighs the lowest on this list at 20.9 pounds.
The bike is fitted with a 1×8-speed SRAM X4 twist-shift gearing with a single chainring on the front.
This provides adequate gearing without complicating the process as well as providing enough range during long rides.
The bike doesn’t sport a front suspension which is fine given that it’s required only for technical trails and this bike is not built for that.
With kid-specific geometry and 4 colors to choose from, this bike is a good buy if you chose to shell out the €529.00 (approximately $630) sticker price.
A good 26 inch girl’s bike for those who are not fans of the aggressive styling of mountain bikes.
This bike is also an option as a ladies’ 26 inch bike for short women.
8 speed SRAM gearing
Vitus Nucleus 26 Youth Hardtail Bike – Best Value For Money Bike
Vitus finds a place in almost all of our InchBike reviews as they are a value-for-money brand.
Vitus is a France-based company known for its road racing bikes.
The Vitus 26 inch hardtail bike is power-packed with features that make it a serious trail bike for your child.
Made of an aluminum frame, the bike comes with a single narrow-wide chainring that is paired with an 8 speed rear gearing with a clutch derailleur.
The narrow-wide chainring and the clutch derailleur help prevent the chain from slapping around and not come off during those off-road trailblazing sessions.
The single ring on the front and the 8-speed gearing provide enough gear ratios for trail riding without complicating the shifting process.
However, the Box Four 8 brand which is used is not as popular as Shimano or SRAM; the two heavyweights in the gearing groupset arena.
A 100 mm travel air suspension on the front provides adequate cushioning while the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes with a 160 mm rotor offer good stopping power for the bike.
A headtube angle of 67 degrees that provides good mountain biking geometry and 2.25-inch knobby tires from Schwalbe round off the pretty impressive feature set on this bike.
Available in two colors.
|8-speed gearing with clutch derailleur |
Narrow wide chainring
100 mm air suspension front fork
Tektro hydraulic disc brakes
|Box Four is not as popular as Shimano or SRAM|
Giant XTC Jr 26+
Giant is a giant company, the world’s largest bike manufacturer, and is also a frame supplier to a lot of other bike builders.
The Giant XTC Jr 26+, at $575, is the least priced model in their 26-inch bike lineup.
But it has fairly decent specs for its price.
The bike comes fitted with a 1×9 speed Shimano Altus gearing which is adequate gearing for a child without complicating the gearing experience.
The bike also gets hydraulic disc brakes in the front and rear and coupled that with the extra-wide 2.8-inch tires provide decent braking power, comfort, and traction on bumpy trails.
The bike doesn’t have a front suspension though.
Available in just 1 color.
|1×9 speed gearing|
Hydraulic disc brakes
|Low-end Altus groupset |
No front suspension
Trek Wahoo 26 – Best Budget 26 Inch Bike
Trek, the largest bike manufacturer in the US is perhaps the brand with which most of the readers are familiar within this list.
The Wahoo 26 is a budget 26 inch bike for kids that can get the job done, meaning, don’t expect too much out of this bike compared to, say, the Vitus above.
In the manufacturer’s own words, it’s a simple, practical bike.
Made of an aluminum frame, the bike is fitted with a Shimano Altus 1×8 speed gearing.
Although 1×8 speed is adequate, the Altus model falls in the low-end bracket of Shimano’s groupset hierarchy.
There are no front suspension or disc brakes. Instead, you’ll get linear-pull V-brakes in the front and rear.
The bike weighs 22.09 lbs and is available in 3 colors.
8 Speed Shimano gearing
|Low-end Altus groupset|
GT Stomper Prime 26″
GT Bicycles is part of the Dorel group that has tons of brands under its belt including the marquee Cannondale.
The GT Stomper Prime 26 is a budget model that can do a little bit of everything.
The frame is made of aluminum and the company touts its LegitFit design as exclusive kid-specific geometry.
The bike is equipped with a Microshift derailleur and 7-speed gearing.
The bike doesn’t have front suspension or disc brakes which is understandable as the bike is equipped only to handle non-technical trails.
Prime 26 is one of the cheapest 26-inch bikes that is a non-big-box brand available on the market.
Available in just one color.
|7 speed gearing||No front suspension|
Microshift derailleur – fairly new brand
Factors To Consider When Buying a 26-inch Kids Bike Under $600
All the bikes on this list are kids 26 inch bikes.
However, age is not the main factor that’ll determine the size of the bike for your kid as kids of the same age can vary in terms of their size and height.
A 26-inch bike is ideal for kids between 58 and 63 inches tall.
If your kid is short, then a 24-inch bike would be a better option.
Likewise, if your kid is very tall, 13 years old or above, you can consider an adult’s 26 inch bike or even 27.5 inch bike.
The best way to gauge height is to measure the inseam length of the kid.
This is not the same as the inseam length of the pants.
Have the kid stand against a wall without the shoes with a book placed in between the legs.
Measure the length from the ground to the crotch. This is the inseam length.
This inseam length should be a couple of inches taller than the top tube of the bike so that the standover height of the kid is adequate for the kid to feel confident, and also for the pedal stroke to be efficient.
How Much Does a 26-inch Bike Under $600 Weigh?
A 26-inch bike’s weight varies based on a lot of factors.
26-inch wheel size is the segment where kids’ bikes start to rub shoulders with adult bikes.
Various factors come into play because of the difference in materials used as well as the extra features available such as suspension, derailleur, brake systems, etc.
Aluminum is the most commonly used material in 26-inch kids’ bikes, which is lighter than steel.
At higher price points, over $600, some bikes do even get carbon fiber frame which is lighter than aluminum.
Some bikes on this list do have a front suspension fork that can add weight to the bike, however, is a necessity for tackling technical trails.
What Geometry Does a Kids’ 26-Inch Bike Have?
Most 26 inch bikes as well as all the ones featured on this list, except Woom 6, are modeled for mountain biking, at least, on some levels.
Mountain bikes do have a slacker head tube angle.
Headtube is the part where the fork meets the stem of the handlebar.
The slack angle is to provide for better control of the bike while riding.
The top tube on a mountain bike would slant downwards giving the bike an aggressive stance.
A slanting top tube would help with getting off of the bike fairly easily.
Neighborhood bikes like Woom 6 will have a non-aggressive stance and are good for kids who are timid or just starting out.
Additional Specs On 26 Inch Girls And Boys Bikes Under $600
The three features to look for in a 26 inch bike are:
Gearing: All the bikes on this list have the right amount of gears for the performance these bikes are expected to deliver.
Brakes: Depending on the price, some models get hydraulic disc brakes compared to the standard rim V-brakes.
Disc brakes are an asset on the trails and the Vitus and Giant models on this list do feature it.
Suspension: Again, for riding technical trails, the front suspension is a must.
This would protect the bike’s components as well as reduce the fatigue of the rider.
Vitus 26 is the only one on this list that features a front suspension.
What Is The Price Range For a Kid’s 26-Inch Bike?
26-inch bikes, as they can be feature-rich, have a pretty broad price range.
Decent ones start at around $500 and can go as high as $3-4000.
We have excluded the big-box retail brands from our list as, frankly, these are just bike-looking objects that are heavy and ill-fitting with poor quality components.
If you are not able to afford this price range, we would suggest searching the second-hand bike market as the poor quality bikes would simply steal the fun of riding a bike for the child.
For Further Reading:
Best 24 inch bikes